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PgConf.US Partners with Techie Youth for Annual Charity Auction!

There are many PostgreSQL conference opportunities throughout North America and there are many reasons to attend all of them. There is only one reason you need to attend PgConf.US 2016 and it is not:

  • The amazing selection of content to chose from
  • The largest networking opportunities available from any PostgreSQL conference
  • Rubbing elbows with the who’s who of PostgreSQL
  • The dedication to diversity within the community
  • The best education opportunities within the PostgreSQL ecosystem

No, it is not any of those reasons. Although any of those reasons is reason enough to attend or sponsor PgConf.US, we have a better reason: Helping people. This year PgConf.US has partnered with TechieYouth for the PgConf.US charity auction.

“It has been a great honor for Techie Youth to work with the internationally respected PostgreSQL community in bringing technology to at-risk foster-youth in NYC. While most kids have a parent or two who can help them in their technology endeavors, or at least enroll them in a course, foster kids do not have permanent parents or family involved in their lives, and many have nobody to ask for things other kids take for granted – that is where Techie Youth steps in.” -- Eric David Benari, Founder, Techie Youth

So join us April 18th - 20th and be a part of something truly special. We will be auctioning an array of items at the 20th anniversary party of PostgreSQL (free to attend for all comers) and all proceeds go directly to this worthy organization and its attempts to help the future PostgreSQL developers of the United States!

PgConf.US and the community pavilion!

PostgreSQL loves community and nowhere is that more obvious than PgConf US. This year PgConf US has instituted a fan favorite, the Community Pavilion. When you combine the most advanced database in the world with some of the best open source technology in the world what do you find?

A powerhouse of interest that brings forth every corner of the technological spectrum to collaborate.

Who are a few of these technological marvels attending the largest and most popular PostgreSQL conference in the United States?

  • Python via BigApplePy
  • Node.js
  • Django via Django Foundation
  • [...] and more

    If your community would like to attend the best PostgreSQL event of 2016 and receive these fantastic benefits:

    1. Free booth
    2. Five free passes to the main event
    3. A 10% discount for your community members
    4. Infinite access to the acclaimed hallway track

    Drop a simple email to jd at postgresql.us

    PgConf US runs from April 18th-20th, 2016 at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriot. The time to register is now! Find out more and register at http://www.pgconf.us/ .

  • Why PgConf.US, 20 years of PostgreSQL -- That's why!

    A conference specifically engineered to bring together community, developers, users, and the companies that support PostgreSQL, PgConf US is the conference for PostgreSQL in North America. When you attend you will be surrounded by the best and brightest that our community has to offer.

    Launched in 1997, with decades of history through University of Berkeley Ingres, PostgreSQL is the most advanced database available in the ecosystem. Full Open Source under a liberal BSD style license, PostgreSQL allows an extensible, open, scalable, deployable, and widely used database without the constraints of artificial license requirements.

    In 2016 PgConf US is celebrating 20 years of PostgreSQL with topics such as:

  • How PostgreSQL is tested - Peter Eisentraut, PostgreSQL Committer, Core
  • Predictive Analytics IN Postgres - Jim Nasby, PostgreSQL Contributor, Consultant
  • PostgreSQL Performance, 9.6devel Edition - Mark Wong, PostgreSQL Contributor, Consultant

    “This is the largest PostgreSQL event in North America and I am looking forward to attending PgConf US 2016. The exceptional quality of content rivals that of the sister conference PgConf EU in Europe. Both of these conferences are a perfect chance to meet with core developers, contributors, and users of the most advanced database in the world.”
    ---- Magnus Hagander, PostgreSQL Core, Committer, PostgreSQL Europe

    The content, hallway track, 20th Anniversary party and overall intellectual data download one receives from a conference such as PgConf US brings users from all corners of the globe. We will see attendees not only from North America but also Europe, Russia, and Asia. This combined with an inclusive and diverse community ensures PgConf US’ placement as the PostgreSQL conference within North America.

    To register for the conference please visit:


  • PgDay: LFNW!

