Posts tagged ‘community’

22 September, 2014

PgOpen 2014 – quick recap

by gorthx

Many thanks to the speakers, my fellow conference committee members, and especially our chair, Kris Pennella, for organizing the best PgOpen yet.

(Speakers: please upload your slides or a link to your slides to the wiki.)

I came back with a big to-do/to-try list: check out Catherine Devlin’s DDL generator, familiarize myself with the FILTER aggregates in 9.4, make a web interface to the PDXPUG talks db (on a tiny little heroku instance), re-do the examples from the PostGIS tutorial, etc. Plus apparently I have a tiny little patch to write (flw). Many thanks to Denish Patel of OmniTI and Will Leinweber of Heroku for the personalized help sessions.

All in all, it was a wonderful conference & I’m looking forward to 2015’s version. If you’re interested in being on next year’s committee, let us know at program2014 at

28 February, 2014

SCALE12x Report

by gorthx

Last week I headed to sunny LA for the SoCal Linux Expo, aka SCALE. This was my first time at SCALE & I’ll definitely be going back (it reminded me of my first OSCON several years ago).

I’ve wanted to go to this conference for a few years now & finally had a reason to go: I gave a talk at LAPgDay (aka the Postgres track) on Friday. The Pg talks were mostly SRO throughout the day! That’s pretty exciting. I had a lot of fun giving my talk about Pg’s vacuum & autovacuum processes & got some good feedback about it. Which reminds me: if you haven’t already, please fill out the speaker survey; there’s a link on the back of your badge.

On Saturday, I spent most of my time in the Postgres booth (of course) with friends old and new. I’m just about finished following up with folks who had questions for me, so if you haven’t heard from me yet, hang tight. :) I managed to take one quick spin through the Expo Hall, and have to say I am very intrigued with the DIYBio movement, and hope the PDX group gets something going soon. I also picked up yet another copy of The Manga Guide to Databases at the NoStarch booth, and gave it away the day I got home. I can’t seem to keep a copy of that book for myself!

Two Pg tips I picked up this weekend (thanks Steven & Joe):
1. “TABLE my_table;” is a handy alias for “SELECT * FROM my_table;”

2. The ‘AS’ keyword is not required to specify a field name for an alias. Apparently it’s been this way for a while, and I just managed to avoid being bitten by it until last weekend when I misplaced a comma.

21 February, 2014

Ideas for future PDXPUG workshops

by gorthx

The recent Streaming Rep Lab at PDXPUG was such an excellent learning experience. I really want to continue having these sessions.

Our definition of a “workshop” is pretty loose. There’s a basic list of topics we want to cover, but no real agenda or leader; it is truly a group effort.

Here are some ideas I’m toying with for future workshops.

– Choosing a High Availability plan
– Different ways to take backups
– Troubleshooting slow queries
– Monitoring (this could easily be a series on its own)
– Disaster Recovery
– Oh no, somebody deleted pg_xlog
– Transaction wraparound
– Postgres on zfs
– Postgres packet captures
– Tour of contrib modules
– Foreign Data Wrappers
– Benchmarking changes to GUCs, e.g. maintenance_work_mem.

Update: I started a wiki page, so other group members can add their ideas.

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24 September, 2012

PgOpen Recap

by gorthx

Another year, another excellent conference. This go-round was even better than last year’s.

There were lots of new folks at the conference this year; welcome to the community!

I made it to most of the talks I’d planned to, and of course came away with lot of ideas for things I want to try at home, such as the examples from Jon Erdman’s lightning talk about pgdump -Fc.

My fave was Dimitri Fontaine’s Large Scale MySQL Migration, because I like the ‘war stories’. (I would not have been surprised if he’d said “…and then some alligators tried to eat us!”) Denish Patel’s lightning talk was hilarious, and I am looking forward to messing around with the pg_stat_plans extension Greg Smith & Peter Geoghegen discussed during Query Logging and Workload Analysis.

I was half-drafted/half-volunteered to be on the conference committee for next year. We’ll strive to uphold the fine level of conference to which you’ve become accustomed. (If you attended this year’s conference, don’t forget to fill out the survey!)

P.S. Thanks to Greg Smith for leveraging his frequent-flyer powers for good, and getting me on a different flight when I missed mine. This really shows the “community” part of the Postgres Community.

13 May, 2011

PDXPUG is hosting a PgDay in Portland*

by gorthx

Yep, we’re doing it again! One day of PostgreSQL-specific talks, conveniently located at the Oregon Convention Center the day before OSCON.

The short version: Sunday, July 24, 2011, Portland, Oregon. 5 or so sessions. After party at Gotham Tavern.

The long version:

Sign up for the sessions:

Submit your talk proposal: – the deadline is May 23, 10 days from now. Plenty of time for you procrastinators!

