New Year's Resolutions for SysAdmins

Ah, a new year, with old systems. If you recently took time off to relax with friends and family and ring in 2014, perhaps you're feeling rejuvenated and ready to break bad old habits and develop good new ones. We asked our friends and followers on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ what system administration resolutions they're making for 2014, and here's what they said:

Annual Fund: Support USENIX and Open Access

Annual Fund letter from the USENIX Co-Executive Directors:

At USENIX, we believe in open access, in sharing research and ideas for the good of everyone. We have always been on the forefront of the open access movement by offering our conference proceedings to the public one year after publication. In 2008, we again set the standard by making our proceedings entirely free and open upon publication; we did the same with our conference videos in 2010.

LISA '13: Video, Audio, and Photos (open access)

This week we posted our official USENIX LISA '13 conference videos and photos. For your browsing pleasure, I've created this streamlined clickable list. (Don't forget to follow LISA on Twitter, G+, and Facebook to stay updated on LISA '14 news.)

Google Code-in Contest for Teens Kicks Off

Yesterday we got a heads up from Cat Allman that the Google Code-in Contest for Teens starts Monday, November 18. Many of you might remember Cat from her days as the USENIX Sales Director, and now she's over at Google working as the Program Manager - Outreach, Open Source Programs Office. Here's the scoop:

Interview with Brendan Gregg, winner of the 2013 LISA Award for Outstanding Achievement in System Administration

In 2010, Joyent's Brendan Gregg gave his first USENIX LISA conference talk. He says he didn't feel qualified to give the talk, but a colleague encouraged him to submit the proposal, Visualizations for Performance Analysis (and More). Only a few short years later, Brendan Gregg was on stage at LISA '13 to accept the 2013 LISA Award for Outstanding Achievement in System Administration.

Introduction to Chef

When I started working for my current employer, I had experience with CFEngine2 and a dabbling in Puppet. Unfortunately for me, my new job used Chef. I thought I'd give myself an opportunity to learn it better by using it to configure my server and laptop at home. But I was in a hurry to get things configured and ended up using something that I perceived as having a shorter start time. Would that I had taken Nathen Harvey's CHef training sooner.

Evil Genius 101

Tom Limoncelli has taught many excellent courses at LISA over the years, so when I saw he was teaching a new course called "Evil Genius 101" I was intrigued. Fellow blogger Matt Simmons described the course as "how to win friends and coerce people", and that was fairly apt. Okay, "coerce" is probably a little strong.

Continuous integration with Jenkins

On Tuesday morning, Joshua Jensen presented a introduction to continuous integration (CI) with Jenkins. Although CI is generally considered a part of the development process, it it has relevance to system administration. I can think of several occasions where a simple build that checked CFEngine syntax before deploying the change across clusters would have saved several hours of effort.

Getting to Senior: Sysadmin Level IV and Beyond

Monday afternoon, Adam Moskowitz taught his "Getting to Senior: Sysadmin Level IV and Beyond" course to a near-capacity crowd. As expected, the audience consisted mostly of mid-level admins looking to position themselves for career advancement. Moskowitz lead off with a disclaimer that attendees were "not going to like most of what I'm going to say today." His position is that much of what makes a good senior sysadmin is not the technical skills, but the "soft" skills. As such, only half an hour was spent discussing the technical skills a senior sysadmin should know.


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