Hackers, Makers and Geeks in Lisbon

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have some friends who are not applying to SeedCapital because they are by themselves. Unfortunately there isn’t yet a place where people can see what projects are in need of more people. It is also not that easy to meet someone on-line to work together. We need a certain trust in that person, etc.

I think the best way to meet people that are interested, smart and have initiative is to attend one of the many hacker events that are held monthly (or at least regularly). In Lisbon we have several of them:

Twittlis – monthly meeting of twitter.com users in Lisbon

AltLab Hackerspace Lisbon

Lisbon Perl Mongers Group

Comunidade Portuguesa de Rich Internet Applications

Lisbon Ruby Group

Gathering of Developers

One Over Zero Group

Do you know of any other groups?

Update (13/12/2009): Since this post I’ve found out about the following groups:

XAMLPT – Comunidade Portuguesa para Tecnologias de Apresentação da Microsoft: WPF, Silverlight, Surface

Ignite Portugal

Portuguese Ubuntu Community

Mobile Monday Portugal

Confraria Security & IT

Essential Problems After Which You Will Know Ruby

* on the console, Fibonacci problem
* on the console, An echo TCP socket server and client
* on the console, to-do list program
* on the web with rails, to-do list program
* on the web with rails, contacts/address book manager app, a person may have more than one contact
* on the web with rails, finances/accounting manager app
* graphic lib, tic-tac-toe game
* graphic lib, minesweeper game
* on the console, simple example DRb service
* on the console, simple example DRb service over SSL, create a ruby-gem for it
* solve 3 tickets on http://rails.lighthouseapp.com/projects/8994-ruby-on-rails/tickets

Rules: you’re not allowed to look at implementations of the same problem you are trying to solve.

Ruby on Rails Scalability

Last week I was talking with @lofih and he was going on about how Ruby on Rails doesn’t scale very well.  The question is when you have millions of users hitting your web application, how well does it cope with it? So I went and searched for scalability with Ruby and Rails and read a bit about it. Following are some notes of what I’ve found.

This seems to be in the discussion panes for some years now. There is a particulary interesting e-mail from Rails creator, David Hansson, on scalability (scroll down for David’s part) here:


I guess the discussion was brought to life again after Twitter (which is Rails based) being down for a few times and one Twitter developer saying: “there’s no facility in Rails to talk to more than one database at a time“.

But this was quickly addressed by Nic Williams releasing a gem called “Magic Multi-Connections” a few days later. In his words: “It makes it dead easy to use a cluster of databases to scale read and write speeds higher than a single connection would ever allow.”


Another interesting reading seems to be the book “Building Scalable Web Sites” by Cal Henderson, lead developer for Flickr.


It’s fun fun fun this kind of applications and challenges. I mean 2.2 million users hitting your server, what do you do? And most of all, how do people start these companies? In Europe it seems to be all about the same old boring software companies we had 10 years ago. Where are the opportunities to work in a real Internet company in Europe?