• 18 Jun 2017 6:56 PM | Deleted user


    #LOPSA-Live 2017-06-14

    scott5 The next question is from Lee Damon: With the failure of LOPSA-EAST and the less-than-successful Cascadia IT Conference this year what is your plan for LOPSA to ensure higher quality/more successful conferences in the future? 18:47
    scott5 Answer order: 18:47
    scott5 - Andree Jacobson 18:47
    scott5 - Aleksey Tsalolikhin 18:47
    scott5 - Drew Adams 18:47
    scott5 - Andy Cowell 18:47
    nmswede Andree Jacobson - Less frequency, more quality. Organizing conferences just to organize them - especially when the interest is down. We need to drive up the interest first, and then rediscover the need for the confernces. 18:49
    nmswede I don't know the attendance numbers for the last LISA as I was not able to go, but like someone else said, we need to be on top of the current technology. Perhaps, specializing on certain hot topics. Rather than launching a full-on conference, I'd attempt to do some sort of online forum first. Maybe, try to get involved with an online university, to offer a class. 18:51
    nmswede We could also partner with other organizations, for example - there is a Machine Learning society in San Diego, they grew to 2k members in a matter of a few months. If we did some joint meetings with them, bringing scientists together with sysadmins to build some really good systems for them, that might spark an interest. EOT 18:52
    atsaloli I love the joint meetup suggestion.  I've done a few joint meetups in LOPSA LA and that helped us get more exposure. 18:53
    atsaloli We're up to 386 members on the LOPSA LA meetup now. 18:53
    atsaloli The time Cascadia had the most attendees is when LOPSA had a marketing intern. 18:53
    atsaloli I would help get another marketing intern and do some marketing.  There is no 18:54
    atsaloli substitute for marketing to increase or generate demand. 18:54
    atsaloli EOF 18:54
    druonysuse DREW – I think we need to look for other projects and organizations that share some target demographics with us and then try to collaborate with them to cross promote or co-locate more events. Also, we need to work on the strength of local chapters and have a better way to promote the events within those local chapters. I think a major help for us would be for the LOPSA name and brand to be better recognized and have more pull. And that 18:56
    druonysuse loops me back to more of what I was talking about in my response to the last question. We need to emphasized the benefits of systems knowledge and learning in and with LOPSA no matter your job title or lack there of. 18:56
    druonysuse END 18:56
    vt102 Andy Cowell: 18:56
    vt102 A national organization backing a local conference, communicating with them and finding out their needs, and having the experience of supporting other regional events, should help make sure local events are more successful.  Perhaps the national organization could arrange corporate sponsorships of regional events, providing subsidies, speakers, and/or prizes?  Or just coordinating communication between other regions for 18:56
    vt102 advice? 18:56
    vt102 The other leaders in East Tennessee and I are forming our own 501(c)(3) LOPSA affiliate in order to receive tax deductible donations from companies (for meeting space, snacks, etc…) since we have not been able to directly receive donations as a local LOPSA chapter.  That may provide an example others can follow. 18:57
    vt102 That said, I have not had experience with these issues, and would want to consult with those who have before committing to any particular path. 18:57
    vt102 EOF 18:57

