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The PyCon Blog

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Opening Reception Tonight!

Thursday, April 10, 2014
As we transition from the tutorials into the conference, we're celebrating the start of another great PyCon with an opening reception. It'll take place tonight from 6 PM to 8 PM in hall 220DE at the Palais de Congrès (the convention center), and all attendees are invited.

When you checked in at the registration desk, you were given free drink tickets, so be sure to bring those. For those of age, there will be a cash bar, as well as a selection of beer from Montréal's own Dieu du Ciel brewery.

The reception is sponsored by iWeb, provider of dedicated, colocated, and cloud hosting, located right in Montréal. iWeb uses Python for many of their products and services, including their groundbreaking iWeb Cloud, released in 2013.

There'll be a DJ and a photo booth, so come out and have fun with your friends and start off PyCon 2014!

Startup Row Tour – Recap and Acknowledgements

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

This urgent campaign to produce first ever live events leading up to PyCon for Startup Row was assembled with only three weeks of lead time starting in February. We held five events in five different North American cities during a span of three weeks in March. Our efforts resulted in the strongest class of Startup Row honorees in this fourth year of Startup Row at PyCon. We know that in twelve months the world will recognize the special spark our judges saw in our 2014 PyCon Montreal Startup Row honorees.

Companies presented their concepts and teams live before panels comprised of judges well versed in evaluating startups and founders. Five companies were selected during these pitch events held in locations throughout North America and Startup Row judges selected the balance of our Startup Row honorees by reviewing web applications submitted at the PyCon Montréal website. This first ever Startup Row Tour allowed us to create bonds stronger than ever within the community and to create early excitement with potential investors and partners about our participating companies ahead of PyCon.

Let us walk one more time in the steps of this ambitious project.

  • Seattle: First event of the tour was held on Feb. 11th in collaboration with Seattle Tech Meetup at the Cornish Playhouse located in Seattle Center. Over 300 attendees attended to hear about 5 Python companies. Seattle Tech Meetup PyCon Night brought together the Seattle Python coding community with the greater startup community for a first ever event in this US startup capital. The median venture capital raised by the presenting companies was $13m. Big Door, EnergySavvy, Rover.com, Logos, and Offerup presented.
    Big thank you for the founders and organizers of Seattle Tech Meetup Brett Greene and Red Russak for allowing PyCon Startup Row to take over and make it a Python night in February. Also special thanks to Carter Rabasa, the founder of DevLocal, for connecting PyCon Startup Row with Brett and Red.
  • San Francisco: hosted by Twitter on Feb. 19th, approximately a hundred attendees joined us and five companies presented. Alex Wilhelm of Tech Crunch and Robert Scoble of Rackspace joined us on the judging panel. Informion, founded by Avilay Parekh and Ritwik Tewari, veterans of Azure at Microsoft, drove all the way from Seattle to present. Robert Scoble opened the event with an interview of Lively cofounder David Glickman. Lively is a connected device company using Python to connect seniors not plugged into online social media with dispersed extended family all over the world.
    Kind recognition for Robert Scoble and Alex Wilhelm for supporting a community event like PyCon Startup Row's Night Twitter HQ. Special thank you to Sylvain Carle and Jeff Sandquist of Twitter for their support.
  • Chicago: hosted by Braintree at their downtown Chicago headquarters. In addition to traditional startups like Project Fixup and Procured presenting, PyCon Startup Row invited women and minority entrepreneurs to come and pitch to the local Python user group ChiPy for development resources to build a MVP and participate in Startup Row. Included in the panel was Mike Vasquez, Ph.D., a leading sports and technology expert and advisor on London's new Tech City initiative, Chris Molnar a former publisher of an alternative newspaper and currently the CTO of Pear, Brian Ray the founder and organizer of ChiPy, and Braintree's own Stephanie Bell.
    Warm thank you to Adam Forsyth, a principal engineer at Braintree, for his support in arranging this event and his sturdy support for the Python community in Chicago over the years.
  • Vancouver: Hosted by Facebook in their new Canadian office, the Feb. 26th event attracted 85 attendees who watched 5 companies compete for a spot on Startup Row. David Asher from Mozilla and Charlyne Fothergill from GrowLab.ca formed the judging panel.
    Kind appreciation to Andy McKey and Bryan Chow of the VanPyz meetup and Tavis Rudd from the Vancouver Polyglot meeting for allowing us to change the scope of their monthly meeting on a very short notice.
  • Montréal: hosted in collaboration with Mtl New Tech, March 4th had the busiest schedule of all: 12 companies presented, half competing for Startup Row and half competing for the Montréal International Startup Festival. The judging panel was composed of Phil Telio from the International Startup Festival, Gabriel Sundaram from Real Ventures, Guillaume de Tilly-Dion from SDEVM, Sean Brownlee from RHO Ventures, and Daniel Drouet from FounderFuel. A total of 145 persons attendent this event.
    We warmly acknowledge the effort of Heri Rakotomalala from the Mtl New Tech meetup to push this final event much beyond our expectations.

