On Monday night I went to a Ruby on Rails Meetup for Newbies. I'm not new to rails but I thought I could help answer questions plus it would be a good way to see if there are any coders who are new to ruby but talented. I am hiring after all. It was a good meeting, I ended up spending more time proselytizing Agile methodologies (Test Driven Development, Pair Programming) than Rails specific things, but met a lot of interesting people and had some good conversations.
The only uncool part was a recruiter (who didn't identify herself as such) and her boyfriend who pretended to just be interested in learning to code ruby, but snuck out soon after the meeting started when it became quite obvious that the ruse wasn't going to pan out very well. Note to Vanessa: if you're going to recruit, do so honestly and actually engage with the geeks. We're ok with recruiters and newbies, but don't much like dishonesty.
One of the cooler things I ran across that evening was Debate Graph which the host, Mark Carranza pointed out after I started talking about my Belief Graph pipe dream. It's a system for structuring debates/beliefs in a way that is more productive than a common verbal argument. I'm quite excited to look into it more, hopefully during vacation next week. The subject came up because Mark is working on a very ambitious cognitive software project called blissn that reminded me a bit of Ted Nelson's Xanadu Project. It's not public yet but he has a couple of working prototypes that are quite interesting. He's been recording and linking his thoughts for quite some time now and has a large number rapidly available at his fingertips. Looking forward to more from Mark. Plus he was a great host for the meetup.