*Really, where else would we do it?

19 October, 2009

PgWest: Sunday

by gorthx

We arrived at the conference site to find that the XML Data Warehousing had been canceled, so I spent that session in the Hackers’ Lounge attempting to continue work on pg_proctab, while getting kicked off the commie college wireless.

In Lists and Recursions and Trees, Oh My!, David Fetter gave us some example of old kludges to get row numbers out of Pg – “Not only is it slow, but it’s wrong” – but you may not notice that subtle wrongness in huge data sets.  This really illustrated the value of testing your data.

After lunch, I went to Josh Berkus’s 5 steps to PostgreSQL Performance Tuning.

He gave us some rules of thumb for figuring out how much RAM & CPU you need, but also recommends hiring a hardware geek to design your system for you – because vendors lie. :)  Try hardware out before you purchase it, or definitely test them within the warranty period.  And, here’s another use case for pg_proctab (other than my own amusement):  capacity planning.

Tip:  Don’t use autovacuum for data warehousing applications, or where you have large number of writes happening at once.  Manually vacuum those.

(An additional tip from me:  if you’re using linux, try increasing the default readahead buffer from 1024K to at least 1M for an ~80% performance improvement.  See our [in]famous file systems talk for the graphs to back this up.)

Thanks for another wonderful conference experience, PgPeeps!  See you again soon!

19 October, 2009

PGWest: Saturday

by gorthx

This past weekend was the 3rd annual PgWest.  The conference moved up to Seattle this year, and I think it was the biggest it’s ever been.  As usual, there were more interesting talks scheduled than I had time to attend.  (This is the 21st century;  where’s my time machine?)

For my first tech conferences a few years ago, I only went to sessions that were meaningful for my job.  I’ve since had a much better time (and learned more) by choosing which sessions I’ll attend based on the following criteria, in this order:
1) topic interestingness
2) speaker interestingess
3) relevance to my job duties

(See Tips #1 and #2 in Skud’s recent Ten tips for tech conference attendees post.)

So, right out of the gate at PgWest, I’m in a python talk* – Adrian K’s (of LinuxFestNW fame) discussion on Dabo.  Dabo’s a python desktop framework;  I program primarily in Perl, and I’ve never touched a desktop app.  Adrian’s example project was a management system for a plant nursery, which I *do* understand, so I had a point of reference into the material (the methods & options used to track plants made sense to me).  I really wanted to talk to him more about this app, but never caught up with him.  (The hallway track felt kind of rushed for me this time.)  I got a good idea for form validation – if user tries to enter a blank value where one is not allowed, they get a pop-up immediately and the original text (if there was any) is put back in the field, forcing the user to accept the original input or enter something new before they can proceed to the next field.  This is a step up from giving the user the error message after they’ve submitted the form.

Next we were on to JD’s keynote, featuring the usual heckling of and by the podium.

Then Mark’s & my talk about pg_proctab, which ended with some live demos & some audience participation, the way I like it.

A bunch of us went to lunch at Honeyhole Sandwiches, where I tried the “Texas Tease” – BBQ chicken.  The sandwich was excellent.  I *highly* recommend the fries.

Scott Bailey’s Temporal Data talk was *packed*.  He talked about the “period” datatype, featured in both his own (Chronos) and Jeff Davis’s PgTemporal project.  You can do unions & intersects on time periods.  I am thinking this would be a useful datatype for searching large tables of log entries.

Based on Scott’s talk, I decided to go to Jeff’s “Not Just UNIQUE” talk, because he would be discussing this in a little more detail.  This meant I missed the session on backup & recovery.  (See comment above about more material than I can fit in my schedule.)

I spent the last session partly in the hackers’ lounge, working on some pg_proctab wrapper scripts with Mark.

Then it was off to the EDB-sponsored after-party, where I caught up with Lloyd Albin, who spoke at PDXPUG about a year ago.  He brought me up-to-date on the work he’s done on the project, including a twitter feed to let clients know of updates, which I think is really cool.

*Which I was late to, because we were installing the snacks in the Hackers’ Lounge (thanks, Mark!)

8 October, 2009

Are you going to PgWest?

by gorthx

At a loss for what to do next weekend?  Grab your rain gear & head on up to Seattle for PgWest 2009.

There’ll be three days of talks & tutorials plus a hackers’ lounge.   After-party plans are nebulous at this time, but we are researching options.  (Psst–pub crawl!)

Come join the fun!

At a loss for what to do next weekend?  Grab your rain gear & head on up to Seattle for PgWest 2009:

Three days of talks & tutorials plus a hackers’ lounge.   After-party plans are nebulous at this time.  (Psst–pub crawl!)

Come join the fun!

