Monday, August 29, 2011

New PyTexas Website!

We have a new PyTexas website!

It looks almost exactly like the blogspot site (which has a new URL btw at, but seriously, it's not built using Blogspot.:)

The new site is built using the same Python-based Django/Pinax Symposion software used to create the US PyCon 2011 website, as well as DjangoCon 2011 and PyOhio 2011. This will allow us to soon start enabling many of the same features as those websites, most importantly the talk schedule.

Thanks go to Glen Zangirolami of Houston for all the technical setup of putting this site together, including creating developer environment VirtualBox machines to make it easy for others to contribute and test changes. Let us know if you're interested in helping out!

The code for the new website is in the PyTexas organization on GitHub. If you're interested in contributing, let me know and I'll add you to the team. We can help you get the development environment set up.

Currently I'm the primary maintainer of the page content of the new site, as well as the blog and the wiki. I need help! There's a lot of info about PyTexas which I simply have not had time to post in a presentable fashion. (For example, Snoball is hosting a big party on Saturday evening...that goes somewhere on the website, right?!)

Now the family of PyTexas websites has a URL organization which looks like this:

There is also an IRC on Freenode, at #pytexas.  Hey, and don't forget to join the PyTexas mailing list.

Hey, btw...we have over 150 registrations for PyTexas. This thing is becoming a monster which I can barely keep up with (I have a full time job which is running out of vacation days!). Please let me know if you can help out; there is a lot to get ready in the next two weeks!  I want to have a meeting soon with volunteers and get all the tasks documented.

Monday, August 8, 2011

10 Reasons You Should Attend PyTexas 2011

Registration is Now Open

Please do stop by the registration page and fill it out ASAP.  PyTexas is free and open to the public, and the form takes less than a minute to fill out!  Even if you can't make it this year, please register to let us know you count yourself as an interested party for future years.

10 Reasons You Should Attend PyTexas 2011

If you're on the fence about attending, here are 10 reasons you should attend PyTexas, in no particular order:

Excellent variety of presentations and topics. The schedule has a lot of awesome talks planned. Here is the current draft of the schedule, and we're continuing to work to make it even better. Watch for some surveys coming up to gauge your interest in various talks, panels, sprints, etc.

Socialize with the Texas Python community, and experience the kind of energy and ideas that PyCon and PyTexas are known for. This is a very friendly community animated with lively ideas, and I'm confident everyone will have a great time.

Receive a free PyTexas 2011 t-shirt, which has a great design by Dave Birch of College Station. Here's a near final draft of the front and of the back (the Enthought logo is missing but will be added). If you're a youngster confused by how the imagery relates to Python, go watch an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the groundbreakingly absurd British sketch comedy which inspired the name of the Python programming language.

One free O'Reilly ebook per attendee. You'll receive one free ebook of your choosing from the O'Reilly complete catalog. O'Reilly ebooks are DRM free, and you can read them on a wide variety of devices. Thanks to O'Reilly Media for this generous gift to each PyTexas attendee!

Prizes drawings. So far we have plans to give out print books from O'Reilly Media and No Starch Press.  In addition we'll give away a Wing IDE license from Wingware. However, additional ideas are in the offing; if we have sponsor money left over we might add a nifty additional prize or two. For the latest, check out our prizes page on the tab at the top of this page.

Open Space slots in the schedule allow you to create ad hoc discussions or informal presentations of your own choosing, unconference style (similar to BarCamp). Bruce Eckel has created a screencast explaining the PyCon Open Space concept, what they are, how they work, and how to make the most of your time. It is a must see.  So make PyTexas yours by using an Open Space to create an event on whatever topic you wish.

Sponsor Expo. We have a lot of excellent sponsors this year who have generously contributed financially to PyTexas, several of whom will be setting up booths and tables at the conference.

Lightning Talks. These are five minute presentations crammed together back to back, and are frequently one of the most popular and entertaining events at PyCon and PyTexas.

Strengthen the local Python community. When we come together as a community, we can accomplish great things and provide mutual support in areas such as professional development and networking, fun projects, and general socializing.

Supportive Venue. Texas A&M provides a great environment to meet and is interested making PyTexas a successful conference. Python has become an important part of the curriculum, and we expect involvement from both faculty and students. Their willingness and interest helps make PyTexas possible. TAMU will provide free wifi access, and even allows food and drink in the halls and classrooms! PyTexas can run till 10pm in the evening if we want.

PyTexas 2011 general registration is now open!

Please do stop by the registration page and fill it out ASAP.  PyTexas is free and open to the public, and the form takes less than a minute to fill out!  Even if you can't make it this year, please register to let us know you count yourself as an interested party for future years.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Which O'Reilly Books Should be PyTexas Prizes?

This year, O'Reilly Media will sponsor PyTexas 2011 by offering both ebooks and print books as prizes.

  • Every attendee will receive one free ebook of their choosing (DRM free!)
  • We will have prize drawings for the print books

O'Reilly has asked which print books to ship to PyTexas. Please fill out this survey to provide feedback on which print books should be included.

This survey has no impact on which ebook you receive personally for attending PyTexas--you will pick that out separately after attending PyTexas. This is for our prize drawings of printed books.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

PyTexas 2011 Grab Bag: News, Help Wanted, and Jeff Rush Alert

There's been a lot of PyTexas activity over the past week and I've barely had time to post details about progress and plans. The new website/blog has been an indispensable tool for building our public presence and sponsors are continuing to step forward.

Registration Starts Mon Aug 8

Next Monday Aug 8 I'm planning to open attendee registration; several surveys will follow soon after. Sponsor logos will be prominent alongside the registration forms and surveys, and I'm pushing to get sponsors signed up before that date to maximize the visibility of those logos.

Sponsor News

Sponsorships have continued to build; the money has started to roll into the PSF as several pledges sponsors utilized the PSF payment gateway for PyTexas. New sponsors have joined:
  • Wing IDE joined at the Silver Level and will also be offering prizes.  
  • O'Reilly Media will be offering prizes
  • Enthought, the major sponsor of SciPy, and a significant Python employer in Austin, TX, has joined the roster of Platinum Sponsors. 
The t-shirt design will also be finalized on Mon, Aug 8. After that it will be too late for additional Platinum Sponsors.

Volunteer Help Wanted

So far several volunteers have tested the registration page and we haven't had problems reported.

Does anyone have any feedback on additional form elements which need to be added to the registration page? (Bear in mind there are several separate surveys planned

I could use some help on the Sponsor Descriptions page, which is not yet published. I want to follow the same concept as on the new PyCon website (, which is awesome by the way.  Anybody want to help with it?

Also, if anyone wants to contribute to the PyTexas blog, let me know and I can give you a login.

Overall the new site still needs work, and I have a number of specific ideas in mind. I could use some consultation, as I want to point to the new site, but set up some form of URL redirection to make sure the legacy links pointing to can still go back to the wiki at  My web experience is limited, and time is short; can anyone advise?

Bonus News Flash -- Jeff Rush Alert

Jeff Rush has offered an extensive list of presentation proposals, which we'll all soon vote on by survey.

I'm personally a fan of Jeff's presentations from past PyCon, PyTexas, and DFW Pythoneers events, and it's great to have a wide selection of interesting topics for the community to choose from. Jeff's presentations are often encouraging to beginners yet teach new things to advanced Python developers, and all have been excellent.