How can we improve PyCon next year?
When videotaping talks, you really need a mic feed direct to the video camera. The few videos I've seen posted from Pycon 2008 have been nearly inaudible because they relied on room acoustics and the in-camera microphone.
Get the network working on day 1, and keep it working
Better wireless; better promotion of open space activities.
Give food options for food allergies like peanuts, wheat, and gluten. More fruit, especially at breakfast.
The format for the talks need to be changed. As an audience member I could tell how hard it was for the speakers to present their ideas in the allotted time. Maybe 2 different kinds of speaking slots. One which is short and a speaker can summarize a topic. The second being longer, in which the speaker can cover a more complicated topic, or go into greater depth. Might not work, but I figured I'd suggest something as which could spark an idea. Also, the sponsored Lighting Talks didn't work so well. The Lighting Talks on Sunday were the best.
keep the "obvious ads" out of the "real people" lightning talks (having a labelled session for them is fine.)
The food wasn't as good this year as it was last year. I wasn't very impressed by the cold lunches. I was somewhat unhappy that the IronPython talk I went to felt like a "let me tell you how awesome Microsoft and Silverlight is" talk. The open rooms didn't seem like a very big deal in the evenings - I remember a room full of people playing Galcon at Pycon 2007. I think the placement of the time slot board in the basement meant that a lot of people didn't see them until Saturday or Sunday. Last year I enjoyed coming back after dinner and sitting down and hacking on laptops in the rooms - I didn't find people doing that this year and I missed it. The sprinting talk after the conference this year was much more organized than last year, however the one thing I missed from last year was that last year you were encouraged to go and ask people questions when deciding which group to sprint with. This year it was the open panel, then a 10 minute break (I think), then straight into a meeting sort of thing. I enjoyed getting a chance to talk to people last year. Perhaps there were too many people there this year to do that.
Get a network that works. Scale and Debconf can do it. Use a proxy server. Get the speakers hand-outs on it. Don't give away key-notes and lightning talks to sponsors.
-Longer talks! Most speakers were scrambling to finish in time, and we skipped questions sometimes. -A little more time between talks
-More publicity for the "python lab", and possibly having one of them per night. Favorite activity of the whole conference, a great way to improve coding skills as well as meeting fellow developers.
better networking more vegi/non-dairy food options
Better approval process for talks. NO sponsored lightning talks.
Keep the sponsor booth, also keep the sponsor talks but intersperse them and encourage sponsors to talk about nerdy, non-employment subjects
Man, get some better food! This stuff this year sucked. It was like they'd never heard of vegetables before.
Better wi-fi, power strips at the lunch tables, don't give all the lightning talks to sponsors, talk descriptions should say whether the talk is advocacy or technical details, more advanced/longer talks.
Fix the network. Give even more opportunities to get involved.
Well done overall. Wifi was flaky at the beginning, then rock solid from Friday onwards. Go easy on the vendor/sponsored keynotes. I'd would recommend a 'vendor' track in parallel with the other sessions. If the sponsors complain, it's up to them to present material that will draw a crowd. Most will be able to pull it off. Move lightning talks to earlier in the day, after keynotes, so they can trigger open space activities. The open space signup needs to be more centralized. You didn't use the twitter channel enough to get volunteer help.
Better food, scheduled when there is better weather. And of course better lightning talks re sponsors
- Have decent wireless coverage and bandwidth from the start. - better suggestions for food outside the hotel - try to drum up some more interesting keynotes
consider 45 minute talks instead of 30 hold it in April (after the start of baseball season--so I can attend White Sox and Cubs games)
Better coordination between speakers and Moderators: - Speakers show up on time (i.e. before session) - Give moderators opening text (intro, etc)
please fix the network. the tutorial day dramatically suffered because of the poor network, and i did not get my money's worth
It was fine. I needed more for beginners since I don't know Python very well yet.
better food options (serve fruit salad for breakfast, buffets instead of boxes) better local restaurant guide wireless access from rooms defend wireless from crazy Windows
I came into programming in my late 20s and am self-taught, and started using Python in earnest about a year ago. I have a lot to catch up on before i can really understand some of the more esoteric stuff. I'd like there to be some more mid-range topics. I don't want to scare off all the alpha-geeks though.
Higher profile keynotes, like Adele and Roml. They really set a tone for the rest of the conference.
1. Better wireless networking. 2. Keep lightning talks informal and non-sponsored focused. 3. More great tutorials on Thursday. 4. Keep Thursday evening tutorials. 5. Steve Holden's "Teach me Twisted" BOF was great! Do more things like this. Super idea!!
Better food, more workingness with the microphones and projectors
- get the wireless working earlier - have wired switches, i always bring a 25ft network cable, just provide a switch, it was almost impossible to work on tickets/internet during the tutorials/sprints with unreliable wireless - leave the food out longer, even after the session/talk begins. By 9am on
Set up a time for 8-10 minute lightning talks which go through a selection process. The proposals can ask users for their needed time, not fixed amount. This could complement existing lightning talks, not replace them. It might solve the problem (?) of lousy lightning talks, allows 1 minute announcements or 8 minute talks that wouldn't get full talk slot proposals.
Announce a job fair Saturday morning in the expo hall and advertise it more widely in the local area. No change to what is done in the expo hall is required, but it would encourage people to go looking. Oh, and make it free to enter Sat. a.m. for non-conference attendees. As the conference gets bigger it's hard to hook up with people who gave talks. Perhaps there could be 2 or 3 times at the end of each day when speakers could be encouraged to meet up with people by going back to the room where they gave their talk.
Work out the network kinks before the first day. Lighting Talks should be more user-driven and less sponsor talk. Make sure that the level of a talk is accurate (Beg., Advanced, etc.), perhaps another label specifying the level/presence of code shared, slides, demoes or crowd participation.
More highly technical talks, less "The state of", perhaps more time for talks, more lightning talks, less vendor talks
Better Internet Connections, not only for the conference, but for the hotel! The connectivity should be tested before the conference begins.
Location in a city, with places to walk. O'Hare airport area is abysmal.
I'd love to see a youth track.
popular vote for speakers beforehand, and get the wireless to work
More lightning talks. Breakfast during sprints.
presentation training for speakers
Make the talks longer in duration or offer different talk lengths. 30 minutes is too short for some of the material, I felt like the speakers were rushing through slides or purposely prepared very little material so they wouldn't run over the time limit. It would have been nice to allow the speakers more time to expand on key topics and/or field questions mid-talk rather than just at the end.
Better network management Better food Better keynotes; the talks from 2007 were much better especially Robert Lefkowitz and Ivan Krstic.
Add one more day of tutorials
Better food; felt ill after thursday's dinner
Get a different wireless provider
Get some inspiring keynotes like you had in 2007.
better wireless capacity
internet connection was no good. some speakers were rookie. They assumed an advanced crowd. If the crowd knew everything why would they attend. Talks were too short and hence were crammed.
Don't let the food be taken away so quickly. Not everyone leaves a room immediately after a talk and by the time I got out to the hall, it was all gone (food and drink.) There should ALWAYS be drinks available.
Lapel mikes. Make the talks longer, and jettison the poor speakers to make room.
Schedules posted at the doors to each room.
1). Please have all upload the presentations to the website the night before. Please please please! A short summary cannot convey the quality of a presentation. I regretted going to 50 % of the talks in the first 5 min. So, if possible provide a lengthier summary or give us the slides beforehand. Even better, give as a CD with everybody's presentation when we register. I have seen it done in other conferences. 2) Or tell all the presenters to upload their slides on the PyCon website. I got bored of trying find where everyone had uploaded his/her presentation. 3). Please improve the quality of the presentations. Although the material was most of the times worthy my attendance the presenter did a really poor job at conveying the information. Very poor job. The Microsoft guys who did the Iron Python Presentation knew how to be clear, concise, and to the point. 4) Give us more advanced material 5) Have more lightning talks where people discuss what they are doing 6) Keynote Presentations (except Guido's) were horrible this year. I wish I had gone to the gym instead.
More interaction between attendees. I could have tried harder myself, but a little help doesnt hurt.
- Better network - Better talk infrastructure: Make sure the people giving talks know how close to hold the microphone, how big to make fonts on their screen. Make sure everyone's code samples are available online so people can follow along without having to copy stuff down on their laptop. - There were too many vendors in the lightning talks.
Provide a preview of the days talks during the keynote by the presenter. This is partly to help choose between two interesting talks and also to avoid talks with presenters that are hard to understand. More projectors in the open spaces areas. There also seemed to be a problem with people reserving huge time slots in the open space rooms. It might be good to limit reservations to one hour if they are between 6pm and 9pm, which is the most popular time. It might be good to have a snack room or snacks in the rooms with the presentation instead of a mad rush in the halls to get snacks before they take them away.
My only real complaint was the poor showing of the wireless network for the first 2.5 days of the conference -- especially during the tutorial day, which made it extremely difficult for presenters and attendees to be productive.
Advertise the BOF in a more prominent place (main lobby), and possibly announce them in a coordinated way....transcribe them to a daily handout sheet?
Dont sell out; provide greater content;
better food, HALAL
Longer talk slots (many of the topics seemed glossed over, presumably because there wasn't time for more). Less vendor/sponsor domination.
Better speakers with more preparation and slides up ahead of time. Talks to be put up online soon after the presentation so that people can see what they missed.
Location. The facility was fine but there was nothing nearby. Those of us who traveled would have liked to have a chance to see more of the host town.
More announced after hour social activities.
Have a small number sprints during the talks so that those of us who cannot take a week off can participate.
I remember one speaker could not make it, which is totally understandable, and the guy that took his place was not prepared at all to give a presentation about the topic. I think it would have been better to just drop that talk and add someone who was prepared to speak but did not make the list. The only thing that would need to be different is that instead of turning speakers away, tell them they need to be prepared when they arrive because they could potentially be a replacement/new speaker if one is needed.
Be closer to city centre. 45 min on metro to get into the city was too long.
Not to probably beat a dead horse, but better networking
make the all bathrooms uni-sex instead of turning them all into mens rooms.
More room. I felt crowded. Also, the computer network simply must work!
This is something that is extremely difficult to improve across the board. Some speakers are not naturally able, or have no confidence, or no experienceto speaking in front of an audience. The main detractor to most of the talks I attended was that the vast majority did not present with confidence. Lack of confidence implies lack of content, which causes boredom in the audience.
Get the network working earlier.
Better network Better tutorial teachers Some sort of attendee input to the presentation & tutoral selection process. Maybe a list of all proposals on the website with a chance to rank and/or vote.
I loved Stuart Williams Python 101 and 102 but 8:30p was past my brain absorption time, and Stuart was getting tired, too, at the end. 9:30p is too late for a tutorial.
Better food. The lunchtime food in Dallas was great. Everything for breakfast seemed to be really sweet, like it was a dessert. More savoury stuff please. Like, non-glazed bagels rather than glazed ones. Savoury croissants rather than sweetened ones.
Ensure that any talks from commercial sponsors (including lightning talks) go through the normal editorial review process. Overall, still a great conference!
I thought it was great, but as a beginner I would have liked to have seen more talks that broke it down in the simplest terms
Scheduling could be improved. Sometimes there were 3 talks I was interested in, and then no talks the next hour. Maybe it might be worth getting peoples preferences and then creating a minimum-conflicts schedule using an evolutionary algorithm.
3 talks simultaneously going till later in the day. More official networking events.
Get some more advanced topics in there, or encourage talks to be given in the open space that are more advanced. Better food? Schedule vendor activities away from lightning talks. I missed them because every time I walked in, there was another vendor talking about their tool. I understand the need, but I think it should interrupt the flow of real information.
quality of the talks increase length of SOME talks
old news: reduce sponsor impact food: reduce the amount of soda, more water+juices
Clone Steve Holden and teach him all sorts of stuff!
Seperate vendor talk track. If people go there they know they get verbal spam and should not complain. Try to fit one or two more talk into a day and accomodate more talks that way.
avoid having a track in a room with a single door like track 1 was this year: the bottlenecks at the door of people trying to go from one track to the other were HORRIBLE!
More technical talks.
Better talks. Better material. Fewer "sponsor" keynotes.
