1. Newbie survives her first developer conference

    My first developer conference ever. Railsberry 2012. 

    What made me go to Railsberry? 

    Their website is full of amazing women and jam and pink and sweetness. It looks like a whole load of fun, not that megatechhy manly stuff all black and blue. Of course,  knowing Ela ( jam producer = organizer @elamadej ) made me know it could be really good, besides being in Kraków at the time. Good coincidences lead to fabulous things. 

    Kraków.

    Applicake whiz kids gave pink shirts out to a 99,9% male attendancy. I get into a hall full of guys. Like full. And someone on stage is explaining something going totally over my head at 500mph. (@josevalim)

    After José, Githubs Zach Holman (@holman) gets on stage, also wearing the pink t-shirt with the unicorn on it. 

    Maybe this could actually turn out to be funny. I mean, they do have a huge unicorn on stage.


    So, he’s speaking about Github.  

    It’s kind of silly that I do understand almost all the terminolgy but I just don’t see the connection with the things or how they work. I guess the best would be to just try out some stuff, because this lecture style really doesn’t demonstrate how and what you need to put things together. (Yes, these confs tend not to be for the beginners..)

    How the heck do people learn programming in school then? From what I gather, you just type in stuff and learn the “grammar” so to say, but you don’t see it function, don’t know what else you could stick in and how it looks at the end. 

    Sounds like learning cooking from books and never trying. I mean, you try stuff out and sometimes you can google recipes, but at the end of it you have to keep on tasting what you’re doing while you’re cooking to know what spice to add more.

    Like here at Railsberry they speak about jam production!

    The team has paid unbeliavable consideration to detail: In the welcoming swag bag there was a chinese friend catcher, the decoration is amazing, there’s green and flowers and colors all around to keep people in good spirit and energized, there’s a chill-out tent behind the main hall, there’s healthy, fresh food (and also for veggies!), it’s all great. The concept is so good people would come here even if there was no one having keynotes! 

    Breaks are long enough, too, there’s no point in making the breaks short as that’s the time you get to know people. So devconfs aren’t that bad- Patrik Huesler ( @phuesler one of our devoted coaches) and Tim Lossen (@tlossen) just got on stage and didn’t concentrate on the topic too much but instead danced in a two-piece zebra suite! 

    Haha. 

    One thing that differs from startup conferences and summits I’ve noticed is that no one tweets here. Railsberry has a few ppl to RT but otherwise it’s not like GigaOm. That’s not good for the conf. Let me do sth about that..

    (Later on people tweeted more, mostly instagramming photos as the venue was filled with colorful balloons after a big balloon bash in the main hall. Yes, part of the genious program.)

    Linda had a speech about what’s rails girls, how it started and how it’s open sourced starting now- anyone can do their own rails girls workshop with the guides online. The audience loved her talk and especially the mentioning of names calling- we like the word girls and she started Rails Girls when she felt like a girl. There’s too much discussion of if boys are allowed, if we should call ourselves women- this workshop is called Rails Girls and it could’ve just as well been a workshop for kids or any group. We need to stop discussing the irrelevant and focus on doing.

    What Linda also pointed out is that it’s really valuable that you speak to your kids about the internet as a magical word, with foxes and unicorns and octocats. The world of technology should be of building great things, not boring scary things.

    For the record: After/during Linda’s speech about 400 jaws dropped. Everyone loved her so much it was a sort of worshipping going on.

    The atmosphere at the conference is amazing. Everyone is smiling although tired, all people are nice and there’s an amazingly strong feeling of a community. Speakers are sitting on the floor just as others when there’s no space and it’s a familiar bunch of people after all- already after a day I feel like I know everyone although I might of never seen these people before. 

    An unbelievably funny lightning talk came along. His talk was “delete your code”. Apparently, coders let bad code stay there and ‘rot’ rather than deleting it. I don’t get it but I guess it’s somehow really really resentful to delete code, like worse than filing tax declarations. This guy was hilarious and I laughed all along so bad, although I’m sure there’s quite a bit I didn’t understand. 

    I came to the conclusion, that the coding world is like Disney- in the movies you have jokes that kids and adults perceive differently, and for both it’s humorous. I guess I’m still a kid then, can’t wait to be an adult. 

    Then Yahuda (@wycats) came on stage, who’s working on a new way to install rails on Mac OSX and told us horrific stories how people gave up after three weeks, and also mentioned that any one who’s been to Rails Girls would also know the problems with installing. It’s a sad truth that because the downloading process is so screwed up, some users can’t install/use the language. This guy raised a bit of money and is working on it practically volunteering for the next few months- this is where I realized that without those people, and without many of our coaches (sitting in the audience or speaking) first of all helping out on site, getting others envolved and offering support and implementations- there would be no Rails Girls because it wouldn’t be possible. 

    It’s an incredibly supportive community. And people will help each other for free. How cool is that then? Where did these people come from? Why did I find them only now? I’m so damn happy I did!

    I can’t tell you how glad I am that I went to this conference. Seeing the interviews and videos confirms though, that this was over-the-tops-brilliant and the best conf that all of the attendees had ever been to. So every dev conf might not be soooo much fun- but the people are just the same (at the airport saw a bunch of Railsberry people heading all to Austin for the next conf). 

    Here’s Railsberry’s own recap on what happened, I’m sure it’ll bring over the feeling better than I could ever! 

    In my soundcloud you’ll find some songs that I recorded during Railsberry. 

    One of them is Eric Redmond’s “Down the NoSQL Rabbit Hole” tuned to the mexican hat dance, which he sung in his last two minutes before he ran out of time. Just a heads up to all the silly stuff you’ll find.  

    P.S. This is not meant to be a blog post whining of women’s non-existence in tech (it’s not true), take this rather as an exciting experience for a newbie who doesn’t code (yet) jumping into the world of developers and seeing things with new eyes. I have to say, the guys were super nice at the conf and considering that I was one of five female attendees, people remembered you easily and it was easy to talk to people. (Ha! Advantage!)

    Thank you Railsberry, Ela, Agata, the incredible team and all my kazillion new friends! 

    Peace out,  Henrietta