July 9-12, 2009, Metropolitan Hotel, Toronto, Canada

People who program in Ruby aren’t like other coders

We are the artists, philosophers, and troublemakers. We realize that the fringe of today is the mainstream of tomorrow. We grease the engines of progress, even when we're working outside of the machine.

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.

FAILcamp: The Essential Minutiae

July 9th, 2009

A re-post of an email for FAILcamp registrants joining us tonight. Turns out Ms. Spam Trap has rejected Mr. EventBrite’s advances.

Here’s an easy two-step program for how to succeed at FAILcamp:

STEP 1 – How to FAIL and win friends:

FAILcamp is now less than a week away, but the truth is that we’ve all been failing at things for a long time. Failing down, failing up, failing orthogonally…. that’s a whole lot of FAIL.

Seeing as there’s a lot of winning failure out there to hear about, we’re putting out a call for you to submit a brief summary of your tale of woe. We know that a lot of people want to share, and we want to present the most universally compelling stories. Don’t ruin the suspense, just give us a 20-30 word description so that we can get you on a tentative schedule since the soapbox is sure to be jammed.

Send your submission to failcamp@unspace.ca. Merci!

STEP 2 – How to get to FAILcamp without failing:

The Toronto ferry strike does NOT hurt FAILcamp:

The Queen City Yacht Club has its own tender (a.k.a big boat!), the Queen Algonquin II, and you will be riding it to Algonquin/Ward’s Island for free.


Please head directly to Queen’s Quay and York St. There is a lovely Second Cup coffee shop on the south side of the street – the docks directly to the right of it is where you can obtain your free FAILcamp boarding ticket from a group of charming Unspace lads in matching tee’s.

For our FutureRuby visitors and out-of-towners, you can get transit directions via: http://myttc.ca

Please note that if you’re not on the list, you do not get a boarding ticket.

Boat Schedule:

From 5:15pm to 8:00pm – Boat runs continuously back and forth from the docks to the yacht club continuously. There will be a line-up, but well worth the wait!

From 8:00pm – 10:00pm - The boat will be running to the yacht club approximately on the hour. We don’t recommend showing up at this time – it’ll be a long and lonely wait and you’ll miss the bulk of the talks.

From 10:00pm – 12:00am – The boat will be running back to the dock continuously (no pick-ups from the dock). If you are going to go exploring FAILisland, set your watch for this time.

Talks start at approximately 6:30pm and run until 9:30pm (MC’d by one Joey “Accordion Guy” DeVilla), then the stunning DJ Barbi hits the decks so you can showboat all your failed dance moves.

Remember to pack a picnic and send your submissions to failcamp@unspace.ca, and we’ll see you all tonight!

Love & tragicomic whales,

The FAILcamp team

(a.k.a Unspace, FutureRuby, Refresh Events, Joey DeVilla)

FAILCamp Toronto

Thursday, July 09, 2009 at 6:30 PM – Friday, July 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM (ET)

Queen City Yacht Club - Algonquin/Ward’s Island, Toronto

Accordion Guy’s (RubyFringe) Toronto Guides

July 3rd, 2009

Last year we ran a conference called RubyFringe which was pretty alright. Leading up to the event, Joey “Accordion Guy” deVilla wrote a series of amazing articles describing getting around Toronto and things to expect while you’re here. They deserve a dust-off now that FutureRuby is around the corner.

It’s worth noting that the IRC back-channel from RubyFringe is still running.

Future Hacker Biologists of Tomorrow, Today!

June 25th, 2009

There’s a lot of anticipation for Austin Che (MIT/Synthetic Biology) to give his ‘Programming Life’ talk – we can only suspect you’re all envisioning an early retirement where you spend your days hacking away on new living organisms.

He’d prefer you start when you come to pick up your FutureRuby laminate and swag.

During Friday registration at The Metropolitan Hotel, Austin will be teaching a hands-on experiment on how to program your own bacteria – ruby-colored, banana-smelling, or light-emitting – he’s leaving it in your soon-capable hands.

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.

