on matter of pictures

•Mon, June 30 • 1 Comment

Since I’m here on wordpress.com, I cannot use any plugins. I don’t feel like I need any, really, and I’m glad I can have one-click blog and don’t worry about boring admin stuff. Howeve I do like the images that illustrate posts. So what can I do? I will link to flickr static farm with pictures. I’m not sure if this is good thing to do. If it’s not and someone point out, I’ll change that. Until then, all I can give back is to link to actual photo on flickr, so you, my reader, can reach the author of this photo and pass some kudos.

I too, have pro account on flickr and don’t mind sharing most of my photos I put there. Hope the rest of the world shares the same approach. Thanks in advance, World.

(also, i’m starting to tag entries from now on, categories stay, though).

… but a long way

•Thu, June 12 • Leave a Comment

Uh… right. You see the date of the latest post down there? Turned out that I’m not really into blogging :) If there is anyone there (besides that two penguins in Antarctica) waiting for some new stuff – my apologies. It’s not that there was nothing to say, but hmm, technology failed. I just didn’t have the time and energy to write thoughts down. Just as in xkcd comic, before I got to my keyboard, they all evaporated or I suddenly realized I don’t really need writing them.

But recently I’ve discovered that I’m tending to express in other friends’ blogs comments, which is something a bit unnatural, especially when you see the size of those posts :) So it’s a sign I should go back to my own sandbox. And wordpress upgraded their admin panel and other stuff, which makes entering content even easier. Good, good, I like wordpress.

So, what’s in the pipeline?

  • Some tech stuff, especially my rants about development status today, what’s wrong, how I feel it should be.
  • Choosing the new thing to learn, ultimate dillema. Groovy/Grails? Ruby/Rails? Scala? Erlang? Another-boring-Java-technology-with-three-letter-standard-acronym? How to compare? Make good bet.
  • Reviews. My workmate at cognifide, Greg, just reminded me of idea that reviews of stuff it’s a good way to bring unique content to your blog. And so I will do.
  • Gaming. Why? How? Being a gamer, how does it affect others, what are profits and cons.
  • Game stories, reviews. I find myself often talking about some games that really unique. I would like to save them from obliteration and write something about them. Mostly adventure games.


on a good way

•Wed, October 31 • 2 Comments

Definitely too much time has passed, but now I’m back to blogging and I’m promising myself to write early, write often :). Week ago I’ve graduated my university, gaining a title of Master of Science in Computer Science. Put aside the science achievement, but what is really important for me, that I finally have lots and lots of time just for me. And that of course results/will result in more activites, more thoughts, more writings.

Ah, I’m also an extremely happy owner of an iPhone. Never had a piece of technology in my hand that enables me to do so many things so easily. But that is a separate story. Until then, some well-earned rest.

where the mind goes, the chi will follow

•Thu, August 9 • Leave a Comment

There are moments in your life, that you call breakthroughs. In chinese astrology, there is a method of BaZi, which basically takes all the numbers connected to your birth, and after detailed calculations, the output graph can be analyzed and interpreted to determine when and how such moments will appear in your life. I don’t really know what to think about it. I always used to think that while there is some randomness in our life, we have the power and the will to really get a lot of control over ourselves and our fate. Such belief lead me to the place I am right now. However, occasionally, I am amazed about the completely random, unexpected, wild and full of hope moments or timespans that occur in our life, which brings something new into the existenence and sometimes even can shatter the cornerstone of it.

I’ve just came back from Taijiquan/Fengshui summer camp in Łopuszna (small highlander village in southern Poland). I wanted to go there even few months ago, and my mind was set up to go. Days passed, and it was closer and closer to the date, and I was anxious and nervous about it. Such trips always put you into some uncertanity. I enjoy those moments. You are completely in control – you can run away, turn back, change your mind, you can keep going, experience. But simultaneously, you are completely out of control too – beacuse you are in new place, with people you don’t know, sometimes even told what to do – such situation may lead to this particular mindstate, where you just follow, and observe as from third party, all the things that are happening right now. That was how I felt during this camp, I think.

