Midwesterners: Are You Going to Barcamp?

In the Midwestern United States, where I am, there are three BarCamps that are always of interest to me. I though I would check out what was going on and when the next one is (I’ve made the Chicago Barcamp several times).

The Milwaukee BarCamp will be in its fifth run, and usually occurs on the first weekend in October. For 2010, that would be October 2-3, but there doesn’t seem to be any word on what to expect.

Madison, Wisconsin (the capital) will be host to the Madison BarCamp on August 28, 2010 – from 10a to 7p. It appears that the event will not be overnight, unlike my experiences in the Chicago BarCamp.

Chicago has wonderful BarCamp events; no word on the web site as to what is happening with Chicago BarCamp this year. Last year was July 11-12; we should be getting close.

If I find anything more about BarCamp Chicago, I’ll post it here.

Current Ethernet Not Enough?

At the recent Ethernet Technology Summit, there was grousing going on about the need for more power-conservative switches, for more manageable switches, but most of all for faster Ethernet.

Facebook, for one, spoke of having 40Gbits coming out of each rack in the data center, and related how its 10Gb Ethernet fabric is not enough and won’t scale. There are new standards (100Gb Ethernet and Terabit Ethernet) but they are not yet finalized. Analysts suggest that there is a pent-up demand for 100Gb Ethernet, and the conference bore that out.

Supposedly, there is supp

The Advent of NoSQL

The concept of “NoSQL” (that is, non-relational databases) is more of a phenomenon than you might think. The NoSQL Live conference will take place on March 11, 2010, put on by the people behind MongoDB, a non-relational database.

In June 2009, a number of folks gathered in San Francisco to discuss the various NoSQL technologies (such as Cassandra, Voldemort, CouchDB, MongoDB, and HBase). Johan Oskarsson has an article about the meeting, with videos and presentations from the presenters.

ComputerWorld took note of the event, discussing NoSQL and how Amazon.com and Google are using non-relational databases for their data stores. Likewise, too, Facebook converted to non-relational databases.

Digg posted a nice article that talks about their conversion from MySQL to Cassandra, showing how they came to the point of considering non-relational databases.

Possibly the oldest non-relational database is non other than MUMPS (or M). This includes GT.M (open source) and Intersystems Cache. Long before relational databases came on the scene, MUMPS was running and saving data – and it continues to this day, working hard in finance and healthcare settings.

Over at nosql-database.org, they claim to be the Ultimate Guide to the Non-Relational Universe. This may be true; certainly they have an extensive list of links to noSQL articles, and a list of NoSQL events.

The NoSQL world has been covered by Dave Rosenberg, who noted the upcoming NoSQL Live event in his discussion of real-world use of non-relational databases. Dave had reported earlier about the pervasiveness of non-relational databases in the cloud.

Now to go read some more about NoSQL…

CommunityOne West: June 1-3 2009

Sun is holding its CommunityOne West conference at the Moscone Center June 1-3 in San Francisco, California.

Sounds like there will be a wide range of Solaris and Open Source topics, including virtualization, system management, cloud development, mobile development, web development, and much more.

The OpenSolaris community will be there in force, so don’t miss it!

This is one of the first conferences since Oracle announced their acquisition of Sun; it would be interesting to be plugged into the rumour mill on the floor.

Did anyone go to CommunityOne East in New York City?

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Pwn2Own 2009: Browsers Fall

With the Pwn2Own contest at CanSecWest nearly over, nearly all of the major browsers have quickly fallen – which is unfortunate. In fact, Safari on the Macintosh MacBook fell in less than 10 seconds.

This year’s contest strongly brings the security of current browsers under scrutiny: Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari all quickly fell, allowing compromise of the machine they were running on. Google’s Chrome browser will come under fire on Friday.

ComputerWorld had a nice writeup.

Data Center Resources (and the Data Center in a Box)

There is an excellent resource (blog?) titled The Server Rack FAQ which has excellent articles, many complete with videos. The writing is excellent and the site appears to be quite comprehensive.

There is another blog called Data Center Links which has lots of good news as well as a good but not overwhelming set of links. Go check the links out!

There is also the Data Center Knowledge web site which seems to be an excellent and frequently updated news source relating to data center topics.

One topic seems to be hot: data centers in a container. Sun came out a while ago with the Sun Modular Datacenter (also known as Project Blackbox). HP has the Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD). Data Center Knowledge has a nice video about the HP POD. There’s also a nice discussion with HP about the POD from NetworkWorld. Dell announced that they will be powering Microsoft’s cloud initiative with data center containers.

