Posted 2 years ago

My Welcome Non-Committee

I’ve been home from PyCon US for three weeks, which has given me plenty of time to reflect on the experience. Now that the Easter break has started, I also have the time to put some of those thoughts into words.

PyCon US this year was huge, or so I was told. Many of the 2250+ attendees were, like me, making their first appearance. Maybe consequently, there was a strong theme of ‘welcome’ for the conference. Stormy Peters encouraged returning attendees to meet somebody new during her keynote address. People wore funny hats and called themselves the Welcome Un-Committee. And so on.

As great as these initiatives were, what made a strong difference for me was the group of people who consciously went out of there way to welcome me to PyCon. Sort of my own, personal, Welcome Non-Committee. What I want to do now is publicly acknowledge and thank them for this. It’s quite a long list of people, so after a couple of weeks of soul searching I created a list of five names that have made a lasting impression.

David, without doubt one of the friendliest, engaging persons I have ever met. One day I hope to visit Canada and be able to see one of the modular, futuristic, signage displays you work on. Thank you.

Maciej, made joining PyPy for sprints the welcoming, entertaining and over all fun experience it was. The enthusiasm you imparted on me leaves me feel guilty for not working on PyPy even while I write this. Thank you.

Taavi, even after giving his highly rated presentation to PyCon was happy to have a conversation with me on the topic at dinner. I still smile when recalling the steady stream of often hilarious ‘WTF’ on NumPy edge cases you delivered at the sprints. Thank you.

Jonas, kept me company during the final hours of sprinting and shared some beers supplied by my travel allowance. I enjoyed our gentle jibing over whose fault it is that pymaging runs slower on PyPy.

Andrew, a fellow Australian, government employee, PyCon first time attendee. Being able to share the roller coaster that is PyCon tutorials, conference and sprints while spending a fortnight away from our families made an enormous difference. Thank you.

Of course, there is a very long other names that I could/should have included.

  • Simon, I really enjoyed discussing all things radio with you.
  • Dan, I’m amazed you chose to share a drink with me after the sprints wrapped up.
  • Michael, o.m.g, I met the guy behind mock and unittest!
  • Tavis, I was relieved to find someone who’d attempted a presentation that’s a little unusual, although dictating code is so much cooler …
  • James, o.m.g, I met the Eldarion guy!
  • Yarko, such positive enthusiasm is rare and inspirational. That and packing the swag bag was a blast.

As Steve Holden said, “people come for the programming language and stay for the community”. Each of you, as well as all the persons I was unable to name above, are that community for me. Thank you. I hope we meet again.

Posted 2 years ago

This is one sad panda.

NERF and other projectile weapons (toy or otherwise) have been banned in the office. I guess this is the final cease fire for The Great Office War.

Viva Le Resistance!

Posted 2 years ago

Missing the basics

If asked what you would miss from your modern life style, how would you answer? The internet? Your mobile phone? Perhaps electricity? Would you have considered answering with running water?

Yesterday we arrived home from a long weekend away to discover a leaking pipe. Fortunately it was a small leak and (we believe) fairly recent. Unfortunately it was inside the brick exterior wall. As we discovered it at the end of the day, we had to wait till the next day for a plumber to come and repair it. And so the mains tap was turned off.

In the hours that followed turning off the main water supply I realised just how much I take running water for granted. Simple practices such as washing hands and cleaning teeth became vastly more inconvenient. I was grateful to have done a load of washing almost as soon as we got home.

The pipe is repaired now, the baby is bathed and life has quickly returned to a comfortable existence. Hopefully in the future though I will better appreciate what those less fortunate than us don’t have with regard to clean, running and drinkable water.

Posted 2 years ago

Hidden Features

How do you wind down after a weekend whirl wind interstate visit? By perusing the Hidden features of Python thread on Stack Overflow of course!

Ok, so strictly speaking it wasn’t for winding down, more that the farm has incredibly limited wireless internet. That and I was unable to fit my laptop in amongst the other 47kg of luggage that comprises the family Iles travelling road show.

Seriously though, the thread has some impressive answers. I’m surprised it hasn’t made it onto Jesse Noller's Good to Great Python Reads yet.

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago

Wikipedia book creator

I stumbled upon a most welcome new feature on Wikipedia the other night. The Wikipedia Book Creator.

Wikipedia now enables users to create their own books from a compilation of wikipedia articles. Books can be downloaded as PDFs or printed through Pedia Press. 10% of the sales of printed copies goes to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Here’s my first book; String Algorithms, a collection of string searching and matching algorithms. I strongly recommend checking out the Aho-Corasick method.

Posted 2 years ago

Where does heapq belong now?

Two of my favorite featues in Python’s standard library are namedtuple and heapq. Namedtuple resides in the collections module, while heapq is a module in its own right.

While heapq predates collections. The standard library has never been considered a fossilized structure. Reorganisation has (and will) take place when necessary.

So, is it time to relocate heapq to a logical home in collections?

Posted 2 years ago
My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
Posted 2 years ago

Why I do the things I do.

Posted 2 years ago

No convergence for Chrome

Looks like Chrome wont be getting native Convergence support, which is not really surprising. More interesting though, Chrome could get an API for “controlling certificate decisions”. This would make it possible to add support for Convergence, Perspectives or maybe even bittorrent based peer-to-peer notarisation as a Chrome extension. It will be interesting to see if someone steps up and provides a patch to add this API.