PyCon 2019: A Brief Overview

PyCon 2019: A Brief Overview

James Mertz will give a brief overview of PyCon 2019 held in Cleveland, OH. He’ll cover some of the interesting talks, some cool announcements, show off some swag, and more.

About James

James is a Software Assurance Engineerng at Jet Propulsion Laboratory by day and author at by night. In his spare time he also volunteers as a Scout Master for a local Pasadena Scout Troop.

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ZeroMQ Connect ALL the Things

ZeroMQ: Connect ALL The Things

Writing applications in a multi-core, multi-threaded, multiprocess, networked world means communicating between many threads and processes over shared memory, IPC, and the network. This often involves multiple low-level libraries (e.g. most languages’ built-in threading, unix IPC, Berkeley sockets) with different programming paradigms, and may require a potential a scaling bottleneck in the form of a central server or broker to make it all manageable. ZeroMQ claims to be a better alternative, providing a single, higher-level message-passing toolkit across threads, processes, and networks, and languages, and specifically supports decentralized messaging. That should make it a slower, clunkier compromise for any one task, but it claims to be both better and easier to use for any one of those problems than a dedicated library. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so we’ll examine how it compares to standard threading and networking facilities and see how easily we can just connect all the things like Lego bricks, regardless of type or underlying transport. Of course it wouldn’t be any fun without including some very informal performance smackdowns.

About Dustin Laurence

Intending to become a programmer ("developer" hadn't been invented by the marketing department yet), Dustin got sidetracked and spent more time than he cares to admit doing theoretical physics, a background filled with continuous mathematics almost entirely irrelevant to computer science. He eventually returned to his original love of software. He avoids social media for the same reason he doesn't do crack cocaine.

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Caltech Science for March II

SGVHAK and Santa Susana HS will have a booth at the Caltech Science for March showcasing the rovers we built as part of the JPL Open Source Rover (beta build group. We'll also feature rovers that were inspired by the process, like Dave Flynn's Mr. Blue and Roger Cheng's Sawppy.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP on their Eventbrite page.

More info on the rovers below:

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SCALE Recap and Housekeeping

This is half social meeting, half SGVLUG housekeeping matters.

  • Share your experiences and photosfrom SCALE.
  • Do we have speakers for the rest of the year?
  • Pass the hat to collect money for Meetup fees and other fixed costs.
  • Determine interest in organizing an SGVHAK makerspace
  • Who is interested in planning the SGVLUG's 25th anniversary celebration for Nov 2020

After dinner, Lan is sponsoring 2 or 3 pies for dessert.

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The Trouble with Rovers

Lan and Roger will be giving a preview of our SCaLE 17x talk about the SGVHAK Rover. Any feedback will be extremely helpful. We'll also be talking about SCaLE, volunteering for SCaLE, and plans for our booth at SCaLE.

Dinner begins around 7pm and the presentation will start after most people have received their food or 8pm, whichever comes first. Buying dinner is optional.

The Trouble with Rovers

The JPL Open Source Rover is a relatively inexpensive and accessible project for high school and college classes to exercise mechanical and electronics and software engineering using parts that could be easily sourced from hobbyist stores.

JPL beta-tested their build instructions at a few schools and with the SGVHAK maker group. The ultimate goal was to refine the build instructions and grow a community of experienced builders to help provide support once the rover documentation and code were open sourced.

We will go over the experience of the SGVHAK maker group in building the SGVHAK rover and being inspired to build rovers of our own design. The SGVHAK maker group built the rover over the period of 3 months while giving JPL significant feedback and build photos. We diverged from the original design most significantly in the wheel design, motor selection, and software.

We were able to exhibit the SGVHAK rover at SCALE, the Caltech Science for March, and the DTLA Mini Maker Faire. We were recently interviewed for the Command_Line Heroes podcast. Building rovers is a never-ending process. The SGVHAK rover itself is always under construction. We have plans to add a robot arm, pan-tilt webcam, and maybe even lidar. Our members have already started coming up with their own rover designs and builds. All the code and 3D printer files are on GitHub. Come join us in our rover-building adventures.

About Lan

Lan Dang is an Operations Engineer with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, specializing in science data systems operations and large scale data processing. Her contributions to open source focus on community-building and evangelism. In her spare time, she is active in the San Gabriel Valley tech community as a leader of the SGVLUG and its sister group, the SGVHAK hardware hacking group, mentors new hires at work as well as local high school and college students, and volunteers with various STEAM groups and events. She is the volunteer coordinator for the SCALE A/V team.

About Roger

An active member of the San Gabriel Valley Hardware Hackers group (SGVHAK) and member of Linux User's Group (SGVLUG) Roger is interested in many topics around the intersection of mechanical hardware and intelligent software.

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Mini Talks on Open Source Licenses and Markdown

Bring tech books and leftover conference swag to exchange with other members, or put towards a swag pile for our SCaLE booth, if we have one. Anything that nobody wants could be brought to Repair Cafe this weekend.

We also have a double-feature for this month's presentation, both given by new member Sean Marquez.

How (and Why) to Choose an Open Source License

There is a common misconception that just because your code is public on GitHub that it is open source, but unless there is a license in your codebase, then it is by default copyrighted. This talk will cover an introduction to copyright, open source, the types of open source licenses, how to go about choosing an open source license for your project, and why should you choose to open source your project.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Markdown

Markdown is the most commonly used lightweight markup language on the internet. However, lately it has been adopted by the technical writing community as a solution for writing documentation. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.


Sean Marquez graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in design of dynamic systems, from UC Irvine. During his undergrad, he project managed a CubeSat program where he developed a passion for space exploration. He worked for an OEM aerospace consulting firm for over a year as an associate mechanical design engineer. In 2015, he joined and collaborated with an online team, performing numerical simulations & control systems design, for rLoop – a non-profit global think tank that won the innovation award for the first SpaceX hyperloop pod competition. Sean is currently a worker-owner at Space Cooperative Inc., involved with development and testing of smart contracts to be utilized by the Space Decentral network, collaborating on Coral - an open source robotic space mission to mine lunar regolith for in-situ resource utilization, and leading efforts on the adoption of the Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) methodology.

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