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The official word on our voting

September 29th, 2007

The Rails Rumble is all about what can be done using Rails given only 48 hours. We were impressed by how many good applications were produced during the event. We sincerely hope that there were many new friendships made in the process of building apps that could very well go on to be successful startups or strong OSS projects. Please, don’t ever let your clients know you work that fast :)

In our review of the voting logs, the voting pattern of several applications grabbed our attention. After a full review and discussion of the logs (we spent hours on this alone), it was apparent that certain votes were turning the Rails Rumble into a popularity contest and we were not happy with that. Here’s why:

What happened is that some applications were getting the maximum vote (5) in all criteria by users who registered and voted only in that application alone (lame). We didn’t think that was fair; who would call their self a judge and only vote on 1 contestant? While the majority of voters were more than happy to vote on several apps, good or bad, other apps were getting ranked by the number of people they could get to log in and vote all 5’s for their app with no regard for the rest (Yes we were looking at IP addresses and timeframes too, please don’t try to spoof 127.0.0.1 anymore thx…). With that in mind, and as we reserved the right to invalidate votes that in our opinion weren’t fair, we invalidated all the votes from people who registered and rated only one application with all 5’s. That is all we did and that alone is what caused the change in rankings.
Our role as organizers is to provide as fair a competition as possible to all participants and we hope you understand why we took the steps we did.

“Honorable Mention” contains the applications WE liked that received significant votes but didn’t win. Please take a look at those applications, they are good in many aspects and deserve attention as much as the winners do, although we regretfully have no prizes to award them.

Thank you all for helping us to make the RailsRumble a success! So what do you say? Wanna do this next year?

And The Envelope Please...

September 28th, 2007

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here. Time to announce the winners of Rails Rumble 2007. Please show us some love on digg

Grand Prize - TastyPlanner (Screencast Here)
1st Runner up - Checkbook
2nd Runner up - Admiteer (Screencast Here)

Categories
Appearance - Elf List
Most Useful - Conduit
Most Complete - Invent-A-Story
Innovation - SoundBadge (Screencast Here)
Best Solo Project - Irksome

Honorable Mentions (Aside from our winners, we feel that there are a few other apps that deserve attention)
Pagestackr (Screencast Here)
Shoelockr (Screencast Here)
Linga (Screencast Here)
RubyBrigade
PubBud
Redux
PretendPeople
Gradeseed (Screencast Here)
Merlin

Thanks to all that participated and many thanks to Linode for hosting the servers and our many other sponsors for helping make Rails Rumble 2007 a success.

Thanks Rumblers and Sponsors!

September 27th, 2007

Thanks to all that participated in Rails Rumble 2007. You have shown the community what can be done with Rails given just 48 hours, either as a team or solo effort and that in itself was the purpose of the event. You’ve made us proud, to say the least! We’d like to take the time to thank Linode for providing the Rumblers (and us) with the use of their excellent VPS slices and we would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who needs their own VPS. Also, thanks to our many sponsors; you have truly been a cornerstone in the success of this year’s event and your generosity does not go unnoticed.

Voting has been closed as of today and the Rails Rumble organizers are hard at work looking through votes. Please note that the organizers reserve the right to nullify votes if we feel the need is justified, so your app’s ranking could change.

Final voting results will be announced on Fri 09/28/07 at 5:00PM EDT at a special Ruby East keynote and at that time we will truly know who gets to take home the belt (and the pony).

Thanks again sponsers, rumblers, and judges for your participation and commitment. Lets do our best to make this a yearly (or even bi-yearly) tradition.

I just wanted to remind everyone that voting will end Thursday at 12PM (Noon) EDT. We'll be announcing the winners on Friday, September 28th at Ruby East (and right after with a blog post). For this reason its VERY important to get those screencasts in. We'll be profiling several apps that provide Screencasts (regardless if you are the winner), so if you want to get some free publicity in front of an auditorium full of people, get those screencasts put together!