Please note that customs will not be as enamored as you are with your new little friend, so you’ll have to part ways after the weekend. If you love something, set it free.

Naturally, Austin has to cover the costs of the biology kits that are being supplied to create your bacterial buddy, which works out to a mere $10CDN. While we’d love to include as many people as possible at pre-registration, we implore FutureRubyists, comrades and volunteers to register here: http://frworkshop.eventbrite.com/

Sign-up now, spots are limited! Oddly enough, the same applies to FutureRuby tickets themselves. We close the gates Monday at 11:45pm sharp, so hustle s’il vous plait.

Печенье and glory: a short proposal

June 23rd, 2009

Alright folks – exactly 6 days left for ticket sales, and 16 days until the opening ceremonies. We hope you’re busy applying for your passports (US citizens now need ‘em too), registering your lovers (two tickets added), memorizing the talk teasers and getting lots of sleep.

On the subject of registration, we’ve got to give a warm welcome and praise to our new comrade Robert Pitts, who gave economic woes the bird and managed to fund-raise his entire trip to FutureRuby via his twitter and a fundable.com page in less than a day.ninja-bake-sale

We really admire the fact that you’re all finding ways to generate travel funds that are more efficent than the bake-sale idea we were kicking around at FutureRuby HQ – although we will buy your cookies, if you’re so inclined.

Now that we enter the homestretch of registration, we simply want to see the best, most enthusiastic people in the stands. Originally we were thinking of doing a “Get me to FutureRuby!’ contest….but most contests hinder creativity, and only one person wins. The worker bee’s behind FutureRuby are members of the trophy generation, after all.

In lieu of a contest, we simply implore you to show you’re true colours (red and yellow are flattering) and make an impression: hold a fundraiser, make a video of why you want to go to FutureRuby, write an amazing blog post, hack something relevant, dress your cat up like Marx and pimp him out on the internet – whatever.

All we’re saying is that we’ll totally buy your cookies. Geddit? Good.

On an unfortunate note, if you’ve read his blog you already know that Giles Bowkett will not be able to join us this year – we miss him, and wish him all the best. Also, he notes that “me and Greg Borenstein and I hatched up an amazing plan for tech-assisted live music, and Greg will still be bringing his half of it to Future Ruby” so we’re all in for some classic Giles treats despite his absence in the physical sense.

Finally, we have workshops and other add-on’s in the oven** which we’ll announce later this week, and you should be able to peek at the schedule and entertainers the beginning of the next one. Stay strong and stay tuned.

**There will be no more food analogies henceforth. We promise.

Avi Bryant (and Hampton Catlin, if there’s time!)

June 12th, 2009

Avi Bryant

We’re pleased to announce that after two long months of careful conference curating — say that three times fast — Avi Bryant is the final feather in the cap of the FutureRuby speaker roster.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Avi Bryant is an old-school Rubyist who was seduced by Smalltalk. He released Seaside, an awesome continuation-based web application server; this became the platform on which he built the incredible DabbleDB. After giving a talk on Smalltalk at RailsConf, he was contracted to lead a team at GemStone to create MagLev — a widely misunderstood Ruby implementation running on the Smalltalk VM that could be a game changer upon its release. Avi will come and pollute our minds with his applied web heresies; bring an open mind and leave your assumptions at the door.

We also have a special bonus offering in the realm of speakers – the charm of one Hampton ‘The Pump’ Catlin. This is tentative as we have a full schedule… but we have high hopes. Hampton is our secret weapon in the unlikely event that one of our speakers gets detained at the border for trying to smuggle in a gulag’s-worth of weaponry.

