Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

the two towers

So, I finally saw The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers yesterday.

I have, very, very confusing feelings about it. On one hand many of the sequences were excellent, specially the battle sequences. The Ents were great. But... but... the overall 'product' left me disatisfied. At times I felt as if -gasp!- I was about to fall asleep!. It seemed soooooo looong. I think the story suffered from the chop-and-dice work they did on it to adapt it to film: the second book is actually divided in two, with the first part dealing with Aragorn, Legolas, Merry, Gandalf, etc, and the second part dealing with Frodo, Sam and Gollum/Smeagol. In the book, this keeps the action running along really fast, and you can't wait to turn to the next page. In the movie, the mixing of these two stories into one only makes everything muddled and slow: the pace is completely lost. There is no time to perceive the 'atmosphere' of each of the stories. Frodo's journey becomes incredibly dark close to the end of book 2. The movie doesn't do justice to that at all.

Finally, the end was cut off at a different point. I didn't like that either, but I think in movie terms it makes some sense at least. Not too great overall. We'll see how they end it. Everything depends on the next and final installment of the trilogy. In any case, we'll always have the books :-).

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on January 6, 2003 at 11:57 PM

'the shield' & 'Taken'

Just watched the last episode in the first series of The Shield. Absolutely, incredibly excellent television. I can't wait for season 2. To me, it seems like a TV version of Training Day which is probably the best movie I saw in all of last year. Meanwhile, the second season of '24' still hasn't started here in Ireland. Oh well.

I also saw (last saturday) the first episode of Taken, produced by Steven Spielberg. It was excellent. Finally a science fiction tv-show that is worth calling 'science fiction'. Between Taken and Band of Brothers Spielberg is really doing its part to revitalize TV.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on January 6, 2003 at 11:42 PM

Why the 'Java Stigma' Part 4

(previous entries for the 'java stigmata series' :-) here: one, two and three).

Okay, the rant of the day is about expectations.

IMO, with software as with everything else, expectations are everything. Example: remember the hype around the segway? Weren't you a tiny bit disappointed when you read that it was just a glorified scooter? Sure, it looks cool, and it might even be useful (I have my doubts, I'd much rather see people walking more than riding around in things that will actually have a high change of hurting pedestrians, at least until "segway-enabled" cities appear. And let's not even talk about the price and what does it mean in terms of its user demographics). Another example of ultra-hype was Star Wars Episode I. Anyway, besides the point. What I'm trying to say is, once you hype something enough, there is nothing that can match the hype. Reality will always be more boring and mundane than our imagination.

Java, I think, suffered from way, way too much hype at the beginning. When you hype something too much (or when the hype takes a life on its own) it becomes impossible to deliver what people expect. If the reality doesn't even match the basic promises (as was the case withJava in the beginning, since until JDK 1.1 Java wasn't really adequate to build client applications that could create an effective alternative) then what you get is backlash. The hype turns around, and suddenly it's anti-hype, the perception is that whatever you were hyping will never work again.

Java has had to dig itself out of its own hype-created hole in the past few years. It's incredibly common to hear that Java is not useful to do client-side apps, that it's slow, and so on. This of course doesn't match reality, but the anti-hype persists. In the case of Java the anti-hype was so bad because the hype was incredible: it even got to the point where people were being told the future was a JavaStation and not a PC.

But... I for one think that this has actually been good overall. Java hasn't been killed by the anti-hype, since Sun has kept it going, and since it's automatically considered an underdog it has drawn the community around it much closer.

So I think that as long as we keep expectations in line with reality for the future, Java will actually become more than a little relevant. At some point, it won't matter whether something is written in Java or not. We are really close to that now. Morpheus, for example, is written in Java. So are many versions of Gnutella, such as Limewire. So is ThinkFree. And the only people who care about that are those that should: IT people that will see the benefits of being able to deploy the same app in any environment, of lower costs, etc, and of developers (both app- and custom-developers) that will see their lives made easier by the superior programming semantics and the qualities of Java.

As long as the expectations are kept in line this time, Java has a lot more things going for it. The day Java becomes invisible (and thus un-hyped), but irreplaceable, is the day Java will have won. But that's nothing new, is it? :-)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 6, 2003 at 11:33 PM

URL geographical mapping

[via McGee's Musings]: Metatags for geographical locations. Interesting. But, we'll need a lot more tools and information to make geographical location of sites useful. For example, when we're talking about "geographical location of a URL", what are we referring to? The location of the server? Of the person that mantains it? Of the company that owns the server? The site? The person that posts? People move around a lot... and as soon as more advanced "cloud storage services" are available for internet sites, data will move a lot a round as well. We have to start somewhere, however, so I think this is a cool first step.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 6, 2003 at 9:41 PM

quantum computing

An article from The Economist on recent advances in quantum computing.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 6, 2003 at 6:52 PM

the sendo story

Russ has commented on a story on The Register UK about the Sendo/Microsoft fallout. Very interesting, it seems to be very, very similar to what they did with Go in the early 90's (a story told by Jerry Kaplan on his book Startup). Some things never change it seems...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 6, 2003 at 12:52 AM

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