The Charm of PyCharm and the Neglect of IDLE(ness)

So my actual study progress has been delayed by a slight hurdle. I was having trouble with the preferred editor for the course, IDLE, and I sought out alternatives. This proved harder than I initially intended.

I first took a stab at Eclipse with PyDev, a very powerful and well know editor initially developed for Java (I think). The problem I had with Eclipse was that its a beast. It is very vast and well developed and it leaves me a bit befuddled. Learning that IDE is a separate endeavor on top of programming. It also had the same issue I’ve experienced with just about anything open source: when you have thousands of people contributing and no real filter you wind up with a thousand different solutions. Poor continuity. It’s the Facebook and Google model vs. the Apple model (I tend to side with the apple model).

Then I moved onto an editor called PyCharm. It’s an editor specifically designed for Python and its quite intuitive. The downside: it costs money. They have a student price that you apply for and I might be able to swing that.

I also started using a website called OpenStudy that is linked to the course. So I can directly ask other students taking the same course questions.

As to the coursework I eventually returned to: things are coming together. I find that I grasp many of the concepts easily (most of the time) but I’m lacking in the actual application of the python syntax. I find I take enormous notes in the recitation classes where the syntax is explored more thoroughly.

Lastly, I came across an organization called Code.org. Check it out. I think it’s an amazing idea.


I came across this article tonight. Due to my recent undertakings, I believe it’s rather pertinent. It also appeals to the wanna-be doomsday prepper in me.

Dear Jesus,

Please send the Zombie apocalypse. Let the Hipsters turn first…


Top 5 Ways to Prepare for the Coming Cyber War – ABC News.


…. I need to upgrade my WordPress ninja skills. We need more “pizzaz.”



I feel like I am both Dr. Frankenstein and Igor. One side of my brain shouts, “Yes! Knowledge! I must know more, more, more! Muahaha.” The other side shuffles around, hunched over and dressed in filthy rags muttering, “Yes master I do your bidding…” I complete the package by copious amounts of drooling.

I have successfully managed to cram about two weeks worth of MIT lectures into three nights. I try racking my brain on the problem sets any spare moment I have at work. Today while waiting on orders I flipped open my laptop and quietly yelled at the computer for not doing my exact bidding.

I then remind myself an important fact about computer programming: when something doesn’t work – it’s the programmer’s fault.

See, computers are actually very stupid. They can only do exactly what we instruct them to (albeit VERY fast). They work only with an on/off mentality. So when something doesn’t work according to my design, it’s my fault.

I think I’ll print that off on a banner to periodically remind myself.

However, I do have silly issues. The course uses the programming language “Python” as its chosen vector of instruction. However the editor is somewhat lacking. When I type code on a brand new project the code appears in highlighted segments to help differentiate between commands. It makes programming MUCH easier to read and write. However, after I attempt to run the program all the highlighting disappears and everything is plain text. I don’t know if this is a bug in the editor or its way of silently mocking me, but I cant seem to fix it…. yet.

I am greatly enjoying the process as a whole though. Theres a nerdy “high” I get when something works right. I’m looking into a mass of knowledge and opportunity. I cant wait to figure out whats in the next layer.


It begins

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” -T.E. Lawrence

I’m going to chronicle a new journey. This journey will bring tears, joy, new curls in my brain, and if the Lord is willing a new future.

I am going to learn the art of programing.

Specifically I endeavor to speak the language of machines (well, the “high level languages”). I have beseeched the aid of a good fellow at my church by the name of David Mikesell. He holds a doctorate in computer science and does this stuff for a living. Were I to generously compare things, he is Yoda and I am Anakin Skywalker – sans the wimpy character and poor acting.

Short term goals:
– Complete MIT’s OpenCourseWare course “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming” within three months tops (that puts me somewhere around May)
– Brush up/expand my math skills on Khan Academy (check it out at http://www.khanacademy.com – tis amazing)
– Add to this blog at least once a week… I’ll start off modest.

Medium term goals:
– Grasp HTML 5 before I join Mr. Mikesell at a conference in July on the subject
– Publish my first simple App on Apple’s App Store before years end.

Long term goals:
– Fly to Mars and establish the Mechanicum (a nerdy Warhammer 40,000 reference)

Lastly, I’m too cheap to pay for a fancy blog at this point. Endure.