Category Archives: Personal

MySQL 2007 Community Award

Tony (my fiancee) says it best — he’s an amazing writer. For some history, I work for a dating site that caters to gay men:

MySQL is database software. Whenever a computer program or system (like, say, a gay man’s online dating service) needs to randomly access, store, and keep track of a bunch of data “stuff” (like, say, a bunch of fruits, their personal information and, uh, “vital statistics”), it puts it into and maintains a database.

MySQL ( is a very popular, very good database system. It’s the one Sheeri uses at her job, and my company is currently test-driving a new way to put together web sites that relies on a MySQL database.

An interesting feature of it is that it’s what’s called “open source” software. That means that the community of users is also largely the community of developers. Anyone using the software who says, “You know, I’d really like if it did this better” and figures out a way to do it can actually change the software and then tell everyone, “Hey, I did this thing to it”. Or you can just say, “Hey, I figured out how to do this other thing with it” and every learns a new thing. It’s very socialist.

So, Sheeri works with MySQL, started up and runs the Boston MySQL users group, and runs a podcast detailing and sharing her expertise and experience using MySQL. Plus, she’s actually giving a couple of workshops at this conference she’s at:

Hence, she is a MySQL community advocate. In fact, the 2007 MySQL Community Advocate of the Year. It didn’t come with an oversized novelty check, but it’s all very computer geek sexy. It means my wife-thing is very good at what she does and people respect her intelligence and her efforts. Meanwhile, her husband-lump-thing knows how to make playing cards appear in his pockets and occasionally leaves his shoes on the bed. But he’s pretty.

Click on an image for a larger picture:

Eben Moglen: Fredom Businesses Protect Privacy

“What societies value is what they memorize. And how they memorize it and who has access to its memorized form determines who has power.”

We’re starting to become a society that “memorizes” private facts — not just public records being written down, but private thoughts, dreams and wishes.

“Living largely in a world of expensive written material and seeking to build a private database of things experienced and learned, early modern Europeans built in their minds memory palaces — imaginary rooms furnished with complex bric-a-brac and decorations. . . By walking through the rooms of the memory palace in their minds, [they] remembered things they needed to know.”

Photographs took a factual and emotional snapshot of experience and put it into a form that could be held and shared, unlike a memory palace.

“The private photograph isn’t private any more.”

I can’t do Eben’s speech justice. I will post the video when I get to it, but he’s really saying some great stuff about privacy.

Technocation Grants $300 for Free Rides

Technocation is proud to announce its first grant to help further the goals of IT professionals. We have helped Proven Scaling’s “Free Ride” to give three people all-expense paid trips to the MySQL conference happening at the end of April. We are proud to have been able to grant Proven Scaling $300 to help, and we hope this is the first of many monetary grants we will give.

Congratulations to the Free Ride winners:
Jan Lehnardt, a student from Münster, Germany; J.R. Bullington, from a non-profit in Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA; and Carlos Proal Aguilar, from a non-profit in Puebla, Mexico. For more details on the contest winners, see Proven Scaling’s announcement at

This grant was made possible by everyone who donated to the MySQL Conference Scholarship Fund, announced January 30th, 2007 at

If you would like to donate to Technocation, please visit our donation page at Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Technocation is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in Massachusetts, USA, dedicated to providing resources and grants for IT professionals. Learn more about us by visiting Technocation’s FAQ page at:

OurSQL Episode 9: Jay Pipes Speaks About the MySQL Conference

This week I spoke with Jay Pipes about the upcoming MySQL Conference, April 23-26 in Santa Clara, California, USA.

Direct play the podcast here:

Subscribe to the podcast by clicking:

You can Direct download all the oursql podcasts at:

I had a setting wrong in my recording program and ended up having a very different sound quality than what I had wanted. I played with it as much as I could, but I apologize for the bad quality audio, especially the breathing that you can hear, the mouse clicks, and when you can hear me swallow and such. (It’s probably not as bad as it sounds, but I shudder at it all, because I want to provide y’all with the best quality possible).

On with the show notes!

