If you’re like me, you missed PyCon North America 2014 this year. It happened last weekend. While the main conference days are over, the code sprints are still running. Anyway, for those of you who missed PyCon, they have released a bunch of videos on pyvideo! Every year, they seem to get the videos out faster than the last. I think that’s pretty awesome myself. I’m looking forward to watching a few of these so I can see what I missed.
Not sure how I missed this, but PyCon 2013 is already open for proposals, which means if you like to talk about Python, now’s your chance to show your chops! You can propose a talk, a tutorial or a poster. Head on over to their prospectus for more information. PyCon is a lot of fun and a good place to go to expose yourself to new things in Python. You can learn a lot just in the hallway circuit, let alone the actual talks! Put your thinking caps on because they’re only accepting ideas until September 28th!
The PyCon USA talk videos are finally starting to come online. You can check them out here: http://pyvideo.org/category/17/pycon-us-2012. I’m wondering why they chose this over the miro site that they’ve been using for the last few years. Maybe someone in the know can comment on that.
I noticed the streams I linked to seemed to be pretty hit or miss, so hopefully this will work better for those of you who missed out on PyCon like I did. Enjoy!
For those of you who didn’t know, Convore is out and it looks like Disqus is in: https://pycon.disqus.com/
I thought Convore was pretty interesting last year, although there were some minor issues. I’ll be interested to hear what people think of the disqus system compared to convore though.
I saw on Twitter that you can watch a Livestream of PyCon here: http://streamti.me/
It seems to work and there’s even a Twitter feed along the bottom of the site. Check it out if you didn’t make it either!
In case you didn’t realize it, PyCon has officially started today in Santa Clara, CA. Sadly my organization was too slow footed to secure a ticket for me, so I won’t be there to report on what’s going on this year. Instead, I’ll try to post links to other people’s blogs so you can get an idea of what it’s like there. You can also follow along on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/pycon. Finally, the PyCon blog seems to be staying fairly up-to-date with fun announcements. Hopefully next year, I’ll be able to return to PyCon and give it some live coverage once again.
On Sunday, March 13th, the final official PyCon conference day occurred (there were sprint days that followed, of course). Anyway, they had three interesting plenaries to help lead us into that day’s talks. Read on to find out what they were about.
The Threadless Plenary
Chris McAvoy, VP of Technology at Threadless in Chicago gave a plenary he called Going Full Python. Threadless is a t-shirt company that’s been around at least 10 years and has been a darling of the business world for a while now. I guess it’s also a popular campaign location for local Democrats.
Anyway, the reason they were at PyCon was because they use django for their website now after switching from php. He spoke on the history of the company and how they now support various causes, including the Japanese tsunami tragedy via the selling of special shirts. He had lots of lame jokes and I think his talk had the most cursing of any of them. You can read the comments about it on the convore thread that happened mostly in real-time. You can also see the talk here. I thought it was an interesting talk overall.
The Disqus Plenary
Jason Yan and David Cramer gave a plenary called disqus – world’s largest django system! They had lots of interesting statistics such as these:
- disqus serves 500 million users
- founded 4 yrs ago
- only 16 employees of which 8 are engineers
- traffic increasing 15-20% a month
- doubled amount of traffic in 6 months
They created a program called Gargoyle that they open sourced that is some kind of feature switch decorator. I didn’t really understand it’s use case though. They also mentioned that they use the following projects: Hudson, Open Sentry, Monitor Graphite, pylint and pyflakes (I think). You can read the conference goer’s take on the talk here or watch the plenary here.
The OpenStack Plenary
Andy Smith gave a plenary on OpenStack, a project that has origins in NASA and Rackspace. Here are a list of the related projects that he mentioned:
- swift – object storage system
- nova – compute size, provisioning VMs
- glance – image and registry storage
- burrow – in erlang distributed message
- dashboard (dash) – django admin interface
Mr. Smith mentioned that NASA uses OpenStack to detect asteroids, so that’s neat. NASA also uses it to take and manage pictures with WYSE (some kind of satellite, I think). The following all use OpenStack too: Citrix, SCALR, cloudkick, OPSCODE, NTT, and piston.
Sunday (March 13th) started off with Daylight Savings Times messing with our heads. We lost an hour of sleep from the night before. Anyway, the conference day itself began with Lightning Talks at 8:30 a.m. There were only four of them, but here you go:
- A fellow named Fecundo Batista spoke on PyAr, the Argentina Python group and what they’ve been up to.
