I thought I'd wait until the honeymoon feeling died down a bit..

But my reaction is still strong: I came away really impressed with
everyone I encountered.

I have always felt a bit like an outsider in this community, but I
now realize that what I have been feeling is more along the lines
of "out classed".  :)

I have now witnessed the orders of magnitude difference in skills
that Brooks wrote about in Mythical Man Month.  I think I'm about
in the middle.  I've experienced the lower tier and now I've witnessed
the upper tier.  Thanks for making me feel welcome even though
my packet loss is ~80%.

Little conference tweaks I would suggest for next time:

  at least for the first day, have everyone /always/ introduce themselves
   before speaking (whether lecturing or questioning), e.g., "Bil Kleb,
   Aero Engineer, NASA" so everyone can associate names and faces

  use a larger font on a two-sided name tag (front and back containing
   the same data), and optionally room for the person's online handle

  inject some more fresh fruit into the food chain

Are there other conferences like this?  I.e., where all the world's best
programmers hang out, or is Ruby blessed?

-- 
Bil Kleb, Hampton, Virginia