import pycon
from pycommunity import AwesomePeople

canada = pycon.path.abspath(pycon.path.dirname(__file__))
README = open(pycon.path.join(canada, 'README.rst')).read()
__version__ = '0.01'

requires = [
    'diana',
    'daniel',
    'david',
    'kay',
'micheal',
    'nicola',
    'taavi',
    ]

Patches welcome!

Last weekend, at this moment, I was giving a technical talk at Pycon Canada, my first. Right now, I am still wallowing in the fun and warmth of friendships (some old, some new) that thawed the cold Canadian weather. It was the most mentally simulating, energy-packed experience I've had.  Oh, wait...I say that about all the PyCon conferences I attend - Well, this is my second PyCon but the first speaking gig, and it has, as before, been about meeting some of the smartest people and having the most intellectually simulating discussions with them, learning from them and having a whale of a time. Wish all my weekends were this much fUn! The Python community is known for just that - their fabulously fantastic community, which attracted me to the language (no, I love the syntax too) and has kept me hooked.

Thanks to the change in climate (thanks Sandy!), I had a migrane that got worse on the plane ride on Friday morning and I was much happier landing in a slightly warmer and dry climate in Toronto. Enjoyed the shortest ferry ride of my life and reached the Metropolitan Hotel by 2pm to find the Google goodie-bags waiting for us at the hotel room - such a nice surprise, thanks Google!  Went for a long walk in the afternoon - its a relief to be able to walk around and see the city and its inhabitants without men bumping into you, or tripping yourself over jutting stones on the sidewalk (erm...whenever Indian roads have a sidewalk), the calmness of being able to stop and click pictures without worrying about someone "accidentally" (it always is, isnt it?) feeling you up while you were just standing there admiring a monument ........ Oh, well... never mind, you get the picture!

Later that evening, there was a casual mixer event enabling attendees, speakers and some awesome sponsors (one of them being Google, whose Diversity grant made this conference a reality for me) to register, hang out, and chat before the conference, with food and drinks at the venue bar open to all... and oh, we ate some yummy cake. Mixers before your conference is a smart way to avoid the rush and long lines that will queue up to register on the morning of your conference, a nightmare if you are short on volunteers.

I managed to reach the venue thanks to Suzanne (who I randomly stopped on the road to ask for directions, instead she ended up dropping me off till the venue - its amazing how one meets kind souls), met Laura at the registration desk who saw that every attendee had their badges and tags. Nicola introduced me to Sheila, who suddenly morphed into a real person instead of an email address with a picture attached to it. In a global distributed space knit via bits and bytes, our identities are unequivocally tied to an email, twitter, G+/FB account now.

Met more interesting people and had the longest discussion with Mark Eichin and his friend Laura, on a range of technical topics, mobile technology, languages, and not excluding the mandatory talk about the DFSG and licenses in FOSS - talking legalese is the most important thing when you meet a DD (j/k). After the party, I returned to the room, met Laren, another diversity grant recipient room-sharing with me. By now, the pounding in my head was worse and the pain would not let me sleep, so I kept re-editing my slides till I was tired enough to sleep.

On Saturday morning - Day One of the conference, Laren and me walked over to the venue and I went of into the Green Room where all the speakers were pampered with food, some space to sit and work with you laptop, more food, chat with other speakers while having even more food, but I had no taste buds so I took three Advil's and gave my first technical talk.  That done, I was free to go and watch talks but instead I went off to be a volunteer - this is the easiest way to make friends with some really cool people within the community who welcome and appreciate your contribution and efforts. Its also very humbling to see the PyConCA board members and speakers who volunteered to carry in the lunch boxes the caterer had dropped off.

Post lunch, I attended the "Numerical and Scientific Computing with Python" tutorial by David, listened some great speakers, spoke to more people, had interesting discussions on NLP and linguistics with Mike and DWF, and before I knew it, it was the end of the day, which means more food - snacks and drinks were available at the bar. Did I mention that Pycon-CA pampers you with food and drinks all through the day. At every break, there was something to munch on. Every where I looked there were food boxes, fruits / salad boxes, cookies, coffee, tea, drinks, water bottles, cakes, tacos, samosas (I noticed that those ran out really quickly as compared to the salads which is not surprising), strawberry and chocolate, juice, .... ummm..ok, you get the picture. You were very well-fed and taken care of. At one point I counted the number of laptops Vs. the food boxes on the table. Guess which was outnumbered!?

Sunday morning, being the second and final day of the conference, I attended talks on Graph databases in Python and Persona (identity/privacy, which is important to me) and later, Greg Wilson and a bunch of speakers in the green room had an interesting conversation on education and knowledge (or the lack thereof) in the current education system, what role do Universities and schools have to play within the system - are they redundant with their monolithic rigid structures, MOOC's, their pro's and cons, and how the internet and technology is changing the education system, whether sites like Udacity and Coursera (did you know that their business model allows them to sell your personal details to publishers like McGraw Hill and their ilk, who have apparently signed on the dotted line) are imparting knowledge to their users and learners at the risk of their privacy? Where exactly is creativity, mental development, critical thought, knowledge and learning today? That was more food for thought than the food around the table. Post lunch, I morphed into a Runner - yeah, its that person who runs behind each speaker! Katie and me were deputed to the Main hall speakers and got to see all the talks, including lightning talks, ending with Fernando's (not-to-be-missed) closing keynote.
Videos:
No matter how hard you try, you cannot attend every fantastic talk out there. When Carl sent across the video link to me, I was stunned by the excellent production quality. The first thought that crossed my mind was "Wow, that is a second career right there" and sure enough it is - these excellent videos are brought to you by nextdayvideo.com :

* Taavi showing you how pandas get a workout
* Elizabeth Leddy rocking the Main Hall
* Did you Test today?
* No conference is complete without a talk on "BigData"
* Brandon Rhodes on why he thinks Python is beautiful (a must see if you are a beginner to Python)

Wow, this post has gotten too long. Among all the things, I admire the organizational abilities of the board the most. The conference had awesome sponsors too, one of them being Google, whose Diversity grant made it possible for me to attend the event. Initially, when my talk was accepted, I had planned book the bus tickets in advance so that I could stretch the grant money to enable me to attend both the days of the conference. When I mentioned this to Diana, she worked her magic, enabling me to cover my flight bookings and also the hotel stay within the grant. Amazing team! Kudos to the PyCon-Canada team.