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LISA roundup for Wednesday

Very busy day today. I went to all sessions as part of the technical track. Most of them were not all that exciting, but some were good. Grabbed a quick dinner here and chilled out for the BoF's in the evening. Still can't believe I did all of this in one day as I was busy with BoF's from 7-11pm. Stopped by the LOPSA hospitality suite for a few minutes before I finally dragged myself back to my room here. I will be out shortly.

Lunch was good today in between sessions as manley1, ocelot_flavored and I took the Metro rail to Dupont Circle and found a quick cafe called Cosi that was really good and a decent price. The bread was sort of like pita bread, but it was firm ad crispy--very tasty.

Tomorrow morning going to a little bit of sightseeing since there are no major events of interest and want to make up for all the extra time I spent this evening and more so Thursday night.

Keynote in the morning was very good. the title was "Hollywood's Secret War on Your NOC" and focused on the music and video industry regarding how they are imposing numerous restrictions on the distribution of their content. One of the more alarming things I learned is that when you buy such material, the "click to agree" conditions are pretty outrageous. I really doubt how enforceable they are, but some of them are completely open ended and imply they can change the rules at any time AND that you agree to it!

Went to the e-mail/spam paper sessions. Dan Klein's was entertaining as usual and gave a really good presentation about how spammers are very cleverly using our CGI forms so that we send their spam for them.

Next in the afternoon was "Leveraging the IT Community" and covered some really cool tools to help analyze system logs. It was really powerful as it was able to index logs real time and provide really easy and clickable access via a web interface. It's called Splunk and they are building a community for other IT professionals to share log messages as a repository for others to help decode obscure references.

Late afternoon was "Open Source Software and Its Role in Space Exploration". In short this explored how years of system administration computing and research has contributed to the space program indirectly. Even gave several examples of how robots work. The coolest example was video showing a robot with 6 large wheels. Two of the middle wheels actually detached itself on its own from the main robot becoming a fully functional mini robot! It could get around on its own and perform very tiny tasks. After it was down it reconnected itself and became one of the large wheels again--so cool.

1900: System configuration tools BoF. This was attended by about 60 people and was a lively conversation about the pros and cons of puppet, b2cfg, cfengine and other tools. A little boring for me, but good collaboration.

2000: RRDTool BoF. Tobi Oetiker went over upcoming changes and took lots of feedback from folks about his RRDTool software. I also discussed some challenges people were faced with regarding some advanced uses of this popular graphing tool.

2100: LOPSA Community BoF. This was a open discussion for the League of Professional System Administrators. Good feedback from folks and the board outlined what they were focusing on for the next year.

2200: Multimedia servers BoF. I sponsored this BoF and had 6 people attend (was impressed that I got that much--especially so late). We talked about some of the challenges we were facing with multimedia formats and servers at our institutions and it was enlightening. There is still a lot of uncertainty especially when dealing with all of the proprietary formats with Microsoft Media, Real Player, Quick Time, etc. However, I was intrigued that many people are looking at converting a lot of this stuff to Flash. Apparently flash plug-ins do a great job and negotiating and buffering the flow of multimedia streams directly with the web server. Definitely something to investigate further.

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