Tag Archives: Python

You Did an Hour of Code … Now What?

This week, kids and parents and schools around the country are celebrating Computer Science Education Week with an Hour of Code. Even President Obama got involved, writing a little Javascript. But beyond writing code in school for an hour, what’s a parent to do to keep that excitement going?

Writing on a White Computer Keyboard

Here are some ideas:

  • The Khan Academy has some one hour lessons. Try Javascript or HTML/CSS!
  • The Python for Kids book is a great introduction for parents and kids alike. Programming books are often written badly, but I think that this one is well done.
  • Scratch Programming is all the rage at the elementary school level. Our local school is teaching a class which pretty closely follows this book.
  • Carnegie Mellon created the Alice Programming language for kids.

And, if you want to be the coolest mom (or dad) around, show your Minecraft kid how to program mods. First, read up on Minecraft mods on Wired. Next, here are some places to check out:

Hopefully that took you beyond the first few hours of coding and you made it fun!

P.S. There’s nothing saying that parents can’t do this … without the kids.

Netflix schedule at CodeMash

If you’re interested in the cloud and how you might leverage Netflix OSS to migrate your company without starting from scratch, you won’t want to miss the Netflix sessions at CodeMash (January 7-10 in Sandusky, OH). We’ll talk about technology, culture, open source, and how they all fit together to make a great product and an amazing work environment.

Yes, I joined Netflix this year, and I’m thrilled that Sudhir Tonse, Roy Rapoport, Jeremy Edberg, and Joe Sondow will be experiencing their first CodeMash. And it’s gonna be a doozy — starting with snow-delayed travel. And, I’m also ecstatic that veteran CodeMash speaker and entrepreneur Andy Glover has joined Netflix (about a month ago!), and will be speaking as well.

Sudhir and Joe are doing a One/Two punch on precompilers. Sudhir will whet your appetite for NetflixOSS in a morning session on Wednesday. Through a test account, you will be able to quickly experience several NetflixOSS projects in “Architecting for the Cloud: Hands on with NetflixOSS”. If you’re sold on the concept, you can join Joe Sondow for an afternoon session, “Setting up your Environment for the AWS Cloud using Netflix OSS”, which will focus on bootstrapping NetflixOSS. We’ll use Peter Sankauskas’ Netflix CloudPrize winning contribution for usability: bootstrapping NetflixOSS with Ansible Playbooks and Cloud Formation templates. And, Peter will join us as a special guest!

We’ll help kick off the conference by joining a panel on “Open Source in Business” on Wednesday night at 7 pm.

You’ll also meet Jeremy Edberg, who will talk about architecting resiliency through failure in “How Netflix Architects for Survival” and how we created a system that allows us to reduce the bureaucracy around system changes while improving how we resolve problems in “Following the Changing Weather of the Clouds”.

Roy Rapoport leads our Insight Engineering team, a team that collects a lot of data and collates it into information then translates that into insights. He will talk about how Python showed up at Netflix and how our focus on Freedom and Responsibility made that possible. His talk is entitled, “Python in the Back Door: How We Brought Python into Netflix”.

And I’ll be sharing Roy’s theme about how programming languages evolve at Netflix, doing a variation of the talk I did at OSCON, “Sneaking Scala Through the Back Door”. Coincidentally, Roy’s team is almost exclusively Scala!

And — we’ll have a vendor session on Thursday, where we will talk about NetflixOSS in an open discussion format. Ask questions about getting started, why we do it, how the culture works. We’ll be there.

Here’s a PDF of the scheduled Netflix talks.

Looking forward to seeing you. Safe travels to Ohio!


3 Days, 3 Events before the Holiday

Holiday week? Lots to do before fireworks on the weekend.

Tomorrow night is Ignite Ann Arbor.  If you haven't attending Ignite talks before, check them out! If you have, I'm sure that you'll be there. Format is 5 minutes per speaker, 20 slides that autoscroll every 15 seconds. No time to get off track. No opportunity to go over. People stay on track, on message, and then they're off the stage.  Talks can be on anything, as long as it's something that the speaker is passionate about.  I'll be talking about the Under-representation of Women in Computer Science (the number of women getting CS degrees peaked the year I graduated from college in 1986, and has been in a steady decline since).  

