PyCon 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia, like pretty much all things Python, is awesome. If you've gone before, you already knew this, and hopefully you're joining us again this year. If you haven't gone before, you're about to find out why you should go. Tutorials Starting Wednesday March 9th, the PyCon festivities kick off with two days of two-a-day tutorial sessions, providing you with almost 12 hours of classroom-like interactive education from some of the leading trainers in the biz. Is Django deployment not one of your strong points? Django BDFL Jacob Kaplan-Moss is running a tutorial on it. Interested in stepping your game up with some advanced Python techniques? Raymond Hettinger knows a little bit about that. He's also one of those guys you should just follow around -- you will learn something. Zed Shaw's "Learn Python The Hard Way" will be making an appearance in Atlanta. I've also heard Zed will be available throughout the conference to help you along the way. Python 3 will get some stage time as well through two tutorials Dave Beazley is running. He's doing a repeat of last year's Python 3 I/O tutorial, and Brian Jones will join him for a session about cooking up some Python 3. Tasty. The Conference This is the main thing, the heart, the reason people travel from around the world. Friday March 11th kicks off the three-day conference. Coming off of a record year of talk submissions, there's a great group of talks lined up, and I think there's something for everyone. There's multi-speaker panels like the Python VM talk to give you a "state of the VM" talk about what they are up to, where they are going, etc. There's a talk about optimal aircraft engine tuning. I'm serious, they use Python for that. Is your boss not letting you build out your ideas in Python? Hear from experienced Python users their stories of getting the language into their workplace - from non-profits to schools to big-time megacorps - they've done it. Want to watch a guy do downright diabolical things with a computer from 1979 that's I/O system is an RCA audio jack? Yeah, that'll happen. Python 3 + zeromq + 1979 = "whoa, dude". Also, yay cloud. Speaking of zeromq, Zed Shaw is talking about it. Ya like MongoDB? Got it covered. CouchDB as well. If you don't test, you should. Period. Tox isn't a bad way to do it either. Unit tests are good too. Do you do any of that mobile web stuff kids are into these days? Test it. You ever see those massive telescopes that can see water on Mars or whatever those geeks are up to at NASA? Maciej from the PyPy team does that kinda stuff and he runs it through PyPy. Dave Beazley will not talk about the GIL this time. Almost better than the conference itself -- the hallway track. So, you know we have all of these scheduled talks, and they are great. They really are. However, sometimes you just can't beat standing in the hallway chatting with your fellow Python users. How often do you get to talk to Alex Martelli? Probably not often. How many times a year do you chat with Michael Foord? Not enough. That dude has an awesome beard and he's kinda smart. Get involved in the conversations you see going on -- you'll probably hear about some cool stuff, find out where people are going to dinner, and you'll meet some new contacts. Use your network. Find jobs. Find business partners. Find friends. It's all there. The Sprints After the conference is over, Monday March 14th is when some of the best stuff happens. We didn't all fly to Atlanta with our shiny laptops just to talk about code -- we're also doing some work. Through Thursday, any projects are welcome to hang out and sprint on whatever topic they want. I'll be working on the core sprint like last year. PyPy will probably be there doing some crazy things to make themselves even faster. Most of the web frameworks get together as well. http://us.pycon.org/2011/sprints has some information, and as groups announce their presence at the sprints, I'll update this. Feel free to join an existing group or start your own -- the more the merrier. If you are holding a sprint at PyCon, let the PSF Sprints group know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're still working out how we're going to run this, but drop us a line and we'll keep you in mind. Overall PyCon really is a great time and I've been excited about it for a while now. The tutorials are awesome. The conference is awesome. The sprints are awesome. The people are awesome. The dinners are awesome. It's just a fun time, and if it sounds like a good time to you, now is a good time to buy tickets. Looking to cut costs: check the room sharing wiki. Wondering about transportation? Check out the venue page. If you fly into Hartsfield-Jackson airport, it's like a 30 minute train ride. See you there. ps. I disabled comments because this is an awful WordPress blog. I don't know anything about the internet.