  • 18 Jun 2017 6:54 PM | Deleted user


    #LOPSA-Live 2017-06-14

    scott5 The next question is from drich. 18:36
    scott5 Answer order: 18:36
    scott5 - Andy Cowell 18:36
    scott5 - Andree Jacobson 18:36
    scott5 - Aleksey Tsalolikhin 18:36
    scott5 - Drew Adams 18:36
    scott5 What do you see as the biggest challenge(s) for LOPSA and how do you plan to address it/them? by drich (Dan Rich) 18:37
    vt102 Andy Cowell: 18:38
    vt102 Every organization has membership challenges.  To me, the question is really what value a technical organization can bring when there is an absolute explosion of technical information available for free online. 18:38
    vt102 We are unlikely to tell anybody something they can't find out online.  What LOPSA must do is distill our members' experiences into something more useful.  By making speakers available to local chapters, a personalized Q&A can help provide a source of curated information, more directly applicable to members' situations. 18:39
    vt102 In addition, support of things like local conferences, the Mentor program, etc…, all help provide personalized contact where individually directed experience can be communicated. 18:40
    vt102 In short, more personal communication of experiences instead of a firehose of information. 18:41
    vt102 EOF 18:41
    nmswede Andree Jacobson - I think getting the exposure is the hardest part. I agree with Andy, if there is a way we can leverage the member experiences, maybe as case studies, etc. - that would be useful. Another issue is that when reaching out to students, in a non vocational academic program, they might be less inclined to understand how sysadmin experience can actually help them. 18:41
    nmswede Turns out, these students may be among the best at learning the skills. 18:42
    nmswede And getting their information / experiences to share is also important. 18:43
    nmswede I think the board should be first at volunteering to write down their experiences, and share. 18:43
    nmswede EOT 18:44
    atsaloli Aleksey Tsalolikhin: 18:44
    atsaloli Great question. Our membership has stopped growing.  Attendance at our 18:44
    atsaloli conferences has dropped off. I would address it by finding out what people 18:44
    atsaloli find valuable about LOPSA membership and then pushing that, with gusto! 18:44
    atsaloli We can reach out to students as well, by networking with computer clubs 18:44
    atsaloli and societies at local colleges/universities. (I gave a presentation to 18:44
    atsaloli the UCLA computer club a few years back on the sysadmin life, which was 18:44
    atsaloli received with great interest.) 18:44
    atsaloli EOF 18:44
    druonysuse I think it is important to staying relevant in a changing tech landscape. I think that it is not always clear to people the different paths, specialties, and directions that an understanding of systems and a sysadmin background can provide. There are a lot of titles out there such as Systems Engineer, DevOps Engineer, Infrastructure Engineers… the list goes on and on, and a lot of students and people with an interest in tech start off 18:47
    druonysuse with thinking they're options are only software developers or corporate IT and maybe desktop support. I see LOPSA being a great organization for those with systems knowledge or a desire for systems knowledge no matter their job title. I would love to see that emphasized more clearly in the future. 18:47
    druonysuse END 18:47

  • 18 Jun 2017 6:47 PM | Deleted user

    The following series of posts are the transcripts from candidates #LOPSA-Live session. We have a size-of-post limitation for these items so it will be split across four posts.


