USENIX Community and Events Update: January 18, 2013

What's going on with the USENIX community? Robin "Roblimo" Miller asked me that question over G+ last week. See the video online at Slashdot:

A Chat With USENIX Community Manager Rikki Endsley (Video)

When Robin talked to me, I wasn't working in my home office, which is why no cats popped up in the background. Instead, I was visiting our Berkeley, California USENIX offices for the first time and working at a borrowed desk. I'd seen most of my colleagues in December at LISA '12, but we agreed that an office visit would help us get organized and prioritize as we kick off the new year.

These days, many of us work on remote teams and do most of our communicating online or via teleconference, but there's a lot to be said for some facetime with colleagues. Of course, that in-person interaction is also the biggest benefit of attending industry events. Sure, you can soak up technical knowledge online, through video streaming, or from publications, but the relationships you build by meeting people in person truly are priceless. Unless you only plan to be in this field briefly, I encourage you to get out there and network. Not only can these relationships help you and your career, they can turn into lifelong friendships.

Exhibit A:

While I wa

s in Berkeley last week, I found out that Jon Masters, Chief ARM Architect at Red Hat, was in San Francisco for a few days. I first "met" Jon back when he was a columnist for Linux Magazine, and all our communication was via email exchange. I honestly don't remember when we met in person for the first time, but I know that it was at a tech conference a few years ago. Since then, our paths have crossed at other events and we've stayed in touch over social media (Facebook, G+, Twitter). Last summer, after Federated Conferences Week, I decided to stay an extra couple of days to check out Boston. Jon let me crash at his apartment, which saved me a bunch of dough, and we ran around Boston (literally) as he pointed out the sights. Soon after that trip, Jon decided he wanted to run his first marathon, and I invited him to run with me in the Kansas City Marathon, which we did in October 2012.

When I found out Jon was in San Francisco while I was in Berkeley, I contacted him over Twitter and we made plans to go on another run. Jon picked me up at my Berkeley hotel on Sunday afternoon and we headed into San Francisco to run across the Golden Gate Bridge together. Now I'm back home and Jon is staying with me in Lawrence, Kansas, while he attends FUDCon this week.

What's My Point?

Jon and I could have had a perfectly functional working relationship, even if I'd never met him in person at a conference. But we probably wouldn't have become friends, and we wouldn't have run together in four different states in the past few months.

By building these work friendships (or if you prefer, "building a network") at events over the years, I've been able to attend more events. As you meet people, you also find potential roommates for your next conference, or barter for free entry to an event in exchange for helping at the registration desk, and so on. And there's the incredibly practical aspect of meeting people in your profession who can help you at your current job or even help you land your next one.

How to Attend Tech Events on a Budget

I rounded up a few suggestions for saving dough when you travel to events: How to Attend Tech Events on a Budget

If you have your eye on attending or presenting at a USENIX event this year, here are some important deadlines:

Early Bird Discount Deadlines:

Calls for Papers:

  • NSDI '13: 10th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation  — Call for Posters and Demos deadline is February 15, 2013
  • USENIX ATC '13: 2013 USENIX Annual Technical Conference — Paper titles and abstracts dueJanuary 23, 2013
  • USENIX Security '13: 22nd USENIX Security Symposium — Submissions due February 21, 2013
  • ICAC '13: 10th International Conference on Autonomic Computing — Paper registrations due February 25, 2013
  • HotPar '13: 5th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Parallelism — Paper registration due March 4, 2013
  • ESOS '13: 2013 Workshop on Embedded Self-Organizing Systems — Submissions due March 4, 2013
  • HotCloud '13: 5th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing — Submissions due March 7, 2013
  • HotSWUp '13: 5th Workshop on Hot Topics in Software Upgrades — Submissions due March 7, 2013
  • HotStorage '13: 5th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems — Submissions due March 11, 2013
  • WiAC '13: 2013 USENIX Women in Advanced Computing Summit — Submissions due March 13, 2013
  • Feedback Computing '13: 8th International Workshop on Feedback Computing — Submissions due March 29, 2013
  • CSET '13: 6th Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test — Submissions due April 25, 2013

Student Grant Deadline: