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23 Hacks @ RailsConf 2008

I had the opportunity to give a RubyConf-esque talk at “RailsConf”: this year, and at least so far the feedback has been great. I had three goals in 23 Hacks: to delight the audience with some cool creative hacks, to motivate them to do more hacking, and to empower them to enjoy hacking more. I define a hack as “fun code you write for yourself”, and Nathaniel’s Rules of the Hack are:

  1. You must hack at your own impetus.
  2. You must enjoy the time you spend hacking.

I walked through 13 hacks and polled another 10+ from the audience, and just tried to inspire everyone to hack more. I hope I succeeded!

I actually wrote the talk in a git repository, and while I’m making the repository available via gitjour here at the conference, I’ve also put it up on github so that anyone who couldn’t get at the code during the talk can grab it now, and so that the talk can live on in to the future. Just so you know, I varied widely from the written NOTES, but they’re still at least a decent outline of what we discussed.

Finally, I just have to say that it makes me sad to give a talk and not have it live on as a video. I love what Confreaks has done with taping regional Ruby conferences and RubyConf itself because it’s so motivating as a speaker to know that you’ll be able to have a wider influence than just the conference. Whether it’s Confreaks or another recording company, I really wish O’Reilly would start taping their conferences and making the sessions publicly available. I think doing so would increase attendence.

So with that rant out of the way, go hack something!

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