Archive for March, 2010

PyCon Atlanta 2010

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

It’s a lot of effort to put down everything that happened in the 10 days from 15 to 25 February 2010 which I spent in Atlanta for PyCon. However, the conference was incredible and there are things which I enjoyed that I’d like to record so here goes.

The tutorials were on the 17 and 18th. I had some issues with getting tickets early enough so I ended up at the hotel on the evening of the 15. I was totally jetlagged and disoriented. I went out in the evening to get something cheap to eat. Got directions from the hotel staff and went to Lenox mall in the evening. The trains were nice but the groups of seedy looking people in a somewhat empty railway station at night gave me the creeps. The cold too was a bit of a shocker.

The next day, I woke up in the morning and had to ask the reception was day it was since my devices and I were confused. I spent the morning after an overly expensive breakfast at the famous Georgia Aquarium. For lunch, I did some google searches and found a small place nearby that served nice Indian halalfood. It was pretty cheap too. I asked around a found a mosque within walking distance of the restaurant and so I had a place to come to for my friday prayers. Senthil arrived on the 16th in the evening so we supped at a lovely Turkish family owned restaurant called Anatolian cafe and hookah lounge. We ordered vegetarian food and it was decent.

The next day (17), feeling a little like a worm living in the dark that was getting dragged into the sunlight, I went to the conference area and got my registration done. Mary Rush was manning the registration desk and from my experiences at our own PyCon, it’s a gruelling job. She made it seem effortless. I met a dude from canonical named Marc who I hung out with the during the tutorial sessions. The one I had registered for got cancelled so I attended one on optimising Python code which was so so. I spent the afternoon just meeting random people. I don’t recollect who I met when but I did bump into Guido post lunch and Steve Holden. I hadn’t seen this but didn’t I think become annoying. I also met David Goodger (who I must say has a knack for making people feel at ease) and the organisers like Doug Napoleone, Van Lindberg and others. I volunteered for some work getting the rooms ready and packing the swag.

The next day (18) is a bit hazy in my head. I don’t remember what I did but I had breakfast at the Peachtree center Mall. Senthil had his tutorial on this day and I spent most of the day just socialising and meeting lots of people. Being a little introverted, it was kind of hard for me to just walk upto a person and introduce myself but I got the hang of it and it was worth it. I spent most of the afternoon with the volunteers packing swag bags and generally meeting everyone. Brad was someone I had met in India at the ZeOmega office when were organising PyCon India. He had come there with his friend Walker and we met up and had dinner together at an overpriced Indian restaurant nearby called Haveli.

The next day (19) was the beginning of the actual conference. Guido’s keynote was in the morning and I found the whole live twitter feed asking questions quite pathetic. Call me old fashioned but I like a prepared speech for something like a keynote and after talking to Guido later, I felt that he would have liked it that way as well. I was runner for the morning session in one of the rooms but due to some communication messups, Dino Viehland, the IronPython hacker had the projector bail on him. It messed up the talk. The others, Jack Schementi and Ian Bicking didn’t have any trouble and it went well. I went out for Jumuah and missed the packaging talk by Tarek immediately after the lunch break. This was unfortunate since I wanted to participate in the distribute/distutils sprint. After I got back, I listened to Alex Martelli’s talk on patterns and then went to an open space on embedding Python which was relevant to my day job. It was fun and I ended the day with dinner at I forget where.

I overslept on 20th and missed the PyPy keynote which I wanted to hear but got to hear scraps of Mark Shuttleworth’s talk which was okay. Then I attended Matias’ talk about simulating network devices. I spent some time in between this talking to Holger Krekel and the very British Michael Foord. I was using py.test and Mock in some projects at work and meeting the authors in person seemed like a good thing. I then attended the unladen swallow talk which was nice although my intention was to get good seats for the much anticipated GIL talk by David Beazley. It was easily the best prepared talk at the conf I saw and one of the most well prepared talks I had been to ever. After lunch, I attended Raymond Hettinger’s talk on tool composition which was also really neat. I killed some time then and finally attended Ned Batchelders talk on testing which was also nice.

On the 21st, I chaired the talk by Holger on py.test and then attended the awesome talk by Scott Chacon on git vs. mercurial. We had a quick open space on packaging where I met some other chaps (David, Michael, Eric, Carl, Toshio, Tarek and others) who we sprinted with for the next few days. Dinner was nice too since we started off as a small group but then gathered people and finally ended up at the Turkish place which I recommended for a lovely meal. Special thanks need to be given to the kid at the restaurant who with a busted toe and without his mother or brother to help him cooked a delicious meal for all 20 odd people who went there. I also found out later that David Malcolm who packages Python for Fedora was the chap who actually got the job I applied for at RH a few months before. :)

22nd and 23rd were awesome. I participated in the sprint with the distribute hackers and fixed a few small issues. I waded through the code quite a bit and helped with a documentation a little as well. I need to budget time to work on the code some more and will probably sprint on distribute with the rest of the BangPypers at one of our meetings here.

24th I spent shopping and visiting Narayan who is Senthil’s friend at Georgia Tech. 25th, I packed up and left back to India.

It was an awesome event. I met a lot of great people who are surprisingly down to earth and human when you actually meet them. Also, hacking on stuff is not as hard as it seems. The whole experience was so intense that it feels like some kind of dream that I went through. There were some issues with the hotel, wifi and stuff but those were afterthoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel quite happy that this was the language community I chose. I definitely want to be there in Atlanta next year!