    JD Wrote:

    Once again United States PostgreSQL is present at Linux Fest Northwest. We are celebrating Free and Open Source software with 2000 other advocates in what is the second largest Free & Open Source conference on the West cost. We have a great list of talks this year with new speakers, speakers from both SeaPUG, WhatcomPUG and PDXPUG. Will you be joining us? Here is the list of PostgreSQL talks.

    How we made the PGConf US 2016 Schedule

    Welcome to our annual post on how we put together the schedule for the largest PostgreSQL conference in North America. It is long, thorough, and awesome, so buckle up and enjoy the journey!

    For PGConf US 2016, we allowed people to submit for 6 training sessions as well as 44 regular speaking sessions. We had a total of 139 submissions, which meant we had to decline 2 out of every 3 submissions. We don't say this to brag: it's actually very painful to decline talks, especially when we have worked and hang out with some of the submitters for more than a decade.

    The training submissions were competitive but were not nearly as daunting as picking the talks. Jim & I researched each training session and hammered out the lineup in under an hour. The rest of the talk submissions went to the full talk committee.

    Like last year, we tried to answer the following questions when looking at the talks:

    • Does this proposal have real-world applications? Case-studies scored major points with everyone, and we tried to measure how broadly the case-studies applied across our attendee spectrum.
    • If the proposal revolved around a tool or utility, would the talk cover real-world deployments of the tool and what problems it helped to solve?
    • Did the talk offer a fresh perspective on a PostgreSQL topic?
    • If the topic was forward-looking, would it be appropriate for a user audience and provide enough information so users could take action now?
    • Did the proposal provide enough information about the talk? Generally proposals that were more detailed met with more favorable reviews. Also, the actually wording of the proposal counts; if you do not write your proposal properly, the odds are you will have trouble conveying your message while speaking.
    • It seemed that people read last year's blog post because the talk submissions seemed to echo the "real-world application" criteria. What made the final selection process very challenging was we had a lot of great examples of people and organizations running PostgreSQL in production that it made it challenging to pick which ones to include.

      It was also interesting to see what themes emerged in submissions over the course of the year. Last year, we had a lot of submissions around PostgreSQL deployment strategies and PostGIS. This year, the central theme seemed to be high-availability and distributed PostgreSQL. Personally, I am not quite sure what to make of this, but there is some sort of technology trend here and I at least want to note it!

      This was also the first year we included a "hackers" or "PostgreSQL internals" track on the agenda. To our pleasant surprise, we received a lot of high-quality submissions that covered topics on how PostgreSQL is developed and tested to its evolution over the years to what is coming up in the newer PostgreSQL releases!

      As you could imagine, as we went through the talks, there were some that were clear winners and clear disappointments, which allowed us to narrow down the list. However, we ended up at a point where we had 40 undecided proposals for 5 slots. This is both a testament to the quality of the talks submitted, but also when putting the schedule together is not as fun for the organizers. To add some levity, I thought at one point it was 40 undecided proposals for 10 slots, but I had an error in my spreadsheet; I should have used PostgreSQL (which ultimately all the data went into our database).

      We took a harder look at this 40 proposals and tried to ensure it satisfied the criteria we mentioned above and made our choices. We applied similar methodology to making our decisions as we did last year:

      • The talk was covered in some way by someone else who also received universal approval
      • We ultimately decided it did not provide enough use-cases based on the proposal
      • We just ran out of space :(

      We are very proud of the talks we selected, but we do wish we could have had a few more. We are looking into adding another day to PGConf US 2017, but it will take significantly more fundraising efforts to ensure we keep our ticket prices low. We did say last year we were going to look into adding another day for this year, and we did: however, to run the event the way we like to, it was cost prohibitive at this point, but we will work on it for last year. Your talks actually help us to recruit more sponsors who want to give back to the community, and hopefully this is the year where we have enough momentum to add another day for 2017!

