2019 – Wednesday – Session 1

Filesender: Sending large files across facilities – Ben Martin

Dr Ben Martin
  • 10 Year old project
  • Web based File Sharing
    • Quick 1-to-few file sharing between people
    • Files go away after a month by default
    • Simpler to run than anon-ftp etc
    • Stats of downloads available to sharer
    • User only needs web browser
    • Upload resume, important with TB sized files
    • Notifications
    • share with explicit groups
    • Browser-to-browser encryption of data AES-256
    • SAML for auth scale
    • GDPR by default, about privacy page
  • Overview
    • Server side is PHP
    • Client side JS with light widgets
    • MariaDB
  • Server Storage
    • Chunked 5MB files
    • Cept used at aarnet
  • Downloading
    • On the fly zip64 archive creation
    • One of more files listed per transfer
    • Links for console download if needed
  • Dragons
    • Auto Downloads and fast uploads cross browser is HARD
    • Mixed browsers
    • Long uploads can exceed auth sessions times
    • Web crypto support w3c
    • People use ancient versions of databases
  • Lots of details on the Database and Encryption. Sounds like both have improved to a good state
  • Future
    • UI refresh
    • Mobile App
    • E2E Encryption
    • Docker image for easy setup
    • More SAML info, apache config?
    • Integration of Endpoints ( auto youtube etc )
    • Session Clone to investigate problems (but privacy?)
    • Run the whole thing in the cloud
  • Questions
    • Command line? – REST API (php and client)
    • RSYNC for slightly changing files – Being investigated

Hot Potato – James Forman and Callum Dickinson

James and Callum
  • What is Hot potato
    • Not a monitoring System
    • monitoring System -> Hot potato -> On-call person
    • Web app in python and flask
    • Tells you things and stays out of the way
  • Why ?
    • Spark shutdown paging Network
    • Needed quick version
  • Goals
    • Don’t get in the way
    • Alert reduction
    • Highly available
    • Support any System – Nagios family now, Prometheus later
    • Support methods – Pushover, SMS, Paging
  • What else can it do
    • Failure notifications when contacts are not working
    • Heartbeats so know when monitoring system is down
  • Planning stuff to add to it
    • Teams – put everyone on call
    • Team escalations
    • Planned work ( go to person working before oncall, extend windows )
    • Support Hotline integration
    • Mobile App
    • Adding German and Italian
  • How it works
    • Flask App
    • RabbitMQ
    • Database (cockroachDB)
    • Apps talk via the Databases
    • Alert -> Object in DB -> Put on Queue -> Worker
    • Worker -> Get details to send to -> Try to send -> Store result in DB
    • If Failure fails then work it’s way though the list.
  • Questions:
    • ACK can use pushover so don’t have to login to app
    • Looking at teams functions
    • CockroachDB picked since it seems very reliable
    • Not sure about restoring/calendaring features going in since need to make it generic?
    • Endpoints fairly modular so should be extendable to new ones.
Share 2019 – Wednesday – Keynote

#WeAreNotWaiting: how open source is changing healthcare
– Dana Lewis

Dana Lewis
  • Getting diagnosed with a chronic disease is like being struck by lighting.
  • Insulin takes a while to kick in
  • Manual diabetes
    • Have to check level over and over again
    • Have to judge trend and decide more insulin, food, exercise, etc
    • Constantly
  • Device
    • Windows-only interface software to access
    • Alarm not great, various other limitations
  • Idea
    • Pull data off the device, create smarter app
    • Hard to do
  • First version
    • Device -> WinPC -> dropbox -> app -> pushover -> phone
  • 2nd Version
    • Press button to indicate what she is doing (eating, sleeping) when get alert
  • 3rd version
    • Hook into Insulin pump to do it automatically
    • Replace the human do they same thing over-and-over again in the loop.
    • all portable
    • Person doesn’t have to wake up to adjust, petter sleep
  • OpenAPS
    • Open Source
    • Created a list of ways it could fail (battery fails, wires come out)
    • Focusing on safety
    • Limiting dosing ability in hardware and software
    • Failing back safely to standard device operation
  • Approx 1000 users
    • 9 million+ hours of DIY closed loop experience
    • Anonymized dataset available
  • Sample child user
    • Before: 4.5 manual interventions per day by parents
    • After: 0.7 per day
  • School Child ( 5 vs 6th Grade )
    • 420 visits to school nurse ( 2.3 /day ) – 66 visits for events
    • 5 visits with OpenAPS – 3 visits (Gym related)
  • Intel Edison Platform
    • Smaller than Raspberry Pi
    • But discontinued (looking for old ones to replace)
  • Going back to Pi, now smaller
    • Has built in display with “Explorer Hat”
  • Outsiders are building stuff because they can and the traditional companies are not meeting the need. Innovate with small solution and build it up
  • Ask what little things you can do for people with similar problems. This started with just “Make a louder alarm”.

