I just posted the following announcement of my proposal for a Python Miniconf to be held at linux.conf.au 2009 to Australian Python mailing lists. I’m posting it here in case anyone has missed it:
Linux.conf.au 2009 is to be held at the University of Tasmania's Sandy Bay campus in Hobart, Tasmania over the week of January 19-24; and the call for presentations  and mini-confs  is now open. I am currently in the process of producing a proposal for a Python Miniconf to be held at LCA, so I thought I should detail my plans to a greater audience for the purpose of feedback/suggestions. The miniconf would be a single-day conference on the broad topic of Python programming. Broadly speaking, the topics I would like to see presented would range through: - Recent developments on Python core (presented to a more Python-oriented audience than may happen at LCA proper) - Frameworks and libraries (e.g. Django, which I believe is hitting 1.0 this year) - Techniques of Python programming (e.g. using advanced/new/etc features of Python effectively) - Discussions of Python use in the "real world" (e.g. Industry use, education, etc, etc, etc). - Anything else Python-related: please make suggestions!  The intention is that there would be 5 "organised" talks of ~45 minutes length (although if there is sufficient interest/free space, I could split blocks into 2x25 minute talks), with a 50-minute block of lightning talks to conclude the event, with the possibilty of some loosely-organised get-together of pythoners after the day's proceedings have finished. If you are interested in participating in the Python miniconf (which requires you to also be interested in attending Linux.conf.au), please e-mail me . I would particularly like topics of talks that people would be able to give (vague/general is fine at this early stage in preparation), so that I can include them in the miniconf proposal (so the earlier I receive them the better!). Thanks in advance for any help that you may be able to offer me. -- Christopher Neugebauer P.S. if I have missed any user groups/potentially interested parties, could you please forward this message on -- I've already dealt with most relevant mailing lists in Australia, but international lists may also be interested, due to the nature of LCA as an international conference.  http://marchsouth.org/media/news/6  http://marchsouth.org/media/news/15  for the benefit of google groups users: chrisjrn [ a t ] gmail.com
Uni goes back next week, and after a long, and mostly uninteresting holidays, I’ll be quite glad to go back. Not that my holidays were awful (NCSS and LCA made sure that they weren’t), but it’ll definitely be good to go back to some form of long-term regularity, which has been missing for the past few months. This semester I’ll be studying three maths units (Algebra, Calculus and Operations Research, all at 2nd-year level) and the third year Concurrent Programming unit, which should be interesting (and hopefully difficult, challenging, and all of those other adjectives which acadmically-oriented people like to hear).
One thing that I thought might be worthwhile this year is to set some goals that fall outside the usual inevitabilities of an academic year, mostly because all these years that I don’t, I tend to somehow let the uni/school-related ones take hold (and that normally makes the following December a lot more depressing than it needs to be), and in order to hold myself to this, I’m posting them here for the world to see:
- Use LaTeX more. Using LaTeX to write up my Calculus 1B assignments last year seemed to coincide with a marked increase in marks for that subject (in comparison with the previous semester, in which I didn’t) — in fact, the only >90%-achieving subjects I’ve undertaken were the ones where I used LaTeX to write up my asssignments. Coincidence? I think not! Of course, the reasons I’ve just given aren’t probably very sound, and there were probably better reasons for my doing well in those units, but there’s still good reason for me to learn it better. So I will.
- Improve my placing in the Programming Competition. Last year, my team achieved 16th (equal 11th according to the official standings). I want my team this year to achieve 12th or better. I’ll figure out how to do this later on.
- Better promote Free and Open Source Software at Uni. This one is important: UTas is hosting Linux.conf.au next year, and in my opinion, the cause of Free Software is not very well-known within the student body. Therefore, I’m going to try and hold as many events as possible (probably through the Computing society, whatever it may be called this year), including one just before Software Freedom Day in September (Since this is the big FLOSS advocacy day, it would be silly not to do something then). I’ll also try to promote LCA2009 amongst the staff and students.
- Get more involved with TasLUG. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I was shocked to find out that TasLUG still exists, let alone that they were considering a bid for LCA2009. Now that I know that they do indeed exist, I’ll be doing my best to become an active member of the local FLOSS community.
- Organise a Python MiniConf for LCA next year. This one’s really a no-brainer. I like Python, and from what I could gauge at LCA this year, there’s a big Python community within Australia. Therefore, I think it’s worthwhile that we have an organised conference at LCA, so I’ll be trying my hardest to make that happen (if you think you can help here, send a mail to any_name_at_all at this domain).
- Make a concerted effort to get involved with a Free Software project. Unfortunately, this goal seems to show up every year. I’m definitely going to make a concerted effort on this one, and I’ll aim to participate in the Australian Summer of Code next summer (since I know that that’s going to happen). Currently Python looks good, but we’ll see how that progresses through the year.
- Better promote NCSS within Tasmania. Another obvious one — Attending NCSS as a student was a great opportunity for me, and going back as a tutor was wonderful. I want to make sure that more people get that opportunity.
And there you have it. I’ll make periodic posts this year as I work on achieving these.