Monday, 12 March 2012

PyCon - Day 5 (Conference Day 3)

I have to admit that the feeling of washed out has continued, and with the change of daylight saving, I almost missed breakfast and the keynote entirely.

Guido's address to PyCon started the morning officially, and he reiterated the key point that this was a time for consolidation and community building, and that we as python developers should already know the answers to any questions trolls may post on various forums. He also indicated that modifications to the core language in the future would need to be demonstrated more rigorously, either in alternative distributions, or through the use of import hooks.

The poster session / job fair was excellent, but in my opinion, the academic and mathematics posters far outshone anything else. I took lots of photos, and I'm happy to discuss them with anyone who is interested.

I literally dragged myself to three talks today, which isn't to say anything about the speakers, merely the grueling schedule of the conference:
- Writing GIMP plugins in Python
- Build A Python-Based Search Engine
- Parsing sentences with the OTHER natural language tool: LinkGrammar

All of which were interesting, but none of which seemed earth-shattering.

The conference finished with lightning talks, which really deserves a post of it's own, but suffice to say, the github links and urls mentioned will be enough to keep me busy for a few weeks when I get home.

The culmination of the conference was a raffle (what Australian's would call a give-away), with Frisbees tossed out into the audience to decide winners. I will state, I did catch a Frisbee - but gave it up to someone else with a tighter grip.

I'll admit in advance that this is reasonably subjective, but it is interesting to try to consider what the most important developers in the python community are interested in, over the past three days. So based (almost completely on the description of the talks in the conference program), the relative proportion of talks by field is something like:

The Python Language, Standard Library and Packaging - 25%
Web topics / Cloud / Networking - 24 %
Math / Science / Data Manipulation - 12 %
Testing / Debugging - 10 %
Electronics / Robotics - 7%
Other - 12 %

This result surprised me a little, because I expected to see a much higher proportion of the web/cloud/networking topics than what really seemed to be present.

At dinner time I found Richard Jones from the Melbourne Python Users Group who was about to go to dinner, and invited myself to go along. Richard ended up deciding that sleep prior to sprinting was more important than food (or more alcohol).

I ended up on a table at a Mexican restaurant with Ian Ozsvald, Mike Mueller (of Python Academy), Ricardo Kirkner and Jack Diederich, amongst others. This was an awesome experience, where I got to pick the brains of so many speakers from the conference.

A number of margaritas later, I've finally arrived back at the hotel, wondering exactly how I'm going to manage to be up in a condition for sprinting in the morning. Regardless, this has probably been the best, and most valuable, night of the whole PyCon.

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