A Week at PyCon DC 2004 -- Day 1

Sprint Day 1 -- Saturday, March 20

Author: David Goodger
Contact: goodger@python.org

Woke up around 6:20 without an alarm. Pretty good, considering that last night, somebody started a party nearby with loud, booming reggae/dance music. Earplugs to the rescue.

Showered, changed and ate -- hostel-provided toast & jelly and fake orange juice. Brushed my teeth and set off for George Washington University.

The city is very quiet at 7:20am on a Saturday. The walk took me about 35 minutes, over 3 kilometers (2 miles). It's warmer today; I could open my jacket and didn't really need my gloves or hat.

Arrived at the Cafritz Conference Center just before 8am. A few people were already there -- Michael McLay, Ted Leung, Brian Dorsey, and Bill Sconce. I helped set up the tables, extension cords, and network cables. People trickled in over the morning, becoming a good-size group. I met the (former) PythonLabs crew: Barry Warsaw, Fred Drake, Guido van Rossum, Jeremy Hylton, and Tim Peters.

The Docutils sprint began with Oliver Rutherfurd and Matt Gilbert. I did a walk-through of the architecture & the code, beginning with PEP 258's block diagram. Soon more people arrived though, including Aahz, Fred Drake, Bill Sconce, Steve Holden (our most esteemed conference organizer), and Ian Bicking. Oliver began working on his DocBook writer, Matt & Fred on MoinMoin integration, Steve & Bill on a DocPy/LaTeX writer, Aahz on a FrameMaker writer and generic stylesheet ideas, and Ian on the Python Source reader. Andrew Kuchling joined us in the afternoon to write a directive for the ABC music language. We transferred lots of knowledge and made some progress on the code.

Around 1pm lunch discussions began. Aahz forced the issue by standing up and saying something like, "Anybody who wants lunch stand up; let's go." We ate at a Thai place on Pennsylvania Avenue. Very nice. Then back to the sprint.

Although I own a laptop, I didn't bring it to the conference for several reasons. My wife is working on a project and needs it; I didn't want to have to worry about breaking it or having it stolen; and I figured as sprint coach I ought not to be concentrating on my own code, but on the sprinters'. That last reason turned out to be the most significant. My lack of computer meant that I was an accessible consultant to all. I'd recommend this strategy to future sprint coaches.

Sprinters started taking their leave in the afternoon. Ian and I were the last in our sprint room; we left at 6:30pm, asking the 15 or so people in the other room to have building management lock the doors.

Ian and I took a walk through the city, up to Adams-Morgan, where I'm staying. We had dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant at the corner of 18th and Florida -- not bad at all, spicy & cheap. We walked through the Saturday evening crowds, but neither of us being clubbers, did not join in. I left him at the Woodley Park-Zoo metro station, with its long, looooooong escalators. I returned to WISC, taking the scening route, and found a good deal at the local Blockbuster store.

Back at WISC now, writing this up. Think I'll turn in early tonight.