Register for SeaGL 2018
November 9th and 10th, 2018

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SeaGL speaker Q&A: E. Dunham
September 12, 2017

E. Dunham gives her talk titled, “How To Learn Rust” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m the DevOps engineer for Mozilla Research, which is a jack-of-all-trades sort of role that always keeps me busy and learning new things. I telecommute from the middle of nowhere in Oregon, where I enjoy gardening and attempting to keep bees. I got into this whole FOSS thing years ago as a student at the OSU Open Source Lab, and have been active in various communities ever since.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Without tipping my hand?! I’ll tip the heck out of my hand, because I know how tough it is to choose which talk to attend in a given time slot at a conference like SeaGL. My talk “How to learn Rust” is basically 2 talks in one: First, I outline the dozen core categories of learning technique that my peers and mentors told me about when I asked them for their tips on learning new languages. Then I show you the resources available to learn Rust through each of those methods. Whether or not you’re into Rust, this talk will give you a checklist of things to try when you feel stuck or lost studying a programming language.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: I’ve been to several SeaGLs, and accidentally found myself in a variety of organizational roles through the years. The part of a tech conference that gets advertised is the talks – the keynotes and the various lectures in the program. But if it was just about listening to talks all day, you could do that with YouTube from the comfort of your own couch. What makes a conference worth showing up to in person is what we call the hallway track – it’s all the humans with interesting experiences and ideas who are there to share them. The value of going to a talk in person rather than just watching a video of it after the fact is that you get to engage with the presenter, both through asking questions and through the expressions and body language that tell them what parts the audience is enjoying most so they can talk more about those areas. And as you’re leaving a talk, you have an instant conversation topic with the speaker and everyone else who attended, so it’s easy to make a lot of new friends.

Compared to other tech conferences in the area, SeaGL feels less like a job fair and more like a family get-together. It has a great venue, where all the rooms are reasonably close together so it’s hard to get lost and easy to maximize the time you spend interacting with other attendees.

Q: Is Rust the best programming language?

A: It depends on what problem you want to solve! There are some mistakes that it’s really easy to make in most systems programming languages, and Rust is carefully designed to make those mistakes difficult or impossible. If you have code in another language that’s working great, don’t scrap it just because something fashionable came along… But if you hit the wall on that language’s reliability and performance and the topic of rewriting part or all of your code comes up, Rust is worth serious consideration.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Carol Smith
September 12, 2017

Carol Smith gives her talk titled, “ You Can’t Launch a Spaceship if All You Hire Are Astronauts: Other Jobs in Technology” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m Carol, a Program Manager in the Open Source Programs Office at Microsoft. I just joined Microsoft a few months ago, but I’ve been involved with free software for many years. Before Microsoft at worked at GitHub for a year in education outreach. Before GitHub I worked at Google for over 10 years, and the last 6 of those years I managed Google Summer of Code, which is how I got involved in free software to begin with. Having been a PM for as long as I have, I’m personally and professionally passionate about identifying places where people who aren’t interested or able to be developers can still get involved in free software communities and projects.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: As I mentioned above, I’m quite passionate about identifying opportunities for folks to get involved in free software. I think our communities tend to emphasize developers and code and don’t talk quite as much about other skills sets and other jobs. I’ll be discussing many of the other avenues for getting involved in these projects as well as how that can translate into your work life and your career.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: It’s not my first time, and I’m quite happy to say that! I spoke at SeaGL last year and really, really enjoyed the atmosphere, the talks, and the community of attendees. I think SeaGL is an excellent grassroots conference, and I’m so happy to be returning this year to speak again. I’m looking forward to more great conversations and sharing of ideas.

Q: You recently moved to Washington, how has your experience with the FOSS community in the Pacific Northwest been?

