All News
Git, for Real
David Keener just conducted an educational session on git for software developers and system engineers at General Dynamics Mission Systems. The slides will be published online in the next few weeks.
David Keener at Balticon 2017 External Link
David Keener has been invited to participate in the Programming track at Balticon 2017. He may even be conducting one of his workshops there, although details are still up in the air.
Workshop: Bringing Settings to Life
David Keener ran a workshop, "Bringing Settings to Life," for the Loudoun County SF and Fantasy Writers group.
A/V for TLI at Verizon
David Keener was Technical Chair in charge of A/V and technical operations for the Toastmasters District 29 Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) on July 23, 2016. Held at the Verizon headquarters in Ashburn, VA.
A/V for TLI
David Keener was Technical Chair in charge of A/V and technical operations for the Toastmasters District 29 Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) on June 25, 2016. Held at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, VA.
Conducted Youth Leadership Program
David Keener and Chiharu Bullock completed running a four-week, four-session course on public speaking to a group of 11 - 15 year-old kids. The course was organized in conjunction with Toastmasters and Union Tae Kwan Do in South Riding, VA.
Winter Housecleaning
A few bad links and issues have crept into the web site, so I'm doing some winter maintenance. Should be mostly transparent to site readers.
Creating an Adaptive Setting
I'm giving a two-hour workshop, "Creating an Adaptive Setting," at Capclave 2015. From 10:00 AM to noon on October 10th.
New Quotes API
Just added a new API for random quotes. Gotta love Rails.
Workshop at Capclave
I'll be conducting a 2-hour worksop entitled "Public Speaking for Writers" at Capclave 2014. On October 12th from 2:00 PM to 4:0 PM.
My Ruby Gems
I'm very pleased to see that the Ruby gems that I released into the wild are doing very well. Active Breadcrumbs has almost 11K downloads and Domain Name Validator has almost 5K downloads.
My Slideshare Presentations
To date, my presentations on have generated more than 82K page views. Check out the link, or go to this site's Presentations page to find out more about my online content.
Titanic Presentation
This is totally non-technical, but the slides for my short talk on the Titanic are now online. A transcript of the talk content is also available.
Back In Business
Woohoo! I've got Photoshop up and running again! So I'm back in business when it comes to graphics again.
Passed 1000 Downloads
My new gem, domain_name_validator, has now passed 1000 downloads.
575 Gem Downloads
There's been 575 downloads of my new gem, domain_name_validator, in the last month. I'm pretty pleased with the reception.
RSA Conference 2014 External Link
I've put in a proposal to give an advanced talk on Apache SOLR, indexing strategies, and enforcement of complex security policies. The conference will be held February 24 - 28 in San Francisco, CA. My partner for this talk will be Jonathan Quigg from Data Tactics.
New Creative Blog
KeenerTech is my technical blog supporting my IT activities. For more "creative" endeavors, such as my non-technical public speaking activities and my professional fiction writing, I invite you to check out:
Improving Ads
This site is currently on target to make $100 in Google advertising by March 2015, which will be about 25 months after my last Google advertising payout. This seems like a challenge to me: I'm going to leverage my technical and social networking skills to see if I can cut this time in half or better. And I'm going to blog about my tactics, and the overall results.
GFIRST 2013 Canceled!
Citing sequestration and the need for financial tightening, the Department of Homeland Security just canceled GFIRST 2013, a major cyber security conference that I was scheduled to speak at. They may also have had some concerns about the scrutiny to which the IRS is currently being subjected.
Slideshare Stats
According to Slideshare, my uploaded presentations have been viewed more than 62 thousand times. This is awesome! Goes to 1.5 GB
I'm so glad raised their video size limit to 1.5 GB. Previously, it was 1 GB, and I had a devil of a time meeting that size limit with 45-minute RubyNation conference videos.
Crazy Public Speaking Stat
In the past 6 years, I have stood up and given a prepared speech in front of an audience 57 times, including conferences, user groups and other types of meetings.
Ruby 2.0 Beta Just Released
The long-awaited version 2.0 of the standard MRI Ruby was released in Beta today.
More RubyNation 2012 Videos
After a long hiatus, more RubyNation 2012 videos are going online at We'll have all of them available as soon as we can.
Working On a New SOLR Talk
I'm working with Jonathan Quigg on a new talk, "Security Strategies With a SOLR and Rails." We last spoke together at the GFIRST Cyber Security Conference in Atlanta, GA. This topic seems like a good follow-up to my "Rails and the Apache SOLR Search Engine' talk from RubyNation 2012.
Toastmasters 2012 Fall Conference
The Toastmasters District 29 Fall Conference was very successful. It was an interesting event to organize and run because it has a lot more moving parts than technical conferences such as RubyNation or DevIgnition. It featured an opening ceremony, a political keynote (the mayor of Herndon, VA), two speaking competitions, a variety contest, educational sessions, a leadership luncheon, a district business meeting, a raffle, fund-raising activities and a book sale.
Organizational Whiplash
I'm now planning three conferences at the same time, DevIgnition, RubyNation and the Toastmasters District 29 Fall Conference. Just shoot me now!
New Macbook Pro Arrives
Naturally, my new MacBook Pro arrives mere hours after I fly away for the GFIRST conference in Atlanta, GA.
New Macbook Pro
"The Mac is dead, long live the Mac!" I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new Macbook Pro. I ordered it today as a replacement for my old one, which suffered a terminal crash.
First GFIRST Dry Run
Just finished my first dry run of my GFIRST 2012 talk, "Social Networking: The Next Weapon Against Bad Actors," with co-presenters Dave Roberts and Jonathan Quigg. Basically solid, but needs the expected amount of polish to be conference-worthy.
GFIRST Cyber Security Talk
I just finished my presentation for the GFIRST 2012 Conference, which will be hosted by the Department of Homeland Security in Atlanta from August 19 - 24. I'm really looking forward to the conference.
My Global Warming Talk External Link
My talk, "The Apple Falls Down: Perspectives on Global Warming," is now available on YouTube. Check it out!
Toastmasters Area Governor
I'm proud to have been selected as the Area 45 Governor For Toastmasters District 29. This area covers the Ashburn and Dulles areas of Northern Virginia.
New RubyNation Videos on Blip External Link
Two new conference videos from RubyNation 2012 are available on — Aleksander Dabrowski and Mike Subelsky.
GFIRST 2012 Conference
I'm proud to have been selected as a speaker for the 8th Annual GFIRST Conference, which will be held August 19 - 24 in Atlanta, GA. This is a major cyber security conference with over 1500 attendees.
RubyNation 2012 Retrospective
The organizers met at Vinifera last night for our annual conference retrospective and dinner. Great food, excellent wine, awesome friends. What more could you want for a good time?
Toastmasters 2012 District 29 Conference
I will be attending our local Toastmasters conference on May 4 - 5, 2012. Should be a great time!
Achieved Competent Communicator in Toastmasters
I've been participating in Toastmasters, an organization devoted to improving public speaking and leadership skills, for two years now. I just achieved the Competent Communicator level. Many thanks to all of the people who have helped me improve my skills dramatically over this time period.
RubyNation 2012 Is Over
RubyNation is like a microcosm of excellent talks, mind-blowing ideas, awesome food and great people. When it's over, I'm simultaneously elated that we pulled off another great event and sad that it's over.
Loudoun County Tops the List External Link
Loudoun County in Virginia tops the list of the richest counties in America. Yes, there is a down economy, but Virginia is certainly feeling it a lot less than many other places.
RubyNation 2012 Shirt Orders are In
Whew. Shirt orders for RubyNation 2012 have been submitted to CustomInk, and we spent a pile of money. Red T-shirts for attendees; black polos for speakers and organizers; and charcoal hoodies for organizers (by special request this year).
Toastmasters Area 45 Contest 2012
I just finished participating in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest for Area 45. It was held at AOL's headquarters building in Dulles, VA, which I hadn't been in since early 2008 when I used to work for AOL.
General Dynamics Sends Ten
I'm very pleased that my own company, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, is sending ten people to RubyNation 2012.
RubyNation 2012 Schedule Finalized
The organizers met tonight and worked out the schedule for all of the talks at RubyNation 2012, which will be held March 23 - 24. I'm speaking right before the Saturday Closing Keynote by Corey Haines.
Great Article About Pry Add-Ons External Link
John Mair has an excellent article on pry, the IRB alternative, and the various gems that are available to augment its functionality. Interesting stuff.
8th Annual GFIRST Conference
I'm submitting a proposal to speak at GFIRST 2012, the 8th annual Cyber Security Conference hosted by the Department of Homeland Security. Wish me luck!
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook IPO Letter External Link
The open letter from Mark Zuckerberg that appears in Facebook's IPO offering is available online. It makes for some very interesting reading. Check it out.
Hosting Upgraded Automatically
Kudos to WebFaction, my hosting service, for automatically upgrading my hosting account to match their updated (and larger) limits on memory. I've been hosting with them since 2006 and I've never been disappointed!
Comments Now Reviewed
I was getting too many spam comments added to articles and news entries. Accordingly, all comments are now reviewed before they go live.
Atom Feed Is Fixed
My friend Jake Vanus pointed out to me that the Articles Atom feed for the site was broken during the Rails 3 upgrade. It is now fixed.
RubyNation 2012 Tickets on Sale Now
Tickets for RubyNation 2012 are on sale now. With RailsConf on the left side of the country, where else are you going to get your Ruby fix? The conference is March 23 - 24, 2012.
Featured Slideshare Presentation
I uploaded the slides for my Killer Business Models talk to last week. I was extremely gratified today when I learned that they chose my presentation to be a featured selection on their Home page.
Presentations Moving to GitHub
All of my presentations and open source documents are being moved to GitHub, where they will be available in my ThoughtPool repository. This makes for easier maintenance as well as making the files more readily accessible to viewers.
Section 508 and the NOVARUG
My friend and former boss, Jessie Link, will be giving a talk on "Section 508 Compliance" at the NovaRUG meeting on January 25, 2012. Even if you're not mandated to be compliant, it's an excellent talk on web design practices. Check it out! (Plus my friend Arild Shiraz will be talking on Domain-Specfic Languages — DSL's) Ported to Rails 3
It's been a long time coming, but has now been fully ported to Rails 3. The chief hold-up for the conversion was a few pesky gems that needed to be swapped out for compatibility.
Speaking at DevIgnition 2011
I will be speaking at DevIgnition 2011 on December 2nd about integrating web sites with Facebook using technologies like Facebook widgets, JavaScript and Ruby on Rails.
Doing Rails Security Talk for the NovaRUG
I'll be speaking at the NovaRUG group on "Rails Security" on Thursday, September 22nd. Networking starts at 6:30 PM, with talks beginning at 7:00 PM. Be there! The other talks will be on reek (the static code analysis tool) and JRuby.
At CapitolJS This Past Weekend
I had a great time at CapitolJS this weekend. What a great experience for a one-day, single-track JavaScript conference. Recommended.
Speaking on Rails Security at DCRUG
I will be speaking at the DCRUG on September 8, 2011 on the subject of "Rails Security." The event begins at 7:00 PM.
DevIgnition 2011 Planning In Progress
Planning for DevIgnition 2011 is in progress. Look for a probable December 9th landing date.
Rubynation 2012 on the Horizon
Planning activities began today for RubyNation 2012, which will be the 5th year anniversary for the conference. We start planning more than 8 months before the conference, commencing with a planning meeting and kick-off dinner for the organizers.
Up to 16K Page Views
It looks like has hit a new mark in monthly page views — more than 16 thousand page views for the month of June, 2011. Many, many thanks to all the visitors!
Confident Code
Avdi Grimm's Rubynation 2011 talk on "Confident Code" is now available online. Check it out!

