The First Two Days of EuroPython 2013

The first two days of EuroPython 2013 in beautiful Florence (Italy) we're already done with and I humbly take this opportunity to share some of my early impressions in a (not completely serious) write-up of the previous 48 hours.

The First Two Days of EuroPython 2013

My intent is to keep this post as non-technical as humanly possible when writing about attending a tech conference. So if you expect the latest news on the state of PEP 3156, then I am afraid you will be sorely disappointed and I want to apologize in advance.

Two-sentence Reviews of Attended Talks

In this section, I will make a very short statement about the presentations I've visited so far. Nearly all of them were well worth the visit, and I tried to include a link to the slides where possible. Please also note that each and every talk at EuroPython is recorded, so if you want to experience them yourselves, just visit the PythonItalia YouTube channel.

The Next 20 Years of Python - Van Lindberg

Mr. Lindberg announced some pretty radical changes to the way Python Software Foundation membership works, and the audience barely raised an eyebrow. It did, however, when Van Lindberg declared Python programming to be no longer rebellious (it's up for discussion whether it's still "cool").

Thinking Outside the BoxArmin Ronacher (Slides)

So this guy basically stole our company's unofficial motto and then created an interesting presentation about it. I still enjoyed it and even took notes, which I almost never do, as later on, I usually either can't decipher my handwriting or realize that the whole slide deck is available online (or both, as in this particular case).

The Return of Peer2Peer ComputingHolger Krekel

Much like the affairs of the NSA (which most of this presentation was about), good intentions sometimes lead to hell when this talk drifted well into politics and society territory. As my fellow Webrepublican and conference visitor @dbrgn succinctly put it, "I thought I was at Congress."

"Good Enough" is Good EnoughAlex Martelli (Slides)

I am pretty sure that this was Santa Claus. A talk about what's really important when developing software, held in the most reassuring voice possible.

INTERMISSIONRecruiting Session:

I will need some extra sentences here, because of the impact this event might possibly have on the technologies department (we're hiring). In any case, some pretty lame companies such as Google, Amazon and Red Hat tried to make people want to work for them, it was terrible. But then one Tobias Zehnder (@tozehnder) appeared and calmly explained why working for the Webrepublic would be the best idea of your life and the session was saved. All joking aside, I thought we left a pretty good impression with the crowd and had quite a few people handing in their CVs immediately afterwards. Kudos to Tobias!

Inside the Hat: Technology @ Walt Disney Animation StudiosPaul Hildebrandt

It's Disney; I can think of no way how this talk would not have been awesome. Amongst other tidbits, I learned that apparently there's a Python underground scene in the movie and visual effects industry.

Deployability of Python Web ApplicationsBruno Renie (Slides)

A presenter which impressed with clean-cut, well designed slides that reminded you a bit too much of The Twelve-Factor App to be very original. Did I mention that the slide deck looked very fresh?

Open Source as a BusinessDavid Cramer (Slides)

I have no idea what Mr. Cramer has been up to as I was having a pleasant long distance call with UPC Cablecom Switzerland during half of his presentation. He appeared very enthusiastic and energetic though, so I figure that Open Source is a good business nowadays.

OpenStack: A Python Based IaaS ProviderFlavio Peroco

Imagine the horror when the presenter's lapel microphone broke and he had to use a hand-held one, "But I am Italian, I can't speak without gesticulating!" Apart from that, it was an interesting, if somewhat non-technical overview of OpenStack.

Functional Testing with Python and t3Kay Schluehr

Remove every word except the last one from the title and you have a rather accurate description of this talk. There were two embedded systems guys in the audience that seemed to be pretty stoked, however.

TDM: Test-Driven MadnessRob Collins

A schizophrenic presenter changing identities mid-talk, completely opposite standpoints (and even slide templates) in the same presentation, and 30 minutes of "audience interaction"—what could possibly go wrong? Nothing actually, this was a great workshop.

Thinking Hard About PythonDaniel Greenfeld (Somewhat similar slides)

While I disagree with the practice of ending your presentations with a one-handed cartwheel, I strongly approve of smart and light-hearted talks. Interesting and very approachable examples in this one.

Random Observations

These are just some rambling thoughts that came to my mind after eating one too many piatti principali:

  • While the Capri pants, (white) socks and sandals look is no longer le dernier cri, rocking it will now make you blend in perfectly with the crowd. The fedora density, however, seems to have decreased quite a bit when compared to other such events—of course Red Hat is always distorting that statistic. (Disclaimer: the author owns exactly two pairs of trousers).
  • There was pretty good WiFi coverage all over the premises, which apparently is quite  a hard feat  to pull off.
  • Florence is a quaint town with some excellent restaurants that even provide receipts. And the scooter drivers wear helmets. Is this really Italy?
  • Speaking of food, the different tracks at EuroPython are named as follows: Spaghetti, Lasagne, Ravioli, Tagliatelle, Big Mac, Pizza Margherita and Pizza Napoli. I don't know what to say.
  • Google engineers still not very chatty.

All in all, two intense and very interesting days lie behind us. Stay tuned for more updates and meet us on Thursday, 11.15 am - at the "Big Mac Track!"