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Current Events Tampa Bay

What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, July 13, 2020)

Hello, Tampa Bay techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds! Welcome to the weekly list of online-only events for techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds based in an around the Tampa Bay area.

Keep an eye on this post; I update it when I hear about new events, it’s always changing. Stay safe, stay connected, and #MakeItTampaBay!

Why this list has only online events

In the spirit of “Show, don’t tell,” I’ll explain with the three charts below.

Graph: “Daily new coronavirus cases, 7-day average trend line” for April 9 to July 9. The graph shows a marked rise after the phase 1 reopenings.

Graph: “Daily hospitalizations, 7-day average trend line” for April 9 through July 9. The graph shows an upward trend since the first week of June.

Graph: Daily fatalities, 7-day average trend line” from April 9 through July 9. The graph shows an upward trend from mid-June.

This week’s events

Monday, July 13

Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15

Thursday, July 16

Friday, July 17

Saturday, July 18

Sunday, July 19

Do you have an upcoming event that you’d like to see on this list?

If you know of an upcoming event that you think should appear on this list, please let me know!

Join the mailing list!

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Join the Tampa Bay Tech Events list and always be informed of what’s coming up in Tampa Bay!


Categories
Career What I’m Up To

The Great LinkedIn Premium experiment

Image: Dee Dee from “Dexter’s Laboratory” pressing a button with the LinkIn logo on it
Ooh! What does this button do?

I decided to see if LinkedIn Premium will help with the job search and activated the one month free trial. I’ll keep you posted by writing about the features I find and my experiences with it.

Categories
Hardware Humor

Two printer posts; one printer truth

I saw these two posts about printers this morning — one on Twitter, the other on Facebook, in a neighborhood forum where someone was asking for office equipment and furniture that people were no longer using:

I find that I use our home printer about once a year, typically for printing a letter that I need to enclose with a paper form that I’m sending via snail mail.

How often do you use your printer at home (if you have one) these days?

Categories
Current Events Programming What I’m Up To

I’m teaching an online Python programming course!

Photo: Man’s hand on Mac laptop, with Python book on the side. Caption: “Intro to Python course / Starts this Monday!”

Graohic: Computer Coach Training Center logoI’ll be teaching a live online course on Python programming on behalf of Computer Coach Training Center starting Monday. Here are the details:

  • What: Intro to Python Coding course
  • When: Monday and Wednesday evenings, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m., starting Monday, July 13 and ending Wednesday, August 12 (6 weeks, twice a week)
  • Where: Online.
  • How much: $900 — and Computer Coach has grants that can cover the cost if you’re unemployed and based in the Tampa Bay area (contact them to see if you qualify)
  • What you’ll need:
    • A computer that was made sometime in the last ten years. My main computer is a 2014-era MacBook Pro, but I’ll be doing demonstrations on a 2012-era Lenovo ThinkPad running Linux Mint, a 2009-era Compaq laptop running Peppermint Linux, and a $35 Raspberry Pi.
    • An internet connection. This is an online course, after all.

To register for this course, visit this page and tap the Attend Online button. Someone from Computer Coach will contact you.

Screenshot: The Meetup page for the Python course, with the “Attend online” button highlighted.

The course description

Photo: Woman’s hands typing on Mac laptop.

This is an introduction to the Python programming language. Now in the top 10 programming languages according to the TIOBE Programming Language Index, it is versatile enough to have a wide array of uses, from simple scripting to powering Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, Dropbox, and more. Its combination of simplicity and vast scientific and math libraries have made it the preferred programming language for data science and machine learning. If you’re looking for a first programming language, Python is an excellent choice.

 

This is not a passive course! This isn’t the kind of course where the instructor lectures over slides while you take notes (or pretend to take notes while surfing the web or checking your social media feeds). In this course, you’ll be actively taking part in the learning process, entering code, experimenting, making mistakes, correcting those mistakes, and producing working applications. You will learn by doing. At the end of each session, you’ll have a collection of little Python programs that you wrote, and which you can use as the basis for your own work.

The course will start at the most basic level by walking you through the process of downloading and installing the necessary tools to start Python programming. From there, you’ll learn the building blocks of the Python programming language:

  • Control structures that determine what your programs do,
  • Data structures to store the information that your programs act on,
  • Functions and objects to organize your code, and
  • Using libraries as building blocks for your applications.

You’ll write all sorts of programs…

  • You’ll use Python in “immediate mode” to perform quick calculations (and you’ll sharpen your command-line skills in the process).
  • You’ll write scripts to simplify or automate tedious tasks.
  • You’ll build web applications.
  • And since it’s a networked, data-driven world where no application is an island, you’ll learn how to use Python to interact with web services and databases.

Better still, you’ll learn how to think like a programmer. You’ll learn how to look at a goal and learn how you could write a program to meet it, and how that program could be improved or enhanced. You’ll learn skills that will serve you well as you take up other programming languages, and even learn a little bit about the inner workings of computers, operating systems, and the internet.

 

Categories
Current Events Entrepreneur Tampa Bay

St. Pete Pitch Night: Online tonight at 5:00 p.m.!

St. Pete Pitch Night takes place online tonight from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.! See pitches from five St. Petersburg entrepreneurs as they compete to win up to $5,000 by pitching their community-based businesses.