Audition the speakers either live or via webcast. Interesting subjects do not survive a weak presentation.
There needs to be more emphasis on high-quality talks. I realize this is hard to do, but it needs to come from a culture of high expectations. I think 90% of the talks I attended were of poor quality. In some cases the speakers were not prepared or not organized, in other cases the speakers just spoke the bullet points on their slides. When I go to a talk I want the speaker to explain a difficult or interesting concept. I want insight. Perhaps PyCon could award "best presentations" and provided more assistance in how to prepare and give a good talk.
Double the talk lengths, introduce talk "tracks" where people can stay in one room and listen to similar topics, disallow sponsors in the lightning talks, and try to screen keynote speakers beforehand to ensure that they are energetic and charismatic (Ivan Krstic was fantastic last year in this regard at pumping everyone up and making Python important and relevant and part of something bigger and better. That's how a keynote should be. Understandably it's hard to get that kind of speaker.)
Less advertising in the lightning talks, no "diamond" keynotes
Be less commercial, focus less on having lots of talks and instead have better talks.
Lightning sessions should not be advertising or recruitment sessions. Ban commercial promotion during lightning talks!
Better wireless networks; warn people in conference handouts and web page about ad-hoc networks.
Fewer plenaries (who wants to sit in a room with 1000 people twiddling 2000 thumbs?). More talks. Longer talks.
Improve instuctor teaching skill.
Not thrilled with the hotel -- food was not that good (and expensive), no free wireless in rooms -- but it was certainly convenient. Maybe one or two organized excursions, for the benefit of introverts who wouldn't find others to hook up with on their own...
I'd love to see better vegetarian food provided. In fact food in general was a pain since getting into town was hard and the food in the rosemont area wasn't so hot.
Talks weren't quite as good as last year. Maybe more detailed proposals should be requested? I don't know...
Much more job info. I need a good job.
Attempt to achieve a better balance of topics...this past conference seemed to be heavily on the Web related stuff. Many talks were kind of useless to me since they emphasized more the "what" than the "how"...I personally would like sessions to be more didactic than a show-off. Choose place and time so that we have good to great weather! and not near freezing temperatures...some of us are from Florida, you know?
make sure wireless network is reliable or provide wired networking.
I would love it if the entire conference were tutorials. I got a whole lot out of the tutorial I attended and felt like it was more "productive" that "some" of the talks I attended.
Even if not free, there should be copious sugar/caffiene available. More 45 minute talks, possibly in smaller rooms. Have an A/V setup in the speaker lounge. Forms/summaries for openspace.
Give Sponsors their own talk time. Don't Outsource Wireless.
* have fewer talks and emphasize open space sessions more
* fewer but better talks: screen the presenters more carefully for quality, there were some real stinkers this year imo
* clearer delineation between commercial sponsor time and content time
* make open space the central focus of the conference
improve talk selection process -- several talks were by first-time presenters who were unable to deliver their message effectively
Follow tummy.com's wireless instructions for PyCon. Continuous beverages, at least water.
Better control over the wifi. Have only one "strong" network to connect to. I could never figure out which one I should try...
Find a larger place to have the Expo Hall
network working each day lunch more like Saturday, not
more coffee / snacks ! the hotel was constantly pulling the coffee etc. away so that we'd be forced to pay $4.00 for it at that stupid cafe. Hotel was not that great, very nickel and dimey
Get attendees to stop creating ad hoc networks.
I think there was some good discussion on the mailing lists about not giving sponsors priority in the open space and lightning talks. I think that is a good idea. Advertising the open space more would be nice too.
Not having sponsor advertisements masquerading as lightning talks. They were so boring, I left the room.
I'd prefer more talks about crazy hacks. It's the one thing I really loved about the Perl tracks at OSCON. The hacks weren't directly useful in my normal work, but they were used to teach valuable skills/knowledge about the language and its inner workings. And *that* knowledge definitely came in handy. PyCon's talks all feel too practical (here's all about X. here's our story of how we did Y. etc), which make them more uninteresting to me.
More swag and better lightning talks with sponsor talks being clearly labeled. More emphasis on the side rooms and organize the agenda schedules online from the post card method. Also, the wireless wasn't very good for the first few days.
Tracks For example, webapp dev track, testing track, python core track or jython track. This way, it would be easier to pick which talks to go to. I had to skip other talks in favor of another. I'm just hoping that videos get uploaded so I can watch what I missed.
Keep doing what you are doing and have a better wireless network.
I understand these types of things cost money, but some of it seemed over-commercialized. I wasn't a big fan of some of the quick advertisements for Zenoss or White Oak in between keynotes. I understand they are sponsors and they have their booth and their banner up and gave money to make this happen, but would they pull sponsorship if someone didn't push their product in between keynote talks? I would hope not. It's not really that big of a deal, but being my first PyCon it seemed a bit out of place with what I was thinking ahead of time...just some Python geeks getting together to talk about Python and learn and share and all of that good stuff. It was like the popup you couldn't block. Anyways, I still had a great time and will be coming back next year and look forward to helping out if I can.
regularize times of talks, get the network to work, have real food (instead of piles and piles of single-use, throw away stuff - why fill landfills, we're smarter than that, right)?
More about teaching Computer Scientists using Python.
There needs to be network connectivity. There should be more advanced talks.
Photos of attendees on website before conference. Better wireless. Better organization/promotion of open space talks.
Not have it in Rosemont?
Change the hotel to be closer to Chicago! (I know it wont happen). You brought in a ton of business for the hotel, the attendees should not have to pay for internet service. (It was crappy at that!) Provide even more water for the attendees. The hotel is extremely cheap in that they know there are no stores around so they try and get you to buy $3 water bottles. Mostly the hotel needs to be more accomodating. As far as the conference itself, some of the rooms in the lower level should be used for talks instead of informal meeting rooms. Id rather have more sessions to choose from.
Improve the registration for Open Spaces and Lightning Talks -- make it easier both to sign up for a space and time, and better publicize the schedule.
Publicize BOF sessions better, and make sure the rooms are unlocked!
I think the scheduled talks could benefit from additional time. Most of the presenters seemed to only get through their introductory material within the first 20 minutes and then rush through the more detailed information within the last 10. I think 50-60 minutes would be a decent amount of time for these talks, especially for those that have code or examples to show. I didn't get the chance to attend any of the open space presentations, but I heard they were great. Next year it could be helpful to have these displayed more prominently, although I realize the nature of these impromptu gatherings would make that difficult. My managers and our recruiter came as vendors, and because of their status as vendors, could not go to the keynotes. I thought they should have been able to attend the keynotes, especially since they were paying a lot more to be there and are also interested in the python community.
Conference talks were MUCH too short. 30 min. is enough for laying the groundwork but that's it. Have 50 min. talks. With higher caliber of teachers. Most speakers seemed amateurish AND/OR poor public speakers.
Fewer general overview talks (more meat). Maybe longer talks. A working network.
More people working in the Audio/Visual crew; especially more people manning the cameras for the tutorials and talks; more project-based tutorials
The talks were disappointing compared to the two previous years and the overly commercial emphasis must be limited. I do think that a science track would be a good idea, though I found the "all a scientist needs" presentation disappointing. As always I learned a lot, but I think the thrill was gone. I thought the keynotes at the 2007 meeting were much more inspiring.
More discussion space, scheduling for it. Fewer big presentations. More continuous integration discussion. Give something like booth space to contributors to big OSS projects like django, pylons, turbogears. Maybe just temporary discussion space.
Less people? Better food! (I hate those lunch boxes) Better keynotes (actual content please)
Lengthen the presentations. So many topics were simply too rushed.
Teach the "talkers" how to give a talk in 35 minutes. Teach them the "best practices".
The BOF need to be done so that everyone is aware of sessions going on and their times. I was without Wifi. Was that information posted at a web site?
Higher quality speakers. Fewer tracks, or at least fewer conflicting talks. Maybe shorter talks and a different balance between talks and open space. Many talks were too long for the size of their ideas, but too short for getting into details. That's a function of the presenter though, really, I guess. A good presenter fills their time with the right level of detail. Tutorials suffered from some less than 1st-rate presentation too. It would be nice/good if more professional presenters (teachers?) could be paired with developers to give stronger tutorials. Also, people who had not prepared for the tutorials by installing the subject software in advance should have been sent out of the room to get their shit together while the rest of us got on with learning. Network problems made this worse, but still someone else's lack of preparation should not be my problem.
Work out wireless kinks early. (don't these things support roaming? i.e. interference is really less of an issue than perceived? Not sure....I heard many conflicting credible stories. Would be nice to nail this one next year )
Bookend it with weekends instead of a weekend in the middle. Hire professional videographers that know how to capture both screencast and video at the same time and have them do the editing and encoding (suggestion: whoever does it for Google Talks). Follow the tummy.com instructions for how to run the network (from PyCon 2007). They spent a lot of effort figuring that out and it was nonsense not to follow their instructions. No sandwiches for lunch. Beverages available continuously, not just a 15 minute "break" window.
At least one inspirational keynote speaker - like Moglen's Seattle Plone keynote.
shorter lightning talks; more coordination of the open space events (so I know about them); more practical and relevant keynote talks
Move more importance to open spaces and direct developer to developer talks. Extend the length of the talks, they were far too rushed and could only get a cursory glance at what the speaker was trying to cover. Use lightning talks to expose new ideas and build interest in the tool/topic, then take the group of interested people to a open space for detailed discussions.
1) Better Audio... use radio mikes, have someone upfront to ensure correct setup per speaker, have an audio person in situ in each session---many sessions didn't. Although generally not known, Audio is more important than video in presentations and video conferences. focus on it. 2) Naturally, many excellent technical people do not make good speakers. Give them a 'speakers tutorial' including a dry run and critique session during the tutorial day. Enforce speakers slides being available online as soon as their session ends.
Less crowded tutorials (larger rooms?) More room for dining Bigger promotion of Open Spaces. The website and wiki wasn't kept up-to-date.
Separate sponsors from luminaries. Be clear about which is which. Don't put similar topics in the same time slot, the choice is hard to make. Put BOFs in more accessible and visible location.
Hotel should be closer to *anything*. More emphasis on & organization for open space.
- Stable WiFi network - Longer and more deeper talks
No vendor talks
More reliable wifi. Hotel food/drink was too expensive and slow from Deli/Bar (but the catered meals were fine). Less vendor advertisements disguised as talks.
Less sponsor slots in the lightning talks.
The wireless is obvious. The talks needed to be held to their timeslots more rigidly so you could get between talks. Traffic in the halls was very tight. Keynotes need to have something to say, but also need to be able to say it well, and in an engaging manner. Some of them this year seemed very dry.
As you've probably heard the lightning talks were really disappointing. I think the sponsors killed that. Talks were too short. Later in spring or summer would be a better date for chicago (because of the weather)
* No sponsors during lightning talks
* During registration, let me pick what talks I'd like to attend, and try to optimally plan the talks so there's not so many overlapping talks I want to attend.
* More technical talks
* The hotel was nice, but the location is terrible. Try to hold it in a more populated area, so we're not forced to eat at the hotel.
Need more signs/announcement; with so many newcomers, need to tell them about open space, lightning talks, IRC gatherings, sprinting activities (the intro was good but needs more)
* longer sessions
* regular start/stop times
* sustainable food (not a giant mess of plastic, all thrown away)
* high quality talks, vetted by a committee
* location which isn't soulless, close to (not a 30m train ride) from an urban center so there are food options
The open spaces were hard to keep track of, and the several times I tried to participate I couldn't find people at the specified location. Because they were on a separate floor they didn't seem accessible or connected. Also, there just wasn't enough time to organize them; if at least the first day was possible to organize a day before, it would have been better. Lightning talks at the sprints would have been nice, in part to bring the separate sprinting groups together more.
Don't take chances with the network. You need to plan for double the capacity and double the problems, and make sure the network will never go down. This is more important than the food, and the ball was dropped this year.
Maybe some special interest sessions with 15 minute talks and a chairman. This would be more useful than the lightning talks, which were mostly abused to self promote companies.