Finally, for our RSS comrades, here’s the final Future Ruby Leaders of Tomorrow, Today! speakers roster:

Adam Blum (Rhomobile/Rhodes)
Giles Bowkett (Archaeopteryx/ENTP)
Avi Bryant (DabbleDB/MagLev)
Hampton Catlin (HAML/Wikipedia/Unspace)
Austin Che (MIT/Synthetic Biology)
Paul Dowman (EC2 on Rails/Gigpark)
Rob Ellis, Brian LeRoux, Brock Whitten (Nitobi/Phonegap)
Jonathan Dahl (Tumblon/RailsSpikes)
Damen Evans, Ron Evans (TalentBoom)
Mischa Glouberman (Terrible Noises for Beautiful People)
Ilya Grigorik (AideRSS)
Jesse Hirsh (Openflows Networks Ltd)
Molly Holzschlag (HTML5, molly.com)
Matthew Knox (Scheme)
Anita Kuno
Collin Miller (What Tech)
Foy Savas (The Merb Way/Assembly)
Nathaniel Talbott (Terralien)
Francisco Tomalsky (20 North/Cappuccino)
Joseph Wilke (Cucumber)
Dr. Nic Williams (Morca)

So you want it? Get it. FutureRuby is all about “Leaders of Tomorrow, Today!”

Are you a leader or a follower? Three more days until rush pricing starts, and if you miss the cut-off… well, you can’t say that we didn’t warn you.

In search of Laika

June 10th, 2009

For today’s daily dose of speakers, we’re pleased to welcome the brilliant Austin Che (MIT) of Synthetic Biology to the roster.

What’s the nexus between biology and Ruby? How fortuitous that we just launched the the talks page today:

I will discuss a programming language that makes Ruby look like child’s play. The language of life, DNA, has shown its robustness and expressiveness through billions of years of pervasive use. Engineers have recently begun to use DNA to reprogram life to create a myriad of novel biological systems. Biology is currently at the tip of a revolution similar to that of electricity and magnetism at the beginning of the 20th century. The electrical engineering revolution has allowed non-physicists to program in high-level languages like Ruby by distilling classical physics into a set of engineering design principles. Similarly, the emerging field of synthetic biology applies engineering principles to biology. Efforts to bring modularity, interchangeable parts, abstraction and standardization to biology is beginning to allow non-biologists to quickly and predictably design and build biological systems. Soon, it may become child’s play to program with DNA.

We’ve also posted talks by Dr. Nic Williams, and Giles Bowkett – more to come next week, including the announcement of one final speaker.

Some gentle reminders:

The companions track is sold out. That’s right – продан. Thanks to all the supportive significant others who registered!

FAILcamp is almost sold out. Even if you have already registered for the conference, you have to register for this free event separately.

What, you expected a soviet-themed conference sans bureaucracy?

Mobile Orchard has laid claim on a bigger workspace, and in turn Dan has extended the iPhone workshop registration deadline to coincide with the end of FutureRuby ticket sales – snag one of these puppies if you can make an early appearance in Toronto.

Finally, you only have until this Monday, July 15th to snag a regular-priced ($800CAD/$719USD) ticket to FutureRuby. After that, we move up to rush tickets (available to the 29th) residing in the realm of limited quantities and a sloth tax.

глоры он тхе хоризон

June 3rd, 2009

Hark! Just 36 days until we open with a flourish. For you fence-sitters, this means there are now but two short weeks to snag a regular priced ticket for FutureRuby. After June 15th, rush pricing takes effect.

If you’re still dragging your heels, researchers at FutureRuby HQ have assembled all of their economic research into one convenient — and hopefully compelling — argument.

The Canadian Rouble:

For our non-Canadian residents, we need to reinstate that our tickets are in Canadian prices. When FutureRuby first went on sale, every USD converted roughly to CAD$1.25, which made our long-gone early-bird tickets cost less than US$575 including all meals and parties.

Over time, two curious things are happening: the conference fee is going up, and the American dollar is going down. The USD is at CAD$1.09 at the time of this writing. Milton Friedman says “act now!”

If you are a Rubyist living in the Greater Toronto Area, money is simply no excuse not to come; Employment.nil? is on June 6th and there will be more jobs than developers on site.


For our visitors from the East and Midwest, luxurious (really!) Porter Air offers flights from NYC and Chicago for roughly $80 (taxes in) each way. Better yet, you arrive at the downtown island airport, mere minutes (by ferry) from Unspace HQ and the Metropolitan Hotel.

Cheap flights from other major destinations have been cropping up on Kayak like clockwork.

