RubyNation
NationJS Speakers Selected
The speakers for NationJS, a new regional JavaScript conference, have been selected. I was part of the Selection Committee that met last night to consider all of the proposed talks that we received from our Call for Papers.

There were a lot of great proposals from speakers across the country. This was gratifying because it's always a challenge starting up a new regional conference. We were pleased to discover that so many top-notch speakers were interested in head-lining our event.

It's going to be a one-day, double-track event. It will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Center, where we last hosted RubyNation 2013.

We're expecting quite a few attendees, as well. I hope to see you there...

Thoughts on RubyNation 2013
RubyNation 2013 at the Silver Spring Civic Center

We changed things up a little bit for RubyNation 2013, the 6th year that we've organized and run this conference. For the first time ever, we held it in Maryland, more specifically in the Silver Spring Civic Center in downtown Silver Spring.

There were some reasons that we did this. We weren't sure how well it was going to go over with our audience of Rubyists, so we were extremely gratified that there was almost unanimous praise for the new venue.

Find out more about my thoughts on RubyNation 2013...
RubyNation 2013 Badge Preview
Here's a preview of what the RubyNation badges are going to look like for this year's conference. By the way, this is our sixth annual conference, and it's being hosted for the first time in Silver Spring, MD, at a metro-accessible location.

RubyNation 2013 Badge Preview
Rails and the Apache SOLR Search Engine
My 2012 RubyNation conference talk about integrating the Apache SOLR search engine into Rails web sites is now online. Check it out!

RubyNation Poster
Here's a stark, cool and unused RubyNation poster...

Do Your Commit Messages Suck?
This is a reprise of one of Ryan McGeary's best lightning talks from RubyNation 2011 (the second of the 6 lightning talks that made up his 40-minute "One-Man Lightning Talks" session). It's a great lightning talk, which I'm also using to test out the features of Vimeo.

Rails and SOLR: My RubyNation 2012 Talk
My talk, Rails and the Apache SOLR Search Engine is now available online, in PDF form or via Slideshare. I just presented it on March 24, 2012 at RubyNation 2012.

RubyNation 2012, Day 1 - Dinner
Day 1 of RubyNation 2012 was awesome! Corey Haines snapped this photo of a bunch of us techies having a late dinner at Chili's...

On the left side, Charles Calvert is 2nd from the front, I'm fourth and Robb Kidd is fifth.

RubyNation 2012 Logo Graphic
Our graphic artist, Don Anderson, came up with an awesome Mayan-themed graphic logo for RubyNation 2012. Here's a sample below:

RubyNation 2012 Shirt Design Preview
Since this is 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, we went with a Mayan theme for our RubyNation Conference shirts this year. Here's the logo for this year shirts, compliments of Don Anderson, our illustrious graphic artist.

According to Don: "The glyphs are the Mayan date for March 23rd — 2 Chik'chan, 13 Kumk'u 2012."

And for the really curious: "Dots represent 1 and bars 5, the shell is zero. Mayan is base 20 and from right to left, 12 (1's) + 0x20 + 5x400 = 2012. Yes I know this isn't the real Mayan Year, but if I did the long count I wouldn't have enough room. 2012 makes more sense."

Rails and the Apache Solr Search Engine
Here's the official description of the talk I'll be giving at RubyNation 2012:
Rails and the Apache Solr Search Engine

What good is content if nobody can find it? Many information sites are like icebergs, with only a limited amount of content directly accessible to users and the rest, the "underwater" portion, only available through searches. This talk will show how Rails web sites can take advantage of the world-class Apache Solr search engine to provide sophisticated and customizable search features. We'll cover how to get started with Solr, integrating with Solr using the Sunspot gem, indexing (including both documents and data within a database), and both basic and advanced search techniques. Along the way, we'll also cover some best practices and some architectural recommendations.
Killer Business Models
My talk on "Killer Business Models" from RubyNation 2011 is now available online. Check it out!

Scheduling Talks for a Conference
I've been a co-founder of two successful and profitable conferences, RubyNation and DevIgnition, now heading into their 5th and 2nd years respectively. In this time, I've learned a little bit about scheduling talks at a conference. Come find out the logic behind those conference agendas!
RubyNation Main Room Videos
I've solved most of the workflow problems with the RubyNation 2011 video content from the main room, the footage that was shot with the awesome Sony EX1 camera that we borrowed from Near Infinity. In the video realm, "workflow is a fancy word for getting video from the camera into a format that you can use for editing with all elements intact. It's backed up by Dave's Video Corollary - "no matter where you get video from, it will never be in the format that you need."
RubyNation 2011 Podium Graphic
Each year, we create various accessory graphics for RubyNation. I thought I'd share the graphic we created for this year's podiums, i.e. - the 22-inch by 18-inch graphic that appeared on the front of the podiums where the speakers were giving their talks. By the way, I thought the graphic looked MUCH better on video than the "Sheraton Hotel" image that is present by default - the Sheraton can do their own advertising.


