19 March 2013

More PyCon! It's a wish, not just a title.

I left the last post minutes before Jessica McKellar's keynote at PyCon 2013. Unfortunately the keynote was cancelled. Raymond Hettinger followed a series of lightning talk with a keynote the theme of which was "Python is amazing" (I don't rememeber the exact words, but that's the main idea). YAY!

Getting started with automated testing, by Carl Meyer, was a great introductory talk, a good way to remind me that not writing tests is not (just) being lazy, it's counterproductive (and therefore leads to more work later).

Then I moved on to a couple of much-needed talk on community building: Scaling community diversity outreach, by (take a breath) Asheesh Laroia, Jessica McKellar, Dana Bauer and Daniel Choi, and, after lunch, How (Not) To Build An OSS Community by Daniel Lindsley. So far my contacts in London for programming have been by mentor in the TechAbility programme (my gateway drug pusher, the way I really got into programming - thank you Ben!), a couple of friends and of course my husband (but I tend not to talk too much about computers with him). I probably never realized how much I miss a "real life" (as opposed to "just IRC/internet") community since I got here. There are the GNOME beer events, of course! But the only London Python User Group I see online is "professionals only", so it doesn't look very newcomers-friendly... and there is no chapter of the PyLadies in London. (I was told that I should set one up - but I cannot do it on my own. And yes, dear Londoners, this is another cry for help!) All of this probably just means that I need a job, I am tired of doing things on my own. End of the rant, sorry.

Later in the afternoon, yet another fantastic talk. Lynn Root presented Sink or swim: 5 life jackets to throw to New Coders. It was perfectly tailored for the stage I am in my programming education: I know the basics, now what? Well, there is her website, then there is... teaching others. I sense a pattern here...

And then I went to rest, because the day after I had to present my poster and I was already too nervous.

The day after - the last day - was basically "hey, here's my poster". I had presented a poster only once in my life, but it was a much smaller (although quite big!) conference, and it was in another field (game theory).

And you know what? I loved it! (Even if it meant missing the keynotes... and the other posters.)

I talked about what I did last summer, why it's a good idea to do something like that, how you do it (and what you shouldn't do); most important, I spread the word about the Outreach Program for Women - all the leaflets but one or two were gone by the end of the session, and many people went away with the link to the website scribbled on a piece of paper!

I wasn't able to stand on my feet, afterwards. So: nap! And then, introduction to sprints...

...so that yesterday I managed to find something for me at the OpenHatch sprint. I helped with a webpage that was incomplete (a webpage that was... teaching - how to contribute to an OpenSource project. Mmmmh, more of that pattern), and I cleaned up the wiki a bit. I had never heard of OpenHatch before this conference, but I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful frienship (to use the words of Claude Rains in Casablanca).

And now I should be packing (how will I stuff all the t-shirts I got into my suitcase?) and go on my way...

So: a big thank you to PyCon, to the PSF (who generously sponsored my travel and my hotel!), to all the wonderful people I met, too many to fit in a post here (also: I am terrible with names, I would probably forget someone). And... maybe see you in Florence later this year!

PS: I wrote the post this morning (PST). It's now almost night (also PST, I don't want to know what time it is in London), and I am at the airport - flight delayed by approximately 3 hours. I use the airport connection to give you... the poster! With a huge thank you to Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Meg Ford who sent me so many useful suggestions.


  1. We run a London Python Dojo on the first Thursday of each month, open to all -- novices, experts, complete unknowns. Watch the python-uk mailing list and/or follow @ldnpydojo for details.

  2. Tim: Thank you very much for the information! Unfortunately the 1st Thursday of the month is (usually) an evening in which I *always* have another commitment - but I would love to come there, one day... Thank you again!

  3. Well keep an eye on the python-uk list; occasionally it moves to a different day still usually a different Thursday but occasionally another day altogether.