50+ members of the Boston Python Local turned out for PyCon on the Charles, Night 2; a dress rehearsal for PyCon speakers from the Boston area. Ned did an informal survey of the audience and 1/3rd will be at PyCon proper. I did an even more informal eyeball survey of the audience and 20% had beards and 10% were women (the groups were mutually exclusive). Only 2% of the attendees brought cookies and I would have berated her for reinforcing gender stereotypes but I was too busy thanking her for the oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips.
Peter Portante led off with his talk "The words 'Non-Blocking' and 'Asynchronous' Are Not Synonyms and Here's Why" (I paraphrase) which started with examples of documentation that use the terms synonymously and then detailed how they the two concepts are, in fact, different. The talk is a broad tour of what one thing means versus the other as well as who-owns-what as far as kernel-vs-userpace goes. Peter also footnoted the hell out of it so if you want to learn the difference between select(), epoll(), and kqueue() you can.
Glyph gave a beta* of his talk "Turtles All The Way Down" (not a paraphrase). The title references the fact that python behaves in unsurprising ways by design. His explicit goal wasn't to explain how all the "Python's Dusty Corners" work but to hammer home that what even a python newbie knows mostly holds up in strange, dark places because python's authors and maintainers are learned refugees from other camps that publish tomes like the "C++ FAQs (3rd ed)."
Gylph's talk was of particular interest to me because he's talking about the same damn topic as I am and in the same time slot. Thankfully the world is a big place so his talk is also completely different. This is my 7th PyCon so I've seen many topics repeated and I'm always pleasantly surprised by how differently the same material is presented by different people; part of it is personality, part of it is style, and part of it is voice. I, for one, would pay to listen to Alex Martelli read a phonebook.
Antonio Rodriguez gave an alpha of his keynote address. Keynotes are fun because they get to give BIG BOLD AVDICE. Hyperbole is fun because like advice from your father things need to be said twice as loud because you'll only follow half of it. The alpha talk was 3x as loud as necessary but I think he'll trim it down to the keynote normal of 2x based on feedback (and some topics will get moved to the Language Summit instead).
Edward Abrams debuted his "DJ-ing in Python: Audio processing fundamentals" talk. It is an industy talk/python success story. Not my favorite milieu but industry talks do a good job of highlighting tools and best practices. Abrams gave a brief overview of why audio manipulation is hard followed by a list of which python tools he used to solve his problems. NumPy and threads (for I/O) were featured heavily.
* version 6beta2 if his intro slide is to be believed