By this time tomorrow I will doubtless be wearing swimming trunks —
in northern Ohio — in winter —
while listening to people rave about Java and C# and Ruby
and wondering what I have gotten myself into.
I will be at CodeMash,
a conference that was started by developers
who wanted an event that focused solely on the programmer
while including a wide range of languages and technologies.
It was lucky that I signed up
the moment that CodeMash 2012 registration opened back in October,
because the 1,200 conference tickets
sold out in only 20 minutes —
no event in the Python community
had prepared me for that kind of demand!
I learned about CodeMash conference from its co-founder
when we were fellow speakers at PyOhio last July.
So why did a Python programmer like me decide to attend?
Even though the technologies that Brian chooses
are different from mine,
he is clearly animated by the same passion
for combining good code with good community.
If his co-founders are at all like him,
then I knew that a great event was in the works.
I want to learn another conference's culture.
For example, I was stunned to see strong suggestions
on the CodeMash mailing list
that attendees should not carry laptops —
instead, they recommend pencil, paper,
and something they call
Since good teachers have a reflex
that makes them try to bring the whole audience along with them
as they make a point,
we could actually be slowing up PyCon speakers
when half the audience is face-down typing
and clearly a half step behind what is being said.
I could predict that moving to
as winter descended
would leave me with very few opportunities
to meet other developers.
After several weeks of being the only programmer I know,
a large regional conference
will let me bask in the company
of other people who understand what I do for a living.
It is too easy to judge other languages
by what I think are drawbacks in their design,
or by the poor code that most programmers produce
whatever their language.
I want see what excites the real experts
who solve interesting problems using Java, Ruby, and C# —
people who use those languages to the hilt, and do a great job of it.
Being evangelized by smart people is interesting and humbling,
if you let down your guard and really listen.
And hearing Ruby and C# people explain the glories of their languages
will remind me of how I must sound
when I hold forth on the advantages of Python,
or Vibram Fivefingers.
Brian wants to make CodeMash more popular for Python programmers —
and a few luminaries like Bruce Eckel, Mike Pirnat, and Mark Ramm
are already on the schedule this year.
Next year I might offer to speak.
But first I wanted to show up and just listen,
figure out the vibe of the conference,
and learn more about what is happening
outside of the Python community.
Finally, it does sound like great fun:
eating, drinking, and being merry
at an indoor water park resort
in the middle of an Ohio winter.
Kalahari, here I come!
(Images are Creative Commons licensed from Flickr photographers