I could tell you a lot about taiji or fengshui, and how this intense and long meeting influenced me on several layers (even despite the fact, I’m practicing taiji for over a year now). I could tell you how unbelievable my both teachers and masters were and how big progress I’ve done during those days. But it’s not about this. If you know me, you can always ask. But even then, I’m quite afraid, I won’t be able to give you an anwser you will be satisfied with. I just cannot. I’m trying to verbalize this very special state of mind, and I’m failing every time. Lots of things cause this. Meeting with the eastern culture, chinese especially, would be certainly on of those things. Intense taiji and qigong practice would be the second one, very important one, as I’ve gathered insane amounts of will and good energy, to keep practicing and working with body and mind. The third thing, however, most important, I guess, would be the extraordinary people I had the honor and pleasure to meet and to talk and have fun with.

I’m not familiar with the overall atmosphere of such camps. Maybe it’s just natural thing, that such people meet in such places. It’s not that easy to sacrifice a week of your life, organize your work and home to be completely outside during this time, and not just to hang around and lie in sun, but doing it very very actively. That of course bring the conclusion, that people who decided to do this, are special people. And, yes, in most cases, I have to agree. Those people were (are) very different, yet unique.

Among people I’ve met, few pictures for you  :

  • a girl who lives outside major cities and does not have the chance to practive taiji with teacher. She never been practicing it at all, but she loves that and always wanted to try. The will and passion (but also well-suited body) which this girl showed thrills me. She wanted to learn so badly, to squeeze everything from every moment, as she knew, that it won’t be easy do take part in such camp in near future. And, believe me, as for few days, she learned freaking lot and she can be proud of herself
  • a couple with a child. Their behaviour was so incredible that I doubt I will ever meet similiar people in my life again. Their love for their child and partner was just flowing around. They were never angry, never unhappy, always smiling, and joking, always in extraordinary mood. They were talking to their child, joking with him and about him, without even slightest shade of annyoance (which is quite common when you deal with little baby).
  • another couple, being (so it seems) opposites, one : tall, silent, calm, other : small, talkative, vigorous, loving adventures and travels around the world to visit new places and meet foreign people. Browsing through their vast photo collection, I could only sigh that I couldn’t be there.
  • a girl, who is approx. in my age, but she is short and tiny. Seems like having no faith in herself at all and no certanity about her actions. But you should see her, when she is practicing taiji – completely different person. Very confident.
  • another girl, older than me, who apprently came there to take a breath, to think about her life and to gather some directions about where to head next in her life. Very intelligent, subtle and wise. I love her voice, very deep, calming and relaxing. Kill me, I don’t know why, but I’m connecting her to an Opal stone.
  • another girl, who I still have trouble to describe. Silent, calm, but on the other hand, very funny, confident. I don’t remember the time I laughed so much, as with her. Yet my impression is that she is also somewhat lost and not that confident (inside) as she could be. Once again something missing. I still have one image (in mind) of her, smiling while dancing, and this is quite touching image.

At the end, I’ve been told that apparently, each one of us came there looking (internally) for something, and it all went this magic way, that each on of us got that thing he/she looked for, and even something else, something unexpected as bonus. That is quite good description of so-called magic, we’ve been witnessing there. Maybe it’s the nature of the excersises that people are suddendly very openminded, but also openhearted too. Embracing whatever may come. All things just mixed together. I could picture this as shifting of priorities. All of sudden I’ve realized that there are things more important, that things we thought were important. While this can be a bit disturbing, the final effect is tremendous (as long as you are ready to accept the concequences and be ready for risks). I don’t know if this was just a single event, a happy set of stars, that allowed us to interact so (yes!) deeply. Maybe when (if) we meet again, we won’t be able to get that spark again, to call back this feeling and pursue it – being just different persons then, that are not connected in any way. Maybe. It would be silly not to think about it. But, if, imagine, only if, it works on a higher lever, and if we meet again, we can regain control this relation and lift it even higher. It all comes from how do you feel about it, and if your mind is set to do some things or to believe some things. Master Choy said : “where the mind goes, the chi will follow” – and this is a strong metaphor for me, picturing that if we devote some will and mind, we might be able to do unbelivable things. And it all starts with mind. Don’t you forget that. Your mind is the most precious and beautiful part of the mechanism.

