Category Archives: Python

nifty and general use of the python language

Getting Started with virtualenv

Why should you care about using virtualenv?  Basically it provides you with a development environment for your various python projects.  Not all python projects will call for the same libraries and being able to solely keep track of the needed libraries within a specific environment can make life easier by:

  • Reducing the # of dependencies that need to be maintained in a single environment
  • Reduce the risk of breaking program dependencies of versioned libraries
  • Replicate the needed environment in other machines without re-installing every single library that you may have done once upon a time

Here are some simple steps to get started with virtualenv on a brand new machine (should apply to both linux and os x)

On a new installation of Linux (or OS X instance)
1.) sudo apt-get install pip #install pip so you can install virtualenv
2.) sudo pip install virtualenv #install virtualenv so you can have controlled python environments

3.) virtualenv new_project  #create a project directory and execute this command where new_project = your project name for e.g.

4.) source new_project/bin/activate #to start your virtual environment
5.) pip install psycopg2 #install any python library in your new python virtual environment


6.) pip install jupyter #installs jupyter notebooks! (which can be kicked off on your browser)




7.) deactivate #when you are done working in your virtual environment, deactivate


From here, you can return to step 4 when you want to work on your project again. Or go to step 3 if you want to start a new project.

To capture your python virtual environment components, do the following:
pip freeze > requirements.txt

This way, if you need to recreate your environment, you can use the file by typing:
pip install -r requirements.txt

For more info, go here:

Before I go, if you are wondering how to start jupyter in your web browser within your new virtualenv, via the command line execute the following:

source my_project/bin/activate #assuming you exited from your virtualenv

jupyter-notebook #your web browser should open after this



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Filed under Linux, Python

dlopen(Library not loaded: libssl.dylib) – fail to import psycopg2 in virtualenv

This is my scenario, I set up virtualenv on my MacBook (love that virtualenv btw).  I installed Jupyter in one of my Virtual Environments (pip install jupyter).  While running Jupyter, I attempted to import psycopg2 (I had previously installed this module in another virtualenv by the way). Then I received an error like the one below:

 “dlopen(Library not loaded: libssl.dylib)”

Fixing this is simple.  Copy the following files in to your /usr/local/lib folder

  • libssl.1.0.0.dylib
  • libcrypto.1.0.0.dylib

I found these files in my Postgres installation (/Library/PostgreSQL/9.5/lib), navigated there and then ran the following command

sudo cp libssl.1.0.0.dylib libcrypto.1.0.0.dylib /usr/local/lib/

After that, I am able to import psycopg2 on Jupyter running in my virtualenv with no problem!

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Filed under Python, Software Programs

Listing out Built in Functions in Python

To retrieve a list of Built in Functions in Python, type:  dir(__builtins__)

You will get the following list


To understand what each function does, you can type help(fuction_name) to get more details on that function.  Example: help(NameError)



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Filed under Computer - Technical, Python

Merging text files with python

Here is a simple yet effective program that will concatenate (or append) all text files using python.  Simply define the following three variables at the top of the program:

  1. File extension (example: .txt, .csv, etc…)
  2. Directory path:  If you are using Python under windows, then place an extra forward slash in your file path for every forward slash (ex: C:\\Documents and Settings\\user\\folder)
  3. The name of the results file that is to be created.  This can carry a different extension than the files you are concatenating
#set to the file extension of "to-be-merged" files
ext = '.txt'
#set to your working directory
dir_path = '/home/user/pywork'
#set to the name of your output file
results = 'final.out'

import os
files = os.listdir(dir_path)
for f in files:
  if f.endswith(ext):
    data = open(f)
    out = open(results, 'a')
    for l in data:
      print(l, file=out)

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Filed under Computer - Technical, Python