The location is terrible. You have to take a 45 minute ride on a noisy subway to get ANY decent food at a fair price. Give discount vouchers for the pricey restaurants to soften the blow. Be more selective about your speakers, and consider knocking the talks down to 3 tracks instead of 4. I think it is too hard to fill 4 tracks with good speakers given the people available in our community. Hire a consultant to give an all-day class during the tutorials for all of the speakers who have not spoken at pycon before. Pick key-note speakers who are more experienced, and tackle topics which are more about the place of Python in our society, and less about what ever project the speaker is currently working on. OLPC is a nice melding of the two. IP is important, but the speaker lost my interest because he didn't get to the point fast enough, and was not a compelling speaker. Limit vendor lightning talks so we can find out more about what cool little projects are happening in our community, and don't let anyone speak twice. (this has already been discussed ad-nauseum)
Coffee/tea throughout sprints.
You guys did great. Do it again...
Don't sell keynotes or lightning talks to sponsors.
open registration sooner
I like Titus's suggestion of making submitters' names visible to allow for preference for those who gave great talks last year or have high standing in the community. Also giving preference to people who have spoken elsewhere, as they _should_ be more prepared.
Fewer tracks with better vetted presentations. More advanced sessions, assume that people attending the conference days have some programming experience. Chat board/forum option to discuss the presentations before signing up - not easy to ask pre-event questions to the presenter. Strict no questions during presentations policy. Web-based open spaces session tool, maybe someone update a photo of the board every hour or two?
Please pay attention to Sean's advice about networking.
for the tutorials, have everyone go to a common setup meeting for the lab materials. many of the tutorials got bogged down in setup, which could easily have been handled with a virtual-env'd python with a few easy_installs.
Shorter food lines (more service points?). Cheaper bar ... otherwise, a damned good conference
Technical talks should be longer, there wasn't enough time to really dive into anything substantial.
Wireless that works.
I was a little disappointed in the talks this year. I was also *very* disappointed with how the lightning talks were handled. I don't mind vendors getting to have their talks, but they pretty much took up almost all of the first 2 day's worth of talks... not cool. Also, the open spaces were kind of out of sight/out of mind since they were on the lower level and nothing on the upper level made mention of them. And maybe it was just me, but there seemed to be issues with the heating/cooling =)
I wasn't incredibly wowed by most of the talks. I can't really say what I would like to have seen instead though.
Ballrooms were REALLY COLD. Please work to get the hotel to maintain a comfortable temperature. It was distracting.
No sponsor lightning talks! Set a limit on % of talk that can be slides. Emphasize interaction! Clearly label talks with the % of the talk that will be slides. Emphasize OpenSpace sessions. Provide a "We're Hiring!" area so that those looking for jobs can easily find those offering them.
Find a bigger room for the exhibition hall. That was a bit too crowded.
Conference hotel needs to have real breakfast, involving some kind of eggs, available for less than $12.
Whenever you got to a talk that was really what you needed to know they were way to short. So, maybe less talks but longer ones. Also quality of the talks varied widely.
Less vendor presence
Shorter tutorials interspersed with regular sessions
Have talks given more than once, so you can see everything that you want.
* Label sponsor keynotes and lightning talks as such. I was not that much bothered by a whole bunch of people saying "hi, we are hiring", but I could do well without them. Perhaps the recruiters could have their own hallroom?
* Drop the keynotes altogether, or at least, make sure they are technical in nature. The only keynote of value to me was the one presented by Guido van Rossum. Van Lindberg talked for about an hour on intellectual property! This was incredibly useless (because his observations are totally irrelevant in a non-US context), and incredibly boring (because his keynote lacked *any* technical depth). The OLPC project is a worthy cause, but travelling 9+ hours on an airplane to hear about installation difficulties for a satellite dish in Peru is not a good use of my time. Brian Fitzpatrick was an interesting and skilled speaker, but there was not really much hardcore technical content to his presentation either.
* Require the speakers to submit their slides in advance and publish them upfront. It'd be much easier to follow the examples. Some of the speakers were nice enough to do that. But not all.
* I realize that this is not something that PyCon organizers can easily do, but there was such a huge gap in presentation qualities. E.g. Titus Brown was engaging, interesting, had cool examples and overall, gave very good presentations (both the tutorial and the regular talk). However, the GrassyKnoll step-in speaker was *abysmal*. Jason Pellerin (presenting "nose") had a very interesting topic, but mumbled a lot, which made an interesting talk difficult to follow. The bottom of the pick was a speaker who spoke about an IDE, I believe, but who did not have any slides and started to hand-wave midway through the presentation to illustrate something. Gah! Perhaps PyCon organizers could publish some sort of internal guidelines that speakers be recommended to read through?
* This probably goes without saying, but the wireless service was only so-so. I understand the difficulties in setting up the wireless infrastructure for 1000+ people, but it is very frustrating not be connected, especially when a speaker uses a term/concept/technology unfamiliar to you, and wikipedia/google are not available.
* I was a bit frustrated that on occasions there were several talks I wanted to attend simultaneously, but there is probably very little the organizers can do about pleasing *everyone's* schedule.
* Advertise better for open space talks. Essentially, there were 2 sheets of paper placed somewhere with small notes attached to them. It would be nice if this information was 1) available online via the pycon site (and clearly labeled) 2) available in several spots throughout the conference (there are problems of keeping it in sync and such, but I am making a wishlist here
* More tutorials, perhaps? Would 2 days be too much? During a 25/40 minute "regular" presentation, the speaker can realistically accomplish only one thing -- give a teaser for whatever (s)he is working on. I have the impression that tutorials are more in-depth, and provide more time to talk about the technology and give some room for errors.
Cut back sponsor talks. Go someplace with good food nearby
Please make Hotel offer available before year-end. (I would like to complete the travel arrangment earlier (for Tax reason))
More reliable WiFi. It was fine the last day, maybe two.
Let go of all the corporate favoritism. I did like the fact that companies were there, and illustrated their enthusiasm for the community, but having talk after talk of "we're hiring" was very annoying. Perhaps having a potential employer meet-up session might be useful for those looking on both sides. Oh yea, much better food, less airplane noise, and having wireless Internet in the hotel rooms, not just the conference area. Keeping the conference near a city where there are things to do at night would be a plus.
Better network access. Pick a place with a better layout for the conference (less congestion)
Encouraging presenters to prepare for presentations. Surely they can find a few moments to present in front of a college class or users group or something to gain comfort and experience before wasting the time of paying attendees at pycon. Have a back-up list of presentation topics/speakers comprised of those that didn't make the final cut, but who would agree to be available to hop into a time slot should a scheduled talk fall through. More room for open-spaces segment and lightning talks.
Better networking, better audio/visual, more professional MC's.
timing , not able to attend all tutorials through to the sprints
Require that vendor talks to have content beyond, here's our company, we're hiring. They'll do better if they do: Here's some really cool work we are doing, come join us rather than a poorly organized and dull intro to their company. I realize the vendors do a huge amount to make PyCon happen and I don't mean this in adversarial way, I just think that what makes PyCon great is that it is a community conference with excellent content which is precisely why the vendors are interested. Ask them to help advance that tradition of excellence. Label the vendor talks more explicitly. At least at some points in the past the Supercomputing conference (http://www.supercomp.org) moved most of the vendor specific presentations into it's own track so that people a) knew they were vendor talks and b) could pick and choose who they are interested in seeing speak. I did a lightning talk this year on Friday. It was my first lightening talk and I think it went pretty well. I'll do it again and although I was well prepared I think I can do even better next year. I really don't think lightening talk positions should be assigned to the vendors -- I think it's fine to give the vendors a forum, but the lightening talks are supposed to be a chance for the little guys to speak or for people to speak on things that just occurred to them. Also, I am a little concerned about the negative vibes about lightening talks this year causing people to shy away from them next year. Since this way my first PyCon I don't have prior years as a frame of reference but there were still many worthwhile lightening talks in my opinion. One other interesting option would be to have voting on the lightening talks from one day (Friday and Saturday in this case) and give those that get the highest rating a full 25 minute slot the next day. They would have to explicitly state that they were interested in the bigger slot, but it seems like an interesting way to increase the quality of both the lightening talks and get a high quality wild card session. Giving it a competitive feel will stimulate quality -- perhaps even give gift certificates or T-Shirt to the highest rated lightening talks. Size and quality are often inverse functions. I think PyCon is walking that line pretty well, but it certainly requires continued vigilance. The best content comes organically which is the purpose of Open Spaces. To this end there should be someone in charge of Open Space advocacy. This person would actively seek out people to host and attend Open Spaces. They would put together a team that would monitor the open spaces sessions as they coalesce and would broadcast out the current open spaces activities on an hourly basis during the day. To clarify, the huge paper board is awesome and I think it should stay. However, it would be great if at the beginning of each hour someone would send out a twitter or an email or update a blog with an RSS feed with a short summary of what is going on in open spaces that hour. (Probably should write some software that can do all three easily...) This would allow people to hack their schedule dynamically -- "Hmm, this talk is more basic than I thought. Oh, hey there's something I wanted to learn about in open spaces.. I'm heading down there." Basically all of this is lowering the bar for open spaces involvement without trying to limit open spaces by making it take a specific form. I would be willing to coordinate this open space activities notification effort, but I don't think I am the right person for the open spaces advocate role.
More attention to and advertising of open space talks and BOF sessions.
Develop speakers and session chair guidelines to which the speakers must agree before their talk is accepted. 1/3rd of the talks I attended the speaker had not set up their computers before the talk started.
-Some of the speakers simply read to us the documentation. I expected much better from the GvR keynote, for instance. He might instead have tried to explain metaclasses. Python isn't supposed to explode brains. Likewise, not to single out people, Travis Oliphant gave similar treatment during his second tutorial. That is, he read through the available features rather than showing how to use a couple of them in detail.
-Try to have speakers replace live typing demos with slides or animated slides. Watching typos and failures is mostly a waste.
-Ask the hotel staff to leave coffee/snacks as part of the conference negotiation.
-For fun, have a look-a-like contest. There were several good Stallman candidates, a few GvR's. How about Gates and Jobs too?
Tell the hotel staff to get their "stuff" together and be prepared. The wifi network sucked, staff was sometimes overly eager to get rid of us or food.
Focus more on open space and lightning talks
Wireless network!! Everyone from my company who attended had IBM Thinkpads with intel 3945ABG cards. Something about the network would cause the Windows driver to crash after 5 minutes of being connected to a network or less - a system restart was necessary to fix each time. Techs we spoke to dismissed the problem.. so wtf: pycon wont support intel wireless cards?? This really was the one negative I took away from the conference
all in all it was wonderful. here are some things to improve next time: the food was mostly awful. too much sugar, too much chemical soup and junk food like chips... too little healthy stuff like fruit and vegs. (the Thai wraps were a nice attempt at healthy but caused some ... "problems".) Maybe a more sophisticated pre-conference food-requesting system would help? i know it's hard to feed 1000 people with different tastes and ideas of what's healthy! but we are smart people and i bet we could figure it out. i'd rather pay slightly more and have good food available that actually helps me stay alert instead of causing a sugar/carb crash after every break or meal. also, why did they keep taking the coffee away and then bringing it back? that seems silly and weird. +1 for constant coffee supply. i'd also like to see a reduction in the wasteful packaging of the lunches (how about reusable trays?). those plastic boxes were not necessary at all and i suspect they didn't get recycled. perhaps next time somebody should be in charge of keeping a closer eye on the green-ness of the conference. next time let's get a place with higher ceilings where the projection screens can be high enough to see the whole screen if you're not sitting in the front row. also, better lighting on the speakers. I think the talk schedule should be more flexible too... a lot of the time slots seemed too short to get into much depth and/or have enough time for questions. others probably should have been a lightning talk, or at least shorter than they were. again, i know it's tricky to work out, but it can & should be done. it would be helpful to have step by step instructions and/or some on-the-spot technical helpers for dealing with projector connections for the lightning talks. i would have liked to use Keynote.app's presenter view (where my notes are my screen, and the slides are on the projector), but there was no time to figure it out. it's really hard to look at paper notes, hold a mic, and advance your slides at the same time. so a working mic stand would have made the lightning talk less awkward. and the podium's lip blocked my IR receiver, so I couldn't use the remote for slides. location: i can see the point of rosemont being close to o'hare, but the flip side is that few people got to actually see chicago because it's a 45 minute trip. can we manage to be closer to downtown? it would make the evenings more fun. nice job having power strips available everywhere. that was awesome. seriously, great job overall. it's easy to pick out the flaws, yet i also truly appreciate the giant effort! (i've organized much smaller conferences, so i can imagine how much more work this was in comparison). thank you, and please get some sleep and take some time off, you super-extra-deserve it!
