Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Announcing our second PyCon 2012 keynote speaker: Stormy Peters

I am very pleased to announce the second (and final) PyCon 2012 Keynote speaker - Stormy Peters.

Stormy is the Head of Developer Engagement at Mozilla. She is also an advisor for HFOSS, IntraHealth Open and Open Source for America, as well as founder and president of Kids on Computers, a nonprofit organization setting up computer labs in developing countries. Stormy joined Mozilla from the GNOME Foundation where she served as executive director. Previously, she worked at OpenLogic where she set up their OpenLogic Expert Community as well as founding the Hewlett-Packard Open Source Program Office. Stormy graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in Computer Science.

She is passionate about open source software and educates companies and communities on how open source software is changing the software industry. She is a compelling speaker who engages her audiences during and after her presentations - and has spoken at OSCON, GUADEC and other conferences. Her talk "Would you do it again for Free" for example; is an excellent talk on Open Source and motivation.

PyCon 2012 is going to be amazing - we have three excellent keynote and plenary speakers, and more plenary talks coming. We've just closed a record-breaking call for proposals and also have a record breaking number of sponsors. The PyCon team is pulling out all the stops for 2012 - we're working hard to make 2012 a year to talk about for a long time.

Jesse Noller, PyCon 2012 Chair

Thursday, October 13, 2011

PyCon 2012: Announcing New Diamond Sponsor: Heroku, Call for Proposal Ends

The PyCon team is honored and proud to announce a new Diamond Sponsor for the conference and also that the record-breaking call for proposals has closed.

We are very proud to announce that Heroku — a premiere Platform as a Service provider — has joined PyCon as our final Diamond level sponsor. Heroku joins Google and Dropbox as the premier sponsors of PyCon 2012. Heroku recently announced first-class Python support on their platform; their blog post announcing this support shows that they care about Python and have a long term dedication to the language and its community.

We thank and welcome Heroku, and we look forward to their involvement in PyCon and the Python community.

Just as amazing as a new Diamond sponsor is the fact the PyCon 2012 Call For Proposals is now closed. Speaking as a team, we can say:

“This. Is. Amazing.”

We broke all records on the number of talks (374 as of this writing) and tutorials (89) submitted. Further, the quality, breadth, and depth of those talks and tutorials is stunning. The community has truly outdone itself this year (and the Program Committee has its work cut out for it). We have destroyed every previous measure and record — thanks to you.

As the call for proposals has ended, the efforts to review proposals ramps up. Today is the first official day of review season. We’re seeing incredible submissions with well thought out plans, mind blowing topics, and the high quality the community has come to expect.

Last year was a challenge — we had to pick out about 100 talks, 32 tutorials, and 35 posters from over 250 submissions — but this year the bar has been raised. We’ve got over 450 submissions — a massive increase over last year! Sadly, the session limits will remain about the same, so the program committee has its work cut out for it. It’s always a tough time having to turn submitters away, and it will only get harder for the 2012 conference. We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead to put together the best schedule we can.

As review season begins, we’re looking for help on the review team. If you’re interested in volunteering your time to help examine, question, comment, and vote on submissions, send an introductory email to the PyCon Program Committee. We need all types of people for this: all levels of experience, all industries, all users of Python. If you have the time, we would love to put it to good use!

Once again, thanks for all of your submissions, and thanks to Heroku for joining us. We’re looking forward to working with all of you, and we can’t wait to see how this years schedule shapes up.

Finally, thanks once again to all of our sponsors for supporting this great conference and adding to the excitement (note that we are still accepting sponsors):

See you March 7-15, 2012 in Santa Clara, CA!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PyCon DE 2011 - The First

What a conference. 200 Pythonistas met for the better part of the last week in Leipzig.

We started out with a tutorial day. More than 80 people took advantage of the opportunity to attend 13 tutorials covering diverse topics including algorithms, database programming, web frameworks, scientific data analysis and Python introduction.

In parallel to the tutorials we had a barcamp with about 30 people that discussed different topics and had lightning talks. Topics included web frameworks and SQL/NoSQL compassions.

The core conference had three parallel tracks with 30-minute and 60-minute slots. Our rather rigorous time management worked out: all presenters stayed within their allocated slots. It is a German conference after all. ;) Over three days we had 55 talks. The topics covered a wide range. Web development and scientific applications were the two largest themes but many other topics such as teaching Python, migration to Python 3 or Python compiler were covered.

