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PyDev of the Week: Aymeric Augustin | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Aymeric Augustin | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Aymeric Augustin (@aymericaugustin) as our PyDev of the Week. Aymeric is a core developer of Django, a Python web framework. He is also an entrepreneur and speaker at several Django related conferences. You can catch up with Aymeric over on his website or check out his FOSS contributions on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know him better!

Aymeric Augustin

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

Do you know how to spot a Frenchman? That’s always the first thing they mention! Now that’s out of the way…

These days my hobbies center around being the dad of three wonderful girls 🙂 We’re doing a lot of physical activity together: swimming, cycling, gardening, playing music, etc.

I’m managing a software engineering department of about 200 people at CANAL+, a French audiovisual media group that operates TV services in several countries.

I was trained as a generalist engineer, eventually specializing in Computer Science and Information Technology, but I learnt most of what I do on the job.

Why did you start using Python?

In 2006, a friend told me about this great, simple language called Python. At first, I dismissed it: I said that PHP was simple enough for anything I wanted to do. This ranks quite high on the long list of stupid things I said 🙂

One year later, I was doing an internship at (now defunct) Zonbu, living the startup life in Palo Alto. That’s when I wrote my first Python application. It was a desktop GUI for encoding videos such that they’d play on iPods or on the just-released iPhone. I built it with PyGTK and glade. Under the hood, it ran mencoder and MP4box.

I dug out the source code from my archives for this interview. Not only did it use tabs for indentation and backslashes for line breaks, but it also sported an elegant logging system:

if __debug__:
    print("INFO: Initializing BackgroundEncoder")

Then, in 2009, in my first job, I wrote two non-trivial Python projects. I was working on an in-train entertainment portal. The first one centralized onboard communications between the web portal and the network infrastructure. The second one managed content synchronization depending on available network connectivity. I had discovered the concept of automated tests and I was very proud of my test coverage.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

My first language was Basic, first FutureBASIC in 1995 and later TI-BASIC. Then a friend introduced me to HTML and the World Wide Web in 1997. Together, we made a website for our high school.

My Computer Science courses were mostly in Caml — a great language for the mathematically oriented but little known outside French academia, Java, and C. I also had the opportunity to try other interesting languages such as Erlang, Factor, Haskell, and Scheme.

I still enjoy writing small bits of C, mostly for Python extensions. I haven’t used Java since 1.5 was the latest and greatest. I can’t claim I still know it. I tried C# .NET around the same time. I didn’t like it because the documentation always told me what I knew already and never what I wanted to know.

Outside courses, I wrote a lot of PHP. If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of the challenges of writing significant projects in PHP. However, I wouldn’t be here without PHP, so I’m grateful that it exists. Step by step, I went from static HTML to small dynamic bits, then to factoring out repeated sections, then to writing my own mini-framework, then to Python and Django. That was a good learning path.

Professionally, besides Python, I’ve been writing JavaScript and CSS. I taught myself modern full-stack development when I co-founded Otherwise — because being the CTO at a start-up means you’re the only developer at first. Earlier in my career, I also wrote some Ruby, but I was more comfortable with Django than with Rails.

Purely from a language perspective, I still like Caml a lot. I’m certainly romanticizing memories of when I learnt programming 🙂 Anyway, sometimes I feel like I’m a static typing fan lost in Python land!…

Thanks for doing the interview, Aymeric

 

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Guidelines by the European Banking Authority: Supporting modern technology policy for the financial services industry| Microsoft on the Issues

Guidelines by the European Banking Authority: Supporting modern technology policy for the financial services industry| Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft applauds the European Banking Authority’s revised Guidelines on outsourcing arrangements which, in part, addresses the use of cloud computing.

“The EBA framework is a great step forward to help modernize regulation and take advantage of cloud computing,” writes Microsoft Assistant General Counsel Dave Dadoun in a post on Transform.

“Because this is such an important milestone for the financial sector, we wanted to share our point-of-view on a few key aspects of the guidelines, which may help firms accelerate technology transformation with the Microsoft cloud going forward,” he says.

To learn more, read Dadoun’s post on Transform.

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A shift in perspective: Taking a new view on water security through technology| Microsoft on the Issues

A shift in perspective: Taking a new view on water security through technology| Microsoft on the Issues
Aerial photo of Iceland
An aerial view of part of Iceland. Photo by Anders Jildén.

By Andrea Erickson-Quiroz, Managing Director, Water Security at The Nature Conservancy

As astronomists look out further into the vast expanse of space, it’s increasingly clear how unique our blue planet is. Our oceans and rivers separate Earth from every other planet we’ve discovered so far. But in our daily lives, we don’t always appreciate how precious this natural resource really is.

