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Archive for May, 2016

I don’t like linking to Facebook posts, but “going  to the source” means I have no other choice in this case. So, in the words of Ismael El Iraki:

I love your music, your concerts mostly (such fun, wild shows) and man, I never thought that you would become one of those spreaders of fear. Fox News, Trump, all those guys. You always felt like a maverick, a rebel: we now know that you are not.

bataclan

You can read the whole story on the website of Independent. I have just two conclusions to offer:

  • Bigotry is everwhere.
  • Do not confound your favourite music star with your favourite person.

And remember to think for yourself, based on facts, not rumours or fantasy.

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The name Ramanujan isn’t new to me: I already knew (don’t ask me how) that this young Indian mathematician had come to England in the beginning of the twentieth century, because some of the things he wrote were quite astounding for someone who did not complete college. I am surprised, however, that someone took the time to turn his life (or at least something a lot like his life) into a feature movie, called “The Man Who Knew Infinity“.

Source: Independent

Source: Independent

Stephen Wolfram has written up an extensive article about the life and the importance of Ramanujan: “Who was Ramanujan?“. It’s well worth reading this, if you’re going to see the movie. And I will try to go see it, preferably in a theater, if I did not already miss the opportunity. I prefer this kind of science heroes to the usual superheroes of the current silver screen ;-)

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Wednesday evening I attended the first meeting of the CFML UserGroup Belgium, which met at the Brussels Adobe offices. The ColdFusion User Group mentioned a few times on this blog in the past clearly is no more, but Guust is taking over the initiative (not the site, unfortunately).

Elisha Dvorak (Solution Consultant, Adobe) gave us a brief overview of what’s new in ColdFusion 2016. She also explained what the API Manager does and how it fits in the CF2016 solution. In short: the API Manager is a separate product, that comes free with the Enterprise Edition of CF2016. It’s not tied in one way or another to ColdFusion, but is offered since Adobe notices that CF is used to develop and run web services (SOAP as well as REST), and the API Manager helps control access to those services.

coldfusion-logo.jpg

As an aside: Adobe is still looking for speakers at the CF SUMMIT in October 2016 in Las Vegas – they will pay your hotel and entrance fee to the conference. Just contact Elisha for details and suggestions!

Guust Nieuwenhuis, organiser of the meeting, then presented a brief overview of Bootstrap 4. After him came Damien Bruyndonckx, creator of the video courses on learning ColdFusion, that are currently available for free on the Adobe website.

Last but not least came Peter De Ranter, managing director of a software development company called Prosteps. He demoed Tilroy, an online POS that handles more than just sales, and which includes a webshop – that’s why Peter talked about “omnichannel“. What interested most attendees, of course, were the underlying technologies. As it turned out, Tilroy is a combination of a frontend running on a CFML engine, a Node.js-based dispatcher/controller/threading engine, and many dozens of Java microservices. The main database is stored in MongoDB, and everything runs on the Amazon cloud infrastructure. An impressive architecture, that probably wasn’t all too easy to set up, since the main focus of the product (apart from its features) is “performance”. And because of that need for speed, Tilroy uses just the Coldbox framework in combination with Bootstrap in the frontend – other frameworks were deemed too slow. Similarly, MongoDB turns out to be a lot faster than SQL Server when searching through hundreds of millions of “rows”.

All in all, I was glad to have assisted at this session – I learned a lot. Let’s see what comes up next time!

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Motorcycle Touring Is Cool

I made the first big tour of the year with my new bike, and managed to add 266km to the counter. It would have been even better if the air temperature had been around 20 degrees Celsius, rather than the 11 or 12 I saw on the thermometers… But I can’t help enjoying the ride, even when it’s chilly outside ;-)

 

The fields of Bassenge (Belgium)

The fields of Bassenge (Belgium)

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I recently received an invitation from Microsoft, to assist in a webinar series about the development of Universal Windows Platform apps. You might think Microsoft would present .NET to do so – but you would be wrong.

universal-app-development.jpg

Building a Universal Windows Platform app – without .NET

Call me silly if you want, but isn’t Node.js a way to create really universal applications that also may run on Windows (if you insist) ?

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BoingBoing signals an intriguing question: “Can a sexbot be a murderer?“.

[The robot] walks into a police station carrying a bag with the severed head of her former owner. She announces that she murdered him because his masochism kink insisted that she be real, and thus capable of being hurt, and so she learned to be real, and then she killed him, because he insisted on hurting her. Now she wants a public defender.

The story, written by , is published on the Slate website. If you’re going to read it, you should also read the comments on this story by a “an expert on robotic law”: “When a Robot Kills, Is It Murder or Product Liability?

Rights entail obligations. If I have a right, then someone else has a responsibility to respect that right. I in turn have a responsibility to respect the rights of others. Responsibility in this sense is a very human notion. We wouldn’t say of a driverless car that it possesses a responsibility to keep its passengers safe, only that it is designed to do so. But somehow, we feel comfortable saying that a driverless car is responsible for an accident.

It’s not that simple, of course. In fact, I’m guessing that this subject will remain a matter of debate for many years to come, as lawyers, insurance companies and politicians try to make sense of what is, in essence, an ethical question. Can a man-made object have “a free will”? Is “articial intelligence” really different from human intelligence?

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No, this time I’m not contemplating any changes in my photographic equipment collection – well, at least not in the immediate future. But I do like to keep in touch with what is going on in the photography world. And my eye fell on two articles that illustrate my interests.

First up is a comparison of the image quality of two Nikon cameras, one of them “full-frame” (the D810) and the other a brand-new APS-C: the lovable D500. The basic question is simple: how good is the Nikon D500 when it comes to the final result, i.e. the image? The Photography Life website says:

Given the D500’s ability to effectively match the D810 on the noise front up to ISO 6400, and perhaps beyond, some may wish to reconsider their thoughts regarding the traditional DX and FX platform considerations. The weight/size/cost savings of the DX platform, the benefits of being on the same body style for both visible and infrared photography (one set of lenses vs. two), and the 50% crop factor for wildlife, and how often I take full advantage of the D810’s full 36 megapixels certainly have me questioning whether the D500 and the DX platform are a better fit for my needs.

Source: “The Nikon D500 – Reigniting The DX / FX Debate And A Few High ISO Photos

This point of view somewhat coincides with my own decision, last year, not to invest in an FX-camera. Just like the author, I wasn’t convinced that the added cost and the added weight would be worth a bit more depth of field and perhaps somewhat sharper pictures. Let’s face it: I’m not a pro photographer, and I’ve spent already enough money on camera stuff. Also: I have to carry all that material all day long when we’re on holiday – so every gram counts! All that and the fully-articulating touchscreen of the Nikon D5500 still make me very happy each time I take it out on an excursion.

Still being developed, but promising: the Hover Camera

Still being developed, but promising: the Hover Camera

The other item I wanted to mention is pictured above: the Hover Camera (thank you, DIY Photography). This is a lightweight, intelligent camera that also happens to be a drone (or vice versa). It is supposed to be easy to use and somewhat autonomous, and it will do video as well as still pictures. The Hover Camera is not yet a product you can buy, but it may well show the way that at least some of the action camera market will follow in the coming years: less multifunctional, but a lot easier to use. I like the concept, but I’m still waiting for a version that can follow me while I’m driving my motorcycle on twisting roads ;-)

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