2 July, 2009 code sprint #1

by gorthx

Hacking on 5.10.1 was the plan…that happened for a couple of us. :)

Duke proposed a sprint to work on 5.10.1:
“I think if everyone learns how to

a) get a copy of the perl git repo
b) keep it in sync
c) run the perl test suite, including running a single test at a time
d) submit a small documentation patch

then we will have a great start.”

This is perfect for a first sprint: “small, solve-able tasks” that will get everyone up & running, plus have the potential to actually be productive.

Your first code sprint with a new group of people is like the first day on the job…except nobody realizes that we’re each FNGs*. It can take some time to figure out how to work together.

It’s really great if people get the stuff that’s going to take time from the code sprint out of the way beforehand. For example, cloning the perl5 git repo (step a):

:::=>git clone git://

(Took me 13 minutes.)

Duke suggested some advance reading as well – how to use the repo (cd perl; perldoc pod/perlrepository.pod) (you will need to install perl-doc if you don’t have it; it was not installed on ubuntu.)

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20 June, 2009

OSBridge Recap

by gorthx

This week I attended Open Source Bridge here in Portland.

Typically, I managed to miss the keynotes both days. There is something about conferences which makes me sleep through my alarm.

It was really hard choosing which talks to attend. The results of the coin toss:

Tcl/Tk: Grandpa might be old, but he can still kick your ass! I went to this primarily because I use Expect so much. (Well, I use, but I remember my roots.) Webb gave a good intro to Tcl/Tk (“Tickle-Tea-Kay!”) despite some initial technical difficulties. I finally figured out the brackets vs braces variable expansion.

Then I gave my talk. Thankfully, Impress did not surprise me. I now have my unicorn badge.

Spindle, Mutilate, & Metaprogram: This was really cool, although it seemed similar to things that came out of the Perl community a few years back. I’d like to see a throwdown between Markus Roberts & Damian Conway.

Assholes are killing your project: I only managed about 20 minutes of this talk before I got too depressed & had to leave. Sorry, Donnie! We’ll talk about this later.

I spent some time in the hall track & then hit the yoga session. This was an excellent pick-me-up after a day of talking and brain-filling, and set me up for my BoF and then some time at the pub.

Arrived too late for chromatic’s Intro to Parrot so hung out in the speaker lounge and watched Andy and Irving’s run-through of Virtualize vs Containerize: Fight! I love the mashups.

Next up was Emma McGratten’s Ask Forgiveness not Permission, which had a lot of excellent reasons (financial & otherwise) for using open source, but not many tips on how to subversively bring it into your organization. I’m sure I know someone who could give a talk about that. :cough:

Lunch today was the excellent KOiFusionPDX Food Cart! They came to the conference site & provided excellent korean tacos. (Yeah, I know, sounds weird – but TRUST ME.)

Speaking of trust…Trust the Vote sounds like an excellent project. Unfortunately the question period started devolving into political discussion, and I didn’t want to just dive right in there and ask them why the hell they’re using MySQL instead of PostgreSQL.

Maria Webster got her unicorn badge for Faking it Till I Make It. Check out her blog to see what geeky women are up to.

bzr vs git smackdown with Selena & Emma. I’ve already made up my mind (git all the way!), but it’s good to listen to alternatives.

The Meditiation for Geeks session didn’t go too well for me, because I was so tired that any time I got close to The Zone, I almost fell over onto a fellow PostgreSQL Smurf. Still, the yoga & meditation sessions are a great way to unwind prior to the post-con socializing & I’d like to see more of this.

Pg took over the room & had our PostgreSQL BoF, which replaced the regular PDXPUG meeting.

Josh Berkus was riding a bicycle around town, which made me inordinately happy. I want to see if we can provide more bikes for attendees next year.

Friday: The Unconference rocked my socks:
1. Emma Jane’s “Playing with yourself” about Open Source documentation teams. I am even sadder that I missed WOSCON. This got me totally excited to contribute to docs. (Especially for certain Perl modules – but that’s a discussion for another post.) Highlights: the conference team is working on a style guide, and a library of personas (which isn’t public yet)

2. I signed up with DayOn, a local volunteer effort. This will be fantastic once we can get people trained in what’s actually reasonable to ask for.

3. I did a Network Management Basics talk (“FCAPS: What the hell?!?”) with Ua and Adam. We talked about the FCAPS model & where various tools we use fit. A very high percentage of them are rrdtool-based, so we talked about that a bit as well. Adam showed us his munin install. I keep trying to find other people in town who are as into Net Management as I am…I sort of feel like I need a 12-step program sometimes. On the way out, Ua proposed a Super-Sekrit project which we’ll start working on in September. (Excitement!)

I saw up-close what it took to put on this conference and I’d like to congratulate the organizers on their success! Great job, and can’t wait until next year!