Python doc problem example: gzip module (reprise)

Peter Hansen peter at
Sat Nov 5 14:50:08 CET 2005

Jeffrey Schwab wrote:
> Xah Lee wrote:
>> i've read the official Python tutorial 8 months ago, have spent 30
>> minutes with Python 3 times a week since, have 14 years of computing
>> experience, 8 years in mathematical computing and 4 years in unix admin
>> and perl
> I can wiggle my ears.

Which is almost as good as having spent, um, let's see... a grand total 
of 52 hours attempting to code in Python!  Which is to say roughly one 
week with a little overtime.

I've had a large number of co-op students and junior programmers come on 
board in a Python/agile group.  I've said here before that most of them 
were able to code reasonably in Python after only about one week, at 
least enough to contribute and participate.  Several took a few weeks to 
completely abandon their bad habits from other languages (e.g. coding 
"C"-style iterate-over-chars-in-a-string loops in Python).

Of course, most of them had a basic competence and ability to learn, so 
maybe for them 52 hours was much more effective than it is for others. 
Still, 52 hours is "nothing"... and doing it as "30 minutes, 3 times a 
week, for 8 months" vastly decreases the value of those 52 hours, even 
if it makes it sound much more impressive.  I'm not surprised now at 
what we keeping seeing here...


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