Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Diversifying PyCon: the power of cooperative outreach

This post by Jessica McKellar originally appeared at the OpenHatch blog

Pystarphilly2 Python practice at PyStar Philly 2

I want to share an e-mail I received recently from a woman named Pam. It is a response to an e-mail I sent to the DevChix mailing list, calling on DevChixen to attend PyCon, the largest annual Python conference, and submit posters for the PyCon poster session:

 

Holy wow. I've had your email starred since you sent it, and only just now realized that you're the Jess who was at PyStar Philly.

 

Because of this email:

  • I decided to try to go to PyCon
  • I submitted a poster
  • Said poster was accepted
  • I applied for money with PyLadies to go
  • I'll hopefully be going, and it will be awesome

 

This is an amazing e-mail.

It is a response to an e-mail to the DevChix mailing list, which is "an international group of female programmers working to make the tech community a better place for everyone."

Pam attended the first PyStar Philly, an intro to Python event focusing on women in the same spirit as the Boston Python Workshop. She is a new Python programmer, and it is awesome that she had the motivation and community support to put herself out there and submit a PyCon poster as a first-time PyCon attendee.

PyStar Philly organizer Dana Bauer was inspired to run outreach workshops after seeing the success of other regional events under the PyStar umbrella. She and co-organizer Maneesha Sane have now run 3 PyStar Philly events, which are now integrated with PhillyPUG, Philadelphia's Python user group.

I was helping at PyStar Philly by way of the Boston Python Workshop. PyStar Philly reuses a lot of material from the Boston Python Workshop, and Boston Python Workshop staff have visited Philadelphia to help with all 3 PyStar Philly events. Pam was a staffer at the most recent PyStar Philly, which was sponsored in part by a grant to the Boston Python Workshop from the Python Software Foundation's Outreach and Education Committee.

She is able to attend PyCon because of PyCon's generous financial aid program and its partnership with PyLadies to have additional grants for women attendees. Significantly, the PyLadies grants have a later deadline than the main financial aid program, which gives newcomers to the community extra time and encouragement to make arrangements and register for the conference.

Let's summarize all of the groups involved in getting Pam to PyCon and presenting a poster:

  • The Python Software Foundation's Outreach and Education Committee awarded the Boston Python Workshop a grant to bring outreach workshops to new cities in the US, and PyStar Philly is one of the recipient organizations.
  • PyStar Philly and the Boston Python Workshop have worked together to bring recurring intro to Python events to her city, where she has graduated from attendee to staffer and is now an active member of the local programming community.
  • PyCon and PyLadies work together to encourage women to attend PyCon through a generous financial aid program.
  • The e-mail to DevChix is what pushed her over the edge to submit a poster and attend PyCon.

 


This is an incredible series of collaborations that are really making a difference in the Python community and the tech community in general. I am thankful that all of these organizations exist, and success stories like this are why I dedicate so much of my time to open source outreach. Thank you to everyone who made this story possible, and Pam, I'll see you at PyCon 2012!

-Jessica


Want to see an outreach event like the Boston Python Workshop or PyStar Philly happen in your city? Get in touch!

Going to PyCon? Join us for Diversity in practice: How the Boston Python User Group grew to 1700 people and over 15% women.

Thank you to the Python Software Foundation, PyStar, the Boston Python Workshop, PyLadies, PyCon, and DevChix for the use of these logos.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What to do on Monday through Thursday at PyCon? Sprint!

Monday begins four excellent days of sprints. Most projects, teams, or individuals use the days to sit down and hack. A lot of people use the sprints to get acquainted with contribution to a new project. Some spend time planning out redesigns, releases, etc. You can use the sprint days to do whatever you want to -- they're just open rooms with tables, power plugins, and Wi-Fi.

Development sprints are a key part of PyCon, a chance for the contributors to open-source projects to get together face-to-face for up to four days of intensive learning, development and camaraderie. Newbies sit with gurus, go out for lunch and dinner together, and have a great time while advancing their project.

What's a sprint?

PyCon Development Sprints are four days of intensive learning and development on an open source project of your choice, in a team environment. It's a time to come together with colleagues, old and new, to share what you've learned and apply it to an open source project. In the crucible of a sprint room, teaming with both focus and humor, it's a time to test, fix bugs, add new features, and improve documentation. And it's a time to network, make friends, and build relationships that go beyond the conference.

PyCon provides the space and infrastructure (network, power, tables & chairs); you bring your skills, humanity, and brainpower (oh! and don't forget your computer).

Sprints themselves will run Monday, March 12 to Thursday, March 15 from early morning until people leave. Realistically, sprints typically start up around 9am and run until dinner, but late-nighters and all-nighters are okay (and common). During the sprints, people often hang out in the #pycon IRC channel on freenode.net to chat, coordinate tasks, and arrange meals.

There will be two pre-sprint sessions on Sunday, March 11, 2012 after the end of the conference talks:
Intro to Sprinting (4:30pm - 5pm) A plenary session which will begin with a talk explaining the basics of sprints and how they work at PyCon. That will be followed by a brief introduction to each project by the sprint leader.
Sprint Tutorials (5pm - whenever) Sprint leaders will gather sprinters and head to their sprint rooms for introductory sessions. Sprint leaders will explain their project, walk through code, help with repository access, etc. This way, come Monday morning you'll be able to get started coding right away.

Who can participate?

You!
All experience levels are welcome; sprints are a great opportunity to get connected with, and start contributing to your favorite Python project. Participation in the sprints is free! 


Who's sprinting in 2012?

See the sprint projects page for the list of those announcing before the conference. Most projects announce at the Sprint Introduction session.


Can I join a sprint at PyCon?

Yes! Sign up over at the projects page, either for a specific sprint or just in general! You can always work on a different project, and talking to other groups is one of the best things about the sprints.


Can I host a sprint at PyCon?

Yes! Look at the call for project participation for details. 


Explore Santa Clara, San Jose, and San Francisco

Sorry, don't have a cute transition into this section. We often have sprinters self organize trips to see the locations of our host cities. These are not organized by the conference, but we do provide an announcement board where groups can form up and share van rentals for the day. There are a large number of attractions close to the venue, so watch the announcement board out side the sprint rooms, or form a groups yourself!


PyCon 5k Fun Run: Update - 124 runners!

Holy moly!

We already have 124 runners slated for the inaugural PyCon 5k fun run, scheduled for Saturday March 10th at 7am! Registration is still open (however, t-shirts registrations are closed; it's now donation-only). This is turning out to be an awesome event! Even if you don't want to run, we definitely need people to volunteer to help at the start, finish - cheer people on and take photos (lots of photos!!).