All talks are on video and will be posted as soon as the upload bandwidth allows. We had a multinational team of video filmers form the US, UK, Norway and Germany. Thanks for your effort and the great job you did.

We had three keynotes with very different focuses, one at each conference day. Jan Lehnhardt of CouchDB fame provided a perspective on the Python community from the outside. Paul Everitt, early-day Zope activist, draw from his large experience of doing things well ahead of its time. He gave some insight into the past that provided lots food for thought how do things right and how to be successful. Andreas Schreiber, scientists at the German Aerospace Center, showed the impressive use of Python in high-tech. The only conclusion can be: "The future
is all Python!".

The weekend was reserved for sprints. About 30 people gathered at the first sprint day and worked on Python, Cython, Zope and other software packages as well as on the Germany Python website. The second day saw a few less people continuing their work.

All technical and organizational things worked out smoothly. The Wi-Fi was stable over the whole conference, not a single complain. People liked the food (part of it was vegan), projectors and microphones worked. Minor problems were solved in record time by the house technicians. The city tour and the social event were well received judging by the feedback from the

But the most important thing, you could feel the community. Quite a few people knew each other before. But many saw others the first time in real live. It was the biggest gathering of German speaking Python folks after all. The hall way track was always well attended. People were hanging out late to talk, discuss and deepen connections. The atmosphere was positive all over the place. Everybody could feel it. No email, twitter, irc or skype comes even close to live human interaction. After all, this is what made us human over the last few hundred thousand years.

PyCon DE 2011 is also the birthplace of the Python Software Verband e.V. an organization comparable in scope to the PSF but for the German speaking Python community. It's a good start because we can build on many years of organizational experience of DZUG e.V., the German Zope User Group organization that widened its scope to become the Python Software Verband e.V.  This should give the organized German speaking Python community a head start.

Everybody left high spirited looking forward to PyCon DE 2012 that will happen. Details coming soon. 

Proposals are due tomorrow. Start one today!

We're pretty lenient around here and don't mind if you start your work the night before, unlike some of our teachers in college. In fact, we don't even mind if you turn in incomplete work by the deadline, as long as you work with us to fill in your details. If it's October 12 somewhere in this world, we'll take whatever proposals you have for PyCon 2012 and we'll start working through them to plan the 2012 conference, taking place March 7-15. PyCon's new home is Santa Clara, CA for the next two years, and we hope you can join!

If you want to be a part of the show but haven't nailed down an idea, don't worry, we already did some research. After emailing over 100 Python user groups and other Python related communities, we sifted through the results and came up with lists of talk and tutorial ideas.

PyCon is a great platform to share your projects, ideas, thoughts, or whatever else you have. The Wednesday October 12 deadline is for all tutorial and talk proposals, so start writing one up if you haven't done so already! Poster proposals are open through January 15, 2012, so focus on your last minute talks and get to posters next week :)

Submit and edit your proposals at http://us.pycon.org/2012/speaker/. Good luck!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Time is running out: PyCon 2012 submissions end in 4 days!

Makes eat time

Yup! Time is running out for PyCon 2012 talk and tutorial submissions. The call for proposals ends in 4 days!

The good news is that if it is Oct 12th anywhere in the world, you will still be able to submit proposals to the system - but you shouldn't wait until the last minute to get your proposal in.

Proposals can be in rough draft form - the program committee can, and will help you refine and improve your submission as needed. This includes talks and tutorials. Remember - accepted talk and tutorial speakers/instructors do get guaranteed registration - we've set a hard cap on registrations of 1500 attendees again this year, and by all estimations we're going to hit that cap very quickly!

If you need help thinking of ideas - check out our posts on Posters, Talks, and Tutorial ideas - there's also a post about reaching out to people you'd love to have speak at the conference. There's also the #pycontalksiwant search on twitter.

We're looking forward to seeing all of you in Santa Clara. It's going to be a great year!

Friday, October 07, 2011

You Should Propose A Poster

You really should.

The poster session is perhaps the most interactive portion of the conference, putting the presenters and the audience on the same stage (well, the floor). As the audience comes and goes amongst the rest of the posters, your presentation could go in any direction. The creator of one of your dependencies might show up. One of your competitors might show up. People who don't know anything about your project might show up. People who maximize your project to its fullest extent might show up. Guido van Rossum might show up. You never know.

The layout of the event is very open, with rows of 4'x4' poster boards, leaving plenty of room for gatherings at each board and allowing attendees to flow from poster to poster. Find one you like? Stop by, listen in on the conversation, and chime in with your questions and comments. Not interested in one? Grab a snack and check out another poster. (The delicious daily snack stations usually run near the poster room.)

