About last night

Now that I have your attention :slight_smile: … last night was FOSCON II – Ruby
Rodeo. I was there, though not at OSCON. It was nice to meet folks like
Jim W., David A. Black, Phil T., Amy Hoy, and nearly all of our
neighbors from the “Zen Ruby” brigade up in Seattle. If I had known
there was going to be code sharing, I suppose I would have brought a
laptop and a wireless card.

Actually, though, this is a semi-serious post, brought on by Amy’s talk
at the end. It’s not so much about the main thrust of her talk, which I
certainly agree with. It’s about some of the things she said at the
beginning, and some of the things I’ve heard recently. More
specifically, it’s about the fact that

a. The upcoming Ruby Conference in Colorado had 73 proposals for papers
submitted, of which only 16 could fit into the schedule,
b. There are only 240 slots for attendees to the conference, while
there are most likely thousands with the means and desire to attend, and
c. Given b, people are actually running scripts to poll the conference
web site and grab the registration form, in the hopes that they’ll be
one of the lucky 240.

I’m not sure what this all means yet, and I’m not sure it’s mostly a
good thing. For example, some people who have made major contributions
to the language and the community will most likely be shut out of the
opportunity to attend. And interest in Ruby, as Amy noted, seems to be
far outpacing the supply of volunteers to help the Nuby, even if they
aren’t what Amy called “help vampires”.

Certainly the regional conferences will help … I think between Seattle
and Portland we have enough talent to put one on – how about Centralia?
:slight_smile: But the wider issue is, “Is there more demand for Ruby resources than
there is supply?” That’s especially a concern when there seems to be an
endless supply of Java and Perl and PHP resources, and maybe even
Python and Javascript.

Anyhow, what do other people here think?

On 7/27/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

a. The upcoming Ruby Conference in Colorado had 73 proposals for papers
submitted, of which only 16 could fit into the schedule,
b. There are only 240 slots for attendees to the conference, while
there are most likely thousands with the means and desire to attend, and
c. Given b, people are actually running scripts to poll the conference
web site and grab the registration form, in the hopes that they’ll be
one of the lucky 240.

I for one have been very disappointed with the limtations put on
RubyConf
this year.

  • Only ten days were given to submit proposals
  • Only 16 proposals were selected, no more than the previous year (or at
    least not much more)
  • Only 240 people will get to attend, a measly 20% increase in space
    over
    last year when last year’s attendance more than doubled over 2004

I have friends and friends of friends polling for me. The limitation to
such
low numbers seems to be entirely counter-productive.

That said, I would be very happy to see other conferences come around to
pick up the slack, and if it looked like RubyConf was going to be a
no-go
I’d consider attending something else.

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

a. The upcoming Ruby Conference in Colorado had 73 proposals for papers
submitted, of which only 16 could fit into the schedule,

Yes, I know. :frowning:

b. There are only 240 slots for attendees to the conference, while
there are most likely thousands with the means and desire to attend, and
c. Given b, people are actually running scripts to poll the conference
web site and grab the registration form, in the hopes that they’ll be
one of the lucky 240.

A robot to check the site … Neat. Hope they use Etag and
last-modified checks.

I’m not sure what this all means yet, and I’m not sure it’s mostly a
good thing. For example, some people who have made major contributions
to the language and the community will most likely be shut out of the
opportunity to attend. And interest in Ruby, as Amy noted, seems to be
far outpacing the supply of volunteers to help the Nuby, even if they
aren’t what Amy called “help vampires”.

If we insult enough nubies, maybe they’ll go away? (Don’t care for the
‘help vampire’ meme, though I think I understand her point.)

More important, it would indeed be a shame for people to miss the annual
RubyConf simply because of bad timing when hearing about start of
registration. Is that likely? Given that a large portion of interest
is in Ruby as Rails, and not Ruby itself, I wonder if the recent Rails
cons will have satisfied people who may now be less motivated to attend
the Ruby conference(s).