      Last year, we offered to give feedback on why certain talks were declined. A few people wrote in for the feedback, which we gladly supplied, and some resubmitted this year to PGConf US 2016. The good news: all of them incorporated feedback from the selection committee and most, if not all, had their submissions accepted. Already several people who did not have their talk selected for PGConf US 2016 have reached out on how to improve their chances of making it next year, and we will do our best to provide constructive feedback.

      And now, the final part: making the schedule! As you can see, we decided to group the talks into four different tracks this year:

      • Use-Cases: How did an organization use PostgreSQL and in what way to achieve its goals? These talks should be accessible to the general audience
      • Operations: How do you configure, deploy, and manage PostgreSQL? These talks are geared towards system administrators / DBAs / devops folks, but have lessons for everyone
      • Development: How do you interface with PostgreSQL? What are some good strategies & tools for developing against PostgreSQL? These talks are geared towards developers, but have lessons for everyone
      • Internals: How does PostgreSQL work underneath the layers? How are features built for PostgreSQL? What's coming up with PostgreSQL? These talks are for a wide-ranging audience, from beginners and the general audience to C developers and an advanced audience.
      • We tried to match talks in time slots that would not have overlapping audiences, but I've learned through the years that doing that is more of an art than a science. It is cool to hear people say they want to go to all four talks during a session, but it also stinks. As with last year, we are recording the talks, but per certain restrictions on certain speakers we may not be able to release them all.

        We could not have done this without our selection committee, which comprised of Mehboob Alam, Joshua D. Drake, Jim Mlodgenski, and Jonathan S. Katz. They reviewed all 139 proposals in less than 5 days during a busy work week, so big kudos to them.

        As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, kudos, etc. you can reach out to us at pgconf@postgresql.us - we will try to answer all of your emails and please do not be dismayed if it takes some time.

        (Click here for last year's edition: https://www.postgresql.us/node/150)

    Whatcom PgDay @ LinuxFestNorthwest April 25th & 26th

    JD says:

    It is that time of year and once again, PostgreSQL will be at LinuxFest Northwest. LinuxFest Northwest is a high attendance (1500+) conference covering Linux and other Open Source technologies. It is a free event (although there are paid options). The PgDay as part of United States PostgreSQL has the following talks!

    * Web-Scale PostgreSQL: The Best of the JSON and Relational Worlds. Speaker: Jonathan Katz
    * Shootout at the PAAS Corral. Speaker: Josh Berkus
    * Vacuum 101. Speaker: Gabrielle Roth
    * PostgreSQL Federation: Joining to Oracle, Mongo and more... Speaker: Jim Mlodgenski
    * Start_Date, End_Date: Calculate . Speaker: Eric Worden
    * Welcome To Total Security Robert Bernier
    * PostgreSQL Performance: 9.5 Devel Edition . Speaker: Mark Wong
    * Webscale's dead; long live PostgreSQL! Speaker: Joshua D. Drake

    AS you can see we have a lot of long time contributors (and a new one) at this PgDay. Come, enjoy a great conference, great weather, great food, great parties and learn all about PostgreSQL and Linux!

    How We Selected Talks for PGConf US 2015

    In the spirit of open-source, we would like to share how we handled the talk selection process for PGConf US 2015. This post will discuss the entire process of how a talk ends up in one of our United States PostgreSQL Association conferences; our goal is to help you understand what our conference is looking for in talk proposals and help you decide what you submit for PGConf US 2016!

    In the past conferences we organized in New York, we had to do a lot of direct outreach in order to attract speakers, to the point where we would have just enough talks to put on a program. This changed this year; while we did do some direct outreach, we were able to rely more on prior attendee / speaker experience, referrals from the PostgreSQL community, and our marketing efforts, which lead to 107 talk submissions!

    At first, we were planning to do 3 conference tracks across 2 days, for a total of 32 speaking slots. After Jim & myself did a first pass on the talks, we decided that the overall quality of the submissions warranted us adding either another day to the speaking sessions, or another track. Because of our contract with the hotel and the fact that we know people already booked their travel, we opted to add a 4th track, and expand to 44 speaking slots.

