It’s the day before the RailsConf 2006 (the first official International Rails Conference) begins, and things got off to a rocky start for me. From St. Louis, I can drive to Chicago in five hours, but with the high price of gas I decided to fly. Unfortunately, the weather caused flight delays which caused my total trip time by plane to be six hours!
Then, even though Amy Hoy had alerted us that the hotel’s wireless Internet access sucked, I discovered that was an understatement — it sucks, big time. I attempted to run an Internet bandwidth test, but it timed out after 15 minutes. The same bandwidth test using my cell phone as a modem completed in 2 minutes and showed an average of 13 kilobytes per second. Needless to say, I’m posting this through my cell phone.
From there, things could only get better… and they did!
This was the time to socialize. The seating area next to the hotel lobby had already filled up with RailsConf attendees, easily spotted because you look out over a veritable sea of laptops. There I met many people that I know in the Ruby/Rails world, including two people from my local St. Louis Ruby Users Group and John Long, who has single handedly written the Rails based software that will run the new ruby-lang.org site when it is launched. Chad Fowler (of “Rails Recipes” and Ruby Central fame) was nearly unrecognizable (we’re going to start calling him “mountain man”, now).
Finally, I headed down to the ThoughtWorks VIP Reception for RailsConf speakers. Wow… what a crowd! It was a veritable who’s who of the Ruby/Rails world. I embarrassed myself by sitting down and talking with Duncan for about 10 minutes before I realized it was James Duncan Davidson (Tomcat, Ant, Servlet API), the guy whose quote about Rails is highlighted prominently in all my presentations (along with his picture, no less)!
I also got to meet Shugo Medea who flew all the way here from Japan. Shugo is the webmaster for the ruby-lang.org site and has been the main person we’ve been working with to get the new ruby-lang.org site operational.
From Rich Kilmer I learned about an potentially killer VM for Ruby (not YARV) that could happen sometime this year. Stuart Halloway gave me a big compliment for Instant Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson told me he’s turned down over 30 requests to speak at conferences (that could be a fulltime job!), Justin Gehtland was his usual grinning self, Dave Thomas said something to me but it was so noisy I have no idea what it was, and Obie Fernandez (from ThoughtWorks) gave me some interesting stats on Rails in an enterprise setting. There were so many others I can’t even remember anymore.
I’m so jazzed now I can’t wait for the conference to start tomorrow. I’ll make a post at the end of each day to summarize what happened.