Weekly Head Voices #154: It’s full of flowers!

A view from the West Coast National Park on Langebaan with Schaapen Island visible. No, we were never a Dutch colony.

This was the week from Monday september 10 to Sunday september 16.

Nerd stuff

I fought with VTK renderer window reparenting on three different platforms. Suffice to say that the 2018 is probably also not going to be the year of the Linux desktop.

Serendipitously (seems to be a theme) I came across UMAP, a great new technique for dimensionality reduction which functions in the same space (weak math pun, sorry) as t-SNE.

My first impressions are great because UMAP is fast, it can be trained, and I really enjoyed this recording of its introduction at SciPy 2018:

Outdoorsy stuff

The highlight of my week was undoubtedly the weekend visit to the West Coast National Park to go greet the brand new flowers of spring.

During my morning run I was greeted by a herd of Eland antelope.

Although enormous, they are wary of humans, especially ones running across the savannah in their general direction.

In stark contrast, the ostrich male and female I then ran into were quite vicious, running fairly aggressively to and fro across the the hiking path before me, huffing and puffing. They probably thought that I was a threat to their young.

These birds are not to be trifled with (see for example this section on wikipedia), but I had to push on, so we played the waiting and shuffling game for a few minutes before I could continue.

At least I knew for sure that I would have the privilege of taking an entirely different route home.

Sometimes one’s arrival on the west coast is perfectly timed, and other times not at all, just like life. This time, the flowers were out in full.

There were brilliant fields of yellow, orange and purple, up and down the mountain-sides.

As if the flowers were not sufficient, we were treated with stunning views of the Grecian-blue sea, and with sunsets like these:

Python 2.6 enabled VTK 5.4 Windows binaries

You can always check my Latest VTK Windows binaries page to make sure you have the latest blog posting and hence the latest binaries.  It also links to the “old” Python 2.5 VTK 5.4.1 binaries.

I’ve made available my home-baked VTK 5.4.2 Windows binaries.  These have the new-and-improved version of my python-exception-patches integrated (more about this in a future post; a serious dead-lock has been fixed and as a side-effect, you can now run multiple VTK pipelines in different threads!) and have been built with Visual Studio 2008 (9.0) SP1 on Windows XP SP3 with full Python 2.6 support.  Get the binaries (or my patched source) from the two links below.  You want the binaries if you want to use VTK from Python.

IMPORTANT: you might have to install the MS VS2008 SP1 vcredist_x86 package (free!) if you want to use these DLLs (thanks Jelle for pointing this out).  This might not be necessary if you already have one or more of the MS development environments installed.

Please leave a comment on this blog posting if you use these or just hate them. It’s almost like postcard-ware, but with blog comments. Please also link to this page and not directly to the download location, thanks!

To use this from Python, you need to add the following to your PATH:

  • d:\opt\VTK\bin

You also need to add all of the above to PYTHONPATH, as well as the following:

  • d:\opt\VTK\lib\site-packages

… where d:\opt is the drive and directory where you unpacked the ZIP file.

Once you’ve done this and logged out and in again, “import vtk” should work at the Python prompt. Shameless plug: you can use my free envedit software to do the environment editing. It beats the default XP editing thingy.

Python 2.5 enabled VTK 5.4 Windows binaries

You can always check my Latest VTK Windows binaries page to make sure you have the latest blog posting and hence the latest binaries.

I’ve made available my home-baked VTK 5.4 (actually build from a CVS VTK-5-4-1 tag checkout) Windows binaries.  These have the new-and-improved version of my python-exception-patches integrated (more about this in a future post; a serious dead-lock has been fixed and as a side-effect, you can now run multiple VTK pipelines in different threads!) and have been built with Visual Studio 2005 (8.0) SP1 on Windows XP2 with full Python 2.5 support.  Get the binaries (or my patched source) by going here.  You want the binaries if you want to use VTK from Python.

IMPORTANT: you might have to install the MS VS2005 vcredist_x86 package (free!) if you want to use these DLLs (thanks Jelle for pointing this out).  This might not be necessary if you already have one or more of the MS development environments installed.

Please leave a comment on this blog posting if you use these or just hate them. It’s almost like postcard-ware, but with blog comments. Please also link to this page and not directly to the download location, thanks!

To use this from Python, you need to add the following to your PATH:

  • d:\opt\VTK\bin

You also need to add all of the above to PYTHONPATH, as well as the following:

  • d:\opt\VTK\lib\site-packages

… where d:\opt is the drive and directory where you unpacked the ZIP file.

Once you’ve done this and logged out and in again, “import vtk” should work at the Python prompt. Shameless plug: you can use my free envedit software to do the environment editing. It beats the default XP editing thingy.