Pick your own

Block’s Farm Market, in Romulus, Michigan, is a great place.

I particularly liked the way they sell sweetcorn: a tractor drives in from the nearby field towing a couple of trailers, and you just help yourself. You pack as many as you can fit in two large bags, for $5. It’s also, I have to say, perhaps the best sweetcorn I’ve ever tasted.

20150828-13265699-900

The times, they are a-changin’

IMG_2194

Having bought a large number of items on Amazon this week, I felt there was a certain irony about this sign at a bricks-and-mortar store…

Replace wildcard imports in Python code

From our just-in-case-you’re-Googling-for-it department…

In Python code, wildcard import statements, such as:

from foo import *

can be very convenient, but are now usually considered bad practice.

I’ve written a really simple tool called dewildcard to help replace them with full expansions, which can then be trimmed down using a tool like pylint or pyflakes.

Just in case it’s useful…

Goodbye, Android

I meant to post this when it came out a month ago…but better late than never…

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a computer security journalist, wrote about why he’s ditching his Android phone for an Apple one, in an article entitled Goodbye, Android. He’s not a particular fan of the Apple ecosystem but feels he must make the change for security reasons, and that’s not Google’s fault — they’re quite prompt about issuing security patches — it’s a feature of the Android ecosystem.

Google still has very little control over software updates, and Android users are basically at the mercy of their carriers and phone manufacturers when it comes to getting updates or new operating system versions. For example, it took Sony more than six months to push Android 5.0 Lollipop to its new line of Xperia Z phones, despite the fact that it had promised for a much shorter turnaround after Lollipop was released by Google. Just for comparison’s sake, when Apple released iOS 8 in September of last year, it immediately became available for all iPhone users, even those with an 2011 iPhone 4S.

As security expert Cem Paya put it, that was a conscious decision Google made when it created Android. Paya called it a Faustian deal: “cede control over Android, get market-share against iPhone.” Basically, Google was happy to let carriers put their bloatware on their Android phones in exchange to having a chance to fight Apple in the mobile market. The tradeoff was giving carriers and manufacturers control over their Android releases, leaving Google unable to centrally push out operating system updates.

Free-range chicken

We thought these were more adventurous than your average hen.

2015-08-11_13-22-49-10-900

Then we realised they were just trying to impress the Lord of the Manor.

2015-08-11_13-22-14-08-900

Poetic Landscape

2015-08-10_15-59-34-24-600

Grasmere, from Helm Crag, this evening. It’s good to be back.

Click photo for larger version.

The Chapel, Gonville & Caius

2015-08-02_17-53-00-23-900

The Chapel, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

I have a sentimental attachment to this place, because I got married here nearly 24 years ago. At that time, it was beautifully lit with candles. But I have to admit that, most of the rest of the time, the dark oak and limited light makes it rather gloomy. It takes some careful photography to do it justice by natural light.

Click image for a larger version.

Men are from Mars

If you enjoyed Andy Weir’s book, The Martian, anything like as much as I did, then you’ll certainly enjoy this splendid hour-long interview with him. (If, for some reason, you haven’t yet read it or listened to the audiobook, you should probably save this until you’ve done so.)

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser