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The PyCon Blog

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Signup for PyCon Dinners led by Jessica McKellar and Brandon Rhodes!

Monday, February 23, 2015
While the cost of PyCon includes breakfast and lunch as well as coffee and snacks, dinner is on your own, and for good reason. It's Montréal! Get out and enjoy the city, find some good food and drink, and hang out with new groups of people.

To make it even easier, this year we've organized another series of PyCon Dinners, one led by Jessica McKellar and one by Brandon Rhodes. These events are a great way to wrap up the first day of PyCon, taking place Friday April 10 at 6 PM, with a great three course meal with new and old friends. As 60% of attendees surveyed last year stated it was their first PyCon, these dinners are a great way to kick off the weekend and make new connections and setup plans for more dinners or other late night festivities.

Jessica is a director of the Python Software Foundation and has been instrumental in outreach efforts around the Python community, especially when it comes to PyCon. She's also a contributor to Twisted and has worked a lot with the OpenHatch project. She's a very experienced speaker with a ton of knowledge and information to share, and will make an excellent host for an excellent meal.

Brandon is a returning veteran of running a PyCon Dinner, having run last year's as a Python trivia game. He's also an experienced speaker of the Python conference circuit, and will be the chair of PyCons 2016 and 2017 when we head to Portland, Oregon after this year's work as co-chair.

Tickets are required for either dinner, with the meal price subsidized by the PSF for a cost of $45. Each prix fixe meal includes a delicious starter, main course, and dessert, with options available for dietary needs.

Check out the options on https://us.pycon.org/2015/events/dinners/ and sign up today? You can add a dinner ticket to your existing registration at https://us.pycon.org/2015/registration/.

If you don't have tickets to PyCon yet, hurry up because they are selling out very very soon.

PyCon 2015 Education Summit - Talk Schedule

Friday, February 20, 2015

We are pleased to announce the speakers/talks for the 2015 Python Education Summit, held during PyCon on Thursday April 9th, 2015, is a gathering of teachers and educators focused on bringing coding literacy, through Python, to as broad a group of audiences as possible. We invite educators from all venues to consider joining the discussion, share insights, learn new techniques and tools and generally share their passion for education. We are looking for educators from many venues: authors; schools, colleges, universities; community-based workshops; online programs; and government.

Talk Schedule

Please take a look at the full list of talks. If you are interested in joining us please visit our registration page. We hope to see you there!
Note:  All Scheduled Speakers are eligible for 'Early Bird pricing' for attendance at PyCon. 

Two Rounds of Lightning Talks

In addition to the scheduled talks, we will have two rounds of Lightning Talks (morning and afternoon). We are taking early bird sign-ups for the morning round. Sign-ups for the afternoon round will be on-site.

If you are presenting; want to sign up for round one of the Lightning Talks; OR otherwise have questions, please contact Chalmer Lowe or Jessica Nickel

What's New with the Sprints

Monday, February 16, 2015
Never tried sprinting at PyCon? Try it this year!


As long as there has a been a PyCon, the sprints have been part of it. This year the grand tradition of sprinting will continue with an ever growing list of projects taking advantage of the venue and the right-after-PyCon timing to come together and write some serious code.


Sprints have always welcomed newcomers, because both sides benefit - the projects gain from fresh eyes and brains, and the new sprinters usually find that they gain enormous insights into a particular problem or library, into Python, and even into coding in general.

While sprinting has always been a great thing to try, this year we're adding some features to make it an even better experience for first time sprinters.


First of all, we'll be holding an "Intro to Sprinting" workshop on Sunday night before the sprints start. Presented by the folks from Open Hatch, this session will help bring you up to speed on what to expect while sprinting, how to participate, as well as what projects are particularly newcomer friendly. We'll have soft drinks and snacks at the workshop, and once we're done, we'll organize a few groups to go out to dinner, so you can connect with your fellow first time sprinters (and maybe some people from the sprints). If you're interested in this workshop, please visit our registration page to let us know.


Second, we'll be working with the sprint leaders to identify the sprints that are most newcomer friendly, and giving them whatever advice we can help them welcome newcomers to their projects.


Finally, we'll have a help table set up for at least the first day of the sprints, to give you any help with the sprints you might need, from installing and using common tools to suggestions on how to get the most out sprinting or just talking about how it's going.


Great! I'm interested in sprinting, what do I do?


The first thing to do would be to make sure you have a place to stay for the extra days. If you've booked a room through the PyCon registration system, you'll need to contact the registration team at pycon8-reg@cteusa.com as soon as possible to request the extra nights. The sprinting itself (along with lunch every day) is free, so your only expenses are your room and other meals.


Once you have that taken care of, the registration form for the Intro to Sprinting tutorial is here. This is also free so please sign up and join us.


But What about the Veteran Sprinters?


