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25 Oct 2017
All Things Open Conference 2017
Written By Aaron Palermo

The All Things Open conference in Raleigh, NC this week explored open source, open tech, and the open web with 22 concurrent tracks covering topics ranging from programming languages, to front-end design, to hardware/IoT. The conference showcased 215 (yes, two hundred and fifteen) speakers from RedHat, Microsoft, IBM, PayPal, Google, Intel, Facebook, Elastic, and over 100 other companies that use Open Source Software and contribute to the Open Source community.

Why?

Why do we interact with technology? Why do we code? or design? or architect? Not because want to, but because it’s how we accomplish our goals: by creating things that will not exist unless we create them. Several talks at ATO stared with the ‘why’, and even expanded on it in an open source centric way. By sharing our creations with others, we are sharing our ideas and our goals, and how we achieved them. That is part of the relational aspect that underpins Open Source: the personal relationship, that is significantly more meaningful than throwing random bits to an indifferent Internet.

Examples:

How?

Nearly every technology enables sensing/monitoring at a superhuman level, and as a result, creates more data than humans can manage. From the farm: where IoT turns the physical world into digital measurements, which can monitor the health of animals and plants. To the server room: where monitoring generates data on the health of applications, operating systems, and hardware. Data is becoming more available, and processing is becoming fast enough that analytics are now being pushed to the edge devices. New technologies are being developed to reliably and scalably transport, aggregate, evaluate, enrich, and (the end goal) create value from these data sources. I’m ecstatic to work at a company that is helping to pioneer this data revolution.

So what?

What impacted me enough personally that I’m going to modify my behavior? The first part of that answer is a touchy-feely statement that I didn’t think much of at the time, but it sunk in over the course of the conference: “Be the change you want to see.” (credit: Danese Cooper, PayPal) How do I plan to act on that? I’m going to get involved in a local Code Club for kids. I taught Code Club for 2+ years in the past, and this is probably my most memorable experience: after a lesson modifying a game in Scratch, the kids were talking about their favorite video games and exclaiming “oh man, what if we had access to the source code?!?” These were 6-8yr olds, and mostly girls. If I can enable that level of excitement about code from little kids, that’s the change I want to be. The second part of my answer is a little more grown up: find a part of the data life-cycle and dig in. I have always enjoyed networking and storage, and data transport (Kafka, NiFi, MQs, etc.) is a solid culmination of these technologies. While I have deployed all of these systems and more in the past, I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, nor have I contributed back to the community, and those are things I can change.

Get more information about All Things Open Raleigh here.

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