Fantastic Four, Python And Shopping

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Today has been one of those random days, lacking in focus, but filled with enjoyable activities non-the-less.  The forecast threatened rain so we decided to stay in Swansea, explore the town a little, do some walking, some reading and go to the cinema to shelter during the rainy afternoon.

It’s very rare that I look around shops, all my shopping is need driven and online via Amazon and eBay, so it’s quite an event for me to browse around looking for things that I might want, rather than definitely need.  To constrain myself from going on some sort of consumer rampage I only went into two outdoor activity shops but I still managed to get myself a light weight waterproof jacket at 70% off that’s ideal for stuffing in a rucksack when I’m not expecting rain.  I also got a couple of waterproof rucksack bags and tiny hand and bath towels for opportunistic swimming in lakes or paddling along beaches.

That was enough of shopping so while Debbie continued browsing I got back to one of my current projects, investigating and learning Python programming.  It took me a few months to choose Python from the myriad languages available, but I’m confident that I made the right decision.  Python seems to have everything going for it:

  1. It’s quick and easy to learn
  2. It’s hugely powerful and has vast libraries
  3. There’s tremendous innovation going on around it
  4. It works everywhere
  5. The Visual Studio 2015 IDE has fantastic Python support and is great fun to use

I’m particularly taken with the IPython Notebook which seems like a great tool for visualising some of my body hacking activities, quoting from the web site:

It aims to be an agile tool for both exploratory computation and data analysis, and provides a platform to support reproducible research, since all inputs and outputs may be stored in a one-to-one way in notebook documents.

The IPython notebook with embedded rich text, code, mathematics and figures.

I’m also liking the look of Pythonista for iOS, from their web site:

Pythonista is an integrated development environment for writing Python™ scripts on iOS. You can create interactive experiments and prototypes using multi-touch, animations, and sound – or just use the interactive prompt as a powerful calculator.

Both tools are very visual and approachable and look like they will make applying my Python knowledge much more fun.

I also finished reading “The Girl With All The Gifts” a story of a dystopian, post apocalyptic future where most of human-kind has been wiped out by a fungal infection of the brain the takes over our higher order conscious functions and turn us into ‘zombies’, focused only on the need to feed.  It’s extremely well done, delves deep into the complex relationships between a few survivors and their attempts at survival.  The most important character is an engaging 10 year old genius-girl, who’s infected but has somehow retained conscious control except when exposed to the smell of human, the story revolves around her gradually figuring out what’s going on in her life.  I gave the story 8/10, it’s a really gripping page-turner and has it’s thought provoking moments as well as some nice twists.

We also went to see Fantastic Four at the cinema, it was panned by the critics, but with a walk in the rain as our alternative it seemed quite attractive.  We both enjoyed it, although it seemed much too short, it benefited from lots of back story and not too much comic violence, I’m fond of story telling so this appealed to me.

I’m also pleased to ‘report’ that despite the rain I managed to get a few handfuls of the wonderful blackberries that I’ve found growing on the dunes, next to the bay, really huge, succulent and sweet – perfect.

Debbie and I are now in the thrall of Stargate Atlantis, so our evening is sorted, a couple of episodes should set us up well for the night.

 


Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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