Not Really

I'm not really inspired by this posting to the Internet thing lately. I don't have anything particularly original or interesting to say, and I don't say what I do have to say in an interesting or amusing fashion. On the other hand it is nice to keep a kind of digital scrapbook of interesting (to me) things that happen in my life, and this is as good a place as any to keep it. And I know there are a few people who care about me and who I care about who come here and read every so often.

I interrupt myself to say, this is just another meta-entry, isn't it? How dull. Please excuse me, and here is some real content:

I am in that weird spot in my pregnancy, that weird second trimester spot where I feel generally healthy and normal, I am not showing much, and I can't feel the baby moving, so it's like I'm not pregnant at all. I remember being freaked out by this last time, and I am again: Hello! What happened to my pregnancy? I have an ultrasound on April 25th which will, I hope, show that all is well and normal and present. And then soon after that I should start to feel movement, which is, well, neat and cool and nifty and all that stuff you would imagine it is.

The ultrasound should also show whether it is a girl or a boy, which is swell because if it's a boy we need to get different clothes, and also because once we know which it is we only have to pick one name.

I have actually settled on a name I like for a girl, although I'm not sure Blake is sold on it. I will have to let it sit a little longer. It's a good name for a lot of reasons, but it doesn't go so well with Brown, which would be her last name. I don't think many names do, though, so perhaps that is not a good criterion. We already had a name for a boy picked out back when Delphine was still believed to be a boy, so we will use that if this next one turns out to be actually a boy.

I started working a while ago, part-time, and so far it is going well. I am doing the same thing I always do, dicking around with computers, part webmaster, part sys-admin, and also I'm doing some direct marketing stuff and general around-the-officery. It's decent and fun and I'm learning new software and a new(ish) OS -- I'm on a Mac. It's kind of cool, what with being Unix as well. If I had a computer of my very own I expect I would be a Mac, but I don't.

Blake is getting a Mac of his very own but he said last night I can't use it -- I can't even have an account -- so I am stuck with the old Unix box and the PC laptop. Still, I suppose two computers are better than one. I think he is just tired of me being logged on to everything all the time. If we had one of those Internet fridges I would be logged on to it all the time, too. Why log off, when you are just going to have to log on again?

Just like a car.

As you might know if you read the comments in the right-hand box over there containing my biking stats, I took my bike to Cyclepath on Tuesday to get it tuned up after the long period of disuse over the winter. The estimate they gave me was Monday, but I guess they're much faster than they thought they would be, because I got a call on Thursday night letting me know that it was ready. Since Friday was a holiday, I couldn't pick it up then, but early this morning, Amy, Delphine, and I went there this morning to get it. For some reason we decided to get a bike seat for Delphine while we were there, and so we went for our first family bike ride ever. Predictably enough, Del fell fast asleep after about 5 minutes of riding, but when she was awake, as long as we were moving, she seemed to be happy.

Anyways, it was about half as fast as my normal commute, but only a couple of km/h slower than the last ride I took with Amy. Since we weren't trying to go anywhere quickly this time, and had a bunch of stops and starts while we dropped a CD off at the library, or bought some chocolate at Shoppers Drug Mart, or tried to figure out why that road didn't go where we thought it would, I figure we were probably going at pretty much the same speed.

I'm not sure if you can tell from this post, but I'm really insanely excited about going out on rides with Amy and Del. I can just imagine all the places we'll go, and I'm looking forward to seeing how fast we are going by the time we decide to hang up the bikes. Oh, and I've got a brand new rear rack. Shiny.

Good Day

Delphine and I had a good day yesterday. It was sunny and warm, the first real spring day of the year. In the morning we went down to the office to fix something, and then picked up some groceries on the way home. Lunch was ham sandwiches and coleslaw (Delphine picked out and ate the ham and left the bread, so I finished hers) and then we had a nap together on the couch, which might be my very favourite thing to do in the whole world.