    We assembled a committee with the understanding that it works similar to an operating committee of a business: committee members were given the option to say "Yes" or "No" to talks and provide feedback as to their reasoning. However, Jim & I ultimately make the final decision on all of the talks. Overall, most of the talk selections were in-line with the committee consensus, but there were some exceptions which I will discuss later.

    We chose the committee members based on their history with the PostgreSQL, experience in technology, and industry they are representing.

    • Mehboob Alam: Has helped with marketing and organizational efforts in previous conferences; experience in healthcare.
    • Jonah Harris: Longtime PostgreSQL community member, has worked with large-scale PostgreSQL deployments as well as Oracle. Jonah also had a lot of feedback on the talks from last year's conference, so we challenged him to help us with the selections this year ;)
    • Bryan Doyle: Helping to organize the Regulated Industry Summit; experience in enterprise and data deployments in regulated industries

    For our part, Jim comes from the enterprise consulting world and has seen PostgreSQL deployed in many different configurations. I consider myself on the app development / startup side of the equation, thus I try to consider talks from that perspective.

    Two quick interjections:

    1. The talk committee did an outstanding job; we gave them less than a week to review 107 proposals and they all followed through. Great job team!
    2. If you are interested in being a part of the talk committee for PGConf US 2016, please talk to Jim & myself at the conference :) Our intention is to grow the conference even further in 2016, which should mean more talks to review and the need for fresh perspectives. And yes, attending one of our prior conferences is a requirement to be on the talk committee.

    When it came to reviewing the talks, we gave the committee very general guidelines, and this was on purpose: We wanted everyone to bring their unique perspectives and analysis to the reviews. However, there were some central preferences that came out of the review process, which were:

    • Does this proposal have real-world applications? Case-studies scored major points with everyone.
    • If the proposal revolved around a tool or utility, would the talk cover real-world deployments of the tool and what problems it helped to solve?
    • Did the talk offer a fresh perspective on a PostgreSQL topic?
    • If the topic was forward-looking, would it be appropriate for a user audience and provide enough information so users could take action now?
    • Did the proposal provide enough information about the talk? Generally proposals that were more detailed met with more favorable reviews. Also, the actually wording of the proposal counts; if you do not write your proposal properly, the odds are you will have trouble conveying your message while speaking.
    • There were some cases where Jim & myself reached out to talk submitters to clarify points in the proposals, request changes, or make suggestions. We were pleasantly surprised and glad that everyone we reached out to got back to us almost immediately!

      After the group reviews process, there were about 63 talks that met with favorable opinion, and about 55 that were universally favored. This of course makes ita challenge when you only have 44 slots to select, thus we had to make some tough decisions. When it came to make the final cutdown, we considered a few things:

      • Does the talk cover a topic that is not addressed by any other talk submissions?
      • Do we have the correct balance between beginner / intermediate / advanced talks?
      • Do we have the correct balance between different topics, with heavier weight placed on case-studies / PostgreSQL deployment strategy talks?
      • How cool is the content of the proposal? We don't want attendees to be bored ;) As an example, there was one proposal that talked about using a foreign-data wrapper to control a Lego robot - no pressure, but we are expecting a live demonstration of that!
      • Does the speaker have previous speaking experience, and at a PostgreSQL conference? This by no means was a deal-breaker; in many ways, we were looking for new speakers to bring into the community. We do want to make sure we are bringing in speakers who are comfortable with public speaking and can deliver clear messages to their audience
      • Does the talk fit the overall theme we are trying to convey at the conference? In general, the PGConf US series is looking for people who can talk about a particular feature or concept within the context of real-world usage, and that can include talking about technologies other than PostgreSQL.
      • Will the talk be able to better educate people how to use PostgreSQL within the greater world of technology?

