Thursday, March 18, 2010

Almost saw Freddy Mercury in concert

I regret not seeing Freddy Mercury from Queen in concert but I was too young when they were touring and not yet born during most of their prime years.

Last night I witnessed a ballet show on Queen music and it was as close to a Freddy Mercury show as I could ever get.  A truly exceptional experience !

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bread and circuses

Yesterday while zapping the TV shows I've observed what the true purpose of all the political talk shows and talk show hosts is: they are the modern day circus presided by a modern day jester.

For you see, the jester has a very important role: it diffuses the public negativity.

As a ruler or ruling party that also does questionable social or economical decisions you don't really want people on the streets. You don't want resentment to grow within people. So - the jester is actually something you need. Of course, they may sting a little but remember: sticks and stones...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The default NetBeans IDE java source template is polluting the web

People will never bother to do anything manual unless absolutely necessary. This is why I believe the current NetBeans "empty" java file template is fundamentally broken.

It tries to "teach" people how to change the template by inserting in the file header something like:

/*
 * To change this template, choose Tools | Templates
 * and open the template in the editor.
 */

This might sound like a great idea in practice but it's broken since most people won't change it. So it just becomes line-noise that will get published, committed to VCS, etc.

A good UI would display that message differently, like a floating non-modal dialog, or some notification in the New File Wizard, but it shouldn't produce actual text that is part of the source code file.

Google seems to say about the same: there are 321.000 instances of files indexed by the search engine containing that header. And this is only on the public web, I bet there are many more closed-source code repositories filled with these lines...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Reading poetry is hard

I have this book with all the poems of a great Romanian poet, Nichita Stanescu and I've started reading about a poem every day.

I like his poems because they are very imaginative and visual in an unexpected way. I see them as surrealist descriptions, as if someone would put a Dali painting in words and add some more emotions to the mix. Of course, this is just how I see them, I never bothered to read the actual critics review of the poet.

The other day I was reading a nice poem called "Rain in the month of March"  ("Ploaie in luna lui Marte" in original). I can't find a proper translation but this is the first one a search returns.

Well, this poem also became the lyrics of a famous Romanian song by Paula Seling: listen it, it's quite nice.

Now, reading this poem made me realize two things.

First, I couldn't separate the song in my head from the poem. I couldn't read the poem, I was always hearing the tune of the song. The song taught me the only way I could ever read that poem.

Second, I'm probably not good at reading poems. Because the song made me see how beautiful the poem is -- I would have just read it, imagined an interesting visual imagine and be done with it. Reading it would have never shown me how good the poem is, it would have just been another specific Nichita Stanescu poem. But the song showed me it's an excellent poem.

I wonder how many other great poems I've already missed because I couldn't read them the way they are supposed to, with the right state of mind and the right visuals.

Reading poetry is hard.

The case of the different jsch 0.1.54 binaries

As part of the Apache NetBeans IP clearance we are combing through all the code and dependencies. One interesting thing we bumped into wa...