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Short Version

Our community is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices.

We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Slack and other online media. Participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled at the discretion of the community organisers.

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct, we ask that you report it by emailing melbourne@awsug.org.au, contacting the organisers on slack, or via the website.

All our speakers, attendees, and anyone else taking part in Melbourne AWS User Group activities are expected to familiarise themselves with these policies. While these policies are open to discussion and change over time, participation in the community implies that you are willing to abide by the policies in place at that time.

AWS Community Code of Conduct

Our community’s code of conduct (this document) is in addition to the AWS Community Code of Conduct, used by AWS communities like ours around the world. The two codes of conduct should generally align, but where they conflict please consider this document as authoritative.

Long Version

Respect yourself, and respect others. Be courteous to those around you. If someone indicates they would like to be left alone, let them be. Our event venues and online spaces may be shared with members of the public and employees of the venue; please be considerate to all patrons of these locations.

Here are some behaviours we’d like to see:

  • be nice! 🙂
  • welcome newcomers into your circle of discussion.
  • encourage current and new speakers by listening respectfully and asking relevant questions at the end of talks.
  • help clean up at the end of an event.
  • be considerate of others when entering and exiting the venue. There may be people working or neighbours sensitive to noise.

Here are some examples of behaviours which are not appropriate:

  • offensive verbal or written remarks related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion.
  • sexual or violent images in public spaces (including presentation slides).
  • deliberate intimidation.
  • stalking or following.
  • unwanted photography or recording.
  • sustained disruption of talks or other events.
  • drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs at an event venue.
  • inappropriate physical contact.
  • unwelcome sexual attention.
  • sexist, racist, or other exclusionary jokes.
  • unwarranted exclusion from the community based on age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion.

Community members asked to stop any inappropriate behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Reporting

Any time that you feel this code of conduct is being broken, or the conduct of speakers or attendees is distressing to you, you should always feel comfortable to report it, knowing that you will be taken seriously, and that it will be appropriately investigated and dealt with. There are a few different avenues for reporting.

All complaints made in any of these ways will remain confidential, be taken seriously, investigated, and dealt with appropriately.

Personal reports are always much better since there is only so much investigation that can be done without the ability to speak to the reporting party. When you report personally to any of the above people, please make sure you tell them if there is anyone specifically you do not want them to speak to about the issue. Normally the person you report to will discuss the report with other team members and/or the reporting mentors.

What happens after you file a report?

You will receive an email from the organising committee acknowledging receipt of your report. The committee will meet to review the incident and determine:

  • What happened.
  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation.
  • Who the bad actor was.
  • Whether this is an ongoing situation, or if there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety.

If this is determined to be an ongoing incident or a threat to physical safety, the committee’s immediate priority will be to protect everyone involved. This means we may delay an “official” response until we believe that the situation has ended and that everyone is physically safe. Once the committee has a complete account of the events they will make a decision as to how to response. Responses may include:

  • Nothing (if we determine no violation occurred).
  • A private reprimand from the committee to the individual(s) involved.
  • A public reprimand.
  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to “take a week off” from events or Slack).
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all Melbourne AWS User Group spaces (events, Slack, etc.)
  • A request for a public or private apology.

Unless they’re anonymous, we’ll respond to the person who filed the report with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved.

Once we’ve determined our final action, we’ll contact the original reporter (if we can) to let them know what action (if any) we’ll be taking. We’ll take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we don’t guarantee we’ll act on it.

Speakers

Presentation material should be appropriate for people of all ages.
Any public presentation which is part of any event, including but not limited to presentations, lightning talks, recruiter/job position or other promotions, mailing list posts and forums, is subject to this code of conduct and thus may not contain:

  • sexual or violent imagery.
  • exclusionary language.
  • insults or personal attacks.

Presenters are asked to avoid language which is not appropriate for an all-ages audience as much as possible.
If the subject matter of the presentation cannot be presented adequately without including language that could be considered offensive, this should be pointed out in advance, at the beginning of the talk and in the schedule.
If presenters are unsure whether their material is suitable, they are encouraged to show it to an organiser before their session.