Boom Goes the Dynamite!
I was educated today by a junior developer: "Boom! goes the dynamite." can be used in place of "I made my Rails controller smaller." So now you know, too.
Interview for the EngineYard Podcast External Link
EngineYard will be interviewing me next week for their Cloud Out Loud podcast. They're specifically interested in my experiences with Ruby on Rails in the government arena. In the DC area, the presence of Rails within government agencies has been growing dramatically.
Deploying KeenerTech from Git
I just published my first update from the shiny, new Git repository. But I still have all of my old history from the original Subversion repository. How cool is that?
Exchanges Connect Case Study External Link
I was an architect on the Exchanges Connect Online Video Contest for the Department of State. The case Study for this project is now available on Amazon Web Services.
Rails 3.1 Has Been Released
In case you haven't heard the news, Rails 3.1 was released today. Lots of incremental improvements, including built-in SASS support, JQuery as the default JavaScript library, the "asset pipeline," etc.
Git Giggle External Link
Many thanks to Jonathan Quigg for pointing me towards Git Giggle, a UI tool that allows you to visually explore how a file in your Git repository has changed over time. Forget "git blame," this tool is much more informative.
Wahoo! KeenerTech on Private Git
I just got the KeenerTech private git repository set up, which is important to me because, well, git is cool. Plus I really need easy branching in order to get KeenerTech converted from Rails 2.3.5 to Rails 3.0.7. The extensive site administration features have some fairly serious Rails upgrade issues.
Back from RailsConf 2011
I'm back from a very enjoyable and informative RailsConf 2011, which was held in Baltimore, MD this week. The Rails 3.1 news looks exciting, with SASS and significant new JavaScript options being added to the framework.
Business Model Consulting
I'm pleased to have been asked to consult on the business model for a new Internet startup.
Good XML Schema Validator External Link
The online XML Schema Validator from DecisionSoft has been excellent for validating XML files against an XML schema. Unlike most parsers, it also provides extremely useful error messages, which helps greatly in debugging.

Update: (2012/03/30) The company name and URL changed, so I have fixed the link.
Killer Business Models and DC Consultants
I'll be presenting my talk on "Creating Killer Business Models" on June 21, 2011 at the DC Computer Consultants Meetup. This is a "big picture" business talk that should be useful for anybody working for startups or contemplating starting their own company.
RubyNation Collateral External Link
I added a RubyNation Collateral section to my portfolio to showcase some of the key documents and graphics that have been created for RubyNation over the last few years. Let me know what you think!
RubyNation 2011 Hallway Track Podcast External Link
I'm the 3rd interview on Russ Olsen's first podcast from his RubyNation 2011 Hallway Track Podcast series. Check out the podcast now (and buy Russ Olsen's book, Eloquent Ruby, too).
Killer Business Models at General Dynamics
I'll be reprising my RubyNation 2011 talk, "Creating Killer Business Models," at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems on April 27, 2011.
Certified Scrum Master
I just completed an excellent Scrum Master course by Sanjiv Augustine, the author of "Agile Project Management." Then I completed the online test to get my Scrum Master certification. I highly recommend Sanjiv's LitheSpeed company for agile/scrum training.