After the nap we collected ourself and went out for a walk, up to the green grocer to get some lettuce for salad. Because it was so mild out we went at Delphine's pace instead of mine, so we climbed the stairs at Starbucks, touched the flowers at the flower shop, walked on the snow bank at Rogers, climbed the stairs at the bank about twenty times, and tried to get money out of the machine (I said she would have to get a card, and a bank account, and a job first). Then she was tired of walking so I picked her up for the rest of the walk to the store.

At the green grocer she learned about mushrooms (she has learned to say "what's that?" instead of "ga-duh?") and green beans ("noodle?"), and then we walked back. She decided to take a detour at the LCBO because they have lots of good snow to walk on, and that took us to the school. That was an excellent choice, because we were able to visit with the kids and ladies at daycare, and then play in the extensive and deep puddles in the school ground. I had to drag her away from there after at least half an hour of splashing, and by the time we got home our trip to the green grocer had taken a couple of hours.

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy her company these days. I'm so happy to have a verbal little kid instead of a baby, and I am astonished at how much personality she has, which apparently sprung forth fully-formed. I am finally starting to feel like I, as the stay-at-home parent, have the better side of the deal.

Much better

I'm feeling better! Calloo! Callay! I'm still tireder than usual, but the nausea is gone and I'm actually regaining my interest in food. Yum! Food!

We had our first ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, to check for signs of chromosomal abnormalities, and everything was fine. The baby is the right size for this stage, and has a nasal bone. I don't know about that last part, but apparently it's good. We got a picture which I will post in the Family Snapshots sometime. (Well, probably not for a while because the little computer is futzed, but that's another story.)

The thing I'm fascinated about with this baby is how little attention he (we don't know yet so I'm just going to go with "he") needs. When Delphine was in utero I spent so much time thinking about her and about being pregnant; practically everything I did was informed by the knowledge that I was a special glowy pregnant women, all creating life and stuff. This time I'm busy with other things like looking after Delphine, keeping house, buying groceries, being sick and miserable. I go for hours at a time without even thinking about being pregnant. And yet still he grows inside me, taking what he needs without making a fuss about it. He's not going to be this independent again until he's, like, eighteen.

The First Day Of Spring!

Well, okay, so I think it was actually the second day of spring, but I biked to work on Monday, and today as well, for the first time in four months. And it was great! I made a couple of mistakes, but that's to be expected, and none of them were particularly dangerous.

The first mistake I made was to take the back lane to the Belt Line, over to Oriole. Both the back lane, and the Belt Line were solid packed snow, which I have never ridden on before. It turns out that as long as you don't want to turn the wheel, riding on packed snow is a lot like riding on gravel, only wetter.

The second mistake I made was to not wear some sort of protective pants. There was a lot of muddy water on the sides of the road, and it went all up my leg, and onto my coat, and shirt (because my coat was unzipped cause I was getting warm), and face. Bleah. I had a change of shirt in my pack, but I had to sit with wet legs until my jeans dried out. Ah, well, lessons for the future, I suppose.

So, what else? Surprisingly, given the snow and general attitude of carefulness I had, I was only 1.5 km/h slower than my previous average. And the big-ass hill at Poplar Plains didn't kill me. Nearly, but not quite. Since I'm going to be out at Richmond and Spadina this evening, I might try a different route home. Up Bathurst to St. Clair, or something. Or maybe not.

Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell

This is a thriller set in London. It's a little freaky to read because a lot of it is told from the point of view of the bad guy (I guess that would be a spoiler but he is pretty obviously evil from the first few pages) so you spend the book waiting on the edge of your seat for him to do something appalling.

There is a great female character -- actually all the female characters are interesting -- who makes a surprising and gratifying decision about a boyfriend late in the book. I was very pleased with Rendell when I got to that bit; perhaps I will remember, and read more of her stuff.

Learning Python

I'ld like to apologize right now for the length of this post, but there's something about someone learning a new tool that immediately helps them do something that I really enjoy.
Amy: I think I have a python problem.

Blake:	Ooh, I should be able to help. 

Amy:	Well, it's a problem that could be fixed by python.

Blake:	Close enough. 

Amy:	Ah, it goes beyond help.  I still have to figure out where to
start.  Like, do I even have python on this machine?  And how do you
read in something from a file?