Acknowledgements

Hi, I’m Rob (bok), one of the organisers here.

Attending your first meetup can be a bit daunting. As an introvert, I was mildly terrified at the thought of meeting people I didn’t know, discussing coding with them, and them finding out that I had no idea what I was doing!

Meetups have a large number of benefits for attendees, and they’re not all related to the subject of the group itself. When you do make it to your first event you’ll find that most people there are basically the same as you. We have different levels of experience, different goals, different ways of approaching things, different ways of learning, but we’re all otherwise the same: we’re all learning all the time.

This is especially true when it comes to AWS. I might know a lot about services like EC2 and Lambda, but put me in front of a redshift cluster (is it even still a cluster anymore?) or Sagemaker and I’ll stare blankly for a while at the console before opening up Google. There is no one person who is an expert across the entire stack (despite what full stack developers might want you to believe), so you can be confident that everyone in the room at a meetup is there to learn something.

The connections made at meetups can sometimes be more important than the tech discussed. I’ve made a number of lifelong friends at meetups, and often find work through the groups. You can often have a chance to talk directly to influential people at local companies that might be interested in hiring you in the future; heck, some of our sponsors over the years have been open that their primary goal is to meet good people who might be a fit for their organisations.

Deciding if a meetup is a good fit for you is important. It pays to research the group you are planning to attend and see if they fit with your values and goals. Check if they have a code of conduct and whether they value inclusion and diversity. Reach out to the organisers or other attendees if you have any questions, sometimes a digital introduction is easier.

For the Melbourne AWS User Group specifically, you don’t need to attend meetups to be a part of our community.

If you’re interested in AWS at all please feel free to join us on slack or get involved in other ways. You can take your time and ease into the discussions, and from there look at attending events if you’re interested. All of our organisers are on Slack as well, so you can message us directly if you have any questions, comments or want to know more about the group. We’re always happy to chat with new members in the community.

At your first meetup

If you’ve decided to attend a meetup, welcome! We try to make our events as welcoming as possible, and there are a number of things you can do to make the experience easier:

  • RSVP! We don’t check RSVPs at the door in any way, but its really helpful to organisers if you RSVP before attending. For special events held at the AWS Office as well, RSVPs help cut down on the time you need to spend with security.
  • Introduce yourself digitally first. Introduce yourself on Slack before you attend, and talk to other people who might be attending. IF you don’t want to do this in the #general or #melbourne channels, reach out to one of the organisers, we’ll be happy to look out for you at the events and introduce you to other attendees.
  • Wear a name tag. We provide simple name tags for attendees and ask everyone to wear them because it reduces barriers. Feel free to put your name, or Slack/social media handle on there, whatever you want to be known as. This helps put names to faces as well and makes introductions easier.
  • Stand in open circles. When having conversations with people, don’t stand in closed circles. This is also known as the Pac-Man Rule. Open circles encourage other people to join in your conversations.
  • Meet new people. I’m bad at this one personally, but try walking up to people (especially others who are standing by themselves) and introducing yourself. Then try asking whether their interest in the AWS User Group is for work or for fun. Its a good open question that gives them the opportunity to talk about their work or their interests.

For every event we publish the full agenda (including times) on the event page, so you can be confident you know how the night will run (fingers crossed).

We also have a bunch of tips for attendees on our Attending Meetups page, such as etiquette around questions, etc.

After your first meetup

If you met people you are interested in getting to know better, follow them on Twitter (We are also on Twitter, if you want to follow us as well), LinkedIn, or whatever social platform you prefer.

Many people are also on Slack, and if you haven’t already you should join the conversation.

Hopefully you enjoyed your first meetup and are looking forward to attending more. If for any reason you didn’t enjoy it please feel free to reach out and let us know what we could potentially do differently to make it a more welcoming or enjoyable event for you.

More Information

For more tips about attending your first meetup:

Starting a User Group can seem like a big challenge, and in many cases it is. Starting in 2020 the Melbourne AWS User Group want to open up to other AWS-related user groups in the city and pool resources and knowledge.

