The Son of Man is reborn and so is my taste for alcoholic beverages!

I gave up drinking for Lent since its one of the only vices I struggle with. I’m not a Catholic but I do love Carnvial and I’ve grown to see Lent as a worthy exercise for your will power. Its hard to make a change in our routine, even temporarily, so its refreshing to exert some control over something in your life where you know you are a bit too self-indulgent.

One of the neat things about getting interested in Carnival (or Mardi Gras if you prefer) is that its made me aware of the constellation of seasonal Christian festivals that I would probably otherwise be unaware of. For instance, Lent ends on Holy Saturday (or Easter Eve or Black Saturday as you prefer) and is, according to legend, the time when Christ descended into Hell to retrieve the souls of the righteous. The Wikipedia page on the “Harrowing of Hell” is an entertaining and informative read.

Unfortunately, I’m very, very busy with some commercial deadlines so I can’t really properly relax and indulge myself. I’ll probably have a drink with dinner but that’s about it. I can’t wait to clear my plate and sit around my neighbor’s brand new pool with an ice bucket full of beer. Hopefully that can happen later this week.

Kickstart Ralph Bakshi!

Legendary animator Ralph Bakshi is trying to Kickstart a new animation effort. You can get an original cell from any of his landmark movies and even original drawings, depending on the level you support it at. The effort is a hair’s breadth from succeeding and has just a little while left. If you have ever been a fan of his work this might be the ideal time to pick up a more personal piece for yourself and be a part of his next effort.

I bought in at the $250 “original cell and character drawing” level. You should too!

Twitter Flight vs BackboneJS

This blog post started out as a private email but I’ve seen a few other articles tackling the same topic. I thought I might fish some good feedback out of the ether if I made it more public.

I’m involved with an effort to improve the JavaScript UI for the Eucalyptus Cloud Management product. Lately we have been examining whether Twitter Flight or BackboneJS represents a better way forward. Flight provides very good infrastructure for managing events. Perhaps somewhat questionably, they extend this excellence into an argument that there is no need to manage the model or the flow of data back and forth to the server. From the Flight site:

While some web frameworks encourage developers to arrange their code around a prescribed model layer, Flight is organized around the existing DOM model with functionality mapped directly to DOM nodes.

Not only does this obviate the need for additional data structures that will inevitably influence the broader architecture, but by mapping our functionality directly onto the native web we get to take advantage of native features.

I don’t know whether they are trying to say that the need for models is “obviated” entirely or merely that it can be decoupled from the view event management framework. Even if they believe its the former their own code speaks to it being the latter. When you examine the Flight demo mail app you find an anemic sort of model infrastructure managing “contacts” and “mail” with plain-jane collections of objects:

https://github.com/twitter/flight/blob/gh-pages/demo/app/data.js

You can then see those collections being used to populate views:

https://github.com/twitter/flight/blob/gh-pages/demo/app/component_data/mail_items.js

This is really very similar to Backbone except with far less power and utility. In Backbone, there are tools for paging large data sets, synchronization of collections with the server, transparently storing data and a lot more. If you aren’t familiar, glance over the capabilities it provides here:

http://backbonejs.org/#Model

If you wanted to extend Twitter’s demo mail app into something full-featured like Zimbra or RoundCube then it doesn’t take much imagination to see yourself, piece by piece, re-implementing the tools that Backbone already provides.

There is no doubt that Flight is innovating in the view space. They also seem to have added some real value managing the UI view lifecycle and tearing down resources. I must admit that I am attracted to the picture they are painting. At the same time, I am sure that a UI event infrastructure does not an application make. Any serious effort is going to find itself in need of a robust infrastructure for managing the movement of data between the client and server. I would love to see a fusion of Flight’s events with Backbone’s models. This kind of decoupling and “small sharp tools” is the stuff that developer dreams are made of.

Adobe Application Manager Error A12E1

Really this should be on the Adobe support forums but they have marked the issue as closed and I can’t attach a comment.

On a fresh Windows 8 install, I found that I could not install Adobe’s Creative Cloud services because Adobe Application Manager would fail during its install with a nebulous “A12E1” error code. After examining the logs it became clear that the application manager though there was an existing copy already installed in a “corrupted state”. This version was installed in the “Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Adobe\OOBE\PDApp” directory. I removed this directory in its entirety (after snapshotting my VM state) and then ran the install without any problems.

No promises here but if you are trying to install Adobe Creative Cloud on a fresh Windows 8 install and you are seeing the A12E1 error then this fix might help you out. I’m hoping Google magically brings those troubled by this problem here since A12E1 is a pretty unique search phrase. Good luck and safe travels.

Regarding the Social Security “Chained Consumer Price Index”

So, let me get this straight. If I like $5 hamburgers and inflation rises so that my favorite burger costs $7 I am forced to respond by switching to a crappier burger that previously cost $3 but now (due to inflation) costs $5. Because I’ve switched to a new $5 burger (that sucks), inflation doesn’t exist? I’m still eating an inferior burger to what I previously was eating.

How is this supposed to work for things that don’t have cheaper alternatives? What about a gallon of regular unleaded gas? What about a gallon of milk? I guess we’ll find jobs closer to our houses and water down our milk? That’s supposed to mean that inflation isn’t occurring?

That’s madness.

Voting

When I was going through my mail this morning one of the messages had the following in it:

Voting is almost never a way to reach consensus. Rather, it acknowledges that consensus has not been reached and side-steps further constructive attempts to reach it. — Stefano Zacchiroli

Stefano is the Debian Project leader and the discussion was about the procedure for taking over the maintenance of a program that has been neglected by its current keeper, but that isn’t really important. What blew me away about the quote was the completely different viewpoint it had about voting. I had been headed that way ever since I read about the Condorcet method but Stefano’s statement crystallizes the problem and puts a little bow on it.

In the already demoralizing context of the current election this statement rings even more true. It makes you wonder whether the lack of voter turnout is a function of disinterest in our collective fate or the rejection of a system that is clearly driving us apart.