Missing XMLData2.xml File

A number of readers have written to report that XMLData2.xml is missing from the downloadable source for Python for Data Science for Dummies. You encounter this file in Chapter 6, on page 108. The publisher has already added the file to the downloadable source, but you might be missing the file from your copy. If so, you can download it by clicking XMLData2.zip. I’m truly sorry about any problems that the missing file might have caused. Please be sure to let me know about your book specific question at [email protected].


Missing File from Python for Data Science for Dummies Downloadable Source

A reader recently contacted me regarding a missing file from the downloadable source for Python for Data Science for Dummies. This is the P4DS4D; 01; Quick Overview.ipynb you need for the first chapter. Simply click here to download P4DS4D; 01; Quick Overview.ipynb. I’m also asking the publisher to add the missing file to the downloadable source found on the Dummies site at http://www.dummies.com/store/product/Python-for-Data-Science-For-Dummies.productCd-1118844181,descCd-DOWNLOAD.html. If you encounter any other problems with the book, please be sure to let me know at [email protected]. Thank you for your patience!


Missing Python for Data Science for Dummies Companion Files

For all those long suffering readers who have been missing the companion files for Python for Data Science for Dummies, they’re finally available at http://www.dummies.com/store/product/Python-for-Data-Science-For-Dummies.productCd-1118844181,descCd-DOWNLOAD.html. All you need to do is click the Click to Download link on the page. I’m truly sorry you needed to wait so long. Thank you to everyone who noticed the missing files and also the incorrect link in the book, which now appears in the book errata. Please let me know if you have any problems locating the files or downloading them at [email protected].


Getting Your Python for Data Science for Dummies Extras

The process of discovering how to use Python to perform data science tasks begins when you get your copy of Python for Data Science for Dummies. Luca and I spent a good deal of time making your data science learning experience easier and even fun. However, it only starts there. Like many of my other books, you can also find online content for Python for Data Science for Dummies in these forms:

I always want to hear your questions about my books. Be sure to write me about them at [email protected]. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your Python for Data Science for Dummies reading experience. Thank you for your continued support.

20 July 2015: Updated to show correct link for the companion files.


A Problem with Short Attention Spans and Getting Only What You Want

I read more articles every day that talk about how content is distributed today. It isn’t just one sort of content; it’s every sort of content, from writing to music to videos. Books are presented electronically without any ads or other content to disrupt your reading, magazines are becoming a thing of the past as readers blithely read just the article they want to see, music is presented as individual song downloads, and video is streamed without any of the extras that come with a DVD.

The idea is to package content items individually, in the smallest container possible. People consuming the content need not bother with anything that doesn’t immediately attract their attention. The smaller size ensures they can consume the content in seconds (even in my books, I’ve made the size of the sections smaller because I noted that readers weren’t making it through the material and missing important information). As a result, consumers are getting used to seeing just the content they want and not having to work at all to get it. Spoon feeding consumers content is probably something that marketers love because they can keep the consumer well fed and not asking too many questions. The content is focuses precisely the way the marketing folks want it. At some point, the quality of the content can decrease without anyone actually noticing. The somnolent mutterings of a few is all that will otherwise detract from the utter quiet of a new age of customized consumerism.

Inferior content is a problem, but it’s not the problem that you should consider immediately. Lack of diversity will cause more problems than content quality ever will. When music was distributed in albums, you counted on getting two or possibly three hit songs. Some of the remaining songs were pretty bad. However, you often encountered two or so additional songs that didn’t get played on the radio for whatever reason are were quite good. Because you were forced (after a fashion) to listen to all the songs on the album, it became common to discover the gems that no one really thought to hype. A few of those songs ended up being hits in their own right simply because people were forced to listen to them as part of listening to the album as a whole. With customized content, you never hear the good songs because no one is hyping them.

The lack of diversity affects your growth as a person. When you listen to something unanticipated or read an article that you didn’t think you’d like, you experience the world in a new way. An idea or concept that didn’t occur to you before is now part of your being. However, with today’s marketing model, you’re being cheated out of that opportunity. The marketers have determined what you’ll read, hear, and see. They control the picture. Think about it for a minute and you’ll see that I’m right.

Magazines are headed in the same direction. It won’t be long and paper magazines will be gone. Electronic magazines will almost certainly follow the current trend at some point. You’ll read only the article that you were interested in seeing in the first place. The supposed boring article that will broaden your horizons will never see the light of day because you won’t be exposed to it. Sometimes it’s necessary for some agent to force you to see content that you might not otherwise review. In the past, it was the added content that came as part of magazines, books, CDs, DVDs, and other distribution techniques that provided this force. There is no such force today. You don’t really see any additional content when viewing a streamed movie.

We view content with fewer interruptions and in purer form, deadening our minds to new ideas. At some point, the lack of growth will cause additional problems. People who get used to thinking only within the box that they draw themselves are less likely to create innovative ideas. As a society, our ability to create something entirely new, entirely different, will be diminished due to a lack of diversity in the input we provide to our brains.

The solution to the problem is uncomfortable and requires a level of determination that our society lacks in large part today. Because alternative content is no longer provided as part of the package, it’s imperative that you look for content that you might not otherwise enjoy. This means making a conscious decision to read, hear, and view content that you may not like at the outset, but will find grows on you with exposure. Let’s hope that there are enough people who don’t mind being uncomfortable to make this a reality. What are your thoughts on the methods used to package content today? Let me know at [email protected].


