I've been a resident of the Atlanta metropolitan area for almost 14 years now. I've been a Python developer for about five years. Last evening was the first time I've allowed the two to blend when I attended my first PyAtl meeting. I chose to make this my first as Van Lindberg, the Chairman of PyCon 2010, was our distinguished guest.
First off, If you've never attended a Python user's group, I highly recommend that you do. I work in a group of between 6 - 8 developers (depending on your definition of the word "developer"). Unfortunately, I'm the only Python developer among us. I churn out Python & Linux platforms while the remainder of my team is working on .Net on Windows.
You can imagine how much I get to discuss my language of choice.
Being in that position, this was really one of the first times I've been able to actually take part in pure Python discussion. Most of my day job talks revolve around comparing it to certain proprietary components that I don't fully understand (ASP.Net, for example).
I wasn't new to the material, though I do believe Mr. Brandon Rhodes did a great job presenting during his talk on Data Structures in Python. I counted no less than three "Wow, I've never thought of using it for that" moments. Really. I was keeping track as to place a value on the evening. We'll make this a standing appointment. What a great group of guys (err... guys and one girl)!
Van did a wonderful job in highlighting how important the user group community is and how helpful we can be. He's right. I'm really looking forward to helping out this year and watching it all come together this February. It doesn't hurt that the conference halls are a five minute walk from my office!
Finally, this morning we got a chance to check out the conference facilities - and most importantly - sample the food prepared by the hotel chefs. The conference is worth attending for the high quality chow alone.