I just got back from London, where I spoke at Rails Underground. Like so many others, I’m really enjoying attending regional conferences these days - there’s an energy and an atmosphere that’s unmatched at larger events (which, granted, have their own benefits), and I often get to see speakers and talks that I haven’t encountered before. Some of the new (to me) standouts this time were Joseph Wilk on Cucumber and Elise Huard on RFID and other practical technologies; in addition, the known heavy-hitters (Charlie Nutter, Jim Weirich, and Yehuda Katz, for instance) did their usual bang-up jobs. I hear that Dr Nic’s blue-ridge presentation went very well, too, but I wasn’t able to attend as we were scheduled against each other.
My talk didn’t go as well in London as it did at Railsconf, and I’m interested to see if I can figure out what exactly changed. Luckily, all the sessions were filmed, so (as much as I hate watching myself), I’m hoping to be able to glean some lessons for future presentations from it.
Of course, many (most?) people enjoy conferences more for the people they meet and chat with more than the sessions themselves, and I’m happy to report that I had a great time talking, eating, and hanging out with friends both old and new (dinner with Alan, Paul, Jim, and >Duncan in particular was a treat).
London itself was very enjoyable, though the weather was somewhat inconsistent - it’d go from sunny and warm to torrential downpour with little warning in the afternoons, and I rarely found myself dressed properly for all the weather I’d encounter in a walk. I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I’dve liked to, due to some lingering illness from before the trip and an unfortunate scheduling issue with the hotel, but I did enjoy Regent’s Park and the British Museum. I guess I’ll just have to go back to see the rest… and to eat a few more chocolate bars. It’s amazing how many of the smaller brands are still in the market there, as opposed to the state of things here in the US.
If I could figure out how to bottle and sell the inspiration that a good conference breeds in its attendees, I’d be a millionaire. I was terrifically motivated by the work I saw and heard about this last weekend, and I’ll be spending a good portion of my free time hacking and writing away at a couple of projects that were reinvigorated by this particular conference. All in all, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Thanks to Mark Coleman for organizing everything, and I look forward to seeing how it grows in the years to come!