Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PPUG 2011.04.12

PPUG = Python Portland User Group. I took the bus, having a Workingman's Red at Bagdad as I awaited the 14, transferred to 9 at 6th and Main.

I was pulled towards the Pauling House as well, as Duane Ray was going through telescope lore, Bob McGown in attendance (he'd been to like half of them). I almost skipped boarding.

The chairman, Steve, and I texted to and fro, while in transit, stuff about various keys, given Open Bastion (west) is a part of the same complex as Glenn frequents, in terms of living quarters (or chambers, as one might have in some dorms).

PPUG was great once I got there, certainly worth making. I'd invited at least one PSU Systems person. The place was packed, almost every chair occupied.

I got to read in Infinite Jest along the way, and the guy who sat next to me at the meeting was like "Is that your first time through?". I'm going like "Finnegans Wake" at which point the old guy in front of me swings around, wants to see it. I tell him "this is different".

Then the same guy with the laptop starts pulling up Parthenon pix while multi-tasking, doing slides about concurrent queues. That gets me to go off at the end of the talks, asking if he knew of the Parthenon Code (like Da Vinci's but completely different) and did he know how the Python fit in? You see, as a PSF member, I'm known to pipe up with this Cult of Athena biz from time to time. I've been designing a philosophy and biz model on this basis. Turns out he's with Parthenon Software.

Adam Lowry knocked out a couple modules from standard library, the traceback module, which will do more for debugging when exceptions get raised, and the cgitb module for pretty printing such output, making it be all HTMLy. Of course the frameworks usually supply their own better runtime messaging.

Then Chris Pitzer compared Python to Javascript, with each interactive in a split screen presentation, using customized tools in both cases. A tour de force, and at a pretty deep philosophical level. JavaScript seems somewhat alien to Pythonistas, in its use of the new keyword to bless a function, turn it into an object of some kind.

Finally, Michelle Rowley did a superb presentation on how to give presentations, with lots of credit to Moshe Z. She practiced as she preached, completely meta to her talk, and therefore present in her fearless if nervous way that inspires. I bet we'll have no shortage of talks for a long time to come, provided we don't get diverted into some calamitous situation like has overtaken Japan.

I bussed back to 97214, texting old contacts from my cell while awaiting the 4, deleting some. Those Wanderers I caught up with had clearly been inspired by the telescope lore. Having taught Python at the Space Telescope Science Institute, I could see where I'd feel pulled to both events, like by gravity's rainbow.