The More Things Change, the More They Stay The Same (PyCon 2006)

I arrived in [STRIKEOUT:Dallas]Addison, TX Thursday night for PyCon 2006. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first year PyCon moves from Washington, DC, and by and large its a good change. Addison is a lovely town, if you’re into strip malls and big hair. I kid, but not much. Having the conference at a hotel does have the advantage that you can easily drop things back at your room, and we have lots more space for tracks. And the food isn’t bad, either. OK, the wireless still sucks, and it’s not free in the rooms, but that’s no different than before. I had intended to blog the event as it happened, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. So here are my thoughts on PyCon 2006 as a whole; a series of shorter posts will follow as I work through my notes on particular talks.

So the most obvious change was the con moving to Texas. I have mixed feelings about Texas. You know, ever since spending time in Amarillo, I just don’t feel too fondly for it. But I put that aside; PyCon is usually the most productive and worthwhile conference I attend each year. An unexpected difference related to the change of venue is the change of atmosphere around the conference. Not the conference itself, but its surroundings. In Washington, there was a small grocery in the basement, a food court off the lobby and lots of diversity in walking distance. In Addison, there’s still food with walking distance, but its a further distance, and the hotel generally feels a little more separated from the surrounding community. I’m not sure this is a bad thing — in Washington when the day’s events ended lots of people scattered. In Addison there seemed to be lots of group dinners and late night hacking, which is cool. And really, if resturants where distance n from the conference in Washington, they’re no more than 3n here, which as we all know is the same O().

I was also generally impressed with the quality of talks this year. In past years there have always been stand-out talks, but there were usually holes in the schedule where nothing on it really appealed to me. There were still a couple of those this year, but noticeably fewer. Finally, I give two-thumbs up to the food; no wrap in sight. Hooray!

So today begin the sprints. I’m working on the Zope3 sprint again, after skipping it last year (why was that again?) so I’m looking forward to getting back into that mode. More on PyCon to come over the next few days.

date:2006-02-27 09:41:55

Kruskal v. Prim, to the death!

This semester I have an Algorithms course, and it’s actually turning out to be one of my favorites. So for our second project we were instructed to implement a Java applet which generated a set of nodes on a graph and the edges (or some subset of) between them, and then used Kruskal’s or Prim’s algorithm to find the minimal spanning tree, animating the process. And even though it’s Java, and even though it’s an applet, I’ve been oddly fixated by it lately. So you can check out my second implementation, which lets you pick which algorithm to use and then sit back and watch the pretty nodes. Oooooh.

date:2006-02-26 23:37:21

Reasons To Dislike Children — #5,436 and #5,437

Updated December 29, 2009

The original contents of this post no longer reflect my feelings, and the comments it draws are the sort I want to publish. I’m redacting the contents, and thanks to WordPress’s “versions” feature, I can still access it for hysterical, er, historical purposes. — NRY

date:2006-02-20 16:09:57
category:my life

Liberal Licensing — Yahoo Gets it Right

Via the O’Reilly Radar I saw that Yahoo (excuse me, “Yahoo!”) has released two new assets for developers: a UI library and a design pattern library. So the UI library isn’t that interesting to me — I haven’t done enough [STRIKEOUT:DHTML]AJAX programming to really figure out what to look for in a toolkit. And the Design Patterns are probably only interesting if you’re doing dynamic web stuff.

But there are couple of things that really impress me. First, the design patterns all provide information on how accessibility issues should be handled. Sure, its prescriptive rather than descriptive, but even formalizing what should happen is a good thing — a sign of a maturing technology is stabilized idioms, right?

Second, both are liberally licensed; the UI library under a BSD License and the design patterns under the most liberal CC license — Attribution 2.5. My opinions on software licensing are evolving, but lately I really appreciate it when authors give me more rights to reuse their work in a manner I wish. Bravo, Yahoo!.

date:2006-02-14 09:55:31

Sad Mac

So my iMac (a 17” G4/1.25GHz model) died last week. When I turn it on, the backlight comes on, it makes the Apple sound, but nothing happens video wise, either on the built in screen or the external monitor port. Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to save it without spending a bundle? If it can’t be saved, any suggestions on a cheap replacement? I need to build ccPublisher for OS X, among other things.

date:2006-02-13 14:18:28


I went to Panera Bread for a bagel and some tea this morning, and took my laptop along to check email adn get started on some work for the day. I went to add something to my blog (i.e., that page you’re looking at now), and here’s what I saw: blocked blocked


date:2006-02-04 10:42:15

When it rains, it pours

It’s never an isolated incident ; yesterday I received a note from another family member that included the sentence:

“I so often pray you have a wife and children in your future.”

Look, a wife is one thing, but children? That’s just cruel.

Seriously, though, its hard to know how to feel about messages like this. I feel very strongly that it is important to let people believe what they wish, so long as they don’t impose their beliefs on my life. I believe this because it’s what I ask of them — that my beliefs be respected, even in the face of disagreement.

You know you’re depressed when you’re listening to Stevie Nick’s greatest “hits” and thinking “yeah, you tell ‘em sister.”

date:2006-02-03 14:18:18
category:my life