Ohio and Beyond

The last two weeks were pretty miserable, for some scientific/collaboration reasons as well as some personal reasons (visiting sick parents != fun). Two things that weren't miserable -- that were in fact quite fun -- were PyOhio and the Science 2.0 talks in Toronto.

PyOhio was a nice little community-based conference, and I got a chance to give my perspective on a alternative to buildbot, as well as Snakebite and the Python Buildhaus; you can watch the recording if you want details. I'll be posting more about pony-build (the aforementioned buildbot alternative) as things progress; I'll just say that I have now fired it "in anger" and I'm working on a release.

PyOhio was well-run and had a wide attendance, although attendance waned by the end of the second day. I'd suggest that they do a single track with 30 minute talks next year, as the 1 hr talk format left some people flailing for material, and others rambled. We stayed at a nearby Red Roof Inn, which wasn't unpleasant but was not exactly wonderful, either.

One of the highlights of PyOhio for me was the opportunity to bring two students along from MSU, Owen and Eric. I think they would have been a bit more wary of the crowds at PyCon; PyOhio was a gentle introduction to the very nice Python community.

The following week, I navigated the passport renewal process in Detroit and took VIA Rail (the Canadian train company) from Windsor to Toronto. The trip itself was awesome -- business class: meals + coffee served, wifi, and power -- and gave me a chance to rewrite my talk in a better direction. The following morning I attended the UToronto CS dept summer projects demo session which was stunning, and then gave my talk at the Science 2.0 meeting. Others have covered that meeting in detail -- in particular, see Steve Easterbrook's liveblogging, which makes me seem more coherent than I was, and of course the Twitter feed -- so I'll just say that I felt quite at home with the other speakers. It was great to meet Jon Udell, Cameron Neylon, and Michael Nielson; Victoria Stodden blew me away with some actual research! numbers! on the problem of openness and reproducibility. I will be paying attention to her work in the future and making use of her publications in my classes.

My talk was OK; I felt like it was a rather lightweight collection of opinions, however justifiable. You can judge for yourself: Jon Udell blogged the whole thing in great detail.

Probably the best one-sentence summary of the event was given by Milan Davidovic:

The main message today seemed to me to be: get your work out there (i.e. on the Web), open it up to collaboration, and stop worrying so much about your precious IP; those who play their cards too close to the chest will be left behind.

Yep. Nail on the head.

I gather that videos and slides will be posted soon, if they're not already up somewhere; Google is your friend.

The whole event made me realize that while I want to be a leader in the Science 2.0 arena, I want to lead by example and not by giving lots of talks. I'm much more comfortable with data than opinions, despite my tendency to be heavier on opinions these days. It also renewed my determination to blog: hence this post ;).

After making it back down from Toronto, I then collapsed into a small ball and slept off the two weeks. (j/k: I came into work and had to deal with Issues.)


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