Freelancing Gods 2014

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14 Jul 2009

Rails Camps - Coming to a Country Near You

This weekend, there’s going to be a Rails Camp. In October, there’s going to be a Rails Camp. Then in November, there’s going to be a Rails Camp. That in itself is pretty freaking cool. What’s even cooler is that they’re in Maine, England and Australia respectively.

Definition

If you’re not quite sure what Rails Camps are – they’re unconference style events, held away from cities, generally without internet, on a weekend from Friday to Monday. The venues are usually scout halls or similar, so the name is slightly inaccurate – most people don’t bring tents, but sleep in dorm rooms instead.

Getting Down to Business

Also, they are events for Rubyists of all level of experience – and not just focused on Rails either. Anything related to Ruby and development in general is a welcome topic for discussion.

Communal Hacking

The weekends are made up of plenty of hacking, socialising, talks, and partying. Alcohol and guitar hero usually feature. A ton of fun ensues.

Making Pizzas

Rails Camp New England

A quick rundown in chronological order: first up, from the 17th to 20th of July, is Rails Camp New England. This will (as far as I know) be the first Rails Camp in North America. We’ll be up in the middle of Maine, at the MountainView House (a bit different from most Rails Camp venues) in Bryant Pond.

Unfortunately, if you want to come to this camp, we’re all sold out. Let me know anyway, just in case someone drops out (although it is late notice).

Rails Camp UK 2

Building on the success of last year’s first UK Rails Camp, a second one has been put together by Tom Crinson out in Margate, Kent.

Balancing

If you’re anywhere in the UK, or even Europe, you really should be keeping the weekend of the 16th to 19th of October free. In fact, go book your spot right now.

Rails Camp Australia 6

Last on this list is the original Rails Camp, that started back in June 2007, run by the inimitable Ben Askins. We’re returning to Melbourne (the host of the second camp, in November 2007), but this time we’re down by the beach in Somers.

John showing us how it's done

November 20th to 23rd are the dates for this, and going by the names of confirmed attendees, alongside what looks to be an fantastic venue, it’s going to rock just as much as the last five (and quite possibly even more). Feel like booking your place?

For all of these events, you should beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on a ticket. The energy, intelligence and passion of past camps has been amazing (which is why I do my best to spread the word), and they are a breath of fresh air compared to the staid and structured setup of RailsConf and most other technical conferences.

Thanks to John Barton, Max Muermann, and Jason Crane for the photos above.

26 Aug 2008

Rails Camp UK Report

Just over a week ago, the first Rails Camp in the UK was held in Downe, outside Orpington – and I think it was a fantastic success (having been the organiser though, obviously there is some bias).

We had quite an international flavour to the weekend. Of the 30 or so who attended, several were from around Europe, alongside the local British, and a few of us Australians to round it out.

The Beer Disappears

In true Rails Camp style, around the beer, pizza and games, much hacking and discussion was had – assisted by the *jour gems, twetter and SubEthaEdit. Plenty of cool projects were displayed and created – topics ranging from RSpec to EXTJS to in-memory models to plugins to CouchDB to approaches for better browser-server polling (with a neat browser game as an example).

Railscamp UK 2008 (8 of 12)

One of the cool creations of this Rails Camp has gone live. The collective talent of the RailsLove guys and Rany Keddo produced a forkable lists web app called Don’t Forget The Wurst – and features William Shatner, which just adds several levels of awesomeness to an already neat idea.

Werewolf

Massive thanks to all who came along and made it such a fantastic weekend – I’m looking forward to hearing about another Rails Camp in this part of the world (even if I won’t be able to attend it).

Matt and Simon

Also, if you’re in Europe, you might want to check out the German and Danish Rails Camps, which will be happening later this year. Australians, Rails Camp #4 will be happening in November (details are almost finalised). Everyone else: I highly recommend making one happen near you. There’s now a group of us who have dabbled in the organisation of them, and we’re more than happy to help however we can to get more of them happening around the world. It’s not too hard, and it’s an awesome way of strengthening your local Ruby community.

Balancing

01 Jul 2008

Rails Camp UK

Following in the steps of the Australian Rails Camps, it’s now time to announce the first UK edition. Running from Friday the 15th to Monday the 18th of August, it will be an extended weekend of hacking, talking, eating, drinking and games, with a bunch of smart and passionate Ruby developers.

Even though the name is “Rails Camp”, previous camps have included talks on topics from Merb to Rack to Extreme Programming – all topics somewhat related to Ruby are welcome.

If you’d like to come along, I’d recommend registering soon, as there’s a very limited number of places.

23 Mar 2008

The (Beautiful) Ballad of Rodger and Grace

The Comedy Festival is running again here in Melbourne – which is one of my favourite times of the year. Just saw my first show this afternoon – Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn’s The Ballad of Rodger & Grace. In short, it was amazing, funny, heartwarming and beautiful.

Kitson is a fantastic wordsmith, sometimes using words that don’t get used enough, and using otherwise common words in clever and different ways. Osborn provided a touching and emotive soundtrack to the story Kitson wove, filling in a different perspective.

I know I’ve raved about Kitson before – and I’ve got a different show of his for this festival that I’m yet to see, so I likely will rave again soon – but do yourself a favour and go catch one of his shows (this one is only running for a few more days, but his solo festival show runs until mid April). He is one of the finest comedic talents out there – and a masterful storyteller to boot. Osborn’s music just adds to the brilliance.

26 Oct 2007

Daniel Kitson, Comedy God

I went to see Daniel Kitson’s C-90 tonight. Absolutely amazing storytelling – and a lovely counterpoint to his regularly brilliant stand-up shows. There’s only one day left of the show here in Melbourne (and I’m guessing it’s sold out), but if you ever get the chance to go see him, do so. He’s pure genius.

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