This is the best-case week we could have ever hoped for
Nathan is da man! He makes HAML what it is today and he played a big part in a lot of today’s stuff. I’m just some dumb shit with ideas.
If a lot of programmers really dislike an idea, but can’t give you a reason why, it’s probably a good one
I like writing languages! It’s super fun!
I’m not in love with Python, but I think indentation’s better! It’s one of the few things Python gets right.
It’s a fairly decent general-purpose language
I think it belongs more on the server side than on the browser
It got so beaten up. mocked and put down initially that when we discovered it was a real language, we came to defend it rabidly
connect only because they’re glued together by the document
The DOM is a really cool thing!
If you’re saying “I don’t want to learn a new language”, what the hell are you doing in this field?
Jabl compiles into jquery
Archaeopteryx (Giles Bowkett)
Audience member: “Just give it to Hampton!”
During his presentation about jazz and programming, Nick didn’t talk about
what I consider to be modern variants — hip-hop groups like A Tribe Called
Quest and Roni Size’s drum and bass are things I consider to be jazz.
I have 496 slides. I don’t think I’m going to get through them all!
The mainstream is not just lame, it can get you *killed*
Take a look at the life of Heath Ledger. Go check out his Wikipedia entry
Most people don’t know that in his youth, he was a chess champion
He had a lot of mental energy, and like such people, he suffered from insomnia
Insomnia is a solved problem: hypnosis works
But…hypnosis is on the edge, on the fringe, even though it has been around for and working for over 100 years
So they didn’t use hypnosis, but put him on pills, which killed him
At Railsconf 2008, David Heinemeier Hansson talked about “The Great Surplus”, in which he says that there’s still something missing from mainstream languages and tech that gives Ruby and Rails a surplus of power and
capability, but that this surplus was limited.
DHH says people eventually figure out the cool tools and the surplus will go away.
I think he’s wrong: the mainstream *never* catches up — it’s too easy to be ordinary
The question should be: “Are we going to use that power for good, or are we going to use it for AWESOME?!”
People should be saying “This is going to be a wicked party: I’m going to bring my laptop”
What are we?
Are programmers artists?
Kai “Kai’s Power Tools” Krause would say yes
Steve Jobs’ said: “Real artists ship”
Leonardo da Vinci was a real artist, but there’s a lot of stuff he designed that he never shipped (the hang glider, helicopter, and so on)
One of his bridge designs was never built until this century when the Swedish government decided to build it. Talk about failing the “release early, release often” mantra!
In many instances, his genius was wasted.
How does genius get wasted?
In the old days, an artist would seek a patron
Patrons were rich nobles who wanted to look good
An artist with a patronage would create works in the name of or that glorified the patron
If you accept that programmers are artists, then VCs are patrons
Let’s talk about adventure for a moment
During the boom, working for a startup was often sold to prospective employees as an adventure
Let me tell you about adventures:
When I moved out of the house, I went to Chicago and lived in a ghetto because my need to create art was actually greater than my need for safety
When I lived in New Mexico, I found bear droppings not more than ten feet from my front door on a regular basis
I used to carry a .357 Magnum with me because the area was being prowled by a mountain lion. You need a big fucking gun to take down that kind of animal
I used to get calls from my parents where they’d tell me that they’d just caught a rattlesnake, killed it and threw it onto the barbecue and would you like to come to dinner?
[Something about “psycho rocks” — I was laughing so hard that I wasn’t able to take down notes at this point — Joey]
I’ve also done enough LSD to kill a herd of elephants
Now consider what you were doing when you were going on a dot-com “adventure”:
You get to sit for 4 years at a desk
Maybe, if you’re really lucky, your options might turn into something
Who are these weasel-brained Muppetfuckers?
These people who tell you that working for them is an adventure: they’re not fools; they’re *liars*
It all comes back to a system of patronage — this is just the modern version
Just as landed nobles gave artists money for the artists to look good, VCs give geeks money so that they can brag
[showing a picture of Julia Allison in a skimpy little dress, surrounded by admiring geeks]: This woman is wearing programmers!
