26-Nov-2013 by Allison McMillan

Read Time: Approx. 3 minutes

RubyConf Randomness: Other things I learned that weekend

This post if all about the other random things I learned at RubyConf. Just as a note to begin, some of these items are talk-related, others are just literally random things I learned. In order to learn, I needed to ask. Don’t shy away from asking about a joke or tv character. It’s not embarrassing to even ask the small questions...I’m new to tech and therefore I don’t understand all of the star trek references or ruby jokes. Ask them!! Then you’ll be able to laugh at them in the future! It’s the little things that make a big difference.

1. Koybayashi. There’s more than one. I have a confession… I love eating contests and the sport of competitive eating. Yup, you read that correctly, eating contests. The best part of every year for me is the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest every July 4th. I love the commentators and the competitors, I know all of them and their stories and their past records. One of the most famous major league eaters is Kobayashi. He held the world record for number of hotdogs eaten for a long time until Joey "the jaws" Chestnut came onto the scene. Now, during Evan’s talk about Redis and Recommendation Engines, he had a slide about Kobayashi. This slide had no hotdogs and I was very confused. Turns out, there’s more than one famous Kobayashi. The Kobayashi he was referring to was Kobayashi Maru, (Straight from Evan!) a fictional test administered to Starfleet cadets in Star Trek. Cadets are evaluated on how they handle failure. Now that slide makes much more sense both in slide content and in placement within the presentation.

2. Talks I wish I had gone to. There are two talks that I really can’t wait to watch. These are Pat Shaughnessy’s Garbage Collection talk and Dave Copeland’s talk on branching, nil, and attributes. I saw lots of cool notes about these two sessions on twitter and heard great things from people who were at those sessions. Another note on talks, I thought the lightning talk by Andrew Harvey was really good. If he posts his slides, you should definitely check them out.

3. I didn’t do a full write up on notes from Day 3, session 3 about being an open source maintainer. I didn’t have many notes but hopefully this topic will be more relevant to me in the future. I wanted to put some little notes about it here though. Some key points I noted were the idea of rewriting the history, triaging a pile of issues when you first become a maintainer, and taking responsibility.

4. I learned about like 15 new languages while there. Seriously, who knew there were so many programming languages?! Some languages I heard of included poison, Dylan, and whitespace. I intend to fully ignore these until I’m a little more comfortable with ruby but I can’t wait to be at the point in my developer education where I can play around with these weird random languages and easily understand what’s happening.

5. The last session was a fireside chat with Matz. At some point someone asked a question about someone called Nobu and everyone laughed. For those of you who also didn’t get it, here’s what everyone was laughing at. There is a guy named nobu who has the most contributions to ruby and the running joke is whether or not he’s a bot or a real person. Apparently he’s a real person. Next time, I’ll be able to laugh too

6. I arrived late to board game night and therefore didn’t really jump into anything, but there were some really cool games being played! If you were there and remember any of the names, please leave them in comments! I’m always looking for new interesting games.

On a final note, I just want to say thank you to everyone that I met and had conversations with while at RubyConf! It was really fantastic to meet so many people doing so much cool stuff. And thank you to the organizers who put together the scholarship program! I wouldn’t have been able to go if it hadn’t been for that opportunity.

Hopefully I’ll see everyone in San Diego next year!!!

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