- Ed Abrams followed up with a talk on how Adobe uses Python. He also spoke a little on HP and Tabblo.
- Next was a talk about the upcoming PyCon Germany this October. If you’re in Europe, you should check it out!
- The last talk was about the Gunicorn project, a WSGI server based on the Ruby unicorn project
Quite a variety of talks even with just four. You never know what you’re going to get when you go to the lightning talks. Even if one sucks, it’ll only suck for five minutes, so be sure to give them a chance!
The venerated TiP BoF (Testing in Python “Birds of a Feather”) meeting was held Saturday (3/12/2011) night around 7 p.m. Disney provided free pizza and salads. Someone else (I think) provided some pop. The room was packed with standing room only in the back. While people were eating, Terry Peppers of Leapfrog led the meeting. He told us how the TiP BoF worked and then had one of his employees show us how to do weird hand/arm stretches. If I remember correctly, his name was Feihung Hsu.
After that, the testing-related lightning talks started. The lightning talks are really the main draw of this event, although in years past the alcohol induced many to come. This year, the hotel cracked down on that and there was hardly any liquor to be seen, which was alright by me. I only stayed for two hours, so I’ll just give a run-down of what I saw and heard:
- There were lots of masturbation and other crude jokes even before we ate anything and they continued through most of the time I was there
- Peppers started the talks off with one called Snakes on a domain which was about a nagios plugin called NagAconda
- Next, Disney awarded Jesse Noller with a Disney beer stein that was themed after their animated movie, “Tangled”.
- Alfredo Deza gave a talk a DSL-testing framework called Konira
- Following that was a talk on Cram – a mercurial test suite for command line testing. I missed who gave that one. I think it’s this one: https://bitbucket.org/brodie/cram/src
- Then there was a talk on Lab Coat. They had the speaker wear a lab coat too. I don’t remember who did this one (maybe the author?) or what this project even does…
- Roman Lisagor gave a talk on Freshen, a clone of Ruby’s Cucumber project. It’s a plugin for nose and supposed to be similar to the lettuce project.
- Kumar McMillan gave a talk entitled Fudging it with Mock Objects. Yes, it’s another mock library, but this one is based on some project called Mocha (and I think he said he used stuff from Michael Foord’s mock library as well). You can check it out here: http://farmdev.com/projects/fudge/
- The next talk was Scientific Testing in Python. My notes are bad on this one, but I think it was related to the Bright project (correct me if I’m wrong). The speaker also mentioned something called goathub.com, but as far as I can tell, that doesn’t really exist.
- Feihung Hsu made another appearance by giving a talk himself. It has this long title: How My comic Book obsession birthed a new functional tool. Basically it was web-scraping project for downloading Japanese manga that had been translated into Chinese using Python. He forked spynner, made it “dumber” and called his fork “Punky Browster”. I don’t think this project is available yet.
To sign up to give lightning talks, they used a convore thread. The front row was made up of hecklers that would heckle the speakers. They seemed to favor strong swearing for the heckling. It could be pretty funny and very crude. I learned about a lot of new projects I had never heard of though. It’s definitely something that I think is worth checking out at least once.
The Dropbox Plenary
The Saturday plenaries on 3/12/2011 started off with an engineer from Dropbox who gave a talk entitled “How Dropbox Did It and How Python Helped” with Rian Hunter. He started by telling us of the technical difficulties that Dropbox had to overcome. He told us that everything they wrote was done in Python and that he was the one who ported Dropbox to Linux. Anyway, he gave us some cool statistics about Dropbox, like the following:
- Dropbox is the fastest growing downloaded application since Skype
- More files are saved on Dropbox per day than tweets on Twitter – that’s 1,000,000 files saved every 15 minutes!
- All this and no advertising whatsoever. It’s all word-of-mouth
To be honest, this was kind of a boring talk. The video is up now, so I’ll leave it to you to make your own opinion.
A Fireside Chat with Guido Van Rossum
The chat with Guido (creator of Python) was moderated by Jesse Noller. If you want, you can watch the video here. The questions for Guido were voted on by the community, but ultimately chosen by Jesse. I think the highlights for me was learning that Guido has trouble with certain programming paradigms, like asynchronous callbacks. Jesse also mentioned that Python 3 was a problem for Mark Pilgrim. I guess there was some controversy over something he said, but I missed it somehow. At the end of the plenary, they brought out a cake for Guido because it was Python’s 20th birthday this year.