The official Scrum Master logo

KeenerTech Upgrade in Progress
I've decided to make the leap. I'm in the process of upgrading the KeenerTech web site from Rails 2.3.5 to Rails 3.0.5. Lots of required changes, but mostly minor stuff except for the ActiveScaffold upgrade.
RubyNation 2011: A Great Success
RubyNation 2011 is now in the history books. I have to say that it was another highly successful and inspiring conference, with dozens of talks by some of the field's top Rubyists. We had 216 attendees this year, up from last year's 185. Plus, I'll treasure my pirate hat forever (speaker Chris Williams handed out pirate hats to go with his pirate-themed talk).
General Dynamics
I just started my new job at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems yesterday, after a relaxing 2-week vacation. Looking forward to doing some cutting edge Rails work...
Excellent Cucumber Resource External Link
David de Florinier and Gojko Adzic have done a great service by providing a free online book about Cucumber, a tool for Behavior Driven Development (BDD) that has become widely used in the Ruby, Java and .NET comunities. It's available in PDF form, or can be read online. Check it out today!
RubyNation 2011 Is Sold Out!
It's official. RubyNation 2011 is sold out. This year's conference will have 200 attendees, our best total ever. If you're interested, get yourself on the waiting list. If anybody cancels, you might still have a chance to get a ticket.
Reading "Eloquent Ruby"
I'm currently reading Russ Olsen's new technical book, "Eloquent Ruby." It's an excellent book. I particularly like its focus on what it takes to be a truly good Ruby developer, rather than just teaching Ruby syntax. It's a great "next book" for the developer that has learned Ruby, and now wants to learn how to use it properly and effectively.
Three More Tapes Ingested for RubyNation
I managed to get 3 more tapes from RubyNation 2010 ingested this weekend. The next videos up will be Dave Bock, Russ Olsen and Jeff Kunkle.
Designing a Card Game External Link
Several recent conferences have used custom card games to get attendees to interact with each other (though the rules were rather deficient). Here's a nice overview article on how to design a card game.
RubyNation Speaker Selection
The Call for Papers closed Sunday, January 31st. The conference organizers met last night and finalized the speaker selections. We'll be posting individual speaker announcements as we get confirmations from each speaker. We'll have the full schedule on RubyNation as soon as we can get all speakers confirmed.
DevIgnition Bumper
I just got an awesome DevIgnition bumper, an animated introduction culminating in the DevIgnition logo, from Don Anderson. Now that I've got this, I can start getting the DevIgnition conference videos completed. Expect some nice online technical videos shortly.
Getting Started With EngineYard External Link
This is a great tutorial video on how to get your first application (and virtual server) set up and configured properly with EngineYard hosting. It includes details on how to configure a deploy key with GitHub.
Tickets Now on Sale for RubyNation 2011 External Link
Tickets are now on sale for RubyNation 2011, with a special Super Early Bird price that will be good until the end of the month. Get your tickets now before they sell out!
RubyNation 2011 Call for Papers Opens External Link
It's that time of year again. The Call for Papers for RubyNation 2011 is now open! If you'd like to speak at the conference on April 1 -2, get your proposals in now.
Garbage Collection and the Ruby Heap
I just published this detailed Ruby internals talk from Joe Amato and Aman Gupta, which is available at From RubyNation 2010.
Search Now Available
It's long overdue, but I just added a search capability to this blog site. I leveraged Google's AdSense-supported search capability, which was painless and easy, with only a few minor quirks (easily corrected via CSS).
Persistence Smoothie: Blending SQL and NOSQL in Ruby Applications
I just published this RubyNation video about NOSQL databases from Michael Bleigh (of Intridea fame), which is available at
I'm at DevIgnition 2010 in Reston, VA. There are great talks on Java, JavaScript, JRuby, Clojure and other topics. Plus, I'm responsible for videotaping all of the conference sessions.
WordPress and Zombies External Link
This is a an excellent WordPress presentation from Brad Williams, the author of "Professional WordPress Design and Development." The presentation provides detailed examples for creating custom post types and custom taxonomies in WordPress 3+, but with a distinct and humorous zombie flavor.
Jeremy McAnally Interview External Link
In this interview, Gray Herter talks with Ruby expert Jeremy McAnally about his Rails 3.0 talk at RubyNation 2010:
The Ruby Insurgency External Link
The Joe O'Brien and Jim Weirich talk is now available, featuring imaginative skits to show Rubyists the mindset of customers. And, of course, our own Dave Bock makes a special guest appearance in the video. Check it out!
Dave McVicar Does Album Cover
My friend, Dave McVicar, did a photo shoot for singer Lexie Hayden. Two of his pictures became the front and back covers of her new album.
Lexie Hayden Album
Fixed IE Glitches, Finally
I hate Internet Explorer, especially older versions. Getting CSS to work properly with IE is painful. However, I'm happy to say that I just finished stomping out a few KeenerTech CSS glitches that affected ONLY IE, but worked in every other browser in existence.
Washington Business Journal on AirBanking External Link
The Washington Business Journal interviews Main Street Bank exec Jeff Dick about his AirBanking initiative. AirBanking mixes online banking, blogging and social media to attract young professionals. David Keener is the architect and social media expert assisting Main Street Bank with their strategies.
Jeff Casimir's Education Talk Is Online External Link
I just finished editing and uploading Jeff Casimir's top-rated education talk, "How to Teach Anything to Anybody, Even Your Dev Team." The talk is now available online at Check it out now!
DevIgnition 2010 Is Sold Out!
It's official. The DevIgnition 2010 conference is sold out. It only took 12 days for the event to sell out. You can still sign up for the waiting list, though. You might still get a ticket if other attendees cancel out.
RailsConf 2011 in Baltimore Again
If you haven't heard the news, RailsConf 2011 will be held in Baltimore, MD from May 16-19, 2011. This will be its second year in Baltimore.
NOVARUG 50th Meeting
The Northern Virginia Ruby Users Group (NOVARUG) is hosting its 50th meeting tonight. David Keener will be one of the speakers at the event, and his topic will be "Web Services Specification."
DevIgnition Tickets Are Going Fast
DevIgnition tickets are going quickly. Tickets have only been available for 4 days, and we're about one-third sold out already. So get you ticket soon because they'll probably all be gone within a week.
Attended NIC-U Mini-Conference
The NIC-U mini-conference, hosted by Near Infinity and organized by my friend, Gray Herter, was a great success today. They had talks on HTML 5, Rails 3.0, the Sproutcore JavaScript library and Android development, plus lightning talks. A truly fun event, augmented by some awesome food (Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant catered the dinner).
Announcing DevIgnition
I'm one of the organizers of the new DevIgnition Conference, which will be held December 3, 2010 at the Oracle building in Reston, VA. Tickets will be released to prospective attendees on Monday, October 18th.
MetroStar Systems on SunnyConf External Link
Here's a very nice write-up from MetroStar Systems regarding my latest speaking engagement at SunnyConf in Phoenix, AZ.
Rubyology Interview External Link
David Keener was just interviewed by Chris Matthieu and Jason Goecke for the Rubyology podcast. The interview was about Facebook, Ruby on Rails and Dave's upcoming talk at SunnyConf later this month. Check out the podcast!
Nick Sieger's Rails/Java Video
While I functioned as the producer and driving force behind RubyNation's video production effort, I had only limited editing experiencer with Final Cut Pro. Nick Sieger's video on "Rails: The Killer Java Web Stack," is the first conference video that I was 100% responsible for from beginning to end.

NovaRUG Rails/Facebook Talk
I'll be giving my "Leveraging Rails to Build Facebook Apps, Version 2.0" talk at the NovaRUG meeting on September 15th. This version of the talk incorporates the recent changes that Facebook has made to its developer ecosystem. It will also be videotaped by the incomparable Don Anderson, although the talk won't be available online until after I've given the talk at SunnyConf in Phoenix, AZ.
GSA Competitions and Prizes Industry Day
I attended the GSA's Competitions and Prizes Industry Day yesterday, an event designed to facilitate President Obama's mandate for using contests and prizes to spur innovation, transparency and collaboration within government. Contests represent an exciting application space, and I was pleased to be able to talk to folks about our Votridea Contest Platform.
IE7 Glitches
Just had an opportunity to test some recent site layout changes using Internet Explorer 7. Found a couple of CSS glitches impacting my (few) PC-based readers. So, I'll be fixing that over the weekend. If Microsoft can't do a decent web browser then they should remove it from the market.
I Have No Klout
Apparently, I have no klout, which is a new measurement of social media influence. Check out the Klout web site for more information about this new statistic.
Finding Ruby Jobs
Here are some recommended sites for hunting down Ruby/Rails jobs:

Rails activity has also kicked back into gear in the Washinton DC area. MetroStar Systems and some other companies that I'm aware of are regularly hiring developers.
All About Tweetups External Link
A tweetup is an event organized through Twitter that allows people who have met through Twitter to meet in person. Find out more about Tweetups in this in-depth blog entry.
KeenerTech on Facebook now has a Facebook presence. Follow us on Facebook now.

