Thursday, July 15, 2010

Expanding Universe contest

Steve Miller and Sharon Lee have a new book coming out. It is not about Python, but their books are fun to read and full of great characters. They are having a contest and you have a bit more time to enter. You can win an electronic copy by posting on Sharon's blog at:
The contest is open only to people who have not had the pleasure of reading one of their novels yet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PyTexas survey

If you live in the Texas region, please help with PyTexas 2010 planning by filling out the new survey. This will tell us things like whether the planned Aug 28 date works for you, whether you have a user group in your area, and more importantly your t-shirt size :-).

P.S. We need Python teachers for our beginner track!  This same survey is planned to reach a large number of area students, and they will likely be interested in learning Python fundamentals, web development in popular frameworks like Django, BFG, etc. Please watch for the upcoming call for proposals, and feel free to contact me directly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PyTexas 2010 t-shirt

Take a gander at this primo swag item we're planning for PyTexas:
I'd like to put this on a plain white t-shirt with black ink, so that the image is part of the fabric (not stuck on top like some t-shirts). Maybe that will cause it to fade a bit after many washings, but that's ok. Faded t-shirts are kind of cool in their own way.

Credit goes to Kat Metzger of the DFW Python user group, who sketched out several great PyTexas t-shirt ideas when the discussion started last Friday night. We voted on the sketches during the Saturday afternoon DFW Python meeting, and by Saturday night the graphic was done. On Sunday, we tweaked some details about text size and placement, and it was good to go. That was a lot quicker that I had expected, and I'm grateful to Kat for having the idea, and delivering this excellent design on such short notice.

This is not a done deal yet. Since PyTexas has no money, we'll have to brainstorm some ways to pay for the t-shirt manufacture. I've started speaking with one manufacturer, and soon we'll have a cost estimate for 200 shirts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

PyTexas offers free sponsorships!

An oxymoron, you say?

Maybe, but free sponsorships make sense for PyTexas. After all, none of the organizers have time to mess with money; we just want our attendees to have plenty of swag! We are especially voracious for t-shirts, free books, mugs, and stickers.

This event will consist of a mix of Python veterans, newbies, and university students.

So, if you want your company or organization name advertised at PyTexas, please contact me and I'll provide a shipping address for your boxes of swag.  We'll also post your logo on the wiki if you send swag. You can find my contact info here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

pyTexas 2010 needs volunteers!

Here is a loose set of notes for near term tasks related to pyTexas 2010:

* We need a volunteer promoter for each major Texas city, who will help get the word out to the local user group in that city. I've joined the Meetup mailing lists for DFW, Houston, and Austin, but I don't think people always pay attention to those lists. We need a person who can show up at the user group meetings to plug pyTexas and recruit volunteers.  I haven't heard about user groups in other Texas cities, but it would be great to find contacts in San Antonio, College Station.

* Setup the pyTexas 2010 wiki. This year, I'd like to switch to MoinMoin. The PmWiki of previous years was serviceable enough, but there's nothing wrong with MoinMoin, which is Python-based and I would like to get more experience working with it. I've signed with an account at Webfaction to get this setup. Does anyone want to volunteer to help administer it? We could also use a volunteer to sling some CSS to make it look good.

* We need a volunteer to create pyTexas logo. I've heard a few good ideas: cross-eyed python digesting Texas-shaped lump, or the standard Python logo twisted into a Texas shape. However, any volunteer willing to do the job gets creative license and automatically gets +5 votes.

* Create a flyer and presentation slide to attract students and faculty to the event. I'm planning to draft content for this next weekend, along these lines "Python Programmers Converge Upon Baylor -- This is your chance to learn an excellent programming language! Already know Python? Take our survey so we can make pyTexas fit your brain!"

* Create a survey for potential attendees. I can think of a lot of content but it would be helpful if someone would volunteer to assemble and deploy the survey.

* Recruit speakers. We need a Python 101 for the beginners, and I think a Django tutorial in the afternoon beginner track would probably go over well with college students. For the experienced track, it's wide open; we need to start soliciting for talk proposals. Anyone want to volunteer to coordinate that? Or just volunteer a talk?