Blake:	"python -v" 

Blake:	and:
 myFile = open( "filename.txt" )
 for line in myFile:
   print line 
Amy:	Holy, if comes up with a million lines of... stuff.

Amy:	But then it seems to be 2.3.

Blake:	Perhaps "python -V" 

Amy:	That's better!

Blake:	What did you want to do with the lines in a file? 

Amy:	Well, I want to take a bunch of pieces of data, like company
names and phone numbers and stuff, and stick it into a specific HTML

Amy:	So I want to take in a file of data and output HTML.

Amy:	Do I want the HTML format hardcoded into the python or should
that be another file?

Blake:	Do you have a python prompt up? 

Blake:	Try typing :
 x = "Amy"
 print "Hello %s" % x 

Amy:	Ah hah.

Amy:	That's nice.

Blake:	So, I would do something like :
 myBigTemplate = """abc %s
 def %s
 ghi %s"""
 print myBigTemplate % ('1','2','3') 

Blake:	(triple-quoted strings can span more than one line.) 

Amy:	Oh, I see.  So I set up the formatting and then use 'print' to
spit out the HTML.

Blake:	Yup.  Oh, the other thing you can do is name the variables
you're replacing.  So this works:
 x = { 'name':'Amy', 'food':'apple'}
 print  "Hi %(name)s, do you want a %(food)s" % x 

Blake:	(Just don't forget the 's' after the closing bracket.) 

Amy:	So you think I should define the HTML format in the python
script itself?  It seems easier but somehow less clean.

Blake:	Yeah, for now.  You can always change it later.  :) 

Amy:	True.

Amy:	What's wrong with this:

Amy:	myTable = " %(coname)s "

coname = "Big Developer"

print myTable % coname

Blake:	You need to pass a dictionary in if you use the (name)
feature.  So, make a dictionary of variables, like x = {'coname':"Big

Blake:	Then pass that in.  You could call your dictionary "values",
or something meaningful. 

Amy:	Ooh, that worked.

Amy:	Now I have to figure out how to get the dictionary from a
different file.

Blake:	What's the format of the file? 

Amy:	Well, I guess it could be something like "Company: Big Developer

Blake:	It could be? 

Amy:	Well, it's going to be exported from Access so I guess I could
define the format?

Amy:	It sounds like you can anyway.

Amy:	I'm going to work on the assumption you can export text in a
format like that, for now.

Blake:	Okay, although it might be easier to just assume that the
first thing on the line is the company... 

Amy:	The problem is that each company could have a varying number
of employees.

Blake:	What do you want to do in that case? 

Amy:	I want to iterate through all the names, adding a new row to
my table for each one.  I wonder if it would be possible to include
the number of names in the dataset.

Amy:	Although if they are the last thing on the line I guess you
could just go through them until you get to the EOL.

Blake:	You could, or you could repeat the company name for each employee. 

Amy:	But I don't want to repeat the company name in my HTML.

Blake:	Ahhh...  Okay, I understand.  How about:
 Big Co, "employee1, employee2, employee3", BooYeah 

Amy:	I'm not clear on the function of the "BooYeah".

Blake:	Neither am I.  It's just whatever other data you need in

Amy:	Ah hah.  The confusion is because the employees are the end of
the data.

Blake:	Oh, okay. 

Amy:	Yeah, I think if I could get a comma delimited file with
company information and employees on each line, I could parse it.
Assuming it was always correctly formatted. :P

Blake:	But if you're generating it from another program, it should be
correctly formatted. 

Amy:	It should.

Amy:	"In theory..."  but let's assume it will be.

Blake:	So try "import csv" at the Python prompt. 

Amy:	It didn't do anything.

Blake:	Sure it did.  Type "dir( csv )" or "help( csv )" to see what
it did. 

Blake:	(There's a webpage at that has more
readable contents of the help. ) 

Blake:	(And as another hint, you probably want to use the DictReader
class with a restkey of 'employee') 

Amy:	I will copy that and paste it somewhere and hopefully soon it
will mean something.

