Sunday, November 11, 2007

Omaha Python Users Group, Nov 7, Notes

This month's meeting revolved around parallelism, python in the workplace and podcasts. We talked about Parallel Python and attempts at applying it to the NetFlix Prize contest. Jeff gave an impromptu overview on how python is used in his workplace. There was a demo of icepodder, a dolphin safe podcast client written in python.

There was also talk about the number of linux distros that are using python. Ubuntu, Red Hat's Anaconda installer, and Gentoo's Portage package manager.

MIT is using Python for it's core EE/CS programs.

Chad was talking about gOS which has been getting a lot of press lately.

Rich won the door prize of "Python in a Nutshell" courtesy of O'Reilly. Thanks for your support!

If you missed this month's meeting we look forward to seeing you next month. Check the groups website @ for meeting details and how to join the mailing list.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

new IRC channel for Python North West

There is now a #python-north-west IRC channel on, run with a Python bot called "Phenny" (very easy to install). It seemed to be fairly popular, with people logging in literally minutes after I posted the announcement, some even "new faces" and lurkers who didn't come forward on the list. It's yet another way to spread the message, I guess, and it seems to be very low-maintenance; lots of people in the FOSS world are on freenode already.

On a different note, the Facebook group is not really taking off at all. I wonder if it's really worth it to reach out to "social networking" sites... I created the group on FB mainly as a pointer to the mailing list, but I still expected more people to nominally join.

England North-West 2nd meeting - Michael Sparks on "Greylisting with Kamaelia"

The main talk for the second meeting of the Python North-West group was Michael Sparks on "Greylisting with Kamaelia".

Michael works for the BBC R&D dept., and developed Kamaelia as a Python framework to build applications that can easily implement parallellism and concurrency. He demonstrated how he used Kamaelia components to build an antispam device to "greylist" servers, refusing mail from servers which won't bother re-sending email after a short delay. Kamaelia is completely open-source, contributions are very welcome, and the project is still very active (despite the apparent lack of updates to the main page, which is entirely due to developers being busy!). Slides from the presentation are available on SlideShare and also in the group Files, as ODP.

Michael also demonstrated some Python features like closures and generators, that people often mention; it was extremely useful to see these techniques used in the field, for once, and not just described as some abstract tool. I'll try to do something similar next time I have to give a talk, it's the sort of "practical advocacy" that people really understand intuitively.

Strangely enough, we had similar attendancy numbers as last time, but I was the only one to attend both times. Is this a good thing? The list keeps growing, even though it's gone a bit quiet of recent; I hope it's just the fact that, being november, people are busy at work.