[Edu-sig] Re: Teaching graphics with Python (was Introductoryhigh school programming)

John Zelle john.zelle at wartburg.edu
Sun Aug 1 20:21:00 CEST 2004


This is good stuff. Thanks for the plug! Did Jim talk you into writing a 
book :-)

Thanks also for the OSCON report.


Kirby Urner wrote:

>Hi John --
>I wanted to thank you for this stereoscopic feature in VPython, and
>suggestion that I use it.
>I was sitting in Robin Dunn's tutorial on wxPython this Tuesday at OSCON
>when your suggestion drifted into my consciousness.  I googled (OSCON had
>wifi) and lo and behold, found a 3D stereoscopy club and even a 3D *museum*
>right here in Portland ( http://www.cascade3d.org/ ).  I emailed a guy and
>within 36 hours I had a whole stack of precisely those cheap red/blue
>glasses you described.
>I demoed quite a few things during my 45 minute talk, in addition to running
>through a bunch of slides in OpenOffice.  The 3D thing came towards the end,
>and the audience (full room) went "ooooo" as the rhombic triacontahedron
>floated in front of them on the large screen, and "ahhhhhhh" as I rotated it
>and zoomed in to it.
>I also showed our cellular automata work using your graphics.py, which I
>mentioned, as well as holding up your book and talking about how important
>this was in the education side of things.
>My slides are here:
>http://www.4dsolutions.net/oscon2004/ (might be some minor problems if
>viewed in Windows, not sure (tried to make it work well in both, but kept
>finding little discrepancies going back and forth, and did all last minute
>editing on the Linux side)).
>People came up afterwards, and for the rest of the conference, saying how
>much they liked my talk.  One guy said he was now persuaded to do Python in
>his CS1 next year (most of those present were not educators, but some
>advised on the side -- Dana Moore falls in this category (he showcased
>Python in Eclipse, so far mostly coded by :
>http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2004/view/e_spkr/524 )
>The day before, I had a Middle Eastern lunch with your publisher, Jim Leisy
>(had never met him before) and Kevin Altis (main author of PythonCard and
>co-chair of the Python track at OSCON).
>Other highlights of the conference (from my point of view):
>Jim Hugunin showed the benchmarks for IronPython on the .NET framework --
>it's working out very well (slower on Mono, but that project has more
>optimization to do).  Jim starts work for Microsoft on Monday, so it'll be
>interesting to see under what terms further IronPython versions get out to
>our community
>GvR's State of Python address introduced us to decorators, which offer a
>syntactic replacement for mymethod = staticmethod(mymethod) semantics in a
>class.  He's going with @ (at sign), which he agrees looks unPythonic, but
>on the other hand there are good reasons for not inventing new key words.
>He knows this is controversial and is prepared to rip it out or change it if
>the community goes bananas.  Decorators should be in the next alpha release
>of 2.4.
>He also talked about the new generator comprehensions and some of the
>subtleties involving late binding which could confuse people (more on that
>in a next post).  
>Alex Martelli gave a sophisticated presentation on Design Patterns, and as
>this preceded my talk, I was able to use 'façade' as a part of my patter (I
>build a façade, an adapter which limits the back end interface, into
>POV-Ray, VPython and the like).
>The other highlight re Alex was he and Anna just got married and shared
>slides and music from this event during the Lightning Talks.
>Michel Pelletier's talk overlapped a lot with Alex's.  It was less about
>Zope3 and more about the importance of interfaces and adapters in Zope, PEAK
>and Twisted.  He made a strong argument for bring interfaces into the syntax
>of Python in some way, so that Python would be able to compete effectively
>on these new multi-language VMs (.NET, Mono and Parrot).
>I already mentioned the Python-in-Eclipse work, which is still beta, but
>coming along nicely.
>Andy McKay and Joel Burton did a very effective job presenting about Plone
>this time.  Joel covered all the basics in a half day tutorial, and Andy
>focused on Archetypes, a technology for defining new data types within Plone
>without having to code too much.  Andy, who has a new book out on Plone
>(Apress: http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=335 ), is the chief
>organizer behind VanPy (Python conference in Vancouver, BC) which starts
>like today or tomorrow.  I'm not able to attend.
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