Overall, almost half of the companies were selected during the Startup Row tour. For PyCon Montreal 2015, we'd love to have more events distributed around North America and beyond. Here's an open call to contact Don Sheu at don.sheu@threemice.net with offers of partnership and help for and even more impressive PyCon Startup Row next year.

Plan your PyCon with Guidebook and Duckling!

Monday, April 07, 2014
PyCon is packed with stuff to do. There are 95 talks to choose from, running in five parallel tracks. There are lightning talks Friday through Sunday. If you've registered for tutorials, you'll certainly want to remember when those are. Add in the events like open spaces, dinners, parties, and more, and there's a lot to keep track of.

Guidebook

We've partnered up with Guidebook once again to bring you an easy way to stay on top of everything PyCon has to offer with your mobile device. You can either install the app by searching in your device's app store, or scan the QR code or receive a link via text from http://guidebook.com/g/pycon2014/. Once you have Guidebook, search for "PyCon 2014" to pick up the guide.

Many thanks to Guidebook and Felix Crux for getting this great tool setup for us!

Duckling

Our friends at Caktus Group have created an app that’ll help you find, join, and create outings with fellow Pythonistas while you’re at PyCon Montreal: Duckling. It'll be live by the end of the day today (April 7).

It takes the annoyance out of trying to organize a group. There’s a list of outings, including restaurants and events, plus Yelp reviews and directions. Any outing is open to everyone, so all you have to do is show up!  

During PyCon, Caktus will have a Duckling sign out in the lobby as a meeting spot for outings, so just look for the sign as a point of departure.

Also, we hear they’ve got a duck that’s nearly seven feet tall at their booth. So go check that out!

2014 PyCon Montréal Startup Row Honorees

Friday, April 04, 2014

Having new companies build around Python has tremendous impact on our community and the wider world. Not only do these fast growing startups employ a growing community of Python engineers, but they deliver products and services that touch everybody's lives and improve modern commerce. Yelp, Eventbrite, and Dropbox -- founded since 2004 -- are three companies that use Python and in aggregate represent over $16bn in total value.

Yelp, a public company, is worth approximately $5bn. Dropbox and Eventbrite have gone through private financing events that imply valuations totaling in excess of $11bn. PyCon Startup Row seeks to assist new Python-using startups that will in a decade break $1bn in value.

For the 2014 event, for the first time Startup Row produced live pitch events to select companies for PyCon Montreal. A common phrase heard at all of our events was "community." Community often came in answer to the question as to why companies chose Python. Already Python is a choice for startups because it's possible to use existing libraries and tools to deliver full-featured products and services quickly. The community will continue to contribute and build onto existing libraries and launch new tools that will continue to fuel the future honorees of Startup Row.

Now announcing our twelve startups selected for Startup Row for 2014 at PyCon Montreal. Come meet them in the expo-hall.

Friday:

  • Airmailplus: Charter a private jet while sipping a sipping a latte – small-group air transportation has never been that simple.
  • Tenscores: Tools to automate PPC/SEM, building a virtual PPC consultant
  • AppThwack: A platform which enables developers to rapidly test their mobile applications across hundreds of devices in parallel
  • Trinket: Generates interactive course websites that version teaching materials and let students run code in the browser.
  • Procured Health: Our objective is simple - to be the preferred partner of hospital supply chain organizations - and we work tirelessly to achieve it
  • Inbox: Tools and applications to bring email into the 21st century. Our first product is an open source email toolkit which provides an ORM-type layer around existing email accounts, allowing rich querying and listener-style APIs for building apps with deep email integration

Saturday:

  • CheckiO: A game for coders. We build a community of developers around the world who come to play a fun coding game, compete whose code is more elegant and whose AI is smarter.
  • Tindie: A community marketplace built around buying & selling anything that empowers you. In over 60 countries, we are a diverse community with interests ranging from 3D printing to electronics.
  • transporter.io: Route optimization for small and medium transportation fleets, founded by Techstars alums, beta testing with customers
  • ChallengeU: hare Knowledge. Pose Challenges. Get Results. Let people participate in the sharing of skills and ideas. Captivate with activities that promote learning by doing. Find motivation and enjoyment in your own personal development.
  • Quietly: Discover and curate great recommendations
  • Mist.io: Provides mobile management, monitoring and automation for servers across clouds. Emits actionable alerts so users can address operational issues from anywhere, using any web device.

