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William Bilancio
owner

Discussion  - 
 
LOPSA-East '16 Registration goes live March 2nd around noon EDT. Check out the training Schedule at http://lopsaeast.org/2016/lopsa-east-16-training-schedule/
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Alan Robertson

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The Assimilation Software is an extensible and extremely scalable discovery-driven automation engine that uses the discovery data to drive other operations, including monitoring and audits.  Because we do excruciatingly detailed discovery, we have all the information needed to do these other operations with little or no human input.

http://assimilationsystems.com/2014/10/20/announcing-assimilation-version-0-1-4/
We are proud to announce the latest in our series of releases of the Assimilation software which will culminate in an incredibly useful production release. This release is eminently suitable for trials in an environment where the caveats are acceptable. We have quite a few pre-built Ubuntu packages, and a few CentOS/RHEL packages - so go forth, download and subdue the galaxy!
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Nick Anderson

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RT Aleksey Tsalolikhin: Only 5 seats left in CFEngine 3 policy-writing workshop in Austin, Texas on March 23-27. http://buff.ly/18lf83L
CFEngine 3 Policy-Writing Workshop Who should attend this workshop Anyone with at least a basic knowledge of system administration interested in automating server configuration and maintainance using CFEngine policy. What you will take back to work A thorough grounding in automating system administration using CFEngine 3 and the ability to implement configuration policies.  You will be able to automatedly handle and control files, processes, ...
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Danielle White

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Today, as part of a volunteer program run by my employer, I spoke with a class of high school students about STEM careers. Below is the customer around which our presentation was built.
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Mark Lamourine

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How did the Outreach Program for Women work out for the Linux kernel this year?
Jen Wike of Opensource.com interviews Lisa Nguyen, an intern hacking on the Linux kernel this year. Her intern group ranked 10th largest contributor to Linux 3.12. Read on about her experience and take on women in tech.
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I thought this was an excellent writeup of how one group became more inclusive. Maybe we can learn from this, get more Windows folks, as well as participants of every stripe and experience level.
 
How Carnegie Mellon Created a More Inclusive Hackathon

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but decided now would be a great time since I'm missing out on Grace Hopper.

In February 2012, ScottyLabs (of Carnegie Mellon) organized the school's first student-run software hackathon, TartanHacks. It saw 150 participants, 50 of whom were women. And this is how it happened.

Two years ago, I was working on a side project to make APIs for school data. By exposing data such as course schedules, room reservations, and menus from campus dining locations, I hoped that students would be more inspired to take on side projects and create change in their community, and realize that they can solve the problems around them.

The team dedicated to exposing campus data eventually became known as ScottyLabs (after our school mascot, the Scottie Dog). We decided that a great way to promote these APIs would be to hold a hackathon. This was just before hackathons exploded; polling the freshman class had shown us that freshmen, overwhelmingly, did not know what hackathons were - the next year that was not the case at all.

From the beginning, we cared about creating a more inclusive hackathon. One big reason was attendance. If we cared about using this channel to get our APIs out there, we wanted people to show up! Hackathons weren't popular among the undergrads. The largest software hackathon on campus had been organized by an outside company and reportedly had 50 attendees, many of whom were master's students, and only 2 of which were women. We also partnered with the school's Women@SCS(School of Computer Science) organization, which meant that we had many conversations about getting more women to hackathons.

Inclusion was also something that was very dear to me personally. Even getting over the "double minority" thing (do you ever get over that?) I never did feel at home in the School of Computer Science simply due to my skills and interests and personality. I thought it was crazy that I was organizing an event I'd never, ever attend. A lot of the tweaks that we'd made would have made me feel more comfortable as an attendee.

So here's my list of changes that we made. Unfortunately, we didn't test the effectiveness of each of these in isolation, but hopefully this helps you frame tech inclusion in a more practical, less enigmatic way:

We told people what a hackathon was. - We didn't tell people about the type of person that we expected at a hackathon. We told people that a hackathon was an event where you could focus on building something cool - and we're all smart, creative people that know how to build things.

We told people it was okay to be a first-timer. - This was something we put on our Facebook copy, on our posters, and when we went around and talked to classrooms. We said that first-timers were welcome. A lot of people were afraid to even try it out, and telling them that this was exactly the type of environment to try things out made people feel more welcome.

We didn't mention it was a competition. - Internally we were having a fiasco figuring out what we were going to do with prizes, and so we didn't announce prizes until our session on the rules right before the hackathon. Afterwards, a lot of students mentioned to us that they would have been too intimidated to come out had they known it was a competition beforehand. (Students that wanted to believe that we had prizes and a competition either assumed or asked the organizers beforehand.)

We didn't make it grungy. - A lot of students thought that hackathons were gross, grungy events. We decided to put the hackathon in our beautiful new Gates building, and let them spread out. We also advertised that we were serving really good food - "better than pizza." We needed people to believe this was a nice event where they would be taken care of, and return on that promise.

We helped students see this as an opportunity to learn. - Beforehand, we held a weekend of "crash courses" to get students up and running. These were taught by other students. Our approach to crash courses was not "How much can you teach about Rails in an hour?" but "How can you make Rails seem accessible and learnable in an hour, such that students can then spend the necessary time on their own to learn it?"

We made it easy to ask questions. - At the hackathon, we had a team of student mentors, who could provide technical assistance and be a sounding board.