Certainly the regional conferences will help … I think between Seattle
and Portland we have enough talent to put one on – how about Centralia?
:slight_smile: But the wider issue is, “Is there more demand for Ruby resources than
there is supply?” That’s especially a concern when there seems to be an
endless supply of Java and Perl and PHP resources, and maybe even
Python and Javascript.

Anyhow, what do other people here think?

I know others have been discussing local conferences. One question
that has come up is what will draw the best crowd, and what crowd should
one be looking to attract. Specifically, turn out for a regional Ruby
conference vs. a regional Rails conference. When one talks of Ruby
resources and nuby demand, is the demand for Ruby programming knowledge
or Rails API support? (I know, this is a simplification, but I think it
focuses the main idea.)

I’d hate to find that I can’t attend the Denver gathering because I got
to the Web site too late (though my army of tireless robots shall be
unleashed momentarily!!!) and I have to believe many others feel the
same way. And I’d hate to see the event become “exclusive” or viewed
as such (despite knowing that David, Chad, Rich, et al would never
intend such a thing). On the other hand, I like the idea of smaller
assemblies. There are notable differences in gatherings of 12, 25, 55,
240, and 500, and I can appreciate David’s interest in capping
registration.

Perhaps, if avoiding the enterprisy-ness of multi-track, 500+ attendee
conferences is a useful goal, then there should not be just the One,
True RubyConf, but several regional ones, across the globe. Perhaps
that’s more agilely.

Or it may be non-issue if people have a choice between Rails and Ruby
conferences; RubyConf may go back to ~50 people who all know each other.


James B.

“A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming is
not worth knowing.”

  • A. Perlis

Charles O Nutter wrote:

to such
low numbers seems to be entirely counter-productive.

That said, I would be very happy to see other conferences come around to
pick up the slack, and if it looked like RubyConf was going to be a no-go
I’d consider attending something else.
Clearly there are limitations … it costs money to host a conference,
and the hosting organization is a non-profit one. That said, quite a few
universities have space available during the summer at rates far more
reasonable than any hotel you could stand to stay in. One of the best
SIAM meetings I ever went to was on the RPI campus in Troy, NY, and I
spent three weeks on the UC Santa Cruz campus one summer for about a
third of what a cheap motel would have cost.

The issue of supply/demand goes deeper than just the conferences. What
about code? Sure, we all think Ruby is at least as productive as the
other “dynamic/scripting/interpreted” languages and possibly more
productive, and certainly more productive than a compiled one. It seems
to me there’s a lot more demand for code than there is supply.

On 7/27/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

Now that I have your attention :slight_smile: … last night was FOSCON II – Ruby
Rodeo. I was there, though not at OSCON. It was nice to meet folks like
Jim W., David A. Black, Phil T., Amy Hoy, and nearly all of our
neighbors from the “Zen Ruby” brigade up in Seattle. If I had known
there was going to be code sharing, I suppose I would have brought a
laptop and a wireless card.

Wow, I’m not sure how I missed you. Bummer.

Certainly the regional conferences will help … I think between Seattle
and Portland we have enough talent to put one on – how about Centralia?

How about a Ruby track at the Linux Northwest Fest in Bellingham WA next
April (2007). I was actually spending a good part of last the last
couple of days
(including last night at FOSCon) trying to line up support. I think
we’re in
good shape to pull it off.

I’ve got a tentative agreement from the LNW Fest folks to let us run a
full
track (4 talks). They’re going to start organizing in December, and I’d
like to
put out a call for papers in November, with a New Year’s Eve deadline
(PST).
I think we could get the talks selected in January, and leave the
presenters
February and March to write their talks.

:slight_smile: But the wider issue is, “Is there more demand for Ruby resources than
there is supply?” That’s especially a concern when there seems to be an
endless supply of Java and Perl and PHP resources, and maybe even
Python and Javascript.

Anyhow, what do other people here think?

I’ve seen some of the talks that just didn’t fit at RubyConf … I think
there’s
a lot of supply out there. Certainly, there’s a lot of untapped
potential as
well.

