17 Nov 2007
Well. RubyConf was two weeks ago now and I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around it. It was a different experience this year than last (understanding that last year was my first RubyConf), and I’m not sure whether I liked it better. I would have preferred a single track, although I completely acknowledge the reasons why multitrack made sense… I just didn’t like having to make decisions between two talks I really wanted to see, which happened at pretty much every junction.
I particularly enjoyed Ryan Davis and Eric Hodel’s talks, which both more or less boiled down to them talking about the tactics they use to write more/better code. That’s the kind of thing I really like to hear about: the ways that other people boost their productivity and output quality. In this case, the people were experts, but it’s fun to hear from newbies too, as they almost always bring new perspective.
Another highlight was Laurent Sansonetti’s talk on how Apple loves Ruby. I can’t really explain how totally awesome this was. Apple really does love Ruby, and the stuff you can do in Leopard with Ruby is astounding. You’ll just have to watch the video.
Speaking of which, one totally awesome thing that may not be universally known is that Confreaks recorded (almost) every session and are publishing the videos on their website. It’s a lot of video to process so things are a little slow in coming, but eventually all of the conference videos will be here. They’ve already published all of the RejectConf presentations…you can see my 3 minutes on IRB history (now with more working) here. The code is available here.
I’ve also arranged to get the raw camera captures for my talk and I’ll be putting together a video of my presentation in a different format later. On that topic, the slides for my presentation are available at this link. They’re under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license… the video on Confreaks will be as well, which is slightly different than what their pages say. The non-commercial clause is the only exception.
Also as promised, below is a list of links to the stuff I talked about:
- Keyspan USA-19HS USB -> serial adapter — the best USB/serial adapter I’ve found. About $40.
- FTDI FT232R USB -> UART chip — These are only available in surface-mount packaging. You can get one on a breakout board from Sparkfun, if you need it by itself. See the Buy Some Gear section.
- FTDI TTL232R USB -> UART cables — these are USB cables with embedded FT232Rs, available in various configurations. Necessary if you’re using a Boarduino (see below) and handy to have around for other purposes as well.
- x10-cm17a gem
- CM17a FireCracker kit — The FireCracker control module, one appliance module, one transceiver/lamp module, and a remote. Note that these are much cheaper on eBay. See links in the Buy Some Gear section below.
- Ruby Arduino Development
- Boarduino — the small breadboard-compatible Arduino clone I demonstrated
- Simple Message System — an Arduino library that provides a simple ASCII messaging protocol. Look for Ruby bindings Real Soon Now™
- Prototyping Shield — Note that Sparkfun also sells a ProtoShield. Lady Ada’s is far superior.
- Arduino clones — There are a number of Arduino-compatible boards that are cheaper or have different design goals. I didn’t talk about these, but check out Freeduino and the Bare Bones Board.
- other xbee modules are pin-compatible, so pick the one that best suits your need, and remember that the Series 1 doesn’t fully support ZigBee
- Arduino xbee shield
Buy some gear!
Keyspan USA-19HS — Froogle it or just hit up your local computer store. I got mine at CompUSA.
FTDI TTL232R — Available in all configurations “direct from FTDI”:http://apple.clickandbuild.com/cnb/shop/ftdichip?op=catalogue-products-null&prodCategoryID=47&title=Cables%3A+TTL-232R+and+variants, or in most configurations from “Digi-Key”:http://www.digikey.com and “Mouser”:http://www.mouser.com. If you’re doing a Boarduino, though, your best bet is “Adafruit”:http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19&products_id=70&zenid=98f0db6f43e99ebf79382e1cc59109f8, because you can get a little price break if you get it bundled…
X10 gear — eBay. Try “this search”:http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=x10+firecracker for “x10 firecracker”.
BetaBrite — Apparently they’re sold at Sam’s Club. We don’t have those in Oregon so I can’t confirm. I got mine from eBay. I use “this search”:http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=%28betabrite%2Cbeta+brite%29, which catches both “BetaBrite” and “Beta Brite”. You may be able to find other retailers too.
Arduino — Lots of options here. “Sparkfun”:http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=666 is a good one, but I prefer “Adafruit”:http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=17&zenid=984f4165f5a779247c562c66718ab273. I recommend the “Starter Pack”:http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=68&zenid=984f4165f5a779247c562c66718ab273, which comes with an Arduino, ProtoShield kit, battery, wall wart, USB cable, and some goodies to play with.
Boarduino — “Adafruit”:http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19&products_id=72&zenid=984f4165f5a779247c562c66718ab273. Be sure to tick the box to add the TTL232 cable if you need one. You’re going to have to solder this one… if you just don’t feel like it, email me and we can talk ;)
Protoshield — “Adafruit again”:http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=51&zenid=984f4165f5a779247c562c66718ab273. There’s also the “Sparkfun one”:http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=7914, but it’s more expensive and poorly designed (see the last paragraph in the description on Sparkfun to see what I mean)
XBee modules — “Digi-Key”:http://www.digikey.com or “Mouser”:http://www.mouser.com. Maybe other places too, but they’re who I’ve used.
XBee Shield — “NKC Electronics”:http://www.nkcelectronics.com/freeduino-arduino-xbee-shield-kit.html, who sells on eBay as “nkc_store”:http://myworld.ebay.com/nkc_store/. I’ve been very pleased with their service. NKC also sells some Arduino clones, for what it’s worth. Sparkfun sells exactly the same thing (albeit with an XBee module) for $80, which is highway robbery. Here’s “the link”:http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8471, though, if you feel like throwing your money away :)