I agree with some of the criticism out there that the lightning talks should have been from the community, not the sponsors. I would also like it to be more obvious how to find out about open space/BoF activities beyond the "official" events.
Eliminate sponsor lightning talks or move them to a non-plenary session. The vendor exhibition room + vendor Open Space talks are an adequate substitute. Better food: the lunch during the sprints was much better than the lunch during the main days. Advertise the breakfast buffet. My roommate and I didn't realize it was there until the second day, and the sandwich bar doesn't cut it. Too bad there's not many restaurants or grocery stores within walking distance of the hotel. Make this textarea bigger. Several talks I wanted to see were scheduled at the same time. Let potential attendees rate their top five talks before the schedule is finalized, and see which combinations of talks are most popular. Avoid scheduling these simultaneously. The wireless was useless during the tutorials and first two conference days. I got a connection long enough to open GMail and start a message, but it was gone by the time I tried to submit it. Then it took 3-6 tries to get a connection again. Some people complained about the sponsor keynotes. Make sure they're clearly identified on the schedule as sponsor talks.
Have a "not for n00bs" track, please. Specifying tracks by niche (web, sci, etc) seems to produce a lot of intros and "use my cool tool" talks, whereas advanced talks get pushed out in the interest of fairness to the many players. I would say all of the talks I saw this year with "advanced" in the talk title were actually "intermediate".
Please, PLEASE get the wireless situation under control. *Everybody* I saw had a laptop. Assume the worst. This problem has plagued PyCon since the first one I attended in DC (the first PyCon, I believe.) I talked to Sean about this during the board game session, and I know it's not the fault of the organizers, but it really needs to be fixed.
Figure out how to get the median speaker to improve their public speaking skills.
Better wireless network! Improved scheduling of Lightning Talks (eg. the organizer's email actually on the website would be a good start......)
Better wireless. The IP talk was really stupid, please filter the keynote speaker who aren't from major sponsors (and filter them too if you can get away with it!). I mean, there should be a competition to give keynotes, and part of the submission should be a 5-minute sample from any other talk the speaker has given or will give. Make sure the speaker A) doesn't patronize the audience doesn't give a super-abstract talk (Brian Fitzpatrick's keynote was borderline but still OK).
Conference hotel closer to city center.
You have got to get a stable, usable network running for the tutorials. Let me plug in an Ethernet cable, really! Ask people to bring cables, bring switches. It doesn't have to be fancy.
Mimimize sponsored talks and especially talks that are not python related.
Have better food and networking
I'm sure you've read it before, but NETWORKING THAT DOESN'T SUCK!!! Some sort of emergency fallback posture for when it goes to hell in a handbasket. And anticipate even more XO laptops next year interfering w/ the network. Possibly in the program or on the wiki, suggested paths for people to take -- conference tracks organized different ways: skill level, overall topics, etc.
improve wireless network availability
Eliminate "diamond" keynotes from plenary (or put in their own track). Make specific tracks for sponsor or hiring lightning talks to separate these monstrosities from the real lightning talks. Try to find a way of improving quality of talks (yes, much easier said than done). Hotel food service was poor (rude, not enough at times, yanked prematurely...)
Smooth over network problems as soon as possible. Network problems reduced the productive value of the tutorials. Longer keynotes (like 2007) and talks. Every speaker I saw was rushed. Value quality of talk over quantity of talks.
I know you're hearing this a lot but - the network. If there is some way we could get network access in our rooms that would be great! It was tiresome having to come downstairs to just get directions somewhere, then again, forcing us all to use a connection started COUNTLESS conversations for me. I met 5 or 6 people just by chatting with them about how bad the network was haha. (on a side note, i nearly always could get some sort of signal). I'd like to see a PyCon out west! Of course that's selfish for me, but as I understand it we've only had pycons in DC, Texas and Chicago and none of those are in Pacific time. I dont know if its possible, but if we could get the presenters to put up their slides BEFORE their talks, it would be great.
Let me first say I truly _loved_ my first pycon, but there is room for improvement: - be clear about what is commercial and what not - keep the lightning talks for what they should be: people doing something cool and wanting to share that - though the pricing of the conference is really good - considering that food was also included. the food provided by the hotel itself was just horrible! - the hotel itself is REALLY overpriced for everything. and there is nothing much in the direct vicinity (well not for the people without a car)
(1) Better Internet in the hotel's guest rooms. (2) Better food (Dallas was great).
Resolve the wireless networking issues. Resolve the "selling of vendor lightning talks" issue.
Less commercial / marketing talks More code / research using python talks Emphasize Open-Spaces more, better information delivery with Wiki / some sort of PyCon open-spaces webpage for information, the boards downstairs seemed messy and hard to read / find anything, perhaps a portable with projector to show the wiki/webpage, perhaps a person to monitor / assist open-spaces scheduling / setup / questions - answers (like the Lightning talks coordinator only for Open-Spaces) Perhaps something similar for the Lightning talks, I was disappointed with the inability to find out what Lightning talks were scheduled, when, who, what topics plus the more or less commercial (marketing / selling / recruiting) nature of most of the lightning talks **
* Remind all attendees that cellphones and talking / noise during presentations / talks is rude, disrespectful, idiotic, stupid and totally un-pythonic *** I was appalled at the level of inconsiderate non-thinking by a large number of attendees with regards to their cell-phones, computer noises, talking with nearby people in the middle of talks during PyCon 2008. Perhaps signs on every room, more reminders about the consideration given to speakers and audiences would help, maybe it would not.... More room on the webform for these comments on this feedback page (4 lines deep is kinda silly short small tiny -- you get the idea) Emphasize and encourage more friendly meet-your-neighbor interaction, I was not impressed with the "friendliness" of most of the attendees. I was starting most conversations and it seemed most people had their 2-3 friends and were oblivious to others at the conference. It seemed to me most people were more interested in their portables than with their fellow attendees and real face-to-face conversation. Not sure this is a problem PyCon can overcome except to encourage the face-time opportunity provided by the conference. Everyone can email, text, IRC, cell-phone, web-browse anytime, wasting PyCon time to do this seemed excessive / mixed up priorities. Too much multi-tasking by the attendees perhaps, who knows.... I'm sure I'll think of others during the next few days and post them if appropriately worthwhile.
Better wireless network access (though it was fine after Friday). Free network in rooms. More free food.
Separate or remove the sponsored lightning talks, or at least make them give "PyConic" lightning talks - show us something interesting you do with Python! Also remind 30-minute talk speakers to move quickly into the meat of what they said they'd talk about - we attend their talks because we're interested in what they said, and we probably already know the context and basics before we get there (and if not, that's what tutorials are for). And make sure these comment boxes are bigger or at least have scrollbars.
The quality of the talks to former years was very poor. Too much space for sponsors.
Provide more complete instructions for the WiFi so that people aren't accidentally creating ad-hoc networks and possibly do more testing ahead of time. Make use of the twitter channel for volunteers.
Better wireless especially for the tutorials
30 minute talks were problematic this year for me. Nearly every talk I saw either would have benefited from being 45 minutes, or just a 10 minute intro to get an idea of things to follow up on. I have a feeling trying to define tracks (academic, web, ?) would be beneficial, both for helping evaluate talks to include and to reduce between-room traffic - if there had been any more attendees this year the hallways would have been impassable in the 5 minutes allowed. I work for one of the sponsors, but I agree strongly with those suggesting that giving them preference for the lightning talks was problematic.
Find a location with wider hallways. Provide some (more?) wired network ports for the times when wireless is under seige.
Less sponsored stuff during plenary sessions, especially lightning talks
Less vendors during keynotes, more lightning talks, mentor new speakers. There were a number of talks that suffered from inexperience. The topics were important, the people appeared to be quite intelligent about said topics, but the presentations were sub-optimal
1. No more keynotes by lawyers. The Intellectual Property talk was misguided and patronizing.
More free and inexpensive food.
A little more organized. I know how hectic pycons are - I saw it for myself. A little more organization would make it top knotch.
Fewer vendor keynotes and lightning talks, with the vendor lightning talks segregated into a separate session that's clearly marked. Better wireless.
I'm not sure of the feasibility given the group size but perhaps some type of group activity/introduction where all registrants participate. (activities could be with smaller groups) Block specific for the sponsored speaker lightening talks.
fruit was good for snacks (actual food, as opposed to cake/pastries/muffins, etc.) -- some nuts would be good , too.
no more renting captive audiences. Food and bar was expensive and medicore at best. A neighborhood with alternatives, and vendor hosted evenings away from the hotel.
* Better wireless Internet access
* Longer talks (minimum of 45 mins. each)
* Better/more-focused talks, better speakers
* Pre-conference training video for presenters covering some basic DOs/DON'Ts
More advanced/non-standard topics. Less vendor pitches. Less vendors doing lightning talks. Better signage as to what/where/when
More stable wifi
Vendor lightning talks should be separated from other lightning talks
- it was hard to decide between talks, talk quality varied greatly, post slides beforehand? Gives a better idea of content.
make talk materials more available online. deploy consistently working wifi.
Less corporate, less structure, more open space, more camp-y
I don't know. I'm glad I'm not an organizer and don't have to figure this out
Less sponsor talks!!! More USER talks!!! Give preference to the USERS who would like to speak, not the sponsors, even if it makes the conference cost more!
More explicit commercial talks.
Better food, no more sponsor lightning talks, expressly list which presentations are by sponsor companies.
* better network connectivity * better quality of talks * better food
better wireless attendee directory? everything else was great
less vendor adverts
By having a separate, explicitly identified, sponsors section instead of mixing them with regular community talks.
Less sponsor keynotes.
less vendors pitching keynotes, talks, lightning talks, etc.
Provide better Network, maybe combination of wired / wireless
Presentations should aim to relate to Python more primarily, some presentations were more coverage of a product than how Python was involved.
1. Change Location I don't really understand what the point of being in Chicago was, if we weren't going to be in Chicago. Rosemont is dull and difficult. Not everyone at the conference had access to a rental car, and for those without, there was no access to groceries, non-steakhouse restaurants, or other services, within walking distance. I was sick much of the time, and it would have been nice to have a drugstore / convenience store within a few blocks of conference. Food and restaurant options were also quite limited to very-expensive nearby restaurants. This is fine for people who are corporate funded, but is a barrier to entry for a "community-driven" conference.
2. More focus on open-spaces, bofs, and non-scheduled events. Downstairs has a lot of interesting things happening, which few people knew about, because they weren't really announced or discussed much during the normal sessions. My own background: I'm used to community-run, cheap, fringe conferences, not fancy hotel / convention-center conferences, so maybe my opinion is off-base. PyCon 2008 was certainly not like SUGI (the SAS Conf), which really is 100% SAS tries to sell you things you don't want, but it didn't have the spark of the new either. I was hoping to hear about lots of new projects, updates, and the like. Instead it felt very staid.
Better food, better hotel deal (we had to stay at the DoubleTree and wound up paying $30 extra per-night over the conference rate).
Better lighting on the speakers. Better mics: like clips or headsets. Its ridiculous asking people who probably want to type to hold a mic. A more open venue would be nice. Everything felt too isolated and claustrophobic. As a newcomer, I had a tough time matching speakers to their IRC handles sometimes. It'd be nice to know that and their project affiliation.
Make sure people know about the Open Spaces board - highly underutilized. Consider cutting back on sponsored messages in the lightning talks (and maybe have more sponsored open spaces).
I will be emailing comments, ideas, and suggestions separately.
Many of the 'beginner' talks were really just introductions to things they created. More basic python stuff would be good (like #91 or #116).
more signage - eg. printout of today's talks on each ballroom door. more reliable wireless in the main rooms, it got swamped a lot, proportional to audience size. out in the atrium was reliable though. food - vegetarians need protein too. The veggie chili was much appreciated. The saturday lunch pasta that got demolished by omnivores before I even saw it, not so much.