I would like to express my deepest thanks to people who made this trip such extraordinary for me : L./K. Szarek, mistrz Ziemba, mistrz Choy, Mateusz, Marta, Małgosia. I look forward to see you again people, because even despite the “Let it be” rule, I’m not letting this go! Let it be the way it started.

nothing lasts… but nothing is lost (atinysecret)

•Mon, July 2 • 2 Comments

What kind of friend you are? What your friendships are set upon? 

Mine are mostly unusual. I mean, what determines a “milestone” of relationship? Where is that point, you are doing one step further? Starting to meet more often, talk more often, talk about more important (to you) and deep things? Start to send a quite calm note towards other person, singing something like : “I like being in here with you”, “I’m so glad to see you”, “I’ve missed you so much”. Start to find a gently touch contact with other person. Starting to hug. Starting to love (sometimes, why not)? I can image you have lots of friends. But how many of them are really ones you can (and you will) trust, no matter what? And when you meet someone, how often you go past easy relation, engange, commit some effort, heart, feelings?

And what is the “cornerstone” of such relation? Is this a hobby? Sex? The same ideas? Shared memories? Just living together?

Let me tell you more about what’s in my head right now.

I tend to think of my relations like of jewels (or gold). It’s a nice metaphor for how much you have to put to get something (much more, often) in exchange. You come across a plain stone, unknown to you. But in time, you start to discover the details. And it’s fascinating. And after some time, you begin to find more and more things connecting you to that stone (person). A process of learning and discovering of each other is something unusual (yet, not easy). And as result you have this piece of jewel. And it is of great value to you, it gains a “precious” word next to previous “stone”. I enchant my relations into marble stones. It’s unfortunate that most of people I really value are far away. This is just a way to give them a reminder that from now on they’re not alone. Reminders are important, because we easily forget about people in our life.

I was never sure (I’m still not) if this is a good thing. I remeber each and every moment of my life (connected with people). I don’t like the idea of “well, it’s a new place, new life, let’s start once again, and get rid of the past”. Maybe it’s not always that harsh. But people do forget. Their previously gleaming stones are going rusty and finally lose it’s glitter. That’s why we need a constant reminder, that we’re not alone and nothing is lost in our life. We’re too often and too easy giving up on people, not fighting in hard times for what we’ve valued so much, recently. We just forget and look for something else. Always for something else, in a blind hope that someone else will fit us better – or just will be in near more often. That’s hard for me to accept. Call it an idealistic view.

Memories for me are things that defines our life, describes our past, influences present, builds future. Relations based upon memories are hard to wipe. They shouldn’t be. It’s not doable most of the time, because it’s like ripping part of yourself. Those are the strongest bonds. Those bonds consist of close private thoughts, setting a connection based on nothing that you can really easily name. Like an unspoken spell draining it’s power from a diagram of shared blurred memories. I guess that kind of emotion can take different forms and can be shaped, molded differently. It’s also unfolding with time. I guess it’s what my “credo” is all about. To understand someone, to grow a connection, you need to be, somehow a part of his/her past or present. To relieve it for yourself, in your own way, but keeping in mind, that this is not yours past, respecting it.

They have various names for it, depending on it’s actual form, but the initial base, I believe, is the same I’ve mentioned before. Respect, friendship, trust, love. People are usually scared when such declarations are made. “let’s be friends”, “let’s be lovers”. It’s ironic how we act more safely, when we don’t name things we’re treading on. It takes great courage to admit that you need someone, that you are grateful that someone exists, talks to you, smiles to you or just crosses your path in one way or another. It really does. These days, in our tv-fashioned popculture, people are picking easy ways and they’re afraid of thinking about themselves, people around, world around, name some things. That’s why more and more things looks weird to us. 