In Defense of the Hometown Newspaper

I’ve talked with more than a few people who claim the newspaper is dead. In fact, many of them cite articles that say the newspaper is dead mainly because people no longer trust themselves to discover what is true and false. There are commentaries galore about the fact that newspapers can no longer make a profit and the fact that they’re completely inadequate to the task of serving a world bent on news of the moment in sound bites. There is even a Web site called Newspaper Death Watch to herald the event. I imagine that this characterization of the plight of the newspaper is unfortunately true in larger cities where there is a lack of a cohesive community and the news is important enough to garner the attention of a news wire such as Associated Press (AP). However, this dire news doesn’t consider the newspaper that focuses on small-town life (of which there are many). The fact is that there are certain newspapers that are not only alive, but doing quite well. For example, the “big city” of our community, Reedsburg (population 10,014), sports not one, but two newspapers, both of which attract enough advertising dollars to remain viable.

The hometown newspaper remains viable for a number of reasons. An obvious and often overlooked reason in our community is that the newspaper is read by the Amish, a group that is unlikely to ever read it online. A lot of us find out what’s going on in the world by reading online news sources like https://darknetmarket.com but for the Amish, very few have ever even accessed the internet, let alone use it regularly. Because at least some of the advertisement is directly focused on this group and other advertising is at least of interest to this group, the newspaper will remain viable. Advertising that doesn’t reach its target audience is useless. The Amish are just one of many groups who aren’t exactly Internet savvy-these groups will continue to provide a cushion for the hometown newspaper for the foreseeable future (long enough that I don’t need to worry about it). Interestingly enough, most of these groups also live in rural areas where they tend to have a large impact.

That being said, it is undeniable that most local newspapers are now available in online formats too. This means that if you are a local business looking to promote your products and services online then you can market your company through print and online advertisements via a local newspaper. Although it is undeniable that print marketing still holds a lot of power, if you want to get ahead of the competition in business then you absolutely need to be advertising online. Besides, nearly everyone searches for things online these days.

Smaller newspapers typically service a particular area and therefore if you want to target a particular population then newspaper marketing is a common strategy. Moreover, one industry that has unequivocally embraced online advertising is the health and wellbeing sector. Dentists for example are in high demand and therefore in order to ensure that their practices stand out from the crowd, dentists must embrace the web and produce content and advertisements that are optimized for search engines. You can learn more about local SEO for dentists by taking a look at some of the resources on the Avidon Marketing Group website.

When the newspaper content focuses on the local community and the community isn’t large enough to attract the attention of a wire service, then the newspaper is likely the only source of information for community events. If you want to know about the fire that hit the local plumber, you’ll read about it in the local newspaper, not online. Of course, some people may question the need to hear about the fire from the newspaper when Joe at the restaurant can deliver the full report. If you know anything about small towns, you know that the gossip mill is completely unreliable and that you’ll hear different stories from Ann, Zelda, and Sam before the day is out. To get the real story, you need to read the newspaper (complete with pictures no less).

It’s also important to consider the community. Hometown newspapers exist because the community wants them. Many smaller towns are family towns, where intermarriage over the years has produced a super-family of sorts. You know that Marge is a third cousin and that she’s married to Harry who owns the local lumber mill. In fact, you’ve seen them at church and in the bank any number of times and pass the time of day with them when you see them on the street. However, you don’t know that they recently had a baby until you read about it in the newspaper. In order to keep up with these extended families, people in rural communities read what happens to various family members in the newspapers. Yes, it’s really that hard to keep up with everything happening in the lives of every family member. Hometown newspapers don’t focus on the negativethey contain a mix of the good and the bad, the outrageous and the sublime. Hometown newspaper editors realize that they don’t need sensational headlines to entice the readerthey need that picture of Jeremy’s triumph at the spelling bee.

Hometown newspapers are also personalized. The articles of interest in our local newspaper are written by local authors who include their telephone number and e-mail address as part of their byline. You don’t get that kind of service with AP. The reason that hometown newspapers will survive is that they’re written by people you know-real people you can contact and interact with. These aren’t faceless actors on the world stage, but the same guy or gal that you had lunch with this afternoon. Hometown newspapers haven’t lost touch with the community. Quite the contrary, they embrace community contact.

When a hometown newspaper does run a feed from AP or one of the other news wires, they tend to personalize that content too. So, Iran is planning to block the Strait of Hormuz? Why should I care? Well, it means that the price of gas at the local Kwik Trip will go up. The association between the world stage and a local condition is a reason that the value added content of the hometown newspaper remains relevant and useful.

My wife and I actually get two newspapers. There is the local newspaper from Reedsburg and then a second newspaper from Madison that fills us in about state events. The Madison newspaper isn’t quite as personalized, but still fulfills a need. Again, there are the personalized stories about the state and then there is the audience reading the paper, which includes the Amish and other groups who aren’t online. I doubt that the Madison newspaper is in trouble either because it has too many people reading it.

Are newspapers really dead? They’re dead in large cities because the newspapers got lazy and didn’t personalize their content. Profit took the place of intimate contact with the reader and sensationalism took the place of serious reporting of all of the facts, even the good ones. The fact that these newspapers also lack a cohesive community to write about and that community does tend to have a strong online presence has conspired to make the big city newspaper obsolete. I imagine the same thing will happen to the hometown newspaper someday, but it won’t be today and it probably won’t happen in my lifetime. Do you read a hometown newspaper? What is your experience with it? Let me know at [email protected].