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Month: December 2007

We on Team DTrace have realized that with so much going on in the world of DTrace — ports to new systems, providers for new languages and development of new DTrace-based tools — the time is long overdue for a DTrace summit of sorts. So I’m very pleased to announce our first-ever DTrace (un)conference: dtrace.conf(08), to be held in San Francisco on March 14, 2008. One of the most gratifying aspects of DTrace is its community: because DTrace operates both across abstraction boundaries and to great depth, it naturally attracts technologists who do the same — systems generalists who couple an ability to think abstractly about the system with a thirst for the concrete data necessary to better understand it. So if nothing else, dtrace.conf should provide for thought-provoking and wide-ranging conversation!

The conference wiki has more details; hope to see you at dtrace.conf in San Francisco in March!

Growing up, I was sensitive to the boom/bust cycles endemic in particular industries: my grandfather was a petroleum engineer, and he saw the largest project of his career cancelled during the oil bust in the mid-1980s.[1] And growing up in Colorado, I saw not only the destruction wrought by the oil bust (1987 was very bleak in Denver), but also the long boom/bust history in the mining industries — unavoidable in towns like Leadville. (Indeed, it was only after going to the East Coast for university that I came to appreciate that school children in the rest of the country don’t learn about the Silver Panic of 1893 in such graphic detail.)

So when, in the early 1990s, I realized that my life’s calling was in software, I felt a sense of relief: here was an industry that was at last not shackled to the fickle Earth — an industry that was surely “bust-proof” at some level. Ha! As I learned (painfully, like most everyone else) in the Dot-Com boom and subsequent bust, booms and busts are — if anything — even more endemic in our industry. Companies grow from nothing to spectacular heights in virtually no time at all — and can crash back into nothingness just as quickly.

I bring up all of this, because if you haven’t seen it, this video is absolutely brilliant, capturing these endemic cycles perfectly (and hilariously), and imparting a surprising amount of wisdom besides.

I’ll still take our boom and bust cycles over those in other industries: there are, after all, still not quite yet software “ghost towns” — however close the old Excite@Home building on the 101 was getting before it was finally leased!

If anyone is looking for an unspeakably large quantity of technical documentation on the (cancelled) ARAMCO al-Qasim refinery project, I have it waiting for your perusal!

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