PyCon 2018 is over, and of course I enjoyed the hell out of it. I tweeted a bit this year, so I’ll tell the story partly with tweets.
I did a talk about Big-O notation: Big-O: How Code Slows as Data Grows. People seemed to like it. I was especially gratified when people told me that the “sitting at the adult table” comment exactly described them, and the talk helped. Nice.
I planned on a juggling open space this year, and brought equipment for it. Getting it through airport security was fun:
TSA swabbed all 18 of my juggling beanbags. When I mentioned the clubs, the TSA guy picked one up and said, “If you can take down a plane with one of these, more power to you.” #pycon2018— Ned Batchelder (@nedbat) May 10, 2018
And everyone has a wise-crack:
When I told my wife I was bringing 18 beanbags for a #pycon2018 juggling open-space, she said, “Good thing it’s not a bowling open-space!” Friday 7pm, room 9. 🤹♀️— Ned Batchelder (@nedbat) May 11, 2018
Eric Holscher proposed a rule of thumb: if this is your Nth PyCon, then you have to meet N new people every day. My strategy was at breakfast and lunch, when wandering around looking for a table to sit at, choose one with no one I know, and with people that don’t look like me.
Hillel Wayne did a great talk about advanced testing with Hypothesis and contracts, but he also excelled in a different way:
One goof by the program committee this year: it seemed like often same-topic talks were scheduled in the same time slot. There were four testing talks all scheduled at the same time. One was by Justin Crown (“WHAT IS THIS MESS?” — Writing tests for pre-existing code bases), who I met in the hallway:
The juggling open space was great, a lot (15?) of people showed up, including Christy Heaton who I had met that morning at breakfast. We threw things all over the place:
One of the interesting experiences at PyCon is finally meeting face-to-face with people that you’ve built a strong online-only friendship with, like Mariatta Wijaya.
It’s fun to be captured by Kenneth Reitz, but maybe not outside where it’s windy?
Looking like a … ? https://t.co/swQhBeG29T— Ned Batchelder (@nedbat) May 12, 2018
David Beazley showed off how to use the latest meta-programming tools in Python 3.6 to implement a parser generator:
Ying Li’s keynote was a masterful explanation of web security as told through a children’s book. Then Qumisha Goss (who I met at breakfast!) did a great keynote about teaching urban kids programming at a public library:
Great quote from Q Goss at #PyCon2018: No one has ever become less great by helping someone else become great.— Gre7g Luterman (@Gre7gL) May 12, 2018
Another day we had an impromptu juggling session, helped along by penny-whistle accompaniment by Justin Myles Holmes:
Turns out this is conference chair Ernest Durbin’s car:
PyCon did a great job including everyone. At registration, you could choose a ribbon to attach to your badge that announced your preferred pronouns. Also:
I hung around for one day of sprints, which I used mostly to talk with people. Trying to help pylint with an installation issue, I was introduced to check-manifest. Where has it been all my life?
If you are looking for videos to watch, in addition to the ones linked above, take a look at these:
- Lisa Roach: Demystifying the Patch Function.
- James Bennett: A Bit about Bytes: Understanding Python Bytecode.
- Allison Kaptur: Love Your Bugs.
- Lightning talks are always great, but this year the Sunday morning lightning talks also featured a masterful telling of an extended shaggy-dog joke by Harry Percival in the interstices between the talks.
It’s kind of dissatisfying writing about PyCon, because it’s hard to include everything that happened. It doesn’t feel like a technical conference, it feels like a family reunion. I belong to a few different sub-communities and I kept shifting from one to the next: Boston people, ex-Boston people, jugglers, testing geeks, IRC people, meetup organizers, open source developers, and so on.
And I’m sure I’ve forgotten about some amazing piece of the four days. If it was with you, I’m sorry!
It’s always a great place to find your tribe, re-energize, cement old friendships, make new ones, learn, teach, and have fun. Next year in Cleveland!