Python Getting Started

Getting started with Python

Best place to start with Python is on Python main site itself https://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted

Sometimes playing around with Python libraries for different projects can mess things up, so it is best to create virtual environment for separate Python projects. Quick and easy tool to use https://virtualenv.pypa.io/en/latest

Perfect tool for coding in Python – Jetbrains Pycharm http://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm

Restful API

What is Restful API? Check http://www.restapitutorial.com/lessons/whatisrest.html

Learning how to leverage RestAPI – Soap UI https://www.soapui.org/rest-testing/getting-started.html

Leveraging Restful API With Python:

Build Websites using Python?

Django is the best place to be. Following the Getting Started and you should be good to go.

Don’t forgot to leverage some coder repository and do proper testing!

Python for Data Science?

Invest time learning Jupyter which you can use with other programming languages. Nice free course to take https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-python-data-science-microsoft-dat208x-6 Or check https://elitedatascience.com/learn-python-for-data-science

Amazon Alexa Getting Started

Alexa development

####Getting started with Alexa service https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-voice-service/getting-started-with-the-alexa-voice-service

Code to install the sample Alexa app https://github.com/alexa/alexa-avs-sample-app/wiki/Mac

Code to train the Alexa with a new skill https://github.com/alexa/alexa-skills-kit-sdk-for-nodejs

Skills development

⁃ Read https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/docs/understanding-the-different-types-of-skills ⁃ Develop a custom skill using aws lambda or a webservice with https ⁃ Need a full device for full testing but you can use Service Simulator for testing

####Custom Skill

Consist of : ⁃ Set of intents represent actions that users can do with your skill ⁃ Set of sample utterances – map these utterances to the intents and create the interaction model ⁃ Invocation name that identifies the skill and initiates the conversation ⁃ Cloud-based service that accepts the intents and is accessible via the internet. Endpoint need to provided for skill ⁃ Configuration that puts all the info above for Alexa to route the requests ⁃ Example: User: Alexa, get high tide for Seattle from Tide Pooler “Get high tide” form the sample utterance, innovation name is “Tide Pooler” Sample utterances include: OneshotTideIntent get high tide OneshotTideIntent get high tide for {City} OneshotTideIntent tide information for {City} OneshotTideIntent when is high tide in {City} … (many more sample utterances)

To Deploying the skills:

  • Create a Lambda Function for a Skill
  • Deploying a Sample Custom Skill to AWS Lambda
  • Hosting a Custom Skill as a Web Service
  • Deploying a Sample Custom Skill as a Web Service

####Steps to Build a Custom Skill https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/overviews/steps-to-build-a-custom-skill

Step 1: design the voice user interface Step 2: set up the skill Step 3: write and test the code Step 4: submit the skill

Defining the Voice Interface https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/docs/defining-the-voice-interface

two main inputs:

  • Intent schema: JSON structure for the set of intents
  • Spoken input data includes sample utterances and custom values needed for custom slots)

Custom intents developments: https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/docs/alexa-skills-kit-interaction-model-reference

Integrating with AWS Lambda https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/docs/developing-an-alexa-skill-as-a-lambda-function

Developing using NodeJS https://github.com/alexa/alexa-skills-kit-sdk-for-nodejs

Retro: Atari & Commodore days 1981-1990

This is how my life with computers first started.

It all began in 1981 when I first saw my cousin in Beirut, Lebanon playing PacMan on the Atari 2600. The colors, the sounds, and the animation fascinated me.
I was six years then and that’s when my passion first started to take shape. We travel to Nicosia, Cyprus that year to avoid the start of the 1982 Lebanese civil war and Israeli invasion. My dad buys me the Atari 2600 which came with the game Combat. What a classic game in which I picked on and mastered level 10! Level 10 basically allows two tanks in a grid to shoot and allow bullets to bounce off walls. Hiding behind one “trench” and locking in the enemy was an art that made win my battles every time. Ironically, the war game timed perfectly with what was happening in Lebanon and, as a young boy, I felt emotionally stressed with what the news, newspapers and magazines that my late journalist-dad brought home every day. Maybe the game made feel like a soldier wanting to defend my country against the enemies.

Pacman and Combat later followed by Defender. Oh Defender! What a marvelous game that span multiple screens left or right.

By then my parents have noticed my passion for games. It only took one accidental visit to a computer club in summer of 84 that took place at the Cleopatra Hotel in Nicosia Cyprus. The computer in the room rubber stamped my passion for computers ever since. A white device with keys connected to a color-screen tv with a cyan screen display and a flashing icon. The all-mighty Commodore Vic20

The most beautiful moment is when my dad bought me one. I vaguely remember if the story was that the club was closing and they were selling the computers. Can’t remember but at least I got one. A beautiful white computer that became my best partner for a long time. My parents hired a tutor for my sister and I. Our tutor, who’s first name was Chris and I can’t remember his last name, also took me and my dad to a computer store where we bought all sorts of education games… Chemistry, Physics, Math, etc. I recall that my dad paid a lot for those but, for some reason, I was not interested in them. Not that I didn’t dislike anything that is related to computers but education games at a 9 years of age simply has no meaning. I don’t know what my father was thinking (maybe a future strategy ?) but I never opened them .. barely once and that’s it. I had no games for my Vic20 nor was able to easily get hold of BASIC programs from magazines that I can TYPE and RUN. Chris has taught me the BASIC commands PRINT, INPUT, VAR, GOTO, and then I learned myself POKE and PEEK. But that was about it. I recall Chris showing me a Commodore 128 and how when he typed “GO 64” it took him to the Commodore 64 screen.

The Commodore 64…let’s talk about it…. By 1984 I have gone to know about other home computers, Sinclair ZX81, ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and various other 8-bit computers. But the Commodore 64 was more appealing to me from the computer magazines that i kept buying especially from reading the Computer!’s Gazzette magazine, and Commodore User.

I just could not get a Commodore 64 while, at the same time, ran out of anything to do with the Commodore Vic 20 and the Atari 2600. It’s not that I perfected the machines – no.. far less from that… I was having mixed feelings between the limitations that I quickly came to realize with the Vic20 compared to the newer computer with better graphics, the better video, and the better sounds. Moreover, there were couple of incidents where I felt even more helpless when my best friend and neighbor at the time in 1984 showed me the text adventure game Hobbit running on his Spectrum Sinclair.

After returning to Lebanon in 1985, I tried convincing my parents to get me a Commodore 64. It never worked. My frustration grew so much that I became obsessed with the Commodore 64 that I built dreams around ultimately having one. The cost of the computer was $240 – a number that I can never forget. I think my parents could not differentiate why a Commodore 64 is any different than a Vic-20 other than playing games. They didn’t get it. I did. It is not about games nor about how the computer looks. It is everything about the computer! The Computer! As an 11 year boy the Commodore 64 was the only thing I ever wanted at that time. So what I did is that I started buying computer magazines from the pocket money my parents gave and also began buying games for the Commodore 64 even though I didn’t have the computer. The graphics on the tape covers and the vibrant colors in the magazines became my salvation rather than the computer itself. It then took another 2 years when I finally got the Commodore 64 with the help of my uncle who offered to give me money to buy one.

After getting the Commodore 64, I found my passion in adventure games: Zorkand Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy But the pleasure of finally getting the Commodore lived short and was replaced with a new found passion of using computers with either an a CP/M operating syst
em, an MS DOS 2-11 operating system, a Microsoft Windows 3.0, or a a Mac around the period between 1990 and 1992. That would be the topic of the next story.