Share 2019 – Tuesday – Session 3 – Docs Down Under

How to Avoid Meetings – Maia Sauren

Maia Sauren
  • What Distributed/International Teams involves
    • Lots of late meetings
    • Not up on the inclusive languages
    • We’d language quirks from ESL speakers
    • Taxonomy changes between fields
    • Stereotypes are incomplete
    • Ask Culture vs Guess Culture
    • Micro-cultures , down to schools, extra years.
    • When you make a private joke without context, someone is left out
    • What governance model wins (who do they raise barriers for)
    • It’s harder to change a relationship over the phone than maintain one
    • A relationship with a CoC is less fragile (shouldn’t be figured out in the fly during conflict)
    • “How do you want to have arguments?”
    • Set standards early and resolve swiftly
    • Normalise conflict resolution
    • Adulting: it’s for people who don’t want to cry even more later
    • What have you done this week you are proud of?

Disaster Recovery Book – Svetlana Marina

Svetlana Marina
  • Software Development Process
    • Speaning all time “firefighting” so no time to improve processes
  • Operation Support Model
  • Incident Model
    • Alert Raise
    • Initial Response
      • Runbook should have: Alert type -> Investigation help, exact queries into log search, links
    • Impact, escalations, SLA
      • Send email to stakeholders, keep their trust
      • Include “communication required” in runbook
    • Investigation and Damage control
      • Do what is required to fix problem, not fix the root cause
      • Message to stakeholders again
    • Through Investigation (depends on situation)
    • Fix root cause
    • Post Incident Review

The Bus Plan: Junior Staff Training – Andrew Jeffree

Andrew Jeffree
  • Staff coming into industries with lots of automation, but what when automation fails?
  • Staff only know about automation, can only run a playbook, don’t understand what it does
  • Disclaimer: Automation isn’t bad.
    • Config Managment, Custom tooling, CICD, Infrastructure as code
  • Buttons
    • Need to understand what they do
    • Sometimes they are not there
    • Can be Hard to implement a button that doesn’t exist
  • Do it the manual way
  • Training
    • Do something manually (install wordpress) and document
    • Expand what you have done
    • Tweak it
    • Break and fix it
    • Don’t be afraid to change something manually
  • Questions
    • Split for new people – 30% training , 70% work
    • Manual -> ansible -> puppet
    • Don’t want them to be stuck in the mindset that everthing we do is the best way

When Agile Doesn’t Work Anymore: Managing a Large Documentation Project – Lana Brindley

Lana Brindley
  • We all age
    • Sometimes old docs should just be binned
  • Old docs base, massive changes needed, but wanted to save it
    • Changes to toolchain too
  • Proof of concept
    • Define how big the job will be, what is involved
    • Get buy-in
  • Plan, Plan, Plan
    • Create a real timeline
    • Advertise your plan, tell everybody about it
    • Do a presentation to team for each phase
  • Research
    • Who is your audience?
    • No, really, who is your audience? – eg Sales and support may use docs more than customers
    • Lets the customers know that “somebody cares about these docs”
  • User/task analysis
    • Where do we need to focus work
    • What are the big tasks
  • Do the thing
    • You have to sit down and write it
    • You are breaking the agile system
    • You need to track your work and who doing what
    • eg this case, moving from big chapters to small topic-based docs.
    • Agree ahead of time on process, have buy-in
  • Review
    • What went on?
    • WHo not to stuff it up next time
    • Try not to blame people too much
  • Agile vs … something else
    • Sometimes Agile is not the best model
  • Tips for working outside Agile
    • Outreach
      • Especially product owners.
      • Get people on board
    • Track your work
      • Create Epics of sprints
      • Don’t go overboard
    • Should about it
      • outreach never stops
      • Present at sprint reviews
      • Brownbags