Honourable Mentions

Some companies really impressed us and almost made it to the Startup Row. Unfortunately, we could not bring them to PyCon and the least we can do is acknowledge their effort here.

  • Informion: Informion is an Amazon like relevance engine helping mobile product managers send timely and relevant push notifications resulting in high click-through-rates. Founders Ritwik Tewari and Avilay Parekh cannot make it to PyCon Montreal for Startup Row in 2014, but they are working hard to contribute towards growing the Pacific Northwest Python community. They are organizing PuPy, Puget Sound Python. A founding sponsor of the group AMD has pledged a Seamicro server with 768 cores in a chassis the size of two mini-refrigerators for PuPy.

  • MyHealthSensei.com: Ariana Vargas pitched at PyCon Startup Row's Chicago event as part of Startup Row's invitation to women and minority entrepreneurs to solicit help from ChiPy members to build a MVP by March 20th. She connected with three ChiPy members and a former group creative director of the global advertising firm DDB.

Though Ariana made a lot of progress in only 23 days, she's limited by her reliance on her current employment from presenting MyHealthSensei.com in Montreal. Her plight highlights the difficulties women and minorities face in launching new companies. She produced a video explaining her vision of connecting cancer patients with resources. Please show you support women founded businesses and contribute to her IndieGogo campaign to pay for the crew that produced her video. Contribute here!

PyCon is next week!

As soon as we unpacked our bags from PyCon 2013, we started working on PyCon 2014. Through another record breaking call for proposals and another sell out registration period, we hit the point where we're about to pack our bags again, this time heading to Montréal.

Before you all do the same, there are a bunch of great events going on outside the conference to keep in mind as you plan out what you'll be doing while you're there.

5K Charity Fun Run - Saturday, 7:00 AM - $20

We started the 5K run in Santa Clara and are happily bringing it up north to raise funds for charity. One of this year's beneficiaries is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF. Register for the run at https://app.lap.io/event/2014-pycon-5k-charity-fun-run!

The 6th Track - Explore Montréal - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Montréal is a city of great history, culture, and of course, food. While there are five talk tracks during the conference, we've added a sixth: the city itself. Each day of the conference from 11 AM to 2 PM, there will be events to get out and explore the city. Take a guided tour of Old Montréal on Friday, check out museums on Saturday, and climb the city's namesake - Mount Royal - on Sunday before grabbing brunch. Check out the details and sign up for each event at https://us.pycon.org/2014/events/explore_montreal/

PyLadies Mixer - Thursday, 7:30 PM

Enter to win tickets here. This event is sponsored by Twitter's Women in Engineering Group, and will take place a short walk from the venue.

PyLadies Auction - Saturday, 6:30 PM

Last year's auction raised $10,000 for PyLadies, so come out on Saturday and see what's on the auction block and help a great group! See https://us.pycon.org/2014/sponsors/charityauction/ for more details.

PyLadies Lunch - Sunday

Women interested in joining the PyLadies group for an informal meet & greet lunch should head to Eventbrite to RSVP. This was awesome last year!

Volunteering!

PyCon simply would not exist if it weren't for the volunteers in this community. Take a look at our volunteer pages and see if you can lend a hand: https://us.pycon.org/2014/about/volunteers/ and https://us.pycon.org/2014/community/volunteers/. We're looking for a couple more tutorial hosts and session staff, as well as preparing for the swag bag stuffing on Thursday.

Spreading the Word: One-Day Workshop on Teaching Programming

Monday, March 31, 2014
This is a guest post by Software Carpentry, one of our Open Source & Community sponsors.

Programming is not just fun, it's a fantastic tool for getting things done, making things go, and participating in the world of technology and the Internet. We all know this, and that's why a lot of us spend a lot of time teaching others how to program.

But do you ever wonder if you're actually teaching effectively? If the techniques you're using actually work, or if there's something you could do better? Educational theorists have been working on the problem of how to transfer knowledge for decades (centuries, even) and there are actually answers to these questions! If you don't have decades to study education theory, come to the Software Carpentry workshop on How to Teach Programming on April 14.

