Meet the speakers: Nathan Toups, Rikki Endsley, Scott Sumner

[As TXLF 2014 draws near, we're running a series of short interviews with our speakers, so you can get to know them—and what they'll be talking about—that much better....]

This edition features our chat with Nathan Toups, Rikki Endsley, and Scott Sumner.

Meet Nathan Toups

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

My name is Nathan Toups. I own rojoroboto, llc, which is a boutique IT consultancy here in Austin, TX. I specialize in IT infrastructure for small business, and I focus on cloud based and mobile technology solutions. My background is in OS X and Linux Systems Administration and I continue to work regularly in both environments, though these days I spend most of my time on AWS.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

My talk focuses on understanding that "next step" in wrapping your head around command line tools. I'm diving into how to build more complex "one liners" by manipulating stdin, stdout, and stderr. The real goal here is to help people understand why and how you create the output your are looking for by chaining commands together. I'll be going over the syntax that is used, as well as real-world examples of how to string together tried-and-true command line tools so that the audience can really have the command line work for them. It will be one part "unix philosophy", one part "command line cookbook", and one part "pipes, chains, and redirection" in action.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

Yes! I love TXLF. I love that TXLF has such a strong community aspect to it. I love the mix of booths and sessions and great hallway conversations that will emerge.

You can catch Nathan's talk, Pipes, Chains, and Redirection: an introduction , at 1:30pm on Saturday!

Meet Rikki Endsley

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

My first editing job was with Sys Admin magazine back in the late '90s. I'm fortunate to have landed that job because I got to work with experienced tech editors and writers in a particularly exciting area of technology: Linux. After Sys Admin, I worked at Linux New Media USA and wore a variety of hats — including editor, writer, and associate publisher — on their Linux and open source technology-focused magazines. In late 2011, I became a freelance writer, editor, and community manager. Recently I joined Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team as the community evangelist, which means I get to work with a variety of upstream communities. I'm not technically "in publishing" anymore, but I still get to cover open source and Linux technologies and work with many of the same people I've known since I started my career.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

My daughter was a toddler when I started working on Linux publications, and my talk is inspired by her experience in a high school programming class. I've spent a huge amount of time over the years thinking about how to improve tech education and increase diversity in open source communities, and I applied many of what I thought were "best practices" when raising my kid. And she still had a horrible experience in her first programming class. I decided to share our story because the things we tell parents to do, such as give kids access to technology, encouragement, mentors, and so on, isn't enough. Based on her experience, I wrote an article with a few simple, free suggestions for improving high school tech education. I'll also share my suggestions with attendees, and then tell them about the experience my daughter had after reporting harassment in her programming class, and how it mirrors what happens when women in tech talk about their experiences.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

Last year was my first TXLF. This year I won't be working at a booth, so I'm looking forward to attending the talks. The lineup is pretty impressive, especially considering how inexpensive it is to attend the event.

Is there anything else would you like to tell someone about your talk or about the event in general?

If you can't make my talk but want to know more about what I'll be covering, check out the article I wrote ( http://rikkiendsley.com/?p=256 ) or look for the slides online after the event.

You can catch Rikki's talk, What Communities Can Learn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , at 11:25am on Saturday!

Meet Scott Sumner

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

I'm Scott Sumner, the Producer / Educator at the Mayborn Science Theater (planetarium) at Central Texas College. My primary job is creating content for the planetarium as well as interactive exhibits and display items. I also write web applications and custom software for our internal events as needed. That's where most of my content for Linuxfest is coming from.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

I'll be showing a couple widely varied applications for Raspberry Pi computers. During staff meetings and planning sessions the question often came up "wouldn't it be nice if we had a computer to..." and now with the Pi, we do! We use them to track disk usage, show us system status, and run game shows (to name a few).

Attendees will have an idea of what various Python libraries are capable of and how to translate those data points into meaningful graphical displays.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

I've attended TXLF for the past 2 years but this is my first time speaking. I'm looking forward to that the most I think

Is there anything else would you like to tell someone about your talk or about the event in general?

Please note that we don't use Raspberry Pi boards to create imagery on the planetarium itself (yet...) I don't want anyone to be confused about that. These are all auxiliary displays or secondary projects.

You can catch Scott's talk, Planetarium Pi's , at 2:40pm on Saturday!