(In an effort to get these out sooner rather than later I'm not spending a lot of time editing and proofreading. You've been warned.)
Daytime: Today I spent the day in the Advanced Technology Workshop.
What is a workshop? People need a space to spend an entire day (or half-day) to talk about a topic. There are workshops for people researching certain areas and their workshop at LISA is a once-a-year touchstone to meet in person, give presentations, share ideas, and so on. The Configuration Management workshop is in its 11th year. In fact, Puppet was inspired by a debate (argument?) at CMW a number of years ago. Other workshops are less research-y, like the one for sysadmins at government and military sites. The full list is here.
The Workshop I attended today is called The Advanced Technology Workshop. It is intended for very senior administrators, provides an informal roundtable discussion of the problems facing system administrators today. It is part support group and part talking about hot-topics. The discussion is relatively confidential so that people can speak freely. However notes are distributed after the fact to attendees.
Dinner: As the conference co-chairs, Doug and I have a lot of preparation to do for the Wednesday morning plenary. We decided to have dinner together and then finish what we needed to do. Most of it was finalizing the slides and rehearsing the dialog for the introductions and opening at the Wednesday plenary. We also met up with his old boss from many years ago and I got to hear some stories about "the old days".
LGBT: 7pm: I went to the "Birds of a Feather" (BoF) session called "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Friends BoF". This was the 11th year (we believe) of this BoF. The room was packed. The first half was people introducing themselves. Everyone said their name, company and described their employer's HR policies related to LGBT people: does their non-discrimination policy include LGB or LBGT status, do healthcare benefits apply to same-sex partners, and so on. The second half we talked about industry news, conference insider tips, and what we can do to increase the number of women that attend Usenix.
SRE@Google: 9pm: Not to be confused with the Google Vendor BoF on Thursday night (where there will be plenty of beer and ice cream for everyone), this BoF was a talk by some guy from Google... oh wait, me! "SRE@Google: Thousands of DevOps Since 2004". First the talk compared software development in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s and how this changes operations (system administration). I then described Google's system administration practices that (1) help developers and operations work collaboratively, (2) drive both reliability and high change rates, (3) make it fun. Turn-out was huge, and the questions and comments were excellent. I'm glad I got to do this talk.
I got to bed by 11pm which was pretty important because tomorrow is a big day. The "technical conference" portion of the conference begins. This is 3 days of invited talks, papers, guru sessions and keynotes.