This past week, gSchool continued on while I took a few steps into the Ohio developer community. I’ve been to conferences before, but not as a Ruby developer. I’ve been to conferences about web development in higher education, conferences focused on WordPress, and conferences focused on Drupal, but CodeMash was my first multi-language conference — and the first one I’d attended at at waterpark.
The conference was interesting. I met a lot of people from the surrounding states that worked in many different fields, but over and over again I heard people repeat the same mantra, or some rendition of it — “.Net for pay, Ruby for play”. This was interesting to me, because although I knew I’d be returning to Ohio after gSchool, I hadn’t looked into the job opportunities available before I accepted a slot in the class. I doubt if it would have changed my mind to know that locally there are only a handful of companies that work with Ruby, because I was very adamant about learning test driven development in a language that has a strong culture of testing.
Regardless, the first two days of the conference are called “Precompiler” days, where multiple half-day or whole-day workshops are run on different topics. I took the opportunity to learn about hacking on flying robots with Jim Weirich on Tuesday, and used his library, Argus, along with the Artoo library, to control an Ardrone using LeapMotion. I got to work with two other Ruby developers, Joel Byler and Ashton, while hacking & discovering our way around the intricacies and mishaps of working with hardware and concurrent connections in Ruby. On the second Precompiler day, I worked with Arduino and beginning electronics, and had the opportunity to pair with some more brilliant, curious programmers to think about hardware hacking in ways I had not explored before. I learned new debugging tricks, and made connections between my basic circuitry knowledge and programming those interactions with Processing.