Awesome Conferences

September 2011 Archives

Due to traveling, I won't be there. However, John Wagner will be giving an excellent talk called "The !# site is down! Again!?"

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Community

Update: I won't be able to attend. John Wagner, however, will still be speaking.

If you are in the area, please attend! (free pizza!)

Info about the event: On the LOPSA-NJ Website

Info about LOPSA-NJ:

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Community

Matt Simmons wrote me to let me know that the LOPSA Board has approved the creation of a Columbus, Ohio chapter!

Times, places, and topics are still be worked on. It you are interested, join the mailing list at

Congrats and good luck to everyone in Columbus!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Community

Use code B2SDEAL to get 50% off Time Management for Sysadmins in eBook format part of the Back To School Deal from O'Reilly. At $9.99 it is hard to pass up this deal.

Offer expires September 28th, and may not be combined with other offers.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

The Google flags parser (available for Python and C++) is very powerful. I use it for all my projects at work (of course) and since it has been open sourced, I use it for personal projects too.

While I support open source 100% I rarely get to submit much code into other people's projects (I contribute to documentation more than code... go figure). So, even though it is only a few lines of new code, I do want to point out that the 1.6 release of the Python library has actual code from me.

One of the neat features of this flags library is that you can specify a file to read the flags from. That is, if your command line is too long, you can stick all or some of the flags in a file and specify "--flagfile path/to/file.flags" to have them treated as if you put them on the command line. Imagine having one flags file that you use in production and another one that points the server to a test database using a higher level of debug verbosity and enabling beta features. You can specify multiple files even with overlapping flags and it does the right thing, keeping the last value.

My patch was pretty simple. I discovered, through a painful incident, that if the flagfile were silently skipped if they were not readable. No warning, no error message. (You can imagine that my discovery was during a frantic "why is this not working???" afternoon.). Anyway... now you get an error instead and the program stops (in python terms... it raises an exception). I think the unit tests are bigger than the actual code but I'm glad the patch was accepted.  I hope nobody was depending on this bug as a "feature". Seriously... nobody would turn off flags via "chmod 000 filename.flags", right? So far I haven't gotten any complaints.

Anyway... if you write code in C++ or Python I highly recommend you give gflags a try. Both are available under the New BSD License on Google Code:



Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Technical Tips (as of a few minutes ago)

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Conferences

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s division of building and fire safety performed the scientific investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. Much of the related video, audio and photographic evidence was released under FOIA. Just in time for the 10th anniversary of the disaster the FOIA'd data was released on their website:

Since FOIA requires the raw, unaltered, data to be released, many of these videos are at very high resolution. (Lower res versions are available for easier viewing, of course).

If you go to the website, you can watch all the material.

If you go to Usenix LISA 2011, you can see a presentation by the sysadmins that built the site, and learn the technical and non-technical challenges that threatened the project along the way.

This year's Usenix LISA is in Boston from December 4-9, 2011. See you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Conferences

DevDays 2011 is Cancelled

Q: What about the ServerFault Scalability Conference?

A: That has been canceled, also.


The full story here.

If you had registered hoping to see me speak, my apologies. Please refer to for a list of my other appearances.

People in the Princeton, North Carolina and Pittsburgh area should be particularly interested in that list.

Also... soon I'll be announcing 3 half-day tutorials that I'll be teaching at the Usenix LISA conference in December in Boston. Start warming your boss up to the idea of sending you to a conference right after Thanksgiving. I'm really psyched about the new material. I hope to see you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Conferences

Tom will be presenting a 1-hour talk titled Walk a kilometer in my shoes: What sysadmins wish developers knew and vice-versa at LOPSA-NJ (League of Professional System Administrators / New Jersey Chapter).

If you are in the area, I hope to see you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in AppearancesArchive