[buug] conferences, publications, associations, _Computer-Related Risks_, etc. (follow-up from the BUUG 2005-07-21 meeting)

Michael Paoli mp at rawbw.com
Fri Jul 22 03:08:26 PDT 2005

conferences, publications, associations, _Computer-Related Risks_, etc.
(follow-up from the BUUG 2005-07-21 meeting)

The BALE -- Bay Area Linux Events

I *strongly* recommend this for all persons in software, programming,
or computer related professions, related hardware/design/management
and/or management of any of those areas thereof.  Also recommended in
general for any engineering/nuclear/power/electrical/electronics realms
and risks, risk prevention and analysis in general also, and most any
areas dependent upon or significantly impacted by any of those
_Computer-Related Risks_

Illustrative Risks to the Public in the Use of Computer Systems and Related
This list is supurb, and terse/concise (but long) reading with
references (one line per incident, 620,612 bytes total, wc gives me about:
16820 97762 627204, on the text, not including URL references).  It is
probably much more valuable to read after reading _Computer-Related
Risks_, and makes an excellent supplement to _Computer-Related Risks_ Be
sure to have handy and/or familiarize one's self first with the
"Descriptor Symbols" key towards the start of that list when reading
through the list.

... and closely related to _Computer-Related Risks_:
the Risks Forum:


UNIX Review:

And the next Bay Area Debian (BAD) meeting and such:

Oh, and LinuxWorld and Expo vendors (and .org pavilion exhibitors), and
Birds-of-a-Feather Meetings, etc.:

And a bunch more stuff and details (references towards the end) from
some materials I prepared a while back (~2003-11-10, was with a slant
towards being a set of related tips regarding doing job searches and
such).  References (URLs) are towards the bottom - appologies if there
may be some link rot in there, but most of the URLs should still be
correct and reasonably current (and if not that, probably findable via
Google or such).

(Technical and other): Conferences/Expositions, Publications, Associations,

I'll attempt to cover these items from more/most general, to more
specific (towards technical/UNIX/LINUX and related).

One thing that may be of interest regarding conferences and such, is
these tend to generally include exhibitions (some of them seem more
exhibition oriented than conference oriented), and for most of them,
one can register for the exhibition portions of the events for free
(typically on-line, or sometimes via a mail-in form), and often in
particular ahead of some early registration or mail-in/on-line
registration cutoff deadline. Even if one has no intention to
physically attend the event, registering for such free exhibition
stuff can be quite useful (sometimes also includes some useful free
hardcopy publication subscription), can get one
information/leads/information on vendors, advertisers, sponsors, etc.
Note that with such registrations, one may want to explicitly "opt
out" of most of the e-mail option stuff (to avoid having some, many,
or most all of the vendors sending e-mail items and/or passing your
e-mail address on to their "partners", etc.). Also, many of the major
exhibitions/conferences often come to San Francisco (typically Moscone
Convention Center - I'd guestimate probably somewhere from 30 to 60%
of the time, on average) - or other locations in the San Francisco Bay
Area that may be reasonably convenient. If one can get to the
exhibition, that can be rather/quite useful - if nothing else, picking
up program guide (and addendum/update/errata) can be quite useful
(advertisers, directory of vendors/exhibitors - often also including
categorized listings). In addition to that, "working" the exhibition
floor (for information, contacts, leads, general networking, etc.) can
be quite useful/informative. If one does go to an exhibition to "work"
the floor, having advance listing of vendors/exhibitors and having
researched where one wants to concentrate one's time/focus may be
advantageous (but it may not always be easy or possible to get
vendor/exhibitor listing in advance).

Advertisers/Exhibitors/Sponsors. Noting who is (and isn't) exhibiting,
selling, advertising, sponsoring, (and relative sizes of these
things), etc. can provide useful insight into who's got products to
sell, who may be expanding/shrinking (compare earlier
events/publications), who has larger/major $$ for large sponsorships
or key advertising positions, "flavor" of what the
company/organization is/isn't "pushing", etc. Note not only general,
but also "classified" or "marketplace" advertising in publications may
be of interest (e.g. specific job leads, potential networking
leads/pointers, etc.). Also, quick skim of various materials may help
with "feel" for news/growth/"hot" areas.

