[PyAR2] Getting to know you

Derek Horton derek.k.horton at gmail.com
Fri Nov 16 22:15:56 CET 2007

Howdy!  My name is Derek and I'm a recovering Perl programmer.  :)  I've
been using Python on pretty much everything I can (which hasn't been just a
whole lot unfortunately) for the past year and a half or so.  So, I still
consider myself a Python newbie.

I have to admit though that the first time I looked at Python I walked away
unimpressed due to the whitespace delimiting and the lack of curly
brackets.  Then I used another scripting language for a while and came
running back for the cleanliness of the whitespaces.

I also like the "batteries included" thing about python.  Need to download
something from the web...import urllib, need to write some unit
tests...import unittest.  Nice!!

Oh, yeah, I'm also an "object oriented puke weenie", so I like Python's
support for OO.

I work for Acxiom and have for the past 8 years or so.  I mostly code in
C++ and some Perl, but I'm trying to use Python anyway and anywhere I can.
I'm mainly interested in backend processing and middleware, but here lately
I've been trying to get back into some web development.


On 11/15/07, Greg Lindstrom <gslindstrom at gmail.com> wrote:
> At the end of today we have 26 members of our humble mailing list.  To say
> I'm pleased would be quite an understatement.
> About a week ago, Chad Cooper wrote me asking what had become of previous
> efforts to create a Python Users Group in Arkansas.  I have attempted to
> create one on two separate occasions and both fizzled pretty quickly.  With
> Chad's encouragement -- and he is quite enthusiastic as I'm sure you will
> discover -- we decided to try again, still believing there were other
> Pythonistas in Arkansas.  Seeing the list grow today really has me excited.
> There are a lot of things I like about Python, and many of them have
> nothing to do with the language!  I have always liked the sense of community
> Python has fostered.  Alas, with the growth of the community I think we are
> losing the 'unconditional friendliness' and heading towards more traditional
> mailing lists with flame wars and more hostile responses; especially to
> newbies.  While this is *our* list (not belonging to Chad or me), I would
> like us to strive for a spirit closer to the original comp.lang.python,
> where the most outrageous flame I ever received was "really, Greg, Google is
> your friend" and the most simple question was greeted with a gentle
> response.
> I used to work with a good friend who felt is was not only his right, but
> obligation (!) to humiliate users asking what he deemed to be simple
> questions because it would encourage them to look up the answer on their own
> next time.  It's a plausible theory, but I used to teach high school
> mathematics and physics and can not imagine making fun of a student asking
> for help.
> Another thing I like is because Python is so simple, you meet all sorts of
> personalities.  PyCon, the annual Python convention (www.pycon.org) sports
> uber-geeks, sure, but there are also musicians, newspaper workers, and
> teachers.  Conversations are about real topics, not just Python.  One thing
> I've noticed is with most languages you will here "I am a [C|C++|Perl|Java]
> programmer where most Pythonistas will say "I use Python to....".  I like
> that.
> For the past 3 1/2 years I have been the senior programmer at Novasys
> Health in Little Rock where we have written a fairly large (about 80,000
> lines of code) application to help us process health care claims.  Our web
> developer -- who is a member of this list as well -- choose PHP for our web
> presence, but virtually all of the back end work is done in Python
> connecting to a Postgres database (as well as Oracle, SQL Server, and IMAGE
> databases).  We have come up with a number of innovative techniques to
> handle data and I look forward to sharing them with you.  I also look
> forward to seeing what you're doing.
> About a month ago I was promoted to the Manager of the IT department at
> Novasys.  Please don't hold that against me; I still code over 75% of my
> day.
> As for where the list will go, I don't know.  I have things I want to
> accomplish and will pursue them while helping others.  If you want to get
> involved, this is the place for you; get to work!!  Perhaps you just want to
> know how to do something (connect to an Oracle database, work with objects,
> process images, make a web page); ask away!!  If you want to sit back and
> watch for a while, that's OK, too.
> If you would, take a few minutes and let us know a little about you, what
> you do with Python (maybe you just want to learn it), and what you want out
> of the group. At this point, all ideas are good ideas.
> --greg
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> PyAR2 at python.org
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