You are just their pet monkeys!
If the company IPOs and you are lucky, you can start collecting pet monkeys of your own
I’m not kidding about the “pet monkey” thing. Think of Google, with their ball pit playpens and other niceties with which they coddle you: it is in their economic interest for their employees to think of themselves as Google’s children!
If not for the Muppetfuckers who couldn’t see the value of Leonardo’s hang-gliders and helicopters, we could’ve had them hundreds of years sooner!
As programmers, we get to create things that didn’t exist before
Why should we waste that on things like Pets.com and stock market price grafts?
So I learned to draw. I was a starving artist
But the people who run this industry are scum
Only 3 months prior, I was working at Morgan Stanley for $75/hour
At that time, 2001, I made $7.50/hour at a gas station
Here’s a picture of an RV that I lived in in New Mexico
the causes of economic instability
Because of these Muppetfuckers, someone you could have called a genius was instead just building bullshit back in 1997
Build your business with your money
With your money, you’re the boss
Consider the case of Engine Yard: the VCs need Engine Yard, not the other way aroung
It’s becoming more common: as startups get cheaper to launch, VCs find themselves in the cold
The VC company Benchmark Capital says that open source enriches the ecosystem, which is why they backed MySQL, Red Hat, JBoss
Look at Jay Phillips — he leveraged Adhearsion to create consulting work — he is an internet startup
The probability matrix
Drum machines are simply matrix builders
Rows in the matrix represent individual drums
Columns in the matrix respresent a beat played at a given time
You want drum X to play at time Y? Just put a “1” in [X, Y]
In 4/4 time there are 4 beats ber par, and typically drum machines play music in 4-bar chunks making 16 beats
So the probability matrices are 16-element arrays
But rather than just either playing or not playing the drum at any given point, you assign a probability
You want there to be a 25% chance that drum X gets played at time Y? Put a “.25” in [X, Y]
It’s social software
Archaeopteryx generates rhythms through probability matrices
It’s open source. I’m not worried, because the name of the game isn’t locking people out, it’s providing superior service at the same or better price point and competing with people who are illiterate about an important part of their job
Maybe I won’t be able to say “My career is Archaeopteryx” I’ll be happy if I simply say “My career *includes* Archaeopteryx”
What wonderful things would we have seen?
What if the guy who built the board for Sasha open-sourced his design?
This DJ mixer is in a niche market
[At this point in the presentation, Giles’ allotted time had run out, but people stayed to hear the rest, and the organizers let him run with it because the audience was enraptured by this point. — Joey]
As such, it unleashes new creative possibilities
[Photo] Here’s his DJ mixer. It’s not a traditional DJ mixer, but a MIDI controller
[Photo of DJ Sasha] Here’s a DJ that gets paid $25K a night
One day, I want to be able to say “My career is Archaeopteryx”
Takes advantage of the fact that MIDI [Musicial Instrument Digital Interface] is cheap and ubiquitious, controlling more than just instruments, but lights, effects, visuals and other things
Archaeopteryx is a Ruby midi generator
It’s irresponsible to use Ruby and not leverage its power
You should make your own OOP paradigms — that what Ruby is for!
