[Edu-sig] Bootable Python CDs?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 16:01:51 CEST 2006

Saving work is a problem, yes, especially if the computers get wiped
weekly, a situation I've not encountered yet.

I'm used to at least one directory being writable, in the class I'm
currently teaching that'd be c:\\documents and
settings\\...\\saturday-acad or something on Windows 2000, and we
append that to sys.path, the first time while learning about

I would not be in favor of using Knoppix to get around this particular

For saving work, a stiffy is probably sufficient (1.44 MB).  They're
not writing huge programs.  Another option:  we all have access to the
Internet, so they could log in to web based email (assuming they all
have accounts) and email attach it to themselves.  Or I could open a
shared class directory and let them upload to it -- we could use
Python itself as the FTP client.  But I prefer email as a first

But in my particular circumstances, the directories will not be wiped
weekly, so anything saved today will be there tomorrow, and I'm not
assigning homework.  So emailing stuff home is optional.  Memory stick
would be just as acceptable.  I'll leave it to each student to decide.

This Saturday I'll be screening Warriors of the Net about TCP/IP and
we'll look at excerpts from 'Revolution OS' (maybe -- that might have
to wait).

Mostly, this is a math class though, so we'll start in with Euclid's
Algorithm (a classic in Python, one of Guido's), and use that to
develop Euler's totient concept, then practice checking (not proving)
Euler's theorem:  a base to N's totient, modulo N = 1, assuming

I'm gradually going to channel them into separate projects.  I think
at least one student, who already knows Python pretty well, could
implement a Rational Number class, which he could then explain to the
group and make available to others.

With a rational number class available, we're in a position to play
with Continued Fractions using recursion (there's also a non-recursive
approach).  I like to converge to Phi from both the continued
fractions angle and from the Fibonaccis angle, where Phi has a strong
geometric meaning in the world of five-fold symmetric polyhedra (is
the diagonal of a regular pentagon of edges 1).

Simple sequences is the way to go for others.  Encyclopedia of Integer
Sequences will be consulted.  1, 12, 42, 92, 162...  Very short
programs, for those new to programming.

Also, in this next class (day after tomorrow), I'll be showing up with
my big box of polyhedra and doing the quick backgrounder in Fuller
geometry I always do.  I present it as a "hole" in their current
curriculum that Silicon Forest executives want to see filled.  More
about that in my London Knowledge Lab, OSCON, PyCon and EuroPython
presentations, all on line.


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