Whatever the critics say, I know I'll be back in Chicago next year for sure. I just want better network connectivity (why is it so hard to ensure decent wireless connectivity at PyCon year after year? it's a mystery) and better food.
Yes, the wireless network this year was less than stellar. It was nearly unusable on tutorial Thursday and only approached usability Friday afternoon. The equipment deployed precluded wired connections in many rooms. For a detailed analysis and recommendations, see Sean Reifschneider's report.
Two years ago, PyCon's first year in Dallas, we trusted the hotel when they said they could handle our wireless networking needs. That was a mistake: they couldn't. It took a lot of effort, by Sean Reifschneider and others, to make their wireless configuration usable. Last year, Sean designed a wireless architecture for us and we deployed our own equipment. It worked beautifully, but it ended up being a working conference for Sean.
This year, we wanted to let Sean enjoy the conference. As Tummy.com, he's also a sponsor of PyCon, and a busy guy. Last fall when we were getting the hotel's buy-in on our networking needs, someone found a company in the Chicago area who said they could do the job. It would be more expensive than us (Sean) doing it ourselves, but would allow us all to enjoy the conference. Obviously, that didn't work out. We trusted our wireless supplier, but they really weren't up to the job.
As Sean states in his report, "Nobody really understands our networking needs like we do."
Next year we will do the networking ourselves. We will have wired connections in all tutorial, open space, & sprint rooms, as well as to all talk podiums. Our wireless will conform to Sean Reifschneider's plan.
On a brighter note, our bandwidth provider, BOB Broadband, was great. We had zero problems there.