James B. wrote:

More important, it would indeed be a shame for people to miss the
annual RubyConf simply because of bad timing when hearing about start
of registration. Is that likely? Given that a large portion of
interest is in Ruby as Rails, and not Ruby itself, I wonder if the
recent Rails cons will have satisfied people who may now be less
motivated to attend the Ruby conference(s).
Well … the 16 presenters will be there, and the conference organizers
… that’s probably at least half a dozen. I’m guessing all the folks
who submitted proposals that were rejected want to go anyway, so there’s
almost 100 right there.

I know others have been discussing local conferences. One question
that has come up is what will draw the best crowd, and what crowd
should one be looking to attract. Specifically, turn out for a
regional Ruby conference vs. a regional Rails conference. When one
talks of Ruby resources and nuby demand, is the demand for Ruby
programming knowledge or Rails API support? (I know, this is a
simplification, but I think it focuses the main idea.)
After reading David Black’s “Ruby for Rails”, I’m finding it exceedingly
difficult to separate the two of them. Quite frankly, I don’t think you
can call yourself a Rails developer unless you’re a strong Ruby
programmer. Sure, you can put together a cookbook, maybe even a wiki or
a blog, just knowing how to use a browser, a text editor and all of the
built-in capabilities of Rails, without a deep knowledge of Ruby. But a
real web app? No way! Amy said it last night – “Rails is a gateway
drug”.

With hotel costs and air fares being what they are these days, I think
I’d prefer regional conferences. Some of the most amazing Ruby is
coming out of the Seattle Ruby Brigade, for example. I don’t know where
many of the other folks on this list call home, so I don’t know what
other cities would be logical places for a regional conference.

I’d hate to find that I can’t attend the Denver gathering because I
got to the Web site too late (though my army of tireless robots shall
be unleashed momentarily!!!) and I have to believe many others feel
the same way. And I’d hate to see the event become “exclusive” or
viewed as such (despite knowing that David, Chad, Rich, et al would
never intend such a thing). On the other hand, I like the idea of
smaller assemblies. There are notable differences in gatherings of
12, 25, 55, 240, and 500, and I can appreciate David’s interest in
capping registration.
Well … I can tell you point blank I won’t write a bot to poll the
site. If I don’t get to go, I don’t get to go. I’ll survive, I’ll go on
coding and lobbying for a regional conference in the Pacific Northwest.
I just wonder about a programming language whose creator and early
adopters have become a smaller-scale equivalent of rock stars. I can’t
recall that ever happening before. In fact, I can’t recall any piece
of software where that’s happened!

The scary thing about this is that such high-powered demands are often a
bubble, which eventually bursts in a spectacular way. That’s not
something I think anyone wants to happen to Ruby, or even to Rails.

Perhaps, if avoiding the enterprisy-ness of multi-track, 500+ attendee
conferences is a useful goal, then there should not be just the One,
True RubyConf, but several regional ones, across the globe. Perhaps
that’s more agilely.

Or it may be non-issue if people have a choice between Rails and Ruby
conferences; RubyConf may go back to ~50 people who all know each other.
I doubt that very seriously. I have to admit my motivation for going to
the conference is more to meet the big names in Ruby than it is to see
all sixteen of the chosen talks. There are at least ten that contain
something I could use, but it’s also about being with people who “speak
the same language”.

pat eyler wrote:

On 7/27/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

Now that I have your attention :slight_smile: … last night was FOSCON II – Ruby
Rodeo. I was there, though not at OSCON. It was nice to meet folks like
Jim W., David A. Black, Phil T., Amy Hoy, and nearly all of our
neighbors from the “Zen Ruby” brigade up in Seattle. If I had known
there was going to be code sharing, I suppose I would have brought a
laptop and a wireless card.

Wow, I’m not sure how I missed you. Bummer.
I was (deliberately) being quiet and unobtrusive for the most part. If
it matters, I was the one who asked the question about whether BFTS was
available for download. :slight_smile:

Oh, yeah … what is it about Ruby and Macintoshes? I’m glad I didn’t
have my dual-booted Windows XP Pro/Gentoo Linux laptop there … I think
I would have felt like an outsider.