Declaring friendship is one of them.

I easy go emotional. Today is no different. It’s sad to once again say “goodbye” and just pretend like nothing happened and go back to “normal” life. I’m unable to do that. While I can understand various reasons for others to leave, it does not help, really. There is always some kind of vicious fury, strangling regret, that something changes, that I cannot stop it, though I wish I would be able to. I easily grow attached to people and having to drop that rope makes me very, very sad. This is a 4th time I have to do that. It’s 4th, but it seems like there were countless times before. And it’s always somewhat painful.  Yet, there is nothing I can do. Another challenge to preserve a freshly settled connection, despite “all the evil” around. It’s certainly not an easy task.

I am still here though. I would like to believe that my word means something. Nothing lasts. Nothing lasts, but nothing is lost. Everything is changing into something else. And I am here, whenever you (will) need me.

Hours slide and days go by
Till you decide to come
And in between it always seems too long
All of a sudden

Sick Puppies (“All the Same”)
from The Free Hug Campaign

a measurement of happiness

•Mon, July 2 • 6 Comments

Yet again I’m forced to think about it. Lots of stuff happened these days. How’s that related to one’s overall feeling? Of being in right place, of doing right stuff, feeling good, feeling successful, feeling happy – you know – that sort of feeling that makes you literally shine on the street, smiling to everyone, almost with your feet upon the ground. Is that same for everyone? Is there a finite number of factors? Are there most influencing ones?

Last days I’ve :

  • received a graduation at university
  • started a job “for real”, meaning in full time and for (relatively) good money, amount that most people can only dream of in the town I live
  • got (bought) my first own car (Mazda 323F) I sort-of dreamt of – thanks to Dad’s insane amount of engagement and work, whole stuff took only few days
  • all of sudden transmutated lead into gold, with the result of someone to share some deep things with
  • found a new owner for one of my enchanted marble balls (was it blue one?)

This isn’t an usual thing (even for me :p). I mean, you can work for this very hard and very long. Some people will never achieve it. You might then call me a successful guy. “You are lucky”. I am? Should I? How do you know? How do I know?

Then again there is a plenty of things I haven’t done, experienced – been there, done that, get this, get that, have a wife, grow children, win a lotto prize, travel around the world – some of those things may seem crucial (in terms of happiness) for others. I miss them sometimes. Sometimes I miss them so much, and this makes me sad and depressed, feeling that I’m losing something and that I’m not satisfied with my life. Sometimes I don’t miss them. Sometimes I don’t think about them. Sometimes I remember about it, but don’t care.

I know a great quote :
“Sometimes you find things that are more important to you than the things you think are important. Or maybe that’s just growing old.”.

It’s taken from “Pirates of Sillicon Valley”and is told by Steve Wozniak. That’s the way it is. There are lot of things that can make you happy. But most of them work temporarily. And I won’t discover rocket-science, when I say what I’m going to say. The thing is : we’re discovering it again and again, yet still underestimating the value. And after years, we grow old, we look at our past, and we always come to the very same conclusion.

People – Relations. Love. Friendship. Trust.

Nothing can make me more happy. Nothing can make me more whole. These are the values worth standing for, looking for.

I’ll tell you this : the things I’ve mentioned at the beginning. I thought they’re making me very happy. Proud of myself. Successful. But they’ve faded away. A new way of measuring happiness for me :

A hug. 

gloria victis!

•Mon, July 2 • Leave a Comment

So many good news in recent days! I’m happy to hear all that. Very happy. So, my congrates/thanks go to :

  • Mom (for finishing the search, at least for now!)
  • Dad (for helping with the car and just being in right place most of the time!)
  • Liliana (for the ability to add “Master of Science” on business card!)
  • Jasiek (for the ability to add “Master of Science” on business card, too!)
  • Piotrek (successfully getting through recruitment net and getting a nice job!)
  • Emil (for passing his articles, “aplikacja”).

