Tuesday, May 27, 2008

RailsConf 2008 Better Be Good

RailsConf 2008 is later this week, as if you all did not know that. Interestingly, this year it has not sold out like it did for 1.0 and 2.0. Increased capacity by O'Reilly? Or perhaps something else at work here...

If you are not aware for the cost of transport, you have been living on another planet. Just the massive increase in time required to make the pilgrimage has been substantial. Many of us have been working at home or within other time-flexible, location-unimportant arrangements for some time now. But we still gathered together unhesitatingly no matter the distance.

Two recent blog postings stood out to me. The first, from Seth Godin said it nicely:

If oil is $130 a barrel and if security adds two or three hours to a trip and if people are doing more and more business with those far afield...

and if we need to bring together more people from more places when we get together...

and if the alternatives, like video conferencing or threaded online conversations continue to get better and better, then...

I think the standard for a great meeting or a terrific conference has changed.

In other words, "I flew all the way here for this?" is going to be far more common than it used to be.

The second was simply an link from from Rails community spokesmodel Obie Fernandez to an article in the Washington Post:

But the truth is that no combination of solar, wind and nuclear power, ethanol, biodiesel, tar sands and used French-fry oil will allow us to power Wal-Mart, Disney World and the interstate highway system -- or even a fraction of these things -- in the future. We have to make other arrangements.

The public, and especially the mainstream media, misunderstands the "peak oil" story. It's not about running out of oil. It's about the instabilities that will shake the complex systems of daily life as soon as the global demand for oil exceeds the global supply.

Already, I was a little bummed out about not being able to eat a delicious Pacific salmon dinner this year. But these two postings really got me to thinking. It would be easy to expect the conference organizers to do all the work. But it is really up to us as attendees to put our hearts into it. Whether it be code drives, or Werewolf sessions, that does not really matter to me personally, although I will be attending the former.

So, all I can say is, this better be good people. We better go up there and really make this thing count, to justify the time, expense, and environmental impact. The times they are a changing, and we need to do something special.

As for me, I will be taking public transport to and from the conference... which is not easy to achieve from down here in L.A.

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