Friday, March 27, 2009

Urner-Holden Workshop Etc.

Python for Teachers:
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2

I was blessed with some deep thinking attenders, had a great A/V team (volunteers with yellow shirts, Pycon branding). Having field tested this talk a number of times, I have to say I was both prepared and not prepared.

I was prepared in the sense of having just about three hours of material, which I got through smoothly and coherently. My demos worked, including with sound. The night before, I added the bell curve from Walking with Nobby to as a test, along with its first and second derivatives.

:: bell curve in stickworks ::
( click for larger view )

Steve and I had not met or pre-rehearsed the co-production, so he mainly gave me a sense of quiet confidence, plus he blessed what I'd said at the end, which made it all seem very official (he's chairman of the PSF, also the father of Pycon itself).

He felt free to leave the room on occasion, handle business by cell. Ian showed the video clip about public key cryptography just ahead of my walk through my little RSA module (the same one I shared with Wanderers).

The free-wheeling real time discussions from then onward have been most welcome & rewarding. Comparing notes from all around the world, having Python in common, is a rare and interesting experience. I'm an elder statesman around here, a recognized MVP.

During drinks afterward, I was happy to see our Portland team from Cubespace / PPUG milling about, heading for sushi. Michelle is back from Nashville I note (good talking). Fond greetings to Jason, Adam, Michel, Bret.

That being said, there's a technical core development community based around the system languages which I'm not much a part of. That's more for the hard core engineers like Allison Randal (Parrot VM), and the Swallow team, the PyPy team (e.g. Laura). However, at dinner, I was able to get some updates on these invitation-only summit meetings, which keeps me in touch with our snake's beating heart. How Python is Developed by Brett Cannon, will be informative. I'm reviewing Andre's talk on edu-sig.

Sorry to hear about Bruce Eckel's broken leg -- he was to talk more on metaclasses, one of our subculture's esoteric topics. The African and South American community organizer guy missed his plane or was otherwise delayed, so that talk will be Sunday (I'll probably be diving downtown to take in the museum exhibit, enjoyed the Africa updates at OSCON). I've enjoyed talking to Luciano Ramalho, the Brazil's user group chief, especially about Unicode issues.

As a nominee to the PSF, I need to be at the LAX room for lunch. I'll be an observer, not voting on anything.

OK, we're on to lightning talks.

PSF meeting: let's protect the logo.

VMs meeting (packed room): panel discussion with delegates from PyPy, Jython, IronPython, CPython and Unladen Swallow (a branch of CPython). Our host, Django guy Jacob, actually came to Python by way of Jython (running Django on the JVM is a goal). Google is branching CPython because it wants to accelerate services such as YouTube, a huge volume of Python code, a lot of it tied to a SWIG-based C++ library. Speed may not be the top goal of all of these projects.