La Boina Roja

The struggles off a future RHCE….


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Recommendation: The Art and Craft of Programming: Python Edition

Free e book written by John C. Lutsh available in HTML and PDF format, this book will not teach you to program. You will learn about how and why things work the way they do in Python on a basic level.

This is a well written starters guide, the PDF file is about 138 pages long. The writer is very novice friendly he, bothers to explain what precedence is for example. He does this in very a efficient and effective way, I personally liked how he explained assignments

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I myself will not go through the entire book from beginning to end, but seeing how he explains basic things rather well, I will use this book as a reference guide. That is another beauty of this book, it is written so well you only can go through the for you  relevant chapters. Without worrying whether you should have read the chapters before it or not. He should add a search function on the HTML version of the book though null

He has some small exercises in the book, with (thank God null) the answers.

The book is about Python 3, but since the writer is teaching you about concepts in Python,  you can use this book for Python 2 too.

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Recommendation: Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python

Want to learn Python and learn how to hack at the same time ?

Then this book is for you photo thumbsup.gif
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This is a beginner book in Python 3, while learning this you also learn hacking. Cryptography is a subject touched in this book, now I know that a lot of cryptography courses require a decent understanding of math.  But When I asked Al Sweigart about this, he came with this reply:

You only need to know basic arithmetic. The book covers the mod operator, greatest-common-divisor, and everything else math-related. There really isn’t that much to it.

So basically, any 10 year old would be able to follow along.

I most likely will not be doing this course null  I am recommending this book because during my initial searches about Python beginner courses, his earlier books came highly recommended by several communities. The other reason why I recommend him is, he is willing to answer questions from people who are going through the books and he is honest null Another quote:

Basically, this book uses crypto as a way to make learning programming interesting. It’s good for a complete beginner, but not comprehensive for becoming a programmer.

Now, if only other people were as honest about their beginner courses null

Ooh, did I mention you can get this book for free null You can get this book in various formats too!( HTML, PDF and mobi).

When you finished the book, you should check out Mystery Twister C3 it is a platform, created by Al Sweigart, where you can test your cipher skills and discuss your methods.  The last part is very important if you want to become a (better) programmer, imho.


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Python vids at Khan Academy

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Notice how I don’t call it a course and not recommend it? Let’s just say it is a good thing Salman Khan let other people deal with teaching others to program. These vids are hidden well, you cannot find them under “Computer Science” but you find them in “Science & Economics” called “Computer Science“. In my opinion it doesn’t deserve that name  photo talktothehand.gif

To be fair, I find it a bit awkward to be so harsh  photo bloos.gif as Salman Khan does a miraculous job at explaining math. Thanks to him and his great math vids I am considering programming. I am not going to say the vids are horrible, but he should just have some vids removed and the other vids regrouped somewhere else.

I will leave you with a list of pro’s and cons.

Pro’s:

  • vids are usually not longer then 10 minutes
  • you don’t have to register to follow the “course”, if you do you get badges photo kwijl.gif
  • even though he uses mathematical concepts, mathematical knowledge is not required. He explains the concepts he uses really well, in his own brilliant way photo worshippy.gif
  • there are subtitles available for the vids
  • he visualizes Python concepts, those are the better vids, the best vid imho is where he explains binary numbers. I finally understand those!

Cons:

  • it starts at beginner level and somewhere,  somehow it becomes complicated
  • there is no a real structure
  • even though I have gained some valuable insights, I miss the point of this course
  • it seems like he gave up on the course half way
  • some vids are useless, like “Python 3 Not Backwards Compatible with Python 2”. Really  photo pidown.gif a vid to explain that? In which he also discusses one single difference,  if I am not mistaken, between Python 2 and 3? Also why is this the 10th vid?
  • some vids are too long, like the “Insertion Sort Algorithm” vid
  • towards the end this “course” seems rushed photo nooo.gif

My overall opinion on this “course” is, don’t follow it from the beginning to the end, it is not worth your time. I would not recommend this “course” to a beginner. If you have difficulties grasping the concepts which he happens to discuss, just watch those instead. Especially the ones where visualizes those concepts.


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Recommendation: Transforming Code into Beautiful, Idiomatic Python

A speech given by Raymond Hettinger, who has been working on Python for the last 13 years.  So it is safe to assume that he knows what he is talking about  photo puh2.gif What I really like about this speech is,  he gives examples you can use in your own code straight away plus all the examples are in bytesizes. He is also very passionate about Python, it makes the speech rather inspirational.

This video, which is about Python 3, is aimed at intermediate and advanced users. That being said,  I as a total n00b  photo picool.gif  found the speech interesting and I understood (= not able to implement yet) like 45% of the code. The slides he used can be found here, they are excellent reference material! If they are not available anymore on the link provided, just click on the pink button below.

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If you are learning Python 3 by any chance, check out Raymond Hetting his twitter account @raymondh, he tries to teach Python through it.


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Free online Python 2 courses!

As you know I am struggling to learn Python 2. In case you wonder why Python 2 and not Python 3? For me it was just a matter of convenience really, I couldn’t point out the differences between those 2 even if it could save my life Photobucket I started with “Learn Python the Hard Way” and it suggested to install Python 2, as you know I ru(i)n Linux on my Desktop and it had Python 2 pre- installed, so that was easy.

  1. Learn Python the Hard Way
  2. Code Academy
  3. Udacity , (CS101 Introduction to Computer Science)
  4. LearnPython.org
  5. The Python Tutorial (official tutorial by http://www.python.org)

 

“Learn Python the Hard Way” and the  require no registration Photobucket for the others you can use your Google account to log in. As you know I’m doing the first two courses right now and yes I am planning to the last 2 too! I like to listen to Sal Khan his voice and when you finish the course at Udacity, you’ll get a certificate with a picture of a robot on it Photobucket!

I would like to point out that “Learn Python the Hard Way” doesn’t seem to require much mathematical insight as far as I can see (I am at exercise 25 at the moment of writing), if you can think logical you’re fixed Photobucket The Code Academy’ s Python course is a different story though, this is a screen shot of 1 of their exercises:

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If your math is a bit rusty or you aren’t the most gifted mathematician around,  it might help to look at Khan Academy’s math curriculum.