PyCon 2010


It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Atlanta, and I’m on my way home. I came down Thursday to:

  1. Raise money for Software Carpentry.
  2. Get people excited about Basie.
  3. Get people excited about UCOSP.
  4. Talk with Georgia Tech's Mark Guzdial about computer science education.

#4 actually happened first. Mark picked me up Friday morning; we chatted for a while, then I spent an hour with some other faculty before giving my evidence-based software engineering talk. It was fun, and I came away from my discussion with Mark with half a dozen leads to follow up.

#1 is most important to me personally—I really want to spend a year upgrading the course after I leave U of T at the end of this term—but I didn’t have much luck. The people I spoke to were sympathetic, but it’s been a hard 18 months for everyone financially, and there are a lot of other good causes clamoring for attention.

I put less time into #2 than I probably should have, but still got some good feedback (which I’ve posted on the Basie blog). Long story short, if we can make Basie faster and provide a Trac-to-Basie migration tool, our prospects are good.

I wasn’t thinking of #3 (UCOSP) when I proposed my talk, but it’s what people were most interested in. Several students and professors said that they would like to be involved; the trick now is to find money to hire a half-time admin to take care of fundraising and organization. If you have $35K you can spare, please let me know. (And my slides are up if you’re interested.)

The best part of the trip? Talking to people I’ve only ever met electronically, or haven’t seen since my last PyCon eight years ago. Some of the discussion was about programming, but not a lot (since I don’t actually program any more). Mostly it was about kids, careers, and the meaning of life—all the catching up you do with people that you really wish you got to see more often.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Atlanta, and I’m on my way home…

Later: video of my lightning talk on Friday evening about yet another collaborative O’Reilly book (this one on software architecture) is available at—check about 9 minutes in.