How about a Ruby track at the Linux Northwest Fest in Bellingham WA next
April (2007). I was actually spending a good part of last the last
couple of days
(including last night at FOSCon) trying to line up support. I think
we’re in
good shape to pull it off.
Well … it’s a long drive but I’d go. Just don’t have the Ruby track at
the same time as the Gentoo track!

I’ve got a tentative agreement from the LNW Fest folks to let us run a
full
track (4 talks). They’re going to start organizing in December, and
I’d like to
put out a call for papers in November, with a New Year’s Eve deadline
(PST).
I think we could get the talks selected in January, and leave the
presenters
February and March to write their talks.
4 talks? You’ll get 16 to 20 just out of Seattle alone! Then there’s
Portland and Vancouver BC. And there’s got to be a few Ruby geeks in
Richland.

As one of the FOSCON organizers, I’ll chime in here.

I love the idea of regional conferences, organized according to the
philosophy of the groups who are doing the organizing. RubyConf is
unique in its one-track, three-day format, but it has obvious scaling
issues. And when that’s known as the one conference you can’t miss,
the feeling of unintentional exclusivity arises.

FOSCON has taken two tacks thus far: last year we approached people
who were speaking at OSCON and invited them to give a “preview” of
their talk at FOSCON. This year the FOSCON planners sat down and
made up a list of who we thought were influential and important
people in the Ruby community, and invited them to speak about
whatever they liked. There was no jurying or selection, beyond the
initial voting of which of the six people we were going to contact.
We also encouraged the 20-minute lightning talk format to keep things
interesting, given that we had basically a three-hour period to have
our micro-conference.

Like Pat mentioned, events like Linuxfest Northwest are an alternate
method of putting together Ruby conferences, without having to do
all the hard work of finding a venue, dealing with registration,
etc. I’m sure there are many similar conferences that could have a
Ruby presence. For FOSCON, we had an existing relationship with Free
Geek (we have our monthly meetings there), and they were kind enough
to give us the space for free. Maybe there are similar nonprofits
that can help with the gritty logistical issues.

–John

On 7/27/06, John L. [email protected] wrote:

Like Pat mentioned, events like Linuxfest Northwest are an alternate
method of putting together Ruby conferences, without having to do
all the hard work of finding a venue, dealing with registration,
etc. I’m sure there are many similar conferences that could have a
Ruby presence. For FOSCON, we had an existing relationship with Free
Geek (we have our monthly meetings there), and they were kind enough
to give us the space for free. Maybe there are similar nonprofits
that can help with the gritty logistical issues.

Let me also point out that Rubyists in Michigan have already scheduled
a Ruby Conf for the end of August. I’ve also heard rumblings from a
couple of groups in California, and in the mountain west. I think this
is
going to be a very interesting couple of years as the regional
conferences
start to roll out. One thing I hope we can avoid is a crush of
gatherings
that impose a smothering effect on one another. Perhaps it’s time to
dig out a calendar app with which organizers can coordinate amongst
themselves.

On 7/27/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

I was (deliberately) being quiet and unobtrusive for the most part. If
it matters, I was the one who asked the question about whether BFTS was
available for download. :slight_smile:

Ahh, ok.

Oh, yeah … what is it about Ruby and Macintoshes? I’m glad I didn’t
have my dual-booted Windows XP Pro/Gentoo Linux laptop there … I think
I would have felt like an outsider.

heh, I was there with my Linux running thinkpad … no Apple issues
here. :wink:

I’ve got a tentative agreement from the LNW Fest folks to let us run a
full
track (4 talks). They’re going to start organizing in December, and
I’d like to
put out a call for papers in November, with a New Year’s Eve deadline
(PST).
I think we could get the talks selected in January, and leave the
presenters
February and March to write their talks.

