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31 Ruby Videos from Mountain West Ruby Conference 2009

By Peter Cooper / March 26, 2009

james-britt-ruby-superstar.gif The always popular MountainWest RubyConf took place again this year on March 13-14 and the always awesome Confreaks team was on hand to record all of the presentations. Already they have 31 videos of MWRC 2009 up and ready to view in both HD (720p) and 640x360 MPEG4 formats. This is a goldmine of viewing and even if you don't get to a single Ruby conference this year, these videos could do 90% of the work for you.

So what rocked? Well, I haven't had time to watch all 31 videos, but from what I've heard and from those I have seen, here are some recommendations:

James Britt: Wii Ruby: All work and no play just won't do. - Until this video I'd never seen James Britt (pictured - of Ruby-Doc fame) in action, but he's a really good presenter - tells it straight, doesn't waste time. He talks about using Ruby (JRuby, specifically) to pick up data from the Wiimote's buttons and sensors. Pretty novel, and fun, stuff.

Yehuda Katz: The Great Rails Refactor - Yehuda, prominent Merb developer, presents a walkthrough of the Merb/Rails merge and how things will progress from here. If Rails 3.0 is interesting to you, watch this. His look at ORM agnosticism with ActionORM is particularly cool.

Jeremy Evans: Sequel - Jeremy Evans talks about Sequel, the lightweight database toolkit (Jeremy is now the maintainer but didn't create the project). Jeremy presents a whirlwind walkthrough with very text and code heavy slides. This presentation style tends to be a bit heavy in real life, but with a video it's great because you can pause if you want to read the slides :)

Jeremy Hinegardner: FFI - Jeremy looks at Ruby's new(ish) FFI (Foreign Function Interface) support, specifically in the context of making cross-language extensions.

Gregory Brown: Gibberish::Simple - Prawn creator Gregory Brown presents a five minute lightning talk that looks at how to localize Ruby 1.9 apps.

Brian Ford: Rubinius (1.0) - Engine Yard developer Brian Ford presents a five minute lightning talk on the Rubinius Ruby implementation. Not bad work considering he prepared the presentation at the last minute! If you want a very quick wrap up of what Rubinius is about, check it out.

And.. of course, there are 25 others! They cover stuff like writing adapters for DataMapper, BDD, usability, VoIP, DSLs, machine learning, GUI testing, workflows, and text to speech. Got a favorite and think we should all watch it? Leave a comment here!

As an aside, I'm looking forward to the Scotland on Rails (currently taking place in Edinburgh) videos coming along in the next few weeks (hopefully) but MountainWest has left them extremely big shoes to fill.

Comments

  1. Sebastian says:

    Geminstaller. Use it. :)

  2. James Britt says:

    Thanks for the kind words, and glad you liked the talk. I've done some more hacking to sort out some issues and try new things, and got good ideas from the MWRC crowd (hat-tip to James Gray and Jim Weirich. Maybe the best reason to give a talk: quick feedback!), so I hope to have cooler demos before too long.

    I quite enjoyed the Rack talk, and of course that Italian film. :) Plus Remi Taylor's lightening talk shows pure nerves of steel. #brassballs indded.

    MWRC continues to rock.

  3. Mike Moore says:

    Thanks for the mention, Peter! All of the videos are up, with the exception Saturday's lightning talks. Confreaks are hard at work on getting them released as well.

  4. hukl says:

    I think the most entertaining talk was »Herding Tigers - Software Development and the Art of War« by Daniel Philpott. It had lots of truth in it as well.

  5. remi says:

    lol ... I dunno how I picked up the #brassballs tag, but my lightning talk was, indeed, ... interesting.

    If you like watching train wrecks, I highly recommend checking out my lightning talk once it's released (the last round of lightning talks is still being processed). It's only 5 minutes long :)

    Thanks to all the #MWRC presenters ... but also thanks to all of the attendees! #MWRC was so amazingly fun and everyone I met there was insanely awesome.

    I can't wait for MWRC 2010!