Archaeopteryx uses lambda a lot — so much that I’ve had to alias “L” to lambda
Loads of lambdas in the code
In the OOP used in Archaeopteryx — objects act as host for methods, which can be redefined at any time
Goes to core of why mainstream is dangerous
Ledger just went with the crowd
There is absolutely nobody that does not do that
It’s incedibly meta
Altering rhythms is adding a lambda to an array of lambdas using a lambda picked out of a queue
It’s the use of the strategy pattern to play beats
There’s a strategy for deciding which strategy to use
“Ruby is like Cthulhu in that it goes beyond sanity”
I plan to use it at Burning Man and have it running continuously for the full 7 days
Archaeopteryx’s core MIDI code comes from “Practical Ruby Projects”
Vaporware alert! I’ve got 2 things planned for user-generated visuals in Archaeopteryx
1. MIDI VJ software
2. “Drum circle”
Take a number of drums and rig them with Bluetooth touch sensors
Use them to trigger JRuby/Processing
Use that input as a voting system for what beats to emphasize
Updating the probability matrix based on this is trivial
End result: people can influence the music in real time
Andy Warhol said “Good business is the best art”
“Steve [Jobs], you ridiculous douche…”
You don’t need an IPO, you don’t need an exit strategy, that’s fail 2.0
Computers are everywhere, which means that you can do anything
Language wars are bullshit — it doesn’t matter whether I’m doing music with Ruby or whatever other language is out there
It’s about passion
Maybe being a programmer is not a *what* but a *how*
Maybe being a programmer is about applying programming to your passions
Go and build! Build for yourself, not the VCs
And remember: real artists ship!
CouchDB and Me (Damian Katz)
Sell my house, move my family and live off savings? WHY?
This is not a tech talk, but about the considerations behind this decision
[Shows photo of baby daughter to great applause]
Why jeopardize this beautiful young family?
I got laid off and had to look for a new job
I had a house and the associated mortgage
I looked around and didn’t see anything I wanted to work on
“Other people work on cool stuff…why not me?”
They’re out there, doing cool things they love — designing motorcycles, making music and creating art
How do people get jobs where they get to work on cool things, work on what they want, and get paid for it?
So I made my decision: sell the house, move someplace cheaper and live off my savings
Reasons for doing this:
It would be educational
I’d get to spend more time with my family
It would be a test to see what I can do
It would make for an interesting story
Moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. The cost of living was cheaper and we had family there
Change in Lifestyle
Thought I could live with fewer things, but the downgrade hurt!
Nobody wants to get wrapped up in a consumerist lifestyle, with the big house and the nice stuff
Had to go to the local Goodwill to buy furniture — being in there, thinking “I was better than these people”, but followed quickly by “What is wrong with you?” — these were just people trying to save money and get by. I wasn’t all that different and certainly no better than they were
Couldn’t shake that feeling that I was an unemployed loser
So what to build?
I worked on Lotus Notes for years
I thought: I’m going to extract the good stuff from Notes, get rid of the crap and maybe something good can result
The development process in the new environment:
I’m away from all my development friends
Developed in C++: storage engine, view engine, query language
Had trouble seeing past the complexity
Went into panic mode
I ordered “Code Complete” from Amazon, hoping it would help — (it *is* complete and about code)
Glad to *not* get new information out of it. The important thing is that it helped me to just push forward with the project
Decided to use Erlang –– “I knew Erlang before it was cool” (It was never cool)
In late 2007, my cash reserves were drying up
I looked heavily at VCs and angels and discounted them quickly
I decided that I didn’t want to sell out CouchDB to commercial interests
Got a job — a cool one — at MySQL
There, I wrote the CouchDB that you know
I was approached by IBM
Wrote back to the guy who contacted me, saying that I was not interested because they had too many douchebags
Surprisingly, he replied with “Send me the same email, but clean up the language”
So I did: s/douchebags/vapid bureaucrats/
He sent it around his department
The result, they offered to pay him to work on CouchDB, and to keep it open, all the code I wrote for it went to the Apache Foundation
IBM really stepped up to the plate — they really helped CouchDB happen
As much I’m down on them, they’re a positive force in the tech industry. They’re big supporters of open source and big supporters of the tech industry in general
Q & A
When did it catch on?: When I added JSON
How’d the core team get together?I really don’t know
Only met one of them in person (Jan)
He’s been doing the evangelizing
They were basically volunteers who kept adding and it became “I guess you’re part of the project now”
One reply on “RubyFringe: Day 2 Notes, Part 2”
[…] Joey deVilla’s more expansive account: one, two. […]