Now, this awesome for a few reasons - first, well, it's our first PyCon 5k (obviously). Second, what's better than trying to "beat the chair" (me)? Right now I'm posting training times of 22:00 minutes to complete the run - wouldn't be nice to say "I beat the chair?!".

Prizes! Yes, you heard me. The top finishers will be getting prizes, and we may have handouts for all runners! I can't tell you what they are just yet - let's just say it's going to be sweet.

This 5k for PyCon is for charity - this is the best part, and the part I am most personally proud of. All proceeds from the run will be split amongst three charities:

Autism Speaks - Autism affects 1 in 110 children, 1 in 70 boys. Autism Speaks has grown into the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

American Cancer Society - The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has 12 chartered Divisions, more than 900 local offices nationwide, and a presence in more than 5,100 communities.

Epilepsy Foundation - The Epilepsy Foundation of America® is the national voluntary agency dedicated solely to the welfare of the almost 3 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. and their families. The organization works to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; to improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society; and to promote research for a cure.

Feel free to use the "pay what you want" option to help us help a number of great charities.

And now for the punchline.

After any costs incurred, all proceeds from the run will be matched by PyCon 2012. This means that the more of you that join and donate, the more we can send to these charities, on behalf of the Python Community.

 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What to do on Sunday at PyCon?

Sunday is usually a wind down day at most conferences, but not PyCon. We kick things into high gear! We may only have two sessions of talks, but that is because we have filled the rest of the time with pure awesome.

Sponsor Raffle


Our sponsors are very generous and have provided a large amount of items to be given away to attendees. We have streamlined the processes this year, but you will not want to miss the morning announcements for an extra special giveaway!


Guido van Rossum


The creator of the Python programming language will be giving the final Keynote; one you will not want to miss. What better way to start the final day of the conference than hearing from the man who started it all? Guido is even asking the community what they'd like to him to talk about at his Google+ page.


Jobs Fair

Our sponsors are hiring. In fact they are having a very hard time finding talented Python programmers. Luckily PyCon is chock full of exceptionally talented Python programmers. As such we are holding what we hope will be come an annual Jobs Fare. You can already see many of the open positions our sponsors are hoping to fill on the PyCon website. For those of you looking to you share your contact information with potential employers, PyCon has three ways to help. Your PyCon badge has an optional backside with a barcode containing your name and e-mail address which potential employers can scan. Your PyCon badge also comes with a few tear off business cards with this information printed on it.Finally our sponsor MOO is providing 50 free business cards to all PyCon attendees, but you need to act fast, as the deadline is Monday Febuary 27th. You can pick up your cards at PyCon in the Expo room.

NOTE: PyCon and the PSF take your privacy seriously, and we do not share any of your information with sponsors or anyone else.




Poster Session

This year we have 49 incredible poster presentations! Poster presentations are all given at the same time. Posters are put on display, and during the presentation period, the authors will give a two to five minute presentation of their poster along with a Q&A session. This repeats for the full hour and a half session. This is very hands on with no barrier between the presenters and the attendees. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and enter into group dialogs over the poster. Even with an hour and a half, it will be very hard to see all of the posters, so please plan ahead.


Sprints

PyCon Development Sprints are four days of intensive learning and development on an open source project of your choice, in a team environment. It's a time to come together with colleagues, old and new, to share what you've learned and apply it to an open source project. Sprints are open to the public. You need not be a PyCon attendee to take part. PyCon supplies the space, the power, white boards, and the internet connection. You provide the laptop, and the willingness and desire to work on a project. You need not be a programmer to help out. All projects need help with documentation, QA, design, and graphics help. Even just proof reading, and explaining what parts you find confusing is invaluable.

Sunday at 4:30 PM, immediately after the final Lightning Talk session, is the Sprints Introduction. This short 30 minute event is where the sprint processes is described, and the initial sprint groups are formed. Sprint leaders give a brief introduction to the audience on their project. After the introductions are given, attendees decide which project they would like to start with, and gather with others on that project. This is not a binding contract. Attendees are free to switch between projects at any time.

If hotel reservations are any indication, and they are, this is going to be the largest single location sprint on record.

Once the introduction is over, the teams will move over the conference will migrate to the adjoined Hyatt hotel where the sprints will be held. Projects will self organize with the help of the Sprint Head into rooms. As part of this we will need help from the sprinters with this migration from the talk conference, to the sprint conference. Which brings us to:


Conference Transition Volunteer Help

With the main conference over, we are going to need help tearing down and packing up the conference at the Santa Clara convention center and moving into the adjoined Hyatt hotel conference space for the Sprints. This will mainly consist of moving the power strips and any PyCon owned networking and moving it to the new conference space. There will be plenty of PyCon heads helping with this processes, but in order to get ti done in a timely and orderly manner, we are going to need quite a bit of help. Please consider volunteering with this effort in order to make this the greatest Sprint session ever.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What to do on Saturday at PyCon?



Inaugural PyCon 5K

This year we have the inaugural PyCon 5K , a charity run supporting the Autism Speaks, the American Cancer Society, and the Epilepsy Foundation charities. The run starts at 7:00AM Saturday Morning. Registration for this run is still open (but you will miss out on t-shirts), but and if you don't want to run, you can still show your support by volunteering to hand out water or just cheer the runners on.


Power Valet

Have many electronic devices which need charging? Having a hard time finding an open outlet around the conference space? Stop by the registration desk's Power Valet station. For a free will donation to the PSF we will watch your electronic device while it charges at our secure registration desk. We have USB chargers, but a limited number of cables. As such it is recommended that you supply your own USB charging cable or wall charger.


Lightning talks

As we mentioned yesterday, these PyCon favorites are 5 minute talks, presented in rapid fire by the attendees. Attendees sign up the day before to present on anything they desire; a passionate talk on "The power of accents" for example. While one talk is being given the next one is 'on deck' to be given at the next podium. Not interested in the subject of a talk? You have less than 5 minutes to wait for the next one. Excited about a talk? Most likely there are many others excited as well; consider starting an Open Space to explore things further. Lightning talks are the seeds which lead to new projects, communities, talks, and even companies. Have something of interest to say? Speak up at with a lightning talk. The first signup will occur Friday evening after the day's closing address which will include further instructions.


David Beazley and the Talks

No, this is not a new band fronted by the Super Board II, though that would be very cool. Saturday will be kicked off by David Beazley giving a talk on whatever he feels like. Given his past performances we are expecting great things from him this year. No pressure David. This will be a fantastic start to the best line up of talks in PyCon history.


SingPath Tournament

Chris Boesch is back again this year to host a SingPath competition. This is a rapid fire python problem solving competition. You don't need to be a python expert to solve the problems, just a sharp mind and a love of coding.