* Make contact with the existing Python game development enthusiasts at Bayor. Jeremy mentioned he'll get us the contact info. If there's enough interest, maybe we could add a game development track.

* Write letters about the event to the Baylor faculty members involved in computer science, bioinformatics, library science, and engineering. We should invite them to join, and to encourage students to attend.

* I would like to invite free sponsorships for pyTexas, by offering to give away sponsor swag to attendees. Anyone want to be the sponsor coordinator? I volunteer to have swag mailed to my house for storage until pyTexas, and to host a bag stuffing party.

* After the wiki is set up, the tasks can start getting more solidified. We have a variety of lists to start maintaining, including the list of people needing parking, number of computers needing wifi access, inventory of supplies needed (power strips, gaffer's tape, whiteboard erasers and markers, video cameras).

* We need one or more volunteers to record video, and I would like to follow the same process as PyCon, as explained to my by Carl Karsten. We can use the free DVSwitch app for real time selection between of screen capture and "live action" presenter. (We need about $450 for a Canopus TwinPact 100, which I'll be asking DFW Python members to chip in for). Whether we try to record video in just one room, or both, depends on how much equipment we can afford.

Friday, March 26, 2010

pyTexas Aug 28, 2010 in Waco at Baylor University

Folks, I'd like to take on the project of running pyTexas this year, and I have a head of steam for an ambitious event this year, including an outreach to students, to allow for both a beginner and an expert track this year. I don't intend to do this alone, of course, and soon will be calling for volunteers to take on various responsibilities.

Waco has the advantage of being centrally located, and Jeremy Langley, a DFW Python member who works at Baylor in Waco, has scheduled rooms for us in the science building there on Aug 28 to accommodate up to 90 people. We have started discussions about network access, and tomorrow I'll meet with Jeremy to see the building and take pictures.

Last year's pyTexas in Fort Worth unfortunately did not have many attendees traveling from Austin and Houston, despite a strong schedule of interesting speakers.  Based on limited feedback, I believe that was due to the late announcement on the meetup lists. I want to rectify that this year and give everyone plenty of advance notice for the event, as well as an opportunity to volunteer.

This year we're aiming for a one day event which will allow for a day trip from DFW, Houston, or Austin. The rooms will be accessible from 7am till 10pm, so that gives us enough window for attendees to arrive in late morning and still have a full afternoon and evening of activities.

The Aug 28 date is confirmed at this point, but please give me feedback if you would prefer a different date. Hopefully this will be enough advance notice for everyone, but if a lot of people want to change the date we can consider it.

Soon we'll have a wiki signup page in place, but in the meantime please don't hesitate to email me directly with ideas, questions, or just to express an interest in what you would most like to get out of pyTexas. And, of course, I would urge all Texas Python user group members to join the Texas Python mailing list.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What's fair game?

At last Saturday's meeting, Jeff Rush pointed out that there is also a blog for use by all Python user group to post notes about what happened at each meeting:

Jeff recommended we reserve this DFW Pythoneers blog for Python-related technical discussions, and postings about what took place at the user group meetings should be placed on the common python-groups blog.

Personally, I don't think we need maintain a hard rule about this; probably the common python-groups blog should be for announcement-style summaries of what happened at a meeting, and our local DFW Python blog could be used for more informal discussion, such as to continue a conversation which started at a DFW Python meeting.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


This blog is intended to provide a soapbox for the DFW Python user group members, many of whom don't have an existing personal blog. Of course, those members who do already have a blog are welcome to contribute here as well.

For those unfamiliar with the DFW Pythoneers, we're a Python programming user group based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Membership is free, and we meet three times per month for discussion, problem solving, presentations, coding sprints, meals. For more info, check out as well as Currently we have two sites and two mailing lists, and there has been some talk about consolidating the two to avoid confusion, but at the moment to stay in the loop it's best to join both mailing lists.

If you're interesting in joining this blog to add new contributions, please contact me (Brad Allen) through the DFW Python mailing list (because this is my first post, I am not sure if my email address is accessible from this site.