Blake:	Feel free to ask me questions about whatever doesn't make

Amy:	Hah.  Part of the problem is that you're not working for me,
and part of the problem is that I don't even know how to begin asking
the questions.

Amy:	What's a sequence?

Amy:	As in "remaining data is added as a sequence keyed by the
value of restkey"?

Blake:	It's just a list. 

Amy:	Okay.

Blake:	x = [1,2,3] is a sequence. 

Amy:	Alright.  So I can iterate through it pretty easily?

Blake:	Yup. 

Blake:	I think I was wrong in my last explanation. 

Blake:	I think what they mean there is that you'll have a dictionary
with keys of "employee1", "employee2", etc... 

Amy:	Hm.

Amy:	I guess I could work with that.

Blake:	But a good way to find out would be to try running it on a
file, and printing it out. 

Amy:	How do I call DictReader?

Blake:	No, I take it back again.  I think my first explanation is
correct.  You'ld have an entry in your dictionary with a key of
'employees', and a value of ['Bill', 'Jane', 'Ted']. 

Amy:	Do I have to define something else to be a DictReader?

Blake:	First, you create one.:
 myReader = csv.DictReader( filename, ['company','whateverelse'], 'employees' ) 
Blake:	Then, you use it :
 for values in myReader:
     print template % values 
Amy:	It's too easy!


Amy:	I give it the fishy eye.

Blake:	That's the beauty of Python.  If you think it's too easy,
you're on the right track.  :) 

Amy:	Ah hah, it's giving me an error!

Blake:	What's the error? 

Amy:	NameError: name 'data' is not defined

Amy:	Where 'data.csv' is the name of my file.

Blake:	What's the line you used? 

Amy:	myReader = csv.DictReader( data.csv, ['company','address','phone'], 'employees' )

Blake:	You need to put data.csv in quotes, too. 

Amy:	It doesn't say that in the manual!

Blake:	No, that's a syntax thing.

Blake:	Hey, can I post this to the weblog? 

Amy:	Uh, sure.

Amy:	How do I get the values in myReader to just output willy
nilly?  (I don't have a template yet, I just want to see if they're
reading in right).

Blake:	print values 

Amy:	I did that but it gave me another ... prompt.  I guess my
question is actually how do I end a for?

Blake:	Just hit return. 

Amy:	Oh, that really didn't work at all!

Amy:	Here is what I got:

Amy:	{'phone': None, 'company': 'd', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': 'a', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': 't', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': 'a', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': '.', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': 'c', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': 's', 'address': None}
{'phone': None, 'company': 'v', 'address': None}

Amy:	It's kind of funny how wrong it is.

Blake:	Oh, hah!  Yes.  Read the examples, and see what's different. 

Amy:	Yes, sensai.

Blake:	(Alternately, see what the companies spell if you read them
going down.) 

Amy:	Yeah, the filename.  That's the funny part.

Blake:	So you need to get it to read your file, instead of reading
the name of your file. 

Blake:	You can do that one of two ways.  Either use "open( filename
)", or "file( filename )".  They're the same, under the hood. 

Amy:	Oh, it worked!

Blake:	It did? 

Amy:	Yeah, when I asked it to print values it gave me this: 

Amy:	{'phone': ' 416-574-8372', 'company': 'Huge Builder',
'employees': [' Bob Smith', ' President', ' Joan Simpson', '
Vice-President Public Relations', ' Huw Thompson', ' Vice President
Technology'], 'address': ' 2002 Yonge St'} {'phone': ' 416-938-2837',
'company': 'Big Buildco', 'employees': [' Joanne Jones', ' CEO'],
'address': ' 19 King St'}

Amy:	Except for some reason it reordered the variables, but I don't
think that matters.

Blake:	No, cause you'll use them in whatever order you want in your
HTML template. 

Amy:	Yup.

Amy:	Cool!

Amy:	I could get this working before your dad gets back from his
golf game!

Blake:	The only other trick will be to get the employee data out.
For that I'ld use a separate template. 

Blake:	i.e. format the employees into a table first, and then add the
'employeeTable' to your dictionary. 