The tournament will have 2 rounds consisting of approximately 10 problems per round. The first round typically consist of easier problems in order to encourage less experienced software developers to play and to enable new Singpath players to become more comfortable with the interface. As players solve problems, a live ranking screen is displayed for spectators to watch and for commentators to provide commentary. Usually, the top 20-30 players from the first round are declared eligible to compete for prizes in the second round. During the second round, problems become more challenging and play continues until enough players have finished the round to award all available prizes. Once again this year the 1st place prize will be a new MacBook Air.

The event will start at 7:00 PM Saturday, in the main ballroom.


What to do on Friday (and Saturday) Evening at PyCon?

The day does not end with the talk schedule at PyCon.

Yelp Dining Transportation

We have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. PyCon sponsor Yelp will help you find a dining destination, and provide you the means of getting there. Yelp will have a bus service set up to manage transportation between the conference venue to a select number of areas. Each bus will have a Yelp developer to help with venue selection. The bus service will start at 6:30 PM Friday and Saturday evening.

Birds of a Feather Sessions

Birds of a feather (BoF) sessions are where attendees gather to discuss a common topic, much like Open Space talks discussed earlier but with more of a jovial atmosphere. These informal sessions are sometimes held in the Open Space rooms, but more often they take place over dinner. The 2010 Django BoF took place at a restaurant of the same name for instance. To find out what off-site BoF sessions are taking place, and where to meet up, check the announcement board next to the Open Space signup at the conference. Some BoF's have already started their planning and are listed on the PyCon website.

Special Events

Every year at PyCon we try to have some special events on at least one evening. We have had one of the first OLPC demonstrations, Teach Me sessions, and Coding Competitions. This year we are once again having a SingPath competition Saturday evening at 7:00 PM in the main ballroom. More details on this event will be made at the conference.

Sponsor Events

Watch for events our sponsors are putting on in the evenings. New Relic, Loggly and Skullcandy have already closed registration for their event, but there is always something going on.

UPDATE: The PyLadies and SurveyMonkey are having a party Saturday night.

Board Game Social

It is easy to have information overload after a day of technical talks. The Board Game Social is a chance to relax, have fun, and reset your brain for the next day. We have a large number of board and card games for people to play on loan from conference organizers. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own games, even ones we already have so more people can take part. Come join us for literally fun and games. Meet new people, play old favorites, or try a new game you have not seen before. This will be held every evening in an Open Space room starting at 7:00 PM until there is no one left playing games.




Friday, February 24, 2012

What to do on Friday at PyCon?

It's the day we've all been waiting for: the beginning of the best talk schedule we've ever put together!

Registration

Registration opens at 7:00 AM every day. Due to the record attendance, it is highly recommended you arrive early to register if you were not able to do so on Wednesday or Thursday. After you pick up your badge, head over to the Swag Bag location and pick up a very nice PyCon tote filled with goodies, and most importantly, the PyCon Program Guide. It's a must have resource to everything the conference.

Breakfast

In past years, one of the most consistent pieces of feedback was requests for better food in the morning. Coffee and a bagel is not everyone's ideal powerup meal. We have been listening, and this year we have finally been able to provide a much larger selection of hot food and new beverage options. How many other conferences provide you with breakfast, lunch, and two snack breaks at this price?

Talks and Keynotes

After a warm welcome by the conference chairman, the festivities ramp up quickly with a keynote speech by Mozilla's Head of Developer Engagement, Stormy Peters. Following her is Y Combinator's Paul Graham. Following these two great speakers, we're on to the next three days of 95 talks across five tracks.

After a record number of submissions came in, it was an intense series of reviews and meetings for several weeks. From PyCon veterans to first timers, we think the schedule provides a wide variety of interesting and hard hitting topics. In fact, we're fairly certain you're going to find yourself conflicted when it comes to choosing which talks to see.

Hallway Track


In fact, sometimes the best talks occur out in the hallway. As PyCon is a gathering of all types of Python users from all walks of life with all types of backgrounds working in all types of industries, it plays host to some excellent discussion. It's a gathering that you really should take advantage of. If you see Saturday's keynote speaker and Python creator Guido van Rossum chatting with a group in the hall, go see what they're talking about. If it's an interesting topic, chime in - he's a friendly guy.

Expo Hall

Many of our generous list of over 130 sponsors will be in our expo hall strutting their stuff. These sponsors are all active members of the Python community, some of whom had their creation at previous PyCon's. From demos to coupons to t-shirts to squeeze toys, the expo hall is always a fun time. If you use products or services by any of the sponsors, go say hi and chat with them. It's a laid back environment and you can come and go as you please. Stop by, you'll learn a thing or two and pick up some goodies.

Lunch

As we mentioned Wednesday, lunch is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and get in touch with those you may know, but have never meet in person. Treat lunch as a structured Hallway Track and you will be richly rewarded.

Open Space



PyCon has another conference within the conference. Specifically the Open Space Unconference.  We have have two large divided ballrooms set aside for attendees to use for open, unstructured talks. There is a signup board in the hallway, where anyone can post a suggested talk in a room at a given time. This board is constantly being updated, and there is always something interesting going on. For a full description of how Open Spaces work, please watch the above video by Bruce Eckel.


Lightning Talk Signup

Lightning talks are a PyCon favorite. These are strict 5 minute talks, in rapid succession, given by the attendees themselves. Anyone can give a Lightning Talk on any subject. We have seen talks asking for help on a project, to a passionate dissertation on the bane that is candy corn. In order to give a Lightning Talk, all you have to do is sign-up, and the sign-up opens Friday at 6:00 PM. There is only a small number of slots and they go quickly, so be ready. We will discuss Lightning Talks more in tomorrow's post.

Dinner and Evening Activities


There is so much to cover that we have to do a separate post to cover the evening festivities.






Thursday, February 23, 2012

What to do on Thursday at PyCon? Learn the in's and out's of PyCon!

As we mentioned in Wednesday's post, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities at PyCon. Thursday is both a setup and a teardown day, being the last day of tutorials and the night before the main conference activities begin. As always, we can always use help if you have the time!

As we approach the opening of conference talks, did you know that even the speakers are volunteers whom pay their own way? When you take into account that speakers wrote and submitted their proposals by mid-October and have been researching, writing, and practicing their presentations the last few months, they've donated a lot of their time to make this conference so great. If you get the chance, and we hope you do, thank your speakers!


Session Staff and Speaker Orientation

If you signed up as a session chair or a session runner, join us at 7:30 in the Great American Ballroom (Tutorial Track IV a.k.a. F1) room for a quick meeting. We'll go over your responsibilities, walk through the processes, and answer any questions you may have.


If you're a speaker, please join us in this meeting so we can take you through the same steps and make sure everyone knows who everyone is and understands the roles of the chair and the runner for their presentation.