      Even with this criteria, on the day we notified speakers, we were still left with 12 talks for 4 slots to fill. In a perfect world, we would have chosen all 12 of those talks, and we had to make some tough choices. There were some talks that the entire group universally voted "Yes" on that we ended up turning down, usually for one of these reasons:

      • The topic was covered in some way by someone else who also received universal approval
      • We ultimately decided it did not provide enough use-cases based on the proposal
      • We just ran out of space :(

      Looking towards PGConf US 2016, we are planning on adding a 3rd day of talks, which will mean we will have anywhere from 48 to 68 slots available based on the number of talk submissions and/or the number of concurrent tracks we want to run. We may consider adding a "PostgreSQL Hackers" track to have some more abstract, forward-looking concepts, though the criteria of having a real-world application will still apply to those talks.

      If you have any questions, comments, thoughts, or whatever, you can reach out to us at pgconf@postgresql.us

    Accepting code donations from the Ukraine (Crimea) and other sanctioned countries

    President Obama recently signed Executive Order: #13685 [1] , in short this Order states:

    (a) The following are prohibited:
    (i) new investment in the Crimea region of Ukraine by a United States person, wherever located;
    (ii) the importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the Crimea region of Ukraine;
    (iii) the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to the Crimea region of Ukraine;
    (iv) any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a United States person or within the United States.

    I spoke with an attorney about this because it directly affects my other interests. The attorney was apprised of the following:

    * PGDG (PostgreSQL Global Development Group) is not a corporate or legal entity
    * There are tangibly connected non-profits (SPI, postgresql.us, postgresql.eu etc…)
    * That we are an Open Source community
    * A detailed description of how Open Source and specifically the PostgreSQL community operates

    There were multiple scenarios presented (the non-profits under their current methods of doing business are fine) but there “could” be a problem in the following scenario:

    1. Crimean developer submits patch to .Org
    2. United States based committer reviews patch
    3. United States based committer commits patch
    4. “possible” violation of Order #13685

    I brought the specific example to the attorney because it is the most likely and even though there are other anomalies, this order currently has:

    * No guidance from OFAC [2]
    * The liability would fall personally on the committer

    United States PostgreSQL is not offering legal advice but we are suggesting that if you are a United States based committer, you might want to consult your attorney about the implications of this Order.

    It is “my” opinion that it is not likely that the justice department will be knocking on your door for committing a patch for a Crimean contributor, but I am not an attorney and stranger things have happened.

    1. http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/ukr...
    2. http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/offices/Pages/Off...

    An evening with PostgreSQL and Sponsoring LFNW

    JD wrote:

    A couple of weeks ago I spoke at Bellingham Linux User Group with a talk entitled: An Evening with PostgreSQL. It was an enlightening talk for me because it was the first time, in a long time, that I have spoke to a non-postgresql community. Most of the people in attendance were Linux Users of course but also a few Mongo as well as MySQL users. I was asked questions such as, "Why would I use PostgreSQL over MySQL?". To be honest, I didn't even realize that was still a question but it opens up a huge advocacy opportunity.

    PostgreSQL as a community is growing so fast that it seems we forget that there is a whole legacy community out there that is perfectly happy with inferior product. That community is probably our most significant pool of growth available. It is all about the education! I did receive good remarks on the talk and I hope to speak there again. I encourage the rest of our community to start reaching out to communities that we may be neglecting.

    The other opportunity that was presented while at BLUG was LinuxFest Northwest. Apparently, BLUG and LFNW are operated by the same community and non-profit. I attended the organizational meeting for LFNW the next week and PgUS has secured a full PostgreSQL track at LFNW. This will be at least one full day (possibly two) PostgreSQL talks held in April after PgConf.US. It is the perfect time for those to get in one last conference before the summer hits and we are all too busy hitting the mountains or "insert recreational activity here". Lastly, the PgUS board has decided to Gold Sponsor this event. It is a reasonably large event (1500 people) and should provide some great exposure for our community.

    Lastly, PgUS has also voted to submit a request for designs from 99designs.com. This is in an effort to get a modern website design in place to help further our cause!

    The slides can be found here:


    I Got Into the PostgreSQL Community By Speaking…And You Should Too!