Whether handwritten or printed, you'll have a chance to share your work with a great community. You can even bring a costume if you want.

What we're looking for in a poster

Posters are a relatively new concept for PyCon, making their third appearance on the schedule in 2012 after two successful runs in Atlanta. Chaired by Vern Ceder, the event has gotten better each time around, and we're expecting another hit in Santa Clara.

A good poster proposal follows all of the usual suggestions. Showing the ability to take a topic in a number of directions is likely of importance, as that's exactly what your audience will do. A solid outline of your topic is probably helpful to show that you're well versed in the topic.

Posters are really an event anyone can be a part of, especially given Python and PyCon's dynamic community. It's a place where beginners can mix it up with experts, and everyone can learn a thing or two. No matter your level of experience, if you've got something to share, there's an audience for you.

A great platform for demos

Tutorials and conference talks are generally the wrong place for demos. Those platforms are usually reserved for established topics and projects. Posters, on the other hand, are an excellent place for demos, especially hands-on ones. In fact, last year there were several demos, including one that caught many people's attention, myself included.

Robbie Clemons brought his Xbox Kinect and demoed an assistive technology project he created to track exercises for those with disabilities. Using several open source libraries, he was able to produce a really cool interactive application that he packed up and brought with him from South Carolina.

His poster does a great job of listing everything you'd want to know about the surface of the topic. He covers the use of Kinect, Python, PyOSCeleton, how those things work, what's wrong with the current tools, what their potential is, and where the work is going. From there, he was open to explain more as attendees asked questions, and he provided a bunch of demos.

I had a chance to ask Robbie a few questions about his experience, and here's what he had to say.

B: Why did you choose a poster for your presentation?

R: I felt like a poster was ideal for a first time presenter (and attendee) at PyCon, because instead of giving a talk for 30 or 45 minutes I could talk more one-on-one with people that were interested in the project. Plus, since the project involved a Kinect I wanted people to be able to come and try it for themselves, and a poster presentation seemed like the best way to get that much interaction.

B: How was the audience reception for your poster?

R: A lot of people really seemed interested and were asking all kinds of questions. People were constantly coming and going, and some would wait until the crowd had thinned out to come back and talk some more or try the demo.

B: How was your overall feeling of the poster session?

R: I thought it was great. I got to talk to a lot of people about a topic I am interested in, show that Python can be used for Kinect hacking, and let some of them try out my project on the spot.

B: Any other thoughts on your poster or the poster session in general, or the conference in general?

R: I think that a poster presentation is a great choice for anyone that doesn't have enough to talk about for a 30 minute presentation, isn't sure how many people would be interested in the topic, would like to let people try a demo, or is looking for a good way to make the transition from attendee to presenter.

Thanks a lot to Robbie -- hopefully we'll see you in Santa Clara.


We hope to receive your proposals soon, especially for the poster session. October 12, 2011 is the deadline for talk and tutorial proposals, which is right around the corner. January 15, 2012 is the deadline for posters, so you still have some time. Even if your proposal isn't 100% complete, you can still submit it. The program committee will start the review process after browsing all of the proposals, and they'll be giving you feedback and asking questions, all in the name of a better conference.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Suggest Speakers for PyCon 2012

As we step within one week of the PyCon proposal deadline, we're hoping the community can help make sure we put together the best conference possible. We've been reaching out to plenty of groups and people we know around the world, and Doug Hellmann recently posted about another approach: having you, the community, reaching out to the speakers you want to see.

His post, titled Choose Your Own (PyCon) Adventure, explains his experience as editor of Python Magazine and how he went about getting writers. One of his most successful ways was to win over potential writers was contacting them directly as individuals.

With that said, suggest away. Got a speaker you want to see? Contact them and see if they'll submit a proposal. Don't know how to get a hold of them? We'll try and track them down and see if they'll propose a talk.

Feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, use the #pycontalksiwant tag on Twitter, or email the program committee. We'll see what we can do.

Even if you can't join us March 7-15 in Santa Clara, CA, you'll probably catch the talks on the web, so everyone is the audience, and everyone is welcomed to suggest the topics and people they want to see at PyCon.

If you already have ideas for a tutorial, talk, or a proposal, October 12, 2011 is your deadline. As long as it's October 12 somewhere in the world, we'll take your submissions. A perfect proposal is always ideal, but don't fret if you're not there yet. We always work with submitters to tweak and finalize their proposals before the review process starts.