Tuesday, February 27, 2007

First video presentation from PyCon

Fast work from Ed Leafe of Dabo, who's posted the first video from PyCon, his presentation "Developing Desktop Applications with Dabo".

Monday, February 26, 2007

Online feedback form available

If you attended PyCon 2007 and didn't hand in a completed feedback form, you can now complete the form online. The conference organizers would love to hear your opinions.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

PyCon 2007 is over

PyCon 2007 is now over. At-the-door registration was surprisingly stronger than we had been expecting, and the final attendance figure was 593 registered attendees, a 44% increase from 2006.

The conference ran smoothly -- there were no disasters, only the odd oversight on our part or minor glitches. I personally heard from many attendees who really liked the balance of this year's conference: the daily lightning talk sessions, the selection of keynote speakers, and the featured talks. The rooms mostly didn't seem overly crowded to me, though we'll have to see what the feedback form results say. Jeff Rush and I are both very pleased with the conference, and are glad that the attendees seem to agree.

And now for the sprints...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

At PyCon: Network info status page

Sean Reifschneider, who's handling the wireless network this year, has created a Network Info wiki page with configuration info and usage tips for the wireless network.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Photography contest at PyCon

To encourage people to take pictures at PyCon, we're holding a little photography contest to choose the best pictures taken at PyCon 2007, selected by whim of the organizers. Photos might show conference activities, be a portrait or candid shot of someone, or anything else you can think of.

Prizes: First prize will be a free registration for a future PyCon of the winner's choice. Second prize will be 1 or 2 free tutorials at a future PyCon of the winner's choice.

How to enter: post your photos on Flickr, and tag them with "pycon2007". If you don't use Flickr, post the picture to some other photo-sharing web site or to your own site, and e-mail the URL to (pycon at python dot org). All entries must be received by noon on Sunday the 25th. We're planning to announce the winners at the Sunday lightning talk session.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Extracurricular Activities at PyCon 2007

At PyCon this year we are having a significant number of activities besides the keynotes and talks. One group of those are the birds-of-a-feather gatherings being held in the evenings.

The Python community consists of a number of smaller communities and we're encouraging them to hold meetings, dinners and other activities at PyCon this year. The organizers have tried to leave room in the busy schedule for these to happen and of course for some non-Python social BoFs as well.

Here are the BoFs with which you have the opportunity to get involved:
  • Python in Education
  • Python in Science
  • Healthcare and Python
  • A Content Repository Standard for Python
  • Jython Development
  • Django
  • Pylons Web Framework
  • Trac Users and Developers
  • Keysigning Party
  • Tech that Runs the Python Conference
  • Users of Bazaar Version Control/Launchpad
  • Buildbot Users and Developers
  • Python Advocacy Community Forum
  • Texas Regional Unconference Dinner Meet
  • PyGame Programming/Playing Clinic
  • Board Game Socials
  • Bowling
  • Climbers
You can check them out at:

http://us.pycon.org/TX2007/BoF

The room/offsite schedule is listed at the bottom of that page but many of the groups have not yet declared when and where they are meeting. Nudges are welcome.

The other set of activities at PyCon are the 4-days of code sprints held at the end of the conference. A sprint is a focused development session, in which developers gather in a room and focus on building a particular subsystem. A sprint is organized with a coach leading the session. The coach sets the agenda, tracks activities, and keeps the development moving. The developers will sometimes work in pairs using the Extreme Programming (XP) pair programming approach.

The sprints that have announced so far are:
  • Work towards Zope 3.4 release
  • Fun Educational Software for "Playful Learning"
  • PyCon-Tech: Improve the convention software
  • Zope 3 Learner's Circle
  • Python Job Board
  • Django
  • Trac
  • Jython
  • Docutils: squash bugs & add features
  • TurboGears
  • Write a Game
  • Create a Win32 version of MySQLdb under Python 2.5
  • SchoolTool & CanDo
Sprint coaches should plan for an introductory session on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, to help attendees get started. This might involve helping them to get SVN or CVS installed and checking out the development tree, talking about the software's architecture, or planning what the four-day sprint will try to accomplish.

