Category Archives: Technology

Why is Netflix at Grace Hopper this week?

If you’re at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing this week, you’re not alone. There are 12,000 people here! Wow! What a difference from the Michigan Celebrates Women in Computing conference I attended several years back, held at a remote Michigan State Biological station.

But — why is Netflix here? Why are other tech companies here?

Our industry is at a crossroads. We all compete for great talent to solve the interesting and difficult technical problems that we all face. And when we don’t reach women, we make this problem even harder. Why have women been underrepresented in our field? Perhaps women haven’t embraced the field because we haven’t accurately represented what it means to be a computer scientist in 2015. And it’s our job to help grow that awareness. I want women to know what it’s like to work at Netflix, of course, but I mostly want women to know the wide variety of problems and the diverse career that computer science can offer.

So — that’s why we’re here. We want to understand how the 12,000 women who are here are thinking about our industry. And we want to support them in their career growth and aspirations. And we even have a few really cool hoodies to give away.

Netflix is sponsoring a Professional Development Leadership Workshop today (Wednesday), from 10:30-12:30 and from 1:15-3:15 in the Grand Ballroom C, on Level 3. The topic is “Showcase Your Work: How to Give Your First Lighting Talk”. Please join us!

Netflix at DockerCon

Netflix at DockerCon

If you’re attending DockerCon in San Francisco this week and have been wondering what Netflix is up to with Docker, be sure to find us at the conference!

We’ve had an incredible journey with Docker over the past year. We’re running production batch applications in thousands of containers within the cloud and we’re moving toward running parts of our mission critical infrastructure as well. We’re going to share with you our work and experiences running Docker reliably at scale in Diptanu Choudhury’s talk “Reliably shipping containers in a resource rich world using Titan.”

In addition to Diptanu’s talk, several other Netflixers will be on hand to talk about how we do deployments and infrastructure. Vasanth Asokan can talk about how we are planning to expand our use of Docker; he can talk at length on the interesting aspects of containers at Netflix. And we’re definitely hiring to meet these needs. Andrew Spyker and Naresh Gopalani will represent Platform Services. They’re hiring for engineers to join Diptanu in developing Titan.  Dianne Marsh and Andy Glover represent Engineering Tools, and have 3 roles open: an engineering manager for Cloud Tools, a senior software engineer for Cloud Tools and a full stack senior software engineer for Delivery Engineering.

Find us! In addition to talking about the jobs listed above, we may even have stickers and, of course, monkeys.

You Did an Hour of Code … Now What?

This week, kids and parents and schools around the country are celebrating Computer Science Education Week with an Hour of Code. Even President Obama got involved, writing a little Javascript. But beyond writing code in school for an hour, what’s a parent to do to keep that excitement going?

Writing on a White Computer Keyboard

Here are some ideas:

  • The Khan Academy has some one hour lessons. Try Javascript or HTML/CSS!
  • The Python for Kids book is a great introduction for parents and kids alike. Programming books are often written badly, but I think that this one is well done.
  • Scratch Programming is all the rage at the elementary school level. Our local school is teaching a class which pretty closely follows this book.
  • Carnegie Mellon created the Alice Programming language for kids.

And, if you want to be the coolest mom (or dad) around, show your Minecraft kid how to program mods. First, read up on Minecraft mods on Wired. Next, here are some places to check out:

Hopefully that took you beyond the first few hours of coding and you made it fun!

P.S. There’s nothing saying that parents can’t do this … without the kids.

Prerequisites for Netflix Precompilers at CodeMash

In CodeMash-speak, we call the tutorials “precompilers”. If you’re planning to join the Netflix precompilers on Wednesday, here are the prerequisites (downloads, mostly) so that you’ll be ready to get started immediately. We only have 4 hours and lots to do!

Architecting for the Cloud: Hands on With NetflixOSS
Sudhir Tonse
Wednesday, January 8, 8:30-12:30

Browser (preferably Chrome or Safari as Netflix Asgard will not work with Firefox)
JDK 1.6 or later (Oracle SDK peferred)
gradle (See
(*) git (see
(*) Your favorite IDE. Instructions will be in Eclipse (Juno or later)
Gradle plugin recommended
(*) Apache Tomcat 7.X

The items marked in (*) are optional.
Git is used to clone the existing NetflixOSS repositories. If you dont have git installed, please download
IDE: Although useful you may also follow along with vi/emacs/<your favorite text editor> as well. We will use gradle to build and run the apps

Setting up your Environment for the AWS Cloud using Netflix OSS
Joe Sondow and Peter Sankauskas
Wednesday, January 8, 1:30-5:30

Your own AWS account (you can convert a shopping account), with Billing and Payments enabled.
Access to AWS console
git installed
Your favorite text editor.

We’ll walk you through the rest!

