In remembrance

CP-140 Aurora flyover for Remembrance Day in Vancouver. This one was actually taken in 2011 but the same plane flew past today. Dedicated to my family and friends who have served or are still serving in the armed forces.

I always like to catch the aerial flypast on Remembrance Day, at least in part because I’ve had a long-standing interest in aircraft. The first time we saw it was while we were walking on the beach. We’re fortunate in that our balcony has a good open view so I can even watch from home. Back in 2011 the RCAF got in on the flyover, sending a CP-140 reconnaissance aircraft to take part. Its flight path took it very close to our apartment and I was able to get some good close up photos such as this one.

While scanning for planes, I noticed a large aircraft heading in my direction. I could see the tell-tale exhaust trails that marked a bigger plane, and soon realized it was the Aurora again. I could have run inside to grab the camera, but today I was content to just watch as it banked slightly right over Kitsilano before making a loop over south Vancouver and back up to Burrard Inlet to fly past the Cenotaph just before 11:11 am. I followed its path and watched as it disappeared into the murk. Having had my moment of silence, I walked back inside.

TensorFlow installation

I found this helpful little intro to using Google’s TensorFlow machine learning library with Python. Next step: install TensorFlow on my laptop.

A quick check of the project docs shows how it easy it is to install – I used pip. For simplicity (and the fact that I’m not planning to do any heavy ML stuff just yet) I went with the CPU-only option for Mac OSX (aka macOS since I’m on Sierra), and since I use tcsh rather than bash I used setenv to point to the TF_BINARY_URL.

But then I hit the following error:

Cannot remove entries from nonexistent file /opt/anaconda/anaconda/lib/python2.7/site-packages/easy-install.pth

A search told me that this was an issue with setuptools, but – thankfully – there is a workaround: append --ignore-installed to the installation line and hey presto, all is well.

(Funnily enough, most of the top results when searching for this error are related to installing TensorFlow. Coincidence, Google?)

After that, the tutorial examples worked just fine. Step 1 on the TF/ML learning curve…