  6. Jan Wedekind says:

    Alan Whitaker's presentation is really funny.
    http://mwrc2009.confreaks.com/14-mar-2009-17-35-la-dolce-vita-rubyista-alan-whitaker.html

  7. Flambard says:

    "La Dolce Vita Rubyista"

    The film was amusing but I view it essentially as a propaganda piece.

    Peter, based on your writings I believe you've concluded that work is a means to an end, and not an end in itself, and that coding is done with increasingly less frequency as a basis of support for pursuing creative interests.

    The question to ask, as with everything, is: Who benefits from what, and how?

    Who: A businessman ("suit") with roots in the Fortune 500 world, charged with motivating workers to produce output for the benefit of company ownership

    What: A film promoting long hours of work even beyond the archaically-mandated forty hours as a _value system_. Basically if you (worker/code monkey) want your basic emotional needs of praise and acceptance met, you'll be prepared to reduce your pay by working longer hours and drop your personal life at the whim of the company.

    Spending time with your family? Forget it--get in here now because the "build broke" or you'll be castigated by your peers as just another corporate Java programmer.

    This point is made by the film in a humorous vein, but note that once made it is never refuted.

    Once again we see ownership telling us to work harder for work's sake, without _any_ mention of the financial benefit this provides the company's owners.

    Programmers, kindly indulge by answering this question: On your deathbed, will you say "I wish I'd spent more time earning money for my employers" or "I wish I'd spent more time with my loved ones and pursuing my creative interests"?

    Always, always question motivation. Question mine, and question your own.

    None of this means that all company owners are evil manipulators, plotting how to extract more effort from workers. But it does mean that people often use "little white lies" to serve their self-interests.

    Words are meaningless--always look beyond what someone says, and observe what they do. If Ruby is so much fun, why is the presenter spending his time making movies instead of cranking out code?

    I'd rather spend my free time making funny movies, too. Wouldn't you?

  8. Peter Cooper says:

    I'm not sure why you've named me (or another Peter, possibly?) as I have no connection to the movie you're dissecting, but I'll bite :)

    Peter, based on your writings I believe you've concluded that work is a means to an end, and not an end in itself, and that coding is done with increasingly less frequency as a basis of support for pursuing creative interests.

    I don't think that's my conclusion so far, depending on your definition of "work." I'm always trying to turn the definition of "work" from "employment" to "activity directed toward accomplishment." The latter is more likely to be driven by passion or a sense of craft, whereas the first is to pay the bills.

    Words are meaningless--always look beyond what someone says, and observe what they do. If Ruby is so much fun, why is the presenter spending his time making movies instead of cranking out code? I'd rather spend my free time making funny movies, too. Wouldn't you?

    Good point! In my case, I enjoy sharing, teaching, writing, and presenting a lot more than I enjoy coding (although it can have its moments, much like anything can) and have willingly begun to accept those roles lately without feeling too much guilt that I'm no high-flying coder.

  9. Flambard says:

    Hi Peter, my comment to you was an aside.

    "I enjoy sharing, teaching, writing, and presenting a lot more than I enjoy coding" is what "coding is done with increasingly less frequency as a basis of support for pursuing creative interests" meant, based on your previous writings (i.e., conveying the same idea).

    I agree, we evolve and our aspirations change.

  10. Jan Wedekind says:

    Well, I thought it was a funny idea to have Jim Weirich act as an optician recommending ruby specs. By no means should my comment be taken as a general endorsement of corporate business practises.
    As far as I know in most jobs you have to choose between the following two
    a) insist on introducing state-of-the-art software tools, get into trouble with management, loose your job
    b) accept management decisions regardless of current state-of-the-art, get blamed for resulting problems, loose your job

    I have yet to see a company which is able to innovate as technology advances.

  11. Jan Wedekind says:

    Jim Weirich's presentation about connasence is quite interesting. Basically it gives you a metric on how much any two pieces of code are dependent on each other. I.e. if you change the name of a method, you also need to change the method calls. Then there are other types of connasence and some of them make it really hard to change a program without breaking it ...

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