offtopic

2016 Tuna 200 Race Report

by Patrick Connelly posted on October 25, 2016

This will be the first time I’ve written a post like this, so if it’s terrible, I’m sorry. This post will be not related to Salesforce work at all so don’t feel obligated to read it if you’re expecting Salesforce stuff.

2016 marks the 3rd year that I’ve participated in the Tuna 200 and the 5th time I’ve done a endurance relay race. I thought I’d take a moment to record how this year’s race went, what worked well and what I would change for next year


Dreamforce: What Not To Bring

by Patrick Connelly posted on September 26, 2016

By this point, you’ve no doubt read plenty of articles about what to bring to Dreamforce and how to prepare. If you’ve not had the chance yet, do yourself a favor and checkout the Dreamforce Trailhead module. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I want to talk about things you shouldn’t bring to Dreamforce, specifically things that I have brought in the past. So, let’s learn from my mistakes!

Dreamforce Ready

If this upcoming Dreamforce is your first, buckle up! it’s a wild ride. 2016 will be my 5th Dreamforce and I’ve brought a bunch of things over the years thinking I would need them and ended up not using them at all (or barely).

What Not to Bring

  • Entertainment devices – This is a pretty big category so lemme break it down. Over the years I’ve brought things like card / board games, gameboy, PSP, extra movies, etc. All with the intention of using them in my “downtime,” and let me tell you, there is no downtime. Now if you have a long flight, by all means bring stuff with you to keep you entertained. But don’t bring it thinking you’ll find time to use it. There is so much to do at Dreamforce that you’ll barely have time to sleep. You’d be better off spending that time catching up on your sleep or meeting new people (or catching up with old friends).
  • Work – Now hear me out. I know there are lots of solo admins, senior team members, CEO, CTO, etc coming to Dreamforce and it’s tough to leave work at work. Try. You’ll be better off if you focus on the talks being given, the hands on training or the networking than half paying attention while trying to do work. If you have to do work, try to set expectations that you’ll do it in the morning or the evening before the conference kicks off.
  • Computers – Well, this one is a bit of a “clickbaity” bullet point. When you’re in attending a talk, shut the computer. Bring some paper if you want to take notes but for the most part, just pay attention. The slides will be provided after the talk so there’s no need to copy down every word that’s been said. You’ll absorb more of the talk if you’re giving it your full attention. Now there are plenty of places you’ll want to have your computer, such as the mini-hacks, so bring it. Just don’t use it all the time.
  • All your camera gear – This one pains me to say more than any. I’m a photographer and love to use my camera. But unless I’m have planning to go somewhere like a tour or on a photo walk I found that I just carrying around a bunch of heavy lenses. If you want to bring your real camera, go minimal. This year I’ll just be bringing my D90 and my 50mm lens. Not only will it lighten up my bag, but it will force me to be creative with my work since I can’t just changes lenses.
  • Your conference badge – Yes, you do need to bring it with you when you’re trying to enter any of the conference buildings. But you don’t need to be wearing it when you’re out to dinner with your team. And you don’t need to be wearing it when you’re walking around at Union Square. San Francisco is a pretty safe city, but it’s a big city. And like any big city your ultimate goal should be to not make yourself an obvious target. For some interesting reading look at things on the gray man theory*
  • Preconceptions – Every Dreamforce is different and every person experiences it differently. So, take everything in the article (and every other article you’ve read) with a grain of salt. Do your Dreamforce your way and don’t succumb to peer pressure. Oh, and check your biases at the door too.

What to Bring

Yeah, I know, this is suppose to be what not to bring. But there are a couple of things that I have to list that I have found get left off of most lists.

  • A jacket – I live in a state that is in a constant state of being so humid it should rain but not actually raining. A state where simply the act of walking from your front door to your car can end up with you being drenched in sweat. San Francisco is not in my state. It can get pretty chilly during Dreamforce at night, especially down near the water. Do like your mother told you and bring a light jacket. If you forget, there are typically lots of ways to win a hoodie at Dreamforce.
  • An envelope – One of the first things I do when I check into my hotel room is to ask the front desk for a couple of envelopes. I use these throughout the conference to store receipts in and to store business cards. This keeps all of my paperwork organized so when I get home I don’t have to check through 30 different pockets to find a receipt for my expense report.
  • An extra bag – Most likely, you’re going to end up with a bunch of extra swag (which is not an acronym for Stuff We All Get). In previous years, I’ve relied on the conference bag to be big enough to hold anything extra. Last year all of my bags were bursting at the seams so I decided to pick up a collapsible duffel bag. I’ll fly out with just carry-on bags, fill up the duffel bag and then check a bag on my way back. Check out David’s great article on how to get swag at Dreamforce.

* Just a quick note. Most of the stuff on gray man theory comes from “survivalist” or “tactical” sites. The concepts behind these are useful but some of it can be a little too tin-foil hat for me. I’d also recommend the first chapter of the Handbook of Practical Spying.


My Story: How I Became A Salesforce Developer

by Patrick Connelly posted on September 20, 2016

There are many stories like this, but this one is mine. I was born in North Carolina… wait, that’s probably too far back.

Becoming a Code Monkey

Since an early age, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to be a programmer. I use to “design” web pages on Angelfire and dabble in BASIC back in middle school. Looking back now, it wasn’t anything special but it was the catalyst that would carry me into some of my high school classes and eventually on to my degree in computer science from North Carolina State University (go Wolfpack!).


Travel Gear

by Patrick Connelly posted on September 01, 2016

This weeks post is going to be another off topic one. I’ve been traveling more recently and I wanted to share the gear I use and what I like (and don’t like about) them.

Base Travel Gear

Regardless of the type of trip I’m taking, these items always come with me

Suitcase

I struggled for a long time to find the right suitcase. When looking for it my criteria was that I wanted a rolling suitcase that would fit in the overhead. This is a really wide category and there are hundreds that fit into this category. So I started looking at companies that I’ve use their gear before and the Osprey Merdian 22 caught my eye. It’s got some great features such as a disconnect-able backpack and straps that convert it to a backpack from a roller bag.


Ten years at Red Hat

by Patrick Connelly posted on May 17, 2016

That's a bunch of Red Hat!

May 15th marks my 10th year anniversary at Red Hat. That’s a bunch of time to be at one company, so I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to share my career path over the past 10 years as well as some fun pictures.


2 Years of Running

by Patrick Connelly posted on March 07, 2016

Back in 2013 a couple of folks from the Salesforce community challenged each other to do the Runners World Run Streak. Eight of us started the challenge of running at least one mile a day for 35 days. Of those eight, four completed the challenge. This sparked a fire in me to try to keep the streak alive. Starting November 28th 2013 I ran at least a mile a day until February 23rd 2013 (88 days) when my son was born. After a little more than a week off (which felt like a lifetime) I picked back up and decided to keep the streak going for as long as possible. Yesterday (March 6th) marks two years of running every day. I wanted to take a little bit of time to put down what I’ve learned about running and about myself over these two years.


Board games that all board gamers should own

by Patrick Connelly posted on February 17, 2014

Now I know this is a bit out of the realm of “normalcy” for my blog, but I think there is a bit of overlap in people who would read this, and people who play board games. This list was generated by several suggestions of board gaming friends of mine. It is by no way 100% accurate or complete. We tried to get at least two suggestions per category and from there you can decide.

If we missed your favorite board game, or you think one doesn’t belong, let me know in the comments. And, feel free to buy me any board game I missed to convince me about it.