Saturday, January 28, 2012

First Things First

First of all, let me say that the reason I'm doing this is because I feel that everyone (or at least everyone using a computer) should be familiar with computer programming.  Everyone uses software written by other people, but what happens when there's no piece of software that solves a specific problem?  I've used Python before to write scripts to help make data more readable or to save me the trouble of long and tedious data manipulation.

There was one time I was given a spreadsheet with thousands of names.  Each name was in its own line with the full name written into one cell with the first name first (like "John Smith").  The trouble was that the names weren't sorted and they needed to be . . . by last name.  So, I could have spent hours splitting up the names, but instead I wrote a Python script to do it for me.  I am firmly opposed to doing tedious jobs manually (especially on computer) when a machine (or program) could be devised to do that job automatically.

That's just one reason I want to write this blog.  Another is that programming helps people become better computer users.  Programming will give you a better understanding of how your computer works.

Now that that's out of the way, onto lesson one!

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