SCaLE 14x: My Experience


Day 0:

We pulled up to the venue at about 5:30 Friday night, T-90 minutes to Ignite talks. I chugged a chocolate milk from the "gift store", ran through my slides one last time, got dinner with the bosses, and found myself on a stage.

The Ignite Talks

  • Deb Nicholson, The Foss Awakens. How collaboration and mentoring are a force for good, told with Star Wars images. Grade-A speaker, definitely delivered. Great way to start the evening.
  • Gilbert Standen, Building Oracle on LXC. He lost me at "Oracle".
  • Me. Rocking the House. But seriously, people laughed at my jokes, I got high-fived, it went better than expected.
  • Dave Nielsen, Redis. Kind of informative, kind of boring.
  • Emily Dunham, Where's the Cloud. Much like Deb, Emily is a veteran speaker and it shows. Funny, informative, ended on a pun.
  • Don Marti, Web ads. I would have appreciated it more if I was less sleepy I think.
  • Justin King, Choosing a Framework for your project. Knowledgable and well spoken, it's pretty great to watch a not-adult give a talk. They have great perspective.
  • Corey Quinn: Docker Must Die: Heresy in the Church of Docker. So, so funny. Dude is a master.

After some good laughs, I headed back up to my room, realized how overwhelmingly underprepared I was for my talk, finished up my slides and hit the hay.

Day 1:

Woke up early and got breakfast at this adorable bakery, Euro Pane. Ran through the talk once for good measure, then headed over to the Key Note, by Mark Shuttleworth. Honestly, it was pretty much a sales pitch, and I wasn't really into it. But at least I didn't feel bad leaving early. I headed over to my room, set everything up, then walked around to get out the nerves.

My Talk

Modifying the Kernel: A How-to Not my best, not my worst. I got across the information I wanted to, and got lots of positive feedback after the talk and throughout the day. More than anything, I'm relieved that it's over and I can cross it off of my to-do list.


We had guacamole, made tableside. It was bomb.

Keila Banks, Automated Teen

I was really excited for this talk, and was a little let down. Between mic issues, some nerves, and being a little out of touch with the conference, I didn't get what I wanted to out of the talk. All of that said, I have a lot of respect for Keila giving a talk to such a big room, and for getting up there in the first place. I'm excited to see what she does in the future, and hope to see her at other Open Source conferences soon.

Justin Mayer, Essential Linux Security

This was pretty nearly the perfect talk. I learned about a lot of valuable tools, including changes you can make to your SSH configs, creating SSL certificates with Let's Encrypt, HSTS, CSP, and other tools to make my computer and websites safer. In Justin's words, "Think of the children".

You can check out his slides at

Brandon Philips, Etcd

Also a great talk. Brandon is obviously a well-practiced speaker who seemed very comfortable on stage. He's also incredibly knowledgeable, and it was clear that this talk was only skimming the surface of what he knows on the subject of etcd. I also didn't know very much about etcd or CoreOS going in to the talk -- I even thought the d was for daemon :p -- so stood to get a lot out of it. And I did!

You can see some of the demos he did at, or learn more about CoreOS at

Day 2:

This morning was absolutely beautiful in Pasadena. I got to walk around for a while before everyone else woke up, and soak in some Sunday Morning magic. I don't know. There's something about it.

Keynote: Sarah Sharp on Diversity

She said a lot of really important things, but they're also things that everyone has heard before. She knows her stuff, and seems very passionate, but that keynote isn't going to change anything. Call me a cynic, but from the two guys behind me asking "Why should minorities get a stipend just for getting an internship?" to ethnic homogeneity of the audience, I don't hold much hope for tech companies realizing how important diversity of their workforce is any time soon.

Randal Schwartz, Intro to Dart

Honestly, I spent this whole talk just working on making this blog. Woops.

Other Things I Saw Today

  • Two pugs
  • Three grown men yell group hug and execute
  • The sun

I spent the rest of the day doing homework and travelling. It's amazing how much effort it takes to move a human from A to B, and I have to say I was so exhausted by the time we got to Corvallis around 12:30. Lesson learned: I am not a Sunday-worker. Sundays are for blankets and tea and tv, not late night flights and talking to other humans. Overall, SCaLE was less stressful than I thought it would be, and I don't regret going like I thought I would. Maybe that sounds lukewarm, and I have to say it is a very well run conference, and my particular sentiments don't reflect a lack of effort on the part of the organizers, presenters, or exhibitors. Objectively, it's a great conference. I'm not really sure how to end this post. I might think of something better later. For now, ciao gentle reader. You excellent human you.