A: Having lived in California my whole life, it’s quite a new group of people and events to get involved with. So far, I have been really impressed with the community out here.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Susan Harris
September 09, 2017

Susan Harris gives her talk titled, “The Rhythm of Patterns” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: My name is Susan Harris and I’m a piano teacher and pianist. I began studying the piano in England, at the age of seven, later receiving a BA (Hons) music degree and then a Post Grad in Music Education from Reading University. For many years I taught in schools including orchestra and choir, as well as piano. I also regularly perform. I’m a member of a local chamber music trio, and I accompany other musicians, as well as performing with local orchestras. My website is: harrismusicnotes.com

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: You can expect Balinese Monkey Chants - seriously! I’m going to explain how our WET (Western European Traditional) music approach has to analyse what these performers do and how they do it. We’re going to look at the patterns and the rhythms… and then create and perform our own!

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: It’s my first visit and I’m excited. I’m going to meet so many people with new and fresh ideas. I’m also quite daunted - they’re all super intelligent too!

Q: Why do you think computer people would want to listen to a talk by a musician?

A: So many of the computer people I know are musicians too, and seem to be intrigued by the maths and patterns in music.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: James Cooper
September 09, 2017

James Cooper gives his talk titled, “Distributed Systems With Docker Swarm” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m a freelance software engineer based in Seattle. My current focus is infrastructure and devops automation and I have been using Docker in production systems for almost three years.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: The talk will be a very practical overview of how to use Docker Swarm to deploy and upgrade a system composed of multiple services. In particular I’ll explore how to deploy upgrades with zero downtime and how to use compose to declaratively express the containers Swarm should start in order to fully stand up a complete system.

A demo of the system will be provided along with a companion GitHub repository with all the code. My hope is that attendees will learn enough about Swarm from the talk to feel comfortable exploring the documentation in detail online later and possibly using it to deploy their own projects.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: I attended SeaGL two years ago and had a great time. I enjoyed the do-it-yourself spirit of the conference and found the talks were generally of very high quality. It was also a treat to see Richard Stallman talk in person. I’m excited to be a part of the 2017 SeaGL.

Q: What prerequisite knowledge is required for the talk?

A: I don’t plan to get very technical with regards to the implementation of Docker and Swarm so this talk should be accessible to almost anyone with an interest in containers. Prior knowledge of Docker will be helpful, but my hope is that those completely unfamiliar with containers should also be able to follow along as well.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel
September 08, 2017

Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel gives his talk titled, “Bowerbirds of Technology: Architecture and Operations at Less-Than-Google Scale” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel and I’ve been professionally computering in some form or another for most of a decade now. Recently (the last year or two) I’ve become very focused on the intersection of people with computing — as an industry and community we have so much to learn here and I’m amazed by how much I learn from others about this every day.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: My talk is intended as a gentle reminder to everyone writing software to ground themselves in reality when it comes to scale and to take seriously the idea that developers and users are more important than shaving milliseconds off of API calls.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: It is my first visit! Knowing the people who are involved, I’m hoping for a weekend full of talks that really make me challenge my assumptions and provide new perspective on dealing with the many-faceted challenges of COMPUTER.

Q: Where should attendees go for a delicious cheap meal?

A: Take the Link down to the International District and grab some scallion pancakes and cold peanut sauce noodles at Szechuan Noodle Bowl. Bring friends!

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Julia Kreger
September 08, 2017

Julia Kreger gives her talk titled, “How to get a cross-project feature landed in OpenStack: Or how I plotted to obtain success… “ on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: Hi, I’m Julia, and I might be crazy. Well, I guess that always remains to be determined. I’ve been interested in Linux and Open Source for about twenty years. I got my first job helping someone install Linux on a computer, which started my career in computer networking. Over time I drifted from networks, to systems, systems automation, and I’ve been in more of a development focused role for the past five years or so. I presently contribute to OpenStack Ironic and several other related projects, and I care deeply care about the communities I work in, because I see the difference I make in people’s lives.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Attendees to my talk should really expect a down to earth, realistic kind of journey coupled with reflections. I really hope people enjoy it, and they leave with another way to look at cross-community problems and what might help solve them.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This will be my first visit to SeaGL. I had hopes of trying to visit last year after a few of my friends that are local to Seattle all spoke highly of SeaGL, but timing just didn’t work out. My impression of it is that it is a smaller local gathering as opposed to some of the huge regional conferences, and that it has a great cross-section of Open Source community enthusiasts.