Tutorials are 3 hours long (and there are two that have two parts each). The tutorial links and descriptions are here. Tutorials in bold are ones that were mentioned in the podcast:

MySQL Cluster: The Complete Tutorial, Part I
MySQL Cluster: The Complete Tutorial, Part II

MySQL Replication: The Complete Tutorial, Part I
MySQL Replication, The Complete Tutorial, Part II

MySQL 5.0 DBA I Certification Primer
MySQL 5.0 DBA II Certification Primer

Managing Hierarchical Data in MySQL: The Extended Director’s Cut
Vital Rails: An Introduction to the Ruby on Rails Framework
Scaling and High Availability Architectures
MySQL Cluster Certification Primer
MySQL 5.1 In-depth
Writing Your Own Storage Engine
Wikipedia: Site Internals, Configuration and Code Examples, and Management Issues
Real-World MySQL Performance Tuning
MySQL Network Monitoring and Advisory Services: from Soup to Nuts

Registration (and information about discounts, including the $200 discount if you register by March 14th)

There are too many sessions to list, however the conference home page at (scroll to the bottom), and the links take you to a page with all the sessions in that track.

We spoke on the podcast about serving three audiences: DBA’s, Developers, and the General Audience. I’ve taken the liberty of grouping the tracks:

Architecture and Technology
Performance Tuning and Benchmarks
Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence
MySQL Cluster and High Availability
Replication and Scale-Out
Security and Database Administration

Ruby and MySQL

General Audience
Business and Case Studies
Storage Engine Development and Optimization
Web 2.0, Ajax, and Emerging Technologies
The General Track

MySQL Camp Lost and Found

Well, I have a lot to say about MySQL Camp, but for now, I just want to say thank you to Jay Pipes for organizing the Camp, and to Google for hosting and feeding us, and to MySQL for support.

I have a few lost and found items — if you lost or found something, please contact me by e-mailing me at and I will see to it that you get your item back, or that found items get to the right place.

white 4-port USB hub

a charger (looks like it’s for a phone, it’s small-duty)
small stack of Avery blank printer sheets, for file folder labels

If you ended up with something that’s not yours, or are missing something, contact me and we’ll do as much as we can to get items to their owners.

The MySQL / Oracle Connection

So, in going around the room at mysqlcamp this morning, only one person mentioned having using another database (SQL Server & Sybase). Another mentioned Access…..but that’s not a “real” database.

But many people mentioned connections to Oracle — be it “used to work for Oracle” or “used to use Oracle”. I think this speaks to how similar Oracle and MySQL are. Now, there are PLENTY of differences. But compared to Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, Ingres, Postgres and IBM DB2, it sounds like MySQL and Oracle are closer to each other than MySQL and any other database.

Measuring MySQL Community

People didn’t even know about mysql planet! Is it over their heads, even if they did know about it?

User Activity — blogging and Developer Activity — blogging, patches

Some metrics in place now, blogs that mention MySQL, etc. What about, or

How do we measure community, how do we define the communities?

How do we know how our community is growing or shrinking?

Scoreboard Idea: have and opt-in to have a program that will send info to MySQL every so often.
issues: How do you get people to opt-in? Could be easy for Windows users. Getting stats from installations — incentive is that companies can see their own specific stuff, voluntary of course.

Other metrics — days to patch

Who are our community users???
1) enslistments in scoreboard
2) # patches
3) # blog entries
4) # forum posts

Easy API for: # of posts, # of posts solved? What can we offer sites like and to get that data?

Privacy policy….what is it? make sure it’s moderated, so user can choose what to send, what not to send. ANYNONYMOUS.

What are the groups of users and how can we reach them?

How can services be advertised and marketed appropriately?

Simple enough for neophyte.

How much time was used in setting up the system rather than actually doing what they need? How can that be measured? Download and “powered by” timestamp….

Should we work with open source software like joomla! or drupal or phpmyadmin?

How can non-technical (or less-technical) people have a place to gather?


What about hosting companies like Dreamhost?

Can you use google code search to find programs using mysql?

Technorati, slashdot, digg,, etc. google blog search?

Surveys — what other dbs have you considered? what made you decide to download mysql? what kinds of people do you think could do what you did? (ie, your mother with no technical skills, etc). contest? maybe at the end of an installation of open source software? Maybe a yearly census type thing?

Blogs are a great thing, because lots of non-techie users use mysql. Also web-based services, do the users know they’re using mysql? do we care? blogspot and lj, stuff like that. You can download lj code if you want….but do we care about folks just using lj on the site…?

Referral program? Tell a friend how easy it was to install MySQL?

Servoy and

Who’s using MySQL? What are they using it for? Where are they (location)? These are all categories…

MySQL Camp — Free, Don’t Forget to Register!

Even if you have listed your name on the Participants page of, you need to register.

Granted, the registration page says that all that’s needed to register is to send
Jay Pipes ( the following information:

Your Name
Your Company Name
City and State of Residence

And that’s it. So do it today! The conference is free and open to anyone who registers.