[1]Information Week (relatively general, Information Technology) -
Weekly hardcopy and on-line publication, free hardcopy with qualified
subscription form (fill out form with typical "magic" / "good enough"
numbers, and one gets it for free - typically using liberal numbers of
logical OR of anything and everything one and/or one's company (or
last 12 months of employment) that one has touched or been associated
with will qualify one for most all of the publications I mention).
Once upon a time I used to really enjoy getting and reading UNIX Today
(despite the name, it was a hardcopy weekly) ... but that became Open
Systems Today and was eventually subsumed into [2]Information Week. I
used to enjoy [3]Information Week more - particularly when it was more
technically oriented (such as just after it subsumed Open Systems
Today) ... nowadays it's much more higher-level / business oriented,
but it's still generally a pretty useful/informative read - or at
least skim. This is one of the few freebie hardcopies I actually
bothered to (re)subscribe to and am currently getting.

[4]CIO Magazine (as in Chief Information Officer) I haven't looked at
this one a whole lot, but when I have it always seemed at least fairly
interesting to me. I believe it's significantly more high-level
"business" oriented, though it is IT focused. I'm not sure if much or
all of it might also be available on-line for free. Hardcopy
subscription is free with qualified subscription form ... but the
"magic numbers" might be trickier on that form - I'm pretty sure I
tried at least once, and perhaps twice, and didn't get free hardcopy
subscription (probably the only free with qualification form
subscription I didn't actually get via such a form).

[5]WITI - Women In Technology International was mentioned in the
2003-11-03 meeting.

That also reminded me of Systers: [6]Systers - an informal
organization for technical women in computing that began in 1987 as a
small mailing list for women in "systems", thus the name Systers

[7]Computer Technology Review - I used to really enjoy reading this
:-) ... last I had (free with qualified form) hardcopy subscription,
it was a monthly ("newspaper" format), with a glossy quarterly also.
Definitely nerdly/scientific/technical (I fit somewhere in there), but
it's a really good publication to get a nice sense of where the
technology is likely to be heading in the 2 to 5 year time frame (plus
also what's current production state-of-the-art). It tends to be more
hardware oriented than software, but does reasonably cover
important/critical software technology also. I believe it's also
available on-line.

[8]Sys Admin (mostly focused on/towards UNIX (and LINUX) Systems
Administration) Hardcopy, not horribly expensive, may also have stuff
(partially) on-line too (likely a feature/sample article, older
issues, advertisers, etc.) I've been a long-time subscriber of this,
but it is pretty much technically oriented. Also, *some* (free!)
exposition registration(s) can get one a free hardcopy subscription (I
think for one year). I believe I got a free year's subscription via
[9]LISA conference and/or exposition registration (see [10]LISA
reference(s) further below).

[11]Slashdot - on-line only, and absolutely, definitely very
technically/nerdly oriented ("News for nerds, stuff that matters"),
however, it's an excellent resource for a few more general purposes in
the IT (and to a lesser extent, scientific in general) realm: keep eye
on advertisers, most of the commentary on articles is from a bunch of
self-selecting nerds (good for feel of pulse, more technical
references/discussion, but not much else), however the main articles
often contain links to other sources that may be more generally
interesting/useful. What I'd guess might be most/more generally useful
on slashdot would be quick skim glance at advertisers, and skim over
article headlines and lead text (all of which can be seen on a single
not-too-huge web page), and then follow-up from there if/where
something seems useful (otherwise go on to other resources). At any
given time one goes to slashdot, one will just see stuff from the last
24 hours on that main web page, but one can read/skim backwards - over
on the right there's a heading which says "Older Stuff" - select the
link that corresponds to yesterday, and one gets quite similar web
page for yesterday. This can be repeated recursively to effectively
peruse backwards (relatively) indefinitely.

