IT Conference List

I figure now is the perfect time create this list because I am experiencing some serious writers block plus I keep hearing about all of these great conferences and I am beginning to lose track of them all.  By no means is this list comprehensive or all encompassing, it is simply a collection of those that are 1.) located in the United Sates  2.) the most relevant to my career and therefore those which I find to be the most interesting, and 3.) well enough established and encompassing enough to be well known across the country.

My hope is that one day I will get to attend most, if not all of these conferences.  It’s doubtful but at least it’s a dream.  So to get started it will probably be helpful to break these up into different categories just to make things easier to read and understand. Initially (as of this writing) there is not really any method to the madness, this is more of a brain dump of all the interesting conferences I hear about.  Also, some of these have multiple conferences and categories so I will just group them into the main ones for readability.

Please, if you have a suggestion or idea to add to the list let me know and I will be sure to add it.

Conference Location Category Date
SCaLEX Las Angeles, CA Linux February
Schmoocon Washington DC Hacker/Security February
Cascadia Seattle, WA Sysadmin March
PyCon Location varies Programming March
Monitorama Location varies DevOps March
Chef Conf Location varies DevOps April
LOPSA-East New Brunswick, NJ Sysadmin May
EMCWorld Las Vegas, NV Vendor (EMC) May
Interop Las Vegas, NV Vendor May
Redhat Summit Boston, MA Linux June
HP Discover Las Vegas, NV Vendor (HP) June
Cisco Live! Location varies Vendor (Cisco) June
Blackhat Las Vegas, NV Hacker/Security July
DEF CON Las Vegas, NV Hacker/Security July/August
VMWorld San Francisco, CA Vendor (VMWare) August
DerbyCon Louisvill, KY Hacker/Security September
MEC Location varies Vendor (Microsoft) September
Puppetconf San Francisco, CA Sysadmin September
SkyDogCon Nashville, TN Hacker/Security October
Spiceworld Austin, TX Vendor (Spicworks) October
PhreakNIC Nashville, TN Hacker/Security October/November
LISA Location varies Sysadmin November
Toorcon Location varies Hacker/Security Date varies
SANS Location varies Sysadmin Date varies
B-Sides Multiple locations Hacker/Security Multiple dates
RSA Multiple locations Security Multiple dates
Usenix Multiple locations Sysadmin Multiple dates
TechEd Multiple locations Vendor/Sysadmin Multiple dates
Velocity Multiple locations Vendor/Sysadmin Multiple dates

I’m sure there will be more to come but this is all I could come up with for the time being.  As stated, I will be revisiting this post in the future to add and update the list.  I hope you find it useful, who knows maybe I will see some of you at these conferences.

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Using Vim as a word processor

Recently I have been asked to share some of my content on a site called Ops School, a very cool site, that bills itself as “a comprehensive program that will help you learn to be an operations engineer”.  It is essentially an online guide covering topics geared towards a successful career in IT.  If you haven’t checked the site out already I highly suggest you go take a look!  Like right now.  Even better if you have something to contribute!  Either join the mailing list or get going by joining the community over on github.  Contributing to this project is a fantastic way to get your name on an Open Source project and would also be a great learning experience if that type of things is interesting to you.  At least it has been for me so far.

Anyway, the project has a set of guidelines and styles posted on their site for authors to adhere by.  Thus far I have found Vim to be the best word processor for following these styles and also the best way to submit writing to this project, plus it is a good way to force myself to make use of Vim because I don’t get much practice using it otherwise.

I have taken bits and pieces from various other vimrc’s I’ve found and fit them into my own unique scenario, which I suggest you do as well.  But the following section is a great example to use a starting point for adding in the word processor functionality to your vimrc.

func! WordProcessorMode()
  setlocal formatoptions=t1
  setlocal textwidth=80
  map j gj
  map k gk
  setlocal smartindent
  setlocal spell spelllang=en_us
  setlocal noexpandtab
com! WP call WordProcessorMode()

One gotcha that I encountered with this setup initially was that lines didn’t automatically re-balance for me if I went back to a previous paragraph and made a change that  caused a line to spill over the 80 character word wrap limit.  To do align paragraphs, select the text that has come out of line and type “gq” to balance out the text in the paragraph again.

If you have question let me know.  Otherwise, if you have any other tricks or tips that you like to use to enhance your Vim word processing experience feel free to let me know!

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Protip March: Quickly viewing logs with Powershell

Wow it feels like it’s been forever since I have posted.  I have been crazy busy with work stuff and am just now getting caught up with everything and have enough room to poke my head above the water and breath again finally.  We had a massive overhaul of our data center in mid February (among other things) and I am finally getting all the loose ends tied up from that project, including our brand-spanking new test environment which I am super excited about and which I will post about in the not so distant future.

Here is proof of some of our efforts just in case you don’t believe me 🙂




Anyway, getting back on track, I just discovered a slick way in Powershell to mimic the functionality of tail and tail -f in the Linux world.  If you have ever used tail then you know it is a great tool for monitoring log files or quickly looking at the end of a piece of code for example.

With the trick I’m about to show you, the same can essentially be done in Windows.  However, there are a few caveats.  For one, the syntax is a little bit different (if you want to change this just set up an alias).  The Powershell equivalent relies on the Get-Content cmdlet with the -Tail and -Wait flags to accomplish this task.

So in the following example I have instructed Powershell to look at the last 30 lines of the uploadpic.ps1 file and using the -Wait flag it will be updated as the file gets appended to.

Get-Content -path .\uploadpic.ps1 -Tail 30 -Wait

If you don’t care about viewing the file live then you can remove the -Wait flag and Powershell will simply grab the last N number of lines where N is 30 in our example.  30 seems like a good enough number in our example and can obviously be changed depending on your needs.  Easy enough for what I need it for.

Get-Content -path .\uploadpic.ps1 -Tail 30

As I mentioned, I will be going into a little more detail about some of the things I learned from our data center rebuild that I feel were some great lessons and good things to know/be aware of.   Standby for new contents as I get back to writing more blog posts and getting back up to speed on the writing side of things.

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