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OSCON 2013 Main Stage Sessions

OSCON's Main Stage is home to some of the most intriguing, jaw-dropping, and inspirational talks of the entire event. We invite you to enjoy some of the most highly rated sessions from OSCON 2013; each has insights and information that any programmer, developer, or engineer will find valuable. If you like what you see, consider coming to OSCON this July to see talks like these in person.

Reducing Identity Pain
Tim Bray

There are three flavors of identity pain: Users struggling with passwords (which don't scale to the Net), operators living in fear of being hacked and leaking personal data, and developers fighting with arcane identity APIs. This talk surveys the state of play the in the effort to reduce all three.


Hardware Hacking With Your Kids
Dave Neary (Red Hat)

How do we grow the next generation of hackers? As our community gets older, we have an excellent opportunity as parents to indoctrinate our kids with ideas like "it's better to share", and "if you don't like the way things are, change them". Dave Neary shares his story of how he tackled the challenge of getting his three kids enthusiastic about technology while avoiding the temptation of doing too much, too soon. He shares his lessons learned, gives recommendations for toys to use, and shares other unique ideas to grow a new hacker generation.


Literacy: The Shift From Reading to Writing
Robert R0ml Lefkowitz (Sharewave)

Throughout history, the virtue of literacy has been in reading. Reading was the gateway to knowledge, and as a society, we valued literacy because of the uplifting power of reading. Within the last fifty years, a cultural shift began, led by the free software movement, which started to move the locus of virtue in literacy from reading to writing. This shift is seen not only in open source development, but also social media in all its forms. In fact, one can argue that the defining difference between pre-social media and social media is the rise in the importance of writing relative to reading. R0ml explains how the implications of this shift are as profound as the transition from orality to literacy.


Depression - Bugs In Your Brain
Paul Fenwick (Perl Training Australia)

Internationally acclaimed public speaker Paul Fenwick talks about depression: what it is, why it sucks, and his own personal experiences in battling it. Drawing from a diverse range of fields, Paul provides insights into the bugs that may exist in your brain, and how some aspects of digital society may even make them worse.


Discrete Math You Need to Know
Tim Berglund, Datastax

In this talk, Tim Berglund explores the branch of mathematics that deals with separate, countable things. Most of the math we learn in school deals with real-valued quantities like mass, length, and time. However, much of the work of the software developer deals with counting, combinations, numbers, graphs, and logical statements: the purview of discrete mathematics. Watch this brief exploration of an often-overlooked but eminently practical area of mathematics.


Introducing the Numenta Platform for Intelligent Computing (NuPIC)
Scott Purdy and Matt Taylor (Numenta)

NuPIC represents a new approach to machine learning and machine intelligence. It consists of a set of machine learning algorithms that accurately model layers of neurons in the neocortex. NuPIC’s algorithms continuously learn temporal patterns, make predictions, and detect anomalous behavior within streaming data. In this hands-on session, Scott Purdy and Matt Taylor introduce NuPIC’s Online Prediction Framework (OPF) and demonstrate how to create models using an OPF client. Watch along as they set up some live streaming data to pass into the client and then see the NuPIC make online inferences, learning the changing patterns in the streaming data set.


Reinventing Business
Bruce Eckel (Mindview, LLC)

Over half of US workers hate their jobs, and most of this unhappiness seems to come from dysfunctional organizational structures. What if, instead of causing misery, an organization was designed to create happiness among its workers? In this session, Bruce Eckel talks about the research he's been doing on this subject for the past several years, how he's struggled against his own preconceptions and limitations, and he shares a few things he's found that seem like answers, and the questions that continue to accumulate. You will come away with a new perspective on what could be possible with organizations of the (near) future.


Create More Value Than You Capture
Tim O'Reilly

The prevailing mentality of mainstream business has led to short term gain, but long term loss. Yet the economy depends on consumers as well as producers: as consumers are increasingly less able to find employment, we're going to have to start thinking about how to put people to work, rather than how to put them out of work. In this session Tim O'Reilly urges developers to rethink our understanding of value and rediscover idealism in business. For entrepreneurs, there's a great opportunity to work on the hard problems that matter.


Scaling Systems Configuration at Facebook
Phil Dibowitz (Facebook)

This talk looks at how Facebook has redesigned its configuration management system to handle a massive, dynamic, heterogeneous environment with a tiny team and open source software. We will look at the philosophy we use to manage our systems, the implementation of that philosophy, and how you can apply these ideas to any size server footprint, from a handful of servers to a global environment.


More Instantly Better VIM
Damian Conway (Thoughtstream)

If you're one of the 50% of developers who uses Vim on a regular basis, but you're still only using the 5% of the editor features that you learned in school, this talk will offer you a dozen new ways to instantly make your favorite editor even less annoying…and more productive.


Functional Thinking
Neal Ford (ThoughtWorks)

Learning the syntax of a new language is easy, but learning to think under a different paradigm is hard. This session helps you transition from a Java writing imperative programmer to a functional programmer, using Java, Clojure and Scala for examples. You'll learn how to take common topics from imperative languages and look at alternative ways of solving those problems in functional languages.

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