[12]USENIX - The Advanced Computing Systems Association / [13]SAGE -
The System Administrators GuildE (okay, so it appears they may have
tweaked the SAGE motto, but that's where the name comes from
historically) - Historically, SAGE was part of USENIX. Though I
believe they're now technically separate, I tend to still think of
them as tightly intertwined, and for most practical purposes, that
probably is and will remain to be the case. These associations tend to
be more - but not exclusively - technically oriented. Membership is
(semi-)"moderately" priced - <~= $150.00 USD to cover both USENIX and
SAGE. Membership does include subscription to [14];login: I believe
it's monthly, or approximately monthly hardcopy. Without membership,
one can still get to [15]issues of ;login: more than one year old
on-line. I believe ;login: carries no advertising. It tends to be more
technically oriented than not, but is by no means exclusively
technically oriented (perhaps peruse/skim some older on-line issues to
get a rough feel for it), and may cover a fair number of more general
IT issues/areas. Some other USENIX/SAGE resources (with or without
membership) might also be of potentially more interest. USENIX/SAGE
puts on a great conference - LISA (Large Installations Systems
Administration) ([16]LISA '03 [17]LISA '04) - which also includes a
smallish (but very high quality) exhibition. I've been to two LISA
conferences - they're great. They tend to approximately alternate
between San Diego and some other location in the US. I also registered
for the '03 exhibition portion - even though I wasn't planning to
attend (though I was still seriously considering going to the
conference on my own $$ this year; of the two times I went before,
once I went entirely on my own $$ because my employer was too
shortsighted (they almost entirely prohibited attendance of anything
that contained the word "conference") to send me and I didn't want
that to interfere that much with my career growth). One other great
USENIX/SAGE resource are the annual [18]SAGE Salary Surveys. They have
tons of good well analyzed information (far from being just a salary
survey). If you're a non-member, you can look at the ones over one
year old. The most recent one was actually a combined effort and also
is available on-line without needing to be a member: [19]2002
SAGE/SANS/BigAdmin Annual Salary Survey. Might be useful for looking
at trends and such (e.g. growth areas by (sub-)sector or geography,
etc.). I've been a member of USENIX and SAGE more often than not for
at least the past 6 years. Oh, ... not to forget, USENIX also does
various other conferences and also often has training events at other
conferences (e.g. LinuxWorld): [20]USENIX Events Calendar

[21]SANS SANS is particularly great in the (IT and related physical)
security realm. Though I haven't been to a SANS conference yet, what
I've heard about their conferences, and what I've generally seen and
know of SANS is excellent. It's certainly a conference that I would be
very interested in attending. I'm not sure what, if anything, they may
have in the way of hardcopy periodicals.

[22]LinuxWorld - Conferences, expositions, etc. I think about every
other LinuxWorld conference/exposition event is in San Francisco. From
what I've heard, the events post-dot-com-fizzle aren't as big as they
were at their peak, but they're still very respectably sized (I'm
guestimating >=60% of prior peak size). When I went this year, they
had Moscone North pretty well filled - not totally, and not bursting
at the seams, but certainly well filled up most of the available
space. Oh, they recently also created their own [23]LinuxWorld
Magazine - it's definitely available as hardcopy (I don't think it's
available in hardcopy for free), ... it's also available on-line (both
browseable web pages, or as a largeish downloadable PDF to cover an
entire issue). I haven't particularly read it yet, but at quick glance
it seems like a decent publication. I'd guestimate it to be more
"business" oriented than the many other LINUX magazines (which are
mostly LINUX "user" oriented). Also, for glancing over LINUX
magazines, this may be a useful starting point: [24]Google Directory:
... LINUX Magazines and E-zines.

[25]Atlanta Linux Showcase / Annual Linux Showcase (ALS) -
Unfortunately this one seriously fizzled after 2001 :-( Might want to
give the web site a peek about every 6 months or so, just to see if it
ever comes back to life. There might be some older materials available
there, but I'd guestimate they may be getting a bit too dated to be
particularly useful for "market" type information. I think most of
what used to be covered under ALS shifted over into the realm of
LinuxWorld and/or USENIX/SAGE/LISA (and/or SANS, etc.). First and only
time I went to ALS was 2001 - it had its first change of venue at that
time (to Oakland) - unfortunately it was not only into the
dot-com-fizzle, but less than two months post 2001-09-11, and it ended
up quite sparsely attended (vendors/exhibitors seemed to have about a
20 to 30% cancellation rate, attendance seemed to be a meager 10 to
20% of the facility's capacity - despite USENIX taking the
unprecedented step, on 2001-10-12 of switching all the technical
session registrations to being free) ... and unfortunately USENIX (and
other major sponsors) lost a lot of money on the 2001 event. Oh well,
... what was there (conferences/tutorials/technical sessions,
exhibition), etc., was great.

Excellent, long established professional organizations/associations:
  * [26]Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  * [27]Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

I think membership in each of them is roughly USD $100.00/yr. I know
ACM has excellent publications (they may be all or mostly
advertisement free) ... not sure how useful the various publications
may be, however, for purposes such as market research or vendor leads,

Many major vendors (e.g. commercial UNIX) also have their own
conferences/exhibitions (and/or user groups). These various
resources/leads may be worth checking out:
  * [28]HP World [HP-UX (Hewlett Packard's UNIX, etc.]
  * [29]USERblue [user-run, related to AIX (IBM's UNIX)]
  * [30]JavaOne (Sun Microsystems Java Technology, etc.)
  * [31]OracleWorld [often (always? - at least recently) occurs in San
    Francisco at Moscone]
  * [32]Macworld - fairly regularly in San Francisco (Moscone). Note
    that MacOS is now Unix (BSD) based, and such systems may even used
    now be used for quite huge computing projects, e.g.: [33]"Virginia
    Tech's 'Big Mac' Power Mac G5 cluster has secured its place as the
    third fastest supercomputer in the world."