    #LOPSA-Live 2017-06-14

    scott5 hello there, just waiting until the top of the hour 17:47
    vt102 Candidate Andy Cowell here. 17:48
    nmswede Candidate Andree Jacobson here too 17:48
    atsaloli Candidate Aleksey Tsalolikhin here 17:55
    druonysuse Candidate Drew Adams here 18:00
    scott5 we have four candidates so far and it's 6:00. We'll wait a few minutes to let more people join. 18:00
    scott5 I have been informed that Danielle will not be able to make it. I'll discuss that when I get things rolling. 18:01
    atsaloli ok 18:01
    nmswede no problem 18:01
    scott5 must be 6:05, the lights just went out. power saving at its finest. 18:06
    nmswede I got two more hours to go until then, but it'll be perfect as I'll be home from work then 18:07
    atsaloli hi Paul! 18:08
    penglish1 Hi Alexi, hi all. Sorry so late 18:09
    atsaloli Scott's just warming up the crowd 18:09
    scott5 Not a lot of people on yet, but we'll start at 6:15 regardless. 18:10
    penglish1 Aah, I should verify my tweets went out as scheduled 18:10
    drich did anyone make an announcement in #lopsa? 18:11
    penglish1 Social stuff went out. 18:12
    penglish1 drich: I can't say, as I don't have an IRC daemon logger thingie going and I just connected 18:12
    drich I just did 18:13
    scott5 well, I guess we get started. 18:15
    scott5 Hi, I'm Scott Murphy (aka: scott5) I'll be moderating tonight and the format will be as follows: 18:16
    scott5 1) Brief intro from the candidates 18:16
    scott5 2) The moderated Q&A 18:16
    scott5 If you can keep from posting anything for a moment, I'll provide the rules for this session. 18:16
    scott5 We'll handle the questions by having anyone with a question direct message to trev71 that they have one and he will queue up the questions and tell me who to prompt. I'll prompt you in the order they came in by asking you to ask your question on the main channel. 18:16
    scott5 The candidates will take turns answering. The order will be rotated to allow for everyone to have a turn being first. 18:16
    scott5 Hopefully the rules are simple enough that this herd of cats will follow them. 18:16
    scott5 So now that the rules are stated, the members are online, and the candidates are present, let's get started. 18:16
    scott5 Just to make sure we are all on the same page, the candidates are: 18:16
    scott5 - Drew Adams 18:16
    scott5 - Andy Cowell 18:16
    scott5 - Andree Jacobson 18:16
    scott5 - Aleksey Tsalolikhin 18:16
    scott5 - Danielle White 18:16
    scott5 Unfortunately, Danielle can't make it tonight due to a prior commitment and the short notice. We will be providing the questions and the answers will be posted to the LOPSA site after we get the responses. 18:16
    scott5 The candidates  can introduce themselves in alphabetical order.  First up, Drew Adams 18:17
    scott5 Drew? 18:20
    druonysuse Awesome. Thanks @scott5 I am a DevOps Engineer in Los Angeles CA. I right now I am working a lot with Salt, Docker, Kubernetes. I am a long time Salt user and community member and have given a couple talks at SaltConf. I am also a long time openSUSE Project Member and Advocate. With openSUSE I orgnize the openSUSE booth at SCaLE every year, 18:20
    scott5 Next, Andy Cowell 18:21
    vt102 Hi, I'm Andy Cowell.  I've been in system administration since the mid-‘90s, and my claim to fame is we hosted Metallica.com when Metallica sued Napster.  Which was fun.  I have served in a lot of technical roles— developer, network, storage, virtualization, and cloud, for some of the largest sites on the Internet, such as Dilbert.com and HGTV.com.  For the past few years, I have managed a team of sysadmins who have 18:21
    vt102 transitioned into cloud engineers.  I have been an active and enthusiastic member of my local LOPSA chapter since 2012, where I have been in a leadership role for the last year. 18:21
    scott5 Next, Andree Jacobson 18:21
    nmswede Hi, Andree here. Working as CIO for New Mexico Consortium in Los Alamos, collaborating with the labs and universities here. I'm very much a working manager though, and I also do some consulting, primarily on the sytems software side, and large scale cluster building. 18:22
    scott5 and last but not least, Aleksey Tsalolikhin 18:23
    atsaloli I've been a sysadmin since mid 1990s. Been involved with USENIX from the beginning, 18:23
    atsaloli which brought me to SAGE and now LOPSA. I run the Los Angeles chapter of LOPSA. 18:23
    atsaloli I'm a consulting sysadmin, and I also train sysadmins (private on-sites for teams). 18:23
    atsaloli I've taught at Cascadia IT Conf, LOPSA East, USENIX ATC, Linux Con North America 18:23
    atsaloli and a few others.  Looking forward to teaching at USENIX LISA this year. 18:23
    atsaloli I would love to help increase our membership numbers and provide more education-type 18:23
    atsaloli services to our local communities. 18:23
    atsaloli I love LOPSA. 18:23
    scott5 Thanks for the brief introductions. The Q&A will now commence. 18:24
    scott5 First question is from your moderator. 18:24
    scott5 I'm involved in a number of organizations and they are all struggling a little with memberships and mission. How do you plan on keeping LOPSA relevant as an organization in a world that is getting considerably more difficult to keep peoples interest? 18:24
    scott5 and the answer order is: 18:24
    scott5 - Drew Adams 18:24
    scott5 - Andy Cowell 18:24
    scott5 - Andree Jacobson 18:24
    scott5 - Aleksey Tsalolikhin 18:24
    scott5 When you have completed your answer, please indicate that you have with some appropriate marker, EOT/whatever. Someties a pause gets interpreted as a prompt for the next answer. 18:24
    atsaloli ok 18:25
    druonysuse I find that people look to get involved and want to participate but the thing that makes them stay involved is the human connection 18:27
    druonysuse I think it is important to help facilitate that in many dffferent ways 18:27
    druonysuse the path to connect with otherrs needs to be easily discoverable 18:27
    druonysuse good sources for info 18:29
    druonysuse good members that act as a focal point and communication hub 18:29
    druonysuse I think LOSA has a good base with some of these 18:29
    druonysuse but it can always be better 18:30
    druonysuse personally, I think the best human connection is having fun. If learning, collaborating, and participating is fun and easy people will stay engaged 18:30
    druonysuse END 18:31
    vt102 Andy Cowell: 18:33
    vt102 I would like to see an emphasis on the health of local chapters.  The personal networking through our own local chapter has been the best value I have seen personally from LOPSA, and I want to encourage that. 18:33
    vt102 I believe that finding experienced members who could present to other local chapters in a personal and directed way, by video or other means, could help provide value to smaller groups that may struggle to find presenters locally. 18:33
    vt102 In the same vein, a healthy mentorship program helps provide that personal touch, and can help groups that don't have local members able to serve in that role.  Members with long experience can share their expertise to groups that don't have access to that. 18:33
    vt102 The industry landscape is changing, and we need members with expertise in new technologies able to share that experience with those venturing into uncharted waters. 18:33
    vt102 EOF 18:33
    nmswede Andree Jacobson - Memberships are always hard, especially when they are paid (which of course is required in case you actaully want to be able to do anything in the organization), unless there are ample donations - something that's also hard to get. Being involved in many educational activities, that's always a way of reaching out to students, catch them early, highlight student memberships are cheaper, etc. Also, LISA 18:34
    nmswede I.e., early involvement, student programs, etc. are as important if not most important. 18:35
    nmswede and hands-on experience for them. 18:35
    nmswede EOT 18:35
    atsaloli Aleksey Tsalolikhin: 18:35
    atsaloli I would survey our current membership to find out why they are members 18:35
    atsaloli (what about LOPSA is valuable to them); and reach out to past members 18:35
    atsaloli to see why they joined originally. 18:35
    atsaloli Then use the data from surveys to put together a marketing campaing 18:35
    atsaloli to attract new members. 18:35
    atsaloli We can increase our membership through chapter activities and 18:35
    atsaloli participation in conferences. 18:35
    atsaloli I would love to see more chapters and more activities in existing chapters. 18:35
    atsaloli Our mentorship program has great potential as well. 18:35
    atsaloli EOF 18:35