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

New Adventures: Managing (my) career …

One of my favorite topics is career management. I like to remind those that I mentor that they need to be in charge of their careers. I’ve said that while your employer may manage your job, the responsibility for making sure that The Next Big Thing is in line with what YOU want to do is solely yours. At my keynote at 1DevDay in 2011, I described how to manage your career path, and gave examples of I have been actively managing mine through speaking, continual learning, and community participation. My book, Atomic Scala, co-authored with Bruce Eckel and recently published, satisfied my technical leanings, and participation in local and national conferences (OSCON, CodeMash, and the Java Posse Roundup) was a further demonstration of my commitment to both learning and to professional networking. Guiding your career along a path consistent with your lifelong goals, particularly as they evolve, is a big responsibility and requires active participation.

No one, at any level, should ignore this responsibility. You owe it to yourself and to your organization. If your current position isn’t working for you, either adapt it to work, or find something that does. In Open Spaces conferences, we call this the Law of Two Feet, and it’s quite liberating to apply this thinking broadly.

SRT Solutions recognizes that employees are most effective when fully engaged. This translates to better software, better communication with customers, and to being a better co-worker. And, to being a better boss. Even business owners are not exempt from needing to follow their passions.

So what’s my passion? I like bringing people together and building great software to match what they need. I’ve had a lot of opportunity to do that in my 13 years at SRT, but I’ve decided that I need a new adventure. I could have stayed at the company that Bill Wagner and I built until retirement, but I decided to use the Law of Two Feet to find my next adventure.

I’m excited to say that I will be joining Netflix in Los Gatos, CA, next week as Director of Engineering for Cloud Tools. I will be working with an amazing team as they build software to support cloud deployment and management, used both internally and often released as open source tools to the broad community. I’ll be working with the other teams to ensure that they know what our team builds, and to help ensure that what we build is useful for them. This is an amazing opportunity for me, but not one that I made lightly. It required not only asking Bill to take on full managerial responsibility for SRT but also moving my family across the country. I remain committed to SRT’s success, and to watching the personal and professional growth of the SRT staff.

My nine year old daughter is wise. She said, “Sometimes change is good”. Indeed, indeed it is.

Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts March 20 — Scala 101: Come for the Collections, Stay for the Functions

Interested in learning more about Scala? Please join us on Wednesday night at 6 pm. We’ll have an introduction to Scala, demonstrate how sanity can be achieved by having consistent collections (who would have thought of that?!) and include some cool stuff that you can do with functions too.

In other words, we hope to lure you in!

The meeting will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI. It’s free and open to the public, but please RSVP on the meetup site so we will know how many folks are coming. You never know. I might bake cookies. Or not.

The speaker:

Dianne Marsh (yes, that’s me) will be speaking on Wednesday night. I  will be actively recruiting additional speakers for upcoming meetings, so please volunteer!  We already have a speaker for our April 17 meeting, but will be recruiting for meetings after that!



Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts March 20 meeting

The Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts are on meetup and that allows me to post a poll regarding what folks would like for the  March 20 meeting. Please vote! If you don’t like any of the topics, please comment here with suggestions.

The Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts will meet at 6 pm on March 20, 2013, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The meeting is free and open to the public. Please join the meetup group and RSVP if you are planning to attend so that we can gauge interest and tailor content.

Annual trek to Java Posse Roundup

I’m here in Crested Butte, Colorado, for the annual Java Posse Roundup. Of course, the Java Posse delivers the podcast that keeps programmers on the JVM up to date, and this conference brings together a group of those listeners every year so that we can say, in person, what we’ve been screaming at our mobile devices 51 weeks out of the year. And, given the open spaces format, we choose topics for discussion all week. We also hack on special projects and generally enjoy the intellectual experience.

I’ll report throughout the week, but for those who might be curious what we do here, I’m posting the “Master Schedule” below.


6pm: Welcome Barbeque.



Hackathon Day workshops 

9:30 pm at the Majestic Theatre: “Possibilities”: A selection of TED Talks Designed to Inspire New Thinking, presented by the Java Posse Roundup. Free admission, all are welcome.


Conference Overview
Introduction to Open Spaces
Initial talk topics and organization
Session 1
10:30am-12:00pm: Session 2
Afternoon: lunch/hackathons/free time
Evening: Groups go to dinner or informal barbeque & discussion
Lightning Talks 8pm – 9:30 pm
End the evening with private gathering at Princess Wine Bar.


8:30-9:30 am: Session 3
10:00-11:00am: Session 4
11:30-12:30pm: Session 5
Afternoon: lunch/hackathons/free time
Evening: Groups go to dinner or informal barbeque & discussion
Lightning Talks 8pm – 9:30 pm
End the evening at the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.


8:30-9:30 am: Session 6
10:00-11:00am: Session 7
11:30-12:30pm: Session 8
Afternoon: lunch/hackathons/free time
Progressive Dinner (5 pm?).

End the evening at the Lobar with Karaoke.


8:30-9:30 am: Session 9
10:00-11:00am: Session 10
11:30-12:30pm: Session 11
Afternoon: lunch/hackathons/free time
Dinner at either Django’s or the Yurt (x-c ski or snowshoe to get to the Yurt, rentals at Nordic Center)