4 talks? You’ll get 16 to 20 just out of Seattle alone! Then there’s
Portland and Vancouver BC.

Yeah, I’m hoping to get 16-20 proposals, so that we can field 4
“knock their socks off” tracks. The others would make great
fodder for one or more local/regional meetings.

As it happens, I know about another project that will be looking for
quality (written) materials that I hope to be able to start hyping in
August. If you just can’t wait, there’s also Ruby Code & Style
who probably wouldn’t mind getting a couple of submitted articles.

And there’s got to be a few Ruby geeks in
Richland.

Well., there is an olympia.rb that we should try to tap as well. :slight_smile:
The
Pacific Northwest is certainly a hotbed of Ruby goodness.

pat eyler wrote:

Yeah, I’m hoping to get 16-20 proposals, so that we can field 4
“knock their socks off” tracks. The others would make great
fodder for one or more local/regional meetings.

As it happens, I know about another project that will be looking for
quality (written) materials that I hope to be able to start hyping in
August. If you just can’t wait, there’s also Ruby Code & Style
who probably wouldn’t mind getting a couple of submitted articles.

Very much so. And we can pay the writers now. :slight_smile:

Contact me at james DOT britt AT gmail DOT com

BTW, the Phoenix area has some ideas being kicked around for Ruby cons
and Ruby tracks at Web/Geek gatherings.


James B.

“If you don’t write it down, it never happened.”

  • (Unknown to me)

[email protected] wrote:

and

Submissions started on June 1 and ended on June 30. That’s 29 days.
Plus, at one point you almost had to beg for proposals. :slight_smile:

Hi –

On Fri, 28 Jul 2006, Charles O Nutter wrote:

I for one have been very disappointed with the limtations put on RubyConf
this year.

  • Only ten days were given to submit proposals

Submissions started on June 1 and ended on June 30. That’s 29 days.

David

Hi –

On Fri, 28 Jul 2006, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

language and the community will most likely be shut out of the opportunity to
attend. And interest in Ruby, as Amy noted, seems to be far outpacing the
supply of volunteers to help the Nuby, even if they aren’t what Amy called
“help vampires”.

Certainly the regional conferences will help … I think between Seattle and
Portland we have enough talent to put one on

Ya think? :slight_smile:

– how about Centralia? :slight_smile: But
the wider issue is, “Is there more demand for Ruby resources than there is
supply?” That’s especially a concern when there seems to be an endless
supply of Java and Perl and PHP resources, and maybe even Python and
Javascript.

But in a case like this, demand is supply – meaning: it all comes
down to people who want stuff to happen making it happen. If people
want to put on a bigger, perhaps more business-oriented conference,
then they should. I’d certainly come.

Anyhow, what do other people here think?

Regional conferences are, I think, very important – and very “real”,
if you know what I mean. I was also thrilled to see the Japanese Ruby
Conference take place, as well as EuRuKo (is that happening this
year?) and other events, including those that Ruby Central has
partnered in (Silicon Valley Ruby Conference, RailsConf Europe [in
September!], RailsConf 2007).

We need a distributed, Ruby Centrifugal model. Even if we turned
RubyConf into a six-track, 1000-person extravaganza, the meet-up needs
of the Ruby community on a broad scale would not have been fully
addressed. They can’t be addressed by one conference.

So we’ve started looking outward, and trying to find a useful role for
Ruby Central in that process. http://www.rubycentral.org/rcg2006.pdf
– bring it on! :slight_smile:

David

On Jul 28, 2006, at 6:26 AM, [email protected] wrote:

Regional conferences are, I think, very important – and very “real”,
if you know what I mean. I was also thrilled to see the Japanese Ruby
Conference take place, as well as EuRuKo (is that happening this
year?) and other events, including those that Ruby Central has
partnered in (Silicon Valley Ruby Conference, RailsConf Europe [in
September!], RailsConf 2007).