This could come in many forms, whether you’d like to start a general group with a different format (like regular hack nights, or more social), or if you’d prefer to start a small group that is specific to a particular AWS service or segment (like a Redshift group, or AWS Machine Learning group), we’d love to work together to help you get your group off the ground.

Why? Our overriding goal is to foster the Melbourne AWS community with opportunities to learn, network and boost their careers. This doesn’t have to specifically be at one of our events. If we feel the community could benefit from something, we are happy to promote and assist. An example of this is our event Introductions usually include a “whats on” segment, where we can highlight upcoming events that other AWS-related user group events are running.

AWS has a huge product offering these days as well. As a general AWS group we could provide weekly meetups to the community and still not cover every service or topic that the community might be interested in. We feel a better model is to spread the load amongst a number of groups, where we stay at the general level and talk about all facets of AWS, while specialist groups look into topics of interest to them. These specialist groups may end up being smaller or meet less frequently but are still providing a valuable source of opportunities to the community.

So we’d like to reach out to people thinking of starting their own groups and offer our assistance where we can. This cooperation could come in any number of forms, but we’d like to highlight the opportunity to start sub-groups.

Starting a sub-group

Provided you are willing to abide by our [code of conduct][(/code-of-conduct/)] and the general spirit of our community, you could start a sub-group within the AWS Community Melbourne umbrella. The main benefit this brings is the ability to share our sponsorship and access to our community with you, if desired. Finding and establishing relationships with sponsors is one of the hardest parts of growing and sustaining a group.

A sub-group might be especially relevant for a specialist group. Specialist groups can be harder to start as spreading the word and finding sponsors for a narrower topic can be more difficult than for established groups. We’d like to help bridge that gap.

We would also be willing to share our AV and live streaming gear with sub-groups.

We have a Meetup Pro network that you would be a part of, so you still manage your group independently but be a part of the larger community in Melbourne. Learn more about Meetup Pro

Other Cooperation

You don’t have to be affiliated with our group though! We are more than happy to help grow the AWS community in Melbourne in any way we can.

Some ways we could help include:

  • Connections to sponsors. We can introduce you to companies who may be interested in sponsoring your events.
  • Introducing speakers. Sometimes a speaker may present at our event, then go on to do a deep-dive or workshop about that subject at another group’s event. Or vice-versa.
  • Knowledge sharing. We’ve been doing this since 2011, so we’ve learnt a lot of lessons and have running events down to a routine now. We are happy to share that knowledge.

If you are thinking about starting your own group or events please get in touch. We’re always happy to grow the AWS Community in Melbourne and are

Many hours go into each meetup and many hands are a bounty, but it doesn’t take a large commitment to help out! If you’re interested in helping out please read on.

There are a number of things, big and small, that are done each every month at each event, or in the background in the general organisation of the group.

At Events

If you’re attending one of our events and want to help out please do! Below is a non-exhaustive list of the things that need to be done at each event, and if you think you might be interested in helping out with any one of them please let us know in #volunteers on slack.

  • Welcoming people
  • Setting up name tags
  • Setting up drink tubs
  • Purchasing ice
  • Laying out food
  • Audio / Video setup
  • Arranging stage
  • Cleaning up

Organisation of Events

There are a number of things that are done for each meetup, and in the general running of the User Group. If you think some of these things are in your wheelhouse let us know.

  • Contributing to the website (gatsby + react)
  • Wrangling speakers
  • Ordering catering
  • Video editing
  • Live streaming
  • Audio / Video

Thank you for taking the time to attend one of our meetups! They can be a great place for learning and meeting new people, but there can also be a lot going on. Below you’ll find all the information you need about attending our events.

Code of Conduct

Our community is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices.

We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Slack and other online media. Participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled at the discretion of the community organisers.

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct, we ask that you report it by emailing melbourne@awsug.org.au, contacting the organisers on slack, or via the website.