Not to worry, we didn't forget you! We do want to keep the sprints fresh, and to keep improving them for veterans as well as newcomers. To do that we'll be making a few additions and few tweaks.


We'll be moving the time lunch is served to be a bit later, in the 1:30 or 2:00 pm range, because we've noticed that after a week of PyCon people tend not to get up quite as early (go figure). In addition most of the sprint lunches will be buffet style to let people eat and chat at their own pace.


We'll also be making lunch on Monday more of a reception, complete with a few remarks by a guest speaker.


So plan to sprint!

You can check out the projects currently planning to sprint at the PyCon Sprints page and if you're interested in the sprinting workshop just sign up at https://events.openhatch.org/events/5. And get ready for some serious sprinting right after PyCon!

Signup for our free Young Coders tutorial today!

Friday, February 06, 2015
We're once again excited to offer our free tutorials for kids! Called "The Young Coder: Let's Learn Python", we invite kids 12 and over to join us for a day of learning how to program using Python. 

We first offered the Young Coders tutorial at PyCon 2013 in Santa Clara and it was an immediate hit. The followup blog post from that event is the most popular post in our blog's history. Kids came from all over to attend it. One flew from South Africa and helped teach other kids. I gave my laptop to a girl who took the tutorial and wanted to attend Richard Jones' PyGame tutorial the next day. Overall, it was so awesome to see kids so excited about learning, about computers, and about Python.

Last year, our second year offering the tutorial and our first year in Montréal, the tutorial was offered both in French and English. We're going to be offering the same this year: a French version of the tutorial will take place on Saturday April 11, and an English version takes place the next day, on Sunday April 12.

Whether you're bringing your kids along for the trip to Montréal or you're local and want to expose your kids to programming, this is a great way to get them interested. The curriculum has now been taught and refined at several events over the last several years, and the kids love it. After learning the basics of Python, through the basic data types and loops and comparisons, the end result is creating a game using the PyGame library. Having been around the room when the tutorial ends, it's one of the best times of PyCon, to see a room full of bright eyed kids who just learned how to tell a computer what to do.

Would your kids be interested in this? Are you a kid who is interested in this? Sign up today! (If you're actually a kid, have a parent sign you up)

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pycon-2015-young-coders-tickets-15264181578

The tutorials start at 9 AM, break for lunch around 1 PM, and wrap up around 4 PM. Registration is limited to please sign up if you're interested.

See the full details of the program at https://us.pycon.org/2015/events/letslearnpython/

Django Carrots Workshop – PyCon Edition!

Monday, February 02, 2015

A guest post by Geek Girls Carrots.

Django Carrots – PyCon Edition is a one-day, intensive, free programming workshop for anyone who wants to learn how to code.
Organized by Geek Girls Carrots (GGC), the Django Carrots curriculum emphasizes individual contact between the student and mentor (before, during and after the workshop), a horizontal structure (students learn from mentors but also from each other), and sharing general knowledge about communities, organization and internet resources to help our participants after the workshop.

How can I sign up?

​Please fill out this registration formRegistration is open from February 2nd to March 1st. Everyone who registered should get a response before March 5th. You do not need a ticket for PyCon to attend the Django Carrots workshop during PyCon, but we strongly encourage you to attend the conference as well.

What do I need during the workshop?

  • laptop & charger
Remember: You don’t need to have any additional knowledge about programming to attend (we mean that!). The most important thing is your motivation and readiness to learn!

Who are the mentors?

​Our mentors are active programmers working in leading tech companies and universities in Europe and North America. In addition to knowledge and job experience, they are skilled educators who care about diversity and cultural changes in the tech industry.

We look forward to coding with you in Montreal!


Geek Girls Carrots ­is a global community and social enterprise focused on connecting, teaching and inspiring women in Tech and IT. We create community by organizing meetings, workshops, hackathons and other events, gathering people to share their knowledge and experience. We gather in 22 cities, including Warsaw, NYC, London, Berlin, Luxembourg and Sydney.

A look at how Caktus Group built PyCon 2015, Libya's SMS voter registration, and more

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Each July, the launch of the upcoming year's conference website is a huge moment for the PyCon team and community. It's a beacon to everyone that another PyCon is on the way, and a sign that the various teams that shape the event are already hard at work to prepare for it. For yet another year, we have a beautiful site in front of us: https://us.pycon.org/2015, designed and implemented by long time sponsor Caktus Group.

As with years past, the site is built on Django and Symposion, a conference management framework in use by several conferences in the Python community and otherwise. Caktus' prior involvement with that combination of technologies meant "we were able to concentrate on bug fixes and small features that make a big difference to the conference organizers," according to Rebecca Muraya, Caktus' lead developer on the PyCon 2015 site. Having been around the block with that stack has resulted in a higher quality site, and left more time to spend on the visual aspects of the site.