You can read more at:

http://us.pycon.org/TX2007/Sprinting

and even add your name to particular sprint wiki pages, to encourage them to happen.

See you later this week. Get plenty of sleep beforehand, you won't get much at PyCon this year!

Jeff Rush
PyCon Co-Chair

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Game Programming Clinic and Online Gaming at PyCon

At PyCon this year we're going to have a multi-day game programming clinic and challenge. This is a first-time event and an experiment to find those in the Python community who enjoy playing and creating games. Python has several powerful modules for the creation of games among which are PyGame and PyOpenGL.

On Friday evening, Phil Hassey will give an introduction to his game Galcon, an awesome high-paced multi-player galactic action-strategy game. You send swarms of ships from planet to planet to take over the galaxy. Phil will be handing out free limited-time licenses to those present. He will also be glad to talk about the development of Galcon using PyGame.

After the Friday PSF Members meeting lets out around 8:40pm, Richard Jones will give his 30-60 minute introduction to the PyGame framework so you too can get started writing games.

On Saturday evening, Lucio Torre and Alejandro J. Cura, who have come from Argentina to give the talk "pyweek: making games in 7 days" Friday afternoon, will help people develop their games in the clinic room with mini-talks on various game technologies.

On Sunday evening Lucio and Alejandro will around to help with further development issues, and Richard Jones will be back to present more about PyGame and help reach a group concensus on what to work on during the GameSprint. Richard also runs PyWeek, a bi-annual python game programming challenge online.

Phil will also be back helping people get into playing Galcon and everyone can begin multiplayer challenges against those who show up.

And then during the four days of sprinting, the group will compete to produce a working game meeting agreed upon requirements and then decide who has best achieved those.

This overall gaming track is informal, with people coming and going, and others are welcome to get involved in giving mini-talks or showing off their creations.

Specific activities, rooms and times can be found on the wiki pages for the birds-of-a-feather schedule, collecting game clinic ideas and for the game sprint.

---
Want to get a head start? Follow the online lectures about PyGame and, to get your laptop ready to rumble, check out the installation and testing instructions.

By the way, other birds-of-a-feather groups are encouraged to work up their schedules as well and update the PyCon BoF schedule page.

See you later this week,

Jeff Rush
Co-Chair PyCon 2007

Online registration closes

Online registration for PyCon has now closed.

We have 567 566 people registered, a 38% increase from last year's number of 410 attendees.

Update: A duplicated registration was removed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hotel room-shuffling

We received notice from the hotel that they're overbooked for Thursday evening. This means that some people will be forced to stay in a different nearby hotel.
Here's an excerpt from the hotel's message:
Our hotel is currently over sold on this night. We will need to relocate 50 individuals within the PyCon group block. We will be relocating these individuals to the Spring Hill Suites and Quorum Courtyard. These two hotels are located about .5 miles from our hotel.
We will be providing shuttle transportation from these two hotels to our property for the days and times needed. Manny Soto, our Director of Event Planning and Operations and [Heather Halsted] will be calling the 50 Individuals directly to let them know which hotel they will be staying at.

Unfortunately there's nothing the PyCon organizers can do about this. If you're one of the relocated individuals and relocation would be difficult for you, please call the Marriott Quorum (sales: 1-972-855-5785; toll-free: 1-800-811-8664) and ask to speak to Manny Soto or Heather Halsted, or Jolyn Edwards, the Director of Sales and Marketing.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions

The birds-of-a-feather (BoF) wiki page is being nicely filled in.

If you'd like to attend a particular BoF, please add your name to the attendee list for that session.

If you're organizing a BoF and haven't nailed down a time slot yet, take a look at the available room and time slots.