All our speakers, attendees, and anyone else taking part in Melbourne AWS User Group activities are expected to familiarise themselves with these policies. While these policies are open to discussion and change over time, participation in the community implies that you are willing to abide by the policies in place at that time.

For more information please see the long version of our code of conduct.

Agenda

Our meetup agenda varies month to month, but they all follow the same basic schedule:

Time Item
6:00pm Introductions
6:05pm What’s new in AWS
6:15pm Introductory Lightning Talk
6:25pm Short Break 🚽
6:30pm First Main Presentation
7:00pm Marketplace (Who’s Hiring)
7:05pm Main Break 🍕
7:30pm Second Main Presentation
8:00pm Networking + Close

Venue

Our main venue for 2020 is NAB House, 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Getting There

NAB House is near the corner of Bourke Street and William Street in Melbourne’s CBD. Tram routes 58, 86 and 96 stop on the corner. It is approximately a 5 minute walk from Flagstaff and Southern Cross Stations, and a slightly longer walk from Flinders Street and Melbourne Central Stations.

Inside NAB House

We’re in The Bowl, which is at the rear of NAB House. If you’re entering from Bourke Street go to the right, around the reception desk (you don’t need to sign in) until you see the glass doors before the stairs. You should see the Melbourne AWS User Group banner, and security will let you in to the area.

Accessibility

Our venue, NAB House, provides step-free access from Bourke Street through to The Bowl. Inside The Bowl, space is available for wheelchairs at the front of the seating, and at the rear.

Catering

All of our events are catered, and the catering varies from month to month, but we typically have the meetup staples like cold beer, wine, cider and soft drinks. Bottles of water are also available - hydration is important!

For food we usually have pizza, but we are tying to mix it up a bit, so feedback or ideas are welcome!

Dietary Requirements and Preferences

We always have a vegetarian option available at each event, and vegan or gluten free options by request.

We don’t order all dietary options for every meetup in order to keep food wastage down. We are more than happy to try and accomodate any requirements that you have, so please get in touch.

Presentations

We generally have two or three presentations at each event, though this varies month to month. Our speakers are donating their time and knowlege for these events, so we ask that all attendees are polite and respectful.

Some tips:

  • Be seated promptly when the presentation starts. This helps us keep the event to time as well.
  • Stop all conversations. If you want to keep talking you may, but please take it outside.
  • Wait until the end to ask questions. The most common answer to questions is “that’s my next slide”; give the presenter a chance to flow. (This is not a hard rule - if a presenter welcomes questions during the presentation then have at them, but don’t keep interrupting with questions).
  • Ask good questions. See below.

Asking good questions

Asking good questions is important to the flow of the night and the experience of everyone there. Here are some tips for asking good questions.

  • Ask questions not comments. Don’t just make a comment about the content of the presentation, speak to the presenter directly afterwards for those.
  • Ask polite questions that contribute to the discussion.
  • Nobody knows all the answers! Speakers often know a lot about their subject, but nobody knows all the answers to every question. Please remember that “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer.
  • Don’t try to catch presenters out. Maybe you know more about the presented subject than the speaker, but don’t try to catch them out by asking some super tricky or obscure question. It’s not polite.
  • Don’t have a conversation. If you feel your question might lead to several follow up questions, please speak to the presenter during the break or after the event and have a conversation with them directly.

Introductory Presentation

We like to encourage new speakers, and reserve a slot for a 10-minute lightning talk at the beginning of each meetup for someone who has not presented at the User Group before.

This can be a presentation on anything but is generally intended to be a Level 100 (Beginner to AWS) or Level 200 (Introduction to service) talk. Speaking Mentorship is available as well.

Find out more

Helping out

Many hours go into each meetup and many hands are a bounty, but it doesn’t take a large commitment to help out! There are tasks large and small at each event, such as setting out the catering, setting up AV, welcoming people or cleaning up.

No commitment is required (but also no refunds). If you’d like to help out please read more about volunteering.

The Melbourne AWS User Group has decided to cancel March’s event.

