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.