Rails Camp and You. And Me. And 89+ other Rad people.
I went to Rails Camp once. OK twice. OK several times, and I also hosted one in Brisbane. They’re excellent places to learn, socialise, ‘network’ (socialisation’s creepy, selfish and greedy cousin) and hack.
They’re also terrifying if you’ve never been to one. Stuck at a remote campsite with people you don’t know, no internet access, and having to write good code?! That’s legitimately terrifying.
But! It’s OK. Deep breath. Here’s some truth: No-one cares about the code you’re writing on Rails Camp. For Reals. Spouses, don’t read this next bit: Rails Camp is a really awesome way to work on your Ruby experience for everything except code because it’s not actually super professional learning code times. No-one will judge your code unless you want them too. You’re free to do as much serious or silly hacking as you want to. Or play some boardgames. Or go on a photo walk. Or talk to people about hiring or salaries or managing minions or learning JS (you’ll find friends doing just that!) or just… being chill. The Rails Camp people are super excellent. Every camp is run under the Ruby Australia Code of Conduct.
The remoteness and the lack of Internet… That requires some more planning to deal with. I’ve got a good feeling about this upcoming Rails Camp, and I want you to, too. (Awkward sentence that. Ahem). So here’s the list of things that you can do to enhance your Rails Camp experience, in time order.
The Big List of Stuff To Panic and Do Today for Rails Camp Tomorrow
Now in Rough Chronological Order!
I’m about as organised as a bowl of cooked spaghetti. But I’ve tried to put this list in chronological order, so you can read each heading in order and do the items. Anything starting with italics is only relevant if you’d like to bring that thing. If something takes a long time (like a backup), kick it off and go to the next section until it’s done. It should go without saying that you should ALSO bring anything the organisers have emailed too you or posted online.
- Back it up. For Reals. Start backing it up to something you’ll leave at home. You do this regularly anyway, right?
- You’ll need that backup for the next bit, in case everything gets SNAFU’d.
- Update ALL THE THINGS!
Homebrew (Mac only) - 'brew update && brew upgrade'
RVM - 'rvm get head'
Latest Ruby - 'rvm install ruby'
'git pull' in any projects you want to work on
'bundle update' ditto
All the gems you might need - There's usually a Rubygems mirror but it doesn't hurt
Dash (Mac only)
- Break anything? No? SUCCESS!
- RE Dash: Dash is an awesome offline documentation tool for Mac an iOS. You can download it here. It’s free with nagware and otherwise not too expensive. Once installed, make sure you’ve downloaded and updates all the docsets you might need! I’m using Ruby 2, HTML, Capybara, bash, Ruby on Rails 3, Ruby on Rails 4, Sass, RSpec Expectations and selenium-webdriver.
- Go close all your browser tabs. If they’re action items, stick them in a list somewhere; Nothing’s worse then getting distracted from fun hacking with that cruddy work stuff.
- Empty out your memory card/s onto your favourite mass storage device.
- Charge it.
- Make sure your lenses are clean.
- Pack your memory cards.
- Pack your camera.
- It’s going to be cold. No-one will notice under your jumper that you’re wearing the same clothes for three days in a row. Thus, we’re going to pack fun stuff first.
- Boardgames. People tend to play games after dinner, so if you’ve a favourite feel free to bring it along! Don’t worry about bringing Cards Against Humanity. Someone’ll have it covered. (I’m bringing Boss Monster!)
- A Tipple. Rails Camps are not big drinking events. But some people like to have a nip or two of Scotch at night. I will personally judge you if you bring Malibu, because I am a jerk and that’s tacky.
- Sportsballs? IDK.
- Drones, fancy colour changing lights, Arduinos and other tech toys. ‘Nuff said.
Luggage & Clothing
- Cold Weather Stuff. It’s going to be cold. This goes double if you’re from QLD like I am.
- Kigurumi. There’s usually people bringing Kigurumi. Kigurumi are awesome. I’m a legit adult.
- Other dorky but comfortable gear. Some people bring wearable sleeping bags, like these Selk Bags. Those people are awesome and you should buy them a beer whenever possible. I may be one of those people >.>
- Sleeping Bag. Even if you hear you don’t need it, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared. There’s some team has that as a slogan…
- Thongs for the bathroom. Flipflops if you’re Podean. Jandals if you’re Antipodean, but the other kind.Take this from a Scout — Cold grotty shower floors aren’t any fun. Neither is getting your feet cold when dashing to pee in the middle of the night. For the non-Aussies; Thongs are flip-flops.
- Suitcase. Duh.
- Any Meds & First Aid Supplies. Just in case.
- CPAP Machine. Pretty sure you won’t forget this one if you need it.
- A Towel. You want to make sure you can dry off after getting wet while swimming or bathing, and also show that you’re a hoopy frood.
- Pack your laptop power brick in your backpack. If you have a spare, put this in instead so you don’t take your primary out to use it and then forget to put it back in.
- Pack a powerboard. Just in case.
- USB charger for your phone. Even if you don’t have internet access you know you’ll get the shakes if your phone starts going flat.
- Chargers for anything else you’re bringing to play with.
- Coffee. You’re a developer. Worse, a Ruby developer. Chances you’re into wanky coffee are higher then chances that a Rails 2 app on Ruby 1.8 has security holes. While most camps provide coffee (and some have rad baristas!) the coffee nerds often bring their favourite blends and coffee making toys.
- Cancer Sticks. I’m asthmatic so I get judge-y, but addiction is a beast and it’s not cool to be jonesing all weekend; There’s often no stores nearby camp, so make sure you bring enough to get by.
- Chocolate and sweets. Because what’s a better thing to share with your fellow devs then Vegemite Cadbury!