Happy Birthday, Ruby!
The first time I got paid for programming was in 1979; you do the math. Over the years, I have encountered more programming technologies than most people, and it's not close; Ruby remains my favorite.
Lots of other people have covered the nice things about Ruby in a deeper and more eloquent way than I ever could, but I'm going to put in a few words on the subject of Readability.
For almost every good thing in Ruby, you can find at least one other language that is at least pretty close. But to my eyes, a screen full of Ruby speaks its meaning more clearly, and does it using less screen real-estate, than any other tool I've ever used to call a computer to action. Those two things (readability and compactness) are obviously related.
I've had the immense good luck of having been able to give JRuby a little push along the track, to attend a RubyConf, a RubyKaigi, and a Ruby World, and (related) get face time with some of the most interesting people in my chosen profession. More good luck - I got paid (partly in Amazon shares, yay) for writing two little gems last year, in the 38th year of my professional life.
Thanks and smiles to all the good people out there; you know who you are.
Tim Bray (@timbray) Vancouver, Canada