Ignite Ann Arbor starts at 7 pm, and will be held at the Neutral Zone, 310 E. Washington (yes, that's just down the street from SRT's office!).  Register at http://www.igniteannarbor.eventbright.com.

Wednesday, July 1 is the monthly Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  I'm not sure about the topic, but it's election month, so it's really important that members attend.  Meeting starts at 6 pm, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.  Pizza will be served.

Thursday, July 2 is the monthly Michigan Python User Group meeting.  The group is still deciding on a topic, but it never disappoints.  Meeting starts at 7 pm at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.

And on Friday, it will be time to rest.

Tech events in Ann Arbor week of March 30

Well, I'm a bit late in getting this out, but the Internet User Experience Conference is ongoing at Washtenaw Community College.  It runs through Thursday, April 2.

On Wednesday April 1, Corey Haines will be speaking at the Ann Arbor Computer Society.  He'll talk about Software Craftsmanship, but I think that you will probably be able to entice him to talk a bit about how he's spent his past few months, on his Pair Programming Tour, as well.  I saw Corey last week at the Philadelphia Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Confernece.  He's an amazing speaker, and it will be a real treat to have him in town.  He's going to be hanging out at SRT on Thursday and Friday, pairing with our staff on various projects, so I'm really looking forward to his trip.

Also on Wednesday, at the UM Ross School of Business, you can hear Jason Mendelson, Managing Director of Foundry Group, a Boulder-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage information technology companies, speak on "Building an Entrepreneurial Community: Lessons from Boulder".  The meeting starts at 7 pm. 

Head directly from your choice of Wednesday evening events to theWeekly CoffeeHouseCoders, 9 PM at Mujo, in the Duderstadt Center (Media Union): http://coffeehousecoders.org

Thursday, April 2 is the monthly Michigan Python User Group meeting, at SRT Solutions, starting at 7 pm.  There will be some discussion of what happened at PyCon last week in Chicago.  And if that's not enough Python for you, the Ann Arbor .NET Developer group meeting next week, Wednesday April 8, features Darrell Hawley on IronPython.  That meeting starts at 6 pm.

This is an "off" week for SRT lightning talks, but there are plenty of other things going on Friday afternoon.  "Ask the VC: Live" with Jason Mendelson, Founder/MGP of Foundry Group. Jason says, "I'm going to plant my butt in a conference room on campus for a couple of hours and talk to anyone that wants to come by and chat, pitch me, talk about venture capital, etc.". Meet him between 3 – 5 PM at Lorch Hall (Economics Building) Room 171, 611 Tappan.

I'm hoping to head over to the Weekly M-Powered Entrepreneurship Hour, 3 PM at Stamps Auditorium: http://mpowered.umich.edu/index.php?n=Main.Courses.  I've been wanting to attend for a while.  I'm a huge fan of the Stanford Entprepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast and I'm thrilled that UM is doing something as well.  I'm really curious to experience it!  If only it were available in podcast form … it's WAY easier for me to listen at my leisure (while working out or while driving) than to break away from the office, but it would be interesting to attend in person as well.

Next week's quite busy as well.  In addition to the Wednesday April 8 Python talk at AADND, on Thursday April 9, Google Ann Arbor is hosting CloudCamp from 3-8 pm.

From the website: CloudCamp is an unconference where early adapters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

CloudCamp is being organized by a2geeks.


Upcoming tech events in Ann Arbor area

The Michigan Python User Group (MichiPUG) meeting is tonight at 7 pm, at SRT.  If you want to learn how to write a web framework using WSGI, this is the place to come.  Kevin Dangoor (creator of TurboGears web framework) and Mark Ramm (maintainer for TurboGears 2) are both Ann Arborites and usually attend.

Tomorrow, Phil Wilmington of PeopleSoft will speak at the MPowered Entrepreneurship Hour on "Entrepreneurship in a Changing Technology Environment". This is held at the Stamps Auditorium, Walgreens Drama Center.