"One of the few requirements was the design should have color and energy and something that tied to the Palais [des congrès de Montréal]," Trevor Ray, lead designer, said of our request to include the vibrant colors found inside and out of the venue. Beyond the structure, what happens inside was equally as important to represent in the design, especially the talks - both on stage and in the hallways.


"Fueled by this idea, we focused on creating a design that communicated the idea of diversity, mingling crowds, and the energy you feel while you’re at a truly great conference. We wanted the colors to talk about PyCon, not only the Palais," said Trevor of the flowing snake-like colored ribbon.

Having spent nearly all of my time outside of talks the last few years, I saw this immediately. The free flowing nature of the color stream crossing back on itself, looping around, randomly appearing out of the sides as you scroll down the front page - that's a walk through the halls of PyCon to me. The size, direction, and shape of each color in the ribbon changing represents the different conversations with different groups going in slightly different directions at each step.

"It was both a great challenge and a wonderful opportunity to create a design for PyCon 2015. With the great feedback of the PyCon organizers and the input from the entire Caktus team I think the project has been a great success," said Trevor.

All the while, Caktus has been busy continuing work with iN DEMAND, one of the largest providers of pay-per-view and video on demand services. According to Hao Nguygen, through their work with iN DEMAND they've uploaded 1.3 petabytes of movies into the system. They're also working with the International Rescue Committee, a group which helped over 13 million people affected by humanitarian crises around the world. "Our portfolio really emphasizes projects that are complex and highly scalable since that, for us, is where it gets interesting, where high quality code matters most," says Hao.

One of the most interesting pieces of their portfolio is the work they've done to implement SMS voter registration in Libya. Due to the ubiquity of SMS technology in Libya, where there are 163 cell phone subscriptions per 100 Libyans as of 2013, the government mandated that registration be carried out via SMS.

In order to build the system, Caktus went with RapidSMS, a Django-based SMS framework. "We’ve implemented RapidSMS applications for UNICEF in Rwanda, Malawi, and Zambia," said Tobias McNulty, CEO of Caktus, experience which helped them build the Libyan system that saw 1.5 million registrants across two elections.

Tobias went on to mention how political instability raised the stakes not only for delivery of the project within time and budget constraints, but how that instability led to the need for a system that
didn't rely on in-person registration. A Caktus case study mentioned 78 in-person registration stations having been forcibly closed by violence in December 2013, among the many reasons why an SMS system was needed by the Libyan High National Elections Commission.

"Our software integrates with Vumi, an application focused on connecting to mobile network operators in a very scalable fashion," said Vinod Kurup, Caktus' lead developer on the registration project. The application is built on top of Twisted, with heavy use of Celery to offload their message processing. Deployment is managed with Fabric and Salt. They also got a lot of use out of Django and a host of Django libraries under the hood.


"As you can see, one of the major reasons that Python is attractive is that it can handle so many diverse aspects of the application, from the web, to the SMS backend, to asynchronous processing, to mobile network connectivity, to deployment," continued Vinod. "The combination of simplicity and power made it an obvious choice for this project."


Beyond development projects, Caktus is currently building out classroom space and curriculum for their upcoming Python and Django courses. Called Astro Code School, the three and twelve week courses are heading for a spring time launch, with plans for corporate training as well.

As for PyCon itself, Caktus is looking forward to getting back to Montreal for another year. "Aside from manning our booth, we’re hoping to attend talks, say hello to folks we know, and meet new people," says Hao, so go up and introduce yourself. They're also sponsoring Django Girls and PyLadies as well!

Django Girls Workshop @ PyCon 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A guest post by Django Girls.



Django Girls is a non-profit organization that organizes free, one-day workshops to teach women who have never programmed before how to build their first web application using Python, Django, HTML and CSS.
You are invited to the PyCon 2015 Django Girls Workshop on April 9th, just before PyCon 2015 starts, at the Palais de Congres in Montreal. As a Django Girls workshop attendee, you will be provided a free ticket to PyCon which takes place from April 10th to April 12th, so you can dive deeper into the wonderful world of programming and get to know our amazing community.
You don’t need to have any programming experience - All you need to do is bring your laptop and your motivation to learn. You will work at your own pace in groups of 4 (3 attendees and one coach) Your coach will walk you through the Django Girls tutorial (http://tutorial.djangogirls.org)
If you would like to learn how to build your first web application (a blog) with Python and Django please check out the Django Girls website and apply. Applications are now open and will remain open until February 8th. Selected participants will be notified by February 22nd. If you have questions or need help, please send an email to pyconus@djangogirls.org.
Please spread the word about the workshop! We look forward to seeing you in Montreal!

Within just 5 months, Django Girls has grown from a series of workshops into a whole new community. There have been over 15 workshops in many different countries so far, which have brought almost 450 new women into the community.
 

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