    1 Slight editing was performed to remove blank lines and entry/exit messages

  • 12 Jun 2017 9:59 AM | Warner Moore

    The Leadership Committee is conducting moderated LOPSA Live sessions on Freenode IRC network in the #lopsa-live channel. These sessions will be your opportunity to ask questions of the candidates running for the LOPSA board.

    We have two sessions, which should accommodate most time zones:

    • Wednesday June 14 at 6:00PM Eastern
    • Wednesday June 21 at 9:00PM Eastern

    Please join us and come prepared with your questions! Additionally, you're welcome to send questions to the Leadership Committee in advance of the sessions.
  • 09 Jun 2017 8:23 PM | Warner Moore

    The Leadership Committee is proud to announce your election slate:

    We have four seats up for election and a fantastic set of five candidates. This is your opportunity to influence the direction of LOPSA over the next year.

    Keep an eye out, we will be sending notice for the LOPSA Live sessions soon. We will have two sessions before the election closes, where you can ask questions from the candidates before you vote.

    The elections are open until July 1, 2017 at 11:59:59PM Eastern Time. 

    LOPSA is your organization and you'll get out of what you put into it, please vote and participate. It will make the organization better for us all!

  • 09 Jun 2017 11:25 AM | Deleted user

    I would like to announce my candidacy for the LOPSA Board.