Also - it's important to note that we tried to reach a broad audience in terms of teachers and mentors. We didn't just ask the "hackathon type," but students from all over the community. In fact:

We made it about more than just "shiny webapps." - The second year we held the hackathon, a good friend of mine was the "machine learning" mentor on staff. She helped a prizewinning team build a service that alerted you if your Facebook friends posted suicidal statuses. I'm proud that we had participants that wanted to pursue this project, a mentor on staff to support them, and judges that could award them. Hackathons don't need to be about shiny webapps; we wanted to enable students to experiment with other areas of computer science. We worked to have a technically diverse mentorship staff, gave out prizes not for API use, but for categories like "Best User Interface" and "Best Hack for Hack's Sake" and "First Penguin" (biggest risk), and had judges that could discern the technical difficulty of a project.

We made sure they knew they weren't going to be alone. - We had a free agent mixer before the hackathon started, and also played matchmaker during the early hours. 

And last but not least:

We had pre-registration for women and underclassmen. - This made these groups explicitly know that they were welcome. Surprisingly, we didn't hear any complaints about this policy. This may have been because everyone that wanted to participate ultimately got in.

Here are some things that I want organizers to keep in mind:

The reasons why women weren't going to hackathons were the reasons why people weren't going to hackathons. - It's incredible that we had so many female participants, but it's also incredible that we had so many participants. We made a hackathon that was friendlier and more accessible to our community. We didn't paint it pink. We figured out why women didn't want to come to hackathons and we did our best to fix those problems.

A better hackathon for women was a better hackathon for everyone. - Women didn't get better food. Freshmen didn't get better food. Everyone got better food. A better hackathon is a better hackathon.

"First-timer" does not mean "bad developer." - Just because someone has never participated in a hackathon doesn't mean they don't know development. It doesn't mean they don't know full-stack development. It doesn't mean that they don't have good ideas, it doesn't mean they can't implement their good ideas, and it doesn't mean they can't win. It simply means they've never participated in a hackathon before.

I had another hackathon organizer (from a different school) ask me "How did you make sure the good people still came out?" If you're asking about a very particular subset of people that don't need encouragement to go to a hackathon - yes, those people were in attendance. But more importantly, by paying attention to the sensitivities of the community, we were doing just that - making sure the good people still came out.
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Danielle White

Discussion  - 
 
I'm a SysAdmin and I'm okay! I drive a BMW and I hack all day!

ETA: not my car; it was parked at my work. While I do have a BMW, mine is of the two wheeled variety.
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About this community

The League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) is a nonprofit corporation with members throughout the world. Our mission is to advance the practice of system administration; to support, recognize, educate, and encourage its practitioners; and to serve the public through education and outreach on system administration issues.

Danielle White

Discussion  - 
 
 
What happened when my team adopted Kanban for managing our tickets: we did so in mid-September and the effect is pronounced.

This is a 30-day graph of tickets created(red) vs. closed(green) for my team's queue.  The blue line is a plot of the difference between the two, which is also represented by the green shaded area. There was an existing backlog of tickets created before the start of the graph, hence the fact that more were closed than opened.
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Alan Robertson

Discussion  - 
 
You may have to be creative to find it, but there is always another way. See how we solved a problem of a looming software deadline without going faster.

http://assimilationsystems.com/2015/07/02/there-is-always-another-way/
You may have to be creative to find it, but there is always another way. See how we solved a problem of a looming software deadline without going faster.
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Alan Robertson

Discussion  - 
 
Back in about 2010, I was working on a highly custom supercomputer research project with about 2.2 million cores called Cyclops64. It was a joint project between the University of Delaware, IBM and the NSA. It was interesting in a lot of respects, but what its most unusual feature was its networking.
https://blog.netways.de/2015/06/29/guest-post-by-alan-robertson-how-the-assimilation-project-got-started/
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Mark Lamourine

Discussion  - 
 
Originally we hoped to have an article from Noah Meyerhans about what an experienced sysadmin can gain from going to LISA. Unfortunately, family commitments have kept Noah away-- but we're pleased Mark Lamourine has stepped in with an article on an underappreciated feature of LISA.
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Mark Lamourine

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Docker: A simple service container example with MongoDB
In my previous post I said I was going to build, over time a Pulp repository using a set of containerized service components and host it in a Kubernetes cluster. A complete Pulp service The Pulp service is composed of a number of sub-services: A MongoDB dat...
In my previous post I said I was going to build, over time a Pulp repository using a set of containerized service components and host it in a Kubernetes cluster. A complete Pulp service The Pulp service is composed of a numb...
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Mark Lamourine

Discussion  - 
 
 
How did the Outreach Program for Women work out for the Linux kernel this year?
Jen Wike of Opensource.com interviews Lisa Nguyen, an intern hacking on the Linux kernel this year. Her intern group ranked 10th largest contributor to Linux 3.12. Read on about her experience and take on women in tech.
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LOPSA Columbus

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LOPSA Columbus is proud to present the second quarterly "Tech Crawl" where we showcase innovative technology businesses in Columbus, OH. Learn about cool companies and how they do things differently than the rest! This November, we'll be learning more about OCLC.

OCLC, a worldwide library services organization headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, is a leader in information technologies and innovative online services. With office locations around the globe, OCLC employees are dedicated to offering premier services and software to help libraries cut costs while keeping pace with the demands of our information-driven society.


Agenda
6:00PM - Eat dinner in OCLC's Kilgour Private Dining Room
6:30PM - Tour of OCLC with Bill Rogge, Director of Data Center Support Services
7:00PM - Management panel


The panel's topic will be "Moving to the next generation: Open Source, The Cloud and Globalization." The session will be moderated by an OCLC Director with a list of prepared questions for the managers. The topic will be OCLC technology and attendees can ask questions as well.
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LISA

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Reminder: apply for LISA '13 Google-sponsored Grants for Women ow.ly/p161z (Sept. 30 deadline) #sysadmin #devops #lisa13
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