Like everyone, we have watched the situation rapidly worsen in Victoria in the past 3 days and in conjunction with our venue, sponsors and speakers we’ve come to the decision that it would be irresponsible to proceed with March’s planned meetup. Even though there has been no official directive from Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer there has been no indication that the worst is behind us and we feel it is in the best interest of the community to place the health and safety of everyone involved first and be as cautious as possible.

Our next event then will be April 29. At this time we’re dedicated to ensuring that this and future events go ahead. Hopefully the situation improves and it will be back at NAB House as normal, but if not we will look at doing something online only.

Don’t forget that our in-person events are not the only way to connect and network with other members of the community. There are more than 600 people on our Slack team, which has a number of great channels where you can ask AWS questions, or discuss news, outages or available jobs. You can find out more and join the team from our website.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on what would make a good online only event please join us in #volunteers on Slack.

You can also follow us on Twitter (@awsmelb) to keep up with the latest in the community.

We hope everyone takes all necessary precautions during this time and stays healthy.

Cheers,
Rob and Arjen
Organisers

It was our very first DeepRacer themed meetup! As announced, we changed the schedule to allow for the use of our new DeepRacer track before the talks. The suspense of the race was there. Roaring engines, riveted crowds, and a car… that couldn’t quite follow the track for more than 10 seconds at a time. Unfortunately for this first time we were limited to models provided by us, and they weren’t very good. Hopefully at our July meetup we’ll have more models from our members.

Aside from the DeepRacer itself, there was other news as well as mentioned during our regular segment. As usual, I’ll link below to what was Finally in Sydney, although this time around it’s slim pickings.

After this we got started with our first talk of the evening. Our silver sponsor AC3 brought out Greg Cockburn and John Ferlito for a talk titled “Teach Amazon Sumerian to play Rock, Paper, Scissors”. In an extensive and technical talk, the two of them spoke about the demo they built for the Sydney Summit. This involved not only Sumerian for the interface, but also SageMaker for building a model that was able to recognise the moves from rock, paper, scissors. As usual, a short paragraph can’t do it justice so I recommend you read the slides or, better yet, watch the below video. It’s also important to point out that they made their work and extra documentation available on GitHub, so you can have a play around with it yourself.

We ended the night with a talk by Arjen Schwarz titled “DeepRacer: From Start to Finish”. You might (well, should) recognise that name as the author of this very blogpost, so I’m not going to even try to talk in the third person. I gave a brief overview of how DeepRacer works and how you can build your own models. The slides are available but in all honesty they’re not very useful as I quickly switched to a demo. If you’re interested you should watch the video below, or even read the article I wrote about DeepRacer after re:Invent as that is still mostly valid.

Finally, we want to acknowledge once again that none of this is possible without our sponsors. Innablr is our gold sponsor for 2019, with AC3, Parallels, and A Cloud Guru as our silver sponsors. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you.

Our May meetup was filled up because once again we had a pair of fantastic speakers. Unfortunately our video game wasn’t as on point as usual since our usual camera guru (Rob) was on a well-deserved holiday. While we did our best, there were a couple issues with the stream and Rob is still trying to rescue the recordings into something usable. Which is why we’re a bit later with this writeup. If Rob manages to rescue the videos they get added here, otherwise you have my sincere apologies.

After the news, which contained a lot of upcoming conferences, we then had our usual segment about the new announcements from AWS. And once again, AWS was kind to us regarding services coming to Sydney.

The first of our speakers was Dale Salter from our silver sponsor A Cloud Guru. In his presentation “Serverless Leaderboards” Dale showed off how he built a leaderboard using only serverless tools. This not only included a dive into optimising DynamoDB for this solution, but also why he made certain decisions regarding the architecture. You can download the slides here.

Our second talk was by Amrith Radhakrishnan and Sudev Kurur. They spoke about “Patching Immutable and in-place EC2 instances using Step functions and AWS Systems Manager”. Doing so, they gave a good overview of why you still need to care about the instances you have running and how you can ensure that, regardless of how they were provisioned, they will contain the latest security patches. For more details you can have a look at the slides.

