The eli4d Gazette – Issue 052: The Ship of Theseus & Building cross-platform apps in Python

The Ship of Theseus and Story Loops

Imaginary Worlds is one of my favorite podcasts. The most recent episode was amazing in how it related the question of identity through the Ship of Theseus, Westworld, and Star Trek.

There is much that I could say about it, but I think that it would be best to listen to it. So let me leave you with a quote from the podcast that was great:

It (i.e. Westworld) taps into the fact that we’re all on story loops. Some of these story loops are created by us, sometimes they’re created by society, but either way, after a while you just tend to go through the motions (i.e. just like the hosts on Westworld). And every so often it’s good to stop and reflect if this is the version of you that you want to be. It’s easy – all you have to do is ‘freeze all motor functions’.

Building cross-platform apps in Python

I’m not sure if cross platform development is like a unicorn in the software field. Whether it was Java’s “write once, run anywhere” promise or Electron’s pitch of “build cross platform desktop apps with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS”.

I came across an interesting project whose goal is to provide cross-platform development for Python. The BeeWare Project “aims to take the power of Python as a language, and use it to enable users of all skill levels to develop applications with native user interfaces.” This may be an interesting project for those focusing on learning Python.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 48: Learning Django 2 and the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

If you’re interested in learning Django 2

As a teacher and a learner, I’m on the lookout for great folks that create courses. If you’re interested in learning the Django framework (this may especially be of interest to my former Python students) then you might be interested in this kickstarter campaign by Tracy Osborn. Tracy approaches programming from a web designer point-of-view, and this is quite valuable from a “beginner’s mind” approach.

Check out the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

Stack Overflow is an amazing question and answer site that covers a tremendous amount of software development issues. It started originally as a response to Experts Exchange and has far exceeded its competitor’s breadth, depth, and utility.

Stack Overflow’s yearly development surveys have become an industry staple for software development trends. It’s an in-depth survey that has become better and better over the years. The 2018 survey is quite deep and extensive and is a well worth read.

If you’re looking for a concise summary of the 2018 survey, then check out Quincy Larson‘s summary.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 032

Tech Pick

I’ve had Python on my brain lately due to heavy duty preparation for my upcoming online Python course. So coming across Instagram’s Python technology stack was interesting. The article begins with:

Each day, over 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram. The unstoppable photo-centric social media platform has over 600 million registered users β€” 400 million of whom are active every day. Talk about operating at scale: Instagram kills it at levels most companies can barely even dream about.

Even more impressive, though, is the fact that Instagram serves this incredible amount of traffic, reliably and steadily so, by running Python (with a little help from Django) under the hood. Yes, that Python β€” the easy to learn, jack-of-all-trades general purpose programming language. The one everybody in the industry dismisses as, β€œYeah, Python is great in so many ways, too bad it’s not really scalable.”

I thought that this was a great example to mention to my students – “well if Instagram uses Python at their scale, Python must be a good thing to learn.” And yet this didn’t sit right with me, and I remembered reading an excellent article that clarified my unease: “You Are Not Google”.

Python is a great language for many reasons (easy to learn, lots of built in libraries, great scientific/numeric support (SciPy, Pandas, iPython, NumPy), etc..) but Instagram’s use of it is not one of them. I’m not Instagram, and it’s very likely the case that you aren’t either.

Media Pick

I’ve had “American Gods”aal on my Kindle for what seems like forever. It was recommended by a friend back in 2004 and I got the Kindle version on sale a few months ago (via Bookbub).

Where to begin? The story is like a fractal of a pick-up stick game. You think “really Neal – a pick-up stick game?” And there’s Gaiman laughing manically. So you play the game and read the book 1 bit at a time…and just when you think you understand, repeating themes and whispers of previous chapters slap you across the face.

My Kindle highlights are filled with too many sentences from this book, and I can hardly pick a favorite. Here’s an example:

“The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.”

aal = Amazon affiliate link

Random

I’m a big OmniFocus, but recent (XML) corruptions have been worrisome (on the positive side OmniFocus support is top notch). One database corruption happened in March, and another just happened about a week ago. My favorite data format is plain text. But I haven’t come across a plain text task management system that implements GTD and spans mobile and Mac OS X as seamlessly as OmniFocus.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter