Episode 009: Is this thing still on?

And, lo, we are returned from the void. From Python Import Podcast is back! In this episode, we meet with Steve Holden, Chairman of the PSF and all around swell guy. We discuss the history of PyCon and Python itself, explore the evolution of a volunteer conference, get turndown service, and even a little chocolate.

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Episode 008: PyCon/CodeMash Double Feature (Doctor X will Code a Feature)

What do you mean it’s not February any more? Seriously?! Sigh. We know, we know, we broke our promise again. Life happened–to all of us. We’ll do better next time (Chris has a plan, you see.)

Luckily, the wait is over–we’re back, and with a whopper! Clocking in at a mighty 106 minutes, this jumbo deluxe ultra fun-size epic includes our reflections on recent conferences we’ve attended–January’s now-distant CodeMash and March’s just-complete PyCon. Your hosts for this excursion down conference memory lane, in counterclockwise order, are Chris Miller, Mike Pirnat, Ben Smith, and Mike Crute.

But first–NEWS! We get up to speed on the current haps in Blogofile, the upcoming PyWeek, PEP land, and the Python version control migration (from Subversion to Mercurial).

Our CodeMash recap describes the conference, highlights memorable presentations, and gives a little flavor of the night life (jam sessions and pool parties and craziness, oh my!). The short version is that CodeMash is awesome, and you should go. Seriously–it’s a polyglot conference! At an indoor water park! In January! It is made of win.

But HOLY COW OMG PYCON!! Having just returned from our glorious adventures, we are positively effervescent about what was probably the best PyCon ever. Mike Pirnat is goaded gently into discussing his speaking experiences–giving his official talk, Exhibition of Atrocity, mortally offending Titus Brown at the Testing in Python Birds of a Feather (aka the TiP BoF), and announcing his side project, How Old Is My Kid?, at the lightning talks.

While at PyCon, we joined up with Rick Harding of Lococast, Anthony Scopatz of scientific computing podcast inSCIght, testing goatherder and PyCon programming committee guru Terry Peppers, and an atypically quiet David Stanek to form a veritable Voltron of voices, recording a live round table during the Sunday morning open spaces. We rofl our way through the previous night’s TiP BoF exploits, and Terry gets Mike Pirnat to talk about talking. Apologies for any duplication of content in here–it’s all due to accidents with the time machine we’re working on to try to absorb all of the excellent PyCon talks. (Please also forgive Mike Pirnat for hammering on his laptop while recording–he’s very sorry and promises not to do it again.) We rave about how well the Convore-driven backchannel worked out, get some insights into the “Extreme” track and programming PyCon talks, and recall our favorites presentations. We send mad, mad shout-outs of joy to the A/V team, who had much of the conference video online before the conference even ended; their work is a fabulous benefit to the Python community. Matt Gibberman and Eric Floehr join us for a few minutes to discuss Eric’s talk on genetic programming.

In a special bonus segment, Rick and Mike Pirnat sit down with the intrepid John DeRosa, whose epic cross-country bus ride from Seattle to Atlanta with play-by-play Twitter commentary so captivated us. We talk about the why and how of his journey and chat about memorable moments and human drama he encountered along the way. Then we bring things into a full-circle, swirling time loop vortex of doom and throw some love to CodeMash and encourage all willing Pythonistas to help represent by submitting talks for next January’s CodeMash.

We then pop back up the stack to wrap up the episode and bring it on home with Chris Miller’s promises of a new episode in early April, by hook or by crook (or perhaps by five-point plan).

We want to add that it was thoroughly awesome to meet up with fans and listeners while we were at PyCon. Your passion and excitement for this podcast really inspired us to hurry up and get this thing out there so that we can get back on track. THANK YOU. YOU ROCK.

But wait–there’s more! Behold the miscellaneous links of wonderment and joy:

Thanks for listening, and thanks so much for being patient with our intermittent release schedule. Once Chris shows us his elaborate Powerpoint, we’ll get it figured out.

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Episode 007: Gary, With Beer

...or “Make Your Own Episode Title, Since You’re So Clever; I’m Tired and Going to Sleep Because Codemash Starts in Seven Hours”

Broadcasting from high atop the basement of the Buckeye Beer Engine, regular voices Chris Miller, Mike Pirnat, David Stanek, Mike Crute, and Ben Smith are joined by Gary Bernhardt, renowned destroyer of software, for a conversational journey through what’s on our minds this week. (Audiophiles beware–thar be strange acoustics ahead!)

First, we begin with an apology for not releasing an episode in six months; we make some excellent and terribly creative excuses, but still, we’re covered in a thick layer of fail. Forgive us?

Getting down to business, we discuss WSGI2 and various issues around (what we perceive to be) the current community furor over its development. Do you know your PEP-3333 from your PEP-444? We try to sort it all out, and why we either like or don’t like bits of it, all the while haunted by the echoes of the room and the faint hints of bar music above. (Is that David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” I hear?)

Next it’s time to beat on one of our favorite pet issues, Testing. We battle our way out of the weeds of semantics and eventually come around to some more practical talk around tools like Cucumber and Lettuce and what it means for suits and geeks to collaborate to build functional specifications. (Please note that if you’re driving a Ford Taurus, you might have left your lights on.)

From there, it’s a very quick descent into a passionate discussion of Python’s tendency to spawn an explosion of “us too!” implementations of any shiny things that we see in other languages and the resulting community fragmentation that ensues, design by committee, and related perils. Dim memories of the dawn of WSGI are recalled, Armin Ronacher’s Logbook is called out for being new-instead-of-fixing, and snake-guice gets name checked. Mike Crute implores erstwhile Python developers to look around for existing solutions (and how to improve them) instead of building their own.

It’s then a hop-skip-and-a-jump over to templating engines like Mako, Jinja, Genshi, and Django templates, and then the philosophical differences between various web frameworks. Are we better pursuing unity of effort or diversity of ideas? Why does Ruby outdo Python at “one and only one obvious way to do it” when it comes to major products? This then spirals into ancient history of Rails and Python web frameworks and our aesthetic feelings and pet peeves about Ruby.

We bring things back around into more practical territory as Chris asks Mike Pirnat to expound fo a bit about Blogofile, a static site/blog generator that Mike has recently become enamored with. (A few corrections here–since recording, version 0.7 has escaped, and Chris, who claims to be “chained to Wordpress” switched painlessly over to Blogofile in an evening’s time.) We give a nice shout out to fellow Blogofile contributor Morgan Goose and his awesome Fabric kung-fu.

And that’s pretty much it.

Big thanks again to the Buckeye Beer Engine for being so hospitable with their space; they offer free wi-fi, a great selection of beers, and they have RSS feeds for their tap list and menu specials and other news. How awesome is that?

Thanks for listening, and we’ll be back next month with another installment–we promise!

[shownotes by Mike Pirnat, for he is made of WIN]

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