Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PyOhio: photos plz

We have 138 PyOhio registrants so far - that's greater than the total number of attendees last year. I'm excited!

Is there a shutterbug in the house? I'm always envious of the photos taken at some conferences, like this one of Python core sprinters at EuroPython. (Hi, guys! Our contribu-palooza-ers will be joining you soon!) I want to join the fun. Our PyOhio attendees are just as pretty as any of them!

So if you enjoy taking pictures, and you're coming to PyOhio (and who wouldn't?), please don't forget your camera! Get some group shots, and let me know about them afterward. Thanks!

See you Saturday!

Friday, July 16, 2010


PyOhio staff badge
We are 15 days from the third PyOhio, and I am so excited... My first hope for PyOhio was that it would become a little slice of PyCon-ish goodness in our region... we've definitely accomplished that. This year we're adding on some very serious sprinting that, I think, will make PyOhio an important part of the Python scene not just here, but worldwide.
  • The Android Scripting Workshop has the potential to make Python-lovers of a whole new class of people who wouldn't even call themselves programmers (yet)... people who love their powerful Android phones and will love them even more once they learn the power of scripting on them. One question I'd like your advice on: how do we let these people know about the workshop? They're not reading my blog, after all...
  • The Contribu-palooza is a set of linked events (a classic talk, a "Teach Me" talk, and a big fat sprint) designed to make you into a contributor to the Python language, starting from nothing - we supply the motivation, the skills, and then the hands-on practice. I'd like to see this produce both an immediate new set of Python contributors (including me) and a new way of bringing contributors in.

I hope to see you there!

Friday, July 02, 2010

talking with women

A man at a conference I was at a couple months ago approached me to talk about databases.

It was, in all ways, a good and appropriate conversation, and an example of the reason I go to conferences like that in the first place. But he later confessed to me that he'd been very hesitant to speak to me because he was afraid it would come across as cover for some kind of flirtation. It seemed ridiculous, because he was so far from anything inappropriate, but his uncertainty came a hair's breadth from actually diminishing the conference's benefit to both of us.

You see the big fat irony. Avoiding sexualizing a woman's professional environment is an absolutely appropriate and important goal. But sidelining women from a professional community's social aspects is genuinely harmful.

Most men can easily judge for themselves the difference between friendly and creepy, but geekdom is infamous for its high proportion of the awkward.* I'd love it if there were a really clear and well-known rule of thumb that would assure even the most shy and awkward guys about where "the line" is. The hard part is that men differ so widely in their judgements and self-judgements. Some will be critical or suspicious of themselves at virtually anything, and some find excuses for even the most egregious of their own behavior. It's hard to know how to encourage the former but not the latter.

My first thoughts -
  • Imagine that she were a man. Would you still do or say what you're doing or saying now, or would it feel too awkward?**
  • If you're genuinely worried about it, you're probably not a problem guy in the first place.
What are your thoughts?

* - Understand that, when I say this, it's with affection. I love the socially awkward! I find communities where everybody adheres smoothly to a single social standard to be boring and uncreative. I hope geekdom will always be a haven for the awkward.
** - Obviously not a very useful standard for bisexual people.