July 15, 2009 in Writing
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July 15, 2009 · Writing

FutureRuby, Day 1: biology hacking and rooftop partying

There ain’t no party like an Unspace party

Future Ruby - Friday

This beautiful vista was the backdrop for most of my Friday night. It’s the view from the Unspace roof. What was I doing up there?

Simple. It was FutureRuby weekend and organizers Pete Forde and Meghann Millard opened up their office roof up for the kickoff party.

But what’s FutureRuby, you may ask? Well it’s not a Ruby conference.

FutureRuby isn’t a Ruby conference, but a conference for Rubyists. This is a call to order – a congress of the curious characters that drew us to this community in the first place. We have a singular opportunity to express a long-term vision, a future where Ruby drives creativity and prosperity without being dampened by partisan politics.

(And for the non-geeks, Ruby is a programming language.)

Whereas RubyFringe was all about the punk aesthetic, FutureRuby went for a Soviet theme. The posters were stunning. Some attendees also got into it, some a bit more than others.

But first, some biology hacking

As part of Future Ruby’s mandate to be a “congress of the curious,” Pete invited Austin Che to give a talk about hacking biology (but more on the talk in a later post). To warm up the audience, he ran a hacking session during conference registration.

From the official description:

After this 20-minute hands-on workshop you’ll be able to give it a cute name, let it incubate overnight – and viola! You too have a new petri-imprisoned pet for the duration of FutureRuby.

Future Ruby - Friday

Apparently some of them did indeed end up smelling like bananas. Others glowed.

Setting up

But as people who went to RubyFringe last year know, this experience is almost as much about the parties as the talks. Friday night was the first of three open-bar, catered parties.

A few fellow-volunteers and I arrived early to help set up. Unspace’s office is above the Lululemon store on Queen West and they have two levels of decks.

Future Ruby - Friday

Christopher Walken isn’t particularly Soviet but he certainly lived at approximately the right time.

Future Ruby - Friday

But it wasn’t all hard work. Here are Ryan McMinn and Greg Borenstein:

Future Ruby - Friday

The Unspace office is furnished with all sorts of wonderful distractions. RubyFringe attendees from last year are all memorialized on the wall:

Future Ruby - Friday

Here’s Phill looking worried because he just thought he broke the pinball machine. (Wups, did I just break our secrecy pact? Well the machine is fine now so I figure it’s cool to mention):

Future Ruby - Friday

Partying on Unspace’s roof

The guests (and booze) started flowing in.

Future Ruby - Friday

And here’s Pete with one of his legendary film Leica M8 cameras:

Future Ruby - Friday

Last year, Giles Bowkett attended Future Ruby and gave what many consider to be the best presentation of the conference. He demo’d Archaeopteryx, a ruby MIDI generator. Sadly, Giles couldn’t make it again this year but his project was able to make the journey to Toronto in the form of a robotic drum set created by Greg Borenstein. Here it is set up in Pete Forde’s office.

Future Ruby - Friday

(By the way, if you think his office is gorgeous, so do the good folks at Unplggd)

Here’s a video of it in action. Apparently it’s also a relaxing place for Ruby heroes to catch up on emails.

Future Ruby - Friday

All in all, a fantastic way to start off the weekend.

Stay tuned. Two more posts in the pipes for Saturday and Sunday’s proceedings. For FailCamp coverage (another FutureRuby-affiliated event), see my previous post.

The full slideshow

As usual, there’s a slideshow:


This entry was written by Andrew Louis on July 15, 2009 and posted in Writing. It's tagged with , , , .