Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pycon 2008

I've not attended Pycon since Dawn joined me for Pycon 2005 in Washington, DC. This year, I am grateful to have Tara and Alexia to be with. They get to explore Chicago while I geek out in the hotel near O'Hare. I joined them Thursday evening, in a somewhat perfunctory visit to the city of my birth.

I've enjoyed reconnecting with Patrick O'Brien (Schevo) and Ed Leafe (Dabo).

Guido sat with us briefly, friendly and relaxed, his keynote behind him. Making small talk, I noted Vilnius is one of Chicago's many sister cities, plus asked why "callable" was going away (answer: because it's redundant, now that stuff's cleaned up; just check for __call__).

Jeff Elkner, high school teacher and long time Python enthusiast, is looking forward trying some new approaches under STEM, maybe using some math through programming techniques, also my focus.

Patrick Barton, a graduate of my Python for Wanderers class, is here with his Chicago-based company, getting more exposure to the Python community. He shared some ribs with me, which was most apropos (__ribs__).

My talk, on the "Pythonic math class of the future" was a big hit, with lots of people interested in connecting with me afterwards. I made my joke about uniting our open source language communities against a common enemy, Texas Instruments, only to find we had a Python-friendly TI guy in the audience.

Python's role in the future of education is of intrinsic interest to many of us here, especially given all the OLPC activists (lots of XOs on display).

This was my first exposure to Ian Benson's campaign to further popularize Caleb Gattegno's "brick based" approach to math learning. We seem to share an interest in problem solving as an energy-consuming activity (link).

I'm heartened by what Josh showed me of The Open Planning project.

Pyglet looks promising.

Good seeing Johnny Stovall (aka "the impossible man") from Indonesia again, and Steve Holden, newly chairman of the PSF. Good meeting Vern Ceder from Indiana, Jessie Chavez of Google, Andrew Harrington of Loyola University (Chicago), and Jonah Bossewitch of CCNMTL (a Princeton philo guy, like me).

This was the biggest Pycon ever, with over a thousand attenders.

my Pycon photos on Flickr