Speaker Assistance

Immediately following the orientation is a new meeting for 2012: speaker assistance. We'd like to bring everyone together and make sure every speaker knows how the conference works and then share tips for getting the most out of your presentation. We will go over laptop setup and have A/V personnel around to make sure people have the right settings and adapters. The last thing we want is a first time speaker walking up on stage with a bad setup, then spending the first 5 minutes fumbling around with video card settings in front of 300 people. It's definitely no fun for the speaker, and it's no fun for the audience either.

First time presenters: please ask every question you can think of! Experienced speakers: please come out and help your fellow presenters out by sharing the tips and tricks that have worked for you over the years. We're all one big team, and being able to lean on each other the night before it all kicks off will make sure we put together a quality event.


Feeling Overwhelmed?



We know this is a lot of information and it gets hectic with 1500 people wandering around the halls when you need some help. That's why we've introduced a new group this year: the Welcoming Committee.

Be on the lookout for people in funny stove pipe hats.They are there to help you navigate PyCon and if they do not have the answers to your questions, they know how to find those whom do. Are you a PyCon veteran with an outgoing personality, a willingness to help others, and look good in funny hats? Join in and help out with the committee.




Re-Tool the Conference

As the tutorials end and Thursday night begins, we flip the switch on conference mode. We need to tear down the tutorial setups and convert them to Open Space rooms. We need to setup the Open Space board. We need to do the rest of the setup in the ballrooms for the talks. There's a lot to do, so we'd be grateful for any time you can volunteer to the efforts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

PyCon Australia 2012: Call for Proposals!

PyCon Australia 2012 is pleased to announce that its Call for Proposals is now open! The conference this year will be held on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 August 2012 in Hobart, Tasmania.
The deadline for proposal submission is Friday May 4, 2012, and more information can be found at http://pycon-au.org/cfp
PyCon Australia attracts professional developers from all walks of life, including industry, government, and science, as well as enthusiast and student developers. We’re looking for proposals for presentations and tutorials on any aspect of Python programming, at all skill levels from novice to advanced.
Presentation subjects may range from reports on open source, academic or commercial projects; or even tutorials and case studies. If a presentation is interesting and useful to the Python community, it will be considered for inclusion in the program.
We're especially interested in short presentations that will teach conference-goers something new and useful. Can you show attendees how to use a module? Explore a Python language feature? Package an application?
We welcome first-time speakers; we are a community conference and we are eager to hear about your experience. If you have friends or colleagues who have something valuable to contribute, twist their arms to tell us about it! Please also forward this Call for Proposals to anyone that you feel may be interested.
To find out more go to the official Call for Proposals page here: http://pycon-au.org/cfp
See you in Hobart in August!

About PyCon Australia

PyCon Australia is the national conference for the Python Programming Community. The third PyCon Australia will be held on August 18 and 19, 2012 in Hobart, Tasmania, bringing together professional, student and enthusiast developers with a love for developing with Python. PyCon Australia informs the country’s Python developers with presentations, tutorials and panel sessions by experts and core developers of Python, as well as the libraries and frameworks that they rely on.
To find out more about PyCon Australia 2012, visit our website at http://pycon-au.org or e-mail us at contact@pycon-au.org.
PyCon Australia is presented by Linux Australia (www.linux.org.au) and acknowledges the support of our Gold sponsor, Google Australia (www.google.com.au).

What to do on Wednesday at PyCon? Help at registration and tutorials!

As we mentioned in Tuesday's post, volunteering is a just as big a need on Wednesday as registration opens and the first of the activities begin: tutorials! If you're signed up for a tutorial, obviously go to and enjoy your tutorial, but if you have some time to spare before or after your tutorial, we could use it.

Registration Desk

The registration desk, as with everything else at PyCon, is staffed by volunteers. If you're looking to help out, make some connections, and meet new people from around the world, why not go where everyone has to go? Starting Wednesday and running through the weekend, everyone that shows up, all 1800+ attendees, will need to stop by the registration desk and pick up their badge. When working the registration desk all you need to do is ask for the attendee's name, find it in the system, then get them setup with a badge. While you're at it, introduce yourself and welcome them to the conference. It's a builtin ice breaker for when you need to find a group to head out to dinner with!

Tutorial Assistants

With this year's tutorials being more packed than ever, many presenters could use a bit of help, or tutorial assistants. An assistant lends a hand to a presenter to be available to help the students of a tutorial. It's a way to keep the tutorial running smoothly by offering your help in your areas of expertise. For example, tutorial presenters who need help on Windows might look to lean on a Windows using assistant to help get a student's environment properly setup. Overall it's a way to contribute to the education of the students while helping out a fellow community member, the presenter, to make for an overall good experience for everyone. If you help out, you just earned yourself lunch with the group - and what better way to make a new friend with the tutorial presenter than to offer your help for their session.

The First Lunch


Speaking of lunch, it's one of the best parts of the conference. Not only do you get to refuel, but you have a chance to meet a handful of new people. My suggestion is to not spend too much time finding a place to sit - just pick a table and sit down. If you came to the conference with a bunch of your coworkers, you'll see them when you get back to work. Head for that table with three people and see what they're up to.

I've found that the best lunch experiences have been when no one there knows each other. Everyone goes around the table and introduces themselves, where they're from, and what they do. Oh you're from Memphis, is the BBQ really that good? You work in Albuquerque? Did you ever see them filming Breaking Bad? Ah, Foo Corp. Are they hiring? Eventually you'll get around to talking about Python stuff :)

Stop by After Dinner!

PyCon does not end at the end of the scheduled day. In the evening there will always be people in the lobby areas working on projects or playing games. The tutorial rooms will be open in the evenings, as will the Open Space rooms during the main conference. Later blog posts will cover some of the scheduled evening events as well. Stop by and see what's going on, or start something yourself. There is even a chance there will be more bag stuffing Wednesday night due to the record attendance. 1800 bags is quite a bit of work.

Above all else, enjoy the first day of the conference!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Startup Row Winners for PyCon 2012

Part of the fun of PyCon is Startup Row, where we highlight the most promising Python-using startups and give them time and space at PyCon to show their stuff. After a massive response last year, we decided to bring back Startup Row and make it a tradition.

Well, like everything else this year at PyCon, Startup Row was packed. We received several times as many applicants as we had slots - and all were strong contenders. It was hard to pick, but our panel was able to winnow the field down to just twelve winners - and two of these stood out to become the judge's picks for 2012. The winners for PyCon 2012 Startup Row are:


Exhibiting Friday

GetCloak (Judge's Pick - Friday): We were immediately impressed with Cloak. Security is hard because it involves tradeoffs; making things more secure frequently makes them less convenient. Cloak is the Dropbox of VPNs: it just works. It installs on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad and keeps you safe from prying eyes on public wi-fi. Cloak raced up the charts to become our Judge's pick for Friday.

