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Old 11-01-2014, 03:39 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by headhawg
If you're new to programming, forget about C or C++. In fact, forget about object-oriented programming altogether if you have never coded before. Try learning something like BASIC first. It's been around forever, and the syntax is pretty straightforward. Liberty Basic has a demo version and there's also FreeBasic which is...um...free. Learn to program procedurally and work your way up to OOP. (If you're really adventurous you can use Visual Studio 2013 Express to learn Visual Basic .Net, but I think that might be too much of a challenge for n00bs. Microsoft Virtual Academy has a beginner course in VB .Net -- also free. You could watch the first couple of videos and take the assessments to see if you're ready for it.)

I only watched a few minutes of each, but unless you think that you could get into Stanford or MIT those are not the best videos for beginners imo. Beginners aren't going to do any bitwise functions, so I'm not sure why someone would need to know binary at a beginner level. I don't have something that I can recommend offhand, but anyone trying to write code should learn programming logic and how to create a flowchart. You could know every command/function in a programming language but if your logic is flawed and you can't get your program from point A to point B, what's the point of knowing that you can make a call to the Windows API?

And I'm not shooting down suggestions by traynor or DL. They are much better programmers than I am. But because of that I think that they may be overestimating the average person's coding ability.


That is exactly the point of computer science--programming logic, rather than nitpicky details of one language over another. It is precisely the basic details that are needed to understand that programming logic. An example: the "garbage" content of a memory area that can be returned if a variable is not initialized. Understanding the "why" makes the "how" really simple.

Both the Harvard and Stanford courses linked are intended as intro-level classes for non-computer science majors. Most colleges require a basic course in computers for most (if not all) students in the first semester/year. Malan's CS50 class had 750 students onsite, and something like 80,000 online through EdX. For good reason.

I agree 100% about learning BASIC or VBA, and 110% that Visual Basic in the (free) Visual Studio 2013 is the way to go for a novice.
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:37 PM   #32
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Another option: Python ... on Visual Studio.

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/OneOf...StudioPTVS.aspx
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:40 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traynor
I agree wholeheartedly. One of the most basic uses is to break out of the "everybody crunching the same old numbers in the same old way" syndrome. Even if that requires a bit of manual entry (shudder, shudder) of data to get a BIG advantage over the point-and-click crowd.


What new handicapping advantage is there to using a home grown program that you don't already have access to without it? How is a program going to give you an advantage, specifically? I see being able to do things faster and more accurately, but what NEW are you to uncover? You have to write the program to do something, but what is that something you don't know about now? What am I missing?
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:20 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Tom
What new handicapping advantage is there to using a home grown program that you don't already have access to without it? How is a program going to give you an advantage, specifically? I see being able to do things faster and more accurately, but what NEW are you to uncover? You have to write the program to do something, but what is that something you don't know about now? What am I missing?


I'm not familiar with handicapping programs. but I do know a bit about financial market algorithms. They're basically a coded set of rules. The advantage is in the number crunching ability. They allow you to scan more markets and timeframes than you could longhand. Of course, the trick is to come up with rules that are consistently profitable.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:27 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Tom
What new handicapping advantage is there to using a home grown program that you don't already have access to without it? How is a program going to give you an advantage, specifically? I see being able to do things faster and more accurately, but what NEW are you to uncover? You have to write the program to do something, but what is that something you don't know about now? What am I missing?


That is the purpose of this thread, and the purpose of learning to write basic programs--to suggest that finding that handicapping advantage is not rocket science, and well within the capability of most handicappers--computer and otherwise--to find on their own.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:34 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by badcompany
I'm not familiar with handicapping programs. but I do know a bit about financial market algorithms. They're basically a coded set of rules. The advantage is in the number crunching ability. They allow you to scan more markets and timeframes than you could longhand. Of course, the trick is to come up with rules that are consistently profitable.


Horse racing data exists in an information silo. Download Equibase data, get exactly the same data everyone else downloads. Differences in massage techniques are basically cosmetic, and the efficient market hypotheisis kicks in big time. If you want to stay ahead, you need information that is different from that used by everyone else, or information that is manipulated/calculated/aggregated from that data in a manner different from that used by everyone else.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:23 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by headhawg

And while I'm in favor of people learning how to program, if researching data (datamining) is the goal then I see nothing wrong with using Excel or Access to accomplish that if the limitations of those applications are known in advance. I just can't imagine a beginner trying to make a SQL db connection through Python, or BASIC, or whatever. No need to reinvent the wheel.


While I would like to learn more programming for my own knowledge, In 2014, does someone who doesn't have a natural aptitude, really need to spend time even programming Excel or Access, when then are ways to let someone else do the grunt work?