KeenerTech, now on Facebook!
Speaking at SunnyConf
I just received word today that I was accepted as a speaker for SunnyConf, Arizona's first Ruby conference, which will be held September 25, 2010. I'll be giving a talk on "Leveraging Rails to Build Facebook Applications." This is version 2.0 of the talk, incorporating major changes that were announced by Facebook at their F8 conference in April.

David Keener, Speaking at SunnyConf in Arizona
Earthquake Hits DC Area
I felt my first earthquake this morning — like a freight train rumbling past my house just outside. It was a minor quake, just 3.6 on the Richter scale. Hits a New High
Site traffic for this blog hit a new high in June with more than 11,000 page views. I'm very pleased with the steady growth in traffic.
Twitter Problems
I just got "rate-limited" doing a search on Twitter for #RubyNation. This was the first time I've used Twitter in the past week because I've been busy with multiple projects. It's also, by extension, the first and only search I've done in the past week. I have to say that either Twitter's search is broken, or their algorithm for identifying people who need to be rate-limited is totally FUBAR.
Adobe Connect Pro Class
I'm currently in MetroStar's Adobe Connect Pro class, with instructor John Zeno Gianopoulis. It's a very nice communication tool, and it's being heavily used by MetroStar's education division.
RubyNation Contest
It looks like RubyNation will be doing an online photo contest using the Votridea Online Contest Platform. I'll post more news as it becomes available.
Awesome Computer Accessories External Link
Here are some great, steampunk computer accessories. Totally pointless, but amazingly different in a bizarre sort of way. Must see it to believe it.
KeenerTech Changes
Inspired by RailsConf 2010, I've updated the site to support comments on all of the articles. I've also added a modest little Gallery page and a bunch of tweaks and minor re-factors. Launches!
My team's been working for months now on the Votridea Online Video Contest Platform, and it just soft-launched today. The platform can do video and photo contests, is cloud-based, fully-scalable and robust since it's based on the real-world experiences we got running international contests for the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Recruiting Rich Kilmer
I'm at RailsConf 2010 in Baltimore, MD. I just recruited Rich Kilmer to be a keynote speaker for RubyNation 2011.
David Keener at RailsConf
Yes, I will be attending RailsConf, the world's largest Ruby/Rails conference, in Baltimore from June 8 - 10. This is the first time I've had a chance to attend a RailsConf, so I'm really looking forward to it.
First Three RubyNation Videos
Don Anderson and I have gotten the first batch of RubyNation conference videos live online at This includes presentations from Jim Weirich, Nick Gauthier and Kyle Banker.
Social Media Stats External Link
HubSpot is a great site for collecting statistics about social media. Here's a link to more stats than you would believe possible.
New Toy: Final Cut EXpress
My new toy just arrived, compliments of Final Cut Express. So, I'm now armed and dangerous when it comes to video editing. OK, ok, so it's not Final Cut Pro, but it's got a solid subset of features for video editing (and it was MUCH cheaper), and I'm working with two other editors who have Final Cut Pro (so they can do the extra heavy lifting if needed). Onwards to the editing of RubyNation conference content!
RubyNation 2011
We felt that the April timeframe worked out so well for RubyNation 2010 that we've already booked the same timeframe for RubyNation 2011. Next year's conference will be April 8 - 9, 2011, with a separately paid for training day on April 7 for those who are interested.
New Computer Consultants Meetup External Link
My friend, Charles Calvert, has just formed a new Computer Consultants meetup to replace the now-defunct Independent Computer Consultants Association (ICCA), which went bankrupt at the end of 2009. If you're interested in consulting, you should think about trying out one of this group's meetings.
Joining Toastmasters External Link
I joined Toastmasters last Wednesday to ramp up my public speaking skills, particularly since I've been regularly speaking at user groups and technical conferences. My long-term goal is to be as effective in front of an audience as speakers that I admire, such as nationally known speakers like Dave Thomas and Chad Fowler, or top local speakers like Jeff Casimir.
Choose Your Own Price External Link
My friend, Carl Fyffe, brought this interesting blog post to my attention. It's from a freelancer who has used a technique where he lets clients pay him what they think a task is worth.
Two External Drives and Final Cut Express
I just spent $641.16 on equipment to accommodate the video editing needs of RubyNation 2010. Specifically, I ordered two 2TB Western Digital external drives with FireWire800 support to handle our video storage needs. The FireWire800 support also ensures that the drives can be used as scratch drives during video editing. Additionally, I ordered Final Cut Express for myself (my other editors both have Final Cut Pro, so we're covered).
RubyNation Restrospective 2010
We just had the Retrospective for RubyNation 2010, where all of the organizers get together for a celebratory dinner and discuss 1) what worked well with the conference, and 2) what needs to be improved for next year. I believe this strategy is one of the key reasons that RubyNation has steadily improved as a conference over the past three years.
KeenerTech Crosses Milestone just recently crossed an important milestone. I implemented Google's AdSense program in December 2009. The site is getting enough traffic now, and has Google ads sufficiently integrated into the site, that is now self-sustaining. That is, the site earns at least enough through advertising to pay for its hosting costs. As a by-product, it also covers the hosting costs of the other sites that I host for various people.
Running Amuck at Quantico
Those pesky marketing folks at MetroStar Systems have done it again. Our company is sponsoring the Marine Corps series of races, and the marketing folks pounced on me (in a weak moment) and convinced me to sign up for the Marine Corps Run Amuck race on August 14th. This four-mile race engages runners in obstacles, mud pits, a water challenge and more beginning at 8:00 AM!
On Media Convergence External Link
Here's an interesting video perspective on media convergence. Quite nicely done,by the way.
MetroStar Ad External Link
Here's a preview of MetroStar Systems' full-page advertisement in the RubyNation 2010 Conference Program. I was surprised (and pleased) when the Marketing team incorporated pictures of myself and Dave McVicar into the ad.
Great Stats About Google External Link
This link shows some really interesting info graphs about Google. It shows just what an Internet behemoth Google has become.
FaceBook Stats External Link
OK, here are some really cool statistics about FaceBook. This was actually strategic for me, since I'm doing a talk on FaceBook and Rails in a couple of weeks at RubyNation 2010.
MetroStar Launches Votridea Contest Platform External Link
My company, MetroStar Systems, just a launched a new product called Votridea. It's a contest platform, generalized from our ExchangesConnect online video contest, that can foster brand awareness, build social communities and promote innovation.
Volunteers Needed for RubyNation 2010 External Link
The video production effort for RubyNation 2010 is really taking shape now, and it's clear that we're going to need more volunteers to help out. We're up to 7 cameras and two additional recording devices now. Contact me if you're interested in helping out on April 8 - 11, 2010.
Perspectives on the IPhone External Link
Here's an interesting, and decidedly negative, perspective on IPhone apps from Mark Suster, an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. A lot of his remarks make good sense.
Upcoming Ruby Conferences for 2010 External Link
Here's the most comprehensive list of upcoming Ruby conferences that I've seen. It's also nice to see that RubyNation is among the conferences listed.
RubyNation Video Production Site Survey
I just completed the video production site survey at the Sheraton Hotel, where we've got the master ballroom and a junior ballroom booked for RubyNation 2010. We resolved most of the big audio/visual setup issues, so all systems are green for this year's video production effort. We'll be video-taping the conference sessions, as well as producing a television documentary about the conference.
BBC Redoes Web Site External Link
The BBC has decided to re-design their web site. This blog entry provides in-depth details about the whole design process, as the BBC rebuilds its entire online digital image. There are some nice insights here. Check it out.
Exchanges Connect Top 40 Announced External Link
