Things we do while waiting for the NVC: counting

The NVC has still not invoiced us for the IV-package (the last package of information they need to give us a ‘case complete’  and send our paperwork to the consulate). I’m getting mightily impatient. Why are they so slow in asking us for money? I’m pretty much waving dollar bills in their face as if they’re a second hand book store, but so far to no avail.

However, there is plenty of other stuff to keep us occupied. We’ve signed up for an ‘Open House Day’  to get more people to come look at our house. We obtained the board game Pandemic and are totally in love with it. We’ve taken walks and cooked food and did other things of which I will yet write.

And, I’ve been programming. A while ago, I asked Beloved to, as a birthday present, buy me a book that would allow me to learn some basic programming. He gave me this:

I recommend Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner by Michael Dawson wholeheartedly. I mean.. I’m pretty smart. I’m not totally computer illiterate. Sure, I may have an unrealistic amount of Command Line Interface Anxiety*, but I did once, singlehandedly, install Debian on my computer. I even taught Debian which of the three soundcards present in that computer should be used (but don’t ask me why there were three to begin with). Still.. programming is a realm of arcane knowledge that just doesn’t look all that accessible to the average liberal-artsy educated almost-thirty-year-old.

However, I decided that programming would be a good thing to learn and I had an inkling that I might like it. I am, after all, a writer, editor and translator by profession and one programs by means of a language, right? I figured that if I just told myself that translating from human to human is not that far removed from translating from human to computer, this could be a fun experience. So far, it has been. The learning curve in the book is not as steep as other materials I had sampled (and which were all disheartening, really). The approach is lighthearted and fun and practical.

So, currently, I am working  on the tail end of chapter four. At the end of each chapter, there are little challenges to help you be more creative with the things you’ve learned so far. And just now, I managed to complete one of the challenges in less than ten minutes and have it execute perfectly. I didn’t even make a single typo or forgot a single bracket, even though I made a point of typing everything from scratch. I’m proud, mmkay?

The few lines below make a little counter program. It allows the user to indicate an integer at which to start counting and one at which to stop counting. You also indicate how big the count interval has to be. The program then counts for you and shows all the numbers it counts.

# Challenge 1 - Autocount
# Shows learning in chapter 4.
# by Smitten Immigrant, March 12, 2013

# introduce program
print ("\n\nWelcome to AutoCount")

# ask for user input
startnr = int(input ("\n\nType the number at which I start counting:"))
endnr = int(input ("\n\nType the number at which I stop counting:"))
interv = int(input ("\n\nType at what interval I should count:"))

# run the counter and show count
print ("\n\nYour count is:")
for i in range (startnr, endnr, interv):
 print (i, end=",")

# end program
input("\n\nPress the enter key to exit.")

* You see.. Breaking a computer by pointy-clicky navigation is really hard. I don’t even know if I could do it if I tried. The command line interface is a wholly different beastie, though. You can type things there and I have this suspicion those words can break things. So far, not one of my geek-friends has seen fit to disabuse me of the notion.


7 Responses to “Things we do while waiting for the NVC: counting”

  1. 1 Amanda March 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    You got the game Pandemic? Where? How? I have been wanting it since forever, the boy actually ordered it for me for Christmas (at and they kept telling him that the supplier was not able to provide it, apparently it was out of stock / not made any more, and they ended up cancelling the order, after 4 months of impatient waving.

    We must be on a similar wavelenght because I just got a book on Html and CSS as I want to learn the code, understanding web design can only be a good skill to add, and like you, I also figured, well it is a language, I am good at those. Might as well give it a try.

    I will try to get that Pandemic game in the US, in the meantime we should meet and play sometime, says the wannabe epidemiologist (seriously my dream would be to work at the CDC or some similar level 4 lab, playing with viruses and trying to save the world). Or the OIE. Ahh……

    • 2 thesmittenimmigrant March 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Lat time I checked there were still two copies of the game at large in different game shops in my town. I’ll share the names in an e-mail, maybe you can ask if they’ll send it to you or reserve it for you. It really is a fun game, especially because it is co-operative. You should also totally come and play with us – I’ll send you an e-mail 🙂

      I wonder what you’ll think of HTML and CSS. Way back when, as a freshman in university we had an obligatory class in it. It wasn’t very pretty, but it sure was functional. Im curious to see what you’ll make when you start to get the hang of it.

  2. 3 Sheryl March 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    There are certain things that are strangely interrelated in my mind: music, math, language and computers. They’re really all about learning and understanding patterns and rules, and they all execute in different ways so it’s interesting the combination of skills people can build there.

    I for instance used to make a lot of music, and used to read and write in dead languages. Give me a spoken language or a string of math and I’m a little bit hopeless though. I’ve always wanted to learn more about computer programming and web design – it’s something I played with a bit as a teen and never got big into. What a cool tool to be teaching yourself.

    • 4 thesmittenimmigrant March 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      The connection between math and music is pretty well established, I think. It reminds me of the review of Anathem you wrote a while back. Didn’t they do some of their calculations by chanting?

      What dead languages did you read and write in? I studied some Old and Middle English myself, which I really loved. I never got to writing it, though, just reading and translating it.

      I think you’re spot on about the importance of pattern recognition. It plays a big role in all the things you mentioned. Strange huh, how things so far removed from each other in product can ask for such overlapping skill sets 🙂

      • 5 Sheryl March 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm

        You’re right about the book! There were some groups that did calculations and proofs by music and chanting.

        I got to an intermediate level in Latin, though I’ve mostly let all those skills lapse since my first couple of years of university. I did basic composition though nothing advanced. All the best intentions exist for me to pull out the old workbooks and re-learn some of the basic. There was also a year where I studied ancient Greek though I never got really proficient.

  3. 6 Daria March 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    “You got the game Pandemic? Where? How?” <– THAT! Although I knew that it's been kind-of hard to get lately. The 2nd edition is coming out in a week, I'm told, so that should make it easier to buy.

    I SO SO SO want that game! I think I'll enjoy it immensely! We should play it together sometime 🙂

    And kudos on the learning to programme! Impressive _O_

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