This is my first successful attempt at sending a number (higher than 255) from Python to Arduino using Serial Communication. Currently it sends 3 bytes per execution.
The 1st byte for packet identification, and the 2nd and 3rd byte makes up the Base10 number we are sending. I've used bit-wise operators to maximize the number I can construct from 2 bytes. Currently the maximum number I can send is 65535. The code can still be optimized, and currently it does not support negative numbers but hey, I'm taking it one step at a time (pardon the pun).
For sample code, visit this blog post:
FYI, this exercise is part of a much larger project. You can read about it here: danthompsonsblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/diy-motion-control-rig.html
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