In a recent discussion on the byte-of-python list, an enthusiastic bunch of people were interested in seeing A Byte of Python available as a wiki so that readers can contribute directly as well.

So, I followed up and made this announcement on the list recently :

Hello all,

As we have discussed, suggestions that Byte of Python should be converted to
a wiki garnered enthusiastic responses. I’ve finished converting the book to
the wiki and is available at
http://swaroopch.info/text/Byte_of_Python:Main_Page .

There are some Todos I’ve sprinkled across the book which I will be working
on in the coming weeks. Few readers have taken the trouble in pointing out
how to export a book from the wiki as well. Once I can work on the todos,
I’ll work on a downloadable version.

A good advantage of the wiki is that my turn-around time to suggestions from
readers have improved. For example, a user pointed out that ESR is not the
one who coined the term ‘open source’ and I corrected it on the wikibook
within 2 minutes.

If you want to add/remove/improve any text in the book, please feel free to
register as a user on the wiki and start editing. However, if you only want
to read the book, there is no need to register.

Help about how to use the MediaWiki is available at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Contents .

Rama Devara Betta (literally, Lord Rama’s Hill) is located just behind the Siddaganga mutt on Tumkur Road, and is about 60+ km from Bangalore. A couple of friends and myself went there yesterday to trek. There was a trail that led to the top of the hill but we didn’t take it. We basically “made our own road” and zig-zagged across the hill trying to reach the top.

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Yesterday, I talked about Python at the FOSS Day at Mount Carmel College For Women.

I was not able to attend the earlier sessions in the day because my team (at work) is making a release soon and as expected, that means crunch time. I managed to make time for presenting my own talk and attending Shreyas’ talk (who spoke after me).

Before I started my talk, Surjo warned me to make my talk as non-technical as possible. I was informed that some of the earlier talks had not been well received by the audience since it was “too technical”. That reminded me of Guy Kawasaki’s notes from a Stevenote where he says it helps that Steve has a beautiful operating system to show off, and for me, it helps that I have a beautiful language to show off, heh.

Earlier in the day, I had reminded myself of Simon’s notes on public speaking where he makes two good suggestions:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Never, ever put up a whole slide full of code

Following this advice, I had stripped down the content of my presentation (the same presentation that I have used earlier for beginner Python talks) to the bare minimum.

The mistake in my last talk at foss.in was that I had made the slides too detailed and I suffered by trying to “stick to the slides”. Since I had avoided that this time, I had a free hand in what I spoke and actually used the slides for what they were meant – a reminder of what topics to talk about and not a replacement for the speaker. As a result, my talk was better than I anticipated.

Since I was asked to try to make the talk non-technical and I had also perceived the audience to have a short attention span, I decided to make the talk more about interaction rather than about Python. Most of them knew about C, so I followed the principle of “always start from the known to the unknown” and kept comparing C to Python and that helped to keep them interested. I knew the talk was going well when I compared their 6-line version of Hello World in C to 1 line in Python, and when I demoed some simple statements and asked them “I just ran a program, but where’s the semicolon?” – that surprised them and they started clapping. From there on, it was all about keeping them enthused.

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I asked them if they liked cricketers or film stars, and they gave an overwhelming response that cricketers were preferred. So, I wrote a Python list and added names of cricketers they liked (Irfan Pathan is popular indeed) and asked them how they would get the second and third cricketers names in a C array and compared that with slicing in Python and that received cheers as well.

One of the few mistakes I did was waste a lot of time in the last part of my talk trying to download FeedParser to demonstrate how to use it.

After the talk was over, I received some good feedback as well as questions, which is always a good sign. It’s good to know that I’m improving my speaking skills. I’ve come a long way from a kid who thought thrice before standing up in class.

Interestingly, this has been my 10th talk on stage.

Ian Ozsvald and Kyran Dale have created ShowMeDo.com which is a hub for video tutorials. Very interesting idea! Currently, it has a special emphasis on Python. This should be helpful for beginners and perhaps teach experts a trick or two as well.

I found the Debugging with WinPDB video very useful.

Ian will be uploading some wxPython introductions shortly, and they’ve got matplotlib, PythonWin, PyDev and more planned.

Also, users can contribute their own videos as well.

Update : The wxPython videos have been already uploaded.

Disclaimer : I was asked for feedback before the website’s release, but I have no other involvement with the website.

Usually I don’t pay attention to memes because everybody’s doing it at the same time and it gets boring quickly, but for once, I decided to play along. Pradeep has tagged me to make lists of four things. So here goes:

Four movies I can watch over and over:

Four songs I can listen to over and over (there are too many songs I like, I’m just listing 4 songs I want to listen to, right now):

  • King of Sorrow by Sade
  • Dillagi title song
  • Roja instrumental theme by A R Rahman
  • 1 Stp Klosr by Linkin’ Park (Reanimation version)

Four TV shows I love to watch (I don’t really watch TV anymore):

Four places I would rather be right now:

Four websites I visit daily: