BBLISA Lightning Talks


At this month’s Back Bay LISA, Matt Simmons (aka Standalone Sysadmin) set up Lightning Talks. There were 9 presentations, and the videos are up! The playlist is on YouTube but here is a list of all the videos, with the descriptions taken from Matt’s blog post:

Back Bay LISA Lightning Talks
April 2013

  • Mentoring by Matt Finnigan
    Matt Finnigan gave a talk discussing the LOPSA Mentorship program. If you aren’t familiar, the mentorship program is a free service offered by LOPSA, where any admin who needs help, either with a project or just general career guidance, can sign up to be connected to someone with experience in their target area. You need to be a LOPSA member in order to be a mentor, but being a protege is open to anyone, regardless of LOPSA membership.

  • Cooking by Adam Moskowitz
    Adam Moskowitz gave a talk discussing cooking for system administrators. He appealed to our sense of making things as well as our need of healthy food and good value. Adam encouraged us to try cooking, and although most people thought it was expensive to property outfit a kitchen, he reminded us that it was actually a fraction of the price of our new laptops, and the kitchen gear would last a lot longer.

  • Amazon SMS by KM Peterson

    This talk is a result of KM Peterson’s search for a provider-agnostic method to send SMS messages that didn’t break the bank or involve maintaining an array of modems. He ended up setting up a script to talk to Amazon’s SMS service, and provided us example code in his slides.

  • SmartOS by Nahum Shalman
    Nahum Shalman gave a really nice introduction to SmartOS, a derivative of OpenSolaris which is maintained by Joyent. Interestingly, the Linux-native KVM was ported to the SmartOS kernel, allowing creative and secure uses of jails and virtual sandboxes, all taking advantage of native ZFS, dtrace, and all kinds of delicious Solaris-y goodness.

  • MySQL and Puppet by Sheeri Cabral
    Sheeri Cabral came from Mozilla to talk with us about how they’re deploying MySQL using Puppet. Her slides had example code, and she walked us through the abstracted object and up to the deployment on the actual nodes.

  • Secrets by KM Peterson
    KM Peterson’s”second talk was on Shamir’s Secret Sharing Scheme, aka ‘SSSS’. The idea behind this crypto tech is that you have a secret which you want to ensure can only be recovered by the collaboration of a minimum number of involved people – say three of your team of five. You encrypt the plaintext and generate as many keys as people you have, and tell the app how many should be required to release the information. To pull the data out, you provide any of the generated keys, as long as the number of different keys meets the minimum determined when the data was encrypted.

  • Stick Destroyer by John Jarvis
    John Jarvis talked to us about a creative use for his Raspberry Pi – he securely erases flash media using Stick Destroyer. He rigged up a light so that you have a nice visual indicator of when the stick is being erased, and when it’s done.

  • Sensu by Pat Cable
    Pat Cable showed up to talk about Sensu, a ruby-based monitoring solution that uses AMQP queues to distribute tasks around a monitoring infrastructure that can scale out horizontally to monitor extremely large numbers of machines. It’s definitely a “next gen” monitoring solution that you should be aware of.

  • Sysadmins and Doctors by Matt Simmons
    I got up in front of everyone and talked briefly about something that I’ve noticed – mainly about how I see our profession splintering, but that the splintered elements (such as network and storage administrators) aren’t actually specialties of “system administrators”, it’s much more like the specialized administrators are specialist doctors, and system administrators are like general practitioners. The idea is still half baked, but that’s the fun of a lightning talk, right? I didn’t offer any answers, but I asked a lot of questions.