August 07, 2014

Eight Days A Week

The TechReckoning, Vol. 1, No. 11, August 7, 2014. In this issue: A Calendar of Online Events, Webinars as a gateway to unspeakable horrors, AWS, IT vs Manufacturing, OKCupid, Old Computers, and our Question of the Week.

A Calendar for Online Events

I just published a calendar of live online IT community events on I'm starting with the simplest thing imaginable -- a listing of online community events like vBrownbags throughout the month of August. Please send suggestions to

I've got two scenarios in mind:
  1. You like dropping in to online hangouts and chats but always forget when they are. "Ah, shit," you say to yourself once again, "I forgot that Tech Field Day was today." (btw, Wireless Field Day 7 is today.)
  2. You are bored at work, but you don't have enough mental energy to study or work in the lab; however, you still want to do something arguably constructive, and you check the calendar to see what online thing you can jump into. (I'd argue that more offices need nap rooms, btw.)
This is an example of how TechReckoning will showcase other people's work. Events on the calendar must be:
  • Live. This is not a podcast directory. This is not for your latest YouTube video. (Hmmm, both of those are good ideas.) Interactive is good -- Google Hangouts, Twitter chats, or Talkshoe podcasts will be typical platforms. But interactive is not mandatory -- live streaming video from conferences or programming like theCUBE and Tech Field Day are all ok. The only mandatory thing is that whatever is happening is happening now and not pre-recorded.
  • Online.This calendar is for online things that people across the globe can access. This is not an IT events directory. (hmmm, now there's another idea, although check out the event calendars at The Virtualization Practice and Stephen Foskett. There are an increasing number of IT conferences. Two I just heard about yesterday: VeeamON and NetApp Insight.) 
  • IT-related. It must be IT-related and priority will be given to educational and technical topics.
  • Open-access. It must be available to everybody and must not require registration. It must be free.
  • Community-oriented.  I'll unpack this below, but let's just admit we all know what corporate webinars smell like most of the time.
Commercial content is ok. Let's acknowledge that much of what we do in the IT space is related to something commercial. Free tutorial how to use product XYZ from a blogger? Unpaid podcast guest from company XYZ? That's non-commercial to the blogger or podcaster but advances the commercial interests of vendor XYZ. (BTW, I was not paid anything for the Veeam and NetApp conference shout-outs above, or the Red Hat link below.)‚Äč

I will use my editorial judgement. I'd like to extend it beyond its current VMW-centricity (suggestions to I've included both theCUBE and Tech Field Day in this first rev of the directory. They present information from commercial sponsors, but they shape them with moderation to be unlike a pure sales webinar. Their parent organizations are also community-oriented. I've also included the VMware Community Roundtable Podcast. Aside from my obvious history with this podcast, it is (a) reasonably non-sales-y and (b) of high vCommunity interest. 

What about corporate webinars? If you have a pulse you realize that webinars are one of the leading marketing and education tools that companies use today. A search on Twitter for me yields dozens of technical webinars. (Mine seems almost too targeted to me - is Twitter customizing my search?)   What about sponsored but educational webinars that aren't super-salesy, but are used for lead generation, like this Gigaom webinar sponsored by Red Hat? Or events of high interest to our current community, like a VMworld keynote that requires your email address?

For now, webinars requiring registration are out. I can think of a few ways of including them, and I'd like your opinion. (In fact, that's our question for Just Hit Reply this week - see below.)
  1. Include educational webinars depending on my editorial judgement. This way lies madness.
  2. Let companies pay to include webinars. This could turn ugly and non-useful for readers, and it's not that valuable to companies until we have a larger audience.
  3. Webinar All The Things! Put up a form and allow everybody to list everything. Maybe manually crawl the top 100 vendors every month and just list all their nasty toe jam. A calendar of all live webinars, crappy and uncrappy, could actually be interesting. Then eventually charge people for enhanced listings.
  4. Webinars. Wat r u doing. Webinars. STAHP. No webinars. You're messing with things mortal humans were not meant to see. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Let me know what you think and if you like what we're doing.  I've wanted a calendar of online live events for a long time. Let's see if anybody else does. 

Worth A Click

Is Amazon's Sky Falling? This is why slow publishing is better than fast publishing. I had collected a bunch of links about Amazon's earnings and how they were a either a signal that AWS was (a) dead man walking or (b) about to eat the world. But here's a summary that links to all those articles. As you're reading this, remember that BG is all-in that public cloud is the One True Way, so take it with a grain of salt as needed. But do check out the Brad Feld and Lydia Leong links too. Oh and this one by Barb Darrow on Google Cloud as well since we're here. Is Amazon Web Services Really Down And Out? by Bernard Golden at
Amazon's 2020 revenue won't just be $40 billion spent on AWS. It will be $160 billionnot spent with traditional vendors. As Leong notes, the ongoing growth and price reductions on the part of public cloud providers makes on-premises infrastructure – and therefore kit from legacy infrastructure vendors – decreasingly appealing. Cloud computing will dramatically change the nature of IT organizations as well, transforming their charter from asset ownership to infrastructure management.
Some thinkers in IT-land draw parallels between IT and manufacturing. The most recent thread seems to have been started by The Phoenix Project. (You've read it, right? Oh good lord go out and do that now. It's the best novel you've ever read about IT and DevOps.) Here's a list of blogs about reliability - mostly manufacturing, but some IT. This is a weird link for us, but I think if you're into ops and reliability, there will be some interesting cross-cultural reading here. I came across this because @standaloneSA was mentioned. Top 50 Site Reliability Blogs by Nicole Pontius at the Camcode blog.
Three posts we like from Standalone Sysadmin:
Yes, they're screwing with you. If you were interested in the Facebook stuff, here's more on OKCupid. Listener's Guide to Christian Rudder explaining why OKCupid experimented with unwitting users by Jay Rosen at his blog
6. Rudder doesn’t put it this way, but he’s really sneering at the whole concept of user trust. Users don’t trust us to never put our interests before theirs. They know we sometimes do that. They know we don’t tell them about it. Mainly, they just want the site to work. We do too. End of story! Trust, “ethics,” legitimacy, consent: aren’t these terms a little full of themselves?
You like old computers? Here's Dinosaur's Pen. No, please don't email me to tell me what your first computer was. (Mine was a PDP-11, shown here.)
I read a bunch of technical stuff this week but none of it stuck with me enough to share with you. Feel free to forward links to me for next week. 