Also, I just want to let everyone know that Linode has been gracious enough to keep the VPSes up till October 5th, 2007, so, the applications will be hosted until then. If you don't sign up to continue service with Linode, then on October 5th at Noon (12pm) EDT your data will be erased. Thanks again Linode for your excellent support of this event!

In a closing note, I thought I'd share everyone with a photo of the pony that the top overall winner will go to:

Screencasts!

September 22nd, 2007

Hey there Rumblers! A couple updates were pushed to the Voting Application this morning that team members should be aware of. First, you can now view any dropbox (anonymous) comments that were left for your team. Just log in, go to your team profile and click “view comments” in the sidebar. Note that you can only see comments that were left for your team, not for other applications.

More importantly, we’ve added a field to your team profile for screencast URLs. If you specify an external screencast URL, a link will be shown in your profile so visitors can click to view it. Selected/winning applications will have their screencasts shown at the Ruby East conference on Friday the 28th. Even if you don’t think you’re in the running for a category win, I’d strongly encourage you to create a screencast for your application—not only are they a great way to illustrate the use of your site to potential new users, but if one of the winning teams decides not to do one, we may select your screencast to show in their place (also, on an unrelated note, the ranking algorithm will be updated shortly to deal with some of the ballot stuffing activity we’ve seen recently, so don’t count yourself out yet)

Your screencast should be around 4-6 minutes in length and you can use that time to walk users through the usage of your application (think tutorial style) and discuss the process of building it, what tools and techniques you used, and what difficulties you might have encountered. Remember, this will be shown at the conference. It’s a chance to have your application profiled at what’s sure to be a great Ruby-centric event in front of all sorts of talented folks (and potential users for your app!)

If you’ve never made a screencast before, you might find this index of screencasting resources useful. Check it out and, as always, thanks for Rumbling.

Voting Open

September 14th, 2007

Douglas Adams once wrote that the world would end on a Thursday (it did, actually). But not this Thursday. Today, the Rails Rumble voting system goes live. Check out the badass applications built by our 92 qualifying teams, and Register to vote for your favorites. The polls will be open for 2 weeks, so get in there and make your voice heard now. There may be 92 killer apps, but only one can win the Title Belt. Go get em tiger.

Update: feel free to discuss your favorites here or on our forum!

Important Announcements

September 11th, 2007

I have a few very important announcements. First of all, participants, we're going to let each team do a single commit that adds < 20 lines of code. This needs to be done before Wednesday at 23:59 EDT. Subversion is now available for participants. Do NOT commit more than a single commit per team or 20 LOC added (use svn diff to determine this) or you WILL be disqualified. We're doing this because a lot of teams had some troubles committing at the end of the rumble or had some dangling route setting that wasn't quite right, etc.

Because of this, judging will be opening on Thursday instead of Wednesday to allow time for these updates. Please also use this time period to update your profile and list resources that you're using (javascript libs, rails plugins, gems, etc)

We're also beginning to disqualify teams that either cheated, didn't participate or don't appear to have a working web application up. Emails are being sent out to all team members of the teams that are being disqualified. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss any issues or feel that we've made a mistake (if your host was just down for maintenance, we apologize for the inconvenience and will reinstate you immediately).

We'll be providing SVN dumps after Wednesday night as commits are coming in. We'll also be emailing teams that do not have the rumble user setup.

Update: Since the diffs will be checked in an automated way, the changes must be made directly into the rumble_final tag. Modifying the trunk and recreating the rumble_final tag would impact in a really big diff, therefore with much more than 20 LOCs

We've only just begun.

September 10th, 2007

Its 1am EDT, so the code writing portion (if you have a final commit and deploy to do, do it NOW, subversion will be closing VERY soon) of the Rails Rumble is officially over, but... we've really only just begun. Join us on Wednesday when we'll open up judging... in the meantime, feel free to browse over teams and their entries at http://vote.railsrumble.com. Well, we're headed to sleep. If you have any questions, please contact us. The next few days we'll be setting up the voting site and weeding out deadbeats and cheaters. Thanks for participating and we'll see you on Wednesday!

Almost Over...

