[Texas] PyTexas 2010 Retrospective: Facility

Kevin Horn kevin.horn at gmail.com
Mon Aug 30 06:01:22 CEST 2010

On Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 10:21 PM, Brad Allen <bradallen137 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Let's discuss how well our venue worked out this time, at the Baylor
> University Science Building in Waco. Should we plan to use the same
> venue next year?

I thought the venue was great, and Waco was a nice central location for most
attendees, I think.

My default is to prefer the same location for next year, because we
> now have experience with this venue and know how to make it work.
> However, it may be worth exploring alternatives.

The only alternative that comes to mind here is Bryan/College Station
(presumably at Texas A&M).
While I think A&M could be a great venue for an event like this (admittedly,
as an Aggie, I'm biased),
I think it might be a good idea to keep PyTexas at Waco for next year, and
focus more on things other
than dealing with the venue.

I'm not sure staying at one location for _every_ year makes sense, for the
same reason that PyCon
moves around (attracting attendees from different areas).

But as far as the venue goes, my only complaint is the ban on refreshments
in the classrooms, and
that's an awfully minor issue.  It might be nice to have some tables
designated downstairs for people to
hang out at while refreshing themselves.  Brad had a similar idea in another

It also might be a good idea to put a 15 min break into the schedule for
this purpose.

One important question will be whether we can secure a large
> auditorium room. This year we had ~92 attendees and our keynote room
> was past capacity.  I have some ideas about how to increase turnout
> for next year, and want plan to support up to 200 attendees. Getting
> everyone into one room is critical for certain moments in the
> conference.
> Some notes:
> * Wireless was down till about 9:30am(?). Thanks to Jeremy Langley for
> getting IT support to fix it!

I didn't notice...I never even tried to get on the wireless except in the
morning, when it
wasn't working, and I was mostly trying then because I thought I might need
it later in
the day. Which I didn't.

> * One hour was not long enough for lunch, due to the long walk to the
> cafeteria.

Agreed, and hour and a half would be better.  About 10 of us went to a cajun
place across the freeway
(which was very tasty) and it took us about that amount of time to get
there, eat and get back.

> * The food in the cafeteria seemed pretty good ($8 all you can eat
> buffet). Do you agree? How many of you missed going to the cafeteria
> because of the earlier misdirection of the food court with Quizno's
> and Chick-Fillet ?

As I said above, I didn't hit the cafeteria, but I heard no complaints.

> * We had some technical issues with one of the projectors; I heard
> that one talk had to be given with no projector (Intro to Version
> Control). I'm not sure what happened there.

I think it might be a good idea next year to get volunteers to be "room
and have a brief "training session" at the beginning of the day in which
they familiarize
themselves with the equipment.  That way, hopefully we have at least one
person in the
room who knows how it is supposed to work.  They could also introduce
speakers and
otherwise coordinate things.

Ideally we'd only need to have people sign up to be a "room proctor" for
specific sessions,
so they wouldn't be chained to the same room all day.

I don't think I'd call having "room proctors" necessary for a one day event,
but it might
be helpful.

> * The security paperwork to support wireless access is a bit
> cumbersome at Baylor, but I think it was acceptable and we can live
> with doing it again next year. What do you think?

I think it was fine.

> * There was a lot of walking required, both to and from the parking
> garage, and to and from the cafeteria. We got lucky with the weather,
> which could have been much hotter or much rainier. That is a big risk
> for future events at the same place.
I think weather is the only real concern here.  By itself, I didn't think
the walking was a
problem.  If it had been 105F or pouring down rain, it might have been a
problem, though.

All in all, it was a really nice place to have a conference/

Kevin Horn
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