OpenStack Infrastructure Bootcamp

It was a cool week for OpenStack gatherings. Down in Washington DC an OpenStack Security Book Sprint was happening, while up in New York City, 20 of us were gathered for an OpenStack Infrastructure Bootcamp.

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Why do an infrastructure bootcamp? OpenStack, as a project, is really breaking some interesting new ground when it comes to software process flow and continuous integration. Unlike other projects, that test after code has landed in upstream master, we’ve got this incredible pre-merge test system that ensures that upstream master won’t be broken. It’s a system you need when you have over 550 contributors during a six month cycle. This is something beyond Continuous Integration as people normally think about it, though we realized we’re still quite lacking the words to describe it concisely.

This bootcamp was a great chance to go through that, in detail, and expose some of the areas where more contributors are needed to accelerate the project even further. We had all the “coremudgeons” of OpenStack infrastructure (Monty, Jim, Clark, and Jeremy), folks like myself that have landed some patches, or helped with specific efforts, and folks that were new to the whole thing, and just wanted to learn. Some of this I’d seen before, other bits I saw for the first time, and the whole system now makes more sense in my own head.

There were dinner and drinks after day one (the only day I could attend, sadly), and further ideas for improving the whole system flowed over beer, wine, food, and good company. I was struck again, during all of this, just how amazing of a community OpenStack is. We got 20 people together not to discuss or plan out features on OpenStack, but for features and improvements on the systems that facility OpenStack development. The kind of things we’re working towards are as advanced as semi-automatic failure coloration on build logs, to find statistically infrequent race conditions, upstream, instead of ever letting that hit a user in production. Awesome stuff.

Extra special thanks to Monty Taylor for pulling this together. It was no small task, and this wouldn’t have been possible without all his hard work on logistics to make it happen.

Cicadas roundup

We’re now about 2 weeks into the Brood 2 Cicada hatch, which has been covering the Hudson Valley. It’s spottier than I imagined it would be, but our neighborhood is clearly good ground for Brood 2, as the Cicada chorus is now loud enough to be heard inside with the windows closed during the day now, though I’ve only seen a few of the beasts in the yard. I’ve gotten a little used to that other worldly sound, and will have to say I’ll miss it a little when this is over.

Radio Lab had great episode recently on the Cicada emergence, including a nice dissection of the sounds in the swarm. It turns out the chorus is really made of 3 different species with 3 different stages in their song. As this sun goes down this evening, and the cicadas start to quiet up, I can start to hear those pieces individually coming out. Like the tuning up phase in the orchestra, except in reverse.

And lastly, I learned today that modern noise cancelling in cell phones makes it basically impossible to record these sounds with a smart phone. Which is a shame. Otherwise I’d have uploaded our chorus to sound cloud.

My thoughts from TEDx Longdock

The moment I found out that someone was running a TEDx in our area, I was intrigued. The moment I realized John Rooney was one of the organizers, I signed up, as I knew this would be good. I was not disappointed.

The TEDx Long Dock event had a nebulous theme going into it. If I had to extract the theme afterwards it was about connections and community. Some remarkable people were there. Incredible stories of creation that were inspiring. I walked out of something from almost every talk, however after a couple of days of reflection I think there are a couple that will stick with me the most.

Will Etundi gave a talk near the end of the day on the importance of celebration, just how much turning anything into celebration changes the conversation, tone, and productivity of everyone involved. He gave a challenge to deliberately celebrate something every week, be  it big or small. I’m all in on that.

Sarah Jacob gave possibly the tightest and most TED light talk of the event, on how Tango changed her life, got her connected, and the importance of connection in everything we do. It was even followed up with a dance on stage, which was truly amazing. This is one of the talks that I want to see again, and can’t wait until the video is posted.

The funniest talk of the day goes to John Cappello, a lawyer, who gave an overview of the planning process in NY, and what his ideal town would be and how they’d use it. People think of the comprehensive plans as a way to stop things you don’t like, but forget that the comprehensive plans are just as much a tool to create the kind of community you want. I also am with him that every town needs a brewery.

More bits of inspiration from this day keep tricking into my head. I woke up from a nap this afternoon with the song we ended the day on looping in my brain, which means I’m probably about half way through my sub conscience digesting it all.

I’m hopeful this is the start of an annual event. Even if it wasn’t under the TEDx brand, I’d be back. The organizers all did an incredible job, and a very amazing day came out of the whole thing.