Quantopian
lets anyone with a browser create, test, and execute quantitative trading algorithms. You don't have to be a professional quant to get started. They provide the platform and connect you to a community of quants. Quantopian is in stealth mode, but they are accepting early alpha registrations - ask at PyCon. Oh, and they're hiring.

SwiftStack makes it easy to build an extremly durable storage system for serving web content or archiving large amounts of data. SwiftStack is built on OpenStack Swift - the same code that powers Rackspace Cloud Files - to provide an easy-to-deploy, scalable object store that looks and feels like it is provided by one of the big providers.

StrongSteam uses AI and vision tools to find things in images - providing the computing heft to make your searches smart. StrongSteam can extract text and objects and can match them to a database of items. Stop by and watch them match Latin plant labels from the Royal Botanical Gardens in London to Wikipedia results - on your phone.

BugSense is a real-time bug tracking service for Android, iOS, and WP7. When you get a crash on your mobile phone, BugSense swings into action, giving you a context-sensitive error report and real-time stats. BugSense uses Google App Engine to power its backend, processing more than 1.6 million daily errors, generated by more than 45 million devices around the world.

WeddingLovely is a different kind of wedding startup. It is dedicated to the experience - wedding planning - rather than just the end of the experience (the wedding). They are out to change the idea of weddings from being simple (and de-humanizing) consumer-fests into a more personal - and personalized - experience.

Exhibiting Saturday

Transifex (Judge's Pick - Saturday): Localization is hard - one of the classic "schleps" that developers avoid. Transifex allows you to crowdsource your product's language translation to your own enthusiast community and professional translators. It makes it dead-simple to have an agile, continuous localization workflow and launch your product to an international audience. Transifex has already seen massive uptake by companies and communities around the globe, making it our judge's pick for Saturday's Startup Row.

Consumer Notebook:
Have you tried researching products online recently? It's awful. Search engines are gamed by scammy marketers. Product review sites overwhelm you with ads, have unreliable reviews, or dryly compare raw product specs. Consumer Notebook is working to solve this problem. It is like Yelp for products, with product comparison grids inspired by the founders' open-source work on Django Packages and OpenComparison.

pythonpackages.com began in October 2011 as a fun way to provide useful information to the Python community. Since then hundreds of folks have visited the site to feature their favorite Python packages, for a total of over 10K packages featured. New features have come regularly, and some new features are waiting in the wings, about to be launched.

Qwikon: The current daily deals systems are over-complicated and over-sold, with long lead times and difficult accounting. Qwikon changes all that by allowing small business owners to create and send special offers in under a minute from any web capable device, making it possible to provide special deals on expiring inventory. Qwikon is currently in private beta.

Trendulate
brings lightweight access to big data analytics by allowing users to compare their time series trends across different domains and different data sets. Sometimes the most important insight comes from comparing different perspectives. Trendulate was designed to allow people to share trends and time series datasets, enabling everyone to make smart data-driven decisions.

Lambda Foundry was launched to drive the adoption of Python in data science. The toolset for data science is still evolving, and existing tools for analyzing data are not good enough. Lambda Foundry is fixing the situation by building new tools for the Python ecosystem, including the acclaimed "pandas" library. They want to make Python the language of choice for data analysis, starting in quantitative finance. Their flagship product RapidQuant is for the building, testing and trading of data-driven financial models.

We encourage you to come by Friday and Saturday to the Startup Row booths, meet the founders, and learn how Python is being used to build companies that change the world.

What to do on Tuesday at PyCon? Volunteer!

Tuesday March 6 is a huge day for PyCon. It's the day a lot of people fly into town, it's the day before tutorials start and registration opens, and it's a big day of setup. Besides the rows of chairs and the stages, a lot of the setup is left to the organizers. As you may already know, PyCon is a organized by volunteers, and we could always use a hand by a volunteer such as yourself. Of course this need isn't limited to Tuesday - we could use help all week!


It's hard to forecast exactly what areas will need what coverage this far in advance, but we can assure you help will be needed. In fact, the only thing we have scheduled for the day is "help needed, everywhere". If you're available on Tuesday, head to the conference area and find someone doing work and ask them what they're up to and if they need help. Us organizers are a friendly bunch and would be more than happy to help you find an area you can make an impact on. From setting up projectors to stringing cables and power strips, we have a large area to cover. The registration desk will also need some setup, and it often acts as a headquarters for coordinating the todo list.


One task we know we need help with is the bag stuffing event. Each of the 1500+ attendees receives a goodie bag as part of their conference ticket, filled with stuff from sponsor t-shirts, coffee mugs, squeeze toys, coupons and freebies for sponsor products, and of course the conference schedule, a map of the venue, and a booklet covering speaker profiles, sponsor information, and much more. That's a lot of stuff to give away, and it doesn't arrive at the venue nicely put together - everything comes separately. On Tuesday evening we'll be getting together to assemble the bags in time for Wednesday's opening of registration, when attendees start picking them up.


The bag stuffing event brings out a great group of people. There's plenty of repeat bag stuffers, and we welcome every newcomer available. With more bags to stuff than last year, we'll need more people than last year. Can you help?


If you're interested in helping out, see our on-site volunteer page and join the fun!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"What to do at PyCon?" Post Series

It's almost here! In two weeks over 1500 of you will be descending upon Santa Clara, CA and taking the area by storm with what amounts to a 24-hour-a-day conference for over a week. We think you all know about the talks and tutorials, but there is so much more to the conference. There's stuff to do in the morning, there's stuff to do during the day, there's stuff to do during the night. There's volunteer opportunities, there's off-site events, there's a lot to consider. Believe us, you will be conflicted at times because there's just too much good stuff going on.


That's why we're putting together a series of posts this week to outline what's going on each day and how to tackle the opportunities. As you know, the conference talks begin on Friday March 9 and the tutorials begin two days earlier on Wednesday March 7, but a lot of people come in on Tuesday March 6. Tomorrow we will begin the series by introducing you to what's happening on Tuesday, then each day that follows will let you know what's going on that respective day.


Follow along here and we'll fill you in. You can also follow us at @pycon on Twitter, and be sure to use the hashtag #pycon2012 to discuss the conference.

Friday, February 17, 2012

PyCon DE 2012 - October 29 - November 3, 2012 in Leipzig

The second PyCon DE will be in Leipzig again. We will have six days packed with Python topics from October 29 through November 3, 2012. One tutorial day, three days with talks and two days with a barcamp and sprints will provide a variety of types to communicate about Python. There will be social events to give everybody ample opportunity to network with like-minded Pythonistas.