Graphic by Don Anderson
RubyNation 2011 Photo
Many thanks to the incomparable Don Anderson for snapping this photo of me at RubyNation 2011. I was giving my "Killer Business Models" talk.

Slides for Killer Business Models
Killer Business Models PresentationThe slides for my RubyNation 2011 talk, "Killer Business Models," is now available online. For this year's conference, I decided to venture off the beaten path and do a "big picure" talk. There's enough Ruby/Rails developers either working for startups or contemplating creating their own startups, that I felt a general business talk would be of interest to a solid sub-set of conference attendees.
My Favorite RubyNation Ad
In the first three years of running the RubyNation conference, Code Sherpas, a local consulting firm, is responsible for creating my favorite advertisement. This appeared in the 2010 Conference Program.



The Ruby code that appears in the ad is hilarious in a "We just saw District 9 and we really liked it" way. If the graphic above is too small for you to make out the code, check out the full article to view the sample code...
My RubyNation 2011 Talk
Here's the official description for the talk I'll be giving at RubyNation 2011:

Creating Killer Business Models

You've created some really great software, but is it sufficient to form the basis of a viable business? What's your business model? How can you describe your business model and effectively communicate your vision to others? How can other people evaluate your business model and determine whether your vision and business strategies have merit? In this talk, I'll provide a conceptual basis for defining, documenting and evaluating business models. I'll also use real-world examples to show how these concepts can be effectively applied to help build actual businesses.
Organizing and Running a Conference
For the last three years, I've been fortunate enough to work with a great team of people to run a successful and profitable technical conference called RubyNation. This conference is an annual event, part education and part entertainment, that promotes the Ruby programming language. As you might expect, I've learned a few things about how to organize and run a conference over the last three years. I'm going to share some practical tips and suggestions about how to organize and run a relatively large-scale public event like a conference.
Our First RubyNation Video is Live
Our first RubyNation video is now live. It features Jim Wierich and his well received "SOLID Ruby" talk. It's been a lot of work getting the RubyNation video production effort off the ground, so it's nice to finally see our first polished video (only 28 more conference sessions to go).

How to Get Your Conference Proposal Accepted
I've been part of a team running a technical conference called RubyNation for the past three years. It's been a successful conference all three years, both in terms of profitability and its reception by conference attendees. This wasn't entirely an accident. We worked hard to make sure we had high-quality speakers with the kind of content that would be attractive to our intended audience, as well as making sure other conference aspects were addressed - e.g. - venue, food, equipment, etc.

This experience has given me some insight into what it takes for an individual to secure a speaking engagement at a conference. I'll provide tips on how you can making your speaking proposal more attractive to conference planners, thereby increasing your odds of getting accepted as a speaker.
Filming at RubyNation 2010 External Link
It's been crazy lately, first with the run-up to RubyNation 2010, and then getting the video production effort in full swing after the conference was over. We finally managed to get some of the photos from the conference online.

Filming at RubyNation 2010
RubyNation Tape Inventory
I finished the inventory of tapes for RubyNation. We have 34 DVCAM tapes, which are the large tapes from the professional-caliber cameras that we borrowed from Arlington Independent Media (AIM). They'll have to be ingested into digital form IN REAL TIME at AIM's ingestion facility. We have 32 MiniDV tapes, which are the tapes from the small consumer video cameras.

Of these, 32 DVCAM tapes and 24 MiniDV tapes are from the conference sessions (56 tapes total). The remaining 10 tapes are extra footage, including conference interviews, footage at the RuBy-B-Q, footage of org meetings, the pre-production walk-through at the hotel, footage from the cherry blossoms festival, the Jeremy McAnally interview, etc.

All in all, I'm estimating it at about 45 hours of footage.
Anatomy of an April Fools Joke
I'm one of the founders of the RubyNation conference, which is scheduled for April 9 - 10 this year. Since the conference date was so close to April 1st, and since so many people were actively viewing the site during the run-up to the conference, well, we couldn't resist throwing in an April Fools joke. Surprisingly, it worked extremely well.

