pragmatist
Patrick Joyce

May 19, 2007

RailsConf Day 2 Overview

What a day. I’m glad I am taking notes, because this morning’s sessions fell like they were weeks ago.

Notes on the day:

  • I met Martin Fowler !!! Unfortunately, by met I mean to say that i walked up to him at lunch and stammered nonsensically for 30 seconds about how much his writing has taught me and how grateful I am. He was nice and very gracious in the face of my complete failure at intelligent speech. Next year I swear that I’ll have something meaningful to say to these people who I admire so much.
  • Ze Frank was consistently laugh-out-loud funny. But at the same time he clearly has a better feel for this whole web 2.0, user generated content, “i knows me some ugly myspace” than pretty much anyone.
  • The Amazon S3 BoF I just got back from was really interesting. The amazon evangelists were ok, but Michael Winser from pi really stole the show. They are developing an app using EC2 and S3 for their complete hosting infrastructure and it sounds like they’re doing some really amazing stuff with the AWS. I’m going to have to do a post at some point comparing EC2 / S3 and Joyent’s accelerator. My gut right now is that EC2 will be infinitiely scalable and probably cheaper in the longrun but will require more work, Joyent’s will be easier to get up and running and more importantly will provide you with their expertise in scaling out apps.
  • I sat at a table at lunch with Dr. Nic I didn’t say anything while he was talking, but learned a bit by listening. After he left I talked to Michael Kovacs the co-founder of PitchWire about their business and general design, usability, and other stuff for a while. There was another Dutch developer we were talking with who I think was friends with Dr. Nic and had breakfast with Martin Fowler so I imagine is pretty involved in the community, but I forgot to get his name.
  • I suppose I am owed a slap for not succeeding in finding dinner companions. But I still feel good about the number of people I actually talked to so I don’t think I deserve it.
  • The musical performance between keynotes was incredibly nerdy but pretty funny.

I can actually feel my brain expanding. The last time I felt like this was the weekend in Spain where I finally crossed from “I’m learning Spanish” to “I speak Spanish” I’d studied Spanish since I was in 5th grade, been there for about two months, lived with a Spanish family, and took University history and linguistics courses in Spanish. But I had an American roommate, and also knew a bunch of Americans socially so I still spoke English every day. This particular weekend every American I knew happened to go away. So I hung out exclusively with Spanish friends and from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning I neither spoke nor heard a single word of English. The whole time I my head felt like my brain was reshaping itself and at the end of it I spoke Spanish.

That’s what I feel like now. I don’t expect to have the same mastery of rails at the end of this weekend that I did of Spanish at the end of that weekend. Still I think that this is an extremely important step in the right direction.

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