PyCon DE 2011 in Leipzig was a great success. Virtually everybody of the 200 participants was enthusiastic about the conference. We strive to keep up the good work and to improve on a few points we got in the feedback.

Mark your calendars. More details will be available soon.

The event is intended to bring the German speaking Python users together. However, talks in English can be submitted by people who's native language is not German.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

PyCon US 2012: Volunteer Session Staff Needed!



Once again, the volunteer staff of PyCon is in search of... more volunteer staff! We are in desperate need of people willing to be a part of the PyCon Session Staff, being Session Chairs, and Session Runners.

A Session Chair will chair a block of talks. What that means is he or she will introduce the speakers manage the time, and facilitate the question and answer period.

A Session Runner will help the speaker get from the Speakers Lounge to the appropriate stage. They help in any way needed to make the session run smoothly. In other words, they assist the Session Chair.

You can meet fun people and make new friends by signing up for one or both of these positions. Just go to the schedule page and click on the “S” symbol next to a talk to sign up. You can also get a quick view of all the open positions on the sessions page. Just remember that you’re signing up for a 2 or 3 talk session in one room. Be sure to check in at the Speakers Lounge to get your gear probably 15-30 minutes before the first talk in your session.

Volunteering to be a part of the Session Staff provides a unique opportunity to meet and work with the presenters and take an active role in the conference. You can find out more information on being part of the Session Staff or any of our volunteer opportunities on the PyCon website.

P.S. You will also receive a staff t-shirt and access to the Speakers Lounge.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PyCon 2012: New Relic, Loggly and Skullcandy party!

One of the things we love about our sponsors is their willingness to not just sponsor PyCon - but to get involved, help volunteer, and well - help throw parties!

The first party is courtesy of New Relic, Loggly and Skullcandy - from their event page:

PyCon 2012 Attendees! Join New Relic, Loggly and Skullcandy for a special PyCon party event on March 9, from 7 pm - 9 pm at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara (Across from the Convention Center).

Don't miss this opportunity to network with your Python Community peers over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

Even better, bring your biz card and enter to win some sweet shwag from Skullcandy, maker of premier headphones, earbuds, and headsets. Best of all, it's free! Space is limited to 250 so be sure to register and reserve your spot today!

You can sign up for the party right over here on their events page - but you'd better hurry, spots are going fast.

Be warned… It's the night before the PyCon 5k, which starts at 7am sharp the next day :)

PyCon 2012: Want some business cards for PyCon 2012?

The deals and partnerships for PyCon 2012 keep rolling in!

The folks at custom print shop MOO are quite good at the printing business, and they’re also good at spotting trends. One they recently noticed was an uptick in business cards intended for PyCon, so they contacted us. With the conference being such a great place to network, from the hallways to the dinner tables, we were able to partner up with them and get you 50 free business cards of your own choosing.

The London-based business card, postcard, and sticker printer will even package up the shipment and deliver straight to Santa Clara, where you can pick up your cards at the registration desk! Talk about easy. All they require is that you pay a small shipping and handling charge and the cards are all yours. If you prefer, they can be mailed to you instead.

If you want to take advantage of this great offer, http://moo.com/link/h86f is the PyCon special page. From there you can fill out one of their templates or upload your own design. They even have a product available called Printfinity where you can have many different designs in a pack - 50 different ones if you choose!

Your fancy new cards will come in handy at this year’s new Job Fair. Mingle around with some of PyCon’s 122 sponsors and pass out your details in style.

Need dinner plans? Yelp can help!


Through all of the talks, tutorials, open spaces and more, some of the best parts of PyCon are the meals. Especially dinner! Each PyCon ticket gets you catered breakfast and lunch at the conference center, with lunch being a great way to refuel and sit down at a table and meet your next project contributor, business partner, or friend. Dinner, however, is a meal you’re on your own for. Not to worry, because with 1500+ people needing to head out for dinner, there’s never a shortage of groups on the way out for a burger, pasta, falafel, beer, wine, you name it. Some people even use PyCon sponsor Yelp.com to find their dinner destination.

This year Yelp has stepped up as a sponsor for food! Not only will they help you find a destination, they’ll be giving rides to a few of the area’s highly rated restaurants. On Friday and Saturday night, Yelp will be renting several buses and driving conference goers to these select eateries, giving you a chance to get out and have a good meal with good company. The details are still being ironed out, but it looks like there will be around five buses each holding approximately 30 people. Yelp plans to send along one of their developers on each bus as an ambassador, and they might bring some nice swag as well!

As for getting on the bus, sign ups will be announced on site on the first day of the conference. You like what you see? Sign up and enjoy! Be sure to sign up on site - first come, first served.

Schedule-wise we’re looking at departure around a half hour after the day’s lightning talks are over, so about 6:30-7:00. We’ll certainly announce a more accurate time during each day’s morning session. Once you’re there, you’ll have 2-2.5 hours to spend at the restaurant and in the area. After that, the bus heads back to the hotel where you can join back up with the festivities. You’ll be back just in time for the evening’s open spaces and BoF sessions!


Bon Appétit!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with PyCon speaker Brian Jones


After a successful tutorial session in 2011, Brian Jones is back this year with a talk on a booming topic: mocking. Testing has always been fairly popular in the Python community, but it seems like more developers than ever are really on board with testing. The difference between unit testing and functional testing is getting more coverage. Test-driven development is becoming a more popular methodology. Continuous integration is getting easier to setup and use. It seems like every corner of the testing world is improving at a nice pace. Mocking in particular has been blowing up with more widespread use and more options than ever. Brian's talk, Fake It Til You Make It: Unit Testing Patterns With Mocks and Fakes, aims to help developers get to the next level of testing by sharing best practices in the test design.


While Brian has long been a fan of mocking, the last several years have seen enough mocking libraries produced to get him to switch from his home-grown tools to try what the community has to offer. Although he’s a former user of the Mox project, the choice of library for this talk will be the aptly named Mock. However, the choice of Mock is less about the library and more about being able to easily convey ideas behind mocking. "I suspect that Mock's 'action->assertion' approach to mocking will be more intuitive to pick up 'on the fly', in the course of a talk, than the 'record->replay' approach taken by other modules," says Brian.


"I want people to think of testing as being more like a fun little puzzle than...calculus," he said when asked what caused him to submit the proposal for this talk. Mocking, he feels, is a huge help in getting testing to fit inside the minds of newcomers to the arena. With the talk he hopes to introduce the techniques and the tools, then put it all together in practice. The 45-minute session includes several types of example applications, from a datetime abstraction library to a command shell program, to show how Brian’s best practices with test design and mocking can be used.