From the 34 business who applied, these were the ones selected:

  1. Eat Your Words Custom Cookies
  2. Eventron
  3. Oh Yes! Shave Club
  4. Jun Cyber
  5. Cope Notes

To be eligible, contestants had to meet these requirements:

  • Scalable and/or innovative concept
  • In business for 4 years or less
  • Previously presented at 1 Million Cups OR currently enrolled in an entrepreneurship program at a Tampa Bay college or University

Admission to attend this online event is $5.00. You can find out more about St. Pete Pitch Night on the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce site or the St. Pete Greenhouse site, and you can register to attend St. Pete Pitch Night here.

Categories
Current Events Hardware Players Tampa Bay

Win a System76 Thelio Linux desktop in The Mad Botter’s Fourth of July contest!

Mike Dominick’s Tampa Bay-based consultancy The Mad Botter — which develops automation/integration software — has a Fourth of July contest for high school or university undergrad students where the prize is one of System76’s gorgeous Thelio desktop Linux systems!
Mad Botter Fourth of July content icon (Mad Botter “Bot” dressed as Uncle Sam in front of American flags, fireworks, and balloons)

This is an election year, and The Mad Botter’s contest is an election contest. Contestants are asked to develop an open source project that addresses ballot access or in some other way assists with voting. Perhaps something to help people find the closest polling station? Virtual “I voted” stickers? An aggregator for open information about candidates? A “Yelp” for polling places? (You can find more ideas here.)

Here are the contest details:

  • No purchase is required to enter.
  • Your solution must be posted to a publicly accessible Github repository with the appropriate license included.
  • You must be a US high-school or undergraduate college student.
  • If you are below the age of 18, you must provide written parental consent to have your submission considered; this can be done via email.
  • In the event that you win, The Mad Botter INC is granted the right to post a picture of you in the winning announcement and other applicable venues; if you are below the age of 18 your parent or guardian also provides permission for this by consenting to your entering the contest.
  • The winning entry will be the one that shows the most practical potential and creativity and will be selected by The Mad Botter team.
  • All submissions should be sent to sales@themadbotter.com and include a brief bio, explanation of the solution, and a link to the Github repository.
  • Submissions will be accepted until 9/1/2020.

You can find out more at The Mad Botter’s Fourth of July contest page.

Also worth checking out

Mike has a podcast, The Mike Dominick Show, which covers technology and open source.

I was a recent guest on the show (Episode 25), and we talked about how the Toronto tech scene changed from dismal to dynamic,  how I stumbled into developer evangelism, learning iOS programming via raywenderlich.com and then joining them, SwiftUI, Python and Burning Man, the hidden opportunities that come with having to stay inside during the pandemic, and more!

Categories
Programming

Converting a number into words, this time with Python and inflect.py

Teaching a person how to spell out numbers involves a lot of repetition. Tampa Bay’s own Jack Hartmann, whose children’s educational YouTube channel has over a million subscribers and 300 million views, knows this. He’s got a video that teaches kids the words for the numbers 0 through 10:

Don’t underestimate the power of videos for kids — Jack’s laughing all the way to the bank. This online estimator says that his YouTube channel should be earning about $70,000 every month, and keep in mind that his particular line of work has probably benefited from everyone being stuck at home. I may have to do something similar with the accordion when this software fad passes.

If you just wanted to be able to convert any number from 0 through 10 into word form in Python, you could use a list…

…and if you wanted the number 3 in word form, you’d use this:

You wouldn’t want to take this approach for a larger set of numbers, and you probably wouldn’t want to code it yourself. Luckily, you don’t have to do this in Python, thanks to the inflect.py module.

Using inflect.py

Pythoninflect.py is a module that does all sorts of processing to make your programs’ text output grammatically correct. If you hate seeing output like this…

You have 1 items in your cart.

…or this…

You have a egg in your inventory.

…you can use inflect.py to automatically use the correct singular or plural form, use “a” or “an” when appropriate, and so much more.

(I’ll cover inflect.py in greater detail in a future article.)

In addition to all these grammatical goodies, inflect.py can also be used to convert numbers to words.

To use inflect.py, you’ll need to install it first. The simplest way to do so is with pip:

Once installed, you can use it in your Python programs. Here’s an example:

It produces this output:

fifty-four thousand, three hundred and twenty-one

The number_to_words() method has a number of optional parameters that are useful in certain circumstances. For instance, there’s the boolean wantlist parameter, which causes the word output to be broken into “chunks”:

It produces this output:

[‘fifty-four thousand’, ‘three hundred and twenty-one’]

Suppose you want the number to be converted into its individual digits as words. You’d use the group parameter:

What if you’re using the group parameter set to 1, but want to get all UK English and have it use the word “naught” for zero? Or maybe you want your program to sound like a film noir gangster and say “zip” instead? Or you want it recite a phone number and say “oh”? That’s what the zero parameter is for:

The one parameter does the same thing, but for the digit 1:

Want to get all Star Trek? Use the decimal parameter to change the default decimal word to “mark”.

A lot of style guides tell you to spell out the numbers zero through ten, and use the number form for numbers 11 and greater. The threshold parameter makes this easy:

Go ahead — import inflect.py and play with it. There’s a lot of power in that module, and it goes way beyond just converting words to numbers!

Also worth checking out

If you’re an iOS/macOS programmer, you’ll want to look at the previous article, Converting a number from a numeric form into words in just four lines of Swift.