Vicky Twomey-Lee

Pythonista and a tech event organiser encouraging diversity in the community.

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PyLadies Dublin @ ICS

A wonderful evening walk up Baggot Street towards Ballsbridge for a PyLadies Dublin meetup at the Irish Computer Society who kindly hosted the event on Tuesday. They also fed and watered us.

We had a couple of new faces, people settled down learning Python via Code Academy or Learn Python the Hard Way (the latter I should have asked to add a /book at the end of Word of warning to those visiting LPTHW, don’t be put off the main page, the free HTML online book is fine.

Other projects worked on were working through NTLK, learning about Django. I pretty much was working on updating the site. There was plans to work on the Lilypad, but I left the mini-USB cable at home. /doh

Here’s the July notes on Hackpad.

ICS has kindly posted about our event.

Our next FREE meetup will be coinciding with Craft Night at TOG hackerspace. Details...

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That went well…

Just did my first big update (even though it’s just a small thing like adding a boolean field to the model) that caused a wee bit of disruption for a couple of minutes.

So backing up a bit, I look after the Coding Grace website (which is public and if you want to help, ping me).

It’s a Django (version 1.7) and is hosted on Heroku.

It’s all fine until I realised I needed to add something small like a boolean field in the model for a news post so I can filter out published news posts to be rendered whenever news is loaded.

So after looking at the wrong help page on Heroku, because I was looking into CLI but should have just looked up the beginners tutorial and all I had to do was

  • be in the project folder (I was in another tab and wasn’t in the project folder, n00bie mistake)
  • heroku login
  • run heroku run /bin/bash

And I’m in, around this period is when the website should be down…


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Not enough Adult Coding Workshops in Ireland

During lunch at a recent Coding Grace Introduction to HTML5/CSS3 workshop, people were telling me how hard it is to find short adult coding workshops.

They found Coding Grace after googling for “Adult coding workshops in Dublin”. Which is quite interesting.

But how do I spread the word of Coding Grace to people outside of my tech circles aside from word of mouth. I’ve tried paying to boost my posts on Coding Grace’s Facebook page, but the signups via that is not that great either.

I recently tried Dublin Event Guide in their competition section, nothing yet. Maybe RoboCode and Java is just not people’s cup-o-tea.

If you have an idea, drop me an email at

In the meantime, the search goes on.

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Humbled with a bit of defending against mercenaries all in the same day

I was freaking about giving a lightning talk at the Coolest Projects event at DCU last Saturday, in the end everything was delayed. I ended up being the last speaker and people were being correlled to the closing ceremony, so I didn’t have the audience I expected. Nonetheless I carried on.

Here are my slides (if you are curious):

Above all, I was deeply humbled by the hundreds of kids showcasing their projects (software and hardware) to everyone including the judges who have an unenviable task of choosing the winners of certain categories. It was an inspiring day, the excitement, the buzz. This is the future, so diverse.

So well done to the Coolest Projects organisers for an awesome day, and thanks for the invitation to have a chance to talk about my journey to where I am with all my initiatives.

Now you are wondering where the...

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A PyLadies Dublin meetup with a twist

Great turnout on Tuesday (20th May), our biggest yet. Arrived at The Twisted Pepper with my Kimchi Fried Rice in one hand and walked into a big hug from Serena in The Loft which turned into a swimming pool because of a leak from the skylight. It was all cool as Shane (Twisted Pepper) moved us downstairs in the Basement, which was awesome and quiet (with short intervals of music practice).

With everyone set up to work on various projects or on their own, Annie from The Makers dropped in with Stone Barrel Brewing Company (Niall and Kevin). Niall and Kevin explained how they started, how beer was made (passing a few cups of hops and oats to tickle our noses with), and the tasting of their IPA called BOOM. It was fruity and sweet, and very drinkable, and there was a consensus from around the room that it was really nice, even non-beer drinkers were converted. It was a great laugh and banter...