Here's an example. If you wanted to find the best performing stock market industries for a certain time period, you can go to a yahoo or Morningstar and it's laid out for you in a spreadsheet. From there you can transfer the stocks you like to a watch list which is essentially a data base. No programming required.







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Old 11-01-2014, 06:26 PM   #38
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I was talking to a couple from the math department at Hawaii Unv and their contention was that fortran was easy to learn, dealt with numbers really well and was easy to create my own objects or I could use python because it would be read by either compiler.

did I get snowed?
thanks
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:39 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by HUSKER55
I was talking to a couple from the math department at Hawaii Unv and their contention was that fortran was easy to learn, dealt with numbers really well and was easy to create my own objects or I could use python because it would be read by either compiler.

did I get snowed?
thanks


This is the problem. You feel like you get pulled in different directions. That makes you not want to commit to anything because you think you're gonna invest a lot of time and effort only to find out what you learned was useless.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:07 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badcompany
While I would like to learn more programming for my own knowledge, In 2014, does someone who doesn't have a natural aptitude, really need to spend time even programming Excel or Access, when then are ways to let someone else do the grunt work?
Um...wasn't learning basic programming skills the whole point of this thread? If you can get info from somewhere else, do it. If you want to use someone else's software, do it. But to point out that you can get/do those things is counter to traynor's original post.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:10 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HUSKER55
I was talking to a couple from the math department at Hawaii Unv and their contention was that fortran was easy to learn, dealt with numbers really well and was easy to create my own objects or I could use python because it would be read by either compiler.

did I get snowed?
thanks


Yes.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:25 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by headhawg
Um...wasn't learning basic programming skills the whole point of this thread? If you can get info from somewhere else, do it. If you want to use someone else's software, do it. But to point out that you can get/do those things is counter to traynor's original post.


Traynor's premise is that programming skills can help you write a handicapping app.

However, if you are a mediocre programmer, is it wise to compete against people who are actually good at programming?

I'm basically talking about the difference between doing something as a hobby and doing it for money. If the latter, you're gonna need some talent.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:35 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by badcompany
This is the problem. You feel like you get pulled in different directions. That makes you not want to commit to anything because you think you're gonna invest a lot of time and effort only to find out what you learned was useless.


Way back, I ordered Sartin's original Phase III app, arguably the clunkiest piece of software ever marketed. I had never written a line of code in my life. I saw an offer from George Green in PRN for his version of pace (free) and actually got that before Sartin's because the latter got lost in the mail. Green's program did the same things as Sartin's (some way better) and had a neat capability to click function keys to change the screen color and text color. I looked at the code (all of a couple of pages of plain vanilla BASIC) clearly commented with explanations of what each line did, and all neatly organized with descriptive variable names. Meaning if one could read English, one could read George's (very well written) code, and understand what it did.

My first "programming experience" was copying George's screen/text color function and typing it by hand into Sartin's app. I plugged it in right after the notation, "Programming by (whoever). Genius by Howard Sartin."

I am a very pragmatic person. My second "programming" endeavor was coding a line that allowed times in DRF format (1:10.3) to be entered as 110.3 in Sartin's app, rather than the requirement of mentally converting it to 70.6 before entering.

I got a book from the library on BASIC, and started writing my own pace app. That was a long time ago. I don't think that anything I ever learned about programming was useless.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:43 PM   #44
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I did a lot of programming in basic. Most of it Sartin type stuff.
I did a program for the Sharp 360 Handheld that did the Total Pace stuff, using the Beyer numbers to figure out the variant. MY friend, Achilles (here) and I made a few bucks on the Inner track simulcasting at Finger Lakes.

When Synergism II came out, I loaded it up at Sartoga, and the hand held froze up! I erased it and quickly wrote a simple program that calculated APV and %Early. That was all I had to go by, other than the morning analysis by the Hat and DRF.

One of the best days I ever had there.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:44 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by badcompany
Traynor's premise is that programming skills can help you write a handicapping app.

However, if you are a mediocre programmer, is it wise to compete against people who are actually good at programming?

I'm basically talking about the difference between doing something as a hobby and doing it for money. If the latter, you're gonna need some talent.


It depends whether you are doing it for your own use, or doing it to sell to other people. Being a good programmer doesn't mean one can pick winners any better than anyone else. All it means is that one can write a spiffy looking program with lots of color and bells and whistles that doesn't do much more than one could do by hand, except it does it faster.

Even basic programming skills enable one to easily explore ideas and concepts of handicapping that would otherwise take mountains of work.
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Last edited by traynor : 11-01-2014 at 07:48 PM.
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