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RailsConf Europe II - My Thoughts Today
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RailsConf Europe II
spikyblackcat and I have ligged our way onto the second RailsConf Europe (September 17-19, Maritim proArte, Berlin) with a cool little proposal entitled Anchoring Trust: Rewriting DNS for the Semantic Network with Ruby and Rails. Hopefully having O'Reilly as a sponsor this year will give us decent exposure and attract some funding for our Mysterious Secret Project of Doomtm.

More details as and when they're available :)

Tags: , ,
Current Location: internet 2.0 VIP lounge
today I am mostly: woot!!!
the music in my head: ntfs-3g disk copy

7 opinions or participate
vorpal_t From: vorpal_t Date: June 5th, 2007 07:33 am (UTC) (permanent link)

Getting Attention At Conferences

Well done on that.

As part of one of our projects 'our mutual friend' and I blagged our way to a Summit Conference. We used it to get attention from the right people.

Firstly, we dressed so that people would want to talk to us, very smart, slightly different and let charisma shine out, we consciously exuded confidence and friendliness, if fact we attracted groupies.

Then we made sure to enter all sessions slightly late and boldly walked to take a place at a table at the front, establishing eye contact with the speakers. When the Summit was divided into streams, we made sure to switch between streams to maximise exposure.

Then we made sure that we asked interesting well thought out questions, clearly and with confidence. We were not afraid to use the question we were asking to sell what we are doing.

Did this work - you bet - after the most important person we needed to see had spoken, he walked off the stage and sat down at our table, telling the press to wait. We got our slot, made our pitch and he instructed people within his organisation to get together with us.

This was all built on Chutzpah - it worked - good luck and well done.

feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: June 5th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Getting Attention At Conferences

I like your style Vorp :) I take it business is going very well for yourself and our mutual friend? (And isn't it delicious using such a conspiratorial tone of voice on LJ?)

spikyblackcat and I make quite the odd couple at these events as he's a great big lanky goth/cryptographer and I'm this slender, elegantly-dressed ball of manic energy. Of course the great irony is that he's the one with the senior management experience and I'm the code auteur, but you'd never believe it to look at us :)

We made a reasonable impression at last year's event and gained something of a reputation for being deep geeks. Unfortunately at the same time we were trying to keep our research work under the radar whilst some former colleagues made up their minds which bits they would be patenting. That's all sorted now and they've agreed that the applications we're interested in don't interest them, so we've a green light to get on with our project so long as we don't step on their toes. That shouldn't be too difficult as the people most likely to get upset with us are the IETF, ICANN and IANA. But more on that in a future post.

I don't think RailsConf Europe will be make-or-break for us, but with the recent industry-wide interest in Ruby on Rails there should be representatives of most of the companies that we'd like to hook up with. I just hope three months is sufficient time to build some initial technology previews on our non-existent budget otherwise the whiff of vapourware will do us no good at all... Mind you, we are the only extant dev team working in the field of programmable DNS so I'm sure someone with deep pockets will take a punt on us!
vorpal_t From: vorpal_t Date: June 5th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Getting Attention At Conferences

So which of you have the designer tats?

By one of those strange coincidences, I was looking at flexible ways of developing some extended stored procedures to return result sets to the front end. Is it always going to run on a Linux box, do I want to do C++ stuff, is Tomcat my pet cat, has .NET's time come, despite our inhouse prejudice against MS, and I find myself reading about Ruby - why has such a great song got such weaselly lyrics?

I look forward to seeing the pair of you 'working the roo m' at some stage.

feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: June 5th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Getting Attention At Conferences

Rather incredibly neither of us boasts any tattoos - either we're not trying hard enough, or we're too individualistic ;p

Alas most of the beautiful lyrics are written in Japan and rarely travel much further. It also doesn't help that Rails has insinuated its way into the zeitgeist, sucking PHP and Perl coders in its wake. I cringe when I see some of the code that passes for acceptable in the Rails world...

On the other hand you have people like Why, the scene's resident Picasso of code. Check out his (Poignant) Guide to Ruby and you'll see the deep beauty that attracted me. In fact I met him last year and instantly turned into a skittish fan-girl, all hugs and enthusiastic endearments about meta-coding and lambdas ^_^

For something a little more material you might find Enterprise Integration with Ruby by Maik Schmidt a useful read: he has a very good chapter on ActiveRecord and Databases (but unfortunately no coverage of stored procedures) and other interesting stuff like Ruby LDAP integration. Oh, and the venerable Pick Axe (Programming Ruby by the Pragmatic Programmers) makes a handy desk weight :)

vorpal_t From: vorpal_t Date: June 5th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Getting Attention At Conferences

Boy, I could have done with something like Why's Guide when I was teaching first year programmers. I actualloy used a very full version of PL/1 because I could enforce good habits , and exception handling was excellent, and it was easy to set it up so the kids could import resource files easily.

At about the same time, I modified and installed some software to run a Container Terminal, from Mitsui. That's when I learned to speak Jinglish and Russian of a sort (it was also running the Vladivostok Terminal). The software was great, the documentation was grim, translation was slow until we brought in a Momma San and er her 'assistants', the suchi was great.

I'll have a look at the other books too. I have a stack of Orchestrator and Accellerator tools, one of them might save me having to do too much coding, I seem to be able to create services OK.

feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: June 5th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Getting Attention At Conferences

Well nothing ever requires a lot of code in Ruby - unless you want it to :) At one level it's the most infuriating language (in the same way as Lisp, with which it has certain similarities) but once you get the taste it's incredibly addictive. I still spend far too much time writing code in outdated paradigms though, and then having to aggressively refactor for that truly dynamic flavour.

I've never coded in PL/1, but I've seen a few samples over the years and it's surprisingly easy on the eye compared to its antecedents - both FORTRAN and COBOL are ugly as sin in my book, and I'm glad I'll never have to code in either again! I understand it's another one of those languages that it's a real pig to write a compiler for though, although that's normally the case with programmer-friendly languages.

Teaching novice programmers has always struck me as a thankless task. I ended up teaching a group on my MSc how to program in Pascal (it was intended as a conversion course and I was the only person on it with a programming background). A very strange experience. Since then I've taught a few people individually but I'm not sure I'd want to tackle a full classroom.

BTW, if you're keen on Sushi I can recommend a very good restaurant just off Tottenham Court Road. I'd happily eat there every day if I could afford it :)
vorpal_t From: vorpal_t Date: June 6th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Getting Attention At Conferences

I well recall the APL enthusiasts, programs taking up only one line is all very well, but I don't want to spend hours figuring out how they do it. My aim is always, elegance, brevity, transparancy and simplicity.

PL/1 appealed to some rather smart folk as well as utter slobs, some of that code still has to be floating around. I didn't use Joian Hughes' book, I used another one that had some very thought provoking ideas.

PL/1 was easier to teach beginner programmers than either Pascal or Modula. The difficult think was understanding screwed logic written by the students. I was glad to graduate to teaching final year students only.

If the Suchi is really spectacular, I'm always up for it, having lived in the Pacific, I've got rather spoilt, all the Japanese tourists and fishermaen mean that there are lots of good places round the pac rim. I know what you mean about the cost.....

7 opinions or participate