Speaking is just one of the fun parts of PyCon for Brian. In his second year on PyCon's program committee, he helped review a record number of talk proposals. Sometimes meeting two times a day, the program committee had a busy fall between online reviews and voting, then the various IRC-based discussions on later rounds of reviews. Being a part of the program committee for a second year allowed him to "further [his] conviction that the Python community is the most welcoming, open and inclusive group [he's] ever had the pleasure of being involved with."


When it comes to getting on-site at the conference, last year Brian volunteered some of his time to help out around the event. The evenings may be one of his favorite parts: he's a huge fan of the BoFs, or Birds of a Feather meetings. “I've been to conferences where I'm really just not that interested in *any* of the BoF sessions, but at PyCon '11 I actually had conflicts: I wanted to attend multiple BoFs in the same time slot," he says.


One of the best benefits he says of the conference is the ability meet up with the people he had been interacting with online for years. Now that he’s been to a PyCon in the past, meeting up with those same friends and meeting many more in 2012 is an incredible experience. In closing, he remarked that "The community around Python is unbelievable, and attending PyCon is a great way to be bombarded by that fact on a continual basis for a few days, which is good for the soul."


Be sure to check out Brian's talk on Friday March 9 at 2:55!

Sign up for the PyCon 5K today!

If you sign up by Monday with at least a $20 ticket, you'll get an awesome shirt designed by Idan Gazit. On top of being one of PyCon's great designers, he's giving two talks at the conference!





The inaugural race kicks off at 7 AM on Saturday March 10, right before the day's festivities begin. From marathon runners to casual runners to walkers - everyone is invited. Registration for the race is being handled by conference sponsor Eventbrite, but note that this is separate from your conference registration.


For payment we're using the "pay what you want" model. If you want to run, simply sign up - it can cost you as low as $0. If you choose the $20 registration (by Monday!) you’ll get a really nice shirt.


The best part of the race is that it's for charity. Feel free to use the "pay what you want" option to help us help a number of great charities.


Autism Speaks - Autism affects 1 in 110 children, 1 in 70 boys. Autism Speaks has grown into the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.


American Cancer Society - The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has 12 chartered Divisions, more than 900 local offices nationwide, and a presence in more than 5,100 communities.


Epilepsy Foundation - The Epilepsy Foundation of America® is the national voluntary agency dedicated solely to the welfare of the almost 3 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. and their families. The organization works to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; to improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society; and to promote research for a cure.


For more information, see https://us.pycon.org/2012/5k/.


Be sure to sign up and help us help some great organizations. Lace up your shoes - we'll see you at the starting line.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

PyCon US 2012: Getting the most out of PyCon (and a new Job Fair!)

PyCon 2012 will be the biggest PyCon yet. Amazing talks, tutorials, posters - robots - we are going to have it all for you. The volunteer team is working on welcoming committees, social events and many other things.

Each year there are quite a few new people, and with record attendance, we expect this year to be no different. So we thought that it this point it might be good to lay out the virtual welcome mat for everyone coming to PyCon and point out a few of the ways to make your PyCon unforgettable.

If we could point to just one thing that makes PyCon different, it is that at PyCon you come to contribute. If you want to have an extraordinary time and make PyCon your favorite conference all year, pick three of the items below, get involved, and contribute! Want to volunteer? Please sign up to pycon-organizers.

Stuff a Bag: For those who haven’t been to PyCon before, one of the most fun events takes place Wednesday evening.  Stand shoulder to shoulder with fifty or one hundred of your fellow Pythonistas to help stuff the attendee bags. Want to know who has the best swag? Want to see what people will be giving away in the Expo Hall? Want to just have fun? Come stuff bags.

Chair a Session: PyCon talks are arranged in groups of two or three, called sessions. (Look at the schedule to see what I mean). Session chairs help run the session, introduce speakers, call time, and help run the room for a short period of time. If you want to be in the front row at one particular talk, sign up to be session chair! There will be a sign-up board at PyCon.

Run a Race: Many Pythonistas are active runners. More are probably waiting for a kick in the pants to get up, get out the door, and start running. Well, here's your chance! Whether its part of your regular training, a New Years resolution, or whatever -- we hope you'll join us for the inaugural PyCon 5k.

Get a Job: A short while ago you may have seen a similar announcement for an online job board for our sponsors with open positions, located at https://us.pycon.org/2012/sponsors/jobs/. Sponsors have enjoyed this benefit and we think the community has as well. However, we’re taking this job fair one step further: into real life. On Sunday March 11 from 10:00 to 12:00, the expo hall will be running a job fair for all sponsors seeking to hire Python developers.

This job fair will run concurrent to the always excellent Poster Session, and will occur during the morning snack break. Grab a drink and a cookie and mingle with this year’s list of incredible sponsors, from small startups to big corporations, from the east coast to the west coast, local workers to telecommuters -- there’s a lot of organizations to choose from. With 122 sponsors on board, we think you’d have trouble not finding a company that interests you.

Give a talk: One of PyCon’s traditions - one that we aren’t ashamed to admit that we picked up from the Perl community - is having Lightning Talks. Lightning Talks are five-minute, rapid-fire talks about something that interests you. Maybe you've never given a talk before, and you'd like to start small. For a Lightning Talk, you don't need to make slides, and if you do decide to make slides, you only need to make three. Sign up quickly, though - spots go fast.

Check out the Hallway Track: Many of the PyCon old-timers are most fond of the “hallway track” - the spontaneous meetings and discussions that occur when you bring together interesting, intelligent people (like all PyCon attendees!). There have been projects and businesses launched, friendships made, and problems solved in the hallways at PyCon.

Organize an Open Space: PyCon sets aside rooms for “Open Space” discussions and meetings. Anyone can lead an open space - just sign up for the room and the time slot and it is yours. Do you play an instrument? Each night at PyCon usually has a music jam open space. Want to work on a quick idea with someone? Follow up on a talk? Plan to take over the world? Open space.

Attend a BoF: Some of our open spaces have grown up into semi-regular Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions. The best-known is probably the Testing in Python (TiP) BoF, but we usually also have Board Game BoFs, Science BoFs, Whiskey BoFs, Newbie BoFs, “Teach me” BoFs, and many more.

Sprint: If you are still making your traveling plans, one of the best ways to take advantage of PyCon is attending the sprints. Development sprints are a key part of PyCon, a chance for the contributors to open-source projects to get together face-to-face for up to four days of intensive learning, development and camaraderie. Newbies sit with gurus, go out for lunch and dinner together, and have a great time while advancing their project. Have you ever wanted to hack on Python-core? Twisted? Django? SciPy? The leaders of each project will be there during the sprints, and you will be able to contribute in a meaningful way.

Sponsor PyCon: Ok, we had to say it. There are over 120 companies sponsoring PyCon, the most yet. We have filled up the Expo Hall, but you can still show your support (and participate in the Job Fair) with your sponsorship. If you are still considering sponsoring PyCon - now is the time to reach out to us - jnoller@python.org!

