Linux.conf.au 2019 – Thursday – Keynote: Shannon Morse

Personal Branding for the Security Conscious – Shannon Morse

Shannon Morse
  • Who am I
    • Youtube videos on Infosec, Travel
  • Imposter Syndrome
    • Work hard to beat it.
    • Say Yes to offers
    • Work hard to make somethign I am proud of
    • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Accomplishment
    • Keep a list of them, be proud of them
  • Backstory
    • No background in Linux, hacking, infosec
    • Mom and Dad supported me
  • RTFM Sucks
    • Lots of egos and elitism in forums and community online
    • Decided to become the resource for learners
  • Starting your career
    • What do companies need, what hiring for
    • How has industry changed?
    • Diversity numbers?
    • Can you change industry in a positive way
    • Review CERT holders numbers vs Openings looking for those certs
    • Look at job titles being advertised
    • Industry growing -> lots of beginners
  • How can you get good at it
    • Understand what is your best way to learn
    • Read books, classes, videos, whatever
    • Compile your list of passions
    • Get list of influencers / thought leaders / speakers in the area
    • Follow them on social media
    • Learn from your role models
    • you might end up being a thought leader in their eyes
    • Follow people in other areas too
  • Keep learning
    • Do it every single day
    • Make it become a habit
    • Make it a routine
  • Resume
    • Create a one-pager
    • Business cards
    • Dropped out of college put “Huitus”
  • Build you platform
    • Youtube, write articles, videos, whatever
    • If you can afford it, offer free classes for under-represented groups
  • Personal brand
    • Develop the blocks
      • skillsets, values, what does it mean for you to succeed
      • What obstacles have you overcome
      • what are you passions
      • what makes you unique
      • write and live by your vision statement
    • If you don’t control and manage your brand others will do it for you
      • Where do you draw that privacy line?
      • Quiz yourself
      • Eg how public are you on you income?
    • Resources
      • Joindeleteme.com
      • password managers
      • 2FA
      • Guest vs home Networks
    • Clean up your social media accounts, delete old junk
    • Smart sharing
      • Share stuff but not barcodes, addresses
      • Have a plan
    • Be ready to deal with targeted harassment
      • Keep notes, screenshots, know who to contact
      • Trolls? Block; banhammer
      • Troll back (YMMV)
  • Why I don’t quit
    • Do it because you love it

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Linux.conf.au 2019 – Wednesday – Session 3

Why linux.conf.au continues to amaze 20 years on!
Steven Hanley, Angus Lees, Hugh Blemings

Steven, Angus, Hugh
  • Three people who have attended every Linux.conf.au
  • What has happened to keep it relivant and how it has evolved
  • Focus on Open Source Software , These days hardware too
  • Pre-history
    • Australia big in early Linux
    • late 90s Linux and LUGS growing in Aus
  • CALU
    • In 1998 Rusty toured LUGS and organised CALU in July 99 in Monash
    • 9 July – 11 July
    • 6 tutorials and 16 talks
  • Post-CALU
    • Lots of excitement
    • Height of dotcom boom, Big Linuxcare Expo in Darling Harbour in 2000. Very commercial
    • Push for another one
  • 2001
    • UNSW interested in Lions memorial conference
    • CALU type conference would be good
    • Sydney big due to Olympics
    • Domain picked
  • Challenge of early events
    • Everythign was new
    • CFP wasn’t formalised
    • Linux Aus still in infancy
    • Open Source was new and Few conferences
    • Few people worked fulltime in FOSS
    • sceduled over a weekend cause people didn’t get holidays
  • Early objectives we hold on to
    • Community rather than commercial, modest size
    • Easier for students and hobbists, low price
    • tech/non-tech balance to encource interesting delegates
    • Miniconfs
    • Speakers treated well
    • Timeing to make conference attractive (Summer!)
    • University venue, dorms, communal accom, Holidays
  • Miniconfs
    • First in Brs in 2002. more in 03, formalised in 2004
    • Open to all delegates
    • Incubate possible future conferences
    • Fill the week without adding more effort
    • Try out nice topics, extended BOFS
    • Practice ground for new speakers
  • Growth and Roaming
    • Change of location helps
    • New team help avoids burnout and bring fresh ideas
    • Allows more people to contribute
    • Repeat city visits with new people involved
    • Allows people who are less-technical to help out
    • Bid process introduced, overseen by LA
    • Specifics of venue and location help teams structure their event
    • New locations add tourism aspect, encourages aspect
    • Positive experience shared by work-of-mounth
  • Expansion
    • Will anyone go to Perth? NZ?
    • Infinite growth is not a goal (complexity, conference atmosphere)
    • New activities and events are continuously evaluated
  • Call for papers
    • Originally ad-hoc
    • Seperate Panel since 2005
    • See Mary’s blog post in 2006
    • 4-5 times proposals to slots
    • Process
      • Actively solicit hot speakers / topics
      • Review submissions individually
      • face-to-face to reach final as group
    • Conference organisers set overall theme, choose keynote speakers
  • Conference MNGT software
    • Much NIH
    • New software in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2017
    • Mainly for CFP has hooks to other conference components (scheduling, badges, website)
  • Ghosts of conferences Past
    • Mailing list to ask
    • Visit conference organisers
    • Some people have remained over multiple years
  • Giving Back
    • Donation to a charity, action off a shirt singned by speakers
  • Event Style and Flow
    • The current event is typical
    • Moved from Weekend to week as people get paid by employer
    • Less Beer, More Food
  • Giving back to the technical commons
    • Regional delegate program ( 2004 for a few years )
    • Stories of laptops being fixed by the guy who dev’d it
    • git is an outcome of “no more bitkeeper” in 2005
    • Encouraging work done once talk has been accepted
    • The Debian couch had no back so he had to sit around and support each other
  • Sponsorship
    • Some Very long term
    • Some years had to educate sponsors on how to participate
    • Local vendors and sponsors
    • Nurturing sponsosrs takes consious effort
  • Learning lessons
    • Floods (Brisbane 2011)
    • Budget issues (where LA comes into play)
    • CFP feedback loop has sought to tweak technical/non-tech focus
    • Code of conduct has made conf better
    • People step up to make things happen
  • Resources
    • Mirror
    • Mary Gardiner’s post on getting a talk accepted
    • Simon Lyall’s guide