September 10th, 2007

Hey there combatants. So how’d you do? Were you a glassjaw or did you KO the competition? That’s right, as of 1AM EDT (5AM UTC) the code writing portion of the Rails Rumble will be officially closed. That means your repository will become read-only and any final code changes must be checked in. As noted in your profiles, you’ll need to create a tag named “rumble_final” and that tag is the one that needs to be deployed.

Remember that, although you can’t do any more code edits, you can continue to tweak your server configuration settings if necessary. Also, remember that you need to set up a rumble user and authorize our public key for access to your server. Directions for all this good stuff can be found on your profile page (requires login). We’ll be checking rumble user ssh access again tomorrow, so please make sure you do this as soon as possible. A list of offenders will be posted (or emailed) sometime tomorrow.

We’d like to thank Linode for working with us throughout the event to make sure that everything ran as smoothly as possible and that any user questions were answered as soon as possible. We’d also like to thank you guys for participating, because well, without you, there wouldn’t be any Rumble at all. And thanks for keeping the name calling and folding chair hijinks to a minimum. It was appreciated!

So what’s next? Well judging, of course. Over the next couple days some new features will be rolled out on the Vote server and on Wednesday we’ll open up judging to anyone and everyone who wants to participate. In the meantime, feel free to browse the application listings. Note that we’ll begin the process of filtering out dead, non-working applications sometime tomorrow. Please email us if you want to be voluntarily removed from consideration.

Whew! I’m tired. And I bet you are too. 20 minutes to go, and then you can sleep…

Competition Extension

September 10th, 2007

Good news Rumblers! We are happy to announce that we are extending the close of the competition by one hour. Due to the difficulties getting started Saturday morning, we've decided to allow one extra hour for teams to finish their apps. This means that you now have until 1AM (01:00) EDT Monday September 10th to get your final commits in. Use this time for extra testing, tidying up your UI or catching a quick power nap. We're really looking forward to checking out all of your hard work and wish the best of luck to all the participants! Don't forget to post some photos in our Rails Rumble Pool.

Let's Get Ready To Rumble!

September 8th, 2007

The Rumble has begun! Grab your copy of the pickaxe book, a metal chair, and an energy drink and get coding. Login to your account at http://vote.railsrumble.com/session/new for Linode and SVN access credentials and make sure to surf on over to #railsrumble on irc.freenode.net if you have any questions or problems or if you just want to take part in the action!

Update: We're having some load issues. Every few minutes you can try and login, or you can get on IRC and ask for help. Thanks!

Some Pre-Rumble Notes

September 7th, 2007

Well, the Rumble starts in less than 24 hours and there are a couple things I want to say.

First, Linode sent out emails to Teammate #1 on each team with the proper account login information. We encourage you to login and install Linux before the event begins so not everyone is trying to do this at midnight tonight. You'll be able to install Linux but you won't be able to boot it.

If you didn't get this email, no worries. You can login to edit your profile, add more teammates, and review your Linode login information. If you'll be adding teammates do it quickly, we'll be cutting off teammate registration at 10pm EDT (2 hours before the competition begins) to setup your Subversion accounts.

Lastly, judging will begin on Wednesday, September 12th. You can register to judge the Rails Rumble entries here.

If you run into any issues or glitches, feel free to contact us or ask for help in the IRC Channel.

We Weren't Kidding

September 5th, 2007

Look what UPS brought me today! Pretty slick, eh? Make sure to give a big collective shout out to our good friends at Thoughtbot for sponsoring this baby. I can't wait to see someone wearing this at Railsconf next year. Let's hope it's you, eh?

Bryan over at Smartic.us has just finished putting together a screencast on how to deploy apps to Linode for the Rails Rumble. His recipe involves Nginx, Mongrel, Capistrano, and Debian Etch. Now that’s a solid stack!

Make sure to check it out if you’re looking to familiarize yourself with Rails deployment techniques, or just Linode’s deployment environment in general.

Registration closes on Tuesday

September 3rd, 2007

We'll be closing team registration on Tuesday at 12:00pm (noon) EDT. Hurry up and snag one of the 11 spots remaining!