Julia Evans

♥ PyCon

PyCon 2014 happened! It was my first time at PyCon, I expected to have a good time, and it was better than I expected. I spoke! People came up to me and said they enjoyed my talk! There were so many amazing talks! I met so many people whose work I’d been following! 13 of the talks were by women! It was wonderful.

A few talks that especially stood out to me, or that I missed and really want to see. I didn’t see anything like all the talks, but I liked these. In no particular order:

Not all of the videos are up yet, but I’ll come back to this later and put in video links when they are.

  • Titus Brown gave a wonderful talk about his work in computationally intensive biology. I found this particularly interesting because he offered roughly “I have harder data problems that your tech job does! Come do a PhD with me and I’ll pay you a fraction as much.” This was oddly compelling. Very much worth watching. Notes from his talk, [Video]
  • Julie Pagano gave advice about battling imposter syndrome. I liked that her advice was practical! We need better advice than “you shouldn’t have imposter syndrome!”, and this did well at that. [Video]
  • Jessica McKellar’s keynote on how we can help advance computer science education was amazing. It was amazing because she gave so many concrete suggestions and specific calls to action: there were easy things (for example: call your legislators and tell them CS should count for AP math/science credit!) and larger commitments. She challenged everyone to do just one thing in the upcoming year to try to make CS education in high school better. [Video]
  • Fernando Perez spoke about the state of Python for scientific and how scientists are using IPython to easily make their work reproducible. I’m so impressed with the community he’s building around this software. The tools are so good and getting better so quickly. [Video]
  • Naomi Ceder spoke about being a trans woman in the Python community. I saw so many positive comments about her talk on Twitter afterwards. I’m really interested to see what she has to say, and delighted that I work in a community where her perspective is valued. [Video]
  • Paul Tagliamonte’s talk about compiling Lisp to Python bytecode was the kind of excited “let’s see how far we can take this crazy idea!” talk that I really enjoy. Super enjoyable speaker. [Video]
  • Julie Lavoie talked about Analyzing Rap Lyrics with Python. I liked this because she clearly loves rap, and she gave some background on rap as an art form, including samples from different styles. Also it was a super fun introduction to natural language processing. [Video]
  • Tavish Armstrong talked about one of his favorite topics: how programmers can learn from software engineering research. His call to action: Try to measure something about your software engineering practice! Show it to your friends! Reproduce it! Give a talk at PyCon next year about it! [Video]
  • Allison Kaptur explained how import works in Python, from the ground up. I loved that she started with a naive version of import and kept incrementally improving it until we got to a version that resembles how import actually works. [Video]
  • I talked about why IPython Notebook and Pandas are my favorite tools for exploratory data analysis, and people said they enjoyed how enthusiastic I was afterwards. Yay! [Video], [Slides], [pandas cookbook]

A few more talks that I want to watch the videos for, but can’t comment on because, well, I haven’t yet.

I never stop being impressed with people I meet at PyCon. Conferences are so hard! I want to meet all the people and do all the things and be in 3 places at things. And the sprints haven’t even happened yet!

I’m so thankful to all the organizers for doing so much work to make this possible. The conference chair Diana Clarke got a standing ovation at the closing session, and more than deserved it.

♥ PyCon.

Becoming a better developer (it's not just writing more programs) Debug your programs like they're closed source!