Next week:

At 6 pm on Monday February 9, the Ann Arbor New Tech February meetup will be held at the Google building in Ann Arbor (201 S. Division St, 3rd Floor).  Sign up at http://www.meetup.com/a2newtech/. 5 companies this month take the stage for 10 minutes each, 5 minutes to demo and 5 minutes to answer questions, followed by networking downstairs at Bar Louie. Space is limited, RSVP strictly required.

At the same time, across the street, the Flex/RIA group meets at SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty, Lower Level, in Ann Arbor from 6-7:30 pm.

The Michigan!/usr/group meets on Tuesday from 6:30-9 at the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI. George Castro is going to talk about microblogging.

The Ann Arbor .NET Developers group meets at SRT Solutions (206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor) from 6-8:30 pm.  Patrick Steele will be talking about ASP.NET MVC.

And on Thursday, January 12, the Michigan Flex User Group meets in East Lansing at MSU.

To close out the week, on Friday, January 13, SRT will hold its biweekly lightning talks, from 3:30-5. Join us for 5 minute sessions on tech topics. All are welcome to speak and/or listen!

Also, a group is forming to drive from Ann Arbor down to EdgeCase in Columbus for Merb and Rails 3.0 with Yehuda Katz. Contact Winston Tsang if you want to rideshare (not sure how much room is available).


Upcoming events in the Ann Arbor area

I missed posting about a lot of events in the past few weeks. It's unfortunate, because there were some great events, including Kirsten Schwark's talk on "Why Groovy" at the Detroit JUG this past Wednesday.

But, it's time to look forward. Today, SRT is hosting lightning talks from 3:30-5.  Held at our office at 206 S. Fifth, Suite 200, this event is open to the public and free.  We love it when other geeks come in and talk for 5 minutes about things that they're doing.  It keeps us all up to date!

Next week is a slow week, but there are some things coming up in December that look interesting and useful:

December 3: Eclipse DemoCamp, Compuware, 6 pm.  Free. There will be a presentation about building applications on top of the Eclipse OSGi framework, demos of products / plug-ins built on the framework and after the presentations, people will head over to the Detroit HardRock Cafe. The Detroit HardRock Cafe is located on the first floor of the Compuware building.  There will be plenty of free parking and security at Compuware.

The Ann Arbor Computer Society also meets on December 3 at 6 pm.  Topic is still TBD, but I hear rumors that people may try out parts of their CodeMash talks, to get input from the AACS audience.  That will probably be quite fun and interesting.  And of course, this is also free (pizza supplied by AACS). Meeting will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200.

On Thursday, December 4, the Michigan Python User Group meets at 7 pm. The MichiPUG group negotiates its meeting topics in the week prior to the event on its google group, and they never disappoint.  Join them at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200. Their meeting is free as well.

On Thursday, December 18, ArbCamp resurfaces … as a BarCamp! You can read more about this event in detail at http://tinyurl.com/6eda4s. This article is not only about the ArbCamp event, but it's a great look at building and growing the tech community in Ann Arbor.  I think that this is going to be a fabulous event, and people will not want to leave.  It starts at 6 pm on the 18th (I'm trying to figure out how I can get there … have to figure out how to break it to my very understanding husband).

On Wednesday, December 10, the Ann Arbor .NET Development Group will host Jason Follas, speaking on Spatial Data 2008. The meeting will be at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200 at 6 pm.  Donations taken for pizza.  More details at http://aadnd.org

On Wednesday, December 17,  the Great Lakes Area .NET user group meets at 6 pm at Microsoft's office in Southfield, 1000 Town Center Drive, Suite 1930, Southfield, MI.  I'm not sure what the topic is, but keep an eye on http://migang.org

 And, don't forget to sign up for CodeMash (January 7-9 in Sandusky, OH). The early bird deadline is November 29! We have an amazing group of speakers lined up, including Mads Torgerson, Venkat Subramaniam, Jesse Liberty, Bill Wagner, David Laribee, Chris Adamson, Jim Weirich, Joe O'Brien, Andrew Glover, Ed Vielmetti and many many more. Whether you're looking for a talk on Ruby or Python, Silverlight or Multithreaded programming, User Experience or Continuous Integration, CodeMash has something for you. Wondering about Erlang? We have talks. IPhone development?  I'm VERY excited about this event.  

