Ruby Weekly News 3rd - 9th July 2006

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Ruby Weekly News 3rd - 9th July 2006

Ruby Weekly News is a summary of the week’s activity on the ruby-talk
mailing list / the comp.lang.ruby newsgroup / Ruby forum, brought to
by Tim S…

A short newsletter this week, which is unfortunate because there were
many great threads :frowning:

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Articles and Announcements

 * 19 Rails Tricks Most Rails Coders Don't Know

   A fascinating article by Peter C., posted to his most 

blog It hit the front-page of Digg (although
were only a few comments). Even if you’re not a Rails user, there
plenty in the article that applies to Ruby in general, or you can
check out one of the other thirteen articles he wrote last week.

 * ICFP Programming Contest: Interest in Ruby team?

   The ICFP Programming Contest is on July 21-24, and registration 

open, reports Maurice Codik. This is the International Conference
Functional Programming’s annual programming contest, and had 161
last year.

   > The contest will be held the weekend of July 21-24: Teams will 

> given a task to complete in whatever language they choose. The
> winners will get bragging rights, and a subsidized trip to the
> conference in Portland this September. This year’s theme will
> “computational archaeolinguistics.”

   Maurice would like to know of people that are interested in 

working in
a Ruby team.

 * RailsConf Europe, Sept. 14-15: don't put it off!

   David A. Black reminded all about RailsConf Europe on September 

2006, in London. It has a very respectable list of speakers
Registrations and presentations proposals are open.

   > I repeat: this is a BIG Rails event, and you should be there!
   > Judging from registration numbers, there's a healthy interest 

in the
> event… BUT WE WANT AN UNHEALTHY INTEREST!! Go ahead-put our
> seating capacity to the test!

   "RailsConf Europe is brought to you by Ruby Central, Inc. (the
   RailsConf people), and Skills Matter, Ltd., our London-based
   conference partners."

 * Gateway Restored

   Thanks to James Edward G. II's efforts, we once again have a 

between the ruby-talk mailing list and comp.lang.ruby newsgroup,
more than a month of downtime.

   He thanked Dave T. (wrote the original gateway code and used 

maintain the gateway), Dennis Oelkers (“who was keeper of the
for so long”), Fred Senault (donated the newsgroup account for
the new
gateway), HighGroove Studios (hosting the new gateway script) and
their employee Charles Brian Q…

   "Without all of the above, there would be no gateway.
   My thanks to you all!"


Retired Ruby Mascott?

Pawel S. vaguely recalled Ruby having an “anime-girl type”
mascot a few years ago, and indeed found a page of pictures of
drawn by Yoshida Masato.

Wilson B. said it was always unofficial, and a couple of
pointed out an old thread discussing Ruby mascots where many people
thought this was an unsuitable choice.

David A. Black:

There was no such “mascot.” The ruby-chan image came up at a time
the notion of having a Ruby mascot was being bandied about.
and correctly, the idea of having a kind of “pet” woman/girl as a
was not taken particularly seriously by very many people (except,
perhaps, by those of us who felt somewhat affronted by it).

Pawel: “So the only official Ruby mascott is the gem? Isn’t that
flying in
the face of the tradition of having a cute, user friendly mascott
that can
be found at your local zoo?”

For example, the Perl camel [img] or Python snake [img].

Brad T., not immediately realising the image links were a camel
to swallow some poor person’s head, and a scary razor-toothed snake,

You’re kidding right? I love Python as much as I love Ruby, but
snake mascot is not a good mascot (IMO). It’s cold-blooded. It eats
small furry cute mammals. It’s slimly, it smells, etc. Look at the
problems Pyhton has with naming projects. Eggs… what kind of name
that? A lot of people think eggs are gross. And snake eggs are even

Ruby’s gem is much better (IMO). A Ruby is something of value. If I
found a ruby, I would pick it up, dust it of and put it in my
Rubys are something to be held, admired and passed onto or sold to
others. If I came across a snake, I’d either run from it or kill it
somehow… isn’t it human nature to fear snakes? Why have a mascot
naturally repulsive to 90% of humankind?

(Poor snakes, they get such a bad rap. They’re actually soft and dry,
not slimy. I’d also expect Ruby users to be fans of eggs, since they
so well with chunky bacon.)

Brian M. said that the real unofficial community mascots must
be the
chunky-bacon foxes from Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. Don’t forget
“Chip, the Talking Code Block”, added Pawel.

text to speech?

Arun, who teaches blind people in New Delhi to program, asked how to
text-to-speech in Ruby.

“Now, of course, for a blind person, audio is as important as the
is for the sighted, and even to do your first “Hello World” program,
need text to speech to be working.”

Dale M. said that on Windows you can use the SAPI interface,
is wrapped through the Win32 Util library, and gave a simple example
its use.

John G. thought that Ruby-GNOME supports GNOME’s accessibility
interface, so that might be an option for *nix users. Axel suggested
MBROLA multi-lingual text-synthesis library.

Jamal M. announced that he has written a text editor called
(in Ruby using wxWidgets) that is “fully keyboard accessible and
almost every feature I’ve found in a text editor (I compared many),
does so in a manner intended to maximize usability by blind persons.”
is free and open-source.


Implementations of instance_exec for Ruby 1.8 were discussed. (This,
feature of Ruby 1.9, is a version of instance_eval that takes
It can be useful when evaluating a block that was passed from
else, preventing us from using lexical scoping to pass in an

This topic was previously covered in February.

New Releases

Ruby In Steel 0.7 available - Now On Rails

Huw Collingbourn announced that the Steel IDE (a Ruby IDE that is
built on
Visual Studio 2005) now has Rails integration.

One-Click Ruby Installer 184-19 Final is available!

Curt H. said that the final version of the 1.8.4 release of the
One-Click Ruby Installed for Windows is out. Great news for Windows


There were many new releases not covered in this newsletter,
Mongrel, JRuby 0.9.0, RubySlim, MarkaBoo 0.7.3, RFuzz 0.4,
Equipment (for Camping) v0.1.0, ruby-debug 0.1, Hpricot 0.1 and 0.2,
Reports 0.4.13, and Facets 1.4.

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