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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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

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 ย friends (who I won’t name here ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) snored all the way through it ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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FrOSCon 2009: 1 down, 1 to go

So, I’m in my hotel room and I got some sleep. Now, it is 2:15 am and Icouldn’t sleep for some reason. PRobably has something to do with me being narcoleptic, as weird as it sounds ๐Ÿ™‚ Since I can’t sleep for a bit anyway, I figured writing a blog summarising the first day of FrOSCon would be a good idea.

Well, in one word: GREAT! In a few more: The first day was a big success. I started it out with a shift at the registration desk (I’m volunteering for FrOSCon as well). Since it was very early, most people that came in were actually exhibitors and speakers, and they all had to be at the VIP desk. At first, the door wouldn’t open. Later it turned out that the sensors thought we were to close to it. Claustrophobic doors are interesting.

Then, there was breakfast for the people with VIP access. Basically that was anyone who was not just a visitor. I helped out for a bit and then went back to my hotel room to catch up on some sleep and practice my talk a bit. The practice run was done in a staggering 57 minutes, which was exactly enough since I had 1 hour to finish. I went back to the conference and saw some talks. I saw the tail-end of Sheeri’s talk on ‘a better mysqltuner’ and then the start of Jan Kneschke’s talk on MySQL proxy. It was interesting, but my nerves made me exit that prematurely so I could be sure to be in time for my own talk.

When I walked into the conference room I was giving my talk in a half hour in advance, it was already empty because the previous talk was finished early. This gave me a decent amount of time to finish setting up.

I decided to use the wiimote that the CentOS guys were offering as a presentation remote. That turned out to be a very good decision, as it gives you something to hold in your hands so you hve soemthing to do with them. It also gives you force feedback and led information on how much time you have used for your talkso far. Pretty awesome!

The talk itself went pretty well, and people asked good questions afterwards. One guy came up to me an I thought he was asking me a question, only have hearing him sya he wrote this stuff. It took me a while to realise that it was Pascal Hoffman, the guy that wrote all of MMM 2. I hung out with him and my friend Nicolas from Rotterdam at the social event all night, speaking about many things related to MMM.

That is actually what these conferences are so great for: the human interaction aspect. You get to meet the humans behind an irc-name or blog, and talk to them directly, (almost) always a pleasant experience.

Before the social event I went to the PBXT talk in the OpenSQLCamp room, but i was too tired to focus on it with the attention it deserved. Kind of ashame, because i think PBXT is an interesting project.

Looking forward to tomorrow, in particular to the shootout in the OpenSQLCamp room between experts from various open source databases. I guess I should go back to sleep now, so I am full of energy tomorrow. Walter signing off!

PS. I’ll put the slides to my talk online as soon as possible.