Better food and wireless
Locate it closer to non-conference amenities (food, entertainment)
Tone down the overtly commercial aspects of the sponsored talks.
Take the feedback on speakers into account when choosing speakers next year. I understand you want it to be fair and give lesser-known Pythonistas a chance, but what's the point of asking us who gives good talks if you don't accept those people's talks next year? Maybe a 60/40 split or something, between people we know are awesome and people who are unknown quantities. Also, the sponsored keynotes were pretty bad, and the lightning talks were just many hours of commercials. If you're going to do that, okay, but you need to warn us and maybe even provide other options. Also, a location that isn't quite so middle-of-nowhere would be nice.
Some keynotes were very long. Also, maybe the scheduled talks could last for 1 hour instead of 30 mins.
Instead of vendor lightning talks, howabout 5 miniute vendor presentations between keynotes/session talks. I understand its needed to fund the conference, this might be a good compromise. I also think that requiring speakers to provide thier slides and relevant code listings before talks would help us follow the tricky bits better.
1. Give open spaces more prominent "placement" with announcements, etc. 2. Organize sessions into "tracks" so related talks do not overlap. Technical, testing, web, etc. might be good breakdowns. 3. Encourage sponsored talks to be less like sales pitches and more technical. 4. Schedule small breaks between sessions to give us more time to move between the ballrooms -- that hall was narrow this year, esp. with the snack tables. Getting from 4 to 1 took more time than was allotted, and the session had already started by the time I got there.
Either reduce the number of tracks or bring back solid testing/web tracks. I liked that about Dallas 2007 - there was a solid testing track that I followed for the entire conference. This time the track wasn't as clear.
Have better lightning-talks
The network guys worked very hard (WE APPRECIATE YOU!), but we really needed a stable network for the tutorials. The meeting board was functional, but it was hard to search - perhaps we could try a little more tech in this area. More publicity about stuffing / volunteering opportunities would be nice, especially for those of us not in the "in crowd" (and thus a little nervous about just showing up). Maybe I wasn't looking in the right place, though.
better WiFi use microphones that clip onto shirts instead of handheld
You need to make sure the speakers are qualified to speak. One talk I went to was nearly impossible to understand not only because the presenter wasn't good at presenting, but also because English was a second language. Talks should be required to show some examples/code - I don't want to just hear about an idea or theory, I could get the same information from the Internet. Also, the food was not nearly as good as it was last year in Dallas. Pre-packaged sandwiches for lunch and a fruit basket for snacks isn't appealing. Last year had a much better food selection.
Snacks were removed too quickly at breaks. Too many of the Saturday lightning talks were sponsors company talks. This got a little long and boring.
Less overt advertising
Longer talks 45min - 1hr. Round Tables and Panels
Somehow make keynotes and lightning talks less sponsor oriented - lightning talks should NOT be 5 minutes to just talk about your company. Maybe speakers have to show code or something? No shilling for jobs, etc
Make the network "just work"
Allow some open space areas to be scheduled in advance, and print those on the program.
Have mic stands for the audience questions or have the session chair repeat the questions. Give speakers the option of a clip mic. Configure survey to pick 2 best plenaries and 5 best talks; Have some healthy food for meat eaters (more fruit, WAY more vegs.); Don't ALWAYS have soda at break (more water and tea); Warn Windows people about wireless; Set a wireless password.
1. Open session management must be electronically managed online, and could be displayed on LCDs or website. 2. Lightning talk raffle-- all talkers submit, and a random set gets picked. Don't make it about who can hack the list sheet to avoid the rules! 3. Lightning talks without (dedicated spots for) sponsors. 4. Open sessions should have easier access to projectors, etc. 5. Have a PyCon main website feed for conference tweeting/comments
Clear delineation between commercial and community keynotes/lightning talks. More in-depth technical talks. Perhaps more assistance given to presenters about what makes interesting subject matter. More promotion of Open Spaces, I wasn't even aware of them until the last day.
sponsor / vendor drivel should be labeled as such. numerous non vendor talks were poorly done. good talks were hard to come by, ( i calculated 1 a day, from the sessions i attended). openspace planning and locations were not clearly evident. there really should be a billboard with this information along with the talk schedule. there should be anti vendor/solitication rule for key note talks. pycon is not about advertising for your company to a captive audience. food was good for one day (saturday lunch), the rest, frankly i ended up paying for my meals, due to the unsatisfactory nature of the offerings.
don't let the commercial side dominate. make the open space better known. if someone knows something about wifi and the wifi is screwed up like it was on Friday and they offer to help take the time to listen to them. create aseparate vendor track and separate vendor lightning talks.
Keep vendors in the Expo Hall and out of lightning talks and in particular out of the keynotes!! Perhaps there's a need to challenge people more ahead of time or encourage more interesting non-commercial lightning talks.
Mark the sponsor things more clearly. More hints about the open spaces.
By focusing more on Open Spaces and discussions and less on Sponsors.
Better network, less sponsor time in Lightning Talks and Keynotes.
Don't sell out the lightning talks, and reserve half the keynotes for normal people. Publicize the commercial talks as such. I'd rather pay a bit more than be advertised to all day. This round was nearly a waste of my time. The 5 talks that I liked were pretty much the only talks that were worth going to. Also, get the open spaces into a more "accessible" area. Set up tables for hacking and such in commons areas. Having a few places with hard cat5 at such tables would be a good idea too. Network provisioning is hard, and thanks to all who put time in on it, but it's a solveable problem. Maybe even see about getting sponsorship of the equipment to do it. Geeks appreciate the solution to an obviously hard problem like that. Maybe even set up a talk about the infrastructure.
Fresh fruit at every meal and snack. Fresh vegetables at every meal, even if it's just baby carrots and broccoli. Supply copper for networking. You already run copper everywhere for power. Does anyone make these? Combined ethernet switch and power strip http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7271502.html
Please don't let the vendors take over. This was my first time at PyCon and I've heard how fun the lightning talks usually are. I spent most of the time doing work on my own personal Python project... Talks like the keynote from the OLPC guy are nice because he connects with the audience. The vendors really did not connect with the audience at all and they were really friggin' boring. Except for maybe Fitz, but he wasn't really pimping Google.
the networking remains the big issue...
Reduce the influence of sponsors. It felt more like a sponsor showcase than the PyCon I enjoyed in the past. I also would have liked to have a better system for getting the presenters slides and sample code on the PyCon website.
Maybe a better way to schedule open space sessions - i.e. on the pycon site, etc.
Closer to the city. Rosemont is way far out. Less catering to every company that sponsored pycon. The benefits are less than the annoyance.
Cut out the vendor lightning talks and vendor keynotes. Require the speakers to be better prepared. Rate the speakers after the fact.
There seemed to be consistent microphone issues which really took up time and detracted from the talks. Wireless mics help a lot. I found a lot of the talks to be simply too short for anything interesting to be said. This year linux.conf.au moved to 1 hour talks and 2 hour tutorials, which seemed to work really well.
Clear differentiation between sponsored 'advertisement' talks and actual technical talks. More talks about real-world application of Python.
Sadly, I think the venue isn't that great. It's convenient but I'd like a place where it's possible to spend time out of the conference seeing things or dining. The conference is high intensity and we need some ability to escape.
Fewer 'sponsored' lightning talks: I used to enjoy lightning talks much more.
This was my first Pycon and I was really impressed by it (totally intend to come next year). But traveling alone from another country and being a newbie at PyCon makes it tougher to meet other people. It would be awesome if there were special social sessions for newcomers, maybe a "PyCon newbie" BoF Keep the great work!
I found the large amount of laptop usage by the audience distracting from the talks (typing noise and screens). You could restrict power points to rear of halls and ask that laptops aren't used near the front. Many of the laptop users I noticed weren't even taking notes, but checking email, browsing, etc.
Make the network work before the conference starts.
open-space schedule, displayed upstairs & between sessions (video feed? typed in by human volunteer?)
fewer vendor plugs
I know you have to balance this with maintaining an affordable conference, but I felt like I missed some great talks because there were 4 session tracks. There were quite a few where I wanted to attend 2 or 3 of them at the same time... maybe 3 at once instead of 4, and extend the times? Maybe cut down on the keynote time alloted (although I enjoyed most of those)?
Anticipate large network connectivity, better food, more included (BREAKFAST!!!)
healthy food!!!! WAY too much fat and processed sugar, it was really bad. had breakfast in the restaurant so i could have fresh fruit...
have something non-sugary for breakfast - eg, bagels, plain toast, etc. Leave coffee and drinks out all day (in one place if not everywhere).
Lunches could use some improvement.
No "selling out" of talks to sponsors -- they should have to meet the same bar as other speakers. More pre-screening of talks to ensure that speakers aren't wooden, dull, or flat-out crazy (the last of which two rambling lightning talk presenters seemed to be). Promote the Open Spaces more. Have volunteers sync the Open Spaces board with a web "mirror". Less flaky wifi.
Better wireless access on all days.
Get rid of the pre-made sandwiches.
Specify which talks are being done by the paid sponsor. Ditch the Diamond Keynotes and the every-morning-single-room-everyone-must-watch 'Keynote'. There should only be one Keynote per converence, look at the definition
Better Wireless More structured social activities
make the WiFi work from the beginning more tutorials (those are the most usefull hours spent here for me)
Separate out the sponsor talks.
* remind users in advance how to avoid creating ad hoc networks
* provide ethernet hookups as was done in Dallas
* ask sponsors for tracking numbers of anything shipped, and have someone receiving to check for all packages
Keep the lightning talks. They are great!
- fewer vendors in the lightning talks - get the hotel to stop gouging and to consistently provide shuttle service to the train stop down the road
Try to separate "lightning commercials" from non-commercial lightning talks
Wireless network has to work.
Make them leave the food out for longer. Since the hotel is in the middle of nowhere, maybe the conference can help organize people for a party with drinks. There might be liability issues, I don't know.
Food is worse than previous years
Make the talks a bit longer. Leave more time between talks for moving to another room.
- Better separation/identification of sponsor vs. individual lighting talks
- Have a better plan for recording/editing the talks, including video of the presenter and their presentation combined, uploading to the web, live streaming, etc.
- Make the hotel bar stay open later than midnight. - Try to encourage more female Python programmers to attend.
less vendor interaction, improve the overall quality of talks, showcase nightly events
Have some method to ensure quality of talks.
Increase gap time between the plenary talks and the first batch of sessions to allow for room tear-down and set-up. Give instructions to attendees about the wireless in advance. e.g. tell them not to form adhoc networks, warn OLPCers, etc. Make each session chair familiar with the a/v wiring in their room. Get more volunteers. Recruit more women for talks. Get more volunteers. Have a test day for volunteers to work through snags in deployment.
Besides hotel fare, organize Pizza runs!
Less of a commercial emphasis. Have a wireless network THAT DOESN'T SUCK. A nicer hotel would be nice. More tables for laptop work between sessions.
I found PyCon to be generally well organised. Network was a little flaky on Friday.
More reliable wireless, everywhere in the hotel Have some backup speakers -- maybe offer standby slots to the top tier of rejected talks. Projector / microphone issues were common. Maybe a practice session the day before? Maybe the option of a shared laptop with the most common presentation tools?
based on the testing tutorial I attended, tutorials should be more hands-on, with actual coding concurrently. More like a bootcamp than a 3 hour version of a talk
More time for lightening talks. I always learn about things that I never even knew existed. Ping had an idea to allow people 20 seconds at a microphone to say something they're looking for. I like it! I did not like the sponsors being given lightening talk slots. There were not enough in-depth technical talks.
Take advantage of the city you're in - holding it in the Chicago burbs was a bad idea. Make employer booths more noticeable. Have an actual designer help with SWAG - the shirts were awful. Focus more on content/talks that are in-between the Beginner and Intermediate levels - it seemed I was either bored or clueless.
Better speakers - many were very unprepared and in general could not communicate well.