    Seriously, you should. You should submit a talk proposal to PGConf US 2015 – the worst thing that will happen is the talk committee will say “no” and offer a bunch of reasons to help you get your talk approved next year! Believe it or not, speaking at a PostgreSQL conference is a great way to help the community at large, and I hope this personal story I am going to share will shed some light as to why.

    [Note: I like to keep things concise, but I wanted to share as much of the story as possible, so if you have a short attention span you may not read the full post, but you will miss out.]

    I never took a database class in high school or college (though I took plenty of computer science and math), yet I always loved using databases for my miscellaneous web and research projects, particularly PostgreSQL. I knew it was an open source project, I knew there was a community that supported it, but being young(er) and naïve, I did not know the extent I could participate in such a community.

    Once upon a time, I helped manage content at a calculator enthusiast website (did I just tip my hand at how nerdy I am?) called “ticalc.org,” which was founded and run by an even bigger nerd than me, Magnus Hagander. Magnus, now on the core PostgreSQL team, was quickly inundated with questions about my web development projects and guided me towards using PostgreSQL.

    Fast-forward to where I am about a year out of college and using PostgreSQL professionally (or at least claiming it was professional) in all my projects. Magnus, along with others from the PostgreSQL.EU community, were running a PostgreSQL conference in Paris, and for reasons that I’m still unsure of, Magnus encouraged me to submit a talk. I had been using ORMs to interact with my PostgreSQL databases and thought “why not talk about my experience?” The talk, to my surprise, was accepted.

    I arrived, very excitedly, in Paris to speak at my first professional conference, but still felt unsure of why I was there. At the outset, the only person I know is Magnus, but quickly I start to meet a lot of longtime PostgreSQL supporters. Through my first day of conversations, I realized a few of things:

    1. Wow, these people are smart
    2. Wow, these people are really smart
    3. Wow, not only are they smart, but they are good at explaining things. And they are really patient and are really trying to help me.
    4. …wait, am I the dumbest person here?
    5. …yes, I am. And I am speaking the next day.

    My talk was far from perfect (e.g. I mispronounced “PostgreSQL”), but it went well enough. I received a lot of constructive feedback on my thoughts and ideas, learned a lot more about PostgreSQL, and, much to my surprise, people there wanted to listen to me to help improve my PostgreSQL experience!

    And the warmth, support, and desire to get better as a community was not a one-experience. At the next EU conference in Stuttgart, I remember being asked by Dave Page, one of the organizers and a PostgreSQL core member and someone who I hardly knew at time, for feedback on the keynote and conference overall. I thought to myself "Wow, they really do care!" I gave a talk on the new PostgreSQL 9.0 release and only received one question from the end: it was from Heikki Linnakangas, who worked on some of the key components for streaming replication, who asked (slightly paraphrased) “You’re using streaming replication in production? Cool! How is it working? Is it having any issues? Anything I can help with?”

    Could I have made these realizations and connections in the PostgreSQL community without speaking at a conference? Sure, but speaking allowed a few things that may not have happened otherwise:

    1. I had to take my thoughts, research them further, and present them in a structured manner
    2. As much as I was trying to present new ideas to the community, in turn I was looking for new ideas too, and giving a talk was a way to catalyze this communication
    3. Though I would talk for 50 minutes, I could setup a topic of conversation for later, where people would come up to me for questions, comments, corrections, thoughts, ideas, etc.

    I know public speaking is tough for people, but like any skill, it becomes easier with more experience. I still make lots of mistakes in my talks, both technical and with delivery, but I learn from them, and the PostgreSQL community is very supportive of doing so. And quite frankly, we will be with you too.

    At PGConf US 2015, you have the opportunity to join the PostgreSQL community at one of, if not the, largest PostgreSQL events in the world – your own 50-minute forum to present an idea, teach us how you do something, inspire the community to approach a problem in a different way.
    We succeed as a community if we can share our knowledge and grow, and to do that, we need new people to share new ideas.

    All that remains to be said is: where is your talk submission?

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