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Unix for Journalism – Computational Methods in the Civic Sphere – danwin.com


I’ve been too busy with teaching and other things to blog…most of my writing is currently being done for my class, Computational Methods in the Civic Sphere, which is aimed at students in the Stanford Journalism Masters program, but open to any student. It has about 30 students currently, few with any programming experience, and they’re all learning how to do things from the command-line.

While I do love the command-line, my intention is to use the command-line’s step-by-step nature, and the Unix philosophy of “Do one thing and do it well” to show how complex computational tasks can be broken down to a series of discrete, explainable-to-an-eight-year-old steps…though the design and sum of those steps can be intimidating.

One of my favorite lessons I’ve written so far: Montage the world from the command-line with Google and Instagram, which explains how to combine data from two APIs to create a montage of any location in the world…and starting just from the humble command-line.


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