Patrick Joyce

May 18, 2007

RailsConf Day 1 Overview

Well, the first day of the week I’ve been waiting for all year is over. So… how do I feel?

Great! I am so incredibly glad that I’m here. The day was long, and as I sit here typing and drinking a great locally brewed amber ale (did you know that Portland has more breweries per capita than any city in the world?) I am tired.

A few thoughts before I go to bed:

  • Both my tutorials were good. I think that JRuby has great potential to let corporate drones such as myself convince the corporate bureaucracy to let us use Ruby and Rails during the day, instead of just on nights and weekends. Also it’s just really freakin’ cool technically.
  • Portland may be the cleanest city I’ve ever been in.
  • The weather is ridiculous. Today it was 70 degrees with blue skies, and the cleanest air I’ve ever breathed. You know those 3 or 4 days each spring in DC where you just walk around marveling at how nice it is? That’s what it was like today.
  • I went for a really nice run by the river The parks around the river remind me of Sevilla but with a wider river, greener grass, and a lot less people drinking Cruzcampo in public ;) People can run here. I’m not fast, but rarely get passed when running at home. People were blowing past me today like I was standing still.
  • The number of people on bikes in this city is astounding.
  • The crowd at the conference is much different, and well, cooler than I’m used to for a bunch of nerds. Back home if you go to a gathering of coders you see a bunch of people dressed in ill fitting khakis, ugly polo shirts, and white cross trainers. The crowd here looks like something you’d see at an indie rock concert.
  • Everyone I’ve talked to so far has been unbelievably nice. Goal for tomorrow: stop being a punk and talk to more people. I’ve got to get over this being shy around strangers thing. If you hear that I ended up eating dinner alone again tomorrow night you officially have permission to slap me.

Final thought:

I think I’m a pretty good developer. Since I got out of school, stopped working two jobs, and found some free time I’ve worked really hard to learn everything I can about my craft. I demolish books. I program Rails in my free time. And this is going to come off as sort of cocky (because it is, and I normally wouldn’t admit this in a public forum as my parents raised me better than that), but I think that if I’m not the best developer I’ve worked with, then I’m certainly in the top 3.

The people here are on another level.

The best way I can describe the feeling is relating it to sports. I played soccer pretty seriously through high school. But I’m the oldest child, and so we didn’t even know about NCSL and State Cup and ODP and the way that youth soccer works in this country until I was in high school. So me and my best friend played for pretty middling teams until we were sophomores in high school. Our teams weren’t bad (everyone made their high school varsity) but our teammates either weren’t passionate, or didn’t train as hard as they should have, or just had other things going on that were more important to them then soccer. So we were generally the best players on our team. Finally we figured out the way things work and found a good team. Me and G didn’t suck, we could hold our own at the higher level (in fact we both started, and our team won D1 our first season), but the jump to playing at the higher level made it abundantly clear how much harder we had to work.

Coming to this conference is like going from playing third division NCSL to first division.

I’ve always tried to stay cognizant of how little I really know and how much I still need to improve, but I’m glad to get this really sharp reminder of how bad I suck. I haven’t felt this ignorant since my first week at Agnik when I’d never developed software outside of class.

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