Archive for March, 2011

Mountain West Ruby Conf

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Badge & Breakfast

Mountain West Ruby Conf last week rocked. It was well organized as always–props to Mike Moore(@blowmage) for putting it together and Confreaks for recording it and all the other people who made it the awesome conf that I like coming to every year(e.g. Jeremy Nicoll-Smashing Photographer).

CHE-UP my friends.

More seriously, Zed’s talk made me think more carefully about my open source contributions in terms of who benefits from my work. Am I just a sucker for working on stuff like Dubious or am I just doing it because I find it interesting and engaging. I think he crafted a really good talk and a good meme(CHE-UP) and made a good point about being aware of the motivations behind projects you contribute to. Now I just need to find some suckers/contributors to help me with my plans for world domination ;).

Mind Monkey Patching

David Brady’s talk about head hacking reminded me that I need to finish Pragmatic Thinking & Learning, a good book I’ve been reading off and on for more than 6 months now. I need to try using that crazy cat picture (the one with too many eyes) to trigger hardware interrupts at interesting times. Might be fun.

“Web” Development

Wayne Seguin’s talk was very topical as MWRC is my favorite conference to meet new and interesting Rubyists. I feel like I did some definite “web” development while I was there. I met new people and spent more time getting to know better some of the people in the community I’d met at other conferences.

I came away from the talk feeling inspired to do more looking at teaching and mentoring, something I looked at a little at RubyConf.


Concurrency was a big theme at the conference with Ilya Grigorick talking about more advanced concurrency models, and Preston Lee presenting about using the GPU and CUDA to solve embarrassingly parallel problems.

Ilya talked about the Actor model, which Erlang uses as well as Pi-Calculus/CSP which is what Go uses. Both deal with concurrency by providing constraints on what you can do within them. Interestingly, their constraints are very similar, but have different abstractions with regard to what is named.

In the Actor model,

  1. Name every process
  2. Every process has a mailbox
  3. Communicate via messages

In the CSP,

  1. Processes are anonymous
  2. Every channel has a name
  3. Processes communicate over channels

He wrote a gem that acts like CSP called agent



I ran in the 5k. I slept through it last year and decided that I had to do it this year. There were 13 of us. It was very dramatic.

Rounding the last corner

Rounding the last corner (pic by

I think I was last.

Mirah & Dubious

Mirah and Dubious were represented. I did a lightning talk on Dubious Thursday and Joe O’Brien showed off what is going on with Pindah as part of his Ruby on Android talk. I got to introduce a few people to Mirah and Dubious which was pretty cool. It seems like people are getting more interested in Mirah and projects written in it, which I think is pretty awesome.

Some other thoughts

Redis is a pretty cool project that I’d like to look at more than I have.

Wood cuts make for nifty slides.

Figs are killer.


Thanks again everybody for a great conference.




It’s That Time of Year Again: Mountain West Ruby Conf Time.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I’m going to Mountain West Ruby Conf again this year. The talks look great, the venue, as always is awesome and this year I might even run the 5k(in my VFFs of course).

I’m hoping to get some hacking done on Dubious and introduce some more people to it. You can do some really cool things with it, even in its current, limited state, and I’d like to see it played with and used more.

If you see me there, I’ll probably be wearing my black fedora and sporting a nice beard. Not as big as last year’s though(exhibit A).

Matz & me at last year's MWRC
Matz & me at last year’s MWRC

Snowshoeing With Dog near Brainard Lake

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

The Dog and I in Our Snow Shoes
Sara and the dog and I went snowshoeing last Sunday near Brainard Lake. The day started out really windy and I was worried it would be even worse on the trail. Getting to the trailhead confirmed my worries. The wind blew hard and the snow around the parking lot was contoured into low drifts.

It was windy and cold and we were worried that once we got our ‘shoes on and started up the trail that it was going to royally suck. I’d read that the way to the lake went along the road in my trail book and I figured that we’d be exposed to the wind the whole time.

But after we got out of the parking lot, we found the start of the snowshoeing trail somewhat hidden behind the the big map of the area, going up into the trees. Once we got into the trees we were protected from the wind. The trail itself wasn’t too bad, though it did get steep in a few places.

There were a fair number of cars parked at the trail head and we were worried that we’d run into a lot of people. Once we were on the trail though, we didn’t see many at all. I guess because there were enough different trails to take people just spread out.

In the end we didn’t make it to the lake, only about half way. We did however, successfully test our new snowshoes and Ada’s new boots. I’m not sure she liked them, but they did stay on pretty well as far as that goes.

If you’re going to go, you might want to check out the nearby  Snow levels.


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