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The PyCon Blog

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PyCon is here!

Friday, April 10, 2015
Before we get under way, https://us.pycon.org/2015/onsite/ is your go-to for all things once you're at PyCon. Here are some important details and things coming up.

WiFi: SSID is "PyCon 2015" and upon joining the network you'll be presented with a popup (you may need to try to visit a site first). 

Download the Guidebook app to keep track of it all. Our schedules and events are all loaded in there, and you can build your own personal schedule, complete with notifications to keep you up to date on what talks are going on when. Head to https://guidebook.com/getit/ and install it for your device!

Lunch Menus

We put together the menus for each of the lunches and breaks, and where possible, have listed ingredients. If you've made a specific meal request on your registration, be sure to ask our friendly lunch staff for the type of meal that suits you.

Registration

Pick up your badge starting at 7 AM the next few days! The closing hours differ by day so check out the schedule.

Open Spaces

The Open Space signup boards are placed near registration at the base of the escalators, so you'll be able to plan all of the on-site meetings and discussions and talks you'd like.

5K Charity Fun Run

Join us Saturday morning for the fourth annual 5K Charity Fun Run, with the proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks Canada. Registration is handled here with at least a $20 donation.

PyLadies Auction

Saturday night is the always fun PyLadies Auction. Last year we raised over $10,000 USD for PyLadies, and we've got some great items that were donated by our sponsors and others. Check out the list to get a feel for what's on the auction block.

Job Fair

Sunday is our job fair, with participation from a ton of our sponsors. What better place to see who's hiring than the biggest Python conference around?

Code of Conduct

While you're at PyCon, please be mindful of our code of conduct, listed above and in the print guides inside each attendee bag. Contact information is available on the site, and the attendee incident guidelines are available here.

Come to the Opening Reception on Thursday!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Come celebrate with us as we kickoff the weekend with snacks and drinks at our Opening Reception in the expo hall, Thursday from 6-9 PM. Whether you spent the day in tutorials or you just got in town before the talks begin, join your fellow attendees in mingling around, chatting about what you're up to, seeing what our sponsors have on tap for the night, and getting ready for another great weekend of PyCon.

Each attendee will get a complimentary drink ticket, and we'll have various light snacks available as well. There's no registration needed, just show up and enjoy yourself!

PyCon schedule on Guidebook!

Friday, April 03, 2015
There's a lot going on at PyCon this year. If you've paid for tutorials, you have those to keep track of. Then there's the free sponsor tutorials. Then there's 95 talks going on in 5 parallel tracks. Then there's open spaces. Then there's evening stuff. Lots of stuff!

When you pick up your badge at registration we'll have paper schedules available, but as you can imagine with paper, it's not live and doesn't tell you when things update or give you reminders. That's where Guidebook comes in.

We have once again partnered with them to provide an excellent web and mobile schedule for you to keep track of everything at https://guidebook.com/guide/31995/. They also have apps for Windows, Android, and iOS available in your platform's app store.

Once you've opened the Guidebook app, search for PyCon 2015 and it'll be right at the top. Choose to get that guide and you'll be in sync.

Once you have the book loaded, you can view the master schedule all at once, or breakout schedules on topics such as "talks" for the Friday through Sunday presentation, "other events" for things like the PyCon Dinners, the PyLadies Auction, and more. 

If you see something you don't want to miss, click the + button to the right and set a reminder and it'll be added to your personal calendar. While I used to highlight all of the sessions I wanted to attend, the Guidebook app makes it a million times easier, especially with the reminders. If you need a reminder to wake up for Saturday's 5K Charity Fun Run, Guidebook can do that.

Check it out and see you in a few days!

For Microsoft, Python support extends far beyond Windows installers

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
You might have known that Python's 1.0 release came at the start of 1994, but did you know Microsoft shipped its Merchant Server 1.0 product built on Python only a few years later in 1996? Microsoft, this year's Keystone sponsor, has long been a user and supporter of Python, with a history of use within build and test infrastructure and individual users all around the company. There are even a few lawyers writing Python code.

In 2006 they introduced the world to IronPython, a .NET runtime for Python, and later the excellent Python Tools for Visual Studio plug-in in 2011. They continue to release Python code, as it's "a must-have language for any team that releases developer kits or libraries, especially for services on Azure that can be used from any operating system," according to Steve Dower, a developer on Microsoft's Python Tools team.

