It’s so 1999 again…

I just went over to GitHub to comment on a ticket. I wanted to put an URL in the comment. No problem, usually all those comment boxes have a help function nearby, that explains you how the markup works.

GitHub has a link next to the comment box that says “Parsed with GitHub Flavored Markdown“. When you click it, you end up on a page that tells you how their flavour is different from the standard one and then…

Continue reading “It’s so 1999 again…”

The Rails Cult from the outside

When I was back for the new year, I (of course) noticed Zed Shaw’s rant about the Rails community. Even the Italian Rails mailing list opened a little thread about it. It seems that the man really had to vent.

Zed is opinionated, and he’s got some balls – which is actually why I contacted him for the Rails to Italy keynote in the first place. After meeting him in person I have to say that he’s a really friendly guy and was fun to have around.

I kind of enjoyed the rant because, hey, it was fun. Maybe that’s me; I also enjoy Gordon Ramsay’s shows because of all the cussing and cursing.

Still, it’s a bit like all this “Emacs vs. Vi” and “Linus vs. Richard” stuff, which is only really interesting to the people involved and some fanboys. If I’d tell my old boss (an excellent coder) that Zed Shaw hates Kevin Clark’s butt, he’d stare at me blankly.

But Zed’s rant addresses some “deeper” points, which get lost a bit.

I’ve been watching the “Rails community” as a newcomer and a kind of an outsider, and as someone who has no big stakes in the whole thing. And other than Zed, I’d not say that Rails is a ghetto. At times it feels more like a cult.

The Google-Wikipedia conspiracy

From a press site I found a link to a quite bizarre paper (actually a collection of papers – you can also check the publication list of those people) about the “dangers and opportunities” of Google. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing – there’s a lot of real dangers to Google’s data-collection mania.

But instead of a scientifically sound study, we get something of a weird conspiracy theory, involving Google, Wikipedia and, eventually, world domination.

Let me say that I didn’t actually read the whole 187-page pamphlet, so I might miss some important point… but let me just quote the introduction:

  • Plagiarism and IPR violation are serious concerns in academia and in the commercial world
  • Current techniques to fight both are rudimentary, yet could be improved by a concentrated initiative
  • One reason why the fight is difficult is the dominance of Google as THE major search engine and that Google is unwilling to cooperate
  • The monopolistic behaviour of Google is also threatening how we see the world, how we as individuals are seen (complete loss of privacy) and is threatening even world economy (!)

Rails to Italy

Rails to Italy is done, and I think we did well. I already put some stuff on our brand-new Talia blog. Some guy also put on a (relatively well) review of the conference. He didn’t say anything about my talk, though, so I guess he’d already left or my thing was remarkably unmemorable…

In any case, in my opinion these conferences are not so much about passing the concrete knowledge (which is hardly possible in a 20-minute presentation), but about bringing the community together and exchanging views.

There were a lot of fun people in Pisa during these two days, and I really enjoyed meeting them.

More Rails to Italy


Some news on our Rails to Italy conference (sorry for another shameless plug…):

  • The draft program is now online.
  • We were able to invite a nice list of cool member of the Ruby community – check the speaker’s list on the front page
  • Last but not least: If you sign up, you can take part in our coding challenge – there’ll be an iPhone in it!
  • There are still open spots, so register now 😉

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