Leave the food stamps at home:

We’ve got your expenses covered for the majority of FutureRuby; you really just have to show up and we’ll take it from there, right down to public transit passes.

In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and then breakfast and lunch on Sunday, all of your snacks and coffee breaks are covered — including the bar tab. This goes for your better half, provided you can get them into our 90% sold-out comrade track. Dinner this year is at the Russian-themed Pravda lounge, and we’re bringing Sunday dim sum lunch back for an encore.

The Metropolitan Hotel offers a deep discount for FutureRuby attendees. Events are planned for each and every night, including all transportation and amenities. If you wanted to be “that guy/girl”, you could likely exclusively wear swag and forgo the packing shirts. Much like the best vacation hot spots on the Black Sea, we have stripped all of our natural resources to ensure only the best for our distinguished guests.

Our final speaker list is being tightened as we speak, with a few last-minute confirmations waiting to report for duty. (You know who you are, @avibryant.) The line-up so far is impressive to the point of intimidating.

Before I end this transmission and ride into the sunset in my T-34 tank, I want to thank all of the people that have blogged, talked, tweeted, and semaphored about FutureRuby so far. Please put the FutureRuby badge (as seen on the right) on your sites! Just be glad that we haven’t asked Quarter-master-General Khrulev to pin it on you.


May 28th, 2009

In speaker news, we’re very pleased to announce that Jesse Hirsh will be delivering a talk from the red rostrum at FutureRuby.

There’s less than a handful of speakers to be announced now, all guaranteed to make you swoon.

A reminder that the employment.nil? The First Toronto Ruby Job Fair is upon us in virtually a week. Whether you’re a student, a freelance Rubyist, or even a small company – register, decorate a poster board and get in on this unique opportunity for recognition and hire.

As stated in our last post, this event has garnered a substantial amount of media attention, and several companies have already confirmed that they are participating or attending the Ruby Job Fair to procure new talent on site. Details and registration here.

Finally, there are roughly 15 days left to procure regular priced FutureRuby tickets. As we have under 5 comrade spots left (and no more will be opening up), we adamantly suggest you register this week if your trip planning includes your better half.

More speakers and party updates to come – we’ll be posting talks on the website come June 8th.

In the name of love, unity and Moskovskaya.

May 27th, 2009

Today’s updates are an assortment of blithe bits and bites:

We’re happy to announce that Adam Blum (of Rhodes fame) is one of the newest inductions to the FutureRuby speakers line-up. Go say привет! (That’s ‘hi!’ since people have been asking about our Cyrillic mystique.)

FAILcamp plans are starting to ferment real nice, and we’re excited to amalgamate the Great Hall of Rubyists with some of Toronto’s finest for one lemony night.

Those planning on arriving early for FutureRuby should sign up swiftly to ensure their place at the yacht club. Toronto denizens not attending FutureRuby may have already had their first FAIL in procuring one of those elusive free tickets, but a few Supporter Tickets (aka PWYC) still remain.

Alternatively, while FutureRuby volunteer slots have been off the market for awhile, we’d love an extra few pairs of helping hands for FAILcamp. Send offers of support to meghann@unspace.ca and you’ll be well taken care of.

Aside from the usual suspects, there’s been a lot of people working hard behind the scenes since the inception of FutureRuby. While there are too many helpful comrades to name (you know who you are) we have to publicly extol our illustrators and designers Stefan Grambart and Unspace‘s own Wesley Hodgson for all the thought and benevolent O/T they’ve put into creating Rubyist propaganda.

Make sure to give them thanks when you receive your killer swag.

Fresh blood

May 26th, 2009

In another daily dose, we’ve welcomed Giles Bowkett (Archaeopteryx/ENTP) back to take his rightful place on the FutureRuby soapbox.

Gile’s RubyFringe talk ranked #1 in 2008. Just sayin’.

We’ve also issued Paul Dowman (EC2/Gigpark) a golden speakers ticket. Send him letters of your support and solidarity.

For our RSS chums, you can view the full speaker roster to date here. More to come.