"Python has very strong cross-platform support, which is absolutely critical these days," says Steve. "It’s very attractive for our users to literally be able to 'write once-run anywhere.'

"The breadth of the community is also very attractive, especially the support for scientific use," he continued. Microsoft has been a significant donor to the Jupyter project (formerly IPython) as well as a platinum sponsor of the NumFOCUS Foundation.

Along with supporting those projects, they have also been providing MSDN subscriptions to the core Python team to assist with development and testing on Windows. Beyond supporting the existing developers, they've jumped in the ring themselves as one of the few companies to employ developers working on CPython itself. "Python has done an amazing job of working well on Windows, and we hope that by taking an active involvement we can push things along further," offers Steve, whose work includes being a core developer on the CPython project.


Steve's CPython work has focused around Windows issues, including an improved installer for 3.5. Additionally, the team was able to come up with a special package for Python users: Microsoft Visual C++ Compiler for Python 2.7. Due to Python 2.7 being built on the Visual C++ 2008 runtime, which is no longer supported, they created this package to provide the necessary tools and headers to continue building extension modules for Python 2.7, which will live through at least 2020 as was announced at last year's language summit.


Along with efforts on Python itself, they're hard at work on improving tooling for the upcoming Visual Studio 2015 and Python 3.5 releases. "Practically everything we do will integrate with Visual Studio in some way," says Steve of Python Tools for Visual Studio. "PTVS has been free and open-source from day one, and combined with Visual Studio Community Edition makes for a powerful, free multi-lingual IDE."

As for what's next with PTVS, Steve says, "we try and be responsive to the needs of our users, and we are an open-source project that accepts contributions, so there’s always a chance that the next amazing feature won’t even come from our team. We've also recently joined forces with the Azure Machine Learning team and are looking forward to adding more data science tooling as well.

"We want new and experienced developers alike to have the best tools, the best libraries, the best debugging and the best services without having to give up Linux support, Visual Studio, CPython, git, or whatever tools they’ve already integrated into their workflow."

When it comes to PyCon, they see it as "a learning opportunity for Microsoft, as well as a chance for us to show off some of the work we’ve been doing." "For those of us at Microsoft who always knew how great the Python community is, it’s also been great to bring our colleagues and show them.

"We love that PyCon is about building and diversifying the community, and not about sales, marketing and business deals," says Steve. If you head to their booth in the expo hall, you'll find out first hand that they're there to talk about code and building great things. They're looking forward to showing off some great new demos and have exciting new things to talk about.

The PyCon organizers thank Microsoft for another year of sponsorship and look forward to another great conference!

Fourth annual 5K Fun Run benefitting Autism Speaks

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
We're really happy to be holding our fourth annual 5K Charity Fun Run on Saturday April 11 at 7 AM, before day two of PyCon kicks off. The event was introduced in Santa Clara and has been fun for everyone involved and each year has raised money for a bunch of great causes. This year's proceeds benefit Autism Speaks Canada!

Everyone is invited to come out and join us on the course which snakes along the Port of Montreál just a short walk from the conference center and hotels. Whether you're a runner, walker, or someone who just wants to come out and support Autism Speaks, registration is available at Eventbrite for $20.


For more information about Autism Speaks Canada, see http://www.autismspeaks.ca/.
At Autism Speaks Canada, our mission is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.

We are dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

More Sponsor Workshops announced!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
As we previously wrote, signup for our free Sponsor Workshops is open and the schedule has now been completed! While registration isn't required, it helps us plan for room sizes and for drinks and snacks, so head to Eventbrite and choose as many as you want!

Wednesday morning gets under way at 9 AM with a team from Elastic taking attendees through the popular Elasticsearch distributed search engine. Honza Král will introduce the various Python clients for working with Elasticsearch, and will be joined by Logstash developer Pier-Hughes and Peter from their solutions engineering team. The full description is available at https://us.pycon.org/2015/schedule/presentation/475/.

The 3:30 PM Wednesday slot features Mark Lavin, Caleb Smith, and David Ray of Caktus Group taking the stage to share their knowledge of RapidSMS and Django. We previously wrote about how they've used SMS while building a voter registration system in Libya, so come see first hand how they do it. The talk is beginner friendly so bring a laptop to check out the code and follow along.