Share 2019 – Tuesday – Session 2 – Picking a community & Mycroft AI

Finding Your Tribe: Choosing open source Communities – Cintia Del Rio

  • When started out she couldn’t find info on picked what project to work on. Crowdsourced some opinions from others
  • You need to work out why you want to volenteer for a project.
  • 3 types of code on Github
    • Source Available
      • Backed by companies (without open source as their business model)
      • Core devs from company, roadmap controlled by them
      • Limited influence from externals
      • Most communication not on public channels
      • You will be seen as guest/outsider
    • On Person Band
      • Single core maintainer, working in spare time
      • Common even for very popular libraries and tools (lots of examples from node and java ecosystem)
      • Few resource
      • Conflicts might not be handled well
    • Communities
      • Communication Channells – forums, mailing list, chat
      • Multiple core devs
      • Github org
      • Code of conduct
  • Some things to check beforehand
    • Is it dead yet?
      • Communication channels, Commits, issues, pull requests – how old, recent updates
    • How aggressive is the community?
      • Look at how a clueless user is handled
      • Declined pull requests. HOW did they handle the decline
      • ” Is the mailing list/icr/slack, is it a trash fire? ”
      • “Can you please rule” – add “Can you please” in front of a comment and does it sound nice or still mean/sarcasm?
    • Is non-coding work valued
    • Communities with translations?
    • Look at photos from the conferences
    • Grammar mistakes and typos – how are the handled?
    • Newbie tags and Getting started docs
    • Cool languages tend to attract toxic people
    • Look for Jerks in leadership
    • Ask around
  • Does it spark joy? – If not let it go.

Intro to the Open Source Voice Stack By Kathy Reid

Kathy Reid
  • In the past we have taught spreadsheets etc. We need to teach the latest thing and that is now voice interfaces
  • Worked for Mycroft, mainly using that for demo
  • Voice stack
    • Wake Word
    • Speech 2 Text (utterance)
    • Action ( command )
    • Text to Speech (dialogue )
  • Request response life-Cycle
    • Wake word
    • Intent parser over utterance
  • When Kathy just started she was first woman and first Australian so few/no samples in database and had problems understanding her.
  • Text to Speech
    • Needs to have a well speaker speaking for 40-60 hours
    • Mimic Recording Studio – List of Phrases that people need to speak to train the output
Share 2019 – Tuesday – Session 1 – Docs Down Under Miniconf

Being Kind to 3am You – Katie McLaughlin

Katie McLaughlin
  • Not productive and operating at her best at 3am
  • But 3am’s will happen and they probably will be important
  • Essentials
    • You should have documentation, don’t keep it in your head since people are not available at 3am
    • Full doc management system might take a while
    • Must be Editable
      • Must be updateable at any time
    • Searchable
    • Have browser keywords that search confluence or github
    • Secure but discoverable by co-workers
  • Your Tools
    • Easy cache commands to use
    • Not dangerous
  • Stepping Up
    • Integrate your docs so it’ll be available and visible when people need it.
    • Alerts could link to docs for service
  • Post Mortem
    • List of commands you typed to fix it
  • Reoccurring Issues
    • Sometimes the quick fix is all you can do or is good enough. You can get back to sleep.
    • Maybe just log rotate to clean the disk. Or restart process once a week
    • Make you fix an ansible playbook you can just click
  • Learning
    • Learn new stuff so when you have chance you can do it write
  • Flag Changes
    • Handover changes to over to everyone else
  • So Empathy towards the other people (and they may show it back)
  • Audience
    • One guy gave anyone who go paged overnight $100 bill on their desk next day ( although he charged customers $150 )
    • From Fire Depts – Label everything, Have the docs come with the alert. Practice during the daylight.
    • Project IPXE – every single error message is a link to wiki page
    • Advice: Write down every command, everything you did, every output you saw. So useful for next day.