Amy:	A table?

Blake:	(To do that, assuming you've got the employee's formatted into
the variable "temp", you would write:
 values[ "employeeTable" ] = temp

Blake:	An html table.  Or however else you want to add the employees. 

Amy:	Couldn't I format them after I format the rest of the stuff?

Blake:	You could, but formatting them before makes it easier to
insert them into the rest of the stuff. 

Amy:	Okay...

Amy:	The whole thing is going to have to be inside the "for values
in myReader", right?

Blake:	Mostly.  You could define your templates outside, but the
rest, yeah. 

Amy:	Okay.

Amy:	Why didn't this work:
for values in myReader:
...   print " %(company)s "

Amy:	It didn't return anything.

Blake:	Because you didn't tell it where to get the company from.
(You need the " % values" at the end of the print. 

Amy:	Oh.  So "values" is a real thing.

Blake:	At this point, I think you want to switch to a script. 

Amy:	Yeah, just a second. :)

Blake:	So that you can run it over and over again. 

Blake:	Yup, everything is a real thing.  There's very little magic in

Amy:	That's going to take some getting used to.

Blake:	Hopefully it won't be too bad. 

Amy:	Oh, I can tell I'm serious now, i have two shell windows open.

Blake:	Heh. 

Amy:	How do I do comments?

Blake:	# Like this. 

Amy:	Can I do line breaks wherever?

Blake:	Almost. 

Blake:	For now, let's say "Yes", and if you run into a problem,
you'll find out. 

Amy:	Okay.

Blake:	(And I can help you figure out where to put the break

Amy:	Oh my god.

Amy:	It worked.

Amy:	Just like that.

Blake:	Heh.  Now I'm definitely posting this to the weblog.  :) 

Blake:	What did you do for the employee names and titles? 

Amy:	I didn't do that part yet. :P

Blake:	Oh, okay. 

Amy:	I'm just excited I got the company to work.

Amy:	Now I must eat more.

Amy:	I'm running out of food.

Blake:	Heh.  I'll have you pulling your data from the live database
any second now. 

Amy:	Aiy!  Don't even say that!  Your dad would be so excited.

Blake:	It's really quite easy...  :) 

Amy:	Okay, now I'm stuck on the employees thing.  It's a list
called "employees"...  can I just do "for values in employees"?

Blake:	You can, but it wouldn't be quite what you wanted. 

Amy:	Ah.

Blake:	The quickest way I've found to get a useful list out of it is
the following line (assuming you've put the employees list into a
variable named "x": zip( [y for (i,y) in enumerate(x) if i%2==0], [y
for (i,y) in enumerate(x) if i%2==1] ) 

Blake:	But that's nigh-unreadable, so perhaps we should try to do it
an easier way, huh? 

Amy:	Holy wha?!

Blake:	See what I mean? 

Amy:	Yeah.  

Blake:	Ooh, how about this:
 names = [y for (i,y) in enumerate(x) if i%2==0]
 titles = [y for (i,y) in enumerate(x) if i%2==1] 

Amy:	First, isn't my employees list in a variable called

Blake:	Just a sec. 

Blake:	Yes, so replace 'x' with "values['employees']" 

Blake:	Or add the line:
 x = values['employees']
 before those other two bits of code. 

Amy:	And then what do "names" and "titles" end up as?  Lists?

Blake:	Yup. 

Amy:	Hm.  That's not really useful because I want to use them in
pairs, the name then the title.

Amy:	I guess I can use an index to refer to the nth item in each
list, and they shouls match up.

Blake:	Yes, but you could then write something like:
 for name,title in zip( names, titles ):
   print name, title 

Amy:	Should I look up zip or just ask you what it is?

Blake:	(zip takes two lists "[a1,a2,a3]" and "[b1,b2,b3]", and makes
a new list with both "[ (a1,b1), (a2,b2), (a3,b3) ]" 

Amy:	Oh, okay.

Blake:	enumerate (while I'm here), returns the items in a list, along
with their indices.  So you could have written:
 for i, name in enumerate( names ):
   print name, names[i], titles[i] 
Blake:	and "name" and "names[i]" should have the same value. 

