Andy McKay

Aug 14, 2006

Vancouver Python Workshop (Day one)

So after the sprint and after my anniversary (see previous posts), next day was the start of the Vancouver Python Workshop. As with last time, the organisers were Paul Prescod, Brian Quinlan, myself and we added Jean-Luc Peyret. I handled all money and registration again. As with last time it was held on a bank holiday in the summer. I still argued that it's a bad time to have it, I'm much rather not be in Vancouver. However for many people travelling here, I know it's the best time to see Vancouver and take a holiday.

For the organisers there were a few key differences this time. The first and seemingly stupid one was that this was the second time we had done this, so we knew what everyone was actually doing, which was nice. The second was that the space at ActiveState was no longer available so we had to get a hotel and hence pony up more money. In the end this turned out to be fine but at one point there was that real stress for about 1 week when we didn't have enough numbers.

As the organisers (and mostly ClearWind) was bank rolling the conference (that's a great deal, if there's a loss we swallow it, if there's a profit it goes to the PSF) we were stressed. Of course that didn't happen and just before the early bird ended tons of registrations rolled in. That's one to remember for all you organiser's out there, the distribution of registration is not even. A huge amount roll in before early bird ends about 1 month before the end of early bird. You then get another peak the week before the conference.

Being organised I closed off registration and did all the badges on the Wednesday, two days before the conference. Of course as I predicted the simple mail merge to produce badges took 3 hours as we fought again and again with printers that didn't want to work with computers. Always something. Once they were all organised alphabetically (yes I've seen several conferences with badges not done that way, was able to sit back and do all the last minute panic Friday things. There weren't any fortunately. Friday came and went smoothly, giving out the badges and t-shirts at the beginning worked well.

As ever the bbq tickets pose a logisitical pain as people alter and change, but I can cope with that. Of course I didn't actually get to hear the keynotes, since I was outside doing the registration for the half a dozen people that showed up late. I hear they went well with Guido van Rossum talking about Python's future and Jim Hugunin talking about Python.NET. A thanks to Toby Donaldson of SFU for organising space for us at the downtown campus as part of the computing science departments commitment to Python. Next it was the Steamworks for a beer and some food. I never made Steamworks last time and it's a nice venue.

All in all the Friday night went well. I had a gaggle of people crashing on my floor and so there was the occasional beer in the back garden until past 2 in the morning. Ugh, didn't everyone know I had to be in Burnaby at 8 the next day?