Monday, 28 April 2014

Some JavaScript Fresh Stuff (once again)

It's always a good time for dumping here a list of interesting JavaScript links, so here it goes:

  • Even if you've been consuming Promises regularly in your developments it's likely that this excellent post JavaScript Promises ... In Wicked Detail explaining how they can be implemented will make an interesting reading for you.
  • So yes, it's clear that Asynchonous programming is now essential in almost any language and platform, this chapter in a free Node.js book makes an excellent reading.
  • I've always found disturbing the lack of multiline strings in JavaScript. This is a really ingenious work around. So much fuss around Roslyn and we've had its "Compiler as a Service" functionality since the beginning in JavaScript land.
  • Talking about ingenious stuff, these unconventional uses of Array.prototype.reduce will keep you thinking for a while.
  • Even more ingenious stuff, this sample of how to abuse default parameters in ES6 to communicate errors when a compulsury parameter is missing. This shows us how powerful the implementation of Default parameters in ES6 is, as you can decide the values in runtime! C# has had default parameters since version 4, but they're restricted to compile time values.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Edge of Heaven

I'm the kind of person that can watch the same film a lot of times if I liked it enough, and continue to enjoy it on every new occasion. It's something that for whatever the reason I've done quite a few times (one cause for this is that before a trip I like to watch films set in that place, and as there's a bunch a European cities that I need to visit again and again every so often...). On the other side, there are films that really delighted me years ago but I have not found the moment to revisit again. The Edege of Heaven is one of those works. I watched it on one local culture house in Xixon quite a few years ago, and I really loved it. At the moment I had not seen any other film by and was unaware of his importance as one of the best European film makers of the last years (he's of Turkish descent, but was raised in Germany and adopted Western values, so he's as European as me or my grandparents).

I've watched it now in a quite different setting, over different train trips between Toulouse and nearby cities (Bordeaux, Cahors, Auch), following a similar pattern (try to study some French and when I get tired switch to some film watching on my smartphone). Whatever different the setting has been (add to it that over the years your 'internal settings' also evolve), the output has been basically the same, this is a gorgeous movie. The plot is really original, a story of searching and never finding, but just by a few millimeters. 2 countries and 2 families which members fail to find each other while crossing their lives without noticing. It's a really beautiful story, it makes no sense that I explain/spoil it here, you just must watch it. Just will add that I pretty much like the title, I find it quite appropriate, indeed for me the characters spend the film on a thin edge separating Hell from Heaven, so "The edge of Hell" would have been equally correct.

I love one sequence almost at the end, when the Turkish guy explains a desolate German mother the myth of the sacrifice of Ishmael (or Isaak) (basically this same story exists in Christianity and Judaism). The German woman asks the guy "did you ever ask your father what would he have done?" And the guy replies:

"He said he would even make God his enemy in order to protect me¨

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Future of Europe

I've watched recently a couple of documentaries about Europe and its crisis (it's not just the economical one, it's more the crisis of the idea of Europe itself), that I think are pretty worth to share:

  • There are several interesting parts in this Aljazeera documentary. I would clearly highlight the discussion with three editors of Le Monde Diplomatique. They transmit a deep feeling of decline and defeat as main witnesses of the lost of weight in Europe of one of the countries that was one of the main defenders of the welfare state. It's also interesting the interview to one disgusting Czech politician that constantly talks about how bad Southern Europe is and how they, hard workers and intelligent Czechs have nothing to do with lazy and clumsy Southern Europeans (he does not say it directly, but you can feel it). As a Southern European (yes, my Atlantic Asturies is North of the South, but to a greater or lesser extent, it's Southern Europe) there are tons of things that I don't like from Southern Europe, but I've had the luck to work with people of many different European countries, and for sure the problem with Southern Europe is not that we're lazy or clumsy.
  • The Disenchantment of Europe is an extraordinary work. Sometimes even Southern European TV Channels :-) manage to output some astonishing productions, and this is one of them. I love the aesthetics used: autumn images, the glorious, imposing statues that embellish Berlin or Paris since centuries ago confronted to citicens that walk slow and lost under the weight of the times they're undergoing, the torn down wall vs the economical wall being erected. It gives you a feeling of sadness and disenchantment that obviously fits the message, that Europe, our Europe, is decaying, and we, her children, are drowing with it. It's painful to be remembered of the social cuts, the reluctancy between the rich Europe and the poor Europe, the sick vandalism in London in 2011, broken neighbourhoods like Tottenham or Saint Denis, the disgusting "City" of London and its financial services, the French factory about to be relocated... but it also lets some light leak through these rough, dark walls: Stephane Hessel, some of the "indignados" (I say some, cause at least in Asturies too many of the "indignados" were just lost guys that had never had any interest in social issues but that now, when the crisis was hitting them, needed to join "the revolt", but without any sort of self-criticism or real understanding of what had been around in the last decades, they were just following the new trend).

I hate this current disenchantment with Europe. Sure the European Union has failed us in part, but not because of trying to unite Europe, but for not having united it enough. we can not go back to the stupid "saloon nationalism" that for so many centuries drained our continent. It's time to proudly and loudly reclaim Europe as what it is, the foundation of Western civilization. A millenary culture that being forged by so many different peoples clearly understands both the need of maintaining its basic identity and the need to continue to enrich it with the contributions of the newcomers, because above all, one of the cornerstones of the European identity is that anyone coming here that accepts our basic rules has to feel welcome to stay and contribute.

