Tag Archives: sdm

Oh the weather outside is frightful

Overall, having a pretty good weekend. Friday evening, headed down towards Fenway to have dinner and hang out with some SDM folks. Met another person in my cohort who had just moved to the area from Lebanon to start SDM. Also present were some of the by now I guess “usual suspects”. Had a good time at dinner and we then migrated over to play some pool for a bit. A good time was had and we eventually headed home.

Yesterday, the morning ride was cancelled due to poor road conditions. Instead, I shoveled a path for my car and took it up to the dealer to turn it in. My lease is up soon and between the shuttle to the office from Alewife, public transit to Cambridge and biking around town for errands, I no longer had a need for a car. Kara still has her car for when we need to go somewhere via car, but this way will let us save a bit and also just seems like the “right” thing to do. After that, we took care of some Christmas shopping. Also while we were out, I looked a bit for some more suitable shoes for the snow, etc… unfortunately, everyone else has now had that idea also and so things were pretty picked over and I didn't have much luck.

Today, we were supposed to be getting together for a friend's birthday but the accumulation of snow and ice thus far might make that more challenging. Especially if the management company doesn't show up soon to start clearing walkways, etc. And with my aforementioned lack of boots.

SDM Alumni Conference, Day 1

On Thursday, I spent the day at MIT for the SDM Alumni Conference. Very well put together and the location (the Broad Institute at MIT) was quite nice.

The day started off with a talk by Paul Carlisle on “Address the Challenges of Distributed Innovation”. And the first sort of case being discussed actually ended up being open source development. It was interesting to sit and listen to how an observer perceives the open source community. And the perception tended to be very positive — to the point of saying how some of the things done in open source could apply to other areas. One of which was research into finding ways to repair the damage of MS. This was incredibly interesting — basically, there has been some improved work here by having researchers share all of their research, the successes as well as the failures, as it happens. And this is pretty similar to how the bugfixing process occurs in open source. One of the big things taken away here is that opening up to more participation in processes helps to foster increased innovation. It's how science has (traditionally) worked, it's how open source works, … Good stuff

The second session of the day was Michael Davies doing an overview of the Technology Strategy class that he teaches each year. This session was really broken down into two pieces. The first was some ideas on how to improve decisison making. Some good bits there. The second part of the session was a quick runthrough of a number of hot topics in technology and strategy. Open source again made an appearance. It's no wonder that all of the students in the program that I've talked with have known about Red Hat and open source and had a reasonable understanding of it. The other hot topics discussed were aesthetics and usability, portfolio management and (again) decision making in R&D. The course already looked interesting, but now I'm really looking forward to taking it this spring.

The last session of the morning was Dan Frey doing an overview of the Systems Engineering course. Sadly, not the most interesting of the presentations. While I think there are some nuggets of usefulness here, they're going to take more time to fully digest and really get to the bottom of. Also, a lot of the material is better suited to more “traditional” engineering disciplines than software.

After lunch, we came back for a pair of talks on “The Internet and the Human Network”. This led off with a talk by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He started out somewhat with a review of how some things on the web have evolved and continue to evolve. One of the important points there was that the rapid feedback cycle has led to a much better experience than is sometimes seen. He then went through some of the challenges facing the web right now — User Interface, Information Policy, Resilience, Collective Quality Assessment, New Devices and Collective Creativity. The final bits were some on the Semantic Web, as most of his presentations seem to be these days (based on looking at the w3c site). While interesting, I don't know that I buy it fully. But, time will tell.

The final session of the day was a guy from Cisco talking a bit about how they use Web 2.0 technologies within Cisco. Not much interesting or different there to those active in open source — wikis, get ideas from anywhere, use emerging social-networking types of sites to build up things further. Interesting tidbits I took away were that search for wikis, internal sites, etc are a problem for everyone and that everyone has too much email to deal with. These are actually specific cases of the more general problem of “information overload” that I think we're having to deal with a lot. I'm not sure what the answer is there, but I suspect it's something I may spend some more time thinking about over the next little bit.

The day finished up with a dinner and reception at the Hyatt overlooking the Charles. Was a good time — got to talk some more with some of the people in my cohort as well as current students and alumni. Also, (more) good food. It's good to see that I'm unlikely to go hungry while in school :-)

SDM Open House

Spent today at an Open House for school. Given a lack of details, I wasn't sure what to expect going in but it turned out being a day full of good information. Started off the morning with some of the SDM staff giving relevant information about their specific areas. While much of this information is on the website, it was good to get the important parts distilled out given the flood of information that's there.

Then we had lunch with some current students. Ended up with some guys who are finishing up the program in January so they have more views on more of the classes than some of the others I've talked with. The afternoon was largely spent q&a form with the director of the program. Lots of questions about the direction of the program in the future as well as a lot of comparisons with other similar and not so similar programs. And after all of that, I'm even more certain that I'm in the right place. Even though I am a little hopeful that I can swap out a class or two to make the program a better match for me. The nice thing is it sounds like the flexibility is there; I just need to do the legwork to make it happen.

Ended up with a nice break after this and squeezed in some work. Managed to catch up with mail as well as fixing a few pirut bugs. The latter was helped by the fact that it was a little slow to get access to MIT's wireless network and there were a few bugs related to not having a working network connection. Unfortunately, the live CD isn't fitting again — that's the todo for tonight.

After that, I headed over to do more meeting, greeting and mingling. And I have to say that everyone is incredibly open and friendly. And they all seem to know about Red Hat and open source too based on class discussions. That promises to make for some fun discussions for me too :-) Tomorrow I'm planning on spending part of the day at the SDM conference — the afternoon session is titled “The Internet and the Human Network” and is focused around how to more effectively use the web for collaboration and one of the portions is going to be led by Sir Tim Berners Lee. Which should be pretty interesting, informative and useful. Look for an update on it tomorrow.


Starting in January, I'm going to be going back to school part-time at MIT to pursue a Master's degree as part of the System's Design and Management program there. I'm pretty excited about this as it will be good to get back into some academic things. And one of my big concerns when looking for a program was to not just go back and get a Comp Sci Masters; but at the same time I don't want to turn into an MBA-toting suit ;-) The SDM program is nice as its a bit of a blend and also has the flexibility to take some other things — like I'd really like to take a class to help get a better handle on IP law.

Of course, doing this will have some cost… I won't be able to spend every extra waking moment I have on Fedora as I often-times do now. But I should still be involved and I'm still going to be working full-time and my main work tasks are Fedora-related, so it shouldn't be that drastic. But if you notice response from me dropping off a little, that's probably why.

Anyway, now back to fixing Fedora bugs for Fedora 8.