Month: January 2006

Train of Shame

Speaking about High Speed Train (or T.A.V. Treno Alta Velocità), what about reaching the Moderate Speed level first? What about an Acceptable Level of Service?
Italian commuters experience daily delays ranging from ten-twenty minutes or longer. Because of the inability of the train drivers to stop at the same point every morning, it is impossible for commuters to optimize the space on the platform and minimize the time for climbing-in. Because of the insufficient number of wagons, commuters are forced to uncomfortably stand pressed against each other for all the needed time…

C++ To Gui or Not To Gui?

One of the most missing feature of the C and C++ standards is, at least for us everyday programmers, the standardisation of the GUI. What a bless could be a single approach to the GUI programming. Tools companies may focus their efforts to provide wonderful tools, programmers could stop wasting time in #ifdeffing around, and so on. Anyway looking at Java language maybe that ISO/ANSI committee were not so wrong in taking such a conservative approach. At only some 10 years after the language debut, Java, although strictly controlled by Sun, has 4 different (and incompatible) GUI toolkits (JWT, AWT, Swing, SWT) plus the J2ME GUI interface.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

HP6 came under the best premises. I pre-ordered it on Amazon saving 30%, then, after delivery I got another $ back from Amazon because they find a better agreement allowing them to make a better price, and last I received it the day before leaving for holidays. Everything went fine and smooth, so I was positively biased.
I found this book to be really good, with less mysteries to solve and more depth, overall a more enjoyable reading like if turning a bit down the pace the effort went in quality.
In this book more and more I felt drawn into the HP’s world. Also the story diverged from the standard template the other books accustomed us. It still tells about a school year, but the ending is more open, this book sets the stage for a follow up radically different.
I think everyone knows by now that Dumbledore is going to die, and this is a really touching point in the story, I was left with a sense of sadness and lost for a couple of day in the real life.
Characters are growing up, and the story becomes more mature as well. As already laid out in the previous episodes, the boundaries between good and evil become more fuzzy, people deeply convinced of acting for good sake will end in doing wrong. I would have expected HP to be tempted of joining Voldemort side to add some more tension to the character, but this wasn’t the case. Voldemort is actively trying to destroy everything is important to Harry leaving him no other way that Good.
Tensions in Harry are whether or not to declare himself to Jinny, how to let Ron and Hermione to reconcile, why no one believes him when he says that Draco is a Death Eater… well nothing particularly new.
I think that the magic of the book is in how it is written in the world described and how they are described, in the ingenuity involved.
I have a hope, I strongly hope that one day, maybe not the next book, nor the one after, but eventually this masterpiece will come to an end. Stories must end. The end alone is half of the story, while I fear, being HP a goldmine, that this would turn in an endless soap-opera with HP turned in some rogue hero fighting against an endlessly re-spawning enemy.
What if red hood fable instead of ending with the death of the wolf, would have ended with the wolf escaping and RedHood and her granny starting an EvilWolf Private Eye investigation company?

News from C++0x

Hello there, I’m back from holidays. Refreshing (actually a bit more colder than refreshing 🙂 holidays.I found this article from Stroustrup providing a quick glimpse on the next C++ standard. I know you’re holding your breath for my review of Design and Evolution of C++ and since I don’t want to loose any one of you two, you can start reading this. I found here the same guiding spirit and ideas that lined through all the book.
My favorite quotes:
– In my opinion, C++ has become too “expert friendly”
– Finally, C++ is so large, is used in so many application areas, and there are so many useful C++ design techniques, that we are all “novices” much of the time.
– I hope that after looking a bit at this example, your reaction will be “How simple!” rather than “How clever! How advanced!”
C++98 took several years, mainly because of a wealth of new things not existing before. This huge effort resulted in a large language and equally overwhelming library, capable of coping with most of daily uses of most of the C++ programmers. Unfortunately the effort hadn’t been equally spent on making things simple. The learning curve of the most advanced features of the language (e.g. the algorithm library, or the metaprogramming) is rather steep.
It seems that one of the main objective of the C++0x (where x is expected to be ‘9’) is teachability and simplification, so there are good chances that we’ll see definitive advances in these directions.