Figure out how to get the network to work 100% - write up a HOWTO on large conference networks for other communities to follow. This is constantly a problem with big conferences
Compared with the last PyCon I attended (2005), the quality of talks this year seemed to be much lower overall. I realize there were some standout ones, but often I only found out about them afterward. A lot boils down to presentation style; perhaps give the presenters a chance to practice before an audience and get feedback on the tutorial day? It has always helped me greatly to get outside feedback when I prepare talks. The keynotes/lightning talks really dragged (a notable exception was Sunday - the keynotes that day were all terrific.) While last time I went to PyCon the lightning talks were overflowing out the door and this time there was seating for everyone, the energy just seemed to have been lost.
Make presenters submit slides in advance and post to the web site. I think it would help presenters practice their presentations in advance. Possibly have presenters submit a 3 minute video abstract. Some of the presenters were pretty poor and if the overall quality of presentations could be improved then my PyCon experience would greatly improve.
hold it someplace other than the airport. 45 minutes each way on the urine soaked L to get to Chicago is silly.
Nothing comes to mind.
Dallas was nice because of all the walkable restaurants near the hotel. This hotel is kinda isolated.
Some more group events. E.g. BeerBoF was a lot of fun, but it was pretty much at capacity for the number of people who can reasonably descend on a bar without overloading it with just our group. Setting out a couple group outings like that (e.g. explore the city with a group going to such and such to eat dinner, etc)
Vegetarian options for food were very slim and inadequate. Please try to get the caterers to provide vegetarian main courses for the meals.
It seemed some presentations were done at the last minute or not properly prepared. Please collect the presentations in advance to ensure at least some level of planning on the part of the presenter.
The big room is too cold !
The vegetarian food was consistently awful. There were never any snacks left when I came to the hallway.
longer, fewer, higher-quality talks
2 days of tutorials. Longer talks (talks were too short to get in to)
Make the keynotes shorter, waaaay more lightning talks.
I would love for there to be two days of tutorials.
the network needs to be reliable. there should be physical drops for people in urgent need, and there should be a table where you can go for tech support. coffee should always be available somewhere to keep us jetlagged people awake. i really would have liked to attend a couple of the tutorials, but i couldn't get here until friday.
closer to good restaurants and inexpensive alcohol
Less invasive commercial presence. Higher quality speakers - there was some severely disparate skill levels in presentations, as well as preparation. Better food - more availability of drinks/water. Some keynotes were advertisements, as well as lightning talks.
Booth babes! Seriously, I don't know. Maybe two days of tutorials.
Do you have any other comments about PyCon 2008?
Loved it, good work all
It's been a blast, and I look forward to PyCon 2009 and beyond.
Lightning talks by sponsors ruin the idea of community participation. Do not want.
Awesome seeing that many people (been to Europython a bunch of times...) The catered box-lunch was great because it encouraged you to sit down with strangers and chat about python!
All in all, I kind of enjoy the not-so-well-organized conference aspect of Pycon. It keeps the community "we're doing this together" aspect at the forefront. Ultimately, Pycon's success may be its downfall. Relying on volunteers may not be possible if the conference keeps growing the way it has been. Keep up the good work! I know the displeasure with all the sponsorship preferred placement has already been loudly voiced, so I won't belabor it here.
I really dug the entire thing. I stayed downtown so getting back and forth took a lot of time and money. Next year I'll probably stay at the conference then go into town for a few days with my wife instead of staying downtown and commuting. I missed a few good talks on Sunday due to exhaustion with the whole commute thing.
Most bad talks I saw did everything that the wiki page "Help & Tips For Speakers" tells you not to do. http://us.pycon.org/2008/conference/helpforspeakers/ Hmm. How do we remedy that? Make that page more prominent? Force users to read that when they submit a talk? Something should be done.
Great conference overall
Nope. I liked it for the most part!
I"ll be back.
- Like the start and end times each day, very reasonable - Like the onsite food. Hotel food was very expensive, so THANKS - Keep up the t-shirts, like to wear mine and spread the love
You may want to make it (even) more obvious that it is volunteer-driven, to encourage people to pitch in more and complain less.
keynote speakers, for the most part, have to learn how to speak.
I appreciated all the effort that went into it. I believe it was accomplished by volunteers. That is amazing! It was quite professional.
I had a great time! You guys did a great job! Thanks!
This was my third Pycon. It is a "hobby" for me and well worth my time and money. I especially like the tutorial offerings, as these provide more in depth knowledge for me. Overall, it was a super conference. Hopefully, I can someday contribute to this event in some way.
I am glad i went
- In general the food was excellent, but at times ran short on certain items. The staff didn't seem interested in refilling critical items.
- The room layouts were well thought out and having water at the back was great
- didn't have to leave the talk to get hydrated. - The sprints were the best part.
- I would have liked to seen more about beyond Python - I know the basics, but I'd like to hear more about techniques for coding and tackling problems. - I really liked the idea of a Python lab, unfortunately I didn't find out about it until it was almost over. I'd love to see a lab run at the end of every day.
Great job. Watch out for growing pains as it gets larger. Some of the stuff that works well with 400 or 600 people works less well with 1000.
I don't think that Open Spaces should have to compete as heavily with the sessions, but that may say more about the sessions than anything. Also, if possible could talks that are likely to attract the same/similar groups be put in the same room and not at the same time!
Overall, it was great. However, the dining choices were few. You should include a listing of places in the area.
overall, it was very valuable to me as a Python newbie
The hotel location was horrible with nothing interesting within walking distance.
Several talks with good content were ruined by very poor presentations.
Finally made it to one! I hope to make it a habit. My hat is off to all the volunteers who worked so hard. I think others have expressed their concerns in blogs/user groups and I have full faith that the organizers are taking the feedback seriously and will work out any kinks that happened this year. Growth is good right?
Thanks for a fun and informative experience.
It was awesome! My first one and I'll be back for more!
Well done. The overall experience was outstanding. I found the sprints and open spaces very useful.
I really enjoyed the conference.
It was a fun trip. Thanks guys.
Parking is way too expensive and inconvenient for locals. I did drive some out-of-towner's to local bars and restaurants, but it was a hassle.
I enjoyed every minute. I learned a lot.
The network was a bit spotty during Tutorial day which caused problems with progress of the tutorial. How about wired networks for tutorials?
Great experience, can't believe I waited this long to attend one.
Keynotes were often rather boring and disappointing...
- Cool shirts - Great attendees - Great organizers, great atmosphere
I really enjoyed pycon this year, and will definitely attend 2009. I think there will always be room for improvement in the quality of talks, but I found many of the talks I attended just as interesting as my last PyCon experience in DC. And if memory serves, the food was much better this year -- which is a bonus.
some of the talks were just not very well prepared and ended up being a waste of my time, unfortunately
Great job overall, lots of good people and discussions, but very tiring...
it was sorely lacking in all areas
I would like to suggest that the companies wishing to recruit should be required to confine their recruiting activities to the exhibit area. Keep that crap out of the keynotes and talks. Oh, and if Microsoft really wants to send an IP lawyer to talk to us they had better be paying a premium for the privilege... I'm thinking of dinner and an open bar at least.
It was great. I had an awesome time and met some really cool people. Keep up the great work!!! I am looking forward to next year.
Thanks for organizing.
I think the conference itself was fine. My focus, though, is scientific and engineering. It probably is better if I go to SciPy which is more focused on my interests.
I am overall very satisfied. Maybe the talks could be a little longer next yearand not so many of them?
Loved the tutorials and conference, but the price of food at hotel was outrageous!
I had a great time, learned a lot, meet a lot of people. well done. bravo!
I had a great time. Thanks to everyone who worked to put it on.
Did not like the lawyers keynote so much
Never seen so many geeks in one place! ... but then I resemble that remark. ;o)
More Python at OSCON.
Great conference organisation!
I liked the expo hall. I was also worried about it being too big-but it wasn't.
Well organised. Good trade show. Good food.
Meeting all the wonderfully nice folks was absolutely the best part. The sprint tutorial I went to was awesome (Brett Cannon's Python Core one) and sprinting with the Jython guys was a blast.
IMO lunch break was too long
Thanks for everything!
The open space idea was nice, but competed with the normal conference. It was difficult to see if going there would pay off, especially when there were multiple times it was difficult to choose between talks.
it was awesome (despite track 1's door bottleneck and the [MANY expletives deleted] wifi!-)
Some bright spots, but overall a disappointing experience for someone in industry.
Larger screens central to the room so that both sides get an equivalent view. Don't require the speakers to hold the microphone.
I had fun. I like the fact there is such a strong enthusiastic community. PyCon is amazingly well run given is a community effort.
Even with all of the negativity, it was a great experience. Please don't take it personally, or as if people aren't appreciative. In fact it's the opposite, it's such a great conference that people want to make sure that it stays a great conference.
I thought it was a lot of fun, and even as a student with only about a year's worth of prior exposure to python, I found it to be very rewarding.
The t-shirt isn't a good color, but I like the cartoon. Next time don't use sky blue for a shirt color.
Improve community of people attended Pycon.
I liked last year's attendee map. Where did it go this year?
a lot of presenters didn't seem prepared for 30 minute talks. I think some suggestions need to be made to future presenters, especially regarding cutting the introductions short and jumping into the main point quickly. For example a presentation of distributed filesystems in Python need not spend 10 minutes explaining what RAID is.
For My first experience, It was incredible and beyond expectations. As a student, it was an excellent lesson in community involvement and meeting new people with the same interests.
1st pycon, 30 minute talk slots seem short, compared to other conferences. Good for wide variety of presenters, but what about 40 or 45 minutes? would give talks at least 30 minutes of content with 5-10 minutes extra for questions.
Good hotel for the money for the location.
Had a blast and learned a lot as an up and coming computer programmer. Hope to do it again next year!!
location needs to be less isolated. Dallas was much better because there were plenty of restaurants nearby.
It was great. I help run large conferences and PyCon was handled incredibly well.
Enjoyable overall, thanks for the work.
At the end of the conference, I would like to be able to say that I actually gained information that I would not normally find on the web just by 'googling'. Everybody was very friendly and it was really easy to get along with other attendees. Overall, I'm really glad I made it this year and I'm already looking forward to next year's. I really appreciate your hard work and thanks for the great job (except for the wireless).
I thought the conference was fantastic!
Awesome job, had a great time this year and look forward to next.
I loved Guido's talk - impressive. Super venue. Very well run conference. I like the weekend format as I teach and find it hard to get away for a whole week.
The real magic happened in the open space rooms.
Choose a location for 2010 and beyond that is more centrally located in the city chosen.
The hotel charged outrageously for every little thing. I felt nickle-and-dimed to death. Food prices were exorbitant, considering how little variety was available. Hotel staff were unpleasant, rude and difficult (though the restaurant staff were great!). Pick a different hotel for 2009, please.
Amazing experience! Thank you!
That hotel was a rip-off too. I've never paid $2.50 for vending machine water until now -and I live in California! I don't think NYC is even that expensive.
Open spaces were one of the best things about the conference.
I enjoyed my experience at the conference. The sprints could have been more organized.
Lighting talks should only be used to present products (not companies). Excellent job guys!
We need to accommodate the extreme wide range of feelings about the commercial supporters. I felt they were given too much presentation time. But I understand they helped keep the costs down.
I was impressed by how on-time the whole conference was. Talks started and finished on time, and the marshalling of the lightening talks was impressive. It was my 1st time, so I probably focussed too much on the talks schedule and not enough on Open-Space. In fact, I kind of forgot about open-space until Saturday afternoon. Didn't know until I read a blog today (1wk+ later) that there was hot, wired network available in the atrium. Overall, I came away with a couple of big ideas, and a few things that will tweak up and improve my Python programming, so I described it to my boss as a "good meeting". And yet, I've got this nagging feeling that I could have gotten more out of Pycon, but I'm not quite sure what it was that I missed.
I'd like to hear panel discussions on selected technologies. Compiled Python, web frameworks, scientific computing, computing in proprietary settings and so on. There are many to choose from, I'd like perhaps 3 of them covered? Overall I had an excellent experience. Thanks to all who were front and center as well as behind the scenes. _^_
Even though the Crowne Plaza is kind of seedy, I think it was a good idea to pick a hotel with such an affordable rate in Chicago. Overall, I was very pleased with PyCon 2008. (If you had a "medium" category to rank satisfaction instead of just "low" and "high" in your survey, I would have ranked food and network as "medium" instead of "low." But I could not say those two were "high" satifaction.)
