LISA16—Geeks Are Social Beasts. Really.

Geeks Are Social Beasts. Really.

OK, perhaps some of the people I went to dinner with last night would object to the label “geek.” I don’t. I embrace it fully. To me, it indicates a person who finds joy in the passion of learning and working and making things, and sharing that passion with others. Labelled or not, all the people in the group I led last night fit that description.

LISA16 Build - Feeling Like a Roadie

I feel like the newbie on a crew for a rock band on tour.

LISA Build is both a service to the LISA conference and a learning experience for the volunteers. I’m an old guy. I remember doing deployments like this (though we only had wired networks). I don’t think I remember the last time I worked on an operations project with this much intensity. It’s FUN, but I know I’m going to sleep well tonight.

LISA16 Build—The Spirit of Sysadmin

LISA16 Build - The Spirit of Sysadmin

It's the way of any power user: the network is never fast enough. Given the chance, I’m sure we could do better. So when we get to a conference with a thousand or so other people, and the wireless network stinks (or so we think), it's not the Way of the Sysadmin to just let it go.

LISA16 Is in Boston—Casual Sights for Conference Downtime

LISA16 is in Boston this year, and that presents a different set of challenges for me. Most years, I plan to be away from home for the whole week. I have to arrange flights and a hotel and transportation. I spend some time researching the city to see what cultural sites or events are there. I usually find that there's a quiet morning or afternoon during the conference when I can sneak away and treat myself to something I could never see anywhere else.

Refocusing the LISA Community

For 24 years, the LISA Special Interest Group for Sysadmins (LISA SIG, formerly known as SAGE) has been a resource and virtual meeting ground for the sysadmin community at USENIX. Despite its sometimes tumultuous history, dedicated members have provided content for Short Topics books, shared insight with colleagues via mailing lists, and helped advance the state of the profession via the creation of the System Administrators' Code of Ethics, contributions to salary surveys, postings to colleagues via the Jobs Board, and nominations for the Outstanding Achievement Award.

LISA Conversations - January 2016

What started as an experiment in 2015 has now been unleashed as an ongoing project in 2016. In order to keep momentum building between annual LISA conferences, USENIX has launched monthly "LISA Conversations." The LISA conference has hosted numerous exciting and thought-provoking speakers and presentations since its inauguration in 1986. As part of our open access initiative, USENIX has been recording and making them freely accessible since 2008. It's time to watch (or re-watch) these past sessions and discuss what's changed in the greater system administration community.

The mini-tutorial experiment

I wasn't able to attend last year's LISA Conference, so when I started planning out my sessions for this year, I was surprised to see that the tutorials ended on Tuesday instead of going all week. That wasn't entirely true, though. The half- and full-day tutorials stop once the technical program starts, but the technical program is interspersed with mini-tutorials.

Jamie Riedesel wins Chuck Yerkes Award

Who would have expected having plenty of idle time due to the Great Recession would lead to an award? Not Jamie Riedesel, this year's Chuck Yerkes Award winner. The League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) established the award to recognize oustanding community contributions via online fora. Riedesel was selected in part due to her active contributions on ServerFault.

Kyle Neumann's LISA story

Kyle Neumann had never attended LISA before, but when his employer encouraged him to go to a conference, he started looking around. A Reddit comment and his own research lead him to LISA. Although his primarily role is a Windows administrator, he didn't necessarily want to go to a Microsoft-specific conference. He told me he likes that LISA content focuses on the domain, not a specific technology. "Even the technology-specific stuff," he said, "is technologies instead of technology."

Vendor exhibitor: JumpCloud

The benefits of moving computing infrastructure to the cloud are widely, if not universally, accepted. That doesn't mean it's always easy. In particular, user management can be tough. You don't want to open your Active Directory server to the whole world, but you want to be able to seamlessly manage users. And small startups might not have the resources to stand up and securely maintain their own directory service.


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