Overall I had a really enjoyable time, met lots of interesting people, some new and some renewed friendships, and learned some good stuff.
Too many web frameworks. Too many VMs.
What I like is the diverse range of applications to which people put Python. The Guardian use it so we can inspect our MP’s expenses. Gregor Lindl uses it and Papert’s turtle graphics to teach. The Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt use it to manage the extraction and shuffling of petabyte (that’s 10**15!) datasets across the supercomputing networks used by climate scientists. The talented Stani Michiels creates the new Dutch Euro coin designs using Python. Weather trading derivatives. Video workflows. Collaborative mathematics. Games. Academic document archives. Billing. System Administration. The list goes on.
Naturally I managed not to go to most of those talks (apart from keynotes (like Tony Hoares) and lightnings, I went to 2 talks). That’s partly because going to 4 or 5 talks a day (which would easily have been possible given the packed schedule) makes you dead tired and causes leaky brain; partly because there were timetable clashes! But mostly because I was writing the materials for my two talks.
Writing your talk at the conference itself is… exciting. And intense. And it probably gives the conference organisers the willies (as in, “where are your slides?”). It did mean that I was able to include some stuff from the conference itself in my talks. A war story I picked up in hallway chat about having to use 6 year old versions of Python on a government IT project made it into my “Loving Old Versions”" talk. Dr Sue Black’s talk about Bletchley Park was in the timetable, and that prompted me to put a reference to Turing’s coffee mug into my “Python Sucks!” talk (Sue Black got there first with the same anecdote; ah well). The “Python Sucks” talk also got a couple of references to Bruce Eckel’s keynote which covered some of the same ground (just using a lot more space, according to Thomas Guest).
But it’s way stressful (Rob Collins’s massage to raise PSF funds was very helpful in that regard). Next year I’ll leave the laptop at home, and give a presentation using a marker pen (well, I will if they accept it!).