IndyPy Meetup and Python 3

June 26, 2010

This past Thursday, I gave a talk to the Indianapolis Python Meetup. It was, in a word, a blast. The venue was “The Boardroom” at Scotty’s Brewhouse, which was really nice – a big table, with centrally located connections to a 42″ flat panel monitor on the wall. And Scotty’s also has good burgers and beer, so it has to be the most comfortable place I’ve ever given a talk.

There were 14 of us, and both the Python knowledge and interest level were high. The guys from provide a certain amount of support, particularly co-organizers Calvin Hendryx-Parker and self-designated PEP-8 nazi 😉 Clayton Parker. I talked about Python 3, hitting both the features that I consider improvements to the language and the changes that cause the most pain in porting old code.

The talk was well received, the burgers and beers were great, and I was delighted to find such a vibrant group of Pyhtonistas in Indy. I hope to return.


My “Don’t miss” posters for PyCon 2010

January 19, 2010

I’m co-ordinating the first ever poster session for PyCon US in Atlanta this year and things are finally coming together. We have 18 posters set for our 90 minute session in the Expo Hall (with snacks!) Sunday morning. I wouldn’t have minded having a few more posters, but we have a strong collection, and the current numbers mean one can spend only 5 minutes per poster, less if you take into account standing in the snack line.

So I’m thinking about the posters I particularly don’t want to miss. If  you want to do the same, you can visit and see the lineup. Here’s my list of “don’t miss” posters:

  • P3. “Python 3.1, Unicode, and Languages of the Indian Ocean Region”, by Carl Trachte – I studied Sanskrit and Egyptian in grad school, and I’ve always been interested in languages and fonts. And I have to trade a few jokes with Carl.
  • P9. “3to2”, by Joe A Amenta – the potential of 3to2 to help drive adoption of Python 3 is so great I just have to see this. And say “way to go” to Joe in person.
  • P13. “Distributed Version Control in the Classroom”, by Dr. Daniel Rocco, Will Lloyd – as a teacher of programming I’ve tried (and not really succeeded) to introduce a DVCS before. I need to see how these guys make it work.
  • P14. “Join Open Source! We need you – tips on finding a project”, Asheesh Laroia – How can I not want to see a poster from someone who would make a “Soylent Green” joke in his decription? 😉
  • P20. “Teaching Programming with Python & Robots”, Jay Summet – Teaching programming with cute little blue robots – ’nuff said!

Installing Python 3 on Windows (video)

January 14, 2010

I’ve posted a screencast on YouTube to walk through the process of installing Python 3 on Windows. Not that it’s really that hard, but if anyone has any questions about the process, it might be worth a watch.

Installing Python 3.1 on Windows

Quick Python Book, 2nd ed is here!

January 11, 2010

Amazing. I had been told that I would be holding a physical copy of The Quick Python Book, 2nd ed in my  hands on January 11. Of course, I understood what that really meant –  I’m no fool. “January 11” meant some time in January… if all goes well… definitely the first quarter… certainly by June… well, some time in 2010, that’s for sure.

Oh yeah, I knew the score. Well, Manning Publications has amazed me again. When I got home this afternoon (yes, January 11), a box was waiting… yes with some shiny, physical and very much on time copies of QPB2, as I’ve come to call it.

So if you’ve ordered it or are thinking of ordering it, copies should be making their way to booksellers shortly. And if you buy a paper copy be sure to visit the book’s homepage at to register and get a free ebook version as well.

Quick Python Book, 2nd Edition

December 26, 2009

Book project complete

I’ve finally finished a book project – The Quick Python Book, 2nd ed. from Manning Publications was published as an ebook last week and will be available in traditional dead tree format in mid-January.

QPB had been selling steadily for the Manning folks for years, since it came out in 2000 and they wanted it updated for Python 3.x. Since the original authors weren’t available, I got the job.

It was billed as a quick and easy job, and it was probably easier than writing from scratch, but revising a programming book from version 1.5 of Python to version 3.x was a lot harder than I’d expected. On the other hand, I also learned much more about Python 3 than I’d expected. Suffice to say I’m a complete convert and am impatient for everyone to get their libraries converted so we can move to Python 3 everywhere.

I also got a real feel for the tech book production process. I really think that Manning’s process is very sound and the people I worked with were first rate. Unlike my ill-fated project with O’Reilly, this was tolerable and my efforts to get things done on schedule were appreciated.

Anyway, my goal now is to do some screencasts to help publicize the book. Since I’ve never done any video editing before, this will take a little learning as well.

I also have a couple of other Python projects in the works which I’ll now be spending my time on – more about those soon.