Getting Started with Python

Today I tried to be a little more organised about the Python course. This is a summary of what I’ve done.

I set up a folder for documents relating to the course and downloaded the free ebook, Python for Informatics by Charles Severance (as a PDF and as an ePub). Downloading the book is not enough, I’d actually have to look at it. I can’t imagine reading  it in one go more as a reference.

I had a browse through the student curated notes wiki. Interesting, but I always find Wikis a bit tedious. Something to do with not easily being able to follow who has added what. It is useful to see notes that others have added there, though. I could cut and paste from them and annotate for my own use. An interesting issue from the Learning How to Learn course, though, is the act of writing your own notes, of chunking the information and putting it into bullet points, etc, is part of the learning process, that cutting and pasting does not achieve.

One of the things that is not so convenient with coursera is the text based lessons don’t download onto my device for viewing offline, only the videos. So when I was studying on the train without internet connection, I had to skip all of those section. Today I went back to check what I missed, so that was all a bit out of order, but I think I am up to speed now

Slides from the videos are available in a Google Drive folder. That is a good way to get to the extra videos suggested as things to view within the presentations (examples from YouTube).

I’ve now downloaded Python and installed it on to my laptop. I already had notepad++ installed from the other courses and work that I have been doing so I just downloaded from https://www.python.org/downloads/ and installed version 2.7.10. I accepted the default install location, so to run from the command prompt window I use c:\python27\python. To get to the command prompt window just put cmd in the search box.

All of these aspects so far, and the things covered in the videos for weeks 1 to 3, are really just refreshers of things I already know, but with the specifics of a new language. The syntax of Python is very similar to Processing, so the thing for me to do is to focus on remembering what the differences are. Perhaps I will do some kind of translation/comparison chart as things move along.

Anyway, that’s enough for today.

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