Keep up the good work, you know who you are!

i have no idea, yet i still want to hop on bandwagon

•Tue, June 26 • Leave a Comment

Update: After some time, Joel himself admitted being wrong with his initial claims. And me, looking at this post right now, I guess I’ve overreacted :) We are entitled to make mistakes.

Recently I’ve been greatly disappointed, by Joel Spolsky blog entry regarding Apple Safari on Windows. I really love the guy – I’ve read most of the stuff he wrote on pages, books also. But right now, I’m somehow surprised about bullshit he spreads. It seems like it’s a common attitude for bloggers – find out what people are now talking about and join the bitching/praising, completely clueless what you are writing about. And it doesn’t matter, because you can instantly edit your post, add plenty of PS, making people more and more confused about what your opinion really is.

Recently Apple released beta version of their web browser – Safari – for Windows. If you are well informed, you already know that this (most probably) because of recent iPhone release, and the whole storm about lack of “real” SDK, treating web browser and JS as the only interface for apps. I don’t want to discuss about this move – this is very interesting discussion and maybe I can pick it up other time. However the reason is quite obvious – Apple does not want to rush into market, and fight with Firelolfox, Oprah and Ieeee for users. They probably don’t care about windows market. They have their own beautiful world, MacOSX. But iPhone is targeted for everyone. Linuxers, Windowsers too. And to develop apps for iPhone, you need to get idea how they will look like, as iPhone ships with “somehow tweaked” Safari version.

I am a Windows user. While I don’t like few things about Apple, I have to admit that it’s really a great system. It’s fast, it’s functional and I love the look. It’s hard to switch or to change mindset for someone addicted to Windows or Linux for years – but it’s really worth it – to gain another perspective. As for browsers, as an user and web developer with vast cross-browser experience, I don’t like Firefox. I don’t like Opera. I admit that IE has quirks too, but as for now, I’m picking it as my main. Well, in form of Maxthon, to get some candy, but the engine is still the same. I have own reasons to dislike those browsers, but it’s irrelevant here. We’re heading towards Safari.

They’ve released it like week ago. Instantly downloaded the initial version, which crashed whole system. Once again. Then crashed itself. “Crap” – I thought, and thrashed it. But recently I’ve downloaded the new updated, fixed version. And I am speechless. It’s bad for Apple to have a falstart with the buggy version at the beginning. They might loose some people. But what I’m hearing now (and what poor Joel repeats) is such total crap I don’t know where to start, even.

First – Safari is AMAZINGLY FAST. Really. I’ve done exhaustive tests on very heavy sites. There is no browser that can compare. Safari displays those sites in 2-4secs, where others need 15s. I’m sorry mr. Spolsky. They are (Apple) right about those graphs and advertising it as fast. Because it is. It is. Period.  Right now people are quite confused about sites. They think that browsing is just downloading files and displaying it. The whole pressure is on bandwidth (Joel goes that way, too). What you seem to don’t know is that the “display” bart is VERY crucial for the whole browsing experience. It’s not about bandwidth. It’s about parsing HTML, building DOM tree, executing JS, parsing XML, accessing properties. Rendering, that is. Bandwidth is nothing. Sites won’t display 10x times faster just because you’ve recently upgraded your connection. There is always that amount of time taken by rendering process and this part is most significant as you cannot make it better with money. If you are creating web interfaces, writing AJAX apps, you know what I’m talking about – the browser “lag” when displaying complex sites. Not size-heavy. Safari excels at minimizing this lag – I can provide you with proofs where it takes 5s to render the page Firefox needs 25s for. Of course, for most of the sites, the differences between rendering are hard to notice – and people don’t care. But Safari is just fast. Superfast. I was a Maxthon fan for over 3 years. I’m dropping it instantly and switching to Safari, even if it’s beta. Right, I miss some functionality, improved tab browsing, some additional buttons. But those things are really minor. I have Safari as my main browser and I love it, looking forward for UI improvements. The browsing experience cannot be compared to FF, O or IE.

