[PyAR2] Getting to know you

Greg Lindstrom gslindstrom at gmail.com
Fri Nov 16 01:59:44 CET 2007

At the end of today we have 26 members of our humble mailing list.  To say
I'm pleased would be quite an understatement.

About a week ago, Chad Cooper wrote me asking what had become of previous
efforts to create a Python Users Group in Arkansas.  I have attempted to
create one on two separate occasions and both fizzled pretty quickly.  With
Chad's encouragement -- and he is quite enthusiastic as I'm sure you will
discover -- we decided to try again, still believing there were other
Pythonistas in Arkansas.  Seeing the list grow today really has me excited.

There are a lot of things I like about Python, and many of them have nothing
to do with the language!  I have always liked the sense of community Python
has fostered.  Alas, with the growth of the community I think we are losing
the 'unconditional friendliness' and heading towards more traditional
mailing lists with flame wars and more hostile responses; especially to
newbies.  While this is *our* list (not belonging to Chad or me), I would
like us to strive for a spirit closer to the original comp.lang.python,
where the most outrageous flame I ever received was "really, Greg, Google is
your friend" and the most simple question was greeted with a gentle

I used to work with a good friend who felt is was not only his right, but
obligation (!) to humiliate users asking what he deemed to be simple
questions because it would encourage them to look up the answer on their own
next time.  It's a plausible theory, but I used to teach high school
mathematics and physics and can not imagine making fun of a student asking
for help.

Another thing I like is because Python is so simple, you meet all sorts of
personalities.  PyCon, the annual Python convention (www.pycon.org) sports
uber-geeks, sure, but there are also musicians, newspaper workers, and
teachers.  Conversations are about real topics, not just Python.  One thing
I've noticed is with most languages you will here "I am a [C|C++|Perl|Java]
programmer where most Pythonistas will say "I use Python to....".  I like

For the past 3 1/2 years I have been the senior programmer at Novasys Health
in Little Rock where we have written a fairly large (about 80,000 lines of
code) application to help us process health care claims.  Our web developer
-- who is a member of this list as well -- choose PHP for our web presence,
but virtually all of the back end work is done in Python connecting to a
Postgres database (as well as Oracle, SQL Server, and IMAGE databases).  We
have come up with a number of innovative techniques to handle data and I
look forward to sharing them with you.  I also look forward to seeing what
you're doing.

About a month ago I was promoted to the Manager of the IT department at
Novasys.  Please don't hold that against me; I still code over 75% of my

As for where the list will go, I don't know.  I have things I want to
accomplish and will pursue them while helping others.  If you want to get
involved, this is the place for you; get to work!!  Perhaps you just want to
know how to do something (connect to an Oracle database, work with objects,
process images, make a web page); ask away!!  If you want to sit back and
watch for a while, that's OK, too.

If you would, take a few minutes and let us know a little about you, what
you do with Python (maybe you just want to learn it), and what you want out
of the group. At this point, all ideas are good ideas.

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