Friday, 18 December 2015

Home grown strawberries and virtual machines

Our veggie patch is a bit of a state. I am too impatient to spend time improving the (extremely poor) soil but I'm then very sad that I invest time and water into plants which, if we put it kindly, under-perform.

However, I have found the odd thing that goes well and, strangely enough, it would appear I can add strawberries to that list. I am not a big strawberry eater but Master 5 loves them so I thought it would a fun thing for us to grow. I picked up a single (last of the big spenders!) Red Gauntlet strawberry. This was not based on research but rather on what was to hand at the time. It turns out that Red Gauntlet is a Scottish variety which performs really well in South Australia. It is hardy, fungus resistant, and high yielding. So that is something of a win.

It's transpiring it's also a win for the bloody ants, who are busy chomping their way through the fruit, almost faster than I can pick them. I have provided a pea straw bed but that's not really helping and I haven't found any particularly novel or effective ways of keeping the little blighters off. I am thinking that next year I might try the trick of planting in half pipes that are hung on a wall. How much is that going to deter the ants though?

Anyway, from one plant we're picking the odd fruit every now and then. They are delicious and the longer they can be left on the plant the sweeter and more intensely strawberry-flavoured they are. Something with which I'll persist!

In other news, my new laptop (bought for work purposes and so far used for surfing the web while I wait to wrap up one work project on the old laptop) caused a little bit of excitement when I installed Oracle's Virtual Box and was then only offered a choice of 32-bit flavours of Windows when creating a Windows VM. Fortunately, it turns out that this is a problem every man and his dog has had. It seems that often the issue is that Hyper-V is running and switching it off rectifies the problem. But because I am running one of the versions of Win10 that doesn't support Hyper-V I did have to mess around in the bios and turn on a couple of virtualisation options. Full details are at fixedbyvonnie.

I also got to make use of Python's select module during the week. I realised I had the problem that a recv call on a socket was blocking when actually, something had happened in a different thread that meant it should move on. select gives you the opportunity to, for want of a better word, take a peek at what's coming. It is blocking but, unlike recv, you get the option of specifying a timeout - exactly what I needed. Job done.

And finally, another day, another male tech entrepreneur in the media tell us that 'anecdotally, girls prefer design to coding'. FFS. If you want to encourage girls and women into STEM perhaps don't pigeon hole them. 'anecdotally' is such a bullshit word as well - it's great way to dress up what is nothing more than your opinion.

I code. I'm female. All the designers I've ever worked with were male. 'Anecdotally' men prefer design to coding.

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