[Baypiggies] Location - PyCon 2012

Alex Martelli aleax at google.com
Mon Jun 21 23:22:44 CEST 2010

Personal opinions from reasonably-fresh experiences...

On Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 1:00 AM, wesley chun <wescpy at gmail.com> wrote:
> NOTE: also copying the SF Python meetup as this somewhat concerns you
> guys as well. :-)
> all,
> VanL, our distinguished PyCon chair, attempted to send you a msg which
> did not go through as he's not subscribed to either mailing list.
> please CC him on your replies if you wish to give your opinion on the
> PyCon 2012 location here in Silicon Valley.
> cheers,
> -wesley
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: VanL <van.lindberg at gmail.com>
> To: baypiggies at python.org
> Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 12:33:01 -0500
> Subject: Location - PyCon 2012
> Hello Baypiggies,
> After doing some initial vetting, it looks like there are two options
> for PyCon 2012 and I would like to get any feedback before we sign
> with one or the other. The total cost will be similar to PyCon for
> both options. If I were to summarize: option 1 would be better for
> extra-conference activities. Option 2 would be better for
> intra-conference activities.
> The PyCon organizers list appears to be pretty strongly in favor of
> Option 2. Comments? Please CC me as I am not subscribed to this list.
> Option 1: San Jose One Connection
> This is a combination offer between the San Jose Marriott, the Hilton
> San Jose, and the San Jose convention center. All of these facilities
> are tied together so they are all under one roof.

That's where we had OSCON in 2009 -- after years in Portland, OR --
and we're back in Portland this year, partly because the experience
here wasn't ideal.

One BIG problem for all exhibitors was the SJCC's exclusive agreement
with the SJ local of the teamsters' union for all booth setups &c -- I
don't know if it's still in effect, but it was a real disaster last
year.  Summarizing "by hearsay" as I wasn't directly involved in this:
the exhibitors admitted "pro bono", various open-source non-profit
orgs, had counted on doing most everything by volunteer-labor as
usual, and had no funds to do otherwise; some of the firms exhibiting
(ones who do a lot of exhibiting in the Bay Area) had _their own_
exclusive agreements for Bay Area conferences, with _another_ local of
the same union (e.g., SF's), which led to serious political infighting
among the various locals.  Eventually we muddled through, kind of, but
I heard exhibitors swear "never again" -- which I believe played a big
role in O'Reilly's eventual decision to move back to Portland.

We need to check whether the SJCC is still under that exclusive
agreement or whether it has elapsed -- if it IS still on, I think it
can be pretty problematic.

> Advantages:
> - Two hotels to choose from, but still only one bill for PyCon.
> Registrants get signing privileges at both hotels, so restaurants and
> services from both can be signed to your room.

I'll pass on this one since I'm going to be commuting from home anyway
(as I did for OSCON last year).

> - They appear to have a little more robust internal networking infrastructure.

I couldn't tell by last year's experience -- wifi at SJCC, while not a
total disaster, was nowhere as good as at Pycon earlier this year.

> - Downtown San Jose; lots to do, many places to eat within close
> walking distance.

Yes, that's nice (at least it was on OSCON's less-hectic schedule --
earlier this year at Pycon we ended up leaving the hotel just

> Disadvantages:
> - The convention space is not a great fit for PyCon. We could downsize
> back to 4 tracks or spread out a little more, but those don't seem
> attractive.

Last year OSCON was spread all over SJCC and it was a real mess --
people had to run very fast through interminable corridors to have any
hope of making it to two talks scheduled in rooms at the two distant

> - Charge for parking (discounted self parking at $10)

Annoying -- for those who have cars there, but that should be mainly
the locals (SJ downtown is quite walkable and decently served by
public transit), right?

> Layout: http://www.sanjosemarriott.com/pdf/San_Jose_convention_center_layout.pdf
> Option 2: Hyatt Regency Santa Clara

That's where I played in a middling bridge tournament last year -- a
great experience (well, except for the level of my and my partner's
play and the resulting placement in the tournament, but in all honesty
I can't claim those were the _hotel_'s fault;-) -- and know the
general region (Anna went to college < 2 miles from there before
transferring to Stanford whence she just graduated, for example).

> Advantages:
> - Much more space, with more layout options. Would work better for the
> conference.
> - Free parking for drivers.
> Disadvantages:
> - Office parks for miles around. Food/bars/entertainment would need to
> take the train. The train is close, but is a 10 min ride.

The restaurant hotels and bars aren't too bad (the Hilton is also
close) and within a mile or less there an interesting place --
http://www.rabbitsfootmeadery.com/ and more ordinary ones like a
Bennigans Grill and a "Fairway Restaurant" (haven't tried that one);
just above one mile, a "Club Bahia" (don't much like that kind of
music so I haven't tried it but if you are into it sounds good),
http://www.bogartsloungeandtechpub.com/ , and the
(used-to-be-excellent, haven't-been-there-in a while)
http://www.faultlinebrewing.com/ -- whether these are "walking
distance", I guess, depends on one's walking habits (and time
available), but surely this shows the "office parks for miles around"
is a bit of an overbid;-).

There's definitely more options _with_ cars than without, sigh (kind
of like the reverse of downtown SJ).

Guess I might be a bit biased in favor of Santa Clara since we just
moved (well are smack in the middle of moving, in a sense - no
internet yet for example;-) to a house 5 miles away...;-).


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