Always Read The Comments

Last week we asked, What's your favorite gathering, and why? (Spoiler: it's about the people)

My favorite gathering from a personal level is my annual cookout. It is getting bigger each year but is filled with family and friends that can make it and filled with a lot of good food and laughs. 

On a business level the VTUG winter warmer and Summah Slam will always be my favorites as they were my first exposure into the community. Having witnessed the community grow and change was an awesome experience.
You said we couldn't answer "VMworld," but I have to point out that there are a ton of gatherings that happen in the wake & eddies of VMworld itself. True, none of them would happen in their current form without the people-concentrating effect of VMworld, but it wouldn't surprise me if some people's motivation for going to VMworld were some of the gatherings rather than VMworld itself.
After that, my favorite gathering is the social event that precedes the Kansas City VMUG's annual conference. Although I am a little biased (I am one of the leaders of the KC chapter), by the time the social event arrives, the conference is planned and will pretty much happen the way it does: there just isn't that much "steering" left to be done. That means we can finally relax, hang out with friends old & new and look forward to the next day.
My Favorite Gathering is not a technical conference, but where I sit on the deck at the lake with my family and friends just relaxing from the stress of technology. But for technology conferences, I really like the smaller technical conferences such as VMUGs, InfoSec World, etc. These conferences give me a chance to meet and talk to folks; the conversations last longer and are in many cases more in-depth. I was recently reunited with the 3D Graphics industry at the smaller and more academic Nvidia GPU Tech Conference, this was a rush and incredibly technical including the keynote!
But the best I ever attended was Promise Keepers in Washington DC in 1997. Around a million men showed up on the Mall. I brought my young (at the time) son. Historic assembly of men singing, praying and worshiping God. I've never seen the like.
 I always look forward to SOFIC, the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, in Tampa, FL every year.  It is not solely an IT conference but rather a gathering of vendors that showcase their new technologies to assist the special forces warfighter in their mission.  I worked in the DoD contracting space for years and I made a lot of friends at SOFIC over that time.  I continue to attend year after year even though I have moved on from that arena.  Between seeing old friends, playing a lot of golf, and being introduced to some new war tech, it is always a great time!  I always walk away from that week with at least a dozen new ideas from making thing lighter, faster, and stronger.
Favorite gathering is the #NerdHerd by far - Matthew Brender, Sean Thulin, Luigi Danakos and so many more, love getting together with this group to share geek, professional and just fun stories.  A close second is the regional New England VTUG events at Gilette Stadium (home of the Patriots - GO PATS!) as they are easy to get to and not a lot of traffic as compared to events in the city (both Boston and Hartford)
My favorite gathering is VMUG. The community here in Denmark is fantastic! People are happy to stand up and present on topics we can all use. I guess there is a reason these usually fill up in a few hours :-)
My favourite gathering is at Christmas with my friends back home in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England and is famous for being the party town of Europe!! You’e not had a proper night out until you’ve been ‘Oot on the Toon!’ (in English, Out on the Town). Always good to catch up and find out what’s been happening throughout  the year!
My fav gathering is Thanksgiving.  We don't celebrate it in England and it's become a favorite of mine.  It's all about friends and family and just hanging out and enjoying each others company - no presents, no expectations...other than eating too much.  
My favorite event is the PASS Summit. I've been going to the Summit since 2004. As a DBA, we tend to work alone, and going to a place like Summit is a good way to commiserate with fellow data professionals as well as to connect, share, and learn from each other. We expect over 5,000 attendees again this year, making it the largest gathering of SQL Server and BI professionals. DISCLOSURE: I am currently President of the Board of Directors for PASS.
I enjoy any place that we can unofficially gather and not have to shout. Alcohol is not required, but does help "grease the skids" for some people, and is sometimes just the excuse to gather (vBeers?). The ability to have a meaningful conversation with a small group that can easily flow in and out of technology is invigorating. Getting the perspective of others on life, liberty and the pursuit of bits without the hang-ups and barriers of "official" gatherings.

Just Hit Reply

This week, our question is: Should we include corporate webinars in the online event calendar, and if so, how and what kind? Just hit reply or email to contribute to next week's newsletter. Thanks!

The TechReckoning, Vol. 1 No. 11. August 7, 2014. Archives. Published every week or so. Thank you for being here. Please forward! "The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep! You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep! People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep!"