Launch Festival 2016 Tickets for San Francisco event

launch festival 2016

One of the biggest startup festivals of the year LAUNCH is coming up next week in San Francisco.

Join 32,000 others and follow Sean Hull on twitter @hullsean.

Are you feeling lucky? If so enter to win tickets to Launch 2016. The winner will get a pass to the event, a one-on-one with Jason Calacanis, a one-year RushTix pass which seems pretty damn cool, and lastly a Dining on Reserve pass.

Nice!

1. Launch Festival 2016

The Launch Festival is a creation of Jason Calacanis. Formerly one of New York’s own, he started Silicon Alley Reporter way back in the dot-com era v1.0. Remember that? After some huge successes here, he moved on to become a huge figure in the Silicon Valley scene & the bay area.

Past events have included folks like Paul Graham & Mark Cuban & this years event is shaping up to fill Fort Mason Center to capacity again.

Also: Why is everyone suddenly talking about Amazon Redshift?

2. RushTix Membership

RushTix is a membership based way to discover local artists, concerts & events in the bay area. As a member you get comped tickets to all sorts of cool events. Check it out!

Related: Which tech do startups use most?

3. Dining on Reserve

Reserve consolidates restaurant discovery, reservations, and payment all in one smartphone app. What’s more you can use it at restaurants in a few big cities, like our own New York, LA, SF, Philadelphia, Boston & DC. Not bad!

Related: Is data your dirty little secret?

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Are you getting errors building Amazon lambda functions? Don’t fret I got you!

aws lambda python

Why does Amazon make lambda functions so hard to create? Well my guess is that when you live at the bleeding edge you should expect to get scrapes!!

Everybody is trying to build lambda functions these days. And it’s no wonder. Once you get them running, Amazon takes care of all the infrastructure drudge work! So cool.

Join 32,000 others and follow Sean Hull on twitter @hullsean.

I’ve been spending some time trying to get answers out of AWS support, and let me tell you it’s no fun. Yes all this stuff is new technology, and nobody has expertise in it in the way say you might in Linux or Oracle or another technology that’s been around for a decade.

Still you’d hope the techs would have some clue. In the end it was a slog dealing with support, and I think I was the one teaching them!

I did find Matt Perry’s howto which is pretty good.

Hopefully my own notes can help someone, so read on!

1. No lambda_function?

The very first issue you’re gonna run into is if you name the file incorrectly, you get this error:


Unable to import module 'lambda_function': No module named lambda_function

If you name the function incorrectly you get this error:


Handler 'handler' missing on module 'lambda_function_file': 'module' object has no attribute 'handler'

On the dashboard, make sure the handler field is entered as function_filename.actual_function_name and make sure they match up in your deployment package.

If only the messages were a bit more instructive that would have been a simpler step, but oh well!

Also: Is Amazon too big to fail?

2. No module named MySQLdb

This is a very tricky one. I mean after all you just spent all this time building your deployment package specifically for lambda, so what gives??


"Unable to import module 'lambda_function': No module named MySQLdb"

Turns out when you use a virtualenv, files will be installed into proj/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ or lib64. However Lambda wants them in the root proj/ directory! So move them there. I know I know. Weird, but that’s what they want.

Related: When hosting on Amazon turns bloodsport

3. Can’t find libmysqlclient

If you’re using the MySQLdb library like I was, you’ll eventually bump into this error:


Unable to import module 'lambda_function': libmysqlclient.so.18: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Turns out that /usr/lib/libmysqlclient.so.18 needs to be COPIED from /usr/lib. Don’t do “mv” or your system won’t have the mysql lib anymore!

Related: Are SQL databases dead?

4. Use the Amazon Lambda environment

One thing the support pointed out is that AWS as *supported images* for lambda development.

After all the errors above were resolved, it’s not clear to me that the supported AMI’s are truly required. However if you’re hitting intractable problems building a properly lambda deploy, you might wanna look at building one of these boxes.

Read: Why dropbox didn’t have to fail

5. Build your lambda deploy package

Now let’s roll it all together. Here’s are all the steps to build your deploy package.


- SSH to the instance
- mkdir test
- virtualenv test
- source proj/bin/activate
- sudo yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'
- sudo yum install mysql
- sudo yum install mysql-devel
- pip install MySQL-python
- cd test
- emacs -nw lamdba_function.py
- add your code to that file
- save the lambda_function.py
- mv proj/lib/python2.7/site-packages/* proj/
- mv proj/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/* proj/
- rm -rf proj/lib (don't need dist-packages in the deploy pkg)
- rm -rf proj/lib64 (don't need dist-packages
- zip -r proj.zip *

Also: How to hire a developer that doesn’t suck?