The Top 40 videos for the Exchanges Connect Online Video Contest have been chosen. I was part of the team that created and ran the contest for the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Now it's in the hands of the celebrity judges to select the final winners! Upgraded! has been upgraded from Rails 2.2.2 to Rails 2.3.5. Even better, the site is now hosted using Phusion Passenger and Nginx, for faster performance than ever before. As a bonus, we've even upgraded to the latest version of the ActiveScaffold plugin.
My Talk at RubyNation 2010
I will be speaking at RubyNation 2010. My topic is "Leveraging Rails to Build FaceBook Applications." This is a distillation of some of the practical tactics that my development team at MetroStar Systems has used to create highly successful FaceBook applications using Rails, including real-life systems like PollCast and Iran Voices. FaceBook is the world's largest social network, with over 600 million members.
The Top Social Media Blogs of 2010 External Link
The Social Media Examiner has put together a nice list of the top social media blogs for 2010.
RubyNation 2010 Speakers Selected
The conference organizers, including myself, met last night to finish the evaluation of the 60+ talk proposals we received this year for RubyNation. After a lot of discussion, we've now narrowed them down to the final set, pending some last minute tweaking and final confirmations of a few details with a couple of the speakers. Notifications of acceptance/non-acceptance will be going out soon.
A How-To Video About FaceBook Connect External Link
This How-To video is a great, language-agnostic introduction to leveraging FaceBook Connect for external web sites, i.e. - sites that don't function within the FaceBook "chrome." From Luke Shepard and Wei Zhu, two engineers on the FaceBook Connect team.
Ruby is 10th Most Popular Programming Language External Link
Tiobe Software does a monthly index of the top programming languages. Ruby is listed as the 10th most popular language. Java, as you might expect, is ranked first (although its market share has been steadily declining over time). It's an interesting overview. Check it out.
Cory Doctorow on Internet Productivity External Link
Cory Doctorow, writer and Internet commentator, compares the Internet to rock-n-roll, citing the fluid, chaotic nature of Internet businesses. He holds that the primary advantage offered by the Internet is "doing something X-percent as well with less-than-X-percent" of the necessary resources.
Yes, My Yahoo Account Got Hacked
My Yahoo account got hacked. Joy. I've used Yahoo for about 10 years now to manage my various email accounts, and was not pleased at this development. Yes, I'm also aware that all my contacts got spammed.
Git is Great for Branches
I've been using git pretty heavily lately. The commands are a little wonky to learn, but once you've mastered a core set, distributed software revision control becomes a snap. I'm particularly impressed with how smoothly git manages branches and synchronization. I remember how painful that was in Subversion (and CVS).
SlideShare Down For the Count
Started to get all of the presentations online via SlideShare, but they seem to be down for the count. All major functionality (uploads, etc.) seems to be down except for, fortunately, support for embedded presentations. You'd think they'd have some sort of contingency plan in effect or some kind of staff notification feature.
Article View Counts
I just added view counts for all of the articles on the web site, and this count is now displayed for all articles that have over a 100 page views (which is most of them generally, except the newest ones). The hardest part was collating the data (which goes back to 2005 and comes from several different sources) and getting it ported into the database. So this is how I occupy myself during the Blizzard of '09.
AWStats Now Working
Finally got AWStats working for this blog site. I've already got SiteMeter (the free version), which provides one view of the site's traffic, but it will be interesting to contrast this with the more detailed view provided by AWStats.
Finding Good Twitter Lists External Link
Twitter just recently added a feature that allows users to organize the people they're following into meaningful lists. However, Twitter doesn't really provide a way for users to search for interesting lists. When Wini Tse asked me how to find good lists, I quickly discovered the Listorious site. Check it out, they did a nice job on the site.
Atom Feed Fixed
For those who follow via a feed reader, there was a slight problem with our Atom feed. That problem has now been fixed.
ExchangesConnect Contest Site Live!
The 2nd Annual ExchangesConnect Video Contest launched at noon today. Within hours, users were uploading the first videos for the contest. I'm really pleased to have been involved in the development of this contest.
Beer and BBQ at RubyNation
Woohoo! My company, MetroStar Systems, has signed up to be RubyNation's Friday night Happy Hour sponsor, featuring two of the major food groups: Beer and BBQ!
RubyNation Interviews
I was in the studio yesterday with a team of 7 volunteers to videotape interview footage for my upcoming documentary, "The Road to RubyNation: The Making of a Conference." Interviewees included: 1) Gray Herter, the chief organizer of RubyNation, 2) myself as a RubyNation organizer, and 3) Johnny Nguyen, Vice President of the New Media Group at MetroStar Systems.
Grab Networks Lays Off Entire Ruby Team
Grab Networks, the media company known for making news video clips available on the Internet, just laid off their entire Ruby development team yesterday. I worked there myself until midsummer, so I know all of the folks who just got the axe. If your organization is looking for some good Ruby (or Java) developers, check out my Contacts page and send me an email.
Installing Fonts on the Mac External Link
I recently had to add some fonts to my Mac so I could use them in Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word. It turns out that it's really easy. Click here to find out how.
RubyNation 2010 Date is Moving, Part 2
It's looking like April 9-10, 2010 will be the revised date for the RubyNation 2010 conference. Not confirmed yet, but looks likely.
Arlington Independent Media
David Keener just signed up for video production courses with Arlington Independent Media (AIM). Their "Studio Production" class begins on October 10, 2009.
RubyNation 2010 Date is Moving
After a moderately unpopular sojourn to Las Vegas, RailsConf has been hinting about a move to the East Coast of the United States. Today, they dropped the bombshell that RailsConf 2010 will be held in Baltimore, virtually in our backyard, in June 2010. This is, unfortunately, also the timeframe when we were planning to hold RubyNation 2010. So, it looks like RubyNation will be moving out of the way of its much larger (and considerably more expensive) cousin. March 2010 looks like a major contender for RubyNation's new date. More news later as it becomes available.
RubyNation Web Site Updated
Just finished the latest update to the RubyNation web site. Moved 2009 content into the archive area, and updated the remaining content to reflect the run-up to the next conference in June 2010 (exact date and venue still to be determined). Next step, we're working on a new look-and-feel, thanks to some help from Don Anderson, graphic artist extraordinaire.
Making Money Online External Link
This is a great round-up from Josh Catone on the Mashable site. It covers 15 great sites that people are using to make real money online.
Check out the Huge Multi-Touch, Multi-User Touch Wall External Link
Schematic is a design group that has created a multi-touch, multi-user touch wall for Cannes. To picture it, just think of multiple iPhone apps running on a large wall screen at the same time and supporting many users in an impressive, graphically intense fashion. Very cool stuff. Click on the title to view a video.
David Keener Speaking at "Rails 101 Night"
David Keener will be speaking, along with Gray Herter and Arild Shirazi, at the Rails 101 Night being hosted by the NovaRUG. The night is aimed at Ruby newbies, and will be focused loosely on "rails persistence," i.e. - how data gets stored in the database. Dave's topic will be "Rails Tips and Tricks" — basically, a compendium of tips that Dave wished he'd had in-hand when he started programming in Rails.
Loudoun County #4 For Job Growth External Link
Loudoun County just ranked #4 in the United States for job growth according to CNN Money. There may be an economic downturn, but the IT market in Northern Virginia is hopping along just fine.
Atom Feed Now Available
I've just added an Atom feed to the web site. The feed makes articles easily accessible to users with any feed reader. It also makes it easier to leverage the content on other sites, e.g. - article entries are now visible on LinkedIn.
Just Finished iPhone SDK Training
Dave Keener just completed Pragmatic Studio's "iPhone SDk" training course, held in Reston, VA this week. "Highly recommended for those who are serious about embarking into the realm of iPhone application development," stated David Keener. The course covered the SDK, some fundamentals of Objective C, development tools (XCode and other tools), and various Cocoa Touch capabilities. The class was taught by Bill Dudney and Daniel Steinberg.
iPhone Alumni