Finally, we want to acknowledge once again that none of this is possible without our sponsors. Innablr is our gold sponsor for 2019, with AC3, Parallels, and A Cloud Guru as our silver sponsors. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you.

When you sandwich a meetup between two different public holidays, would you expect a lot of people to show up? If you have as great a community as we do and a couple of awesome speakers, the answer to that is a resounding yes! Thank you for everyone who came along and made the evening a success. And if you couldn’t make it because you were off on a holiday somewhere just keep on reading and watch the videos.

This month we mentioned several upcoming conferences in our announcements section. While it’s a bit late for the Sydney Summit now (seeing as being there prevented me from writing this earlier), you might still be interested in the upcoming re:Inforce or Serverless Days Melbourne. And while we didn’t mention it at the meetup, at the summit Community Day 2019 was announced and this year it will be in Melbourne! As this takes place the day after Serverless Days, keep in mind which one you prefer, or just go to both.

In the lead up to the Summit it looks like AWS wanted us all in a good mood as we had several interesting items for our “Finally in Sydney” segment. Most of them are around filesystems, but I know from personal experience that people were looking forward to these.

Which brings us to the presentations. Nicholas Hollings kicked off with AWS Direct Connect - Changes to Connectivity. Nicholas explained the differences between the types of Direct Connect and what patterns you can use to tie it into your account(s). Unfortunately, AWS wasn’t kind enough to release their Transit Gateway integration with Direct Connect in time for this presentation so he couldn’t go into details about that. Diagrams of the discussed patterns are in the slides and as always it’s recommended to watch the below video for the full experience.

Our second presentation was from returning speaker Matthew Merriel AWS Amplify - hosting, auth, data storage and analytics all rolled into one. After his presentation in February, Matthew was asked to come back to discuss Amplify in more detail and that’s what this presentation was all about. He went through the process of creating a notes app and adding authentication to it. As the presentation mostly consisted of a live demo the only way to follow along is to watch the below video.

Finally, we want to acknowledge once again that none of this is possible without our sponsors. Innablr is our gold sponsor for 2019, with AC3 (formerly Bulletproof), Parallels, and A Cloud Guru as our silver sponsors. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you.

While we had to move the meetup to a Thursday instead of our usual Wednesday, it was a great evening. Gold sponsor Innablr gave their presentation and was present in big numbers, all of them very noticeable in their good looking purple shirts. But mostly, once again so many of you turned up to hear the speakers and have discussions about anything AWS. While we always thank our sponsors it’s good to remember that without you, the community, there wouldn’t be a user group either. So thank you for showing up. Maybe AWS heard last month’s complaints about us not getting anything new in Sydney as this month we had several things. Not all of it might be of interest to you, but it’s good to see our little region here catching up with the rest of the world.

Speaking of Sydney, consider this your reminder that the AWS Summit there is coming up so make sure to register if you haven’t done so already. Which brings us to the highlight of the evening: the talks. Mahesh Rayas from Innablr spoke about Painless (almost) Account Vending in AWS and was introduced by Shane Lavelle, from BetEasy, who explained why they needed an application vending machine. They had hired Innablr to build this for them and Mahesh explained how through several iterations they ended up with their current design, how it works, and what else was involved with this setup. As usual, you can download the slides or better yet listen to Mahesh explain all of this in his own words.

Our second speaker was Archit Kejariwal who told us about his personal experience as a junior developer. The presentation, titled Experiences of a Junior Developer in An Enterprise Infrastructure Team, focused on these first months and specifically what he learned, what turned out to be useful for him, and also what it brought to the team. As we’re all constantly learning, it’s good to see how someone new experiences things and what good habits they might pick up. The slides are available, but again you’ll get more value out of watching the below video.

Finally, we want to acknowledge once again that none of this is possible without our sponsors. Innablr is our gold sponsor for 2019, with Bulletproof, Parallels, and A Cloud Guru as our silver sponsors. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you. P.S. Did anyone notice we had new pizza’s this month?

