2016-04-28

Open Spaces — plan a day ahead this year at PyCon 2016!

What’s so awesome about PyCon’s Open Spaces?

Open Spaces are spontaneous, grassroots, and attendee focused. While most of the conference is scheduled months ahead of time, Open Spaces are created on-site by the participants themselves! They offer groups the ability to self-gather, self-define, and self-organize in a way that often doesn’t happen anywhere else at PyCon.

Open Spaces are little one-hour meetups during the three main conference days, held in free meeting rooms that PyCon provides at the convention center. Some people reserve spaces to talk about a favorite technology, whether web frameworks, neural nets, or natural language processing. Academics and scientists plan spaces around topics like astronomy, data science, and weather forecasting. Other attendees schedule actual activities during open spaces like yoga, nail painting, and board games!

Any topic that two or more attendees are interested in, or an activity that more than two people would like to do, is a great candidate for an open space. You can find a list of sample ideas a few pages down in the Open Spaces guide on our web site:

https://us.pycon.org/2016/events/open-spaces/

If you have additional ideas, please email us at pycon-openspaces@python.org and we can add them to the list.

For 2016, an extra day to plan each Open Space!

This year we are doing things a little differently. Instead of the sign-up board for each conference day only making its first appearance that morning, we are going to go ahead and make each day’s board available the previous day as well. This means that each day will feature two sign-up boards, which will be placed closed to the registration area: one for the current day, and one for the following day.

This will give Open Space hosts and their attendees the ability to plan further ahead. Hosts will be able to reserve a slot one day in advance — creating a longer window for them to advertise the space and let other interested attendees know. And attendees will be able to go ahead and start planning which Open Spaces they want to attend the next day.

In fact, the very first Open Spaces board will be up on Sunday evening during the Opening Reception, the evening before the main conference even starts! This will give hosts a chance to go ahead and reserve a slot for the first day of the conference while it is still the night before.

Promote Your Open Space

We are introducing the hashtag #PyConOpenSpace this year. We encourage you to use it as you promote your Open Space and let people know about it. It’s also a great idea to add your Twitter handle to the card that you pin on the Open Space schedule board, in case anyone interested in attending your open space has a question or wants to contact you about it.

If you’re unsure about whether people like your open space idea or whether they would attend, we encourage you to use the new Twitter polls function and mark your tweet with the hashtag #PyConOpenSpace so those interested in Open Spaces can vote on topic ideas.

The committee is looking forward to all of the great Open Spaces that are awaiting us at PyCon US 2016!

2016-04-19

Sign up now to volunteer at PyCon 2016!

While commercial programming languages often enjoy large and spectacular conferences from their beginning — think of the elaborate JavaOne conference, staged barely a year after Java’s first release — languages without corporate backing tend to accrete their community more slowly and organically. The first conference often takes place without dozens of paid staff to dash back and forth behind the scenes and make sure that the event happens.

Instead, that first event is possible because of volunteers.

PyCon is proud to be part of the long tradition of events that take place because the attendees themselves care and are willing to put forward hours of volunteer work to ensure that new arrivals are greeted at the registration desk, that speakers are guided to and from their session rooms, and — yes — that swag bags are all properly stuffed.

If you are already registered to attend PyCon and are interested in serving as part of the team that makes the conference happen in 2016, simply visit our “Volunteering On-Site” page to learn about the ways you can contribute:

https://us.pycon.org/2016/about/volunteers/

The roles listed there include:

  • Session staff who run the talks.
  • Registration staff who help people at the front desk.
  • Swag volunteers who hand out the conference bags.
  • Volunteers for lunch, tutorials, and Young Coders.
  • And volunteers for the famous Swag Bag Stuffing event the afternoon before the conference starts, when the materials provided by our sponsors get carefully distributed amongst the bags that will be handed out to our attendees.

When volunteers pitch in, even a conference like PyCon with three thousand attendees is able to function smoothly. If you have ever wanted a way to give back to the Python community then take a look at the volunteering page, balance the commitment of each position against your own need to have free hours to experience the conference for yourself, and — if you see a role that interests you — sign up!

2016-04-12

Registration is open for our Young Coders tutorial!

PyCon is excited to once again offer a free full-day tutorial for kids! We invite children 12 and up to join us for a day of learning how to program using Python. The class is running twice, on each of the two final sprint days:

  • Option 1. Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
  • Option 2. Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

The sign-up page is here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pycon-2016-young-coders-tickets-24319019843

The Young Coders tutorial was first offered at PyCon 2013 in Santa Clara. It was an immediate hit, and has been an important part of every PyCon since — including a French edition for the two years that PyCon was held in MontrĂ©al! Whether you and your family are local to Portland, or you are traveling to PyCon and bringing your family along, this class is a great way expose kids to programming.

The Young Coders workshop explores Python programming by making games. It starts with learning Python's simple data types, including numbers, letters, strings, and lists. Next come comparisons, ‘if’ statements, and loops. Finally, all of the new knowledge is combined by creating a game using the PyGame library.

Registration is limited — sign up soon if you know kids who will be interested!

2016-04-05

PyCon’s Sponsor Workshops

Now that PyCon 2016 is sold out, we want to highlight the events that you can still sign up for — events that take place outside of the three main conference days, and which are not yet at capacity:

The two Tutorial Days are a familiar and longstanding feature of the PyCon conference. Coding sprints are not only familiar, but were invented by the Python community!

But you might be less familiar with our Sponsor Workshops!

Workshops let a sponsor communicate with attendees on a deeper and more sustained level than is usually possible. While sponsors do tell their story and share what they are doing with Python through conversations at their Expo Hall booth, Job Fair table, and even through chance encounters in hallways and at lunch, those conversations are usually short. A workshop, by contrast, provides either a 1½ hour or a 3 hour session for attendees to receive a more thorough understanding of how a sponsor is using and advancing a technology.

In brief:

  1. Sponsor Workshops are free for attendees.
  2. They run on the two Tutorial Days before the main conference.
  3. They are offered by top-notch companies — this year: Caktus, Dropbox, Google, IBM, OpenShift, OpenStack, and Rackspace.
  4. You can sign up on our Edit Registration page.
  5. See the full list of Workshops here!

Workshops are an especially attractive option if you are arriving in Portland early and want to go ahead and start experiencing PyCon — or if you have already signed up for a few Tutorials, and are looking for something else to fill out your schedule.

We hope that you will find Workshops a useful way to connect with some of the companies who are bringing Python to bear on interesting problems, and increase your own skill set as well!