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.