RubyConf 2010 Highlights

This year, I attended my first RubyConf on Nov. 11-13. It was a blast! I’ve attended lots of local and regional conferences in the last few years, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been to a larger conference.

I went to a lot of great sessions, & learned lots of things from lots of people. I won’t be able to cover everything I learned, as even now it’s all still soaking into my brain-sponge. Nor could I possibly name all the great people I met & talked to, & all the great places we went. So here’s a few highlights:

Top 5 favorite things of a non-technical nature

:hanging out with Marc Peabody => Marc is my peer, my cousin (b/c he married my cousin), & my friend.  I’m happy we got to know each other better as a result of heading out to Bourbon St. w/ the group, & staying out way too late & having good conversations that usually don’t happen among people at a conference until later in the week.

:beignets => a wonderful, delicious, donut-like pastry piled with tons of powdered sugar that we experienced at a place called Café Du Monde in New Orleans.  Funny thing is I spotted powdered sugar as I stepped onto the escaltor at the hotel on my way to my room that night! I found powdered sugar still clinging to my jeans on my way home, too! It’s everywhere!

:making new friends => including getting to meet Sarah Mei in person, who I’ve followed on Twitter for awhile now, & going out dancing the last night.

:getting up EARLY to run in the rubyconf 5k => mornings are hard enough for me, even more so after getting only 3 hours of sleep the night before.  But I did it!  And if that’s not positive enough, I finished the race in less than 50 minutes, including time to stop or slow down to take pictures! Bonus! I’m not a runner, so that’s a pretty good time for me.

:meeting david heinemeier hansson => and having a normal-person conversation about Rails, dynamic typing in Ruby, & Rails in mobile browsers.  Well, it was a normal-person conversation until I asked him to sign my conference t-shirt, haha.  He kindly obliged without making me feel ridiculous for it. And because of that, I decided to go get Matz to sign my shirt too!  How cool is that?


Top 5 things of a more technical nature

:Knocking Ruby’s Date & DateTime Performance Out of the Park with home_run – Jeremy Evans
=> This talk was about why the Date & DateTime classes in Ruby are slow, & about the ruby library “home_run” & how it works to speed that up. I’m really hoping to get time this week to try this out at work, run some benchmarks, and hopefully it will help some slower parts of our app.

:Writing games with Ruby – Mike Moore
=> This talk introduced us to the Gosu library for game programming in Ruby. Now I just have to figure out what kind of shenanigans I can get into with this new knowledge! 🙂

:RedCar – It’s time for a Ruby editor – Daniel Lucraft
=> This is an editor that installs as a gem. My understanding is that you can run Ruby commands, like you would in IRB, to extend the editor, make plugins or even edit your code if you want to. I like my RubyMine, but am curious how something like RedCar handles a very large rails project.

:Concurrency: Rubies, plural – Eleanor McHugh, Elise Huard
=> In talk the speakers discussed things like threads & fibers in Ruby that are used for concurrency. Unfortunately I was sitting way in the back & could not see the slides or code examples. However, I was able to follow along enough to get some ideas about some specific things I’d like to look into later.

:a cool introduction
=> At one point in the week, I was introduced by a former co-worker Jeff Lembeck to someone he knows as follows: “This is Gayle, she taught me Rails.” It was a really a good feeling to be regarded in that way.  Having trouble expressing in words how that makes me feel. Good. Worthwhile. Valued. Something like that.


:I’m not going to talk about this here => there’s been quite a bit of talk|debate|arguing on Twitter after RubyConf this year about the diversity of the various keynote talks. I’ve got a chaos of thoughts bouncing around in my head on that. If I can get my thoughts organized, maybe there will be another blog post coming soon.


One thing I’d like to take away from all the inspiration I’ve gotten…
:I really need to write in my blog more regularly!
=> I have a growing list of ideas & things I’ve learned that I’d like to share. I really don’t like to get up & speak in front of people. This – blog – is a much better way for me to do just that.