[Edu-sig] More remarks on User Friendliness

Kirby Urner pdx4d@teleport.com
Sun, 06 Feb 2000 11:10:25 -0800

>[1] Also under the category of "user friendly" I include/
>weigh the fact that Python is cross-platform and free.

A last remark about user-friendliness and then I really
need to get back to my Xbase (Fox head logo).  Deadlines 

Another "selling feature" of Python when it comes to winning
hearts and minds (in K-12 especially) is the name -- and 
the link to Monty Python.

The fact that Python conventions have names like 'SPAM8' 
and that allusions to Monty Python are explicitly encouraged 
in the documentation is a breath of fresh air into what 
is otherwise an overly stiff (read "rigor mortis") and 
stultifying (read "dry as bones") "academic" environment.  

The snake connection is good too -- no reason not to pursue 
both (I know there's a tendency for the Monty camp to boo 
hissss the snake camp, but I think we should join forces).  

The fact that the O'Reilly book cover has that very cool 
Python, and that in Windows95/98/NT you get a cute snake 
icon, is very very positive.

DrScheme may not be at any real disadvantage here of course.
As someone pointed out on comp.lang.python, this "DrScheme"
meme has a sort of comic/dramatic sheen all its own.  Every
time I read "DrScheme", I think of some "Dr Evil" (ala 
Austin Powers) rubbing his hands and going "Muuuuhahahahha".

Kids will get into it.

Seriously -- it pays to keep an audience in mind.  A lot 
of you are dealing with university-age students and aren't
thinking at my level.  But I encourage you to reach out
in your minds to rows and columns of kids, sitting in
classrooms, slaving away all day using text books that
are borrrrring beyond belief.  

Then go to a book store like Border's (Powell's Technical 
in Portland even more overwhelming) and see the **explosion** 
of titles about Java, SQL Server, CORBA, Cold Fusion, 
DHTML...  An average high schooler might well think 
"gosh darn it, when am I ever going to start getting 
into THAT world??"  Never, in an ordinary public school, 
given current trends (but we're *bucking* current trends, 
and have a winning hand).

Monty Python to the rescue (with DrScheme not far behind -
- muuuuuhahahahahahha).