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Python Stock Market 
Today we are hosting yet another "meetup." Designed for those who have been taking our Python 1000, 2000, and 3000 training, our goal is to build-up the resumes of our students.

Targeting a REAL WORLD game-play scenario that would impress would-be employers, we have set our sights upon a simple strategy.... Whoever can make the most "money" in the stock market, wins?

Anticipating the need, we decided to demonstrate how to get closing quotes from a particularly favorite quotation service:

# pip install urllib, first!
import urllib.request

class Stocks01:

def __init__(self, endpoint="", key="demo"):
self.end = endpoint.strip()
self.key = key.strip()

def get_history(self, token):
url = self.end + '&symbol=' + token.strip().upper() + "&apikey=" + self.key

response = urllib.request.urlopen(url)
except Exception as ex:
return None

stocks = Stocks01()
data = stocks.get_history("msft")

if data is not None:
import json
info = json.loads(str(data, "utf8"))
for row in info:
print("*" * 10, "KEY:", row)
if row != "Time Series (Daily)":
for ss, val in enumerate(sorted(info[row])):
print(ss, val)
for rec in sorted(info[row][val]):
print("\t\t", rec, info[row][val][rec])

Rather than using "demo," the link below will tell you how to get a free API key.

Hope you find it useful!

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OpenSCAD ... and the True Type Font! 
We went looking to create a few 'logoed projects recently. Since printing text can be a problem in 3D (strange looking 'As, 'Os, 'Qs, etc.), for best results when hollow-rendering one should us a STENCIL font.

Sadly, far from being universally supported, at the moment modern operating systems never provide any type of stencil-family fonts.

Arriving to the rescue however, today we should note that OpenSCAD will allow us to 'import' a font for ourselves.

Here is an example of using a True Type Font (.ttf) with OpenSCAD:
line1="Randall Nagy";

zlength = 10;

zscale = 4;
zscale2 = 7;
zscale3 = 8;

use </d_archive_static/Ttf_2016_002/allerta_stencil.ttf>

difference() {
minkowski() {
cube([max(len(line1), len(line2), len(line3)) * zscale + border, zlength, 0.75], center=true);
if(line2||line3) {
translate([0,-15,0]) cube([max(len(line1),len(line2),len(line3))*zscale2+border,15,0.75], center=true);
if(line3) {
translate([0,-30,0]) cube([max(len(line1),len(line2),len(line3))*zscale3+border,15,0.75], center=true);

font_name = "Allerta";
zhi = 3;
szfont = 8;
union() {
linear_extrude(height = zhi, center=true)
text(line1, font = font_name, "center", size = szfont, valign="center", halign="center");
if(line2) {
translate([0,-15,0]) linear_extrude(height = zhi, center=true)
text(line2, font = font_name, "center", size = szfont, valign="center", halign="center");
if(line3) {
translate([0,-30,0]) linear_extrude(height = zhi, center=true)
text(line3, font = font_name, "center", size = szfont, valign="center", halign="center");

Sharing is caring!

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On-Line Educational Experences 
From in-class to on-line and at-the-fort, I have taught in many places, and under many circumstances.

Reviewing the results of decades of in-class consulting as well as on-line educational engagements with a prospective client recently allowed me to neuron-together a few interesting insights. I thought I would share them with you:


When comparing the quality of education received on-line with a traditional classroom it is true that - while classroom teaching is our classic model (and therefore understood by more people,) that on-line education requires allot more lower level, hands-on content. Why? Because impersonalized presentations simply cannot engage people long enough to keep an average student's attention!

Yet the demand to create allot of exercises to keep students engaged creates a classic case of a "top down," versus that "bottom up" approach... or perhaps a College, versus a Middle-School educational experience? (i.e. holding a student's attention for an average of 1 minute for every year-in life?)

Surely creating on-line versus in-person education also requires understanding that on-line students are usually allot more interested in a "how to," rather than the often-equally as-important "when to" and / or "why to." --Yet I believe that the problem lies with the delivery media. The problem seems to be engaging each student at a level that only an in-classroom educator seems able to achieve?

Simple Case Study

The USMC - for example - tried to save allot of money by not flying teachers out to students. Yet after less than a year of telling their students to "learn it all on-line," up-front & personal, instructor-lead classroom training is not only back, but it is becoming more popular than ever before.

Why? One reason is - when it comes to being taught - that people need an opportunity to participate, as well as to be mentored in terms that can be related to their problem domains. So while I "talk geek" on my Udemy training, I "talk financial" when teaching at financial companies, "talk military" when teaching at the DoD, and therefore turn on as many light-bulbs - as well as encourage as much classroom participation - as humanly possible.

Certainly those critiquing their own experience when comparing an on-line versus an in-room training experience may often discover that the mere potential of asking - or being asked - to participate if and of itself often encourages one to be more attentive & alert.

The "D Word"

So it is teaching on-line that tends to be the "knowledge dump" these days. Indeed, until 'chatbots get allot better ("Alexa, teach me Python"?) today one simply cannot mentor - let alone engage any student properly - en masse.

Hence the challenge with creating 5-star on-line education is to teach "knowledge," (a hands-on activity every 5 minutes is a good metric!) versus imparting "wisdom." Showing on-line students - whose attention spans are ALLOT less engaged - not only "how to," but also ramping-up to present those top-down / higher-educational concepts ... via a series of hands-on exercises ... every few minutes?!

Big changes, to be sure!

Interactive Video

Even when teaching students on-line and in real-time (WebEx etc,) allow me to observe that remote-only educational opportunities universally ignore the fact that the best educational experiences invariably connect with people in more ways than on-line educational experiences are presently able to provide. Without the ability to walk around & read the body language of each student, how can any instructor know if their message is even being received?

So perhaps in education - just as everywhere else - one truly tends to get no more than what one pays for?

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