Amy:	So basically I'm taking the original employee list, stripping
it into two lists, and then folding it back into a new list with a
slightly different format.

Blake:	Yeah.  An easier to use format. 

Blake:	I suppose you could do it all in one go, if you wanted...
Something like:
 for i,name in enumerate( values['employees'] ):
   if i%2 == 1:
   print "name =", values['employees'][i], " title =", values['employees'][i+1] 

Blake:	Which makes more sense to you? 

Amy:	No, I don't like doing things all in one go!

Amy:	I like doing things slowly and methodically.

Amy:	Hm.  It doesn't like "x = values['employees']"  

Amy:	It says values is not defined.

Blake:	What's your whole script look like? 

Blake:	(That line, in specific, should be in the :
 for values in myReader:

Amy:	Right.

Amy:	Well, it did something that time!

Blake:	Excellent.  Not what you wanted, I'm guessing. 

Amy:	Nope.

Amy:	But it did what I told it to do.

Blake:	Heh. 

Amy:	I have this: 
employeeRows = " %(name)s  %(title)s "

and then
  for name, title in zip( names, titles ):
    print employeeRows % name, title

Amy:	But I'm not passing in the name, title values right.

Blake:	Yes, since you're not using a dictionary, you can't use the
%(name)s format. 

Amy:	Do I just use %s>

Amy:	?

Blake:	So, you can do one of two things.  Stick with the %(name)s
format and switch to a dictionary, or switch to %s and pass them in in
the correct order. 

Blake:	Switching to a dictionary, by the way, is as easy as changing
the "% name, title" to "% locals()" 

Amy:	locals()?

Blake:	It's a link to the local variables. 

Blake:	Try putting a "print locals()" at various points in your

Amy:	So the local variables are just whatever it's working with
right now?

Blake:	Pretty much, yeah. 

Amy:	Hm.

Amy:	Now I have to figure out how to stick the employee HTML into a
variable so I can put it in the rest of the HTML later.

Blake:	What's the format of the html you want to stick it into? 

Blake:	(As a hint, instead of printing it, use += to append it to a

Amy:	Pretty much what I had there, rows in a table.

Blake:	Let me know if you need any help with that, m'kay? 

Amy:	Do I have to define variables?

Blake:	Nope. 

Amy:	Hah, that was a trick question.

Blake:	(Well, kinda nope.) 

Amy:	Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 26, in ?
    employeeTable += employeeRows % locals()
NameError: name 'employeeTable' is not defined

Blake:	You can't just append to something that isn't there. 

Blake:	So start it with:
 employeeTable = "<table>" 

Amy:	That's better.

Amy:	I wonder what is wrong with my brain that I never remember to
put the close quote in.

Amy:	How do I tell it to put in a newline?

Blake:	"\n" 

Amy:	Or should I just triple-quote and put it in myself?

Blake:	That would work too. 

Blake:	Whatever looks nicer to you. 

Amy:	\n looks nicer

Amy:	Okay, I think I have the bones of it working.  Now I need to
put in the real formatting.

Blake:	Cool.  Could you show me some sample output before you do? 

Amy:	Sure.

Amy:	 Huge Builder 
  Bob Smith   President 
  Joan Simpson   Vice-President Public Relations 
  Huw Thompson   Vice President Technology 

 Big Buildco 
  Joanne Jones   CEO 

Blake:	No phone number? 

Amy:	I didn't do that yet.  I just assumed it would be about the
same as the company.

Blake:	(Just making sure it's not being overwritten by something

Blake:	Yup.  It will be. 

Amy:	Actually I think I will do the """ thing for the HTML
templates, so it looks like regular HTML.

Amy:	Uhoh.

Blake:	What? 

Amy:	If a value is empty I want to leave out a row in my table.

Amy:	I will have to do that in an if in my "for values in
myReader", right?

Blake:	What do you mean by "if a value is empty"? 

Blake:	Oh, if you don't have the title for someone? 

Amy:	Well, more specifically, if the company doesn't have a suite

Amy:	If it does I want a row with the suite number, if it doesn't I
don't want that row at all.

