March 2010 Archives
Update: Someone else said it very well here
Rather than having to submit the entire, nearly finished, draft in advance, you can submit a briefer summary. If it gets accepted, then you have to write the entire thing. This saves a lot of time in case your submission is not accepted (how would that happen?). It also lowers the bar to submitting, which is important. I think more submissions is better. If this is your first time submitting a paper, this is a good opportunity to go for it.
There are three things you might consider proposing:
- Refereed papers: Did you invent something? Prove a new theory? Create a new tool or software system? Submit a paper. Submissions are simply extended abstracts, 500-1500 words plus an outline of what the final paper will look like. (Details here.)
- Practice and Experiences Reports: NEW! This is a new category. It's a bit different. This is a story telling category. Have you completed a major project and would like to share what experience they gained? I think of it as "Here's what we wish we had known before we started." Very useful. (Details here.)
- Invited Talks: A lot of people don't realize this, but some (not all) invited talks are proposed by the people that give them. Hey, the Invited Talk chairs don't have ESP nor are the omnipotent. So if you have a hot topic that you are an expert at, or would like to put together a panel of debating debutants, propose it as an I.T. or a "Guru Session". (Details here.)
- (Other things you can submit)
This year I'm on the committee that will be judging the papers. I thought it would be useful to tell people my personal process for evaluating papers.
I've been on the Usenix LISA program committee a few times. People ask me for advice about submitting papers a lot. Usually I tell them to read the CfP, pay attention to the deadlines, etc. But the real important advice is what I'm about reveal below.
It is a fact of modern life that you can't unsend email. The problem is that to really unsend email you need a time travel device.
It's a shame, really.
MS-Exchange has the ability to send a request that will hide the email, but most non-Exchange providers don't support the protocol. Besides, the horse has left the barn. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Gmail has the ability to unsend an email if you sent it in the last 10 seconds. Useful and cute, but not awesome. (Awesomer is their "prove you are sober before sending a message" feature.)
One way to mitigate this risk of wishing you had an "undo" is to send out a first paragraph plus a URL to the entire message. This way you can rewrite, refine, and update the body of the email as much as you want.
We use this technique at work. Suppose we want to tell people that the printing system will be down on Thursday evening so that we can upgrade the print server software. We put the basic message in a 1-paragraph email, and list a link to a document with more info. The link might be to a ticket # that tracks the issue, or a blog post (yes, we have internal blogs), a web page, or a document. We can constantly update the document over time.
Maybe we should extend this. All email should be a subject line plus a URL to the actual message. Made a typo? Correct it. Regretted what you said? Delete it. Called your boss an asshole? Change it to be a loverletter.
You still need to get the subject right, but the message can change. Maybe we could invent a way for the email to be "frozen" once the person reads it (one way would be for the email client to cache the message once it is downloaded). Spammers would have a harder time spamming us, since we'd be able to track their message back to their web site and therefore identifying them would be, well, if not easier, differently harder.
Or maybe we shouldn't even send email. The user interface would still look the same. Behind the scenes it would just be sending URLs.
Usenet made this transition. Usenet was replaced by RSS feeds, which are just lists of URLs. Maybe email should make the same change.
If you were waiting to register until the complete schedule was revealed, get that credit card out!
LOPSA PICC last night published the final slate of papers and speakers (if you didn't get your accept/sorry email, please let us know). http://picconf.org now contains the complete schedule.
You can attend for as little as $249, or $99 for students. The training program is extra.
If you aren't sure how to ask your boss for permission, we have some advice.
Tom will be the Saturday opening keynote, plus he will be teaching his two most popular half-day classes: Time Management for System Administrators, and "Help! Everyone hates our IT department!". LOPSA NJ PICC is in New Brunswick, NJ, May 7-8, 2010. It is a regional conference, everyone is invited. For more information: http://picconf.org
Tom's is teaching tutorials and giving two talks during Usenix LISA 2010, San Jose, CA, Nov 7-12, 2010.
- Half-Day: Time Management for System Administrators (MONDAY morning)
- Half-Day: Time Management: Team Efficiency (MONDAY afternoon)
- The Guru is In: "Time Management Open Q&A" (WEDNESDAY morning)
- Invited Talk: "Data Structures from the Future: Bloom Filters, Distributed Hash Tables, and More!" (THURSDAY morning)
What's the biggest problem facing system administrators? Is it the vendors? The managers? The tools? Is it us? (nah, it couldn't be us! Must be the tools). Scaling? The inconsistant syntax of Perl? It probably isn't any one thing.
I will be facilitating group discussion. Hopefully we'll learn something about our technology and ourselves.
(PICC is a regional sysadmin conference to be held in central NJ on May
7-8, 2010. I'm on the planning committee. http://picconf.org)
Today is the deadline for proposals for papers, talks, and such.
We're a little low on submissions so I'd like to make one more "beg". We'd love to have a talk about PHP for sysadmins, something fun you've done with Arduino, your favorite JS
library, a walk-through on setting up Google Apps. Demo your favorite open source project, or propose a panel of people to talk about something you find interesting (I can help find others for your panel). It is an excellent way to spread the word about a project you are involved with.
We've tried to make the proposal process really easy. Just send your
contact info and topic plus a 1-2 paragraph description to
For more info IM me and/or view:
P.S. Today is the deadline but we can grant extensions to anyone that writes and asks.