Sun Microsystems has a lot of videos, including many about their data center in a box – including a tour or two, as well as an intriguing test of the durability and operational capability of the data center in a box.

Even IBM is in the market with their Enterprise Modular Data Center (EMDC). CNET had a nice article on IBM’s EMDC, as did DataKnowledge.

This is definitely an exciting area to watch.

An up-coming conference is the Data Center World conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 8-12, 2009. I can’t speak authoritatively to whether it is good or bad, but I would say given the presenters and topics and so forth, it sounds like a conference to consider.

There are a couple of journals that might be worth checking out: the Data Centre Management journal from the United Kingdom and the Data Center Journal in the United States.

BarCamp Chicago 2008: Afterword

BarCamp Chicago wrapped up nicely yesterday with a number of talks. There was a talk about Python (I still don’t get why folks aren’t using Ruby, but that’s just me), an open source hardware project demo, a talk on wikis, a talk on couchdb – very nice indeed.

The open source hardware project is called Arduino and is available prebuilt for a minimal price (about US$30 to US$40) – though you could build it yourself if you like (the diagrams are online and available to all). An accelerometer was attached to the Arduino device (which was attached to the computer via USB) and the outputs printed out on the console.

The wiki talk covered what it took to install a wiki and the speaker’s experience with wikis (and MediaWiki in particular).

The couchdb talk discussed couchdb (which was particularly pertinent, because it runs using Erlang, discussed earlier). Couchdb is a database which is based on documents and uses RDF for everything, and which can be spread out among a set of computers quite easily. Note that it is not relational, and it is not object-oriented either.

And of course, what is BarCamp Chicago without Ron May?

BarCamp Chicago 2008: In Progress

Earlier there was a discussion on how to get open source communities started and active. This was an interesting discussion with lots of audience participation.

Then there was a talk about open source and intellectual property law (including copyright mainly, as well as patents – almost no talk about trademarks). There was talk about software licensing and commercialization of software.

In progress is a delightful talk about user interface design (particularly web design).

There’s lots of soda, pizza, sharing, discussion, and so forth.

More to come. Pictures (phone pictures – sigh) to come.

BarCamp Chicago

I’ll be at BarCamp Chicago this weekend; why not join us there? I’ll be speaking about GNU Screen on Saturday.

I plan to post entries directly from BarCamp; we’ll see how it goes. Of course, my laptop is a tad more advanced than last time – now it’s a Pentium III Compaq Armada E500 with FreeBSD 6.3 loaded (and a complete graphical KDE environment).

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Do you need a reminder? Send a message to HitMeLater at the address hours@hitmelater.com (such as 24@hitmelater.com) and they’ll send your message back to you. The address dayofweek@hitmelater.com also works: wednesday@hitmelater.com will resend on the next wednesday after today.

PWN to OWN Contest at CanSecWest 2008

The PWN to OWN Contest is a hacking contest at the CanSecWest security conference that pits a standard install of Linux, Windows, and MacOS X against all comers. Each laptop has a default installation on it, and has not been hardened at all. The successful hacker will not only win a cash prize, but the system in question as well.

The MacBook Pro was the first to fall, and the laptop running Microsoft Vista Ultimate second. However, there will be those that misinterpret the results by not realizing how the contest was conducted.

Each contestant gets 30 minutes to attempt to crack the machine, and can choose which machine to attack. The attacks are limited by the rules, and each day that went by the rules allowed a wider range of attack vectors. It was a third party application (Adobe Flash) that permitted the compromise of the Microsoft Vista machine.

No part of the contest can be considered a scientific study into which system is more secure than the other: contestants attacked a single machine of choice, and contestants were allowed their attempts one at a time – and the operating system was not hardened.

This is entirely different than, for example, the Capture the Flag contest at DEFCON. That contest consists of setting up a server and trying to capture the other teams “flag” through compromising the server in some way. In that contest, any and all comers are permitted to enter and to attack at will during the contest with whatever vulnerabilities and methods they have available.

Speaking of DEFCON, DEFCON 9 saw the entrance of an Alpha-based VMS machine – installed with the standard setup – which remained unscathed throughout the contest, though try they did. The VMS Team (the Green Team) had a writeup and also wrote a white paper afterwards.

If you are interested in DEFCON, DEFCON 16 will be August 8-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Also, speaking of DEFCON – let’s not forget the similarly named but totally unrelated InterSystems DEVCON2008, which is just wrapping up. DEVCON, among other things, covers Caché development and related. It is interesting to note that InterSystems DEVCON began 15 years ago, whereas DEFCON began 16 years ago. I wonder how much Caché security is covered at DEVCON2008.

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