For our second meetup of the year, we had a full house. Considering we had a pair of excellent speakers that’s probably not a surprise, but still very good to see.

Before getting to the talks, let’s have a look at how some of the changes worked out. With the help of some of our friends from the #volunteers channel setting up the room became a lot easier, so thank you for helping us. In addition we experimented with name badges, where we provided you all with the opportunity to write your name on a sticker and put it on your shirt. Many of you took up this opportunity, and from what we’ve heard so far it sounds like it worked in making everyone a bit more approachable.

As usual before the presentations we did our news segment as well. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of announcements as it looks like we’ve hit a bit of a dry spell after the flood surrounding re:Invent. In fact, our “Finally in Sydney” segment only had a single item: Aileen Gemma Smith is Australia’s fourth (and Sydney’s first) Community Hero. Hopefully next month will have more, and remember that we discuss all the news in the #announcements Slack channel as well.

But while the news segment left us a little bit wanting, that was not the case with our speakers. We started out with Christopher Grainger’s talk concerning “Automating machine learning pipelines with AWS Lambda”. In this talk, Christopher told us how his company is able to leverage Lambda functions for their machine learning. While Lambda has some limitations and can’t be used for everything, it turns out to be a wonderful tool for many of the tasks they need to achieve. As a brief summary can’t really do it justice, I recommend that you watch the embedded video below to see how this all works. And of course, you can download the slides as well.

Our second speaker was Matthew Merriel, who in his talk “Static Site Generators and AWS - are they a match made in heaven?” explained how you can get a static website up and running on AWS in a very short time. With a live demo, he showed how easy it is to make your changes in your Gatsby source code and then push it up to GitHub where Amplify picks it up and does the rest for you. The slides are available, but as most of the presentation was a demo it’s probably best to watch the below video.

Finally, we want to acknowledge once again that none of this is possible without our sponsors. Innablr is our gold sponsor for 2019, with Bulletproof and Parallels as our silver sponsor. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you. Even if the pizza arrived half an hour early this time.

It was a dark and stormy night when we kicked off our first meetup of 2019. Ok, maybe not dark, but there was a lot of heavy rain, and despite that many of you braved that to join us for a great night.

With the new year come some changes to the User Group as well. After the re:Invent recap in December our founder, Rob Linton, decided to take a step back from running the User Group and hosting the actual meetups. He is still involved but behind the scenes. The other organisers, Rob Amos and Chris Coombs, then recruited Arjen Schwarz to fill this gap.

But, that wasn’t the only change. This very website is new as well and will serve as the home for the user group going forward. Don’t worry, the Meetup page isn’t going away, but this gives us more possibilities for the future. One of which is that it makes it easier to find videos of the presentations by our speakers. We started with this last year as an experiment, and going forward we plan to live stream all meetups, and you can watch the recordings at a later date as well.

In addition, we would like to point to our code of conduct. While we trust that everyone will behave appropriately, we believe that having a code of conduct helps new members feel more at ease.

There are more ideas to come in the future as well, and if you wish to be involved in some way (big or small) you can find more information on the Get Involved page, or join the #volunteers channel in Slack. As always, feel free to reach out directly to any of the organisers as well.

So, that’s a lot of news about the User Group itself! Let’s now move back to our not so dark and stormy night itself. Which is where we moved on to a new format for our usual news segment. This has now become a discussion between Chris and Arjen where we talk about some of the most interesting new releases since the last Meetup. My personal favourite part of this is “Finally in Sydney” where we highlight what services are now finally available in Australia. For this month that consisted of the following:

After the news segment, it was time for the first of our fantastic talks. Sam Hallawell took us through the Well-Architected Framework, specifically with an eye on how to review this using a Well-Architected Review. He took us through the essential parts of why it’s important and what you get out of it. It’s important to note that while previously you had to go through AWS or a consulting partner, at re:Invent AWS released a tool to do a review yourself. If you wish to learn more, I recommend you watch the below video to hear it in Sam’s own words or have a look at his slides.

