PyCon 2008 (Chicago) – Day 2

Saturday, March 15th I was finally getting the hang of PyCon. I wandered around a little and got into the conference room as soon as the doors opened. This was one of the largest rooms I’ve ever been in. It reminded me of a Colosseum except without the high ceilings. The opening talk was about Twisted and how it was getting some kind of backing that would make them a real entity. There were multiple people playing hot potato with the mic and I soon found myself confused. Then again, I haven’t ever been all that interested in Twisted to begin with.

The next Plenary was given by Brian Fitzpatick of Google. His was the slickest and most fun talk that I saw. I also learned next to nothing. It’s weird how that works.

Van Lindberg gave the final Plenary which was about Intellectual Property. This was the first and really only Plenary that I actually consciously zoned out on. I have nothing against IP. It’s pretty important if you want to protect your work and get paid, but I found the talk very dry and frankly, dull.

Next, there was a break and then it was onto 6 more talks. Here’s the list:

Using PyGame and PySight to Create an Interactive Halloween Activity
Crunchy: Crunching on Python Documentation
Don’t call us, we’ll call you: callback patterns and idioms in Python
Sights and sounds with pyglet
Case Study of Python Application Development — Humanized Enso
Python in your Browser with IronPython & Silverlight

I really enjoyed the PyGame Halloween talk. John Harrison was a goofball and it was great to see Python used in a fun and creative way that drew the community in. The audience loved it too. He had handmade laser guns, modded Star Wars laser guns, infrared glasses and a motion tracking device to boot. Some of his work is on YouTube. I highly recommend you check it out.

Crunchy is a neat idea, but I still don’t know how I would apply it to anything I do or would potentially do. You can read up on it here though: 

The callback idioms talk was done by Alex Martelli, whom I respect quite a bit. He is the author of “Python in a Nutshell” and one of the editors of the “Python Cookbook”. Unfortunately the combination of Alex’s heavy accent along with the deep subject matter made it very hard for me to follow. I think you can learn a lot from this guy, so if you see his name at the next PyCon, don’t miss it. Just remember that you’ll have to pay more attention than usual.

Pyglet drew lots of people. That was a very full class. I liked the PyGame one earlier, but this one was interesting too. The slides are up in html format on the PyCon schedule site. Check them out as I don’t have anything to say about it.

The Humanized Enso project didn’t do a thing for me either.  Here’s a good place to get more info though:

Michael Foord talked about IronPython & Silverlight. He was cool and is working on a book about IronPython in Silverlight. There was another talk the following day about the future of IronPython that had a pretty impressive Silverlight demo too. But I’m getting ahead of myself. You can actually see a fair amount of what Foord talked about on his blog.

Until next time.