Society of Mind

Perhaps because I recently suggested The Emotion Machine to a friend or perhaps because I’m back in the city where my researcher friends haunt, I picked up The Society of Mind. I’ve read parts of it before, not in a full setting like this.

I’d forgotten how fascinating Marvin Minsky‘s models of the mind were.

I wish I’d read these books earlier, before that special day when Robert, Dylan, Harry, and I went to have tea with Minsky at his home. It would’ve made me more in awe in the presence of a great AI and cognitive science researcher.

Anyhoo, I highly recommend The Society of Mind, as well as The Emotion Machine. Even if you’re not interested in AI, they give you really nice mental models on why you think they way you think.

farewell NYC

Farewell New York, I’m shipping up to Boston.

I’m gonna miss so many aspects about you:

  • Working with the best team / best people
  • Never worrying about subway closing at night
  • Never having trouble finding late night grub
  • Best / most efficient primary care doctor
  • Assorted wonderful meetups

New York, you stay cool, you hear?

I’ll visit you!

Day 2 time! Here are some highlights:

Guido van Rossum

Guido gave an awesome keynote! Folks, switch to Python 3! Women, become a core Python dev!

Gabriella Coleman

Gabriella followed up with a really interesting talk on her anthropological studies of Anonymous and free software organizations.

Disney gift

Disney gave out little 3D printed microbots as gifts to the speakers. So neat!

Jessica McKellar

I saw Jessica! I’m so happy! She and Ned were the first ones to tell me about PyCon about two years ago. They were also the first ones to encourage me to submit a proposal. I’m really glad I met them ’cause I’m a PyCon speaker now!

fountain show

Later in the night, after a fish n’ chips dinner with the Warby folks, Harry, Albert, and I walked through an underground mall, when we were surprised with a light and water show. Here’s the last scene of that show.

Since I got a few questions after my talk, I thought I’ll summarize them here. If I’ve missed a question, feel free to ping me.

Q: How to smooth a model in Blender?
A: Use subdivision surfaces modifier. Note: the more subdivisions you have, the more vertexes/edges/faces it creates, which might lead to slower performance.

Q: How to create SVGs to import into Blender?
A: You can use Inkscape, another open source software, to trace your picture into a vector image.

Q: What are some resources for 3D scanning objects?
A: 123D Catch is a good starter tool by Autodesk. There’s also lots of open source alternatives.

Q: What are some other resources to learn Blender?
A: CGCookie has really nice Blender tutorials.

Q: Can you talk more about what you did for mesh repair?
A: Here’s a blog post I wrote a while ago about mesh repair. I submitted my mesh repair script as a patched for Blender’s 3D Print Utility Add-On. Check it out here.

Q: Can you control the fill of the model, when 3D printed, through Blender?
A: If you’re printing the model yourself, you usually control the fill downstream of creating the model. For example, take a look at the different fills for Slic3r. If you’re sending off your model to be printed by a service, they’re usually filled solid.

Hopefully this is helpful to folks.

My morning was spent in bed recovering from yesterday’s madness.

My work buddies have arrived in Montreal. They brought along a Kareem plushie to model in touristy photos.

Kareem Plushie

In the afternoon, following my personal PyCon tradition, I helped packed swag bags. If you grab a swag bag tomorrow, there’s probably 1/5 chance I helped pack it!


Later in the evening I ran into Ned, who gave me an honorary Boston Python sticker! I feel so honored!

Check out his talk on Saturday: Facts and Myths about Python names and values

Boston Python

Now it’s nearing midnight, and Michelle and I are chillin’ in our hotel room, sprucing up our presentations last minute.

work work

Check out her talk tomorrow: Grids, Streets and Pipelines: Building a linguistic street map with scikit-learn

It’s right before mine: 3D Print Anything with the Blender API

So excited for tomorrow!