Python 2.7-32’s Coding Circus

*Warning this blog post is best described as a free writing exercise.  It started out as an attempt to describe issues of utilizing multiple versions of singular software, and quickly turned to ridiculous images and cathartic gibberish.  You have been warned.

My brain does indeed hurt while trying to install all this crap!

I‘m taking to my academic blog to vent, because my only other option is running to StackOverflow where I’ll be called out as a “newb” a “moron” or “Here is some insanely difficult thing you can do that takes this commenter only 7 seconds to accomplish.”  No thank you.

Lately I’ve been running into a problem with bloating up my computer with things, more things, and multiple versions of singular things.  Some of you working through similar attempts in the vast digital wasteland might be feeling my pain.  I’ve been doing a lot of work with Python, and I’ve been doing it all alone… Sometimes I wish I wasn’t, but that is fodder for another time.


Here is my current issue.  I’ve been making some programs with Python all summer.  I’ve not gone to conferences, I’ve been freelancing from home (semi)successfully for a few shillings a week, and I have (like an insane hermit) been trapped inside an East Village apt face to face with only the command line trying to “beat the machine” as I call it.  I can go back to the programs I’ve been cobbling together since the beginning of the summer and feel some satisfaction.  Its a nice feeling that lasts only seconds, as quickly I’m overwhelmed by the next hurdle toward doing something with any kind of relevance.

My latest lament: I have to use a ’32 bit’ version of Python for libraries in Pygame (a game-making library) and wxpython (a GUI library).  I’ve been wanting a way to push my work to the web beyond raw code as seen in my GIT repository (  It seems a popular way to do this with Python is a web framework called Django.  After hours and hours of installing new versions of mysql and other programs that connect this database framework with the Python language, I finally threw my hands up, but as I did, something interesting happened.  A program that I had been unable to even begin to install suddenly did not seem so difficult.

Wow, I am doing a terrible job at streamlining this, how about I just list what I am trying to get across:

1. Coding is not the primary focus of the DH community at large, and from a personal vantage point, I think this is a mistake.  I know the issue is that (pardon my obscenity) this shit is hard.  This shit is hard for me, and I’ve had a computer for, like, forever.  So for those that have never had a computer, I imagine this shit is damn near impossible.

2. The more you know the less you know:  For instance, I now know that I need a 32 bit version of Python to do some things, and a 64 bit version of Python to do others.  I know I have at least 5 versions of Python on this computer, 4 of which I don’t want but I am afraid to delete.  I don’t even REALLY know what the difference between 32 bits and 64 bits is in this scenario, AND I’M NOT GOING TO WASTE TIME FINDING OUT!  I know how to make a full featured webpage in HTML, yet can do little more than write “Hello World” on a webpage in python… and I need 2 different pages of code.  I know that I don’t know so much at this point I can’t remember if I used to know anything that I might not know now.  I… What am I saying?  Go ahead and skip to number 3, I have to collect my thoughts…

3. If you DON’T learn the hard truths about the things you don’t know that you don’t know, you are going to get a terrible case of Dunning-Kruger (which I speak about in my Gravity’s Rainbow post).  This is what I think is the biggest issue facing the world of Digital Humanities.  I can’t tell you how many students I’ve run into that think that they understand contributing to the digital world, but all they are doing is spouting off their issues inside of content management systems (like the one I’m using to post this rant… Lo, sweet irony) or using a soon to be outmoded piece of proprietary software that they’ll never be able to port their work out of.  But again, coding is hard shit. Reading Goethe is hard shit.  Reading Goethe, coding, and holding down a job are pretty much impossible to do all at the same time.


4.  There is no rule number 4…

5. Doing this and taking breaks to read a selection of library books, currently including: “Literature and the Occult”, “The Sin of Knowledge”, “Asimov’s Foundation”, and “Marlowe’s Faust” is invigorating.  Instead of working through tutorials typing things like “Hello my name is Joe” or writing a program that is word for word from one of these templates about “Gothons from Nebulan 7: a text adventure game” I have used the same techniques to build a command line portfolio of my entire personal library of books and a way to assign them monetary value, as well as ways of assigning several lists of 17th century codexes value.  I’ve created interactive modules using 18th century illustrations that can now be interacted with ludically.  etc etc etc


Jesus, okay, so that list was still incredibly rambly.  I should just delete it, and only write the following list, but then you’d probably miss my actual point.  I’m going to try this one more time, and then I’m logging off of here:

1. Coding = Hard

2. The more you make things, the more you break things

3. The less you break things the more you think you wouldn’t break things if you did decide to actually make something on your own.

4. if Coding.makingThings = TRUE then Coding.breakingThings >= Coding.makingThings ELSE: Dunning Kruger(self)

5. The single most rewarding experiences I’ve taken from coding in Python is having the ability to manipulate rich, timeless, scholarly content in ways most Humanities scholars have not yet figured out without corporate low-level handholding.


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