The 4th London Python Dojo / Meetup

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Yesterday I finally managed to attend the London Python Dojo after having missed the previous three for various reasons - fourth time lucky I guess.

It was organised once again by Nicholas Tollervey and hosted by Fry IT who also provided an ample supply of beverages and pizza.

Deviating from the previous dojo format this event was a series of four excellent presentations:

  • Dave Kirby giving an introduction to iPython. iPython is an enhanced interactive shell (i.e. a superset of what you get by just typing "python" on the command line). I have never used it but the easy access to the documentation and the tab completion seems like a useful thing to have your Python arsenal especially when exploring some unknown interface.
  • Charles Pina Estany was telling us about his adventures in remote controlling/automating Open Office processing via Python (and the pyuno package). This was also quite interesting but the amount of work it takes to even only get access to a document and his reports of strange failures (having to set up a watchdog process might be a good idea anyway but it seemed not like a nice-to-have but an essential for even rudimentary stability).
  • Ben Moran talked about solving Sodoku with cvxopt a Python package to hook you up with the usual high performance matrix and optimisation routines. In a remarkably short time he managed quite well to give us all an idea of what was happening, how the problem was set up and converted into a linear problem although I guess not many of us would claim to really have understood the maths. If you are interested, go read his blog post about this problem. His source code is also up on github.
  • Finally Rene Dudfield gave us a whirlwind demo of what pygames can do. It was a quite amazing (and hardare-intensive!) demo although I think some of us would have liked to see more actual code. Still in the short time this was an inspiring presentation.

After the talks there was a discussion led by Nicholas about the future of the dojo. Instead of badly summing up things, I suggest you go look at the wiki page set up; the information there will be more up-to-date anyway,

The give-away book (donated by O'Reilly; this time it was Programming Collective Intelligence) was won by Dave. I'd be jealous if I didn't have the book already.

As is apparently customary, the rest of the evening was spent in the nearby pub.

This was a fun evening and I want to thank the speakers for the interesting talks, Fry IT for hosting and food and Nicholas for organising the whole thing.

Hope to see you all next time!