Amber Case on our gradual transition into cyborgs. Very funny talk. I wouldn’t normally think of myself or any of my fellow human beings as cyborgs, but when you stop to think about the gadgetry that we keep on our persons at just about all times nowadays…

Kurt von Finck and the “hacker business model”. What if, instead of specifically asking employees to put in 7.5 hours a day, you asked them to put in 75 hours every two weeks? It’s an interesting idea. While many programmers do their best work with fixed-width, evenly-spaced work shifts, others thrive on binge coding. Perpetual binging is unmaintainable, but with nice, long breaks between sprints, it can be quite productive.

J. Chris Anderson presented Deploying to the Edge from CouchDB. A good overview of CouchDB which seems to get more and more attention these days. CouchDB is not a traditional relational database but rather a document-based database. It’s written in Erlang and communication is based on HTTP and JSON. Among its most appealing features is its capacity for distributed and even embedded operation. It has enticing potential for offline applications.

Scott Becker spoke about Agile Javscript Testing. Informative presentation on a topic on which I really need to get up to speed. He demonstrated Screw.Unit, a BDD framework inspired by RSpec. He also demonstrated Blue Ridge, a Rails plugin which combines several Javascript-testing tools (including Screw.Unit) and paves the way for integrating Javascript tests into the rest of the test suite for Rails applications.

There were some promising sessions in the afternoon schedule, but, tragically work beckoned and I spent the better part of the afternoon on the computer.