In fact, water insecurity is a growing threat around the world, and it will get worse if we don’t arrive at some immediate innovative solutions. And while technological innovation shapes nearly every other aspect of our lives, we’ve been slow to apply tech solutions toward one of the greatest challenges of our time.

As our changing climate puts more stress on the availability and quality of water worldwide, we urgently need a shift in perspective with a new focus on innovative solutions to water security.

 

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Small- and medium-sized nonprofits now have the tools to bridge their own digital divides| Microsoft on the Issues

Small- and medium-sized nonprofits now have the tools to bridge their own digital divides| Microsoft on the Issues
Man sits at computer with girl
CONIN uses the Microsoft cloud to help eradicate child malnutrition in Salta, Argentina. Photo courtesy of CONIN.

Two years ago, we brought together a team of engineers, philanthropists, sales and business development professionals all with the singular focus to help every nonprofit to transform with technology. Our aim has been to create solutions that are purpose-built for nonprofits to help them both be more efficient operationally and effective programmatically.

The majority of nonprofits around the world each have less than 10 employees. These are often local community organizations on the frontlines of saving lives, providing critical education support in underserved communities, protecting the environment and wildlife, delivering meals to those who need it most, and so many other critical missions. Small nonprofits are at the greatest risk of being left behind in the digital world. Their size, funding and infrastructure do not always accommodate purchasing the latest technology, training their employees on how to use it, employing designated IT staff, or investing in resources to keep their organization secure. In fact, a study from Microsoft found that 60 percent of nonprofits report having no organizational digital policy to manage cybersecurity risk, and 74 percent do not take critical security steps to ensure email accounts are not compromised.

As a result, many small nonprofits are missing out on modern collaboration tools and operational efficiencies in the cloud that can create greater value. Due to limited capacity, outdated solutions are often deployed that offer limited security, leaving small nonprofits — and their beneficiary and donor data — vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks from hackers who see them as an easy mark. The consequences of this are real: If nonprofits don’t have cybersecurity practices in place, their data is at risk, especially for nonprofits based in high-risk areas where factors such as war and geo-politics are at play.

At Microsoft, we are committed to learning how to better serve this sector each day and evolving our social business model to help move nonprofit missions forward and drive social good. And driving that deeper impact can be furthered with our best-in-class productivity tools in a secured cloud environment for every nonprofit…

 

Visit at https://microsoft.com/nonprofits to learn more or connect with a partner at https://microsoft.com/nonprofits/partners.

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PyDev of the Week: Katherine Kampf | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Katherine Kampf | The Mouse vs The Python

BITD, this would have been unthinkable, but in 2019 and mostly under Satya Nadella’s leadership, the embrace of Python by Microsoft is encouraging. Python is what Visual Basic should have been. That’s just me, a wannabee not a particularly skilled programmer.

This week we welcome Katherine Kampf (@kvkampf) as our PyDev of the Week! Katherine is a Program Manager at Microsoft, specifically for Azure Notebooks, which is Microsoft’s version of Jupyter Notebook. She also recently gave a talk at EuroPython 2019. Let’s take a few moments getting to know Katherine better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

Sure! I am currently a Program Manager for Azure Notebooks at Microsoft. I joined the company in 2017 and started working on the Big Data team. After some time there, I decided to move closer towards notebooks and Python which led me to the Python Tools team which has been a blast.

Before starting at Microsoft, I graduated from the University in Michigan where I studied Computer Science. I also grew up Ohio so the Midwest was home for quite a while and will always have my heart. While at UofM, I was also lucky enough to TA our introductory computer science course which covered both C++ and Python. I loved helping folks learn new concepts, and I’m so glad I get to continue this in some form by speaking at conferences!

Nowadays, I’m based in Seattle and love living the stereotypical Pacific Northwest life. I tend to spend my weekend’s skiing in the winter and hiking in summer. In between those, I love to travel around and am working on visiting all the U.S. National Parks! I’m also a dog-enthusiast and am always working on being friends’ go-to dog sitter 😊

Why did you start using Python?

I had played around with Python when I was first learning to program around 7 years ago, but I started using it on the regular around 4 years ago for an AI course at university

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

C++ is my other primary language, and it used to be my favorite, but Python has definitely stolen my heart over the past few years.

Thanks for doing the interview, Katherine!

 

 

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In what is assumed to be one of the greatest countries on earth, this shouldn’t be necessary…

However it is and in a city like Chicago, to have this wide of a gap between Trauma Centers is unacceptable. 💯

This is not to discount the importance of rural situations in the same vein. Where I live, I’m fortunate to be in a major city with a Level 1 trauma center nearby in a relatively compact space. The new Chicago mayor, Lori Lightfoot, needs to make this a priority.