GoGaRuCo, Day 2

Well, I was totally gung-ho about writing up GoGaRuCo Day 1, but it’s taken me a week to get day 2 done.

Part of that was exhaustion – between the conference on Friday and Saturday, the hackathon on Sunday, and, uh, working the five days after that, it’s kind of been full-speed until today. Part of it, though, was also that the second day wasn’t as positive an experience for me. It’s taken me some time to collect my thoughts.

Rather than touching on every presentation, I just want to note a few of them that I really liked.

First, there was Jacqui Maher’s presentation on the work she’s been doing with Baobab in Malawi. Back in 2000, I spent three months in Ghana helping a software company in Accra go from Delphi/C++/Windows to an open source stack based on linux and Java. It was an incredible experience, but since then I haven’t been able to reconcile my desire to help with my actual skills. I mean, the Peace Corps is awesome and good for you if you want to do it, but they’d have had me teaching math or something. I want to code.

So I’m thankful Jacqui came and talked about this project. I don’t think any of my code has ever had a measurable life-saving effect. Perhaps that should change.

The Webrat talk from Bryan Helmkamp was also really interesting. At Looksmart we have a huge Selenium test suite, and I’m not at all happy with it. I will likely gravitate towards talks on different methods of acceptance testing at Railsconf – Webrat looks interesting. It doesn’t actually fire up a browser, so it’s faster, and you can drop down into Selenium when you need to test Javascript.

By the end of the day, my brain was full. People tell me the last talk was great, but I have very little memory of it. Hopefully the justin.tv folks who were filming the talks will have it up soon so I can see it when I’m in a state to appreciate it.

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