It's unpopular to say this now, in an EU controlled by the Banks and the USA, but looking back in history it's easy to see that the European Union is the most important thing that has ever happened to this continent. How many wars were wages in this continent to preserve borders, to gain territories? So much war and desolation, so much pain. The WWI and WW2, the Franco-Prussian Wars, the 100 years war... Living in France one is reminded of the horrors of these wars in a constant basis. Every quartier here in Toulouse has some kind of monument (a statue, a plaque) in commemoration of those "Mort pour la France", mainly in WWI, but also in the Franco Prussian War or the WWII (and by the way, there's also some beautiful homage to the Spanish Republican Exile for their role in the Liberation of France). It also seems like almost every French city has one of its main streets named after Alsace-Lorraine, those regions that for centuries changed hands between France and Germany in so many bloody occasions. So having this in mind, when one thinks of how someone with a passport from the other side of the Pyrenees can freely cross from France to Germany back and forth (when I crossed the bridge over the Rhine that joins Strasbourg and Khel I was pretty aware of how much such a simple action represented when put in a historical perspective, and could not help to think about how impossible such an action would have been less than 1 century ago). When one thinks of the European Aeronautic Industry (market leaders by the way, fuck you Boeing :-D, manufacturing its aircraft between Hamburg and Toulouse, but with pieces developed in UK, Italy and Spain, one can see that we have made huge progress in the last century. Now it's just time to go much further in this direction, with a target in mind, something like a UFSE (United Federal States of Europe). The other option, is just not an option, but madness. A back to the populist, chauvinist, and reactionary local nationalism that appeals to the most basic and involutionary instincts: the clan, us vs the others... its consequences range from the simple stagnation to the risks of wars (as we're seeing now between Ukraine and Russia). That's the suicide of reason and the suicide of Europe.

There can be no room in our continent for internal borders, they're just senseless. Europe is a human continuum, and Europeans are "condemned" to live together, so the more we understand each other, the more we share, the better.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Physics of Absurd

This has been one of the most absurd experiences in a long while, it seems like a 1 week delayed April Fool's joke. I've received to my great excitement an email invitation to download Atom, the Source Editor developed by GitHub. So, I hurried to click on the invitation link and I was welcomed with the first unpleasant surprise, a button requesting me to give the Site read-access to my Email Contacts. There was no "Skip" button, just Accept, so, though reluctant, I felt forced to accept. Continue on to the next page, and shit, here it is:

No, I have not altered the image, it's real as pain. It can only be downloaded for Mac!!! I thought somehow the browser was wrongly identifying me as a Mac user (over my dead body!), but not being able to find a Windows or Linux download, I ran to check the wikipedia page and found that this was not an error, it's for real, so far they only have a Mac version!

Really, I can't fucking understand it. How can it be that GitHub, the "social coding" site, one of the most most appealing sites for developers seeking to learn and share, decide to release a product (supposedly temporarily, Windows/Linus versions seem to be planned) only for Mac, the most trendy, stupid and anti open source company that I can think of. Yes, I have a deep distaste for anything Apple... A company that just sells image and coolness.

All this touches one topic that has annoyed me quite a lot since a while, why have many Linux/open source advocates got enticed to the Apple world. And come on, don't tell me that Mac OS has an "open source heart"... it's just that, "the heart" same as Android, everything else surrounding it is closed and dirty. Taking advantage of the community rather than contributing to it... It really shocks me, people that to these days continue to rant against Microsoft (that in the last years seems to me much more interested in Open Source) have fallen in Appel's trap. Maybe it's that when you've always been a freak finding hard to fit in the pack, resorting to Apple's hipster shit is the easiest way to gain a thin layer of "coolness", a way to get looks of approval when you step into Starbucks... who knows, maybe someone has improved his sexual life thanks to carrying "the fresh apple" with him (yes, who knows, maybe I should try...)

Saturday, 5 April 2014

No Need to Switch Browsers

Hopefully, Brendan Eich has resigned from his recently gained position as Mozilla CEO. I'd been quite unaware of all the controversial around his designation as Mozilla's CEO, but as a JavaScript fanatic and loyal Mozilla user (Firefox, MDN, Rhino...) I was already sadly aware of the homophobic shadows around this individual. Yes, I'm directly using the term homophobic, because I think that a person who decides to donate 1000 dollars to a campaign against the rights of gays and lesbians has to be a fucking homophobe. Living in world where millions of people die of hunger or illnesses that simple medicines could cure, someone who considers that the money of his donation is better used to deprive gays of a basic right than to save the starving has to be quite a fanatic....Such a donation is a direct action against other people rights, not just a trivial personal decision. I could accept (well, not really, but to a certain extent) that others do not like gays and and decide not to relate to them (I don't like white t-shirts, so I don't wear them). It's a stupid mindset, but they're not hurting others (indeed, if they're so close minded to disdain homosexuals, most likely these people have little to contribute to others), but when someone attacks others rights, that's a different thing.

Voices defending this individual ranged from separating his professional role from his private life and opinions, to the typical "he's free to think whatever he wants". I drastically disagree with both arguments.

As for the first one, we, as individuals conform a whole, an entity, and everything we do is interconnected. My moral views cause me that even when I consider him an amazing programmer (he created JavaScript!!!!), I I wouldn't pay him a coffee, cause honestly, I don't like people that think like him. With this in mind, I expect that based on his moral views, he wouldn't pat a salary to a gay employee.

Regarding the second argument, the "respect" argument, I deeply hate and despise such position. Many times tolerance is used to defend intolerance: "he has the right to think so", well, I prefer to use intolerance to defend tolerance (e.g. I would torture and execute Neo-Nazis and fundamentalist muslims to prevent them from spreading their stinking "values")

So well, now that Mozilla is "clean" again, I 'll continue to use their services

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