NJ Tech Meetup Recap (5/11/06)

by mike on May 11, 2006

We had our 2nd official meetup at Phanfare in Metuchen. Overall, the meetup was great. I truly enjoy meeting new people and talking about “cool” things they are working on. About 8 people showed up, which was a small showing. We definitely need to grow this group a bit. Where are all you techies in jersey? If you are a techie in jersey and don’t know about us contact me.

The format was a Phanfare demo by Andrew and then a Ruby on Rails tech talk by myself (then drinks). Phanfare is a photo publishing platform. That means they manage your photos and publishing. You dowload their client application (Windows and Mac). You create albums and drag your photos into Phanfare. From there, your photos become part of Phanfare and you can access your photos from any computer. Andrew created an album on one computer added photos and it magically appeared on the other. This is great for people who don’t want to worry about where their photos are and backing them up. Other cool features include advanced album sharing (via custom urls), tracking updates via RSS, embedding video in blogs and sending custom links via email. They also don’t have ads (yeah!!!) and have a subscription based revenue model. Phanfare already has customers and is operational. Overall, I found this to be a pretty useful application and would use it myself. On a side note, I love that these guys found something they think needs to be fixed (photo sharing/publishing) and are going for it. That’s what startups are all about. Check them out. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about them soon.

The second demo was a brief tech talk on Ruby on Rails. Basically, a high-level what is ROR and what can I do with it. I’m definitely a ROR noob, but I thought it was worth while showing a few background slides on ROR as well as a quick screencast from rubyonrails.com. There was some good questions on scalability, performance and overall application design using Rails. These are all common concerns when dealing with a new web framework. Unfortunately, I’m not expert so wasn’t sure myself. Here are the screencasts. We walked through the 5-minute Flickr one.

Again, thanks to Andrew and the folks at Phanfare for hosting this event (and the beers)!

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