So yes… I guess this means I’m back.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter you already know I’ve recovered something I consider mentally important to know I have, even though I have to admit it’s nothing but a drug that most of the time simply drags me out of doing the things I really need to do, like, for example, talk about that with you guys.
I’ve been meaning to come, and write. First about Hearthstone, since it’s been keeping my mind focused out of writing code in the evenings and weekends (good thing, actually), and then about the project close to our hearts.
However, when I think about it, I just can’t come around the fact that Paul Walker is no longer among us. I mean, a couple of months ago I was lying on the bed of a 4-star hotel in downtown San Francisco watching Fast Five, The Fast & The Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and I remembered how during high school most of my friends would mock the two first films for not being true to cars and to their spirit. I remember seeing the poster for Tokyo Drift in my (then) local cinema, thinking “how could they leave behind their cast to start over?” when in fact that would become my favorite film in the series; a film with whom I share a deep passion and understanding about what driving a car is. Then came Fast & Furious, at a time I considered myself “mature enough” for those kinds of films which were entirely made to sell tickets to audiences, and I’ll always remember thinking what was the point of that huge wall at the HMV near Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong stacked full of DVD and Blu-Ray copies of the film. Finally, in 2011, the whole thing made sense for me: my Dad and me saw the fifth film at the Metreon in San Francisco, and I finally understood, and most importantly felt, that the Fast & Furious franchise is not about being “real”, it’s not about making fiction come closer to reality like Christopher Nolan did for Batman: it’s about enjoying yourself while watching them, and most importantly, caring about those characters you’ve met and shared many years of your life with.
It was this same year, in 2013, when Fast Six came as far as my own island of Tenerife to shoot a lot of scenes. Could I ever be more proud? I was so excited when Universal kicked the seventh installment into sixth gear so it could be released by the next summer: finally, we would be back in Japan, where the best film in the series was shot, that magical land full of neon lights and tall buildings that seems to be trying to capture me film after film, with last year’s James Bond installment being the most recent example. Then I had to wake up a Sunday morning, my first Sunday with Internet connection in my apartment here in Germany, with a link by my Dad on iMessage that read something like “fast & furious accident”. I thought “well, it might just be something that delays production, kind of like what happened to that poor Camaro”. I could not believe it. Like many others I think, I spent most of that day, and the next, reading everything the gossip tabloids would shoot to catch our eyeballs and grab some Internet ad money. It is kind of disgusting, but I can’t really care: I just can’t stop and really understand that this man is gone; he was here just a couple of days ago, and in a fraction of less than 120 seconds, a bad choice, a judgment call out of the spirit to live and feel alive, took him away from us forever.
I can’t really say whether he was an angel or not, we can leave that to the people who really knew him. All I can say is, I can’t believe this happened, and I can’t get my head around it yet.
May you Rest In Peace, Paul. America wouldn’t mean the same thing for me without your contributions.
From Real Life to Fashion Magazines
I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time… in fact, since last March!!
It all goes back to a Saturday evening, that of March 2nd, if memory serves me right. On the next day, both me and two more friends had been invited to carry a photoshoot for Javier Aguilar Couture's 2013 Summer Collection. Most of my other friends (non-photographers) were happy with the idea of seeing a lot of female skin up close & personal, while I wasn't: while I'm going to be straight about the fact I love to shoot girls, I don't do it with any potential prospect of having sex with them. It might sound quite a bit out of line to mention it so bluntly, but it is the truth. I just see the pictures in my mind before they exist, see the beauty in the girl's eyes, and want to capture the woman's essence through the lens, and nothing else.
Having said that, I will say I was absolutely terrified at the prospect of the shoot. I was going to be the main photographer for the event (ended up being No. 2 and very happy with that), and I had no idea about what to expect, how to indicate the model to pose, how to properly transmit the model what I wanted, but most importantly, I didn’t know whether I was going to perform as expected or not. Approaching people and asking them for a picture is a terrifying thing for me (not boys), and I don’t know why. It’s not like I can’t approach a girl and talk to her, it’s just that asking for a picture is something so personal and almost intimate to me, that it scares me to ask that from other person.
But fear not, there’ll be a lot more on the subject in the following posts. And pictures.
Have you left us?
Revenge against the Clock
It’d be hard to actually give you a good example about this. Kind of what has always happened recently has been that, somewhere or the other, Time has kept eluding me as a function.
At first, as you know, I had these issues with comparing timestamps in this project because Objective-C’s NSDates are compared in the order of micro-seconds, not seconds. So, if you have two timestamps at 15:24:25 and 15:24:26 and asked the method [NSDate timeIntervalSinceDate:] for a value, you’d expect a return of -1, or at least -1, since the difference between them is that the first is older (smaller) than the latter by a second. Or what’s the same, NSOrderedDescending (I think I got that one right). Problem: at a micro-second level, maybe they’re only separated by -0.7 seconds, or -0.9999919 seconds, but not -1. My solution? Handle the special case where the difference between two NSDates drops below a second.
