Our little gang from the Windsor Unix Users Group just got back from Penguicon 7.0 on Sunday night. As always, it was so much fun we hardly managed to get any sleep, and we all came home with a lot of really fun memories.
I didn’t get around to sit down and come up with a write-up about the experience as i’ve been working on other projects every evening this week, but I finally have a minute to do so now.
As far as the convention event itself went, there is definitely a lot of good and a few notable logistical oversights that are worth mentioning, but i’m not really interested in addressing either on here, as I’m really more interested in sharing my impression of the technical panels I’ve attended.
I have to say, I’m very excited about every single one of the panels I’ve been able to attend this year. They were all highly informative, and the speakers very motivated and passionate about their material. Here’s a short summary of the events I was especially excited about:
- Neural Networks
This panel was held by Dr. Stanley C. Mortel. It explained the basic concepts behind the idea of building and training neural computation networks. It was a very abstract fly-by course, which I feel is a very appropriate way to introduce this type of material. There was a second part of this panel available the next day but we weren’t fortunate enough to attend it.
Reading by Will Wheaton
Beginning PyGame Programming
This tutorial by Craig Maloney was my first real introduction to PyGame. Craig had a nice little demo environment all set up and ready for the presentation. He flew pretty quickly through many of the concepts behind PyGame while writing a Pong demo. Although he went through the material pretty quickly, I’m very interested in learning more about the platform as a result, so it’s safe to say the tutorial was a success as far as I’m concerned.
Open Hardware with Arduino
The speaker for this talk was W Craig Trader, and I have to say Craig was not only extremely knowledgeable about the Arduino (and obviously several other) platform, but also pretty excited about it, and since microcontrolers isn’t something I’ve ever bothered to learn anything about, I really didn’t expect to get so excited about the talk. The Arduino platform appears to be very accessible technically and financially, and also pretty powerful. Craig did an amazing job showing us the strengths and weaknesses of the platform and getting our whole group pretty excited to play with it!
High Performance PHP
This talk held by Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP and an infrastructure architect at Yahoo! Inc., took us through several performance optimization techniques for PHP apps, although many of the concepts featured in the talk could easily be applied to any apache-based app. It was very refreshing to finally see someone as experienced and well-rounded as him go through the tribulations of identifying and addressing performance bottlenecks in PHP apps. I was very interested in both the individual techniques highlighted during the talk, as well as the problem-solving process of a highly experienced software engineer, so that talk was the highlight of the con for me.
Unfortunately, due to very unfortunate logistical shortcomings, our group was unable to attend a lot of the panels we were looking forward to check out, but despite this, the con was a resounding success in every aspect you can think of. I’ve met some really cool and interesting people, learned a lot of very exciting stuff that will be guiding some of my personal research for months to come, learned some technical concepts that will directly impact my work performance, and had way too much fun.
The next stop on our list will probably be PyOhio. We had a chance to chat with Catherine Devlin, a fellow Pythonista & Oracle geek from IntelliTech Systems, who told us about it, and Aaron and I are looking into putting together a talk proposal for the con, if we can come up with it before the deadline, and we already have some pretty interesting ideas, so I’m looking forward to it. I’d also really love to attend PyCon 2010 in Atlanta!
If you’re interested in attending a convention where Linux and FOSS enthusiasts get a chance to have fun with the Sci-Fi crowd for a weekend of fun, PenguiCon is definitely for you!!