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Strange Loop 2017 in Review – Day 2

Continuing my writing about this year’s edition of Strange Loop, I’ll go on to Saturday (Day 2 of the conference).

Day 2

Lean Coffee

I didn’t cover Lean Coffee much in day one’s post, so I’ll cover it a wee bit more here. If you ever go to Strange Loop, or have an opportunity to attend one, go for it! My wonderful friend Trevor led sessions each morning, and it’s a great way to wake up your brain with a thoughtful discussion. Here’s what the board looked like each day:

Keynote: Open source projectsvideo

The keynote was on communities surrounding open source, specifically how the idea of the “Cathedral and the Bazaar” has really become a difficult life for maintainers, very few second-time contributors. If you aren’t familiar with the problem (dare we say crisis?) in FOSS, please familiarize yourself!

Observability for emerging infrastructurevideo

Charity Majors has been excelling as a thought leader in operations and more specifically observability. Where monitoring is about “tell me something when went wrong” observability is more about having a full story of what’s going on in your system, so that if you notice something strange, you have observable data to walk through the story and understand what could be, might be, or did happen.

In particular, I enjoyed her point about sampling at a high-resolution vs. collecting aggregated metrics. Selfishly, I’m really proud of what we’re working on at IOpipe (which is at its core an observability platform, because observability really goes across dev and ops & their friends the devops) because we provide both high-resolution and aggregate views, because por que no los dos. Anyhoo, Charity’s (very valid) point was that rather than getting a low-resolution (aggs) of everything, sampling in order to get a high-resolution of whatever you’re interested in will end up being much more useful. In addition, sampling should be responsive to the situation – ex. collect 100% of errors, 100% of “deleted app” user flows (in Charity’s case), collect some small number (0.1 or 1%) of all requests if you’re operating at a massive scale.

The talk might be worth listening to (and I enjoyed finally getting to see one in person), but in any case if this is the first you’ve heard about Charity, follow her on Twitter and her blog.

Origami Software from Scratchvideo

“The epsilons are where it gets tricky”

After Robby said (eh, something like it) that I about burst from joy. This was a beautiful beautiful talk about origami and math. If anything the talk’s weakness was using origami terms like “flat foldable” colloquially, but I loved that. How often have you listened to a talk on distributed systems where it felt like everyone else had a clue but you were the dorkus? This was a lovely case where everyone in the room was in the same boat.

Be sure to check out Robby’s interactives on the axioms of origami. And don’t forget, “a crease pattern is a planar graph” 😀

I started sketchnotes for Robby’s talk but then got totally enthralled, so I didn’t finish:

origami sketchnote

How to be a compilervideo

Mariko is always a fantastic speaker! This, like Sarah’s talk on day one, was a more narrative talk and so it’s really better to watch it than me to try and explain what I got out of it. Here’s an unfinished sketchnote:

how to be a compiler sketchnote

Particle physics 10,000 fastervideo

I did not enjoy this talk very much, because it felt like it mostly described a complicated problem space but without any suggested solutions. However, someone else I spoke with said it was their favorite talk! People like different things 😀 if you’re curious about some of the problems in big physics math, this is the talk for you!

Hallway track

I will fess up to taking a hallway track after running out of time to make it to the secondary venue for (what sounded like, and I’ll watch the video of) a really awesome systems talk. Hallway track is definitely a valuable thing at any conf, when interspersed with you know, actually going to the thing 🙂

Adam Savage Keynote

There was a real live famous person! His talk was a fun romp about building stuff. I honestly didn’t realize how much he would be able to relate to Strange Loop. This talk was not videoed and alas I did not sketch note it! 😶

Closing thoughts

This year’s Strange Loop did not let down my expectations at all – it’s a wonderful, thoughtful event. I really thought the expansion of the conf went very well (this was the first year with two venues), and think it’s awesome because it’ll also help more people experience the conference. Get on their list for next year!

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