pythonic chew toyz (continued)

kirby.urner at kirby.urner at
Mon May 4 03:30:35 CEST 2009

On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 5:52 PM, kirby <kirby.urner at> wrote:

> From: "kirby.ur... at" <kirby.ur... at>
> Date: Jan 14, 2:18 pm
> Subject: pythonic chew toyz (a column, by K. Urner) v.1 n.1
> To: comp.lang.python
> Selena spotted me right away as "the O'Reilly spy", me agreeing she
> had an exceptionally good memory, maybe we could recruit her?  Our
> banter traces to the first meeting on OS Bridge and how I introduced
> myself [0], not yet realizing Allison Randal was in the audience (way
> more an insider, as to how many Ls in Randall).[1]

Selena kindly welcomed us into her home for an OS Bridge meeting
awhile back, where we tackled the daunting task of sorting through a
great many interesting proposals, mine barely squeaking by (yes, helps
to have a self interested party at the table, I don't deny it).
Audrey was a strong advocate for Allison Randal's getting to speak,
but of course that's a shoe in.  I'm more the maverick, not having
invented any virtual machines yet, just a lot of verbiage mostly, with
source code sprinkled in (syntactic sugar we call it).

Selena is a Postgres jock many of you may already know.  Take a look for news on the new Sun -
Oracle merger (yes we know, MySQL).  Audrey is with our Legion of Tech
especially in the Rails community (which Kaplan-Moss said some nice
things about).  Together these two are anchoring OS Bridge, our new
Open Source conference in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest always in the
mood for some big geeky festival, with lots of fun themes, like FOSS
on the Farm.

> Last night in the Roman room (CubeSpace) I proposed she could emcee
> the panel we're planning (maybe?), after the new Mayor (Sam Adams)
> kicks it off with a keynote -- all in the proposal stage, looking over
> her shoulder.

Sam got rather famous after I posted this or was it before I forget,
but a Wild West town like ours is supposed to go overboard into
various forms of burlesque, player piano optional, maybe a few head
turning cross-dressers (truly, PDX is proud of its heritage, think our
airport is pretty spiffy, plus Ikea, other destinations, take the Max,
Go By Train, very green).

> I was also there for the __metaclasses__ discussion by John Melesky,
> and for work, most of that same day (this is PDX CubeSpace, a lot of
> us rent office space).  Jason talked about the __missing__ rib (in
> dict).[2]
> As we were getting settled, they talked about OSCON, perking my
> interest.  Whereas some take the view we're somehow competing with San
> Jose (where some of my friends work, or worked in the case of Maxtor
> and IBM), my model is more Cirque du Soleil, given where "geeks" come
> from (something about chickens).[3]

I haven't decided about OSCON yet, would love to go, love the show,
but this retarded economy has me showing my bank every move, no
suitcases of cash like before (just kidding).

Seriously, that O'Reilly School of Technology guy was like "we're
gonna miss the free beer" referring to sometimes generous Alaska
airlines people, maybe Frontier I don't know, giving passengers an up
front taste for our offerings, this being not only a FOSS capital, per
CSM 2005, but a Beer Capital as well (funny how these go together hand
in glove -- no tap at Free Geek though, whereas at Cubespace it's like
50% foam).

Anyway, I've heard many wonderful things about San Jose and will say
this first hand:  the Silicon Valley is not our enemy, nor is the
Silicon Hills (Austin), so there, you have it in writing.

> Five OSCONs running in parallel in any given summer would make more
> sense than just one, but then O'Reilly isn't quite as big as McGraw-
> Hill (BYTE), yet.  Anyway, Portland is happy to share the glory.  OS
> Bridge is yet another bulb on the breadboard (aka grid), getting
> brighter by the day.
> Speaking of BYTE, I also learned last night that Eliza, our geek
> therapist, is alive and well in Python, as a part of the Natural
> Language Toolkit or NLTK.  And she's got company.  Some of you may
> recall Hugh Kenner's hilarious investigation of chat bots, then very
> new, in a way back issue (1980s).[4]

I tried to get Nat Bobbitt interested in this but he said "no more
comms" perhaps being strategic, time will tell.  I admit to not
following through either, making Sun Tzu and Eliza have conversational
intercourse, a great high school project, and now we have a Watcher
between Pycons -- Vern Ceder, tasked with scoping out talent,
Pythonistas too young for a Pycon maybe (Hyatts pretty racy, lots of
alcoholic beverages), but still able to exhibit in a poster session,
perhaps with a teacher as stand in, proud for the whole school (Python
Teacher of the Year?) -- we'll have someone for high schools to
contact (soon).  Check edu-sig archives for more data.

edu-sig @ web page was transitioned to our university
president in residence, Dr. Crunchy (yes, an alias), should have some
contact info by summer.  Ramping up slowly, as Pycon is traditionally
business oriented, into planning and doing things right (thx to CTE
this year, also on the job for DjangoConf per this guy's sources --
make a space for September).

> Hugh, by the way, was a leading 20th century James Joyce scholar and
> fan of R. Buckminster Fuller (see 'The Pound Era'), Bucky a champion
> for me as well (hence my -- named after the guy, for use with
> VPython, POV-Ray, x3d etc., more on edu-sig).
> I'll catch up again later, maybe from Chicago, maybe before.[5]

So yeah, Chicago was great.  Too much for one Chew Toyz (the name of
this column), so I'll say some more later, haven't finished watching
all the Blip TVs yet.  Loved 'Designing Django' by Kaplan-Moss,
forwarded to __CHR__ as exemplary of professional (and fun).[0]  My
talk cost extra so don't expect to see the whole thing on Blip, co-
presented with Holden (, with "Dr. Ian" contributing a
short video re Diffie-Hellman-Merkle (I mostly did RSA because that's
how we do it in Portland so far (wave to Lionel [1])).




> [0]
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]
> [ 2nd edition: reformatted, fixed endnotes ]
> << with thanks to verizon wireless >>

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