published on in Featured Geekyness LLNL

nlit 2011 vail colorado

Every year, for the last 12 years or so, the National Laboratories have held a technical conference for IT. A different lab hosts it each year, and the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado was nice enough to volunteer. I should point out, this conference is not in any way funded by the Department of Energy. It is sponsored by Vendors.

I have never been to NLIT before, but this year I felt I had a significant contribution to make and it was worth the effort of submitting an abstract and putting together a nice presentation. I have been immortalized here

Overall, it was pretty neat. The best thing is you end up meeting and talking with people who are really excited about what they have done and are talking about. It sort of reinvigorates your perception of the workforce, and it really makes me want to keep in touch with the people I met so we can continue to collaborate.

Virtualization and the “Cloud” was the big talk, and I’ll be honest… I couldn’t be more board with that. I’m sort of a cynic, so I err on the side of “They are using marketting speak to sound good…” and I become disinterested. I also love hardware, and the cloud takes that away.

The talks I tried to go too were about:

  • authentication - Shibboleth was pretty popular, and I talked with a guy at Sandia about a possible pam module to do asymmetrical two-factor authentication.
  • development - not that I develop or write code, but I like to know what those folks are into since I end up supporting them
  • cyber security and phishing - dang internet, you scary
  • web services  - RESTful services and load balancing

Now, for some photos:

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The view of the Lion Square, this is where I stayed. The view was much nicer than the room, trust me …

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The loud and great for white noise rushing creek

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A Bear

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A view of the valley hills

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The surrounding Hotels, the Carlton Ritz and the Marriot

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Part of the outdoor arcade of eateries, shops and hotels

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Another shot, with Paul and Kevin

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I don’t know what this is, so it must be art

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These are the free weights at the hotel gym, I really liked them. So much that I organized them for the benefit of everyone

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more super nice gym equipment

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The bar tender put in a nice clover design. I took this picture so I could try to ignore the NetApp sales folks phishing for information.

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We did a lot of walking around, and this was a colorful changing light display in the area

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I went walking around with to other co-workers, Lee and Dave, along the creek path. This was a pretty impressive torrential creek, as well as a very chilly creek

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The weather for the whole trip was sunny and warm, except the last day. We drove through heavy rain, and then eventually snow, on our way back to Denver. We made it back safely.

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Us folks in IT have to take pictures of Kiosk systems in a failed state. This airport Gaming/Web Surfing terminal was apparently running on dell hardware, and required some manual intervention.

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We came across yet another Kios with a problem, this time a true BSOD, with the IRQL_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL code. The is usually from a faulty device driver

Our flight home was “awesome”, complete with me sharing knee space with two “Brah’s” who insisted they keep their legs open as wide as possible (Both flights we had to take middle seats), and a screaming two year old who I think I saw grab a handful of Paul’s hair during his initial fit :) We made the best of it, and of course, hanging out with Jean Shuler is always cool. I arrived home late Friday night, and it was nice to sleep in my own bed again.

I’ll work on a separate post for my Scalable Backups with Bacula presentation. NLIT was nice, I feel that if I were to attempt to go again, I would again have to bring something unique to the table.