  * [34]NetWorld + Interop It's
    networking/internetworking/interoperability focused. I went to
    this many times when it was just Interop. I think last time I went
    was somewhere in the range of 1992-1995. Last time I went, Moscone
    North was quite recently opened, and Interop had both Moscone
    North and Moscone South not only completely filled, but totally
    packed and very much bursting at the seams (they were also pretty
    much using any and all space within the Moscone North and South
    complexes - including packing rooms on many floors of Moscone
    South). That was when FDDI was still cutting/bleeding edge
    technology (the prior year there was no FDDI at the show (possibly
    excluding inside some vendor's booth) ... the last year they were
    in San Francisco they were dependent upon FDDI to cover traversing
    the large distance between Moscone North and Moscone South.
    Interop always featured a very impressive live show network (they
    had their very own Internet class A network) and to the extent
    feasible, they try to have every vendor connected to the network
    and hopefully doing something useful with it (definitely a big
    event for network equipment providers, and for them to be able to
    actively test the interoperability of their equipment on a live
    network and with quite a variety of systems and activity on the
    network). Anyway, I digress ... At least historically, Interop was
    more "Open Systems"/IP/UNIX oriented (with a bit of OSI, SNA, big
    iron, etc.), and NetWorld was I believe more oriented towards
    networking DOS/Windows/Novell (IPX/IP, perhaps also AppleTalk?). I
    believe presently it's pretty much all pulled together under
    NetWorld + Interop. When they left San Francisco and went to Las
    Vegas, they did so because "Las Vegas was the only place they
    could fit" (I believe they've been there since). They also merged
    with NetWorld as they moved (which kind of made sense anyway, as
    with the move, they could fit together, and the two "worlds" were
    increasingly moving towards and interoperating primarily over/via
    IP anyway).
  * [35]Comdex Huge event/show, blah, blah, ... might be some useful
    stuff/leads there.
  * [36]UniForum Once upon a time, UniForum used to do huge
    conferences and exhibitions (e.g. typically annually filling
    Moscone South). While far from "dead", I think much of what
    UniForum used to do can now be found in areas such as
    USENIX/SAGE/LISA, SANS, LinuxWorld, etc. UniForum does continue to
    do stuff and have conferences and training and such, so it's still
    probably worth poking around their web site at least once in a
    while to see what's up. Also, I don't know if they still do, but
    they at least used to have an excellent Open Systems Product
    Directory (also good for vendor leads) - I can't find that
    presently with quick search - seems it's likely gone away or been
    renamed or been superseded or supplanted by something else (like
    The Web; the OSPD used to be available via a very fat softback
    bound volume (or volume(s)?), or on CD-ROM(s).)


 1. http://www.iweek.com/
 2. http://www.iweek.com/
 3. http://www.iweek.com/
 4. http://www.cio.com/
 5. http://www.witi.com/
 6. http://www.systers.org/
 7. http://www.wwpi.com/Home_CTR.asp
 8. http://www.sysadminmag.com/
 9. (see "LISA (Large Installations Systems Administration) just before [16])
10. (see "LISA (Large Installations Systems Administration) just before [16])
11. http://slashdot.org/
12. http://www.usenix.org/
13. http://sageweb.sage.org/
14. http://www.usenix.org/publications/login/login.html
15. http://www.usenix.org/publications/login/online.html
16. http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa03/
17. http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa04/
18. http://sageweb.sage.org/jobs/salary_survey/
19. http://sageweb.sage.org/jobs/salary_survey/2002/2002SalarySurvey.pdf
20. http://www.usenix.org/events/
21. http://www.sans.org/
22. http://www.linuxworld.com/
23. http://www.linuxworld.com/magazine/
25. http://www.linuxshowcase.org/
26. http://www.acm.org/
27. http://www.ieee.org/
28. http://www.hpworld.com/
29. http://www.userblue.org/
30. http://servlet.java.sun.com/javaone/
31. http://www.oracle.com/oracleworld/
32. http://www.macworld.com/
33. http://www.macobserver.com/article/2003/11/05.11.shtml
34. http://www.interop.com/
35. http://www.comdex.com/
36. http://www.uniforum.org/

More information about the buug mailing list