RubyNation Web Stats

We got a major traffic spike when Matz, the creator of the Ruby programming language, re-tweeted about our April Fool's joke. Find out more about our online joke on the the Ruby community.
Shooting the Cherry Blossom Festival
Where was I at a ridiculous time in the morning on April 1st? I was at the tidal basin in Washington DC with Don Anderson shooting pictures and video for the RubyNation documentary that we're doing for Arlington Independent Media. I've lived in this area since 1987, but in all that time, I'd never been to see the cherry blossoms. I have to say that the cherry blossoms were a pretty impressive sight and that I can see why they've become a tourist attraction.

David Keener at the Cherry Blossom Festival
Video Production Volunteers Needed
RubyNation 2010 is just around the corner. The conference is April 9 - 10. We've just released a "Volunteers Needed" flyer for experienced video production volunteers in the Washington DC area. We have video production activities that will be taking place on April 8 - 11. See the flyer for further details.

Video Production Volunteers Needed for RubyNation 2010
Chad Fowler at RubyNation 2010
Just saw this tweet from Chad Fowler, who was last year's keynote speaker for RubyNation. He'll be at the conference this year as an attendee. How cool is that?

Chad Fowler Attending RubyNation 2010
New Version of RubyNation Site Released
A new version of the RubyNation web site was just released today. The new graphics were created by Don Anderson, while the new look-and-feel, including CSS, was assembled by me. The new look highlights the fact that RubyNation 2010 is being held April 9 - 10, which overlaps with Washington's Cherry Blossom Festival. This is the first major change to the site's design since its initial launch in mid-2008.

RubyNation - The Nation's Ruby Conference
RubyNation 2010 Graphic Preview
Here's a preview of the new graphic "theme" for RubyNation 2010. The design was created by Don Anderson, graphic artist extraordinaire. Since this year's conference, scheduled for April 9 - 10, will overlap Washington's annual Cherry Blossom Festival, we decided to incorporate cherry blossoms into the theme. Interestingly enough, the cherry blossoms were originally a gift from Japan; likewise, the Ruby programming language was created in Japan.

Come to RubyNation 2010

MetroStar Systems Sponsors RubyNation



MetroStar Systems, a 10-year-old Information Technology Provider and one of Inc's "America's Fastest Growing Companies," has agreed to be a Diamond sponsor for RubyNation 2010, which will be held April 9 - 10. MetroStar is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, and specializes in systems and software integration for government clients. It provides clients with agile, collaborative solutions designed to integrate people, processes, technology and learning across an organization.
RubyNation 2010 Interviews
I was in the studio at Arlington Independent Media a few weeks ago taping some interviews for the upcoming documentary, "The Road to RubyNation: The Making of a Conference." Here's a teaser picture of me interviewing Gray Herter, Chief Organizer of the RubyNation Conference. The shot was taken from the studio control room, so Camera #1 (of 3) can be seen in the background on the left.

RubyNation 2010 Interview With Gray Herter
Videotaping RubyNation 2010
I'm one of the founders of the annual RubyNation technical conference, which will be held for the third time on April 8 - 10, 2010. Each year that we've held the conference, we've tried to up the ante in producing a bigger, better conference.

One of the exciting developments for RubyNation 2010 is that we're planning to videotape the conference sessions this year. More than that, we're going to produce a documentary about what it takes to organize and run a conference. I will be functioning as the producer for this documentary, which currently has a working title of "The Road to RubyNation: The Making of a Conference". When completed, this documentary will be shown on public television and will be streamed online.
David Keener at RubyNation 2009
Many thanks to Dave Bock and Don Anderson, who snapped some excellent photos of me speaking at the RubyNation 2009 Conference on June 12th. Click here to see the full set of photos from my talk.

David Keener at RubyNation 2009
RubyNation 2009 Design Preview
RubyNation 2009 is just around the corner, and I've been working diligently with Don Anderson, graphic artist extraordinaire, to come up with a suitable design for this year's conference hand-outs, such as the T-shirts and badges. So here's a preview of the design we came up with.


David Keener at RubyNation 2008
Many thanks to Gray Herter, who snapped some nice photos of me speaking at the RubyNation 2008 Conference in August. Click here to see the full set of photos from my talk.

David Keener at RubyNation 2008
Graphic Designs for a Regional Ruby Conference
The Northern Virginia Ruby Users Group is planning to organize a new regional Ruby conference. They've asked for some ideas on graphic designs to promote this new conference. So here are some promotional concepts that I've come up with.