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Report from Barcamp Johor Bahru

This weekend, I decided to attend BarcampJB pretty last minute. Lucky for me, barcamps are made for chaotics like me, so it was no problem at all. I found some friends that live here in Kuala Lumpur who I drove down to JB with (JB is around a 5 hour drive from KL, we did it in 3.5 🙂 ).

The camp was very interesting. Because JB is on the border with Singapore, there’s a good crossover between Malaysian and Singaporean techies.

I decided to go all out and give three talks on Saturday: First up was the MMM talk I’ve given at a few conferences before. All went well, and later on in the day some people approached me for more in-depth questions. It still seems that people have this idea in their head that they somehow need MySQL Cluster when there is more then one machine involved. When I explain them that that is very rarely the case and they can achieve what they want with MMM as well, they are often happy to hear that.

My next talk was more of a personal development one. People keep asking me here where I am from. When I explain to them that I’ve been location independent for the last 3 years, they are usually very eager to find out how I pull that off. I decided to summarise my experiences and put them in a talk. This talk was very well attended and I loved giving it. Most of the attendants were young techies, they are usually in a perfect position to do something very similar to what I’m doing.

The last talk was a lightning talk on Zabbix, the Open Source monitoring system we use at Open Query. Quick, and dirty, but effective.

Other interesting talks I attended were on breeze, an online banking application made for Standard Chartered bank that looks very slick and usable (If anyone from my bank is reading this: get with the program and fix our banking application to enter the 21st century please 😉 ).

Conary and Foresight Linux were interesting as well. Conary (the package management system in Foresight Linux) is not quite mature yet, but definitely a very interesting technology. I was interested to hear about it and hope to see it become more mainstream in the future.

Daniel Cerventus gave a good lightning talk on what not to do as a startup. The main message was to just do it, and not wait for grant money or VC’s. Some solid tips as well, one of them being to run your potential name through Namechk, a handy potential username checker for many services.

There was obviously also a lot of networking and we went for a foot massage at the end of the day. Funny fact: I was the only one to stay awake through the massage (Even though I am narcoleptic), while two of my  friends (who I won’t name here 😉 ) snored all the way through it 🙂

All in all another succesful tech event in Malaysia. Definitely one of the many reasons I love living here!

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Mmm, what an interesting week

I have been very busy here in Malaysia this week. On thursday, I was asked to do a MySQL University session on MMM. The preparation was very stressful. There was no good wifi to be found until literally a few hours before the session (Big thank you to Gurdip at APIIT for providing a space and exceptional help!). On top of that, dimdim, the software used by MySQL for their sessions doesn’t seem to want to work on Linux (particularly the speaker part). I ended up using a laptop borrowed from APIIT with Vista and IE. Feels kind of counter-intuitive for a company in the FOSS business.

The session went very well and here is the resulting recording of the MMM talk on the mysqlforge page.

But that wasn’t the end of the MMM-promotion week: I happened to be allowed to present at the conference in Kuala Lumpur pretty last minute. At first I was going to do an updated version of the talk I gave at Froscon in August, but I was asked to do a tutorial session of 3 hours. I had never done anything like that, but I am always up for a challenge 🙂

Again, preparation was a bit stressful. I didn’t know how many people to expect and it wasn’t clear if I would achieve getting running MMM clusters up in 3 hours. Well, I was underestimating my own capabilities apparently. Almost 100 people showed up, most of them without a laptop. I was surprised at that and explained them that it was probably not going to be so interesting for them. Again, I was wrong. While the laptop-owners prepared their laptops, I used my time to explain to everyone what MMM is, and how it works. Then we set up the laptops, solving all the problems we met on the beamer that we had a user connected to.

In the end we managed to set up 2 clusters within exactly 3 hours. Only 6 (almost 7) ‘servers’ participated in that end-result, for various reasons the rest was not possible. Still, it was a very good result and the attendees were visibly very happy.

If you hadn’t noticed yet, I’m a big fanboy for MMM and thinks this project needs/deserves a lot more visibility. It really solves a bunch of problems many MySQL admins struggle with, while providing a simple, cheap HA solution. This week has been very good for the promotion of MMM.

Along the way I also discovered that I really love doing this workshop and I hope to do many more like this. On that note: if you know of any conferences or meetings in the Asia Pacific area in the upcoming months, let me know and I’ll try to be there with either a presentation or a workshop!