Despite the word on the street, I had a great time at PyCon '08. The talks were a bit uneven in quality, and categorizing them, seems important. I recommend carving out a slice of of time early in the schedule when there is nothing but open space to "teach" everyone about this practice. Separate corporate pitch track. Please bring back the creativity and spontaneity of lighting talks! And, throw a party, at least one night!
The convention needs to be longer, we now have a large group of attendees, and more topics than we can squeeze in during the alloted time.
Overall superb---ubiquitous power and wireless are fantastic and the community spirit and general class of all speakers and participants is very encouraging---see you next year!
Great! I had a fantastic time. I met a lot of great people who are doing some amazing things with Python. Thank you for having PyCon!
I didn't mind the sponsorship level at all, however some of the presentations made by the presenters weren't always interesting or cool. I don't mind if they talk about their products or make a point, but just pitching their company should not happen again.
Lightning talks were spectacular. Thanks very much, it was awesome.
Great overall - especially the sprints this year
For the most part, a very well done conference -- thank you!
I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't gotten sick.
Amazing amount of people this year. That was astounding! Session chairs need to be forceful about people NOT going over on time. This really messes things up. Wireless access was a joke with 1000+ on hand. Overall the conference wasn't bad. I'll be back next year. Lot's of amazing people to talk to!
make these comment boxes bigger.
Wish there had been cheaper nearby dining options. Food was VERY expensive ($12 hamburgers). Talk selection/quality needs work. Need more visionary keynotes, something to inspire perhaps along with a conference theme.
The _personal_ networking was really really great. Thank you for having the large number of rooms available for open space topics! Thanks for having healthy food & snack options.
* i will not be attending pycon 2009 in chicago - these problems are systemic and i doubt they'll be addressed in time.
The best part of the conference is the attendees and the hallway conversations. Whatever leads to keeping interesting people coming is the most important part of having a great conference.
Exercise equipment was awesome. I hope all PyCon's will include and encourage people to exercise, as it makes for a clear mind to better absorb information and fight off stress
It was one of the best conferences I ever attended. A big thank you to all the volunteers.
Thank you to the organizers for your time and effort, and reading through all the feedback you are destined to get.
Really you did great, if I could spend more time away from work I would volunteer to help.
Had a great time again this year. Will be back next year!
very glad i attended
In general I liked 2007 better - though there were fewer unbearably bad presenters this year, there were fewer that could not be missed (though the location for 2008 was _much_ better). That said, I still learned a lot, networked, and got what I came for out of PyCon. Thanks for you efforts!
Enjoyed the conference and learnt a lot. I'm fairly new to Python and wanted to dive right in and discover what is happening with Python. Very friendly community. Open space sessions were very valuable.
Overall, a fantastic experience.
many speakers seemed unprepared. very few seemed inspired. several of the large talks covered extremely basic material (e.g., "what is coverage?"). has the quality of the average python programmer gone way down recently? I hope not.
I haven't ever enjoyed a PyCon this much. Way to go.
Would be more fun to be closer to downtown, the airport area is a wasteland.
Great conference and atmosphere. Thanks to all the organisers.
Overall I liked it. I'm hoping that next year improves on such things as lightning talks and general talks and the open spaces. Keep up the good work! =)
I have a comment on this feedback form. First of all, only having 4 options besides N/A is a pain. Things you were just "meh" about can't be adequately expressed. All my 3 out of 4 rankings were really "meh." Also, there isn't any way to provide additional feedback on a question. For instance, on the city... I think Chicago is great because it is relatively inexpensive to fly to from anywhere in the country. But the location sucked. It's fun to see the city a bit, and being way out by the airport was a real drag. Even for practical reasons, I forgot my power charger for my laptop, and ended up just going without for the whole weekend because we were so far from any sort of store that could provide one. I know being in the city costs more though.
Generally a great job - I'll be back next year. It was inspiring.
The organization was superb! Kudos to all!
I had a blast. I'm an up and coming web developer and I am very interested in learning the Python language.
I enjoyed it, but am used to a higher level of preparation from speakers at conferences in my own industry. Plenary sessions were well-prepared, as were tutorials, but many of the other talks were not.
It was informative and fun. The tutorials were the best part. A little better indoctrination of the BOF process would be helpful. I had been use to the "just a series of seminars" type of conference. Yours is much more interactive (good thing) but I did not understand that till late in the conference (my bad, but I sure I wasn't alone).
Hotel staff was awesome as far as being available and helpful. Food was not so good, Continental breakfast should include something other than sweet rolls. Lunches were edible but uninspired, and hard to eat healthily. PLEASE THANK whoever sponsored lunch for the tutorial day - it was awesome!
- The video recording of talks is a very nice touch. Could the results of this initiative be somehow advertised on the pycon website? - Awesome t-shirt designs. - I would like to thank all the organizers for their hard work.
In most ways, this was a very nice conference
See above re: commercialism.
It was an inspiring and informative conference, and I definitely left with many ideas on ways to improve my own work. It's amazing how much work goes in to making these kinds of events happen and I appreciate your efforts.
It was great. Just hope to see the other talks soon.
Chicago is great, centrally located, good place for pycon.
I was unpleasantly surprised at the amount of garbage we generated this year, especially the lunches. I ended up going without lunch simply because I couldn't bring myself to generate so much plastic garbage. Better to have catering that uses washable plates and utensils; drinks that can be poured into washable cups/glasses.
I was counting on the exhibits lasting through Sunday and the exhibitors not pushing themselves so much in so many ways.
Granted it's a python conference, but there were lots of "cool concepts" (enso, for instance). These themes were somewhat lost in the pythonese of them. The conference is overly pythoncentric. If I can solve a task with an emacs macro, I use it. Sometimes gawk is best. For some tasks flex is quickest. I don't use bison any longer for parsing tasks, GvR does it better. For general programming, python is often a great choice. I'll quickly add also that switch/case statements are indicative of bad thinking, please keep them out of python. And finally, I am disappointed that the python community appears to not read the docs---I saw five hundred snakes to one Monty Python joke. Our BDFL claims to not care, but I do.
Great crowd, great people. I had a blast.
Talks should explicitly state their intended audience in the description. While it wasn't bad attending a talk above or below my level of expertise (in that specific subject), I felt that my time may have been better used in those cases had I chosen a more appropriate topic. Also, a few of the talks were quite sub-par. The stackless and stackless/twisted talks were rushed through without much concrete information - it was done by a substitute so I can understand this. However, the "Python in System Administration" talk was atrocious. The presenter came entirely unprepared and spent his half hour having people throw him questions. He didnt even have answers!
Overall, I enjoyed it tremendously.
Good schedule, plenty of breaks so it wasn't too crowded. Nice T-shirt.
The administration was flawless. Kudos!
Food was ok, but a let down after the buffet meals in Dallas. I really enjoyed the Board game socials Friday and Saturday night. I hope to attend again next year, but the lack of technical content that I really got something out of means I might not be able to justify the expense of travel unless I can get my job to pay for the trip.
You guys absolutely rock. Thank you so so much for all of your hard work. You are doing a FABULOUS job!
Exceeded our expectations! Bravo.
Great job! The whole thing was really well-organized and was a total blast. Better than a vacation! If you don't change anything it will still be great!
Great job. I really enjoyed the conference.
I enjoyed it very much
I'm looking forward with high hopes to the videos and other materials from talks I was unable to attend... Good luck with that!
OLPC update was one of my favorite talks. Didn't appear in the survey list. would really like to see the talks get online. if you manage to do that well, it would be a major improvement over last years.
I was disappointed in general. The crass commericialism of the invited lightning talks was a real bringdown. Lightning talks used to be a great part of the conference. Now they are to be avoided like the plague. Overall quality of the talks seems down from last year. If judged on attendance, this was a great success, but if judged on usefulness to me, it was not. It always raises hope to see that all talks are videotaped, only to see those hopes dashed when few of them ever appear. I'm skeptical that they will this time as well. I'd say stop wasting effort on it if you can't follow through. Invited talks used to be a strong point of the conference. I have never seen a bad one until this year (the legal one was simply awful). I suppose the string of good ones was bound to end, but it just added to the bad aftertaste of the sponsor overload. I'd say that unless I see some reason for a difference next year in this regard, I'm not likely to go.
PyCon was an incredible experience for me, a student-programmer. I learned so much and can't wait to attend next year, when I'm even better prepared, now that I know a bit about how the conference works. Thanks for putting on an awesome event. are the videos hosted yet? i can't find them on the PyCon website and would love to download some of them to watch again, or catch the ones I missed. Thanks again.
yes, the most important thing: thanks to all those people that where involved in organizing this conference! An impressive thing to do by itself.
I think I only ended up going to 5 talks, most of the time I spent in the hallways talking to people. I enjoy PyCon and am likely to continue to attend. Next year I may not want a booth, we really didn't do much with it and having an unstaffed booth I worry may cause a negative attendee perception, but Steve Holden had some good ideas for having an unstaffed booth.
My first PyCon!! It was better in some ways than I expected, not so good in others.... I thought the facilities were very good. The food was better than I expected, snacks were great!! The people were harder to communicate with than I had hoped. Most seemed way too focused on their portables.... I came to PyCon 2008 trying not to assume / expect / preconceive what would happen. I was excited about bumping into all sorts of interesting people from all over. The reality was disappointing. Most people didn't want to talk, only play with their portable and gadgets.... The few people I really wanted to meet I did get a chance to at least say hi, but they were usually too busy and stressed for much more than that. Perhaps the secret is getting to PyCon day or two earlier before it gets all busy and everyone too tired and stressed.... The talks were not nearly as good as I had hoped. Maybe 1-2 per day versus the 5-6 I had expected when reviewing the talk list prior to the conference. Parking cost was kind of a bummer (make that a rude kind of extra conference tax on anyone driving to PyCon)!! The AV setup seemed mostly to work. Maybe more reminders to speakers to use the microphone correctly (or to adjust as needed). Or more working clip on mic's vs the hand-held mic's. Power for people running portables seemed everywhere, more than adequate. Again, conference facilities seemed pretty good. Not sure what can change except using space differently. Overall I enjoyed my first PyCon, it just seemed a little different than what I had expected from reading about past PyCon's and talks. Perhaps that is result of the size, or just the changes in sponsors / talks this year. I do plan on attending next year PyCon 2009 in Chicago. Hopefully I will be impressed and happier with the conference next year.
I really enjoyed this one after having been to the 2005 event. Somehow even though the numbers doubled in between, I still got to meet and hear from a lot of different people, and don't feel like I missed out on much. So even though parts of it frustrated me (as noted in #19), I'll be back because most of it was great, and I'll get involved next year to help improve the things I think need to be improved.
Overall, the conference was great. The volunteers did an amazing job, putting in an incredible amount of hours, and it showed. I'm not very picky, but I thought the food service went very well.
It was awesome!
1) Open voting or at least, let the community have some form of input in to the talks selected. 2) More talks during the day. Frequently there were 2 talks I wanted to attend at any given time, this year I picked badly. Your top presenters (per feedback) should be enouraged to give their talks at two different times. The two largest open spaces should have been encore venues for these talks. 3) wireless - Man I know what a HUGE job it was, 1000+ attendees, lots of newb's and olpcs and ad-hoc networks. I know a heroic job was done by the networking staff to get things stabilized. Maybe leveraging the prior year's head and having them come might help?? So knowledge can be shared. Please know I have a lot of respect for Carl K and the work everyone did and I'm thankful for it, but it was a problem. 4) User groups / PyCon is a great time to let people know about users groups in their area. Maybe more could be done. We discussed in the Advocacy BoF -- jeff r has details.
I was a little disappointed with the way the schedule was arranged. There were a number of time blocks for which I wasn't interested in any of the talks, but Sunday had a lot of high-quality talks scheduled opposite each other.
They wanted to charge me $3.25 for a plain bagel. Other than that, I loved it
It was great. I had a blast! Thank you so much for allowing me to attend! You guys rock - really.
