RailsConf '07: Day 0

I managed to snag a secondhand ticket on last week and drove to Portland yesterday for RailsConf '07. Today was "tutorial day." As Jason Hoffman noted in the first half of the day, "tutorial day" is a bit of a misnomer; it's simply a day with longer sessions.

Speaking of misnomers, there wasn't enough thought put into the title of Jason's session Scaling a Rails Application from the Bottom Up. Apparently I wasn't the only one surprised to be listening to a survey of IT /datacenter infrastructure best practices -- good advice, but I think it would have been more relevant to more of the audience had he told the story of growth, explaining what his team did at each breaking point to address the problem either within the application or through infrastructure improvements. I still enjoyed it because I'm a recovering IBM "systems analyst" and I dig ultrascalable architecture. Plus, Jason is a compelling speaker.

The afternoon session with Jamis Buck was closer to my expectations. Having used Capistrano for some sysadmin tasks some time ago, I was reminded just how endlessly useful a tool it is. Yes, there could have been more exploration behind the recipes, but considering the diversity of the audience, I think it stayed at the right level of detail. The only fault was Jamis' inexplicable disability when it came time to switch between presentation and demo screens. I'm not psychic, but I think I felt the vibes of everyone in the room mentally screaming "APPLE-TAB!! Goddammit!!"

Some other observations about the day:

  • Oregonians actually merge out of a merge lane well before the lane ends (we Californians know you're suposed to drive as fast as you can to the very end of the lane). I drove today but tomorrow I'm taking light rail.
  • Portland traffic sucks as much as Bay Area traffic.
  • Oregonians take environmental stuff seriously: the headline of today's paper: Paper or Plastic? It was an exposition of the benefits and drawbacks of each. Note to self: put newspaper in recycle bin.
  • I recognized some guy in the RailsConf crowd this morning, then I realized he was the Rails Guy. Sorry dude, you're now a minor celebrity in this world and you will have people staring at you at these events.
  • My 17" Powerbook is not a "laptop" by modern standards. I can, however, grill a mean omelette on its underside.
  • At 30, I bet I'm at least a standard deviation above the mean age. Dammit.
  • My choice of wine this evening was less than successful. It was so nasty that I abandoned the bottle. Wilamette Valley Pinot Noir recommendations, anyone? Might have to hit up the wine room at OCC tomorrow.
  • My beer selection this evening was much more successful.