Look at Java by way of comparison. There are a ton of very good
regional Java meet-ups - Javapolis in Belgium and the Software Summit
in Colorado are particularly good. But Java also has its Annual Big
Honking Mind-Meld at JavaOne. I think both of these things are
good. Given the level of buzz in the community (for example at
FOSCON this week), I bet that there’s a place for that one great big
annual Rubystravaganza; and regional meetups too. -Tim

On 7/28/06, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

On Fri, 28 Jul 2006, Charles O Nutter wrote:

  • Only ten days were given to submit proposals

Submissions started on June 1 and ended on June 30. That’s 29 days.

It’s certainly my fault if I only saw the “ten day warning email”, but
I’ve
also heard from a number of other folks who didn’t know proposals were
due
until the date was nearly upon them. In the future I’d suggest including
folks who previously presented on the announcement list, since I am
generally not able to scan every ruby-talk email that comes through. I’d
been looking forward to presenting (and others had been looking forward
to
seeing me present) and was checking every couple weeks…but in this
case I
missed something and didn’t know until days before the deadline.

Granted, I didn’t get in because I crossed up my dates anyway, but I
would
have started the process sooner had I known. At any rate, I won’t hold
anyone else responsible for my incompetence.

I’m hoping we’ll have a conference down here in the south-east for all
of us southern rubyists. That’d be fantastic.

You know, you’ve got something golden when the community makes you
feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and makes you more productive while
doing it!

Hooray Ruby!

M.T.

Based on what I am hearing, I am going to put together a follow-on
conference October 28 ( Sat ) thru Nov 3rd ( Friday )
Sat and Sunday will be informal and will be based at a mountain
retreat. The rest of the week will be in the Denver area.
Presentations will be Monday through Thursday 0900 to 1200, break ,
1330 to 1630. Friday is 0900 to 1300.
the main focus will be on RUBY
I am inviting presentations, especially in unusual areas such as
using RUBY to remote control via the web, VOIP apps using RUBY, etc.

Right now the mountain retreat will 5 star fun and 1 star luxury.
( basic amenities, food and shelter, campfires, under the stars video
projection
seminars ) Sat and Sunday will occur in the vicinity of Fairplay
which is pretty close to Breckenridge for those who want deluxe
sleeping arrangements.
We will have a shuttle service to Breckenridge Sat night. There is
shuttle service to Breckenridge from the Denver Iternational
( whoohah ) airport.

Monday thru Friday will be at Denver Metro areas that will seat 600
people. Weather permitting , some events will be outside.
This conference will be more like the SlamDance wanna be of
Sundance. Maybe more fun…

Gus Calabrese

On 2006-Jul 28, at 07:26hrs AM, [email protected] wrote:

Ruby Conference in Colorado

Gus S Calabrese
Denver, CO
720 222 1309 303 908 7716 cell
Please include and do not limit yourself to “spam2006”. I allow
everything with “spam2006” in the subject or text to pass my spam
filters.

Regarding presentations: Selecting papers for a conference is basically
a referee-ing task. If there were 73 papers, perhaps more than 16 of
them actually were interesting. It’s great to see the presenter in the
flesh and ask questions, but the Ruby world is growing beyond what one
small annual conference can serve.

It can be just as useful to read papers that are not only well-selected,
but well-written and well-edited. (I’ve always thought of Jon Postel
as one of the greatest unsung heroes of the Internet because of his
exceptional editing of the RFCs- almost all of the ones published up to
his death are at least a pleasure to read.)

What about a peer-reviewed, or at least refereed site for posters,
abstracts, and papers? Putting up perhaps 16 per month might be more
useful than what we have now. I’d contribute the bandwidth.

Regarding regional meetings: If anyone is interested in setting one up
in New York, send me a private email.

Benjamin R. wrote:

regardless of the hype, and will do what they need to to satisfy their
own desires from the language without worrying about what other people
think.
Yeah … that’s the Lisp model. Fifty years old, IIRC, Lisp is. Lisp was
a “very big deal” at one point in the early to mid 1970s – Lisp
machines and acres of VAXes and of course the Connection Machine. Lisp
survived the Lisp machine bubble burst.

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