Q: Are you excited?

A: I am really excited. I feel that local communities are the foundation of larger communities, and every time I have attended a smaller community event, while I feel awkward, I’ve had some of the best discussions and learned some of the most interesting things by people in that community.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Christopher Aedo
September 08, 2017

Christopher Aedo gives his talk titled, “ Brewing Beer with Linux, Python and a RaspberryPi “ on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m Christopher Aedo, my day job is developer advocate for IBM. That means I get to learn new technologies and experiment with stuff for work, but I’m also constantly doing that in my spare time too.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: You can expect to learn the best way to feed yeast, how to suspend hops in liquid, and find out how I convinced IBM to pay me to brew beer.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This is my first visit, and I’m expecting it to be one of the most fun but laid-back conferences I’ve been to. I also expect to see tons of old friends there and make lots of new ones too.

Q: Who would you like to see deliver a keynote this year?

A: You read my mind when you picked Rikki Endsley, I can’t wait for that!

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Omar Ravenhurst
September 07, 2017

Omar Ravenhurst gives his talk titled, “From Al-Qaeda to Shia LaBeouf - How Crowdsourced Intelligence Analysis Removed Any Idea Of Privacy: Finding What Doesn’t Want To Be Found” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m Omar Ravenhurst. I’m a Linux and privacy enthusiast. I do cool things sometimes. I’ve worked in the “tech industry” for a bit but right now I’m teaching myself various things.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Mostly what it says on the tin. Education and speculation. Some tips, and hopefully a few jokes.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: First time at SeaGL. I’m expecting something like Linuxfest Northwest but smaller. People, talks, vendors, and parties. Also bad wifi.*

Q: If you cut a sandwich in half, do you have two halves of a sandwich or two sandwiches?

A: The answer is two sandwiches and if you say differently then you’re just factually wrong. Open a dictionary.

* Editor’s note: the wifi was fine last year except in that one room – which we’re keeping a surprise for new attendees.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Laura Abbott
September 07, 2017

Laura Abbott gives her talk titled, “Creating Fresh Kernels” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: My name is Laura Abbott and I’m a kernel developer. I started out doing kernel development for Android phones but these days I’m one of two people employed by Red Hat to maintain the Fedora kernel.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Kernels, kernels, kernels!

There’s a lot of different ways of delivering a kernel to end-users. If you’ve ever wondered why some distributions choose to deliver specific kernel versions or why you never seem to get brand new kernels, this talk is for you.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: I attended SeaGL last year to help with the Fedora booth. I enjoyed hearing all the different ways people used Linux and what they wanted to accomplish.

Q: Is this talk for everyone?

A: YES! Come and learn about kernels.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Brian MacDonald
September 07, 2017

Brian MacDonald gives his talk titled, “Writing the Next Great Tech Book: From Idea to Successful Publication” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m a freelance technical book editor. I’ve been doing this for about 20 years, mostly independent, but sometimes working in-house. My previous employers and clients include O’Reilly, Pragmatic, IDG Books, Wrox, Apress, Wiley, Manning, Osborne, and Coriolis. I’ve also done some contract work as a technical writer.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: There are a ton of tech books out there, good and bad, which leads to a lot of people wanting to write one, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to do it wrong, and even if you’ve got a great idea with great execution, there’s no clear path to getting your book in front of a publisher. I’ll use my experience to shed some light on what publishers are looking for, how to frame your idea in a way that will be appealing to a publisher, and what you can expect from the publishing process.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This is my first SeaGL, although I’ve been to conferences in other parts of the country. I enjoy going to regional conferences because I get to meet new people who don’t attend the big conferences. Also, the tech community is different in each part of the country, so I enjoy hearing what people are interested in. This is my first conference in the Seattle area, so I look forward to learning what’s unique about that area.

Q: Do you know the story behind the animal covers on O’Reilly books?

A: I do! And if someone asks about it at the session, I’ll tell it.


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