Friday, July 30, 2010

RubyMidwest Part 2

Day 2 started off with an inspirational session from Katz and continued with more technical seminars.
Me, reading about the content of the presentation

One that most people ignored, but had some impact for me was Mark Daggett's Facebook presentation. The big quote for that one is "Facebook development is like building a ship in a bottle... inside another bottle... while wearing mittens." It gave me a shudder at all the times I tried to start using Linux back in the late 90's and being thwarted with the only comments from other user being "ura lamer". Thankfully, "lol" wasn't in much use back then. I have wanted to try to figure out a way to tap in to less technical people to get the word of Lomby Zombie out there, and it gave me an idea for my idea junk drawer to do.

The other that stuck with me was "G.U.R.S.F.S.A - The Grand Unified Ruby Solution For System Administration" by Joshua French. Being a system administrator for many years and specializing into Configuraiton Management, this was exactly what I am all about. The basic takeaway was that Ruby is just as good or better of an interpreted/scripting language for admins to get their work done, just like Perl or Python. I have been using small ruby scripts to watch things for me on my virtual servers and took this as a solidation of my own work.

As the conference wore down, Jen and I went over to O'Dowd's for beer and dinner with whoever stuck around. We had a nice dinner and conversations with Alex Sharp, Aman Gupta, and Nick Quaranto. Afterwards, a quick stop at the toy store down the street and a huge walk back to the hotel, which Jen claims was an attempt by me to cause her asthma to spark to kill her.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RubyMidwest Wrap-Up - Part 1

After travelling all around Missouri just the week before, I ended up back in Kansas City again for RubyMidwest. Being the first year for the single track - two day conference, it gathered a good-sized group of around 160 to 170 attendees. I have gone to some larger conferences, such as RUC , but this was the first time I have gone to a conference on something that I personally want to find out more about. What a difference it made.

Doing some scouring ahead of time, it turned out that I could get a pair of round trip train tickets from STL to KC for the astonishing low price of $110 for both of us and the ride was 5 hours (about 1 hour shorter than driving, the same if you stop for dinner). On the ride out, I started working on a side project I had cooking in my brain for the last few years and never dove on. So, I was on rails programming in Ruby on Rails.

We arrived late for the pre-conference meetup, but there were still a few souls milling around. I showed my app to a guy named Veezus and he made a comment on the design I was using and recommended snagging something from ThemeForest. Yeah, I have some lousy designs when I first start out I just get it working and put things in boxes to be able to tell what is what. That night, I dove through and found one I liked and implemented it during the breaks and presentations that I didn't have a strong interest in.

The presentations the first day were great. One that stuck out in particular was Jeremy Evan's topic of Classes and Inheritence. The topic reminded me of brainfcuk, but pushing limits is how you make yourself better. Later that evening, he did a lightning presentations on classes, singletons, and methods. It was nearly completely an academic concept he brought, the absurdity of the depth he dove in had the audience rolling with laughter. There you go bringing class into it again. I also got some more information on Fog and the part it plays on getting you into cloud computing with an extremely simple gem.

Day two was more laid back and attendance was slightly sparser than the day before. That is a story for tomorrow.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ruby Midwest this weekend - be there or be hexagonal

I usually don't got to conferences or conventions, mostly because I didn't see the value in the ones I was forced to go to by my employer at the time. The technology conventions were where a bunch of people showed off examples of what they had done with a tool that is fine and dandy for them, but their implementation would not fit my companies setup or usage strategies.

Also, most of them are held in extremely far away resorts, so the things that interested me were always an expensive flight and an expensive hotel away. So, unless my employer was paying for it, I really couldn't go. Few things that interested me and were on my employer's docket to attend merged.

This time, I have found one that really piques my interest, is close and inexpensive to get to.

I have been dabbling with Ruby since... oh geez, sometime in the late 90's. It was simple, it was functional. In minutes, I had built the entire framework for a client-server application. A labor that had taken days in Visual Basic or C++. We would use it to prototype out numerous projects and then reimplement in C++ to get the speed.

When Ruby on Rails came around, I knew that it is something I wanted to use. Working with it finally drove in what the Model-View-Controller architecture really meant and how to use it properly. I have made a few projects in it that have seen the light of the web. The rest of the iceberg were 1 off projects that I was testing out ideas and getting used to how to do things. One such project was GoozexIndy.

Last week, during the family vacation, I started working on a small, doable, and interesting project that I hope to get some input from during the convention.

That right there is the key to why I want to go to Ruby Midwest: Peers. I hope that the inspiration, the networking, the critiquing, and the knowledge that comes from the interaction makes this a wonderful trip.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vendor Negotiations - These people should not be tolerated

Every business I have owned, I tried really hard not to be "that guy". The one that renegs on a done deal knowing that they have the upperhand because the work has been done, but money hasn't changed hands. My modus operandi was always to treat my employees and people I hired to do well. In several business attempts, they were paid more than I was. A few times, I was in the hole.

When Frank and I made "Lomby Zombie", we hired an artist and tried to pay him as much as we could. When milestones were met, check were sent in full immediately. No squabbling. No futzing around. Work has value. The work required to make the product, even if the product isn't used, has value.

People like those in the video below irk the heck out of me.