Saturday, September 24, 2011

PyTexas 2011 Memories: Lighted Sign by Paul Bonsor

Paul Bonsor made a really cool lighted sign for PyTexas 2011 using a laser cutter.

More images can be found where Paul posted them on Google+.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PyTexas 2011 Schedule Firmed Up

The PyTexas 2011 schedule looks pretty solid at this point, though we are still looking for your feedback via this survey to help us to make sure we have the biggest crowds in the biggest rooms, and let us know if you plan to give a lightning talk, or want to participate in the Python Teach-In. Please take the schedule survey if you have not already done so.

Here are some notes about the schedule:

  • We have two TAMU faculty for the Python in the Classroom panel discussion, and another volunteer who could be on the panel or could be a moderator. We are looking for at least one more participant who has experience with Python in classroom settings or in a university environment.
  • All the speakers on the current schedule have confirmed that they will be present for the specified timeslots. Over the course of the last few weeks a couple of speakers had to drop out, but everyone currently named on the schedule will be there.
  • One of the speakers, Eric Malloy, who had to drop out was going to give a talk on VirtualEnv/Pip/VirtualEnvWrapper. I believe this is an important talk for beginners and hope we can find someone else willing to give a talk. Eric has posted the presentation slides online which could be used for inspiration, if anyone wants to step forward. 
  • Currently the schedule is a Google Docs spreadsheet, but soon it will be posted as part of the Django-based new PyTexas website.  Speakers interested in logging into the Django admin interface to modify their talk descriptions and bio should let me know, and I'll provide a login.
  • We have added a Blender tutorial at the last minute after learning that TAMU faculty and students have a high interest in that tool because the university has a strong emphasis on data visualization. To make it fit, we had to split it across several days. Special thanks go to Gordon Fisher for agreeing to travel from Little Rock to give the tutorial.
  • Unfortunately the OpenStack speaker had to drop out, and we're looking for a backup speaker for that slot.

All in all, I'm very proud of this schedule and the speakers who have stepped forward to give presentations and tutorials.  It has a nice balance of both advanced and beginner talks, and we were able to make sure every time slot has something of interest to beginners, and something of interest to advanced Python developers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Free Food and Drinks at PyTexas

I'm pleased to announce that PyTexas has new sponsorships in the category of food and drink.

  • Texas A&M College of Architecture has generously agreed to provide breakfast, snacks, and drinks for all attendees on both Saturday and Sunday. This includes that all important caffeine source, coffee, which we conspicuously failed to provide at last year's PyTexas. Never again. 
  •, already a Platinum Sponsor and active instigator of ideas and encouragement for PyTexas 2010, has decided to go all-out by throwing a party for the whole conference on Saturday evening evening at Fitzwilly's Bar and Grille.  Everyone gets food and drinks, including free beer.  The upstairs is reserved for us with pool tables, darts, and places to chill and sit.  You'll need to pick up your invitation at the PyTexas registration desk in the form of a dog tag.

I'd also like to mention that members of both these organizations have contributed significantly to PyTexas as volunteers, so they both deserve our thanks for helping make PyTexas an awesome conference.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

PyTexas 2011 Attendance Up, T-Shirts Nearly All Reserved

Wow. PyTexas 2011 registration has continued to grow beyond expectations, with 192 people registered, with 162 confirmed attendees, 29 tentative, and 1 "can't make it". We might double last year's attendance of 94.

There is a good chance of a last minute spike in attendance as students find out about the Blender tutorial, and Jeff's Friday morning presentation to a CompSci 101 classroom may inspire additional students to attend. Btw, TAMU's CompSci 101 uses Python to teach computer science concepts.

Seeing the writing on the wall in early August, I nearly broke the budget boosting the numbers t-shirts and swag bags. I ordered 187 t-shirts total, and 175 swag bags. Two of the Platinum sponsors requested setting aside a total of 23 t-shirts. Details on the sizes and costs of the order are publicly visible on this spreadsheet. The first sheet shows the updated order, and the second sheet shows the original order of 153 t-shirts.

What if we run out of awesome PyTexas 2011 t-shirts?

The t-shirt and swag bag will be hot items, thanks to the artwork by Dave Birch. We will have to limit these to one per person, with the exception of a couple of the Platinum sponsors who paid to have them made. Let's remember that PyTexas is free to attendees, and the t-shirts are given away for free.

The rule will be that every attendee who pre-registered as "confirmed", and who shows up before noon on Saturday Sept 10 should be given a t-shirt. After noon, the shirts are fair game for people who registered as tentative, and we'll give away what sizes we have remaining.

Disclaimer: I had to order these shirts before the registration counts were all in, and I had to extrapolate the percentage of each size based on the registration numbers. At the time I didn't expect attendance to grow this high, and thought there was some wiggle room. Most of the t-shirts are unisex, but I took the risk of ordering a few designed specially for ladies. It's possible that we will run out of the size you requested.