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I have read the "How to think like a programmer" and done the code-academy exercises. How essential is the video lecture, I've watched 10 minutes and it seems redundant... advice?

MIT 6.189 A Gentle Introduction to Programming Using Python (OCW)
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By video lecture, I mean Lecture 2: Core Elements of a Program (00:49:49)
'cuz the HW seems manageable already.
I enjoyed it, but IMHO I don't think your world would collapse without it, if you are comfortable with the REPL and can solve the homework without breaking a sweat.

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Other answers:

The last excercise of the video of the lecture 2 is very nice, I saw it after making all the rest, but i thought it was quite difficoult anyway
How did you get through the code-academy exercises. This is positively the most frustrating, least enjoyable part of this course. I'll work a few exercises and then the section will freeze on the Progress Bar at 100%. Cannot do anything except reload the page where it freezes again.
@Screech - I dunno, I didn't have any problems. I have DSL through verizon, which is spotty at best, and CodeAcademy worked fine.
@Octavi - Thanks! I'll ffwd to the last problem and suss out if the middle 30minutes are necessary or recap of the other resources.
Screech: Try another browser. Here are a list of some of the things I've tried with varying success. - I sometimes switch back and forth between Firefox and Chrome. - Try "Save" and "Reset" - Reload the whole page. Generally though, its a lot more stable now, than it was when it was in beta
phluks: I found the problem, but, unfortunately, not the solution. I come into Internet using the Wifi at the local college. Its fast and its free. Their firewall is trapping or blocking something critical to the Code Academy software. I bypassed the college Wifi using a USB modem and was able to get past the green progress bar. This is good information but not a solution as I only have a small allotment of connect time on that USB modem.
Screech: I hope you find a workaround. Maybe you can try to talk with network admin. If you know how to use Firebug or the dev tools in Chrome, you can try to check the "Network" tab to see if you can spot the connections that fail and what host/ip-address and port they are trying to connect to. Then you will be armed with some concrete info.
Apart from that, I don't think the Codecademy exercises are essential. You can get a lot of "milage" from the REPL - but they are quite nice.
@Screech: Glad to hear you at least identified the problem. Hope you can find a connection that works.
Screech: in similar circumstances on my EeePC I found it best to switch to Google Chrome. Tonks: The video lecture might not be essential but from that particular one I did glean a couple of nuggets. One was that I'd somehow missed that 3.0 / 2.0 is not the same as 3/2, returning 1 (and not 1.5). So division with integer arguments is integer division - "a FLOOR function" said the lecturer. Which is odd because there is an explicit integer division operator (//). Summary: if you do something else and have the lecture going in the background, it can save you a lot of time.
sdoradus: I tried Chrome. No difference. Looks like there is something that the CodeAcademy software does which is blocked by the firewall at the local college. I typically connect using their public Wifi (free to the community served by the college). I ran test using a USB modem and it all worked fine. Downside is that the modem account is capped so have to be very careful how much I use it.
sdoradus: The integer division operator (//) works only in Python 3.x. The exercises are written in Python 2.x.

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