The last slot on Thursday, running from 3:30 to 5:00, will be a trio of talks from Google. Brian Dorsey will be on hand to show how Kubernetes can scale up your usage of Docker, complete with a live demo (he gives great demos btw). The second talk will be on CoLaboratory by Jeff Snyder, covering the project, its integration with Google Drive, and further integrations with IPython and now the Jupyter project. Finally, Alex Perry will cover the use of Python decorators within monitoring pipelines to deliver positive value with minimal impact.

Be sure to sign up today!

Get ready for Lightning Talks and Open Spaces!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
While the majority of the greater PyCon schedule consists of events that we've had calls for proposals for, there are two other big pieces to the weekend that are organized on-site in Montréal: Lightning Talks and Open Spaces.

Lightning Talks are five minute talks that take place at the beginning and/or end of the day in 30 or 60 minute blocks. We've had some amazing talks packed into such a small slot, either by people who planned them ahead, or even some that were conceived at lunch that day. The Django project was first introduced to the public in a lightning talk at PyCon 2004. Docker was first demoed in a lightning talk at PyCon 2013. It's definitely an event you don't want to miss, and there are five sessions worth of them: one Friday, and two each Saturday and Sunday.

If you're interested in giving a Lightning Talk, be on the lookout for the signup boards near the registration desks that you'll need to get your name onto. Unlike last year, we're not doing pre-selection for these talks, so while we encourage people to prepare ahead of time (but also to spontaneously do them), selection will be determined based on the boards.

Open Spaces are a way to organize a gathering of people to talk about a particular topic. With 2500 attendees, PyCon is a great venue to meet with others interested in the same topics as you and discuss problems, come up with solutions, learn new things, and make cool stuff. All it takes is two people to have a discussion, put it up on the board, grab a room, and get started. Before you know it, others with a shared interest will have joined and you're all working together to make an impact on the topic or each other. It's pretty great.

As with Lightning Talks, Open Spaces are organized in the same manner: the signup boards near the registration desks.

PyCon 2015 - Explore Montreal

Explore Montréal

Sponsored by Caktus Group

PyCon 2015 is in the center of an exciting city full of great food, culture, and history. It would be a shame to not check it out while you're in town!
In addition to the conference's five tracks of talks, there will be a sixth track – an opportunity for you to explore Montréal. These events are open to all PyCon attendees and those traveling with them to PyCon. 

WhatWhen
Free guided tour of Old MontréalFriday April 10h, 10:30am - 1pm
Free guided tour of Plateau Mont-RoyalSaturday April 11th, 10:30am - 1pm
Your own discovery of Montreal using DucklingSunday April 12th, 10:30am - 1pm

Guided Tour of Old Montréal (Friday)

The conference venue is adjacent to Old Montréal, the historical part of the city. This tour will take you through narrow cobblestone streets lined with buildings that date as far back as the 1600s. We'll pass by many souvenir shops, galleries, and restaurants, as well as take in some of Montreal's landmarks. Since we're not too far from the conference centre, grabbing lunch at one of the restaurants along Rue St-Paul before heading back is a tasty possibility! You'll be responsible for paying for your own lunch.

Eventbrite - PyCon 2015: Explore Montréal

Guided Tour of Plateau Mont-Royal (Saturday)

One of the most well known neighbourhoods of Montreal, the Plateau Mont-Royal is characterized by brightly coloured houses, cafés, book shops, and a laissez-faire attitude. It's the location of some famous attractions on Saint Laurent Boulevard, including Schwartz's Deli (famous for its Montreal smoked meat), and a weekend street fair during the summer that sees extremely crowded streets. In 1997, Utne Reader rated it one of the 15 "hippest" neighbourhoods in North America. Note: This tour will required 2 metro tickets ($6.00). If you can, please buy them before the tour to avoid line ups.
Eventbrite - PyCon 2015: Explore Montréal

Duckling Outings

Within a 10 minute walk, a world of choice awaits you. To find out where others are going and to join them, use Duckling, brought to you by Caktus Group.
Caktus made Duckling because of how much we love the impromptu outings at PyCon. We wanted to build an app that helps us focus on fun, not logistics. Duckling makes it easy for you to find and join outings during PyCon or to create your own.

Happy Exploring!

 

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