[portland] django coders?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 15:42:36 CEST 2009

Visual FoxPro was working just fine for bread and butter, plus I'd
already learned APL and FORTRAN (was paid to do FORTRAN on an HP
something or other, talked my hospital system into going Microsoft
instead -- everyone was doing it, and I was waaaay affordable

However, as someone passionate about geometry, with a math teaching
background, I thought FoxPro sucked as a tool for generating
polyhedra.  The Web was just becoming available to the masses (MOSAIC)
and right away I noticed a paucity of polyhedra on the ol' W3 (later,
I used to tally the number of videos on polyhedra when Google Videos
came out, published stats to the Math Forum).

I wrote an article in FoxPro Advisor about using Foxpro for polyhedra
(wasn't saying it couldn't be done, used 4-tuple Chakovian
coordinates, trademarked as "quadrays" for the purposes of this
published Ziff-Davis version), but how was I to achieve world
domination in math classrooms (my old haunt) with something so
expensive as Microsoft's Visual FoxPro (no IronPython invented yet).
Education is cut throat.  There's practically no money for teaching
(part of that "dumbing us down" I was talking about -- WB called it an
act of war on our people, before going back to casino work **).

So I tried Scheme and Java (both free) before coming to Python (also
open source) which is where I've stayed. I've chronicled this
transitional period with a series of web pages (hand coded static HTML
from the dark ages:
http://www.4dsolutions.net/ocn/oop.html  (goes on through seven chapters).

In terms of marketing, wealthy families are realizing that
certification is up for grabs in technical careers, e.g. Google is
doing it, O'Reilly has a Technology School etc., universities matter
less (relatively) with those degree things they panhandle (mine from
Princeton, worth plenty).  So why not hire a live-in anglophone tutor
from the Philippines who knows math 'n Python, will educate junior
here to be tomorrow's chief executive officer in dad's company, or at
least CFO maybe, don't need to call yourself "a developer" (sounds
lower on the pay scale).

A lot of the clients I work with (like yesterday in fact, though we
had to adjourn to Lucky Lab, given I was unclear on the concept of
CubeSpace closing right there and then -- here's the U-Haul driving
) don't consider themselves career developers.  They're movie
directors, actors (theater included), scientists, wanting to control
lights, use some API, count butterflies in the gorge.  They know,
thanks to Guido's CP4E (DARPA funded for a while) that you don't have
to be a developer to hack sometimes, and Python is good for hacking.

In that sense, I suppose my marketing is threatening to developers, as
here I am, a geometry teacher with a Princeton philosophy degree,
saying if your live-in tutor was a Filipina and you never went to a
brick and mortar college, have distance degrees from O'Reilly (=
University of Illinois), we still might certify you as a FOSS boss and
put you to work managing developers, including in a hospital setting,
without turning you into a full time programmer, plus you'll know
Python pretty well, are a Pythonista (lotsa bragging rights).  So now
go make that TV commercial!


** former Republican leader of some stature (William Bennett)

PS:  marketing my talk at OS Bridge, maybe see a few of you?

On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 9:33 PM, Jeff Rush<jeff at taupro.com> wrote:
> Rami Kassab wrote:
>> Jeff, was mainly referring to marketing itself better to developers. While
>> we work to get our clients to agree to having Python development, it's not
>> something that our clients come asking us to do right off the bat.
> It is an interesting issue but I think you're in conflict ;-) with
> Dylan's viewpoint:
> Dylan Reinhardt wrote:
>>> Rami Kassab wrote:
>>>> Nonetheless, Dylan is very correct. Python needs to market itself
>>> better!!!
>> Our community leaders may be composed of software geniuses, but they
>> suffer from a serious case of not-getting-it when it comes to
>> marketing.  They very strongly do not want to discuss anything
>> beyond objective technical merit and don't think it makes any sense
>> to design python.org to reach outside the F/OSS community.
> Rami, you say we should market better to developers but it is precisely
> (senior) developers who care primarily (not exclusively) about
> "objective technical merit" in choosing a language.  That and finding
> someone to pay them to use their favorite language but as you and others
> here say, there is already strong demand, just not much supply.
> I use the word 'senior developer' above because they have more influence
> over the language within an organization than a junior developer.
> Juniors use whatever language their team uses.
> There is a third group of developers, sort of orthogonal to the above,
> of those who use whatever language is popular in order to be employed,
> with little loyalty to a language community and often not a super-deep
> understanding of the intricacies of a language.  To them it is just a
> tool.  Abusing a cliche, they code to live instead of living to code.
> Getting more of them to use Python means convincing them it will put
> money in their pocket.  There are those in the Python community who
> don't want to attract that kind of developer.  They feel they will (1)
> lower the quality of programming done with Python, (2) dilute the sense
> of community and (3) reduce the wages that can be earned by using a
> language with high demand and low supply.
> Some companies align themselves with this viewpoint and are hesitant to
> promote Python too much, at the risk of losing their secret weapon,
> their competitive advantage.  Python is an easy language to learn.
> The cost, for both these companies and the developers above favoring
> exclusivity, is fewer opportunities for filling employment positions.
> If Python is not widely used as other languages, it is harder to find
> developers to hire and harder for developers to find suitable employers.
>  Balancing that cost against higher revenue is tricky.
> Now marketing to managers or executives is a different matter but no one
> here seems to be saying we need to do more of that.
> -Jeff
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