JRuby Team Jumps to EngineYard External Link
Oracle is in the process of acquiring Sun, where three core team members of the JRuby development team work. Charles Nutter and company have jumped ship to join EngineYard, a prominent hosting company and a major supporter of the Ruby community. In fact, they're one of the sponsors of our local RubyNation Conference. There's more information about this on
Steve Keener at Apraho National Forest
Steve was just on vacation in Colorado for some dedicated cross-country riding. On Day 7 of the "riding" vacation, he set up his Oregon Scientific helmet mounted camera, so here's a YouTube video showing what it was like to travel through Apraho National Park on a dirt bike.

Riding a Dirt Bike through Apraho National Forest in Colorado

New Specktrum Release External Link
A new release of went live today. As part of the release, the web site has been moved from Windows hosting to Linux (CentOS) hosting using the Apache web server. Specktrum is an accounting firm.
Skillset In a Day
David Keener has been invited by Code Sherpas to create a course for their "Skillset In a Day" educational program. The Skillset in a Day series consists of one-day courses that delve deeply into a single technical subject. They are designed to give technical professionals a jump-start in the target subject in a minimum amount of time.
Radical Career Success Online External Link
On July 1, 2009, Chad Fowler and Andy Lester had an excellent webcast, sponsored by O'Reilly, called "Radical Career Success in a Down Economy." The recording of that webcast is now available online, as well as my blog entry discussing the talk.
RubyNation 2009 Survey Results
Survey results from the RubyNation 2009 survey have been trickling in, and we're very pleased with the results. This was only the second year that we've run the conference, and we've sold out both years. Even better, 2009 had 15% more attendees than 2008, so we were able to occupy a larger venue. Anyway, 66.8% of respondents rated RubyNation Very Good or Excellent compared to similar conferences. Counting in those who considered the conference Average for its type, 91.8% of respondents considered RubyNation to be Average or better for this type of technical conference.
All Articles Now Online Again
All articles are now online again. Some of the older articles, from 2006 and early 2007, required extra work to get them moved into the new content management system. So, now you know how Dave Keener spent a good part of his July 4th holiday weekend.
Missing Content Online Soon
There are still a few issues being worked out since the launch of the new on Sunday, June 21. The largest is that some of the oldest articles on the site, including a couple of Dave's most popular articles, are not online yet. That will be fixed by the end of this upcoming weekend. Those articles actually pre-date any use of a content management system for the site and are thus in HTML form. They'll be online as soon as they can be entered into the site's CMS and be suitably edited and verified.
Charles Calvert Talk in Tysons Corner
Charles Calvert will be talking at the next meeting of the Independent Computer Consultants Association in Tysons Corner. His topic will be "Becoming an Independent Consultant." The meeting is at the Olive Garden. Networking begins at 6:30 PM, dinner at 7:00 and the talk will start around 8:00. The cost is $30 for non-members ($35 at the door), but this cost also includes the dinner and non-alcoholic beverages.
Character Encoding in Ruby External Link
I recently ran into a need to do some serious character encoding conversion in Ruby. Specifically, I need to convert text from Latin1 encoding to UTF-8. This article told me everything that I needed to do to accomplish the conversion. This actually Part 6 of an excellent multi-page article on character encoding issues in Ruby 1.8.x and 1.9.
Subversion Branching and Merging External Link
This blog entry by Ned Batchelder is basically the best article I've seen on branching and merging using Subversion.
Videos from Scotland on Rails External Link
The videos of the major presentations from the Scotland on Rails conference are now available online, compliments of EngineYard.
Next NovaRUG Meeting Should Be Good External Link
Chad Fowler and Dave Thomas, two prominent Ruby-ists, will be speaking at the next NovaRUG meeting on April 15, 2009. Talks start at 7:00 PM; networking begins at 6:30. It may be crowded, so register in advance. The meeting will be held at FGM headquarters; see the NovaRUG web site for details on the location and how to register.
Hosting With WebFaction
Based on recommendations from several of my fellow web professionals, including Naveen Vemula and Allan Bunch, I've chosen for my Rails web hosting needs. I have 4 web sites that will be moved to Rails over the next few months, including
Recent Partial Web Site Outage
My apologies to everyone for the recent problems with the web site. My hosting company,, made a sweeping security policy change on the Windows host where my site resides which broke major portions of my web site. Basically, they broke the site's capability to show the full text of articles and also broke most of the administrative features of the site ... right before I went on vacation to Scotland for 10 days. Needless to say, I exchanged some progressively more aggressive emails with them until the problem was resolved today.
RubyNation Speakers Selected
The list of RubyNation speakers has now been finalized, and I will be one the local DC-area speakers again this year. My topic is going to be: "Creating a World-Class RESTful API in Rails." This is based on my direct experience at Grab creating a robust, Amazon-style API for use by partners and, eventually, the public. Goes Live External Link
I just completed a new web site,, for a small accounting firm owned and operated by Mark Speck. The site officially went live today.
Speaking at the ICCA June Meeting
I just got confirmation that I''ll be speaking on Rails at the June 2009 meeting of the ICCA, the Independent Computer Consultants Association. The meeting will be June 9th ay 6:30 PM at the Olive Garden in Tysons Corner. Socializing begins at 6:30, dinner at 7:00 and the presentation at 8:00. The meeting is open to the public.

Location: Olive Garden Restaurant, 8133 Leesburg Pike, Vienna VA 22182
RubyNation 2009 Web Site Now Up! External Link
Karen Gillison, of CodeSherpas and I just finished all of the updates for the RubyNation 2009 web site, and the updates are now live. Last year we maintained the content in, essentially, straight HTML, so this year I added a custom-built content management system to make posting news items to the site easier (implemented using Active Scaffold). The Call for Papers is now officially open, too.
RubyNation 2009
Ruby enthusiasts of the Washington DC metropolitan area, mark your calendars. We've confirmed the date for RubyNation 2009. It's going to be June 12 - 13 in Reston, VA. Based on last year's sell-through, we have commissioned a larger venue. We're going to have it at the Sheraton Hotel, where we can expand it to accommodate 200+ people, rather than the hard limit of 125 that we had at last year's conference. It's also going to be a dual-track event this year.
KeenerTech Version 3
A new version of the web site, designated as Version 3, is in the works. Version 1 was a Java/JSP intranet (on my home network); Version 2 is the current ASP.NET site. Version 3 is a full Rails 2.2.2 site, with admin functionality implemented using the ActiveScaffold plugin, a wider page content area and numerous other features. This should explain why there's been fewer blog entries on the site lately (plus the workload at Grab Networks, of course).
Voxant Merges With Anystream External Link
The official announcement went out over the wires today. My company, Voxant Media, just merged with Anystream. Voxant Media specializes in building an advertiser-supported distribution network for monetizing content such as video, images and text. Anystream produces products that process video, transcribe video as needed and generally make it available for distribution. Their most notable recent activity is streaming all of the content from the Beijing Olympics. Check out the official press release.
Reactions on the Voxant-Anystream Merger
Some more reactions to the merger:

WorldCon 66
Dave Keener attended the 66th World Science Fiction Convention in Denver, Colorado, from August 7 to 11. As per usual, there were lots of great events, good food and many, many SF books. The convention center was also nice, with an interesting statue, as shown below:
Denver, CO -The Colorado Convention Center in Denver, complete with its blue bear statue.