Boo! at Lansing Area .NET User Group meeting

Nope, this isn't a Halloween gag, but it's timed well. On Thursday, October 16, Jay Wren will be speaking about the Boo programming language at GLUGNet in Lansing. Boo is a statically typed language with a python-inspired syntax and it runs on the .NET platform.  He will be discussing how to create Domain Specific Languages using Boo.

The meeting will be held on Michigan State's campus in East Lansing, at 1235 Anthony Hall.  The meeting starts at 6 pm.

More information and directions are available on the GLUGNet website.

Events and News from Ann Arbor this week

October snuck up on me.  Tonight is the monthly Ann Arbor Computer Society (AACS) meeting.  I had thought that Bill Heitzeg was going to be talking about Mono, but it turns out that I had some outdated information.  John Fohrman is going to be discussing scrum.  The meeting, as always, will start at 6:00, and is open to everyone (free).  AACS will supply pizza and soda. Members ($20/year) qualify for door prizes.

And, if you're still raring to go after the AACS meeting, stop off for "Coffee House Coders", from 9-11 pm at Espresso Royale on State Street for some tech talk and hacking with friends, powered by coffee.  You can even join in remotely:



Tomorrow night, the Michigan Python user group (MichiPUG) will meet at 7:00 pm.  The topic for this month is "What's Cool in Python 2.6".  Since Python 2.6 final is due to be released, this is a timely topic.

Both AACS and MichiPUG will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.

No lightning talks this Friday.  Join us on October 10 at 3:30 for the next round of lightning talks.

I also wanted to report some GOOD news from Michigan, this time from my alma mater.  Michigan Tech and the Smart Zone just received a $3 million business incubator grant.  They will use the money to renovate the former UPPCO building in downtown Houghton.  The SmartZone will lease space in the building, along with other tenants. 

The investment will reportedly help to create 355 jobs and generate another $5.1 million in private investment in the Houghton area. Wow!  So area business leaders have already announced a "Mich-Again" campaign, intended to attract Michigan transplants back to Michigan.  Knowing Tech grads as I do, I'm pretty sure that moving back to the Keweenaw would be an easy sell.  With the renovations being complete in mid-2009, Houghton may find itself swatting back those of us who feel strong ties to the area.


Titus Brown speaking at Michigan Python User Group tonight

Titus Brown is speaking at the Michigan Python User Group in Ann Arbor tonight.  Titus, who recently started his new job teaching at Michigan State, will speak about that job as well as his work with the Python Software Foundation (PSF).  I'm interested to hear how things are going at Michigan State, where they're using Python for introductory CS classes (instead of C++, which they previously used).  I've spoken to professors at other universities who haven't seemed interested in making the switch, and I'm curious to hear how MSU has accomplished it.  Has it been, as in many cases of technology adoption, driven by a strong advocate?  Committee?  Was there pushback from faculty?  Were there problems finding graduate students to help with those classes? Titus has blogged that the performance of students coming out of the new Python-based introductory class has not negatively impacted their performance in the follow-on class.  It will be interesting to follow this migration.

The meeting starts at 7 pm and will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200.  That's at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington, in downtown Ann Arbor. We're right above the Linux Box, entrance is from Fifth Ave.

I don't know if I'll be able to attend the meeting or not (my daughter had her first full day of kindergarten today and I've felt drawn back home from the moment I entrusted her care to the bus driver this morning).  Anyhow, I hope that someone will take good notes!

About Titus Brown:

Titus Brown runs the lab of Genomics, Evolution, and Development (GED) at Michigan State University.  He is also an assistant professor in the departments of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) at MSU.  Titus has spent his career considering how to build better computational analysis pipelines and tools for interacting with scientific data, and he has spent a great deal of time working on large scale genomic analysis frameworks. Titus is also the primary author of twill, a scripting language for Web browsing.