Many speakers indicated that they would post their .ppt slides online. It would be nice if this could actually happen before or during the conference in one centralized location for easy downloading.
I've used Python (often "sneaking" it into Java based workplaces) for many years. This is the first time I've gone to a professional seminar and was quite happy meeting so many people. Thanks!
5 minute lightning talks on day 1. registered community voting allows top speakers 15m on a best of showcase.
I'm satisfied overall with my investment in attending PyCon. On the whole, I think the organizers did a nice job, and handled the scaling problems pretty well...
Bang up job guys!
Lightning talks were too dominated by vendors. I don't know what you can do about that, but it was annoying. Also, my wifi and that many other ubuntu users went down frequently. I think there was some incompatibility there.
The chairs were *VERY* uncomfortable. More tables! Try to have the conference in a venue where there is more than one hallway connecting all the rooms. Navigation through the single hallway was atrocious! In Dallas it was bad, but in Chicago it was almost impossible to make it to the next talk on time. Also, try to have a little more time in-between the talks.
I thought it was a very nice conference.
Great talks. Not one wasted session. Met lots of people. Went to OSCon last year. This was better. Thanks for a great conference.
it was great, i think we need to be careful not to drift too commercial, but finding the right balance can be hard
Great - many thanks.
Great conference, thanks a lot to all organizers and volunteers
2 days of mostly sponsor lightning talks sucked. A lot of the talks were very surface level, something you could get from a quick skim of the docs, this might be related to the time limit? I guess the previous pycons had longer talks, because it felt like every talk ran right up to the time limit with no time for questions or discussion, like I said - all very surface level.
Thank you all for the hard work and effort you put in trying to put on a good conference. I know that I posted a lot of complaints, but I hope that they will help guide PyCon 2009 toward being a conference that creates many strong connections. I for one, am quite willing to be in a simpler venue (academic spaces?), in exchange for a cheaper (and therefore, more accessible) conference. Thanks, Gregg Lind
It was great. Thanks so much to all of you who worked so hard.
Excellent conference! Presentation skill definitely had more to do with my enjoyment of talks than technical content to be honest. #87 was just a train wreck that should have been cancelled outright when Andrew couldn't make it. Posting videos online is exciting and took away the stress of knowing if you missed an awesome talk, it was gone forever. Thanks to everyone who made it happen!
Overall I had a great time, met a lot of great people and had a chance to learn how other people are using the language. I'm definitely hoping my company sends me again next year.
I thought the facilities were great. Crown Plaza did a wonderful job at handling everything and everyone. Everyone was helpful and the food was excellent (but more salad would have been good!). For the tutorial day, if food is being served, the breaks should be shorter. It was a _very_ long day and since it was the first day...many folks may have had jet lag.
It was awesome, and great job for all people work for Pycon. It's really appreciate. It was my first experience and not my last. Thanks
It was my first pycon, and i really enjoyed it!
This was my first pycon. I came with the following goals: 1. Meet some folks I'd collaborated with but never talked to. 2. Meet new people doing interesting things 3. Learn some crazy deep stuff I accomplished 2.5 of these (I didnt get my fill of crazy deep stuff. This may be my fault for choosing talks/bofs poorly). Overall I enjoyed the conference. I read the by-now infamous Bruce Eckle rant and agree with some of his points. I do think some of his points are valid. I had a couple of chats with organizers and I believe there was some learning pains for them, and that the quirks will be worked out next year. Overall thanks to the organizers and volunteers. I had a blast.
You all worked really hard, and it shows in the quality of the conference. Thanks!
Don't listen to Bruce Eckel.
Thank you for the opportunity!
The A/V guys were INCREDIBLY great - many thanks! Having the videos digitized so quickly was just so much appreciated. PyCon 2008 was by far the best ever - I'll be back if I have to ride my bicycle from Texas!
Too commercial. Instead of 'selling' the lightning talks to sponsors, give the slots back to the community. Between the keynotes and lightning talks it felt like I was sitting through one long commercial.
Keep up the good work.
I liked the Open Sessions. Got a lot out of the 'Teach Me Twisted' session.
Overall, you've done a great job of scaling up.
It was another great year, but quality of the talks was mixed - I would go 3 hours seeing 3 boring talks, and then have an hour where all 4 talks looks fascinating but I could of course only attend one. One problem there was that the "Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced" rating was not always accurate - too many talks seemed more towards beginner than they advertised.. wish some speakers would dig deeper into the guts of their subjects
The hotel didn't seem to want to make any money. The lounge/bar didn't open until late.
Thanks. I very much enjoyed it.
I will return, but I'm really depressed about how lightning talks were handled. 1. I didn't know where the sheets were initially on Friday and by the time I found them they were full. 2. I woke up super early on Saturday only to find that someone faked a sheet late Friday and everyone signed that. So never had any chance to get on Saturday's list. 3. Informed on Saturday night that the "fake" overflow list was now going to be the official Sunday list even though signs clearly said there would be a list for Sunday posted. Was told that my talk probably wouldn't happen on Sunday.
Overall presentation subject matter was much less interesting than last year. The best two talks, containers and IronPython, were on the last day.
nothing was within real walking distance. it was too cold outside. push it back a week or two. the restaurant prices were outrageous. box lunch was great for Sunday not so great for Friday. The food was better in Dallas. Overall I had a great time networking with my fellow programmers and I plan to come back.
Still a great conference, despite the vendor "intrusions". Well done! The hotel staff seems to think we're annoying cockroaches, tho -- and they don't put out enough food or keep it (or drinks) out long enough. Dallas was _much_ better in this regard.
Regarding talks: I know it must be hard to separate wheat from chaff, and I really have no idea how you went about picking speakers, so I'll simply suggest a method I think might have better results. Have presenters submit proposals (likely what happened). Cull out unsuitable presentations. Reduce number of candidates to twice the number of open slots. Require remaining candidates to submit a slide package a week or so before the con. Schedule candidates who have a good set. (I know this may penalize those who have a "mostly talk" style, so something would have to be done to offset this. Maybe a "notes" set to go with each slide). Tell presenters this is all going to happen so they know they need to do a decent job the first time around and not just submit skele-slides. Remaining presenters will likely hold an open space, since they have materials in hand. Win for all. Printing the schedule is a bit last minute, but a good printer (service) should be able to take care of that.
Thank you for putting on this great conference. lightning talks on Sunday were great.
For a first time "newbie" to PyCon, I am very impressed with the community. I will definitely be back next year - employer willing...
I was not very impressed with the venue. Most of the conventions I've been to previously use university grounds (out of semester), and the quality of experience using proper lecture theaters was much higher. Good projection capabilities, staggered seating giving better view of the presenter and slides, cheaper/more varied food options, and at least in this case, better location. On-campus accommodation is usually much cheaper as well. I have no idea if this is practical in the USA though.
The wireless network was too flakey. Sponsors had too much control. There was no presentation with a big "WOW" factor.
I agree with the general sentiment that talks were weak and unpolished. I don't have a particular problem with commercialization as long as we can improve the content quality of what's being communicated. Open spaces are great. It seems like we need even more rooms for open spaces. I think a better job could be done with signage. For instance, the open space board could have been up in the atrium. Open spaces could be organized in advance too, via wiki or other signup method. Projectors were hard to find for open spaces.
Despite early troubles with wireless, it improved; everyone just swamped. Extremely efficient food service to be able to serve 1000 so quickly. Attendees may have complained about how fast they bussed the food away, but they certainly should be credited for how quickly they distributed it.
A few talks were disappointing because of the presenter rather than the subject. For example, one presenter in particular (for Dogtail), was very difficult to understand and he kept showing us files of seemingly meaningless rows of text.
It would be awesome to have a PyCon in association with Python users in others countries.
I enjoyed talking to some of the exhibitors about IT in their business, and about our experiences. It would be great if there was more of this somehow.
bruce eckel shall be shanghaied onto program committee.
Seems like the breakout rooms and lightning talks were awfully low-tech given the people here. Couldn't someone serve a sign-up system and post real-time updates on a few displays? Would be a great demo project actually, maybe you could sell it to the hotel when you were done They have those pretty HD displays all over and not a lot on them... make the system development a tutorial project even?
awesome work, thank you so much.
Well organized, excellent conference!
Well done, scheduling was very good.
This was my first PyCon, and I've been somewhat disappointed; the wifi was quite flaky, the talks were largely uninteresting (albeit there were some gems), and corporate sponsorship seems to have run amok. I hope I can get involved with PyCon planning for next year (as I live in Chicago) to help improve things. _
Great conference. Loved the abundant power and wireless. Hopefully I'll get more sleep next time
The Python conference should be about sharing ideas from the community, a look at what others are doing and to finally meet the people you've been conversing with online. It should not be a festival of people bragging about how cool their company is without any look at the underlying technology and then fishing for recruits. Have a recruitment area, even a meet-and-greet event, but don't revolve up a new vendor every 5 minutes. Review talks to ensure that they are about Python, the IronPython talk was about 10 minutes of Python, a few minutes of Django and then a smattering of Silverlight.
OIt was great, thanks to all volunteers for putting in the work, I greatly appreciate it
Great conference! It's clear a lot of work and organizing was done, and I feel guilty for not helping out more. I was glad the wireless issues settled down as Windows users stopped ruining it for the rest of us. Location: I would prefer a location with closer restaurants, and a better selection of reasonable priced restaurants (Thai food, Indian food, etc.) I don't like the "hotel ghetto" we've landed in. However the hotel itself is fine. This was especially important to me because I didn't like ANY of the meals provided, and I don't like the choices at the hotel restaurants. ) I prefer most Asian food choices...Indian, Thai, etc.)
- good job fixing up the networks -- it improved every day of the conference - having public transportation access to Chicago was a huge win. That was the difference between me attending this year and not attending in Dallas the last two years. (Wash DC with the conference right in town was better yet.)
GREAT, GREAT job by ALL the organizers!!! Super!
The conference has changed a lot - it's bigger now. The vendor space was really professional and impressive. I probably should have done just two tutorials instead of three. I was pretty beat for the better part of the conference and didn't attend as many talks as I should have.
This was an awesome conference and despite the fact that it was twice as big as last year, it was run very smoothly and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Everyone did a great job. Having vendor boths was fun (and working in one was fun, too!)
Lots of fun, great people, White Oaks magnet swag possible messed up my laptop....
The Crowne Plaza is not a great venue.
The wireless wasn't actually that bad, once people stopped making adhoc networks. In summary, I'll be back for '09.
I ended up not going to several of the talks (the last half of Sat. and all of sunday) because they just weren't interesting.
Food was lacking, I ended up buying my own breakfast and lunch every day.
Amazingly done. Kudos to you! Met great people.
Thanks for the hard work.
The network was a joke.
Better food at conference hotel.
Good conference again.
Fantastic job by the volunteer organizers. Thank you for your efforts.
Great food - keep those guys on board!
I really like the whole concept of lightening talks
Thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, sponsors and the community!
Be really careful about vendor involvement.
Great job by the organizers. Almost everything was thought of and even with the wireless being wonky on Friday they got it fixed and most everything else went off without a hitch.
Chicago, at the airport, in March???? The conference was awesome, but the location and time of year are questionable. You'll get more people in a warmer climate and having it at the airport is uncool.
Overall a very enjoyable con. I will be going to the next one for sure even if I have to pay for it myself. The information that I got from this one was well worth the cost. Thank you all so much for working so hard to keep them down enough to where my company was willing to flip the bill for me.
I attend about 2-3 conferences a year and this conference has unfortunately the worst presenters. The topics and abstracts sound interesting but the presentation skills except for a handful of sessions were simply poor.
Yay, Chicago! Keep it in Chicago! Good location.
Good work. I really think the two days of tutorials would be good especially if you have intermediate matplotlib the first day and advanced the second. That way you could go back to your room and practice that night and come back the next day with questions
The keynotes were hella boring
Talks times are too short and speakers didn't have enough time to do their talks.
great work overall. bof and open-space were my favourite.
the power strips everywhere are great
This is better than any "professional" conference I've attended. Best conference ever. Can't wait to come back!
Coffee was horrible.