RubyNation 2008!!!
The RubyNation 2008 Conference was a stunning success on August 1 - 2, easily at the upper end of what the organizers were hoping for. The CIT venue was excellent, with plenty of parking, a really nice auditorium and good electronics capabilities. The catering was first-rate. Finally, the array of speakers and the mix of topics went over very well with the audience. Rest assured, there will be a RubyNation 2009.
Merging Branches in Subversion
In Voxant's codebase today, I had to merge a branch back into the trunk. As a recent converter to Subversion, this was new to me, so I went looking in the Blogosphere to find out how to do the merge effectively. I came across this nice blog entry from Eleutian Technology:

How to Branch Properly.

RubyNation Conference Sold Out!
As one of the organizers, I'm proud to say that the RubyNation 2008 Conference has sold out. All 125 tickets (at $175 each) were sold in 52 days, which is excellent for any technical conference, let alone the first year of a conference. We were also able to attract a number of great sponsors, as well as companies to provide some truly excellent giveaways. Between the tickets selling out and the sponsors, the conference is solidly in the black, which is also gratifying (since there are some pretty hefty hard costs associated with running a conference).
Portland Trip
I just got back from a business trip to Portland, Oregon, where I got to spend four virtually uninterrupted days designing RESTful web services with some excellent developers. Staying in downtown Portland was a treat; the city was gorgeous, the weather was delightfully mild and walking through the city was a lot of fun. I also got to try out a bunch of really nice restaurants at company expense. I even managed to catch a glimpse of the majestic Mount Hood from my hotel room.

Portland, OR - With Mount Hood in the background.

RubyNation Tickets Selling Nicely
Tickets for RubyNation 2008, a new regional Ruby conference that I'm helping to organize, are selling briskly. We're at about the 75% mark, with ticket prices due to increase by $25 on July 16th. By my calculations, we're already in the black based on ticket sales and sponsorships, which is always a vital milestone. My guess is that RubyNation will be sold out at least a week before the conference.
Scotland Trip 2008
David and Sally Keener toured Scotland, Sally's homeland, from May 14th to May 27th. Highlights included a highland journey to scenic Loch Lomond, a guided tour of the Cruacha Power Station (a water-based electrical generating plant tunneled into a granite mountain), shopping in Glasgow and many pubs. The top restaurant for this trip was the River House, situated next to a small loch and literally within view of Stirling Castle.

River House Restaurant in Stirling, Scotland

RubyNation 2008 Registration Now Open
Registration for the 2008 RubyNation Conference just opened today. Join the nation! Get your ticket for the DC area's very own regional Ruby conference.
RubyNation Progress Report
Plans for RubyNation, a new regional conference serving metropolitan DC and surrounding areas, is progressing nicely. The venue and budget have been finalized. The Call for Papers just closed earlier this week, and final selection of speakers will be done in a couple of days. Finally, registration will be opening shortly for this two-day conference, which will start on August 1, 2008.
On the Steering Committee for
I was honored to be asked to join the Steering Committee for, which is a new, regional Ruby Conference that will be held in the DC metropolitan area this year. The organization is headed up by a sterling group of people, who I have already worked with in various capacities. Naturally, I accepted, even though I realize it's going to be a lot of work. We're expecting not only to run a successful conference this year, but we're also hoping to make it an annual event.

RubyNation Conference, August 1, 2008, in Tysons Corner, VA. Easily accessible to the entire Washington DC Metropolitan Area.

JFreeChart Presentation for NovaJUG
I will be presenting for the Northern Virginia Java Users Group (NovaJUG) on April 9, 2008. The topic will be "Creating Dynamic Charts With JFreeChart." I've given this talk several times for AOL during my recent tenure there, so the presentation is already available in PDF form on my Presentations page. See the NovaJUG web site for directions to the meeting location at the FGM headquarters in Reston. The talk begins at 7:00 PM, although the (optional) networking activities begin around 6:30 PM.
Regional Ruby Conference (2008)
The as-yet-unnamed regional Ruby conference being planned by the NovaRUG has been tentatively scheduled for June 28th. Right now, it's planned as a one-day event, although I'm hopeful that it will expand to a two-day event. Expansion to two days would, of course, increase my chances of being one of the speakers.
Shenandoah Speaking Engagement
I have been asked by the Shenandoah Ruby Users Group to give my OpenID/Rails presentation to their membership. I'm scheduled for June 24, 2008 at their regular meeting locale, which is the headquarters of Rosetta Stone in Harrisonburg, VA.
Temporarily Unemployed
As of today, I am temporarily unemployed. Yes, this means that I am yet another ex-AOL employee, although my separation was voluntary rather than being the result of one of AOL's notorious rolling layoffs. Fortunately, my unemployment will only last three days, after which I'll start my new job as a Technical Architect for Voxant.

Dead Man Walking External Link
This blistering article in the April issue of Fast Company exposes the management problems, lack of vision and business ineptitude that have transformed AOL from a high-flying Internet company and world-class brand-name into a slow-motion train wreck. The article is also strikingly negative about Randy Falco's reign of error as the CEO of the organization.
Arthur C. Clarke External Link
Pioneering science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died at 90. He's best known as the author of classic science fiction novels such as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Rendezvous with Rama" and others.

Astronaut Dave Bowman attempts to shut down the computer, HAL, in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Regional Ruby Conference
I'm a member of a NovaRUG committee that's organizing a regional Ruby conference for the Northern Virginia area, to be held sometime in June 2008. I'll post more news about this event as it becomes available. I'm also tentatively planning to speak at the event, probably on a topic related to JRuby.

Joining Voxant
Well, after five productive years at AOL, I'm finally leaving for greener pastures. I officially submitted my resignation notice to AOL today. I'll be joining Voxant as a technical architect, effective March 31, 2008.

AOL Ruby Users Group
I got a last-minute request to speak at the AOL Ruby Users Group, which is held the second Thursday of each month (March 13th for this month). So they're getting a preview of my March 19th NovaRUG presentation. The topic will be "Implementing OpenID for Your Social Networking Web Site."
NovaJUG and JFreeChart
I will be presenting for the Northern Virginia Java Users Group (NovaJUG) on April 9, 2008. The topic will be "Creating Dynamic Charts With JFreeChart."
NovaRUG: March 19th
I will be speaking at the Northern Virginia Ruby Users Group on March 19, 2008. The topic will be "Implementing OpenID for Your Social Networking Web Site." Meetings start at 6:00 PM for networking, with presentations beginning at 7:00 PM. Meetings are held at the FGM building in Reston; see the NovaRug web site for directions.
Metro Web Services Stack
I've started working with Metro 1.1, the new, high-performance web services stack from Sun. Metro packages up Sun's reference implementation of JAX-WS (Java API for XML Web Services), JAXB for bindings and WSIT (Web Services Interoperability Technologies) into one comprehensive package. I'm sure I'll be posting more about my experiences later.
Movies External Link
OK, it's no secret that I'm a huge movie buff. It's also no secret that, while I enjoy the typical, over-hyped, over-the-top Hollywood action thriller as much as the next person, I'm much more excited about movies that reach out and make an emotional connection. A number of people have recently asked me for a list of the movies and television shows in my DVD collection, so I decided to put it online.
Rails 2.0 Released
Check out the link below to find out more about this eagerly awaited release.

