Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PyCon Prep

If you are giving a talk take the time to watch AMK's How to Give a Python Talk. I posted some thoughts on speaking last year too. For anyone attending: go listen to the Pre-PyCon podcast where several regular PyConers give a conference HOWTO. It features some solid advice such as "accept the first dinner invitation you get" to which I'd add my favorite "eat lunch at a table with no one you know." It is easy to get insular especially for repeat speakers* and/or python-devs so the lunch rule helps me break out of that.

  • Finalize my talk and cut to length. "Finalize" is a bit of a joke because I tend to rewrite it every time I do a practice run. My talk last year got rewritten in the wee hours the night before I gave it too. Cutting to length isn't much of a problem; If you've done many rewrites and know how many slides you have you can adjust how much you talk about each slide on-the-fly. Relatedly, I'm impressed by the people that give just the talk they rehearsed - it's something I can't do.

  • Load up my Kindle. I'm not much of a gadget guy - I wear a watch and carry a pocket knife (I'm down to my last one, @#*@$^ TSA). The Kindle is a gift that I haven't had a chance to use because I don't travel much.

  • Load up my laptop. I rarely turn it on because my home office has three nice LCDs so I need to 'svn up' all the python trees and pull some bzr repositories for other projects. (I guessed wrong and started using bzr before Python announced the switch to mercurial).

  • Get my home network in order. I need to open up an ssh port so I can tunnel over a secure connection at the con.

  • Work on my lightning talks. I'm not 100% sure these will happen but be on the lookout for "High Trust, High Responsibility Communities" and "The Physics of Bowling." The community one will not include farkers, goons, or /b/tards but in my research I did come across this interesting article about EVE Online (EVE uses python heavily and always sends a contingent to PyCon) which includes a player .sig "You may be playing EVE Online, but be warned: we are playing Something Awful." My talk is about hacking people via trust cues and what does and doesn't work in some all-volunteer groups I'm in (Python-dev and Masons feature heavily).

  • No beta-blockers, again. I keep meaning to use performance enhancing drugs when I talk (beta-blockers are used by concert violinists to quell the symptoms of stress during performances) but never bother to procure them. Instead I just forgo coffee the day of my talk, which kinda sucks.

  • No mustache, again. I enjoyed it but it was a one time thing. Anecdotally: people who know you without facial hair have a hard time recognizing you with it. The opposite is not true: people who know you with facial hair have no problem recognizing you shaved.

* Jack's Rule of Badges: If two people in a group have speaker's badges then everyone in the group will have speaker's badges.

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