Following Sam’s talk, there was our usual marketplace segment. This is where we ask people who are looking to hire to give a short pitch so people can find them. If you’re either looking for work or hiring, this is an excellent reason to come to the meetup. That said, if you missed it or don’t want to wait until the next meetup, the #jobs channel in our Slack is a good place for this as well.

Then we ended with our final talk of the evening. Kate Lanyon explained how, why, and when to use AppSync in combination with GraphQL. As this talk is based on her own experience building a backend for her company’s mobile app, it is full of little hints that might save you time when you need to build something similar. Again, Kate explains it far better than I can, so the below video is the best way to learn from her, or you can download her slides.

Finally, we want to acknowledge that none of this is possible without our sponsors. This year we once again have sponsors for the entire year, with Innablr as our gold sponsor, and Bulletproof as our silver sponsor. Many thanks to them for ensuring we have food and drinks available for all of you.

If you’ve been to one of the meetups since a September you would have noticed the iPhone camera sitting on top of the speaker and the handsome gentleman with the iPad running around. We were experimenting with live streaming the events on Twitch. We’ll publish more about the live streaming setup we use, but suffice to say that experiment was a success!

So we’re happy to properly announce the start of the Melbourne AWS User Group’s YouTube channel. You will already find 4-5 videos published there from last year’s presentation. Videos will be published of all future presentations (subject to the presenter’s approval and any technical difficulties) a few days after each event. You can subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow us on Twitter for updates. A link to the YouTube channel is in the top menu, or you can hit up melb.awsug.org.au/videos if you prefer to type urls.

Live Streaming

We’ll also continue to live stream every event we can (subject to the presenter’s approval) but we’ll do it over on YouTube. Twitch was good for alignment with the AWS content (it’s owned by Amazon) but not much else. The experience over at YouTube is a lot better for viewers and it makes sense to keep it all together.

You can find the live stream link in the top menu, or you can hit up melb.awsug.org.au/live.

A big WATCH LIVE button will appear on the front page of the site also whenever the stream is live.

It’s a New Year so we thought the longer break between meetups was a great opportunity to tackle something that has been on our TODO list for far too long: setup a website for the User Group.

We’ve been Meetup.com-only since Rob created the group and the last few years has shown how limited that really is; there’s no where to host content that doesn’t fit their mould, they want to charge you for showing a sponsor’s logo and the only way to contact your members is via email.

And so we present our new website! It doesn’t replace Meetup.com in any way; you can RSVP to events over there, but it’s a more convenient way to bring together the various aspects of the group and its content.

This also gives us a way to communicate with you that doesn’t rely on the persistence of people’s inboxes or the pervasiveness of Meetup comments! You can expect to see follow up posts from events collecting presenter slides and photos for easy reference as an example, and that’s just the start.

New Content Channels

You may have noticed if you’re active on Slack or follow us on Twitter, but late last year we started live streaming the events. We also clean up the videos and publish them on our YouTube channel. You’ll see a WATCH LIVE button front and centre in the website whenever the stream is active, and general links to the videos and stream in the top menu. We try to edit the presentations in the days following an event, but my 2013-era MBP struggles at the best of time, so delays may occur.

Event Info

We’ll continue to use Meetup.com for our event management (plus moving away is basically impossible), but thanks to the power of WordPress plugins and my rusty PHP skills you can still get information on the next event from within the website and in a nicer format too!

Code of Conduct

Something that has also been on our list for a long time is publishing a Code of Conduct. While there generally haven’t been many issues, it is an important part of running a socially responsible user group: there are generally accepted standards of behaviour, and steps for reporting and remediation incidents where those standards have not been honoured.

Getting Involved

User Group events take a lot of time, energy and sometimes chunks of money to run. We often get asked about ways people can help out, typically with presentations or sponsorship. There is a lot of information in this over here, or you can jump into #volunteers on Slack.

About the Group

There is also a bit of info about the group as a whole for new members, and info on how to contact the organisers.

We hope you find it useful (and shiny), and if you have any feedback hit up one of the organisers on Twitter or Slack.

Until next time!

Rob