Friday, March 22, 2013

PyCon 2013 rocked!

I had an awesome time at PyCon this year (as usual). Some highlights:

Loved getting a RaspberryPi for everyone at the Opening Ceremony, after the Keynote by Eben Upton, the founder of Raspberry Pi! And there was a RaspberryPi hacker lab right next door to the Green Room, where anyone could come in and have fun hacking on their new toy.

I spent most of my time, as usual, in the Green Room. I've worked "ops" for conferences before and really enjoy being "behind the scenes" as it were. It's fun to chat with folks, especially being able to help speakers overcome their nerves before their talk - after all, it's "just us" - we're all here to learn more and share experiences with each other.

I gave my talk on Friday - You Can Be a Speaker at PyCon - which addressed the typical conference cycle (last minute submission of proposals and last minute writing of slides) and suggested an "ideal" conference cycle (start thinking of topics NOW and talking about them at user groups, unconferences, blogs, etc so you're ready to submit a proposal as soon as the Call for Proposals is open in July, get feedback, revise your proposal, get (hopefully) accepted, write your talk early, and practice by presenting it at local usergroups etc). I look forward to seeing more proposals from everyone.

I missed the PyCon 5k this year - bummers. I was just too wiped out from having a new puppy and so I overslept. Oops. I heard it was great. (That's the problem with living here - we spent evenings at home and it's 20+ minutes from here to the hotel, so waking up at 7 meant I couldn't just run down to the 5k, like someone did last year...) I look forward to the 5k next year though!

Another thing I didn't make it to - the PyLadies Lunch. I was on the waiting list because there were just too many of us who wanted to attend! I peeked in - it was packed! Over 20% of PyCon attendees were women, this year.  And a lot of the speakers were women (I don't have numbers sorry!) PyCon organizers, led by Jesse Noller, did a lot of outreach to work on that, but a lot of kudos goes to Lynn Root and PyLadies who offered proposal-writing and brainstorming sessions, both in-person and online.

Yeah, there were a couple of Code of Conduct incidents that PyCon Staff handled well (one of which later blew up on the internet but that doesn't diminish that PyCon Staff did exactly what they were supposed to do). I love the Python community - it's one of the features of the language for me. As one speaker put it, Python doesn't just come with "batteries included", Python comes with "community included". And a fine community it is. We care about each other and work to be even more inclusive and welcoming to everyone. We work together to improve our community as well as our language. I'm proud to be a member of the Python community. As part of that, this year there was an education summit, where teachers from all levels of education could discuss how to bring Python into schools and colleges everywhere, as well as the usual language summit. There was also a young coders workshop, which brought kids (boys and girls) from all over to learn/hack Python and Raspberry Pi. There were even kids with posters in the poster session! One of my favorite tweets: Guido and Louis Gossling at the poster session discussing Louis' Serpint toolkit for Raspberry Pi

As usual, the "hallway track" is one of the best parts for me - I love meeting all my Pythonista friends and finding out what they've been up to in the past year. I swear, I get (and give) more hugs at PyCon than most of the rest of the year. I even ran into another woman who is from Minnesnowta! We got to compare notes for a while about our upbringing, and how the Minnesota Nice game works and affected us growing up.

Saturday night was the PyLadies Auction - a charity event that raised $10k for PyLadies. Items included certificates for everything from skydiving to walks with CEOs to original artwork from Disney (one of our sponsors). The highest winning bid, I believe, was for the artwork, which went for $2001. Bidding was made more fun by people using bids like $42, $404, $1028, etc. All in all, a great time was had by everyone, and I look forward to the auction continuing in the future!

One of my favorite talks this year was Rupa Dachere talking about Home Automation with RaspberryPi. I love that she hadn't worked with hardware before and was still able to hack together a webcam, arduino and Raspberry Pi, to SMS her phone with a photo of anyone coming to her door! Gives me reassurance that I'll be able to do something with my new Raspberry Pi. Her talk was also a good example of how to do live demos right. (She gave the presentation about it first, and had a backup video in case the live demo didn't work.)

Sunday, my brilliant husband, Alex Martelli, gave his talk: "Good Enough" is Good Enough! which addressed getting over perfectionism and RELEASE!

And at Closing Ceremonies, the incredibly awesome Jesse Noller, who has chaired PyCon for the past two (has it really only been two?) years turned over the reins to Diana Clarke who will run PyCon in Montreal the next two years.  Jesse very deservedly got a standing ovation for all his work at PyCon. He's really done a fantastic job and put together a great team that will be continuing to make PyCon awesome. Diana is another one of those incredible get-it-done people (where *do* they get the energy?) and I look forward to seeing what she does with PyCon. 

USAians - get your passports now! You'll need it to get back from PyCon next year - as much as we like to think of Canada as the 51st state; it really does take a passport these days to go and come back from Canada.

See you all at PyCon 2014.