May 24, 2024

LiveBlog of the Pycon IT 24 Lightning Talks

These things move fast. No guarantees! They're doing it "The Italian Way," which apparently involves forfeits.

First, conference announcements. No mic - not a great start. Oh, here we are!

PyCon Portugal is 17 - 19 October 2024. There was a great acronym for Portugal, which I didn't have time to write down.

EuroPython is in Prague and remote, in July. 8-9 Tutorials and workshops, 10-12, talks, 13-14 Sprints.

Allessia Marcolini and someone else whose name disappeared too fast chaired. They told us why pineapple pizza is such an awful idea. They then introduced the wheel of fortune, and the outcome determined various forfeits that speakers were given to force them to behave in specific ways: Swimming in the Arno, Italian hand gestures, Quack it, and various others, including the pineapple pizza, which cut the speakers' time down to 3 minutes.

Luca, the first speaker, spun the wheel too hard, so it took us a minute to discover he had to talk while swimming. With props - goggles and a snake floatation aid.. His talk was about annotating decorators. He showed an untyped decorator to time functions. Very amusing to see him remove the mypy errors one by one. He then turned it into a timing context manager, which also acted as a decorator. Great talk.

Samuel Colvin talked about Jiter, a JSON parser, drew the quack, and the audience decided to quack on the word JSON. He demonstrated, to much applause, how jiter can parse the outout from ChatGPT continuously, rather than having to wait until the whole thing was received. With about thirty quacks, until he wised up and cut down on his use of the word!

Peter next talked about PyClean, a project he wrote himself, while swimming. (He presented it while swimming, he wrote it some other time). He's worked on it so long he's forgotten what it does, but it's available on PyPi. The package actually cleans up your Python bytecode files from your __pycache__ directories. You might think this was a one-line find command, but it's written in Python, and it works!

Rodrigo became another swimmer, and talked about Elegant Code. His example was a simple GUI-based calculator he found online, so he refactored it before our very eyes. Rodrigo prefers expressions to statements, so he replaced many assignments either by simply using parenthisised walrus expressions, or introducing an auxiliary function. The function then became a single lambda expression. The import statements also became walrus expressions using __import__, and he then introduced the concept of "long-circuititng." By the time he'd finished, he'd conjoined all the expressions into a single expression. Most amusing.

By this point it had become less than clear which forfeit was being executed. The next speaker, whose name I did not catch, does two things every day - stay on the computer and listen to music, so he asked why not combine the two. An audience member chose the song "Unbroken" for an example, but apparently that title was too simple. So we next tried "Never going to give you up." His code then created album wallpaper from the Spotify page, and he challenged everyone to use the Gnome desktop, which is currently its only platform. Good talk!

Miro then talked about various keyboard layous, but he drew the pizza so had to talk in three minutes. He told us we were all using weird keyboard layouts, and then told us all about the right ones in varioius languages I couldn't identify, so while he amused the native audience greatly the humour I got was by looking at all the glyphs overlaid on a single keyboard. He explained compose sequences. Wish I'd got a picture. He closed by suggesting the remapping of the SHIFT LOCK and CTRL keys to make ESCAPE more available. Excellent. 

Rigel, the next speaker again became a swimmer, and we started to suspect the wheel was rigged. Problems with the projector paused him for a while, blaming his Windows computer for the issue, so we watched his slides from a web browser. Rigel is a bad skydiver, but he's an engineering manager who claimed to have no idea what his staff do. He's hiring, and talked about Booth's second rule: the safer skydiving becomes, the more risks skydivers take to keep the fatality rate constant. He demonstrated his "horrible code" to mine Bitcoin or similar crypto currencies, and then how raising the difficulty of the required hash of the transaction required nore steps, and finally demonstrated things ran faster in parallel. Neat.

Giuseppe Biradi is a project and program manager, who tried to persuade us that PMs Are (Not) Evil. Because he loves Python he has become a coder, and got the idea for this talk from his coding colleagues' horrified expressions. He claims that PMs are like the pinball firing pin, which can lead to lots of complex behaviours. Or perhaps like someone who gets grain, mill and various other components to finally produce bread. We shouild all respect each others' rules, and sing Kumbaya round the camp fire. I think.

Minita spoke on imposter syndrome. True story based on personal opinoins, and he isn't used to extemporising. Before the pandemic he didn't speak at conferences, but now he enjoys them a lot. There are five stages of imposter syndrome: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. He showed us a picture of hime helping a fellow Pythonista, and uses a "Yes, you can" sticker on his wall to maintain confidence.

All in all an entertaining session, and one that brought much of the conference together before we all went off to dinner. Sometimes chaotic and always amusing, lightning talks are always one of the high spots of any PyCon. Thanks to all speakers, and the hosts.

February 29, 2024

Understanding Python Descriptors

Understanding Descriptors