But how do you handle that special case? Oh, I see. It’s just a simple comparison! Hours need to be greater than the number of minutes, minutes need to be greater than the number of seconds. Not so fast, Coyote.
Ranting about code
I sort of have one of those days right now; last Saturday I watched Fast & Furious 6 in the cinema, having finished re-watching Fast & Furious a couple of hours earlier. Then I raced through Fast Five yesterday evening, and have kind of nowhere to sit and let my mind drive away with. I didn’t want to pick up Xcode and start writing TestCases for our project right now, and when I was kind-of-almost-going-to-do-it, I realised I hand’t written anything during the week, so that kind of cheered me up. Kind of.
This won’t constitute a full update, since little to no work was performed in our big project, but something or the other was done after all.
Week 7 - The Unexpected Passenger
(Note that the Pebble watch is not the “Unexpected Passenger” mentioned in this post’s title)
I know I’m late by a day, but I was busy until yesterday finishing the latest touches before wrapping up. It doesn’t feel like it’s my first update since I held off from programming a full 7 Days, mainly because after a day I was completely into it again, and because right now it feels as if I never stopped, and that I completely did the right thing back then.
I have to warn you, though. There won’t be many pictures to showcase this time, mainly because I didn’t feel the need to draw a lot more, and because the project as it is right now is in an inconsistent state: the Engine is kind of disabled for timeframe refurbishments, so I can’t run the new code, and even if I did there’s nothing new to show. But some interesting work was done, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Week 6 - Rest and No Relaxation
(Cover art by mqken at DeviantArt)
Beginning to write this is getting harder than I thought, since to keep my 17” MBP comfortable to write (50-55 degrees Celsius) and without over-heating I’m watching last week’s episode of This Week in Tech on my iPad next to me and thus getting the closest thing of an idea to what it is to have a pair of Google Glass on and above your eyes.
So, what was it for this week? I guess I sounded pretty down seven days ago, needing a big break or something. To be honest, by Monday I was already feeling the “need” to get to work, but I told myself that was precisely the reason why I had to stop for a few days. Then a couple more days went on, and I started feeling like maybe stopping was not a good idea, that it’d get a bit hard to get back on the groove, but then I started really working towards the kind of problems I wanted to solve, and here I am with a big picture of what the Zealot Engine is missing.
So yes, no code this week. I read Ender’s Game, and I also put my eyes through multiple WWDC sessions on Grand Central Dispatch plus a few Apple Developer Guides on Objective-C, Concurrency, OOP, etc. What we’re going to do is quickly review again what was the main issue which brought me to a halt last week, and after that we’ll cover the main four features I believe are missing from our Zealot Engine concept.
Week 3.5 to 5 - Gap Technology (Part II)
This is the week where I’m going to admit to myself, and to you, that this little project has become a lot more than I thought it’d be, because it’s now a part of me. It no longer seems to be just “an exercise” or “a prototype”. It’s my work now; part of what I am. A channel through which I’m trying to give form to something entirely abstract (software) using what others judge to be “my experience”. Things got real this week, specially because I went through a hard time to get here, and it’s tough to admit, because in practice, all the hard work was done two weeks ago, before the “Android break” we came to know as my Facebook Newsfeed (yeah, I know it’s “News Feed”, but anyways) Sample code, and in reality it was too, but I crashed against a barrier that, as stupid as it sounds, didn’t even exist to begin with.
Week 3 - Gap Technology (Part 1)
Sunday. I’m back, and it’s honestly been a long week for me. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I seriously thought I would either not hit my goals or not dodo as much work as I wanted to. For the first time in the last 21 days, I failed my own expectations, but given how complicated everything came out to be, I’m really really glad about how things ended.
Are you ready? This might get long again. Just to be sure, I won’t be writing this in the Tumblr site itself but using iA Writer for the Mac :)
Week 2 - Laying down the keel
Let’s get right to it.
Week 2 was the week where I decided the occupation that’d keep me working on iOS for an unforeseeable number of weeks, or at least that’s the idea I was pursuing. I had a rough idea at the start of what I wanted to do, but again, I did not want to mark an “X” in the calendar saying “this has do be done by then”. No. It hasn’t proven to be a good solution for me in the past, and I won’t be able to change the outcome of things if I don’t change the process itself. Yes, there were goals for week 2, but there were very reasonable goals, and there were goals I knew I could do without rushing in. So let’s dive right in.