At Software Carpentry we've been teaching busy and reluctant people how (and why) to program for over a decade. Greg Wilson, the leader of this workshop, has created a training program for our instructors which applies educational theory to programming tools, and we're offering the highlights of the program in this one-day workshop.
 
You'll walk away from the workshop with a better understanding of how people learn to program, so the next time you sit down with a newbie you'll know how to present your passion in a way that will actually stick. I hope we'll see you there!

See https://www.eventbrite.com/e/learn-to-teach-programming-registration-10812792353 for registration information.

Traveling to PyCon and want mobile phone service?

Last week we put together information on local mobile voice and data plans. A lot of people had been asking phone questions on twitter, so a bunch of people came together and outlined a lot of the options to share with everyone.

In addition to that, Similicious, a Toronto-based startup, has offered our attendees a 10% discount code! Similicious offers various configurations of voice, text, and data plans, and will deliver the SIM card direct to your hotel via registered mail. If you place your order by Thursday April 3, delivery is guaranteed by April 9 - the first day of tutorials.

Take a look at their site and use the code pycon2014 when checking out!

Note: if you are staying at any of the official conference hotels, their addresses are listed on the venue page.

Opening Reception - Thursday April 10

Friday, March 28, 2014
Did you know PyCon is in two weeks? Did you know we're kicking off the weekend with a an opening reception? Did you know it's all going to be awesome?

Thursday April 10 from 6 PM to 8 PM in hall 220DE at the Palais de Congrès (the convention center), we're going to have an opening reception, and all attendees are invited. There will be appetizers available, and each attendee will receive a drink ticket. For those of age, there will be a cash bar, as well as a selection of beer from Montréal's own Dieu du Ciel brewery.

The reception is sponsored by iWeb, provider of dedicated, colocated, and cloud hosting, located right in Montréal. iWeb uses Python for many of their products and services, including their groundbreaking iWeb Cloud, released in 2013.

There'll be a DJ and a photo booth, so come out and have fun with your friends and start off PyCon 2014!

Sponsor Workshops - Sign up today!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
We're happy to announce the Sponsor Workshop series, taking place on Wednesday April 9 and Thursday April 10, the two days leading up to the conference. In a similar fashion to our tutorials, our sponsors are leading 90 minute sessions on a variety of topics. Oh, and they're free!

If you'd like to come to any of the workshops, it would be helpful if you RSVP'ed here. It's not required, but it helps us estimate how much food and drinks we should have for those times. 

Wednesday - 9:00 AM

John Wetherill of ActiveState will be introducing Platform-as-a-Service and container technologies, along with how to design and architect applications to take advantage of them. He also covers topics like deployment and migration, and gives examples of monitoring, logging, and debugging cloud-based applications.

Wednesday - 3:30 PM

Jacob Kaplan-Moss introduces Heroku by guiding attendees through the process of deploying and managing applications on the platform. With only a basic knowledge of Python, attendees will leave with an understanding of what it takes to build and deploy applications, monitor and configure them, scale the applications up and down, and get a taste of the Heroku Platform API.

Thursday - 9:00 AM

Jesse Noller will show you what it takes to build scalable applications on the Rackspace Cloud. Built on open source tools, from the OpenStack platform to the SDKs in a variety of languages, the workshop aims to show you how to develop and deploy your own applications on any OpenStack cloud.

Thursday - 1:30 PM

Andrew Godwin gives an inside look to the Django patterns in use at Eventbrite and Lanyrd to handle massive datasets and millions of visitors. While Django familiarity is helpful, the workshop aims to be useful for developers of other web stacks as well, looking into topics like task queues, database scaling techniques, zero downtime deploys, and more.

Thursday - 3:30 PM

Led by Wesley Chun, Google engineers from three locations will be splitting up their workshop period into three different talks. Marc Cohen and Brian Dorsey will talk about bringing Python applications into the Google Cloud Platform. Alex Perry will cover both beginner and advanced uses of regular expressions, as well as evaluate the performance characteristics of Python's standard library regular expressions versus those of RE2. Finally, Thomas Wouters covers Python from the maintainer side, covering how Google moved away from platform installations into looking after their own build, and everything that came with.

There are also workshops by Basho's Tom Santero, covering how to build applications on Riak, and Graham Dumpleton of New Relic on measuring all the things!
 

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