PyConCz 2018 — Report
When I first met the Python guys as they visited our Ruby meetups, I thought – what a cute young people, who like to party hard. As I slowly moved from Ruby and meetups in general, I have lost contact with most of them. Only once I had talked about a library on the Pyvo meetup. It was mostly a rant on Ruby on Rails, and the library died soon after. However, there I first met Stařenka, who had a rant on Django in his talk. So a friendship was made. Next time I have met him on the very first PolyConf in Poznań, where he introduced me to my later conference colleague Míšo. As PolyConf seems to be missing this year, I decided to join both of the guys on PyCon CZ, and I hardly could choose better. Please bear in mind, that I know next to nothing about any advanced Python, and I mostly look at the conference from the point of the community and its mood.
When I came in the morning, I have met Stařenka and couple guys from the oldest group of Pythonistas, namely Dan Srb and Kvbik. Even as they were solving the usual problems of every conference I have ever been to, there were good laughs, and I hadn’t noticed any discontent of the visitors. Well guys behind me were calling with their company and uttered some swear words about their boss in the process.
Then I moved to the back chill zone for chit-chat with Míšo before the start. The theme for the first keynote was some of the hottest in our industry these days: to remote or not remote. One of those rare duet talks and I enjoyed it a lot. Especially the notion that this problem is reducible to: to wear pants or not to wear pants. I took away some advice, even as I am moving to an office after quite a long time.
The next talk I attended was on machine learning sentiment rating. It was accessible and in the great rhythm with many jokes and winks. My Python knowledge was just enough so I could follow it without a problem and got a good general overview of the problem. Also, in the talk, there was only one evil math character!
Strengthened by this success, I decided to visit the DataFrames talk. However, my PyFu ended before the doors of this talk, and also theatre temperature was over my self-regulating possibilities. I moved to the dunder methods talk and found my knowledge of the language lacking again.
Also, the beer kiosk opened. The rest of the day I spent in the spirit of the lobby conference life. I have met many people I knew from other communities and many new ones. I have talked about my contemporary point of view, and to my surprise, people were listening and thinking about what I was saying without any flame wars. One of this kind of discussion was with David Majda, whom I consider one of the best computer scientists, at least Czech ones. I missed the board games night, but when I visited it, I was smitten by how many people were having good fun there. As the midnight approached, we packed up and went to sleep.
Saturday morning fresh and new, we again gathered in MeetFactory and started the second day with some excellent tea and coffee. The first talk I have seen was how and why to teach kids programming, and it was one of the best talks I have ever seen. So close to my heart, it brought tears to my eyes couple of the times. Duet again, but mostly serial, by the parents, about things they love to do. Light on tech but heavy on ideas and sheer love. For me the highest point of the whole conference. Bravo bravo bravo.
The second talk I went was about security and how to use marketing techniques for the higher success rate of the account hacking. Python was in the second plane again. Still, the love for the language was everywhere. If I would be hacking some account, I would first watch this talk again. Especially e-shop hacking part was gorgeous.
Then again I moved to chill areas talking with friends old and new and had great fun. No traces of any elitism, which is many times present on the events like this. Just friendship and goodwill. Even my everpresent doom sayer pose was funnier than looming. You know you are in the right company when you hear an ukulele every couple of minutes, usually with a singing voice, even if it is mostly Ring of Fire.
One last talk I wanted to see, and I managed it, even when it ran long after they opened beer kiosk. It was about algorave live coded music. I played with Sonic Pi in my days, and I was not disappointed with this talk. Well, there was a demonstration at the end of the talk, and later at the afterparty. Again, music.
I stayed for the lightning talks, and for the glorious end, where the big group played Always look on the Bright Side of Life on all the ukuleles and some guitars and other instruments on stage, and all the attendees sang along. It was like a spark of that cosmic power. “Tears in my eyes 2.0”. Goodbye from the organizers, and afterparty till the morning. I wish I had a better recollection of it, but suffice to say I found myself in the morning light playing a small drum – if that even means anything.
You may wonder where is the part about food, venue or diversity as staples in this kind of reports. Well, those were great, any of them. Most of all, I loved the atmosphere! I have been to quite a number of the conferences in my life, but never experienced anything like this. Big love to all the people involved, you are the best!
One week after the thing, many forgotten pieces appeared in my mind.
The ratio of all the genders was almost on the level of the last Polyconf, and that was made diverse by design. Here it was much more organic. On PyCon you could meet people from all over the spectrum. Big love for this!
We are all equal, and here it showed.
The food was abundant on the first floor, and it was there all the time, or at least until the main programme ran. What I liked the most: it was just ordinary food, nothing too fancy. Still, it was delicious, well prepared, well served. Pasta salads, nom nom, and cookies. And from what I gathered it was made in a protected workshop (sorry if it is not the right word for chráněná dílna, blame Google Translate). So eating there, you were helping some people in need, now you can see why I ate so much!
Same for the tea and coffee. And when the pizza came, it was by two cars, no less!
But what blew my mind was that onSunday morning, all the surplus was escorted, together with a drum-playing fool, by taxi to homeless people.
We are all in this together, see?
Another thing I appreciate on confs was what happened in the lobby, chillouts and everywhere outside of the Main and Theatre rooms. Everybody was talking, laughing, hacking, playing musical instruments. I made more new friends in two days that in the last year. And made the old friendships last for life.
You say toys? Oh, boy have seen all the people in the zoom boxes? Playing exotic instruments, electronic or small drums?
Meet the people, cause they are diamonds in the rocks.
I am a music lover. I cannot work efficiently without my Mixcloud stream, and my kids cannot fell asleep without my lullabies. I know I already raved about this in the report, but who cares. If the music average in the world were as it was here, it would be a much better place. All kinds of music: live played instruments, reproduced or generated on the spot.
So always look on the bright side of life!
See you next year in the