Last day for online registration

Friday is the last day for online registration for PyCon. The clock is ticking...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reminder for PyCon speakers: upload your slides

If you're giving a presentation at PyCon, please remember to upload your slides before the conference. Having the slides available gives attendees more information in selecting talks to attend, and they can follow along on their own laptops.

To upload files:

Monday, February 12, 2007

Python411 podcast with PyCon co-chair Jeff Rush

The February 11 Python411 podcast is an interview with PyCon co-chair Jeff Rush. Enjoy this preview of the conference!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

PyCon attendance reaches 500

Attendee #500 registered this morning. This will now be the largest PyCon ever!

Friday, February 09, 2007

One week left for online registration

The registration form will be closed one week before the conference, so you have until next Friday to register online for PyCon. It's possible to register at the conference, but doing that is more expensive. Register now!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

More session chairs needed

As PyCon draws closer, we're short on volunteers to chair sessions. Session chairs help ensure that the speakers start and stop on time, and assist with the audience during the question-and-answer period. If you're going to be in the same room for an entire block of talks, why not be the chair, too?

For instructions on signing up, see the SessionChairs wiki page. To find an unchaired talk, look at the conference schedule: the pop-up for each talk will display a link to the signup form if no one has volunteered yet.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vendors at PyCon

We have always had sponsors at PyCon. In exchange for their generous financial support, sponsors get various forms of exposure (detailed here). All sponsors have the opportunity to supply inserts for the conference tote bag (including insert-only sponsorship).

In previous years some PyCon sponsors have put out marketing & recruiting information on tables in the hall, and some have had representatives stationed in the halls for face time with attendees. This year we made four official vendor tables available in a vendor-specific area, adjacent to the main hallway. All four vendor tables have been reserved:

Elegant Stitches of Conway, AR is a vendor of embroidered garments and accessories. Janet Lindstrom will be selling polo shirts, long-sleeved denim shirts, 1/4 zip sweatshirts, and caps, all embroidered with the Python logo; T-shirts and cubicle posters with a "Zen of Python" design; and travel mugs with handles featuring the Python logo. Elegant Stitches is also supplying PyCon's official attendee & staff T-shirts as well as the conference tote bags.

Wingware will feature their Wing Python IDE at their table. John Ehresman and Stephan Deibel, the developers of Wing IDE and co-founders of the company, will be at the table about half of the time, attending talks the rest. They will show off Wingware's Python IDE on their laptops, take feature requests, answer questions, and just talk with users and developers about anything people might be interested in: GUI toolkits, the packaging of a commercial Python product, the relationship between commercial and open source, you name it. It's an opportunity for people to learn about their product and to interact with the developers of a commercial Python-based GUI application. Wingware is also a Gold sponsor this year.

Google will have engineers at their table to answer questions, provide free goodies and hand out recruiting materials. Google is also a Platinum sponsor this year.

ITA Software is actively recruiting Python developers. Their first product is an airfare pricing and low fare search engine, that is used by most major airlines and online travel agencies to power their web sales. They're now building an entire airline reservation system, with Air Canada as their first customer. A number of their engineers will be attending and will be available off and on at their table, and they'll be demonstrating "a very cool application we built, called Q-earth, that uses our data to show animations of all the world's flights in 'real time'." ITA Software is also a Platinum sponsor this year.

Please plan a visit to the vendor tables while at PyCon!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Alternative hotels

The hotel is now full for some nights of the conference, including the critical nights of Friday and Saturday. The conference rate is no longer available. What to do if you don't have a room yet? (Other than resolving to book earlier next year...)

There is another Marriott across the street, but it's more expensive: the Marriott Residence Inn (14975 Quorum Dr, Dallas, 75254 - (972) 934-1384).

There are two decent, less expensive hotels that are not far away, a Motel 6 and a Best Western. The Motel 6 (4325 Belt Line Rd - (972) 386-4577) is a short cab ride away. The Best Western (15200 Addison Rd - (972) 386-4800) is an all-suites hotel and is a short walk away. They have free breakfast and Internet service. The normal room rate is roughly $85 to $110 per night.