Making youself Redundant on Day One – Alexandra Perkins

Alexandra Perkins
  • Experiences
    • All Docs as facebook posts
    • All docs as comment codes
    • Word documents hidden in folders
  • Why you should document in your first weeks
    • Could you know the what the relevant questions for new people
    • You won’t remember it the first time you hear it
    • Easier for the next person
    • Inclusive and diverse workplace
  • What should you document
    • Document the stuff you find hard
    • Think about who else can use your docs
    • Stuff like: How to book leave, Who to ask about what topics, Info on workplace social events. Where lunch is.
  • How to document from the start
    • In wiki or Sharepoint
    • Word docs locally and copy it the official place once you have access
    • Saved support tickets
    • Notes to yourself on slack
    • Screenshots of slack conversations
    • Keep it simple, informal content is your friend. All the Memes!
    • Example Tutorial: “Send yourself an email and trace it though the logs”
  • Future Proofing
    • Create or Improve the place for Internal documentation
    • Everyone should be able to access and edit (regardless of technical expertise)
    • Must be searchable and editable so can be updated
    • Transfer all docs you did on your personal PC to company-wide documentation
    • Make others aware of the work you have done
    • Foster a culture of strong documentation.
      • Policy to document all newly announced changes
      • Have a rotation for the documentation person
    • Quality Internal Docs should be
      • Accessible
      • Editable
      • Searchable
      • Peer Reviewed

JIT Learning: It’s great until it isn’t – Tessa Bradbury

Tessa Bradbury
  • What should we learn?
    • There is a lot to learn
  • What is JIT Learning?
    • Write Code -> Hit an issue -> Define Problem -> Find a Solution
  • Assumption – You will ask the required questions (hit the issue)
    • Counter example: accessibility, you might not hit the problem yourself
  • Assumption – You can figure out the problem
    • Sometimes you can’t easily, you might not have the expereince and/or training
  • Assumption – You can find the solution
    • Sometimes you can’t find the solution on google
    • Sometimes you are not in Open Source, you can’t just read the code and the docs may be lacking
  • Assumption – You might not be sure the best way to write your fix
    • Best way to implement the code, if you should fix it in code
    • Or if your code has actually fixed the whole problem
  • Assumption – The benefit of getting it done now outweighs the cost of getting it wrong
    • Counter example – Security

Share 2019 – Tuesday – Keynote: Rory Aronson


  • Had idea to automated small-scale gardening
  • Wrote up a proposal: FarmBot – 3d printer for growing your garden
    • Open Source
    • Impact > Money
    • Based on 3rd printer frame (with moving arms)
  • Created prototype 2015-2016
    • Add Web App
  • Crowdfunding and Video campaign
    • 58 Million views
    • $800k pre-sales, 300 orders
  • Created and shipped first version
  • But still open source

OPen Source Hardware

    • All the CAD models
    • Bill of materials
    • Everything Versioned
    • Mods and add-ons “for inspiration only” (not officially supported)
  • Open Source Community
    • Code of Conduct

Open Source Company

  • If you have a business you will have competitors
  • Competitors -> Collaborators
  • Lots of numbers online (profit, bills, etc), Stuff that would be on internal wiki (like how to handle orders or do taxes) at other company is public
  • Compensation formula
  • See “Buffer’s Transparency Dashboard


Audiobooks – December 2018

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by Stephen Fry

A bit weaker than the other volumes. The author tries mixing the style in places but several stories feel like repeats. Lacking excitement 7/10

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

A good entry for the 2nd tier of Dune Books (behind 1, even with 2 & 4). Good mix of story, philosophy and politics. Plot a little plodding though.  8/10

Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari

Lots of hardish data and good advice for people looking to date online. Around 3-4 years old so fairly uptodate. Funny in a lot of places & some audiobook extra bits. 8/10

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson

Part 2 of a trilogy. I liked this a little more than the first edition but it is still hard to follow in the audiobook format without maps etc. Individual stories lift it up. 7/10

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
by Paul Bogard

A book about how darkness is being lost for most people. How we are missing out on the stars, a good sleep and much else. I really liked this, writing good and topics varied. 8/10

President Carter: The White House Years by Stuart E. Eizenstat

Eizenstat was Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Carter & took extensive notes everywhere. The book covers just above everything, all the highs and lows. Long but worth it. 7/10


Donations 2018

Each year I do the majority of my Charity donations in early December (just after my birthday) spread over a few days (so as not to get my credit card suspended).

I also blog about it to hopefully inspire others. See: 2017, 2016, 2015

All amounts this year are in $US

My main donations was to Givewell (to allocate to projects as they prioritize). I’m happy that they are are making efficient uses of donations.

I gave some money to the Software Conservancy to allocate across the projects (mostly open source software) they support and also to Mozilla to support the Firefox browser (which I use) and other projects.

