PyOhio - So much awesome in so little time

JoDee and I rode down with Rick to PyOhio 2011 (which was near the end of July this year). I always have a great time during PyOhio, and look forward to meeting up with everyone down there in Columbus. Yes, we vacation in Ohio.

PyOhio has been growing by leaps and bounds since it's inception, thanks in no small part to the volunteers like Catherine Devlin, Eric Floehr, and the rest of the tireless folks that help make PyOhio run as smoothly as it does. Thanks to the efforts of the PyOhio crew, there were T-Shirts and bags for those who registered early (and a smart looking T-Shirt and bag combo they are; perfect for accessorizing any geek). The list of sponsors was also quite amazing, and I'm thrilled that my former employer Geeknet had a presence there.

On Friday, Rick, JoDee and I walked over to a very fancy restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, when we left, it began to rain. And rain. And rain hard. When we got back, we were completely soaked. We all looked like participants in some wet T-shirt contest, and my shoes were soaked beyond belief. After getting back to the hotel and drying off, I paddled down to the lobby to meet with Rick for an impromptu Bookie sprint.

The next morning we headed over to the conference. JoDee tried to sit in on the Python 101 talk, but the room was pretty claustrophobic with all of the people in there, so she came back out. She was crestfallen that she couldn't stay in there (and I don't blame her, as later I sat in on the Panda3D talk in there, and felt rather claustrophobic in there). She still wants to learn Python, though, since the astronomy community has picked it up as a replacement for FORTRAN, but it wasn't meant to be.

We met up with Ben Rousch in the round room, as he was prepping his talk "Django and Google App Engine: Why I'm using Flask and Amazon EC2". Also caught up with my former work-mate Dave Brondsema, which was cool. He was there talking about the new open-sourced hotness at Geeknet called Allura (aka: Sourceforge Beta). Having seen this project grow up, I'm thrilled with how far it's come.

Rick and I sat in on Chad Whitacre's Aspen Framework talk. It's pretty interesting, though I'm not sure if I'd use it. Seems to combine some of the problems of PHP into Python, since the templates are combined with the model / controller code. I'll have to check it out more to see if my opinion still holds.

After lunch, I sat in on Peter Carswell's Panda3D talk. Panda3D is a very cool framework for quickly creating 3D games. During the talk, I exported a blender model of Sally (the monkey head) and had a ring of monkey heads displayed. Definitely checking this framework out more when I have a chance.

Next JoDee and I went to hear Rick Harding preach the goodness of SQLAlchemy. Definitely watch the video when it becomes available, because SQLAlchemy is awesome for typing objects and databases together, and Rick is awesome at explaining the nuances of how to make this all work together. Unfortunately, his talk was in the same claustrophobic room as the Panda3D and Python 101 talks, and around that time the air conditioning for the building turned off. So what should have been an engaging second-half with people working through Rick's tutorial code turned into a diaspora as folks looked for other places to hang out.

I walked JoDee back to the hotel where she had her own adventures (ask her about them. ;) ) and arrived back in time for the lightning talks. After which, we headed over to Emma's happy hour (free beer!), where I got to meet up with Chris Everest, one of my former Geeknet co-workers, and super-awesome guy. From there it was on to Subway (free subs!) and proceeded to have an amazing Bookie sprint with no less than a dozen folks working on Bookie. Truly awesome. As Rick and I walked back to the hotel, we were both giddy with excitement. The only way we could have been happier is if fireworks were going off in the distance. Fortunately, the nearby fair provided said fireworks.

Sunday rolled around, and we slowly rolled with it. After checking out of the hotel, we went back to PyOhio (which started after noon). Taavi Burns had a great presentation on evolving an internal web service, which I'll have to watch again to fully appreciate (lots of great content). From thee I went to watch Morgan Goose talk about Fabric from a sysadmin perspective. Definitely some awesome concepts there (especially the comment about using it to help customize virtual machine instances. Hmmmm). I took a small break and then finished off the day with Isaac Kelly's Creating Web APIs that are a joy to use. Definitely going to need to see the video again. Lots of good information.

Unfortunately, we had to get on the road, so after saying our goodbyes, we hit the road again.

I can't say enough good things about PyOhio. If you have even the inkling of wanting to learn Python, or want to see what the fuss is about, definitely plan on heading there next year. Also, check out the videos of the talks (I know there were several talks that I wanted to attend that I'll be checking out, including the one where Python is ported to the Atari ST. (Hopefully the video for that will be up soon).

Thanks again to everyone at PyOhio. Hoping to see you again next year!


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