    I am a long time contributing openSUSE Member and Advocate in Southern California. I have been organizing and working the openSUSE booth at the  Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE) since 2012. I was the main organizers of the openSUSE miniSummit at SCaLE in 2015. I have represented openSUSE at booths at various conferences over the years such as LinuxCon, South East Linux Fest, and others. I attend meetups usually giving out openSUSE install media, stickers and other swag.

    We have a strong Southern California openSUSE community. The great people of our local community come from all kinds of backgrounds and all have different levels of technical ability. However, the thing that unifies us is not openSUSE but our strong desire to help each other contribute and participate in building a strong community and learning and growing together.

    I love finding people who have a desire to contribute and learn and grow in a community and help them get pointed in the right direction. Get them plugged in with others like them… connecting these people together and watching the community from and grow from the interactions. Not only do I love doing this, but this is what I have been doing for many years in the openSUSE community.

    What I have done in the openSUSE community I would like to now bring to LOPSA and help us grow and build stronger and more active local communities with a fun and energetic culture of collaborative learning. I think we have a good base to build on and would like to lend my experience to the board so we can get to that next level.

    Thank you,

    Drew Adams

  • 09 Jun 2017 10:44 AM | Deleted user

    Rather obviously I am Danielle White. I have been a system administrator since 1996, doing so in both university (public and private) and corporate environments. My administration positions included both OS level work and application tier. More recently my position is operations automation work, primarily with Python and Ansible, for management of hosted customers.

    Through those positions I worked with a wide variety of other system administrators, ranging ones very new to the field through ones who, as my friend and fellow system administrator Dallas Wisehaupt once put it of our then senior system administrator colleague, “you can tell he was used to running machines with 8k words of RAM.”

    Due to these experiences I have come to a greater understanding of the expanse of our field, ways in which it changes, and the varied backgrounds of the field’s practitioners. I have gained appreciation for areas where LOPSA has a potential for growth and to strengthen what we already do well.

    From my experience with groups such as the RDU chapter of Girl Develop It I have become aware of an area of focus that is missed: a set of people who define themselves as developers but who are doing system administration work as a part of their job. The people participating in those groups are not part of ones, such as the local LUG, where LOPSA is far better known and, thus, they do not hear of us. An aspect related to this is conferences; LISA is critical and LOPSA-EAST has been important but many aren’t there. Instead they are at All Things Open, the various regional Dev Ops Days conferences, PyCon, and so forth. This focus serves to both strengthen our field and boost membership.

    I was very happy to see LOPSA’s mentoring program when it was introduced and still strongly support it. I will work for an expansion to do more to train our members to be better mentors. I recognize that the need for many of these resources is beyond the scope of the mentorship program as such. This was the reason I developed a “mentoring the mentors” presentation that had been slated for an unfortunately canceled LOPSA-EAST conference. Many of us who approach mentoring do so without solid support. If we were fortunate we had good mentors and can build on their work, and if not we are left to find our own way.

    I came to see this as a needed focus due to my own experience becoming the mentor in a situation of much position turnover followed by several years of considerable team growth, going from a team of six with half overseas to a team of nearly 50. My most difficult lessons were ones of soft skills and ares we typically consider more of a managerial nature. We must begin to better share these lessons with others so we can be the improvement.

    Finally, all of this comes with recognition that there are important gendered aspects that we need to understand. In my area there is an obvious gendered divide that affects the effective reach of LOPSA, i.e. women who are doing systems administration work as part of their jobs are not going to the loal LUG where people know LOPSA. While recognizing that this is going to be a long road I am certain that we can make solid progress on this.

    I can most easily be found on the IRC channels on FreeNode as ClothoMoirai. As a director I will welcome communication. Through my activism in recent years as a member of the LGBT community in North Carolina I came to value such communication, even with people with whom I may disagree.

