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Topic: RailsConf 2006: Highs and Lows

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Author: Seth Dillingham


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# 5567

RailsConf 2006: Highs and Lows

RailsConf (the first 'official' Ruby on Rails conference) ended Sunday afternoon. I'm very glad I went.


  • Having Corinne there with me, for a lot of reasons.

  • Meeting Greg and hanging out like old friends, making plans for future work, and getting help with problems in one of my projects (he has more Rails experience than I do).

  • Watching one of my clients (M.C.) scurry around with a big backpack, and talk to anybody who would listen about his project. The man really seems to love his work.

  • The jets taking off right over the hotel, and the huge trains rumbling by on the tracks across the street.

  • Dave Thomas's keynote on Friday morning, throwing down the gauntlet.

  • All the keynote speakers bluntly disagreeing with all of the others, without hostility.

  • DHH's keynote on Saturday night

  • The Homesteader's Guide, by Nethaniel Talbott

  • The code-related sections of the "performance" by "Why the Lucky Stiff"

  • Meeting with Sam Stephenson, author of Prototype, for an hour on Sunday, and being told that he loved what I showed him. It seems I really did figure out something NEW in JavaScript, and wasn't actually deluding myself. (Note: JS-related validation from Sam is a bit like Ruby-related validation from DHH. That is, he didn't write the language, but he is considered one of the elite and there are many, many thousands of people following his lead.)

    (Yes, I'll have a LOT more to say about this soon.)

  • An email I received from a brand new client. I had to work for this one, but in this case that's a very good thing. I can't wait to say more about this!

  • The macs. It was totally nuts. 550 attendees, and I've seen estimates between 80% and 95% mac coverage. Some joked that "in the future, everyone uses macs." I parried that this wasn't the future, it was the alternate universe where things had worked out like we always knew they were supposed to.

    Check out some of the pictures. I'm even in one of them, from the neck down. ;-)

  • Giving the (other) last remaining mac geeks (about twelve of them) in the bar just off the hotel lobby a whole pizza (our leftovers after we ordered two smalls). They couldn't believe their good fortune! I told them they could have it if they promised not to get any on their MacBooks. They looked at me funny, one guy said that his runs better with pizza. I said, "you don't need to put it on the macbook, the pizza is already cooked." Took them all a second to figure that one out. :-)

Now the lowlights:

  • My babe being bored out of her mind. The conference kept us so busy that there was no time for us to do much of anything, and who wants to play tourist by oneself? (Not her!) Lesson learned. For future conferences, we'll be able to make a more informed decision about whether or not she goes with me.

  • Some of the sessions were desperately boring and lacking in any useful technical information. Some were good, many were not.

  • All the rest of Why's performance. Some people totally loved it. I'm not one of them.

  • Paul Graham's keynote presentation. He has this awesome rep, and I truly enjoy most of his essays, but all he did was read it! Dude. Look at your audience more often than when you're making a joke. (It was funny, though, that he kept saying, ā€œIā€™m going to leave THAT part ouf of the essay on the site.ā€)

  • That it ended so soon. Sigh.

Back to work!


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