Running Dorsai Thing 2013: Lessons Learned

The Liberty Bell

Each year, The Dorsai Irregulars have their own annual convention known as “Dorsai Thing”. It is a weekend long event, held in a different city each year, where we all gather, socialize, and hold our semi-annual business meeting. This year, it was held in Phildelphia, and it fell on my shoulders to run the event, dubbed “Liberty Thing” While I’ve worked at plenty of conventions before, this was the first one where I was effectively the Con Chair. This was an entirely new thing for me, and I wanted to write a blog post about some of the things I learned during the experience.

Continue reading “Running Dorsai Thing 2013: Lessons Learned”

Scaling Anthrocon’s Website to Handle 1,400 Simultaneous Connections

The Challenge

When hotel reservations open, that is the single busiest time of the year for Anthrocon’s webserver. In fact, it even caused us performance problems last year. That was not so good.

So this year, I decided to try something different. Instead of leaving the regular website up and running, which involves using Drupal, I instead decided to replace the entire page with a relatively static “countdown” page, which displayed a countdown timer and automatically started displaying the hotel link at 11 AM on the opening day.

First, some stats for the Anthrocon website:

  • Peak bandwidth: 1.6 Megabits/sec
  • Peak connections: 1,400 concurrent connections

And now some status for Passkey, who handled most of the traffic:

  • Peak bandwidth: 190 Megabits/sec
  • Peak connections: 4,000 concurrent connections
Continue reading “Scaling Anthrocon’s Website to Handle 1,400 Simultaneous Connections”

Conventions I’ve Staffed

Here is a list of conventions I’ve staffed over the years, and positions held (the full spreadsheet is over here):

  • Anime Central
    • Security in 2009 (through Acen IRT)
  • Anthrocon
    • Director Emeritus: 2018-present
    • Technology Director and Board of Directors: 2016-2018
    • Operations Director and Board of Directors: 2004-2016
    • Sysadmin and Webmaster: 2007-present
    • Operations Staff: 2002 and 2003
    • Internet Room Staff: 2000 and 2001
  • Anthro New England
    • Commerce Operations: 2017
    • GoH Liaison: 2018 to present
  • BronyCon
    • VIP Relations (VIPR): 2013 and 2014 (VIP Handler)
  • Camp Feral
    • Staff member and workshop instructor in 2001
    • Past webmaster (2001 or so)
  • Confluence
    • Security in 2011 and 2012
      Security in 2007, 2008, and 2009
  • Dorsai Thing
  • Eurofurence
  • FurFright
    • Security in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013
    • Assistant Operations Director in 2006
  • Furry Connection North
    • Webmaster and sysadmin in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013
    • Security in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013
    • Security in 2008
  • Furry Migration
    • Operations in 2017
    • Registration in 2018
  • MagFest
    • Security in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2015
  • MarCon
    • Art Show Security in 2007 and 2008
  • Midwest FurFest
    • VIP Relations: 2016 to present
    • Operations staff from 2011 through 2014
    • Artshow staff in 2008, 2009, and 2010
    • Artshow staff in 2003

How I Decide What Cons to Work

Often this is done on the basis of referrals–if I think a con is interesting/cool, there’s a chance I’ll know someone who is on staff and inquire through them what the staff experience is like and if it’s worth working. If I receive positive answers, I’ll inquire about joining staff.

If it’s a convention where I don’t know any staff, I’ll volunteer first and see how I like it. If I have a positive experience, I’ll inquire about being on staff in a future year.

Why Do I Work So Many Cons?

Many reasons. First, it gives me a chance to make positive contributions to the community. Second, it provides me with a bit of structure to the convention–having to be in certain places at certain times helps me better organize how I spend my time at the con. And finally, it gives me an opportunity to meet people–I’ve made many many friends over the years just by staffing cons… and getting to see these people again at future cons makes the experience just so much more fun.

The full spreadsheet of conventions I’ve attended and staffed can be found here.

Conventions I’ve Attended

  • Furry:
    • Anthrocon: 1999,  20002001, 20022003200420052006200720082009, 20102011201220132014201520162017, 2018
    • Anthro New England: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
    • Camp Feral: 1999, 2000, 200120022003
    • Eurofurence: 2004, 2014
    • FurFright: 20062007200820092010201120122013
    • Furry Connection North: 20082009201120122013
    • Furrydelphia: 2017, 2018
    • Furry Migration: 2017, 2018
    • Midwest FurFest: 2002, 2003200820092010201120122013201420162017, 2018
    • Western PA Furry Weekend: 2010, 2016, 2017
  • Non-Furry:
    • Anime Central: 2009
    • BayCon: 2001
    • BronyCon: 20132014, 2017
    • ConClave: 2005, 2006, 2007
    • Confluence: 200620072008200920112012
    • DexCon: 2006
    • MagFest: 2007200820092015
    • MarCon: 20072008
    • Otakon: 2003
    • PhilCon: 2006, 2012
    • Setsucon: 2014

The totals from the above cons are as follows: 89 total conventions, 64 of which were furry conventions. I staffed 64 of those cons, most (but not all) of which were also furry conventions.   The full spreadsheet of conventions I’ve attended and staffed can be found here.

If you’re looking for artwork of my fursona, that’s over here.

Many of my convention pictures can be found on my Flickr account.