[Edu-sig] Admiring 'Hello World!' (Manning)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 20:17:15 CEST 2009

Errata & Addenda (standard template):

On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:56 AM, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm enjoying the state of the art with this one, am tempted to get the
> PDF (there's a mail in coupon).  This father son team, Warren and
> Carter Sande, explore Python 2.5 in dialog, taking plenty of time to
> clear up confusions, not skipping over the odd bits, like integer
> division, and the fact that we're naming, like taking, not stuffing
> stockings (talking about variables) though we're quite open to
> Stocking objects (however named).

"... like tagging..." I meant to say.

I favor strings attached to helium balloons, with many-to-one strings
to balloons sometimes (to get across the difference between two
names for the same thing, versus actually cloning or copying, done
at different depths -- separate module).

> The author "plays dumb" a little, wearing these "I know nothing about
> the future" glasses in the opening readings, suggesting we get the
> Python directly from Manning as if the future had never happened.
> This is excellent design, as the Manning version comes with some other
> goodies, is customized, is ready to run.  The preface explains it:  we
> used to put a CD in the back, but these days publishers favor using
> the Internet.  Yep, that's very true.

Like it comes with a separate text editor from IDLE's for booting the
TK GUIs.  These use easygui.

Note:  in my talk to 'GIS in Action' I included a plug for John
Zelle's graphics.py, showing our NKS work from awhile back.


> However, later on in the book, it's very clear the authors know
> there's a Python 3.0, and they gently hint at some of the differences.
>  There's no big deal about it, just a fun XX engineer with a bug in
> her ear (in both ears apparently as it's there no matter which way
> she's turned -- well illustrated).  The character that's really
> original is grandma in bunny slippers, the former Pong queen, geek of
> the old skool.  She remembers when we did it all in 7K.  We've all met
> this guy at parties, but having her be a friendly grandma is a stroke
> of genius I reckon.

Carter is the intelligent young XY voice in this work, has some good
questions.  The XX character who explains the high level stuff is more
"older sister" and might already have some college credit to her name
(or maybe she went straight to Rails after running a GIS shop in high
school, at a place like LEP High):


"no less a public school than Madison..."  fixing a typo in the above
Math Forum post (am I allowed to do that?).

> At the BOF at the last Pycon I was proclaiming Pygame "pretty hard" in
> the sense of "low level".  Which it is, floats just above that C++ SDK
> whatever it's called, SDL right?  In contrast:  GameMaker, with a cult
> following in Oregon.  We have play-offs, teams, a statewide festival.
> The problem with GameMaker by itself is it's immersive, like Alice,
> one of those "live in my own reality" twilight zones with no real
> world applications.  Python, in contrast, is usable on the job.  So if
> it's possible to dip into game-like experiences while developing as a
> professional non-gamer, then why not?  I should have taken the hint
> from Argentina, which is all about Pygame in some areas (or so I
> recall -- a presence in Vilnius).

Yeah, SDL.  Looking forward to Pygame Reloaded btw.

I have done some work in this package, mostly around graphing and
plotting, plus I wrote an entire presentation manager in the thing,
used it when talking at London Knowledge Lab that time, about my work
for Hillsboro police etc. (same story on as on Pycon Blip TV pretty
much -- I repeat the same stories a lot but sometimes with a different
spin at least).

> Speaking of Python and games, I was privileged to join the CPP party
> in the nearby Softel and get my first experience with an xBox guitar
> woo hoo, not bad after a couple Black Labels.  This is the company
> behind one of those massively parallel online gaming communities, a
> profitable business if you have loyal fans, based in Iceland.  This is
> where Twisted comes into its own.

Picture of xBox guitars included in silly slide for my GIS talk, where
Pycon geeks come out looking like a buncha Quakers or something (we
were passing my hat around, before heading downtown).

> What people don't get about FOSS is how many companies use it daily
> without thinking about it, deep in their internals, driving whatever
> container shipping service, rental car agency, garbage collection
> business.  Large conservative banks running on PostgreSQL aren't
> breaking any laws in so doing.  Billions get made using FOSS every
> day.

The point being:  FOSS didn't shrivel and die with that dot com bust
in the Clinton Era.  That huge Wall Street stock run up over Red Hat
and so on, was an exciting bubble to be in for many, but took place on
a lore axis somewhat orthogonal to the engineering axis.  The
technologies have only gotten stronger, even as the economy has
softened in other areas.

> This is what finally hit home about Pycon.  These are happy camper
> users of a great language, coming together to celebrate and share
> tools, but most of the use cases come from private practice, academia
> a new minority.  However, it's a growing minority, and quite welcome.
> With help from Vern Ceder, we're looking at PyOhio as more of a model
> for 2010, with floorspace set aside for posters, perhaps with judging.
>  I've got another example of such a conference in my Photostream,
> where I was invited back to update the ESRI community regarding
> matters Pythonic.  Given this was a local crowd, city and county GIS
> experts, I used the occasion to advance the "place based education"
> agenda, but that's neither here nor there.

I go into this more in my blog writeup:


> Anyway, back to 'Hello World!', I'm admiring towards its style, its
> intelligent dialog based format, and its interesting drawings by
> Martin Murtonen.  There's a lot of 'Head First' type thinking going
> on, but that's a megatrend in technical writing more generally,
> pioneered in part by the 'for Dummies' series, my friend Allen Taylor
> the author of 'SQL for Dummies' (I always thought 'CORBA for Dummies'
> sounded especially oxymoronic). I also appreciate having my name in
> the acknowledgments, something to brag about ('Bucky Works' by J.
> Baldwin is another tome I'm proud to have my name in).
> Kirby

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