Blake:	Yeah.  Or you could build up a sub-template, like the

Blake:	Have a line that looks like:
 values['suiteNumber'] = "<tr><td>%(suiteNumber)s<td><tr>" % values 

Amy:	Either way I will have to break everything else up into
"before Suite" and "after Suite" templates, though.

Blake:	Not really.  If you added the above line, then you could just
use "%(suiteNumber)s", and it would output the whole <tr><td> for you. 

Amy:	Oh, I see.

Amy:	What if suiteNumber is empty, though?

Blake:	Ah, yes, so you would have something like:
 if values['suiteNumber']:
   values['suiteNumber'] = "<tr><td>%(suiteNumber)s<td><tr>" % values  

Blake:	So, if it was empty, there would be no row, but if it wasn't
empty, it would get a row of its own. 

Amy:	Ah.  Okay.

Amy:	This is going to be really swell if it works.

Blake:	It will.  One way or another. 

Amy:	Uh oh.

Amy:	One of my data fields has commas in it.

Blake:	A-ha!  Did it mess up? 

Amy:	I didn't try it yet.  Should I quote the data with commas?

Blake:	You shouldn't have to.  The export thing should do it for you. 

Amy:	Shut up!

Amy:	Wait, what export thing?

Amy:	From access or whatever?

Blake:	Yeah. 

Amy:	Okay.  I'm not using real data yet, I'm just making up
fake(ish) data.

Blake:	Ah, right.  I would just assume that your real data is
correctly formatted. 

Blake:	(The rules for CSV quoting are kind of odd.) 

Amy:	If I have single quotes within a triple-quoted section, is
that okay?

Amy:	Or do I have to escape them or something?

Blake:	Yup. 

Blake:	You can also have single-quotes in a double-quoted section, or
double-quotes in a single-quoted section. 

Blake:	And you can triple-single or triple-double quote stuff, if you
needed a triple-whatever-the-other-quote-was in it. 

Amy:	Ah, wait.  I meant single-double-quote, not single quote.

Blake:	Whatever. 

Blake:	It all works. 

Amy:	Hm.

Amy:	It's whining about something.

Blake:	What's the complaint? 

Amy:	Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 71, in ?
    print myTable % values
ValueError: unsupported format character '"' (0x22) at index 29

Amy:	Perhaps it is the %?

Blake:	It's probably the %.  To get a % in the output, you need to
type %%. 

Amy:	Hah!

Amy:	Ta da!

Blake:	It all works? 

Amy:	Kind of, except some values aren't right. 

Amy:	But it's formatting mostly right.

Blake:	Hmm.  Cool. 

Blake:	Back in a sec. 

Amy:	It's not reading the CSV properly -- it's the problem with
commas inside fields I was talking about before.

Amy:	According to this it should work.

Blake:	No? 

Blake:	What's the line it's failing on? 

Blake:	And is this actual data, or hand-created data? 

Amy:	It's my fake data.

Amy:	Ah.  It didn't like my spaces after my commas.

Amy:	When I got rid of them it worked.

Amy:	Whoo!

Blake:	Hurray! 


Amy:	You can put that in the blog.

Blake:	Oh, I will. 

Amy:	I'm sure I would have spent way more time looking for and
downloading and installing and testing a million graphical things, if
they even exist.

Amy:	Scripting is the shit.

How Wal-Mart is Destroying America and The World and What You Can Do About It by Bill Quinn

This was the first book I managed to read since I got back from Florida; I've been so tired and sick I could barely face a magazine, let alone the weighty novels and serious non-fiction that have been showing up at the library for me.

Fortunately this was a nice easy read. Bill Quinn writes in a simple, plain-spoken style and doesn't get bogged down with numbers or long words. He's also good and mad, and rightly so if what he says about Walmart is true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't. A good blood-boiling read without any of the tragedy of, say, Leave None To Tell The Story, the Bible-thick Human Rights Watch report on the Rwandan genocide which is currently anchoring my bedside table and will no doubt stay there until it is due back at the library.