Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category
I’ll be joining Percona for a free day of MySQL education and insight at their upcoming Percona University Washington DC event on September 12th. My topic is accessing MySQL from Google’s Go programming language. I’ve learned a lot about this over the past year or so, and hopefully I can help you get a quick-start.
If you’re not familiar with Go, it’s the darling of the Hacker News crowd these days. Anything with “Go” in its title gets to the front page for at least a little while! Go is a great systems programming language. It’s safe to say I’ve fallen in love with it, and it’s now my favorite programming language of all those I’ve used over my entire career. I chose it because it’s ideally suited for VividCortex’s agent programs (zero dependencies, compiled, lightweight, high performance, robust, makes concurrency easy and safe), and we’re using it for our API servers and backend processing jobs for many of the same reasons.
There’s a lot of great content at these free Percona University events. If you’re not near Washington DC, you should sign up for Percona’s conferences and training newsletter so you find out about the next one near you.
I’m off to my first Strata conference, and I’m speaking! I’ve always wanted to attend Strata. (OSCON too, but I haven’t yet made it there.)
My session will be about ways to make big data small, in both the storage and processing dimensions, without losing much of the value.
If you’re familiar with Bloom Filters, this is an example. Bloom Filters let you answer the question,
Is value X a member of this data set? Yes, or no?
by substituting the question,
Is value X a member of this data set? Probably yes, or definitely no?
You lose a small and quantifiable amount of precision in the “yes,” and you gain massive savings in storage and processing cost. Bloom Filters are typically used when you need a definite answer, but only as a pre-filtering step, because if the answer happens to be No, you save the effort of looking through the set to try to find your data.
That worldview or philosophy is a valuable thing to keep in your pocket when you’re working with large amounts of data, and that’s the topic of my Strata Conference / Hadoop World NYC 2013 talk.
Since I started making my presentations more beautiful, people have often asked me my secret. It’s not a secret, and it’s really quite simple to do.
First, realize that it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. Now, get and read a few good books on presentations. Your presentations, and your presentation skills, need to be good. You can’t just make things beautiful to compensate for badness in other areas. This is something I’m always working on. (On the other hand, many a great presenter has doomed him/herself with awful slides.)
Second, develop great content, and practice it. See the books above.
Third, use a good professionally-designed template. Pay $30 for crying out loud. Are you a graphic designer? No? How much is your time worth? I’ve bought Keynote templates from Keynote Pro among other places. I’ve also hired people to help build custom slides for important talks, such as keynote addresses at major conferences.
Finally, and this is the part I enjoy the most: I rarely put text alone on a slide. I’ll almost always choose a master that has space for a little text (and I usually try to use only a few words) and an image. I’ll emphasize this: use only a couple of words on the slides. The words on the slide should cue you, if necessary, to remember what to talk about. For the audience, they should convey the overall theme — think of it as hashtags — of the things you’re talking about now. Do not put the full content on the slides.
Then I find an image that seems to fit. My favorite way to do this is a Flickr search for CC-licensed content, sorted by interestingness.
In Chrome, I use a custom search engine. The keyword is “f” and the URL pattern is:
Try it. Here’s a Flickr search for heart, for example. Isn’t that a beautiful page full of images?
Even if your slides are a boring template, and your talk isn’t that great, and your presentation skills aren’t that polished, your audience will automatically find your talk much more pleasant now. And it’s all about your audience. Remember that!