A simple method for working with BigQuery results in Python (for pandaphobes)

Photo by david swindell on Unsplash

I love Pandas. They’re so cute and cuddly and make great pets.

On the other hand, I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the Pandas Python Library… while I do use it (and it is incredibly powerful and well adopted), I have always found the syntax unintuitive and documentation thorough but taxing on my brain.

While some of the functions can seem like pure magic (I love a bit of read_html), the syntax to achieve some basic tasks like filtering or iteration often has…


Because simple is better than complex.

The first Cloud Function I ever deployed was to achieve exactly this task. We had a number of CSV files being dropped into a Google Cloud Storage bucket every night, which needed to be available for transformation and analysis in BigQuery.

Spending some time on Google brought me to this how-to guide, which was a little different (JSON files instead of CSV), but I figured I could tweak it a bit and get it to work. After all, it’s a pretty common workflow in the world of software and data engineering: find something which…


Analyse the contents of over 25 million books in a matter of seconds

Track the evolution of language using the Ngram Viewer

When I was at college, finding specific information involved a pretty low-tech and inefficient process. You had to scan through book titles on a standalone computer (from my recollection you could at least search by keywords) to find the correct lookup code, then walk to the correct section of the library to physically track down the book. You then had to decide which particular words you were looking for and flick through the index to find pages where specific words were mentioned. Then (whilst carefully holding your…


Because I don’t carry my Oxford English Dictionary around any more.

There are loads of things you probably don’t know about Google Chrome, but this trick is very simple and useful.

How to search on Google
  • Step 1: Type `define:` followed by the word you want to look up into the search bar.
  • Step 2: Read the definition on your screen and consider yourself one word smarter

Because it might be useful for some things. Like writing posts about taking partial screenshots on a Mac.

Take a screenshot on your Mac

OK that looks easy. In more details:

  • Step 1: Press and hold the command key (⌘)
  • Step 2: While still holding the command key (⌘), press and hold the shift key (⇧)
  • Step 3: While still holding the other two keys, command (⌘) + shift (⇧), press and hold the ‘4’ key
  • Step 4: Move the crosshair to the top left of the section you want to capture
  • Step 5: Click and hold the mouse button
  • Step 6: Drag the crosshair to…

Because I can’t find it on my keyboard. Well, actually I can find it on my keyboard but it makes my other keys do different stuff.

There are a whole lot of shortcuts available, however my brain only has capacity to remember about three.

I really hate having to do things with weird key combinations. Kind of like phone numbers in the olden days, for some reason I can still (pointlessly) remember long-defunct eleven digit phone numbers from forgotten friends and sequential key combinations from Excel ’95; however my brain is now full and nearly every time I need to do something with a keyboard shortcut I need to look it up. …

Jim Barlow

I think, build, learn, write and advise with and about data. beepbeep.technology

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