Meeting Notes for April 2018


I’d like to welcome you all to the April HV Open meeting. I’m Sean Dague, president and founder of the group. We’ve also got a few other folks from the leadership team here, Matt Johnson who is the program director, and Jack Chastain the Historian. Jack will be taking pictures of the event to help give folks a sense of the evening. If you have a concern about your photo being posted online, please chat with him after and we’ll make sure they aren’t.

House keeping business

If you need the rest rooms, they can be found on the 1st and 4th floors of this building.

Code of Conduct

HV Open meetings are covered by a code of conduct. If you have a concern on a possible code of conduct violation, please just send an email to and the leadership team will address it in a timely manner.

Evening flow

For new faces in the room, and folks that haven’t been around in a while, the way our meeting works is as follows.

  • We start the evening with 1 - 3 lightning talks. These are 5 - 10 minute quick talks about some kind of open technology or project or thing you did that excites you.
  • We then move on to our main talk
  • After that we do announcements, including getting a count for dinner
  • And we head off to the Palace diner for dinner and further talk on technology, pop culture, and whatever else is on people’s minds. It’s a fun part of the evening and everyone is welcome.

Lightning Talk - New Website

For my lightning talk tonight I’m going to talk about the new HV Open website. A new brand needed a new website. Over the years we’ve had a number of different websites. The 1st one was server side include html managed in CVS, the 2nd one was a moin moin wiki, the 3rd one was based on Drupal 6 (then migrated to 7), and the latest one based on Jekyll which is a static site generator written in ruby.

Static site generators have become all the rage of late, as you can write content in something simple like markdown, it compiles it to html through a template. This is all in a git repository in the hvopen group on github. The hosting for the website is done on a service called Netlify, which is optimized for this, and means we push out to a CDN. The net effect is speed. Pages consistently have load times at less than 700ms, which means loading on 3G is even half way reasonable.

In order to build the website I needed to extend Jekyll with a number of custom plugins. I won’t go into the details tonight, as Jekyll itself could make a substantial talk on it’s own, but I wrote up an overview with links here….

First, what’s coming with us, and what’s staying behind. All the meeting descriptions have come over. That goes back to the origin of the group. A number of the year one and year two ones were reconstructed from memory, but everything after that is what was written down at the time.

We will probably not back populate all the non meeting events. The fact that we had lunch or a leadership meeting is less interesting in hindsight.

We’ve got about 1.2 Gigs of digital assets, photos, presentations, supporting material. Pushing those all into git is not really the right way to manage those. We’re still figuring out our photo management solution going forward, but for the presentations my intent is to push them all up to the Internet Archive tagged with mhvlug and hvopen, and link to them. That’s a manual process and could use volunteers, so if anyone is interesting, please come and talk to me after the meeting. We might try to organize a sprint or some other fun thing to get all this fixed up.

For all the content that we migrated over, the old urls will still work. We’ve got a rather extensive redirect system in place. I’m in the camp that URLs are sacred.

One last thing, which is an important one. HV Open is now governed by a formal code of conduct. Here it is. One of the things that I feel is very important about the organization is that we are a model of a respectful and inclusive community, and being clear what will not be tolerated is an important part of that. If anyone has questions or comments on that, please feel free to chat with me after the meeting.

So, I hope you like the new site, and I also hope that you come and contribute to it.

Speaker Introduction

As a reminder, we’re really fortunate to get some great speakers up on stage. I know folks often have questions, so if you have clarifying questions, you are welcome to ask them. As a reminder, a question is a sentence of made up of 20 - 30 words that ends in a question mark. There will be time for more in depth chat about the topic after the lecture, and at dinner for any that wish to join us.

I’d like to welcome Matt Johnson tonight. Matt got involved in HV Open for nearly a decade, and quickly stepped up to help with organizing activities. He’s been the program director for HV Open for the last many years, and you can thank him for our really high quality lecture series. Over the past few years he’s been getting more involved with teaching students software development and engineering, which has included teaching game development class at Lourdes, and leading their robotics team. He also moonlights as a DJ.

Post Meeting Announcements

Ok, we’ve got a number of these, so lets get rolling. All these slides are also live at so you can find the links later.

First, lets get a headcount for dinner.

We touched on the Code of Conduct at the beginning of the meeting, but I wanted to bring it up again. Please keep this space an inclusive and respectful one.

Next, lets talk about events. Next month, Dan Stone, Senior Creative Director at Moonfarmer up in Kingston is going to give the talk on Kubernetes. If you saw Mike’s talk on Docker and Containers a couple of years ago, and thought to yourself, “but if I put everything in it’s own container, doesn’t it become kind of a crazy mess?”. The answer is yes, yes it does. And that’s why you need an container orchestration system, like Kubernetes. He’s going to give an overview, and show how it’s become their standard deployment platform for clients.

We’re still nailing down June as we had to do some rescheduling to handle speaker conflicts. But we’ll get that out soon.

July 11th will be our Mad Science Fair, at Lourdes High School. Last year we had 9 exhibitors, I’d love to get us past a dozen this year. The registration form is up and live so you can tell us what you’ll doing, and what kinds of equipment you need. Please register as soon as you can so that we can make sure we’re doing the space planning and layout correctly. This is also a promiss that we might have Matt’s robot league setup and running during the event, which would be awesome.

Between events we do an HV Open Lunch at Mole Mole, that will be in 2 weeks. Check meetup or our website if you are interested.

Squidwrench, if you like hacking on hardware as well as software, this is a great group to check out. Sean Swelha is the founder of that effort. They meet every Tuesday in Highland for an open hack night. They will also be going a special Electronics Workshop starting on April 21st. If you are interested in that please see their link here for more info.

Slack! We’re on Slack now. This is mostly an experiment to see if it will help communicate on organizing the group. Slack is kind of web based IRC with good mobile support. If you are interested in joining just go to and sign up there for an invite.

And lastly I’d like to thank Vassar College for their support. They’ve been hosting us for the last 8 years, and having that kind of steady support has been incredibly important for the group growing and evolving.

So, we’ll hang out until about 8, feel free to chat and mingle and then we’ll be off to the Palace diner. Thanks again for coming, and we’ll see you next month.