Next were three advocacy and infrastructure projects.

and finally I gave some money to a couple of outlets whose content I consume. Signum University produce various education material around science-fiction, fantasy and medieval literature. In my case I’m following their lectures on Youtube about the Lord of the Rings. The West Wing Weekly is a podcast doing a episode-by-episode review of the TV series The West Wing.



Audiobooks – November 2018

The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992 by Tina Brown

Well written although I forgot who was who at times. The author came over very real and it is interesting to feel what has/hasn’t changed since the 1980s. 7/10

His Last Bow and The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by Stephen Fry

The Valley of Fear is solid. The short stories are not among my favorites but everything is well produced 7/10

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen

I read this prompted by the movie. Unlike the movie covers his family, early and post-moon life and has a lot more detail everywhere. Not overly long however 8/10

Don’t Make Me Pull Over! : An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

Nice combination of the author’s childhood experiences in the early-70s along with a history of the hotel, highway and related topics. 8/10

Giants’ Star by James P. Hogan

3rd book in the trilogy. Worth reading if you read and liked the first two. 6/10

U.S.S. Seawolf: Submarine Raider of the Pacific by Joseph Eckberg

First person account of a crew-member of a US Sub before & during the first year (up to Jan 1943) of US involvement in WW2. Published during the war and solely sourced for one person, so missing some details due to wartime censorship and lack of reference to other sources. Engaging though. 8/10

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds by Bernd Heinrich

I didn’t like these quite as much as “Summer World” and “Winter World” since 100% ravens got a bit much but still it was well written & got me interested in the birds. 7/10

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough

Covering American visitors (mostly artists, writers and doctors) to Paris mainly from 1830 to 1900. Covering how they lived and how Paris influenced them along with some history of the city. 9/10


DevOpsDaysNZ 2018 – Day 2 – Session 4

Allen Geer, Amanda Baker – Continuously Testing

  • Various sites
  • All Silverstripe and Common Web Platform
  • Many sites out of date, no automated testing, no test metrics, manual testing
  • Micro-waterfall agile
  • Specification by example (prod owner, Devops, QA)  created Gherkin tests
  • Standardised on CircleCI
  • Visualised – Spec by example
  • Prioritised feature tests
  • Ghirkinse
  • Test at start of dev process. Bake Quality in at the start
  • Visualise and display metrics, people could then improve.
  • Path to automation isn’t binary
  • Involve everyone in the team
  • Automation only works if humanised

Jules Clements – Configuration Pipeline : Ruling the One Ring

  • Desired state
  • I didn’t quite understand what he was saying

Nigel Charman – Keep Calm and Carry On Organising

  • 71 Conferences worldwide this year
  • NZ following the rules
  • Lots of help from people
  • Stuff stuff stuff

Jessica DeVita – Retrospecting our Retrospectives

  • Works on Azure DevOps
  • Post-mortems
  • What does it mean to have robust systems and resilience? Is resilience even a property? It just Is. When we fly on planes, we’re trusting machines and automation. Even planes require regular reboots to avoid catastrophic failures, and we just trust that it happen
  • CEO after a million dollar outage said “Can you get me a million dollars of learning out of this?”
  • After US Navy had accidents caused by slept deprivation switched to new watch structure
  • Postmortems are not magic, they don’t automatically make things change
  • We dedicate a lot of time to to below the line, looking at the technology. Not a lot of conversation about above-the-line things like mental models.
  • Resilience is above the line
  • Catching the Apache SNAFU
  • The Ironies of Automation – Lisanne Bainbridge
  • Well facilitated debriefings support recalibration of mental models
  • US Forest Service – Learning Review – Blame discourages people speaking up about problems
  • We never know where the accident boundary is, only when we have crossed it.
    • SRE, Chaos Engineer and Human Factors help hadle
  • In postmortems please be mindful of judging timelines without context. Saying something happened in a short or long period of time is damanging
  • Ask “what made it hard to get that team on the phone?” , “What were you trying to achieve”
  • Etsy Debriefing Guide – lots of important questions.
  • “Moving post shallow incident data” – Adaptive Capacity Labs
  • Safety is a characteristics of Systems and not of their components
  • Ask people about their history, ask every person about what they do and how they got there because that is what shapes your culture as an organisation