Rubyconf 2010

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Last few days I attended (and spoke at) Rubyconf. It was the 10th edition, but the first time I did attend.

Excellent conference. A good level of presentations, a city that seems made for partying, warm and clear weather. Kudos to Chad Fowler, Kelly Jeane and crew for making it such a success. I met lots of people, and was glad to see others I’d met at Railsconf in june.

I was giving a talk about concurrency with Eleanor McHugh. It was a challenge in 2 ways:

  • first time I presented with Ellie, also the first time for me to present with anyone else at all.
  • it’s such a vast subject there is too much to say for a 45 minutes session.

As we found out, Ellie and I have very different presentation styles. She told me that she prepares slides, but basically ignores them to launch into inspired improvisations. Being the hacker she is, this leaves most people in the dust but is extremely interesting to those who can keep up.

I, on the other hand, have to prepare. I like to rehearse the whole presentation at least 3 times, if possible in front of others. If I don’t I have trouble finding my words, english not being my native language. I forget part of the things I wanted to say. I’ve found careful preparation allows me to give decent presentations.

The result of the combination was a bit unsatisfactory for both of us: she probably felt constrained by the prepared slides, and I felt woefully underprepared and more than a little bit nervous. You live and learn.

The subject, concurrency, is very interesting, fortunately. You can start from the hardware, dally at the VM, and go into language specifics. Playing around with different languages is great fun. Our slides are here. I’m pondering whether to open source all my experiments.