[Tutor] Why I'm learning Python (OT and long)

Javier JJ python.tutorial@jarava.org
Fri, 31 Aug 2001 12:20:34 +0200

> On Thu, 30 Aug 2001 10:27:42 -0400 (EDT), Bill Tolbert
> <bill_tolbert@bigfoot.com>  wrote about [Tutor] Why I'm learning Python
> (OT and long):
> :Sure I can get by in Access/VB. But I know
> :Access is kid stuff compared to Oracle and MySQL. I want to write
> :solutions for non-MS platforms; I want to understand the difference
> :bound and unbound methods; I want to understand other people's code; I
> :want to be Danny Yoo!!!
> Heh. Who wouldn't want to be Danny Yoo? ;)
> Just the other night I was saying to my husband, how discouraged I was,
> because the more I learn, the more I realize that I don't know. I
> wondered how do people learn all this stuff about how the operating
> systems work, and file locking and sockets and servers and ...

Well... I'd say you learn it bit by bit. The important thing (IMO), is not
so much as to know "lots and lots", but much more important is to be aware
of your limits. I am an student of Engineering (OK, so we do have to use
computers, in some classes... but we only have I Pascal programming course
in the whole 6 years), and I kind of enjoy "tinkering" in PCs... I was quite
a WPerfect wizz on its day, and I could (kind of) make MS-DOS sit up and
beg. Then came Win95, and I started to feel how much I didn't know... and
when I discovered "real" OSs (Server OS, multi-user, etc, like Win2000,
Linux...) I started to feel I don't know _anything_... but you go on picking
bits and pieces, and going on. Now I _know_ there are plenty of things I
_think_ I should know to be proficient as a "computer" or "programmer"
guy... but it turns out I'm the one to whom almost everybody around me turns
for advice!!. I know a number of people who know lots more than I do, so I
was quite amazed that people would ask me (I mean, why use a spoonful of
knoweldge if you can go to the fountain), so I asked... and I was told that
it's the "attitude" that matters. I may not know a lot, or to be precise I
might not think I know enough... but as long as you've been "at this" for
some time, and interested in learning (_that's_ the key issue), you end up
knowing more than most people... and the fact that you don't believe
yourself to know too much, means that you'll probably be better at it (even
in the things you think you're not ready to handle, because you'll do all
you can to learn), that those who are packing a few "certs" from MS and the
like and believe they know it all :-))

So take things bit by bit, learn as you need... and don't let the sheer size
of all you *might* learn stop you from enjoying what you _do_ learn. After
all, _nobody_ knows everything about computers nowadays... as nobody knows
all about physics, or about Biology, or.... but the "catch" is that too many
people still believe that if you know something about a computer system, you
have to know everything about all of them, and assorted periferials (not
kidding; once I was in a temp. job, and one of the employees there got quite
crossed 'cause I couldn't fix his printer; he said that if I "knew"
computers, I ought to know that! :-)

My $ 0,0002


> Lots of stuff I'd like to know, but it took me a whole week (with lots
> of help) to write a file-locking module that works cross-platform on
> Win32/Unix. (And has only been tested under win98 and Linux.)
> I know I need to learn some database stuff as well, but SQL seems a bit
> intimidating. And I don't really have anything to practice on. (Or time
> to do so, either, it seems.)
> In my search for code to help me with file locking, I tried reading
> other people's code and couldn't understand it, either. (That's partly
> why I write my own. At least I understand my own code!)
> Here's some code I was looking at today that I COMPLETELY DON'T GET:
> http://www.sabren.com/code/python/crypt/md5crypt.py
> (I'm wanting to learn how to do session management and cookies...
> http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~lab2q/lesson_7/
> So what am I saying here? Basically, Bill, you aren't the only one who
> feels this way. I'm stumbling through, as well. So, hang in there. The
> best thing about Python, I think, is the supportive community. If you've
> managed to fool those guys you work with for four years, you must have
> something going for ya! ;)
> --
> Sheila King
> http://www.thinkspot.net/sheila/
> http://www.k12groups.org/
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