QuickStart Rails
I decided to create some brief "Quick Start" presentations with the expectation that there might be opportunities to present them as "fillers" at other events. No sooner did I finish the first one, "Quick Start: What Is Rails?", than I found myself presenting it internally within AOL twice in two weeks. The PDF of the presentation is now available online. Check out the Presentations web page for other available presentations.
Winning an iPod Touch
I just won the new 8GB iPod Touch at an AOL offsite event (for best team scores in bowling if you can believe it). Within 8 hours, I had it filled with music, i.e. - more than 700 songs. Truly an impressive device ... expect some posts about it later.
AOL Brown Bag Presentation
I will be conducting my presentation, "Using Rails to Create an Enterprise App: A Real-Life Case Study," as a Brown Bag presentation at AOL on November 27th, 2007.
Yes, It's Confirmed
I will be be doing the December presentation for the Washington DC Ruby on Rails User Group. The meeting will be held December 13th at George Washington University, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
December DCRUG Meeting
Still waiting for final confirmation, but right now it looks like I'll be presenting at the December meeting of the Washington DC Ruby on Rails Users Group. The meeting will be held at George Washington University. The topic is going to be "Leveraging OpenID in Rails."
Surviving the AOL 2007 Layoff External Link
I was fortunate enough to survive today's layoff at AOL, which was particularly brutal for the Dulles, VA campus. Half of the development team that I worked for got cut today. Many of my friends and co-workers also got the axe. While I am, of course, happy to continue having a job that's a mere 5 minute commute for me, I can't help but think that, in some very fundamental ways, AOL has lost its way.
AOL Unconference
David Keener did a presentation on JFreeChart at AOL's Unconference. This unique event exposed AOL's IT staff to a wide array of technical topics presented by some of AOL's top technologists.
First Internal Rails App at AOL
David Keener led the team that launched the Exception Request Tool (ERT), the first internal corporate application to be fielded (and actively used) at AOL using Ruby on Rails. This follows on the heels of Ficlets and circaVie, the first two customer-facing applications fielded with Rails.
Traffic Diary
My brand-new Traffic Diary blog provides a detailed look at the types of low-cost tactics that can be used to promote web sites. Using as an example, this blog provides statistics and analysis regarding the effectiveness of various guerilla promotional techniques. Note: (12/28/09) — This has become a series of interlinked articles.
Giving October Presentation for DCRUG
It's official. I've signed up to do the October presentation for the Washington DC Ruby Users Group. The topic of the presentation will be "Using Rails to Create an Enterprise App: A Case Study." The talk will focus on real-life issues, and solutions, associated with using Rails to create a business application for use by AOL employees. I'm currently seeking permission from AOL to release real-life screen shots and related information. It should be an eye-opening presentation.
Scotland Trip
The Keeners went to Scotland for vacation from May 10 to May 21. Highlights included visits with Sally's relatives, various pubs, shopping, Dave pulling a muscle, various pubs and limping around places like Glasgow.
Elected as Director for the Belle Terra Community
On April 26th, Dave Keener was elected to the Board of Directors for the Belle Terra community.
Chad Fowler's Rails Class
Compliments to AOL, for procuring several session of Chad Fowler's Ruby on Rails class, one of which I'm enrolled in beginning Monday, March 26th. Chad Fowler is the author of the book "Rails Recipes."
Northern Virginia Ruby Users Group
Douglas Sellers gave a nice presentation on the practical uses of Selenium for testing web sites. He then demonstrated some of the advantages of using Selenium on Rails to improve the testing experience. Afterwards, Sean Mountcastle spoke on REST development in Rails.
Presentation on JFreeChart
I conducted a presentation at America Online on JFreeChart, a very nice open source charting package. See my Presentations web page to view a PDF of the presentation.
NOVA Ruby Users Group
Chad Fowler, author of the book "Rails Recipes," covered a grab bag of Rails tips and tricks during his presentation at the users group meeting in Reston. It was a well-attended meeting.
Skiing in Utah
Due to the extreme lack of snow on the East Coast, the regularly scheduled Killington ski trip to Vermont morphed into a last minute excursion to Salt Lake City, Utah, from December 30 to January 1, 2007. See Dave at the Alta ski resort, accompanied by friends Ian Watson and Lucia Capuano from Scotland.
Vacation in Scotland
David and Sally Keener visited Scotland for vacation from November 18 - 28, where they got to enjoy seven days of rain (out of ten days). Hey, this is what happens when you visit Scotland during the rainy season.
Belle Terra Phase 2 External Link
Phase 2 of the Belle Terra web site launched today. This release seamlessly augments the site by integrating a full-featured content management system into it. New features include user authentication, permission-based access to features, banner advertising and rotating reminders.
Parade of Homes
Dave and Sally Keener attended the Northern Virginia Parade of Homes, which was sponsored by B.F. Saul Mortgage. The promotional event allows custom home builders to showcase some of the best homes in the area.
DC Ruby on Rails User Group
Dave volunteers to design the web site, including the look-and-feel, for the newly formed Washington DC Ruby on Rails User Group. Ruby on Rails is one of the hot, new technologies for producing highly functional web sites in minimal timeframes.
Architectural Guidelines, Final
The ARC Recommendations Committee of the Belle Terra community delivered the final version of the new Belle Terra Architectural Guidelines to the Board of Directors for consideration. Dave worked as the technical writer who helped the committee draft the new guidelines.
New KeenerTech Look
David Keener unveils a sleek, new look for the KeenerTech web site, replacing the original look-and-feel that the site launched with in 2004.
Architectural Guidelines
On behalf of the ARC Recommendations Committee, Dave delivers revision 0.8 of the Belle Terra Architectural Guidelines, the first version to be submitted for external review. Dave volunteered in April as a technical writer to help the Belle Terra community draft new guidelines.
WorldCon 64 External Link
David Keener attended the 64th World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim, CA, from August 23 to August 27. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Dave also supported the convention by working as a volunteer.
Scotland Vacation
The Keeners go to Scotland for vacation from April 16 to April 25. Highlights included visits with Sally's relatives, shopping, various pubs and indoor skiing at the new XScape center adjacent to the Braehead Mall.
Lake Anna Holiday External Link
The Keeners are invited to visit overnight at the Lake Anna cabin of Andrea and Roger Monaghan. The cabin is advertised on the web as Lake Cabin Retreat, and is a splendid rental.
Lakes Community Meeting
The second meeting of the Lakes of Belle Terra neighborhood was held at the house of David and Sally Keener. More than 30 people attended. Discussions included prioritization of neighborhood problems, selection of a neighborhood ARC organization and other issues. The goal of the meeting was to ensure that the homeowners association addresses the issues currently impacting the neighborhood.
Belle Terra Web Site Launches External Link
The initial version of the Belle Terra web site launches. The site includes key HOA documents, as well as extensive information about the Belle Terra community.
Belle Terra Web Site Demonstrated to Board
An early version of the Belle Terra community web site was demonstrated to the Board of Directors. Attendees included Michael Lowman, Tim Holmes, John Johnson, Al Wilhelm and Caryn Moran, plus hosts David and Sally Keener. The demonstration was well received; only minor text changes were requested by the board. Web Site Launches External Link
The web site for the MudDawg professional motorcycle racing team went live today. The web site embodies a stark, minimalistic design that conveys speed to viewers.
WorldCon 63 External Link
David Keener attended Interaction, the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, Scotland, from August 4 to August 8. The convention coincidentally took place during David and Sally Keener's regular vacation to Scotland.
Interviewing Tips for Recruiters
Interviewing candidates is a difficult task. This article provides practical tips for interviewing candidates.
Rating Career Sites Using the Candidate Ratio
In advertising to employers, career sites often promote their "candidate ratio," a statistic that describes how many job seekers they have in comparison to the number of job opportunities listed. How useful is this statistic?