Right to Not Broadcast – Karen Sandler

Karen Sandler
  • Thought the problem with the propitiatory device in her heart was about transparency, now feels it is more about control
  • Got a new device where the programmer (controller) only worked when it was touching, rather than over a distance.
  • Research team bought a device on ebay that had patients data still in it.
  • On the other hand the Keynote Speaker this morning had to hack into her own device to get the info.
  • Sleep Apnea machines transmitting data to both doctors and insurance companies
  • Smart TVs
    • Listening for wake words all the time
    • Sending viewing data to 3rd parties
  • Various Legislation
    • HIPAA , NZ Health Information Privacy Code, Aus Privacy Act, GDPR
    • GDPR – Europe’s gift to the rest of the world
  • ” Incorporating connectivity means we can never be totally in control of our critical information “
  • The environment/reason we provide the data in now may change
  • Often the non-connected option is marginal or doesn’t even exist.
  • [ Laptop ran out of battery here ]
  • Things need to be worked on
    • Raising the awareness of the non-networking, privacy-first issue
    • Even among the LCA-type crowd

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Linux.conf.au 2019 – Wednesday – Session 2

Around the world in 80 Microamps: ESP32 and LoRa for low-power IoT – Christopher Biggs

Christopher Biggs
  • Promise of IOT
    • Control everything
    • Sensors everywhere
    • Reduce cognitive load
  • Problem
    • Computers everywhere = wires everywhere
    • Can’t be done every time
    • But em if you got em
    • eg Power over ethernet, Ethernet over power, Ethernet over coax
    • Wifi is great for connections. But what about power?
  • Batteries are bad
    • Lead acid – obsolete just about everywhere
    • Single-use dry cells – leak
    • Nickel Metal-hydride – Some stuff
    • Lithium – Everything else
    • Sample battery
      • Chap-stick battery = 2 Amp/hours
      • 3.7 volts
      • Labels on batteries often lie – you need to always verify
      • Energy capacity is quoted for 20h discharge, not linear relationship
    • But they are geting better due to phones, scooters, drones pushing
  • Off the shelf solutions for packs
    • Smart ones may turn themselves off if draw very low
    • Cell plus simple system works
    • Cell with “Battery Managmnet system” is a bit more complex
    • Solar panels are useless, needs to be a4, a4, a5 size at least
    • Linux systems too much draw for non-wired sensors, need to be used as hubs
  • Computers can spend most of time asleep
    • Config one or more wake-interupts
    • Arduino deep sleep – Sleep consumption as low as 6 micro amps. ( 38 years with Chapstick battery)
    • Watch out for stock voltage regulators (eats 10 mA)
  • ESP 8266 Sleep modes
    • Several levels off sleep modes
    • Wake up every 5 minutes = 1 week battery life
  • ESP 32
    • Sleepier modes
    • Complex sleep patterns.
    • Ultra-low coprocessor
      • 4 register, 10 instructions, 16-bit, special slow memory
      • Can be configed to wake up at intervals
      • Can go back to sleep or wake the main cores
    • ULP in practice
      • Write code, load into the ULP processor
      • Enough code to decide to go back to sleep or wake up main processes
  • Aim for efficiency
    • Sleep as much as possible
    • Use interrupts not polling where possible
  • Nasty Surprises
    • Simple resistors ladders leak power
    • Linear regulators leak power
    • Poor antennas cost watts
    • Beware: USB programming bridges that are always on
    • Almost all the off-the-shelf IoT boards are no good for permanent installation
  • Solutions
    • Turn of everything you are not using
    • radio turn off when not in use, receiver turn it on now and then. Do store-and-forward
    • slow down the cpu, turn off bluetooth
    • Reduce brightness of lights
    • BE careful about cutting out safety features
  • Case Study – Smart water meter in multi-tenant building
    • Existing meter has a physical rotating dial, can count rotations
    • In cellar with no power
    • Create own
      • ESP-32
      • Wifi for setup or maint
      • LoRA for comms every 15 minutes
      • ULP monitors 4 sensors
