[triangle-zpug] News for TriZPUG

Chris Calloway cbc at unc.edu
Thu Apr 28 20:14:54 CEST 2005

Executive Summary: At the next meeting (calling Ben Best) there will be 
a motion on the floor to initiate preparation for Python Boot Camp. 
Please make a special effort to be at the next (tentative ) meeting.

Devilish Details: The meeting last night was attended by Thomas Wilson, 
David Handy, Geoff Davis, and myself. Thanks for hosting at Delta, Thomas.

Jim Allman was absent due to illness. Get well Jim!

That left two lightning talks. Since my talk was a Python newb talk 
while all present were experienced Python developers, and Geoff's talk 
was about CMFMember while I, as the only other current Plone developer 
there, have already been using CMFMember on sites thanks to Geoff's 
CMFMember presentation at Plone2 Conference, Geoff moved to adjourn the 
meeting. Thomas then moved to adjourn the meeting to a nearby tavern.

These after-meeting-meetings always seem to produce the most interesting 
developments. After discussing numerous topics of interest to 
programmers such as the end of the world, organizational therapy, renn 
fairs vs Burning Man, local bands, roller girls, and the funny pages, 
the beer took effect and there was one of those genetic sparks that can 
sometimes occur, leading to the evolution of a not so new species of idea:

At the next meeting (paging Ben Best) there will be a motion on the 
floor to initiate preparation for Python Boot Camp.

As some of you know, there will soon be a ZPUG-DC Plone Boot Camp 
modelled on our own and led by our PBC instructor Joel Burton.

If you are thinking of going, they are already sold out after only two 
weeks of registration:


ZPUG-DC consulted with me as to how to conduct a Plone Boot Camp a 
couple of months ago. I gave them not only what we did, but what I would 
do differently next time. The main thing (of many) I'd do differently, 
if I had it to do over, would be to involve more people more deeply in 
the preparation, execution, and follow-up. ZPUG-DC seems to have done 
just that:


They created teams for every aspect of boot camp. There is a person 
resonsible for each team. Some teams are just one person. They set up 
the Wiki above to coordinate the teams. There are at least teams for:

Find a meeting space
Find a trainer
Choose a Date
Organize Lunch
Find Sponsors
Set a Cost
Create source materials
Organize a sprint
Set up a website
Promote the event

To be honest, there are many more activities than those involved in 
putting on a Boot Camp, and I'm sure they are finding that out. :)

The ZPUG-DC meetings aren't always so well attended, like some of ours 
can be. But by giving everyone a job, they have more participation now. 
By having the team approach, giving jobs to interested parties, they 
look like they are going to have an even better Boot Camp than ours.

We kinda sorta did some delegation of responsibility for Plone Boot 
Camp. Like, we know Jim Allman is a superb logo designer and Tom Bryan 
is a crucial idea man. There were lots of volunteers. Scott Morningstar 
kept us in coffee. Mark Biggers kept us in shell accounts. Pollie Barden 
put together packets. Sean Semone gave an AT demo. And so on. But I take 
responsibility for the fact that it could have been spread around more. 
I didn't know what I was doing so well and there were a couple of sticky 
wickets along the way.

But, it has come to our attention, that we had talked loosely about a 
Python Boot Camp in the past, after the conclusion of Plone Boot Camp. 
And, after some rest, it appears from queries like Rob Lineberger's and 
activites like the informal UNC Python study group, that there is 
interest in an immersive structured Python learning activity like a 
Python Boot Camp, or maybe of some other type I'm overlooking.

There was also a consensus last night that there needs to be more points 
of reasonable entry for the Python newb into the TriZPUG community 
beyond the occassional meeting presentation. We expressed beliefs that 
our community can continue to grow and produce desirable outcomes if we 
provide more opportunities where at least a partial retention of event 
participants into our community will broaden our reach while also 
lessening the individual efforts required to grow our educational offerings.

In our discussion last night, two points emerged.

One, Jim Allman, Geoff Davis and I talked at the previous month's 
after-meeting-meeting about whether it would be possible to do another 
Plone Boot Camp in the future where TriZPUGers took responsibility for 
instruction rather than hiring an outside instructor (even though Joel 
was very good, the best even). It would allow us to continue to keep the 
cost low while putting more of the expenses to things like catered 
lunchs (saving time each day) and more printed material, like a printed 
book for each participant.

It would be attainable if there were five TriZPUGers of more experience 
who each took responsibility for one day of camp each and the materials 
for that day. We thought last night that might be an even more 
attainable goal if the topic of Boot Camp is Python. We have a community 
where people have written whole books on Python, have delivered 
presentations at PyCon, who write Python every day, and who are 
obsessive about Python. We believed last night that we have the talent 
to pull this off, possibly with a (strawman) syllabus structure like:

Day One: Installation and Language Elements
Day Two: Built-in Functions
Days Three: Common Modules
Day Four: Development (IDE) and Test Environment
Day Five: Advanced topics (UI toolkits, etc.)
Weekend Sprint or Programming Project

Such a syllabus could be shaped by a well respected text, such as Mark 
Pilgrim's Dive Into Python. Or not. Teams could worry about this in a 
distributed fashion. If you are worrying about creating materials for 
Day One, maybe you shouldn't also have to also be the one worrying about 
catering unless you really want to do both.

Two, it seemed to us that the team approach might be more viable if 
there were, say, a couple of cat-herders who made sure the teams 
accomplished their tasks. Troubleshooters, so to speak. And what 
especially made sense was an idea that both teams and project managers 
are roles taken on by *stakeholders* in this endeavor. That is, maybe 
Rob Lineberger should step forward as a potential Python Boot Camp 
Overlord. :)

Anyway, it would be really really swell if, whenever and wherever the 
next TriZPUG meeting is, you should make a special effort to be there. 
Geoff, Jim, and I all have lightning talks to present on diverse 
subjects of interest to a broad audience, or maybe another program will 
take place. We have programs in reserve now. But it is time to get 
involved to make Python Boot Camp happen as a community.

Now, having said all that stuff about teams, I will add, that I will 
check into, for your convenience should you desire to take advantage, 
when the last week of summer before classes start (August 25) at UNC to 
determine the availability of Phillips Hall Room 328 for a week of 
Python Boot Camp, and find out if this time interferes with anything 
such as the rumored Plone North America Conference in New Orleans this 
summer or the Worldwide Plone Conference rumored to be in Vienna this 
fall. It looks like second summer session ends on July 29. So weeks of 
Monday August 1, 8, and 15th are possibilities, if motion carries and a 
find-a-space team likes Phillips 328 again.



Chris Calloway
office: 17-6 Venable Hall   phone: (919) 962-4323
mail: Campus Box #3300, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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