Small pro-armenian demonstration broken up in Ixelles, Brussels

15:10: Was skyping with a friend of mine, when I hear chanting & shouting out of the window. (I live on the fourth floor flat at a crossroad.) Looking out of the window I see police everywhere, running after people. In one particular instance, I see a guy run around a corner and take off. A policeman runs after him with his hand on his holster and shouts 'Stop!', so of course the guy does. The policeman and a colleague of him approach, the guy puts his hands out, and he's handcuffed relatively gently and walked off.

The main group of fleeing protestors are obscured by trees, but I see their escape route cut off by police vans. I hear some crashing and a couple of bangs, but nothing loud enough for a gunshot.

I cut the Skype call, get outside, and light a cigarette, on the logic that people don't think you're going to run off or heave a brick if you're smoking. There are plenty of bystanders in any case. The first word I hear is that it's a pro-Flemish demonstration. I was thinking back to last week, when Turkish rioters set an Iranian-Kurdish cafe on fire and torched bins in Schaebeek, the predominantly Turkish quartier of Brussels.

(The Turkish media has accused the EU countries of financing/supporting the P.K.K., something I find (a) difficult to believe, and (b) more likely a result of smearing all Kurds with the P.K.K. label. This probably explains that demonstration.)

The police soon block off the road with vans. I speak to a policeman standing next to one of the vans, who tells me that a pro-Armenian manifestation interdit (demonstration without a permit) was broken up. I saw some demonstrators who were just standing chatting with the police, so I assume the people who ran, did so because either they were either sans papiers (illegal immigrants), or with temporary residence status, making them liable for deportation. (or 'cos they thought they were going to get stomped, who knows?).

I counted a total of 6 police vans, 3 police cars, 2 police buses (the type meant for transporting prisoners) and one ambulance, which moved off in short order with siren blaring . Presumably there were some injured. One bus left shortly after, half-full, with about 12 handcuffed people inside. The other bus was empty.

And that's all there is to tell.


And so we return to the same old problem...

...trans-session execution of workflow that most people would express in flowcharts with crap like BPEL is better encapsulated in serialized continuations. Neither of which scale to web-sized loads. The alternative is, of course, saving a 'pointer' or some-such state information which is then either loaded into a honking IF statement or a sub-language parser.

None of this should be necessary. Programmatic access to stacks, heaps & scope is something that is all technically possible in assembly.

Anyway. WIBBLE.



The whole Enterprise mentality (aside from the many ways in which it is already monolithically stupid) of deployables & artifacts &c. is all very nice, but you can't build a development cycle around that. That's why PHP and RoR is so nice. To continue incoherently:
  • How do you implement visitor pattern widget rendering when what your visitor does, is output HTML? If you're trying to play nice with JSP?
  • In fact, the whole template/code dichotomy is false.
  • Why can't you write JSP functions?
  • In scripting languages, you can have your configuration in the same language as your code. Because Java is compiled, you can't.
  • 90% of webapp operations involve reading from storage, interleaving the data with HTML, and outputting the response. Why on Earth would you want an MVC paradigm in the middle of that? Putting the model in memory increases your memory load, the controller does nothing interesting. How did this become best practice in the world of Java for simple read views?
  • JSTL is crap. The Collections support is pitiful, it can't even support Collection.contains(), and (what would actually fix this stuff) you can't invoke arbitrary methods. When you see people making their configuration classes override Maps and doing crap like this and this to work around these stupid self-imposed limitations, then you know you've messed up.

AND, maybe I'm wrong, but why aren't JSTL variables as 'scriptlet' variables, like most semi-sane tag libraries (e.g. Struts) does? WTF. Oh dear, I've lost my temper again.


FB API Redux

  • Why the Hell is a user GET converted into a POST before it hits the app webserver? This is just semantically wrong, and you'd expect an API that's all RESTful &c. to be able to get its verbs right. This invalidates a whole bunch of pre-built web logic that lots of people have put a lot of thought into providing.

  • Maybe I'm spoilt by being a corporate developer, but the Java API is a bit poor. No test-cases, no POM, no javadocs, pff. Not that it stops me from doing anything, but it would reduce friction a lot.


FB encore

Written 06/10/07 baby, predictive or wot :-)

OK. I may be late to the party, but as ever, I make up for it with boundless enthusiasm. With FB, if this stays independent, this is disruptive, more disruptive than Google, because it directly affects people in the real world. Fit the first.

Fit the second, I expect the big web players to do their utmost to stomp on this quick, or compete like Hell.


The FaceBook API

Very nice. Might even use it, some time soon even. BUT: maybe I don't get the threat model here, but the use of MD5 as a hashing algorithm is kinda anachronistic - MD5 was broken years ago. Anyhoo. Watch this space, maybe.


Hum, better write something here I guess

So, why is this dormant?

Simple, by way of metaphor:

Today I redownloaded the demo of StarCraft, a game I've played and loved in the past. Completing the final mission, meticulously exterminating Zerg with ranked Siege Tanks (the only sure way to have zero friendly casualties on lower levels), it occurs to me:

I'm wasting my time.

There is stimulus in winning a game, but it's artificial stimulus, without use in the real world. That's why I stopped (now I remember - like eating McFood, occaisionally you forget why you don't eat it, so you eat it again...)

Anyway. So.