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May conjures so many images… all good, silly and fun

From obligatory playing of JoCo’s First of May (here’s a SFW version and it rings in the summer (not spring) sun for me each year. :-D

Then it’s the cheesy May the Fourth be with you, that’s Star Wars Day. Not really a big thing for me, but the interwebs is saturated from Think Geek to geek tweets to… who am I kidding, most things tech and geek. Ok, I got sucked into by writing my Coding Grace May letter in reference to it as well.

This month is a quiet month for my Coding Grace workshops, but I do have two GameCraft game jams coming up, one this Saturday in Galway and another one next weekend (which will be a 24-hour epic bonanza-filled 3 parallel game jams and more event).

This month seems to be very much game-related. I ran a Beginners Python workshop where folks ended up with a text-based game at and that worked out better than I expected. And it’s my 3rd iteration of...

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PyLadies Dublin @ Demonware

Just less than half turned up to yesterday’s (April) meetup, which is ok, it’s a free-flowing group, plus it was very sunny out. I see everyone was trying to get out town during rush hour, I was stuck coming up to junction of Parnell street as everyone is trying to get down Capel Street. Slightly bit late but none for the worse, I was greeted heartily by Serena and folks from Demonware. We were brought to the cafeteria where Cheryl was there already.

A big shout out and thanks to Demonware for hosting and sponsoring the food (and there was lots and lots of food).

People were working on their own projects, Cheryl on motion detector that will be wearable, another person is working on checking out Python libraries for making games other than PyGame (Panda3D, Pyglet, Cocos2D were some that I mentioned).

Serena was looking into getting details returned in JSON format via Meetup API with...

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My /rolleyes moment

So, I organised “female-friendly” workshops. I’ve gotten feedback from a few individuals in the past on why I don’t organise workshops for men, and some apologised for asking it that way, but I know what they meant. There aren’t many adult tech workshops around town at the moment, but I’m working on that. I’ve written in my first post on why I organise events like these, but this subject keeps cropping up.

I recently received an email from a lady who didn’t like the label “female-friendly”, and I don’t disagree with her. I, myself, don’t like labels, but at the current stage, there’s no other terminology to describe an event that is open and encouraging to a more diverse audience to participate, especially women. If people talk/ask me about participation, I’m normally quite lax about it. It’s about trying to get a balance and creating an environment that’s not scary and full of “smart...

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What a month!

My paper calendar is so useful! Pen, paper and a good eraser, that’s all I need. Oh and determination on what events to run helps to fill it up. This month I spent some time attending events as well running Coding Grace workshops (amongst others).

Here’s the list of events:

  • Friday, March 7th, guest invite to Accenture’s International Women’s Day @ RDS
  • Saturday, March 8th, [Coding Grace] Intermediate HTML5/CSS3 workshop IWD @ GameSpace Incubator
  • Wednesday, March 12th, Python Ireland meetup @ Science Gallery
  • Thursday, March 13th, Codess @ Microsoft Ireland
  • Saturday, March 15th, [Coding Grace] Introduction to Processing with Stephen Howell @ Jury’s Inn
  • Tuesday, March 18th, PyLadies Dublin @ DIT
  • Tuesday, March 25th, [Coding Grace] Introduction to Python / Introduction to HTML5 for GDG’s Google Women TechMakers @ Google Dublin
  • Wednesday, March 26th, Lovin’ Dublin & EventBrite @ Odessa’s
  • ...

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PyLadies Dublin went well

Tuesday 18th March (18:00-21:00) @ DIT, Kevin Street.

Different venue this time, and it’s a big shout out to Bryan and folks at the DIT’s School of Computing for accommodating us in a cool lab to host our March PyLadies Dublin meetup.

I have to admit, DIT is huge, even with asking how to get there and that I got the right building, I still got lost. I eventually found where to go and Serena saved me wandering further around. :-)

The room was big with enough seats, power sources and wi-fi! That was a big life-saver that night. So again, a big thanks to [DIT]( for helping us out.

The evening was full of tense emotions, full of apprehension to whooping joys of glee with plenty of high fives. All because we manage to get Linux laptops of various old versions of Ubuntu up-to-date with Python 3.3.0+, virtualenv, and git.


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