Chad’s opening call to change the way our community is perceived from the outside. Preach on, brother!

Hot on the heels of that, Chad strumming on his ukelele while Rich Kilmer gamely tried to deadpan through his introduction of David Heinemeier Hansson.

From David’s RailsConf keynote: “What we want to manipulate … is people.” (With a little careful editing, you can turn a harmless quote into just about anything!)

Seeing Uncle Bob speak. He’s a master, and I haven’t seen him speak for about three years. The talk was about clean code, and I already understood about 48 out of the 50 minutes of material he presentedbut as a speaker, watching the way he presents and works the audience is always fantastic and educational. (James’ photo captures the magic perfectly.)

After being online friends since sometime in 1999 (when we met on Ward’s wiki), Alan Francis and I finally got to meet in person.

Another quotable moment from David (this time with no editing required) during Alan’s talk: “People don’t stop doing stupid things because you make fun of them once.”

Being blocked out of Adam Keys’ standing-room-only talk. (Not a highlight for me, but I was thrilled for Adam, and it was great to see so many people interested in such an important but underemphasized topic.)

The accordion and ukelele duet.

Avi Bryant’s wondefully articulated challenge for Ruby over the next few years to work toward turtles all the way down.

Ze Frank. ‘Nuff said.

My audience cheering wildly. I always thought you had to deserve something like that, but apparently you can just ask! I’ll try that again sometime. (But even though I got the cheers by cheating, it was nice to know everyone was on my side. :-)

James Adam is a great speaker, and his talk on “The Dark Art of Developing Plugins” was loads of fun.

Jeff Barczewski and Deb Lewis demonstrating MasterView at the lightning talks session. Deb told me about MasterView last year at OSCON when she and Jeff had just begun working on it. MasterView is an alternative templating system for Rails that’s HTML-centric, designed to allow page designers to use HTML editors like Dreamweaver within a Rails project. I was a bit skeptical of MasterView, because I’m most comfortable when the programmers are in control of HTML generation. But Deb and Jeff get it; MasterView works just like a Rails templating engine should. Reopen the page in Dreamweaver, edit things, save, and when you click refresh in the browser the changes are there. Great stuff.

The personal page editor demonstrated by the guys from Revolution Health. Impressive!

French programmer Fernand Galiana’s “Pardon my French!” after he got a bit frustrated during his demo of the Mole plugin.

Rich and Marcel finally believing I wasn’t a werewolf.

Charles Nutter and Tom Enebo giving some really boring demos of JRuby. Boring is great for JRuby. It’s supposed to be just Ruby, on a different platform, and with Java integration that just seems natural. And it is! That was the challenge for them, to make JRuby boring, and they’ve done a great job.

Erik Hatcher’s fantastic talk about Solr on Rails, with demos of very cool things he’s doing with full-text search at the University of Virginia.

All of James’ photos. He keeps getting better.

Beginning with many attendees at the Pragmatic Studio’s introductory Guidebook tutorial (but continuing throughout the week), the Ruby community raised (at last count) $26,000 for some excellent causes. (Update: over $33,000!)

Finally, Dave Thomas’ closing keynote was the perfect finish. Thanks so much, Dave.

But of course, at all of the really good conferences the best things happen in the halls and over lunch and dinner. I had the pleasant privilege of chatting with loads of great peoplesome old friends, and some new. I’m already looking forward to next year.