Come contribute to PyCon. It will be your favorite conference all year.

Pugs

Friday, February 03, 2012

PyCon US 2012: Registration is closed. Tutorials open, Hotel info.

Surprised omg

It's official - for the first time in the 10 year history of PyCon, we have had to close main conference registrations. This is amazing.

Registration

As a reminder: You can still register on the site for your hotel needs (more on this in a moment) or tutorial only registrations. Sponsors registrations are accounted for and slots are held, as are all financial aid recipients and those with valid promotional codes. If you have issues with registering, please contact pycon5-reg@cteusa.com / 847-759-4277 or email pycon-reg@python.org.

Hotel

We still have hotel space! Currently, the Hyatt and the Hilton are sold out, but we still have rooms at the Avatar and Marriott - as the latter two are not within walking distance to the venue, we will be providing free shuttle service to and from the conference.

In order for us to get credit for your hotel bookings, you must book through our registration and housing system at: https://us.pycon.org/2012/registration/register/ - or by contacting our housing bureau at pycon5-reg@cteusa.com or by phone at 847-759-4277.

In Closing

PyCon 2012 will be the biggest PyCon yet by all measurements and dimensions. Amazing talks, tutorials, posters - robots - we are going to have it all for you. We're working on fleshing out the open spaces, the sprints and the PyCon 5k (please sign up!). The volunteer team is working on welcoming committees, social events and many other things.

As we all know, PyCon is much more than just a conference - it's community. It is the Python community. And given how much we've grown, it's imperative that we go out of our way to do everything in our power to maintain that community feel. We need to maintain the welcomeness, the closeness and the feeling of belonging. If you are interested in volunteering - please sign up to pycon-organizers and watch out for everything coming down the pike.

If you have any ideas on how we can make things better? Shoot an email to jnoller@python.org - favorite things from the past that happened, things you loved and would like to see again, it's all fair game.

Thank You. Without you, none of this would matter, or would happen.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

PyCon US 2012: Announcing Close of Registration (tomorrow)

Custom 1286555358292 awesome

Well, this is bittersweet.

Only 9 days ago - January 25th - we closed PyCon Early Bird registration. By the time we closed early bird, we had a good indications that we would hit our cap of 1500 attendees. In fact, accounting for financial aid recipients, Startup Row attendees and sponsor registrations - well...

It looks like we destroyed that cap.

I'm amazed and humbled to be announcing this now - tomorrow, at 9:00am Central Time, we will officially close PyCon general registration. This means that tutorial only registration will stay open, but for the main conference days, we will no longer be accepting new registrations.

Until then, you will still be able to register on the site.

Please note that financial aid recipients and sponsors have been accounted for. If you fall into any of those groups, including the PyLadies grant group - you are all set. If you have a pending or in process registration, you are all set.

We also promised that Startup Row applications would stay open until February 10; we will honor that promise and will award PyCon tickets to founders of the 12 winning startups shortly thereafter.

Even after tomorrow, we will still allow people to register for tutorial days and book their hotel rooms - but note that those will only stay until the tutorials and hotels fill up. Please book your hotel stay ASAP - you can read more about what hotels we have, and how to book in our previous post. To quote:

In order for us to get credit for your hotel bookings, you must book through our registration and housing system at: https://us.pycon.org/2012/registration/register/ - or by contacting our housing bureau at pycon5-reg@cteusa.com or by phone at 847-759-4277.

We have blown out all our numbers - from attendees to sponsors, to the amazing line up of talks, tutorials and poster sessions. We can not thank all of you enough. We have amazing artwork, t-shirts, tote bags - and much more coming.

Thank you.

Jesse Noller, a humbled, and proud chair of PyCon 2012

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

PyCon 2012: Official PyCon 2012 Artwork - Awesome!

I've got the great pleasure to finally show off something that's been in the works for awhile - we got to partner with well renown designer and djangonaut Idan Gazit for the PyCon 2012 artwork.

The result is pretty awesome and epic and will take form in the t-shirts, program guide and other areas of the conference. Take a look for yourself:

PyCon US 2012 Color

I was pretty ecstatic when Idan sent it over - he also added a pretty mind-blowing time lapse video of how it was created, saying:

… If you’ve ever wondered how the design sausage is made, look no further! Note the vast amount of time spent iterating, trying things out, seeing what works and often discarding things that don’t. It sucks to discard work you’ve spent time on, but that’s really just the nature of the beast, and better to fail early and try something different than keep beating a dead, er, snake.

You can see his thoughts, and the time-lapse video over on his blog. We're psyched to have Idan involved in the art for the conference!

In addition to this awesome artwork, we have to give a major amount of credit to the Eldarion team (specifically, their designer Yulka Plekhanova) for the awesome website design we have this year - the website represents a giant leap in terms of visual design for PyCon, and we can not thank them enough.

Awesome art, for an awesome conference and a blowout year!

PyCon US 2012: You want hotel? We have hotels!

As noted in the previous post - we had a minor blip regarding the PyCon 2012 hotel - by minor blip, I mean we completely booked the Hyatt (our main hotel).

This issue has been resolved without needing me to resort to going to Home Depot and buying "The Dummies Guide to Hotel Building".

We now have plenty of rooms at:

Update 2/3/12:

Hilton Santa Clara - NOW FULL within walking distance of the venue. These rooms are marked as 159$/night - however, as we want to do whats right for attendees, we have asked the Hilton to credit each room night booked under out block 10$, while the PyCon master account will absorb the 10$ additional cost. This means that the base room rate for attendees will be 149$/night, matching the cost for the Hyatt.

The Avatar Hotel, Santa Clara - STILL AVAILABLE this one is not within walking distance, however the cost per night is 149$/night - matching our other rates, and we have negotiated a free shuttle for attendees to and from the Santa Clara Convention Center.

The Marriott Santa Clara - STILL AVAILABLE again, maintaining the room night cost, and while it too is not within walking distance, we will have a free shuttle to and from the convention center!

I must note: All of these agreements include room minimums - this means that PyCon will get charged a lot of money if we do not book the blocks we have contracted for.

In order for us to get credit for your hotel bookings, you must book through our registration and housing system at: https://us.pycon.org/2012/registration/register/ - or by contacting our housing bureau at pycon5-reg@cteusa.com or by phone at 847-759-4277.

Please book your rooms through us, and please book as soon as you can! You'll not only get a room for the conference - you'll help us out, and be a part of what is already the biggest Pycon on record. If you haven't registered? You need to - registration is capped at 1500 attendees, and by all estimates, we are going to hit that number and soon. (All financial aid recipients are accounted for in attendance and hotel, by the way.)

Jesse Noller, PyCon Chair.