  • 06 Jun 2017 9:03 AM | Deleted user

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Greetings - I am Andree Jacobson; currently CIO for the New Mexico
    Consortium (a non-profit in Los Alamos, NM). I also run a small consulting
    company that assists other local companies with systems design,
    implementation, and training on computer systems. However, even outside the
    professional world, I am a long time computer systems and networking
    administrator. I’ve practically been on any system I could get my hands on
    since before I started school, started small - but now it’s the very large
    systems that tickle my mind. The point I’m trying to get across here, is
    that I’m passionate about computers - one of man’s greatest technology
    creations. I find it fascinating to see how we keep coming up with new
    uses, how the field of Computer Science is still growing and morphing
    rapidly, and we’re right here in the middle of it! It shows no sign of
    slowing down either. I am however also baffled with the lackluster of
    education and prestige for the field of Systems Administration. Ever since
    the early days of computation it seems that the people who know how to
    operate these systems always take a secondary role, yet the world’s whole
    infrastructures rests in the hands of a handful of very talented
    individuals who are often ignored. I’m running for the board of LOPSA
    because I believe in the organization’s mission, and I would be proud the
    have the opportunity to represent this particular group of people.*

    Andree Jacobson

  • 06 Jun 2017 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    I have been an active and enthusiastic member of LOPSA East Tennessee
    since 2013.  Participating in my local LOPSA chapter has been very valuable
    to me personally, and I want to help others find that same value.

    My experience in system administration is long and varied.  I did not
    realize system administration was even a career when I started as a "lab
    assistant" in college.  After a brief detour as a programmer, I returned to
    jack-of-all-trades system administration at the beginning of the .com
    bubble.  When that wild ride came to a spectacular end, I started working
    at a Fortune 1000 as a network administrator.  I transitioned into
    converged networking, storage, VMWare virtualization, and finally back to
    server administration and AWS cloud infrastructure.  Two years ago, I
    transitioned my career into management with a team of eight cloud

    LOPSA has been a wonderful thing for me to be a part of.  I have made
    professional contacts and personal friends through the organization.  I
    have learned new things from fellow presenters, and have learned public
    speaking by giving my own presentations.  Once moving into management, I
    have even been able to hire fellow LOPSA attendees.

    In short, I value LOPSA, and I want to do my part to help this
    organization.  As a Board member, I will first and foremost help support
    and promote local chapters.  The many-to-many personal networking provided
    by these groups is invaluable for those willing to take advantage of it.  I
    also hope that my wide-ranging background will help me keep LOPSA a big
    tent, with an eye towards people in other careers than just Windows and
    Linux server administration.

    Andy Cowell

  • 06 Jun 2017 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    I have management and leadership experience. I started in tech support and worked my way up to Director of Operations. I now run a training company that trains sysadmins, DevOps engineers, and adjacent professions. I've also run the Los Angeles chapter of LOPSA ( https://www.meetup.com/lopsala/ ) since Sep 28, 2012 and we're now up to 374 members.

    I've been attending USENIX conferences since my sysadmin career started in 1996 and I've been a member of LOPSA over 10 years. USENIX, SAGE and LOPSA are key ingredients in my professional success. I got into professional training through LOPSA: Lois B. Bennett tapped me to teach CFEngine at LOPSA University at Ohio Linux Fest in 2010. After this, in 2011, Mark Burgess asked me to cover his CFEngine class at USENIX ATC. Since then, I've been all over North America teaching hundreds of sysadmins at conferences and in corporate on-site classes.

    I believe sysadmins are valuable because they do what it takes to keep the show on the road. Ours is an increasingly computerized civilization and Operations Engineers keep it going to no small extent.

    I enjoy mentoring and apprenticing system administrators. LOPSA recognized this and awarded me Mentor of the Year in 2011.

    I enjoy the sysadmin community so when the Leadership Committee came calling this year I knew I couldn't say "no, I'm busy" again. Yes, I'm busy, but LOPSA is an important part of my life. I must do more to support it.

    Aleksey Tsalolikhin

The League of Professional System Administrators
1200 Route 22 East, Suite 200
Bridgewater, NJ, 08807
Email: info@lopsa.org

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