February 25th, 2006


Which Textbook to follow to do this project?

The question was asked in all innocence by a final year CS student. A majority of our technology students graduate and join the industry with the firm belief that all problems can be solved by reading some textbook.

Why don't somebody tell our students that writing code and hacking stuff is no stroll in the park? That you learn stuff ONLY BY DOING! That experimentation, trial-and-error and sleepless nights are your friends on the path towards enlightenment?

Last few days have been really hectic - I took over the responsibility of `guiding' some CS/IT course `projects' not fully realizing the amazing amount of hard work and dedication that the students are willing to put in! I give them some work to do and they spend a stupendous THIRTY MINUTES trying to get it done and then come and ask me for the solution. I am now taking sadistic delight in NOT telling them the answer and making them spend even days trying to get something as simple as a build working satisfactorily. That's the only way to make them learn something - and some of them are not very amused by it!


ReStructuredText, Creating slides with Python

The Python ReStructuredText(ReST) module takes in an `informally structured' text document like the following:

This is *italics*

This is another para.
This is part of the same para.

1. Hello
2. World

3) Here

     1) Please
     2) Come

4. Danger
5. Tiger 

(6) Dog

and generates more `structured' HTML/XML/LaTeX documents like this. It's part of the Docutils module.(Note: the above text was converted to HTML by running the `rst2html.py' command which comes with the docutils distribution - it seems that this file is not being installed properly when you apt-get docutils on an Ubuntu machine).

I was on the lookout for a decent text-based slide preparation tool when I chanced upon Easy Slide shows with ReST and S5; haven't gone through it yet.