      • ULP wakes CPU after number of elasped minutes and/or pulse
      • Transmits to Linux-based hub covers building
      • 150mA WiFi
      • 100mA over LoRA
      • 50mA when idle with radio on
      • 40mA when idle with radio off
      • 80uA in deep sleep
      • Average under 1mA , lifetime = 1-5 years
  • Recap
    • Wires are hard
    • Measure and understand usage
    • The basics off deep-sleep
    • ESP32 Ultra-low-Power co-processor
    • Design your own battery-friendly systems (see Arts Miniconf presentation)
    • Project and monitor your battery lifetime
    • Website

Deep Learning, Not Deep Creepy – Jack Moffitt

Jack Moffitt
  • What is machine learning
    • Make decisions based on statistics
  • How is deep learning different?
    • Many layers of neurons each learning more sophisticated representations of features in the data
    • Transfer learning – reuse N-network for similar task where less training data
    • Generative Adversarial networks
  • The dark side of deep learning
    • Works better with more data. Incentive for companies to get a huge amount of data
    • Computationally very expensive – Creates incentive to move things to large clouds
    • Inaccessible to smaller players
    • Hard to debug, black boxes.
    • Amplify biases in training data, somemays to fix but not generally fixable
    • Data may be low quality
  • Machine learning @mozilla
    • Deepspeech and common voice
    • Deepspeech – state-of-art speech detection
      • Existing solutions owned by big companies. Costs $ and in cloud
      • Opening up models and train data will allow innovation
      • Based on baidu’s deep speech paper
      • pre-trained models for english
      • runs real-time on mobile
      • word error rate of 6.48% on librivox
      • streaming support
    • Common voice
      • Crowd source voice data for new applications
      • 20 languages launched
      • 1800 hours collected so far
    • Deepproof – spelling and grammar checker
      • Existing one is basically a keylogger ( Grammarly )
      • Needs to be small enough to run on device
      • Learn by example, rather than few rules
        • Less language-specific tuning
        • More scaleable
      • Local interface to avoid sending private text to several
      • 12 million 300-character chunks from wikipedia
      • Inject plausible mistakes
      • Real-life data
      • Maybe improve with federated learning without disclosing text
    • Lpcnet
      • lots of test-to-speech are end-to-end
      • a separate network converts spectrograms to audio
      • GRiffin-Lim sounds bad
      • WaveNet / WaveRNN needs 10s GFLOPS
      • needs something for efficient for on-device
      • Currently 1.5-6 GFLOPS
      • real-time on mobile
      • Works okay
      • Other applications
        • Speech compression
        • noise compression
  • Questions:
    • Does the audio slow-down work on non-speech? Not really
    • How do you deal with region variations of speech and grammar – Common voice is collecting

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Linux.conf.au 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.
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Linux.conf.au 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”.

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Linux.conf.au 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

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Linux.conf.au 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
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Linux.conf.au 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

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Linux.conf.au 2019 – Tuesday – Keynote: Rory Aronson

Beyond README.md

  • 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
    • 600k shares
    • 38,00 comments
    • $800k pre-sales, 300 orders
  • Created and shipped first version
  • But still open source

OPen Source Hardware

  • genesis.farm.bot
    • 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
  • meta.farm.bot
  • 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




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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

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