Category Archives: PyCon

Articles related to the annual Python Conference (PyCon).

PyCon USA 2012 is Here

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.

PyCon USA Registration is Open and Tutorials Are Up

The 2012 Python Conference USA opened Registration today. The official announcement doesn’t mention it, but I’m pretty sure there’s an attendance cap on this conference too of 1500 just like last year. You should sign up early not only because of the limited attendance, but because there are “Early Bird” rates which are cheaper!

The complete schedule isn’t done yet, but you can whet your appetite by checking out the list of tutorials that were released last week.

I have enjoyed all the PyCons I’ve attended so far. They are a great place to learn new things, show others your talent, network with like-minded people and just relax too. This year, the conference will be in Santa Clara, California. If you can’t afford to go, they even offer Financial Assistance. So why are you waiting?

PyCon 2012: Calling all Speakers

PyCon USA is looking for people to come and give talks, tutorials and poster sessions. So whether you are one of those people who just loves to talk or you’re more of a visual person, there’s a place for you. For the talkers, and I mean serious talkers, I would recommend the tutorial or regular talk sessions. If you’re not a talker or you want to get better, then you’d want to choose a 30-minute talk, a poster session or just get your feet wet with a lightning talk, the last of which you’d have to sign up for onsite.

Don’t know what to talk about? PyCon’s got your back. They wrote a whole article on the topic. There’s also an article on tutorial topics and a brand new article about the poster session. So if you don’t know what to talk about, those posts should get your creative juices flowing.

Regardless of what you choose, you only have until October 12th to get your submission in. What are you waiting for? Christmas? That’s too late! Get on this right now!

Note: If you just hate talking, join the PyCon organizers mailing list and help in some other way. It’s not tax deductible, but it might give you warm fuzzies.

PyCon 2012 Website Launched

PyCon 2012’s website just went live today. They already have a bunch of sponsors and information about the conference on the website. Of course, they haven’t done a call for speakers yet, so don’t expect to find a list of talks or tutorials for several months. However, the website itself looks pretty slick. You can read the full press release on the official PyCon blog. They are really hyping their diversity statement and code of conduct. I think those are pretty self-explanatory, so I’m not going to discuss them here. You can check them out yourself.

Now is the time to start thinking about whether or not you’d like to give a talk or tutorial at PyCon and start putting together your proposal(s). I’m sure this year will be pretty big, so there will probably be lots of submissions. What that means is that you need to go the extra mile to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Grab your thinking caps and start mulling!

You might even start talking PyCon up to your boss in hopes of getting them to send you there and sponsor the event. I’m sure that PyCon can always use another sponsor.

FYI: I am a PyCon fan, not a marketer. I have enjoyed going there the past few years and always hope that they do well.

PyCon 2011: Post-PyCon Articles

PyCon 2011 (USA) is over. But a lot of people wrote articles about it. So in case you missed the action, you can check out a few of the articles about what happened. If you don’t see your favorite PyCon-related article here, let me know in the comments.

PyCon 2011: Sunday Plenaries with Threadless, Disqus and OpenStack

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.

You can read the related convore thread here or the video here.

PyCon 2011: Sunday Morning Lightning Talks

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!

PyCon 2011: TiP BoF

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.

PyCon 2011: Saturday Plenaries (with Dropbox and Guido)

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.