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Finding New Friends at PuppetConf: Tom Fox of Friend Finder Networks

published on 30 April 2013
[caption id="attachment_25191" align="alignright" width="312"]Tom Fox, PuppetCamp attendee Tom Fox manages thousands of physical servers to help people find like-minded friends at Friend Finder.[/caption] Tom Fox likes meeting people. In fact, you could say his job is all about meeting people: Tom is the director of systems engineering at Friend Finder Networks, a $314 million publicly traded company. Behind the curtain, Tom and his team pull the strings of thousands of servers running almost 40 different websites, most of them dedicated to helping like-minded people find each other. With all that system complexity to manage, Tom likes picking up new knowledge at PuppetConf. “I get to see the roadmap for the IT industry,” he said. “I get a broader picture of the trends, and where people are going with ops.”
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We Want You to Speak at PuppetConf 2013!

published on 24 April 2013
Did you know that you can get a free ticket to PuppetConf if you submit a talk by May 6, and it is selected as part of the program? Gene Kim speaks at PuppetConfThis is your chance to talk about all of the interesting ways that you are using Puppet and related technologies! We are looking for sessions that range from how-to information for beginners to advanced topics for experts and everything in between. We would love to see you sharing stories about how you use Puppet, including the mistakes that were made along the way, what you learned from them, and how you fixed them.
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PuppetConf: Your San Francisco Holiday Guide

published on 17 April 2013
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Late August is just about the best time to visit San Francisco. It’s the warmest and least rainy season, so you can enjoy long days and pleasant evenings in a city that’s made for pleasurable strolling. So go ahead - make a real holiday out of PuppetConf. You won’t want to miss a single session, of course, but you’ll have time for fun on Wednesday morning before registration. Stay through the weekend—or longer!—and you can enjoy lots of San Francisco sights. (Pssst - register now and get the 25 percent early bird discountTweet your friends, too: #PuppetConf.) Here are a few of the most fun things to do in San Francisco: The Exploratorium. As Isaac Rabinovitch points out in the comments below, this wonderful hands-on museum - or is it a playground for grownups? - is a must for anyone who loves science. Walk through the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero (Pier 1). Enjoy lovely views of the Bay Bridge and visit the gourmet food shops. Browse the shops in Union Square. It’s all here: antiques, jewelry, clothing, and an Apple store. Visit the sea lions at Pier 39They've been here for more than 20 years, sunning themselves, barking (loudly) and pushing each other off the pier. Not to be missed.
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#PuppetConf 2012: Crowdsourced Highlights

published on 5 October 2012

"I'm going to go out on a limb and call #puppetconf the best sysadmin conference around" - @jaqpants

That quote perfectly sums up how we felt about PuppetConf 2012. With over 750 in-person attendees, 75 sessions, and 71 speakers, and so much great content centered around making IT better through automation, we only had one complaint—and we heard it over and over again:

"The problem with #puppetconf is that there are way too many great talks" - @ndietsch

It’s tough to pick out highlights, particularly given that I didn’t get to see all the sessions I wanted to see. We did record nearly all rooms, so you can sign up to be the first to know when the videos are available, and catch up on any sessions you missed.

"‪Puppetconf underway!! #puppetconf - @stahnma‬

Bell: "When you contrib to Puppet/PuppetForge, you're helping to find the 96% of universe that we're missing" (Applause) #puppetconf - @RealGeneKim

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PuppetConf Preview: Puppet at GitHub

published on 26 September 2012

For our final PuppetConf Preview, we've got Jesse Newland from GitHub talking about his upcoming presentation. If you can't make it to PuppetConf, be sure to sign up for live video streaming of two of the large rooms. If you are out in San Francisco for the conference, GitHub is sponsoring a drink-up on Friday evening.

Jesse Newland from GitHub

Puppet Labs: Tell me a little about yourself and your technical background.

Jesse: I started doing sysadmin work on the student newspaper at the University of Georgia, where I learned all the good and bad things about system administration. I learned how to take down production sites on accident, and how to break and fix people's desktops. I figured out a lot of anti-patterns for how to manage large infrastructure, and that's where I started the search for utilities and tools to manage large infrastructure. I started more as an administrator than a developer, and as I came across more complex problems I started trying to work them out in Perl and C.

After that I started working at LexBlog, a company that does blogs for lawyers. So at that point I started really owning my skills in terms of web infrastructure. I worked at a company called Rails Machine, which is a Ruby on Rails web host. And at that job I honed my Ruby skills, and at that job I wrote some code and started actually using Puppet in production at the job. We had a very specific need for configuration management, and it pushed me into writing a Ruby DSL for Puppet before there was an official Ruby DSL for Puppet. It was a project called Moonshine, and it's largely infamous in the Puppet community. It did a lot of of things very differently from how Puppet's Ruby DSL did things, and a lot of things differently from how it might make sense for a lot of people who use Puppet as their primary tool. Moonshine was written for people that didn't understand Puppet, for people that understood Ruby on Rails, so they could make subtle changes from a standardized set of configuration that would be easy for them to understand and easy for them to apply and work with.

And from there, I moved to GitHub, and continue to use Puppet as my primary tool.

Puppet Labs: Could you elaborate on how you use Puppet as your primary tool?

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