Posts tagged ‘english’

Python 3 Object Oriented Programming

For the past eight months, I’ve been working hard on a project that’s a little out of the ordinary, for me. It’s the reason there’s been such a drastic reduction in number of blog posts here. It’s the reason I haven’t been earning enough money to cover my expenses each month. It’s my biggest accomplishment to date.

I’ve written a book (an entire book!) on object oriented programming, with a focus on syntax and libraries supported in the exciting new Python version 3. It’s designed for beginner to intermediate Python developers who are more familiar with Python as a scripting language than as an object oriented programming language.

As a byproduct, it also introduces Python 3 syntax, and will be a great reference for programmers wanting to upgrade their Python 2 skills. For the most part, Python 3 is a simpler, more elegant language. The learning curve is shallow, but it takes some getting used to.

It also summarizes the state of the most exciting libraries available for Python 3 at this time. If you’ve been wondering when it’s time to start migrating to the new language, it is now!

I’m currently in the rewrite phase on the book (it’s time consuming!) but it’s already available for preorder directly from my publisher:

https://www.packtpub.com/python-3-object-oriented-programming/book

I’m not great at marketing, so to put it bluntly: I hope you all buy a copy! I’ve put a great deal of effort into this project, and I’m very proud of the result. This book is a great resource and fills a void in the available references. It also fills a void in my available writings, as my blog posts tapered off over the past few months!

Distributors Don't Die

Abstract

The Internet makes it easy for artist and audience to connect directly, but it does not eliminate a market for distribution companies, as distribution costs are nonzero. However, these costs do not justify a royalty from every sale.

I have implied, or even explied* that distributors (record labels, publishers, movie producers) are not necessary in the Internet era because artists have direct and immediate access to consumers. We don’t need the middle man, and should not be creating laws to protect their business model when said model has no benefit to society.

In the past few months, I have been acting as a distributor. The author is my father, and the consumers are anyone interested in reading his writing. I’ve published two of his books online in html and epub formats and intend to add more works and formats in the future. I encourage anyone reading this to check out this new author, because as his publisher, one of my duties is marketing.

As a distributor for this author, I have spent many many hours proofreading and editing his work. I have spent many more hours designing his site and will be spending several weeks getting the books laid out for hard-cover and paper-back binding.

I am doing this for free as a personal favour to the author and because I believe in him and his work. In a normal business transaction, this is a service that somebody somewhere must pay for. Thus, there is still a market for distribution companies. There are two ways that they can expect remuneration.

1) The artist sells their work to the distributor and the distributor gambles that the work will sell. The publisher covers the cost of distribution and receives a royalty on each sale of the work. The royalty is very high to cover substantial losses should the gamble fail.

2) The artist pays an up-front one-time payment to the distributor for their services. An analogy is hiring a plumber to do the pipe-fitting for a public toilet. He doesn’t get paid for every flush.

Current recording, publishing, and movie networks use the former model. This model is failing. Next-generation artists are realizing that the second option means much greater income per sale. A surge of independent editing, remastering, printing, and marketing businesses will start to eat a larger and larger share of the distribution market as artists realize the greater return on investment. More competition means lower costs for artists seeking an audience, which in turn implies lower ultimate costs for audiences purchasing a work.

I offer independent book-publishing services including editing, proofreading, printing and online distribution. I’m learning as I go, so my fees are low. If you want to gamble that I can learn faster and cheaper than you can get a large publishing house to accept your work, get in touch.

The current record labels, movie producers, and book publishers are losing the oligarchical control they are used to. They don’t like this. They want to invent artificial laws that make it harder for artists to be published without their blessing. Please support your local Pirate Party.


*Explied is not a word, but if it was a word it would mean “explicitly stated”. I think it should be a word, therefore I encourage you to use it at your earliest opportunity. I made up this word, but google insists that I was not the first to invent it.

Style As Communication

A couple weeks ago I read an article. I don’t remember the title, links, topic, or most of the content of the article; indeed, I likely should never have read it. I would have forgotten it altogether except one suggestion that you should ensure the signature on e-mails sent from your blackberry or iphone says “Sent from my blackberry/iphone”. In theory, this allows the recipient to know you were on a mobile when you sent the message and they can excuse the brevity and grammatical errors that tend to occur when typing a message on such devices.

When I receive a one-line comment followed by a second line stating ‘sent from my Blackberry’, my first thought is not, “Ah, they were mobile, they weren’t able to type a polite response”. To the contrary, I tend to think, “They couldn’t be bothered to go back to the office and send me a well-crafted reply. How can I trust they even thought about the question at hand?”

The thing is, how things are worded sends as much information as the words themselves. Critics of the Internet age have long pointed out that face-to-face communication is better because you can pick up on so many non-verbal cues in their gestures, posture, tone, and expression. Yet nobody realizes that text-based communication also says plenty about you and about the message you are conveying.

While we are instructed to ensure our cover letters and resumes have no grammatical errors because it makes a bad impression, in day-to-day business or interpersonal dealings, nobody worries over such things. We’ve all seen the despicable language that has evolved to support the character limits in Twitter and text messaging. It makes the most erudite communicators look like fools.

The full qwerty keyboard on my HTC dream is terrific, but I don’t get anywhere near the 100WPM I can get on my computer keyboard. Messages typed on the mobile can be painful to compose. I always put forth the effort to ensure my grammar is correct and the style is the way I want to sound. It takes me a while and I can’t supply that impressive immediate reply that mobile devices are famous for. But I can give you a hand-crafted response styled ‘just so’, to give you exactly the interpretation I wish you to receive. Chances are I won’t send the message until I get home and review it at a full keyboard where edits are easier.

One can argue that putting an emphasis on grammar and style is a waste of time and the world is clearly learning to evaluate only the content of messages. This is a shame. It restricts our ability to communicate. Properly wielded, style can say so much more than mere content ever will. Like pictures, style can be worth a thousand words. Instead of abandoning style altogether, we should cultivate it, use it as a secondary channel, its own medium of communication.

As a fitting example, compare the following two messages I received recently when trying to sell a desk online:

CALL ME. 416-###-####

vs:

Hi I am interested in the corner desk you are advertising on craigslist. What are the dimension of the desk? And where in Toronto would I be picking it up from?
Thanks,
Emily

When I read these messages, I felt that Emily was more likely to be truly interested in the desk. I felt she would follow through on any commitment she made. I felt she could be believed and trusted. I felt she would let me know if she was going to be late or couldn’t make her appointment. I felt she was friendly and would be a pleasure to deal with.

Emily is now the happy new owner of my corner desk.

She only typed three short sentences, but gave me several paragraphs of information. The former request only typed two words and a phone number. They also gave me several paragraphs of information.

I never called.