Here are my assorted thoughts on PyCon this year. Long story short: Marvelous.
The Atlanta location was actually in downtown Atlanta and not like the Chicago or Dallas PyCons where it was hosted nearer the airport than the city itself. There were dozens of restaurants and bars at every price-point within walking distance, and even more than that if you took the train a few stops. My favorites were the cheap local places like the Vietnamese soup joint (via Titus Brown) and the chili cheese dog joint (via Larry Hastings). I liked the high price steak joints too, but you can get good food anywhere so it's less of a kick. Now that we have some institutional knowledge about eating in Atlanta I expect to eat even better next year.
The conference organizers, program committee, and network guys all did a perfect job this year. You won't hear about it much because when things "just work" there is nothing to talk about. As an anecdote about how well things were setup: during sprints one developer was loading up his computer with video because the 'net download speed was better than he could get at home over fiber. Another anecdote: during sprints a different conference was coming in and had signs that listed our sprint rooms as part of their conference venue; I know nothing about the particulars but there was a flurry of panicked activity and the situation was handled.
Labor must be cheap in Atlanta because every business had more employees per square foot than I've seen in any other American city - including many Southern ones.
Flying sucks. While PyCon-qua-PyCon wouldn't be possible without cheap flights (trans-Atlantic esp) I would really have liked a heads-up that I would be stuck in Philadelphia for five hours. I could have called up some kith & kin and hit the downtown instead of sitting in the terminal for a dog's age.
I mostly got to talk to the people I wanted to see but haven't seen since last year (including the other Boston locals). I also met some new and interesting folks. Unfortunately one week isn't enough to do enough of both no matter how little sleep you get; but I'm pretty happy with the results.
A big shout-out to CCP games. They have an Atlanta office so an even bigger chunk of the Iceland office was at PyCon than usual. I met their Atlanta marketing director who is the guy who behind the viral marketing cum bombscare for ATHF a few years back. Good to see he landed on his feet. The CCP guys are a big reason why I slept very little, and happily so. Allow me a semi-related shout-out to Mr & Mrs Wayne & Wendy Witzel; I met them at a 'con or two ago, and Wayne volunteered as my session chair this year. They are both big EVE players and know Reykjavik better than I do (I don't know much). [Also, her name is not "Wendy" which I have been told repeatedly but refuse to acknowledge. It should be Wendy, dammit.]
Every secret project tried to do a release in time for PyCon, or so it seems. Some of the company ANNs include Sauce Labs and Nasuni. Additionally the conference was a big bag of leaky secrets so expect more announcements quite soon (I'm not contractually obligated to not-say but I will so as to not blunt their PR).
Sprints were smaller this year than last, especially python-dev. The sprint rooms at late night were also less, umm, vigorous than in past years. Sprints are still ongoing but for the first few days, when I was there, I can say there were zero card games played. Not holdem, not asshole, not set, not nothing.
I normally don't ask about late night sprint activities out of a sense of propreity, but I'll make an exception in this case. Was anyone around circa 3am on Wednesday? I have a lump on my head and I'm somewhat curious about its origins.