6. Upload your code

Uploading your code via the AWS dashboard is fine when you’re first testing things. But after a while it’ll get tiring going in the front door.

Create a new lambda function by specifying the basics as follows:


aws lambda create-function \
--function-name testfunc1 \
--runtime python2.7 \
--role arn:aws:iam::996225510001:role/lambda_basic_execution \
--handler lambda_function_file.handler_name \
--zip-file file://proj.zip

And when you want to update your function, do the following:


aws lambda update-function-code \
--function-name testfunc1 \
--zip-file file://proj.zip

Also: How to deploy on EC2 with Vagrant

Good luck with lambda. Once you get past Amazon’s weak documentation it’s pretty cool to be in a serverless computing environment. Happy deploying!

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Why is everyone suddenly talking about Amazon Redshift?

par accel redshift

It seems like all I hear these days is Redshift, Redshift, Redshift!

I met up with a recruiter today. We talked about this & that. The usual. Then when he came to the topic of technology he said,

“yeah it seems as though suddenly everybody is looking for Redshift & Snowflake”

As I blogged about before, I don’t work with recruiters, I learn a lot from them.

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Luckily I got to cut my teeth on Redshift about a year ago. I was senior database engineer managing Amazon & MySQL RDS, and they wanted to build a data warehouse. Bingo!

Here’s the big takeaway from my discussion today. Recruiters have their fingers on the pulse!

1. We need an Amazon expert

Here’s what else I’m hearing everywhere. “We’re migrating to AWS, can you help?” Complexity & confusion around the new virtual networking, moving into the cloud, and tuning applications & components to get the same performance as before. All of these are real & present needs for firms.

Related: Is data your dirty little secret?

2. We need a Redshift expert

Amazon bought Par Accel, a bleedingly fast warehouse. It uses SQL. It looks like Postgres, and handles petabytes. You read that petabytes! It’s so good in fact that it seems a lot of folks are now dumping Hadoop.

Incredible as that sounds, Redshift is delivering *that* kind of speed on that kind of big data. Wow! What’s more you skip the whole Hadoop cycle of write, test, debug, schedule job, fix bugs, and stir. With SQL you bring back the iterative agile process!

Read: 5 cloud challenges I’m thinking about today

3. We need a Hadoop expert

Ok, for those enterprises who aren’t sold on Redshift yet, there is still a ton of Hadoop out there. And for good reason.

Apache Spark is also getting really big now too. It’s an easier to manage successor to Hadoop, based around much of the same concepts.

Also: 5 core pieces of the Amazon cloud puzzle to get your project off the ground

4. We need strong Python skills

Python is everywhere. Amazon’s command line interface is python based. You see it everywhere. If it’s not in your wheelhouse get it there!

Also: Why Dropbox didn’t have to fail

5. We need communicators

Another interesting thing the recruiter said

“I was surprised & a little shocked that you suggested we meet for coffee. Most developers are hard to get out to have a conversation with.”

Good communicators are as in-demand as ever! Being able to and happy to talk with people who aren’t deeply technical, and distill complex technical jargon into plain english. And do that with a smile too & enjoy it?

That’s special!

Also: Should we be muddying the waters? Use cases for MySQL & Mongodb

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Do we need computer science for all?

I was recently digging through AVC, Fred Wilson’s blog. These days it’s where I get most of my tech news. :) I ran into this AVC Post on Obama’s Computer Science for All initiative. I hadn’t been paying attention to these weekly addresses.

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It’s exciting to see this reach the national stage. Theres’s been a shortage of computer science graduates since the 90’s. In fact it’s only grown.

Computer Science for All

Here’s the full address. It’s short & worth watching.

Also: 5 core pieces of the Amazon cloud to get your project off the ground

Code is everywhere

The president points out that it’s not just at trendy startups & silicon valley that you see code anymore. Car mechanics, nurses & everyone in the new economy touches code. It isn’t an optional skill anymore but rather a basic one.

Related: 5 tech challenges I’m thinking about today

1M unfilled computer science jobs by 2020!

This is an incredible figure. That’s not the number of jobs, but rather the number we’ll be short! That’s right we’ll need a million more graduates than we’ll have.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that by 2020, there’ll be 1 million more jobs in computer-science and related fields than students graduating for them.

While disruption affects a lot of other industries, in high tech skills, the demand is actually exploding!

Read: Is Data your dirty little secret?

Digital divide

Sometimes called a “digital skills gap” or “digital divide”, attention to this problem is sorely needed. Want more? Check out Girls who code or any of the many courses offered at General Assembly or a coding meetup group near you.

Also: Is Amazon too big to fail?

Get more. Grab our exclusive monthly Scalable Startups. We share tips and special content. Our latest Why I don’t work with recruiters