Tuesday was the first real day of CASCON. I was feeling lazy so I skipped the keynote and showed up at 10ish. I went to the Technology Showcase where my exhibit was and ran through my demo a couple of times to make sure 1) things still worked, and 2) I remembered how to do my demo. Both points seemed to be in working order.

The actual showcase didn’t start until 11:30 so I wandered around a bit and chatted with some peers. I did my first real demo for a peer and of course, something (new) broke! So i spent a few frantic minutes trying various things to get my demo working properly, and eventually it did.

The Technology Showcase was to run between 11:30 and 7 today, but I only had to be there between 11:30 and 1 since everyone was excused for an afternoon workshop. The thing about that period of time however, was that it was lunch, so I and most of the people at the conference just sat around for half the time and ate, before performing our duties (me presenting and them listening). I ended up only going through 3 or 4 demos!

In the afternoon, I went to a workshop that had a horrendously long name which I won’t mention since it would double the size of this blog. It was mildly informative but I probably wouldn’t pick it again. Afterwards, there was a Frontier of Software Practice talk which I skipped and then it was yet another reception at the Technology Showcase. So for the last hour, I ate some more wine & cheese type snacks and gave another 3 or 4 demos.

The night activities started at 7PM and involved a free dinner, so I of course attended. It was the inaugural Hackcamp at CASCON. Basically we were to gather together for the night and hack away at doing mashups or what not. And by all night, I mean until 11PM since they had to reset all the stuff we were working on for the next day.

As a bonus for showing up, Sacha (one of the organizers), printed out custom t-shirts for the event for everyone. Well that was the plan at least, because they had some technical difficulties for most of the camp. The customization was that you could print out your own tag cloud based on your own data. So I now have a t-shirt of my blog tag cloud, which I must say is pretty cool geeky. I hope that all of you are looking forward to seeing me in my tag cloud t-shirt at our next geeky get together.

I didn’t have any cool ideas for Hackcamp so I just went with the flow. We were introduced to various web 2.0 technologies that I already knew about, and then started playing around with Ruby on Rails. I had heard hype about how easy RoR was, and it’s going to take over the web etc. Well my first impression is that it is NOT easy to use. It has an assumed MVC pattern for everything, which I didn’t want to follow to create my stuff, so it was actually more inefficient for me. I’ll stick to PHP thank you very much.

The project that another fellow Hackcamper and I decided to work on was to plot anonymous contributions to Wikipedia on a Google Map. We did fairly well in that we were able to parse out IP addresses from a Wikipedia history page, and then geo-locate them with longitude and latitude, but by then I was too tired to plot it on a Google Map (although I have done this stuff before and it’s not too bad).

I bailed around 10:30PM, which was much better than staying there all night; plus I had a long day the day after, but more on that tomorrow.