Web browser is for web browsing. That’s it. It was meant for browsing the internet and it’s doing it job very very well. I like Steve Jobs’s approach on this. I remember the iPhone keynote, where Steve says tak iPhone killer app is actually making calls. Because this is it’s primary job. Couldn’t agree more. I have a feeling that Firefox zealots completely lost arguments about why they have use (note : not “why’ve chosen”) Firefox. They answer : “i like it, it’s nice”. But they don’t remember really the switch moment. And I can tell you why : they have no idea. They tend to love Firefox because the sweet logo, because zealotry around, because the ad campaign. Not because the quality of product. Such is the nature of our habits. I laugh when people bring the addons arguments. People, this is web browser – not a washing machine! You want other functionality, get another soft! (which will be 10x times better, for sure). WebDeveloper addon? How many of you know that there is the same thing for Opera and IE too? (and does the job well, too).

I realize that this is yet another geeky post about apples vs oranges. It’s not my intention to fight for any browser. I wanted to describe some stances and behaviour regarding browser matter and also to put in doubt some ultimate “guru” knowledge. It’s always better to think for yourself, rather than be driven by a horde of Spolsky’s, Nielsen’s or Teletubbies.

P.S. Complaining about load time of beta sofware is a) lame, b) lame. Complaining about initial load time and then magically describing how Vista (yay!) loads it faster and faster any time sounds silly, because caching loaded dlls in memory is one of OS (windows particulary) most-known feature to improve performance. Go figure, “experts”.

bad desktop habits

•Fri, April 6 • Leave a Comment

You know that you can use computer at different levels. A rookie will copy/paste using right mouse click, advanced user will use keyboard shortcuts, a geek will write grep/sed/perl script to copy certain parts from one file to another file. That’s acceptable. But sometimes I think there’s either something wrong with window/taskbar interface or with our minds.

I often see people that are narrowing their view, making things less visible, unclear, messy – and they don’t notice this at all. I see folks with a colourful, detailed, photo-like desktop background, that makes icons completely unreadable. I see desktops such overloaded with icons, that you can no longer use auto-placement feature, because people are moving icons manually, they are overlapping, and so on and so on. Finally I see people that have Sodoma and Gomora on their taskbars – having 20 items in quick lanuch, then another 30 in bottom-right corner, the taskbar is of course resized to have min 3 rows. And they (heavens forbid!) like another 20-30 different windows open and visible in taskbar, and it’s worth noticing that approx 40% of them are different instances of the same application (browsers most often). I’m shocked looking at that. And obviously first thing I see is that when I ask : “show me this” they are are like “eee…aa…ummm… where this window went…”. I promise, I’m going to do some research, how much time people are wasting every few moments, having that confused face look, racing mouse cursor around and clicking like crazy, to find the window they want. I wouldn’t be suprised if that would be like 1h daily or more!

Maybe it’s a too bold conclusion, but your desktop and way of work somehow reflects your lifestyle or character. What’s on your desktop = how your life (or more precisely : mind) looks like. A computer system/drive is an abstract entity. You can manage and set it anyway you want. This is not always the case with your home or room – you have certain configurations, furniture that is not easy to replace quick etc, etc. But inside computer you have fresh start with blank page. How you set up things is *you*. Keep this in mind!

I don’t remember having more than 5 windows opened at once. I have 7 icons on my home desktop, and 3 of those are games shortcuts that could be easily deleted (I don’t need them there, really) and the last one is recycle bin. From what I see, I find things on my machine 2 to 3 times faster than most of people I know.

Am I freak or you people should start thinking about optimizing your “life”?

a developer’s relief

•Fri, April 6 • Leave a Comment

When you are doing a lot of coding (let’s say Java), some objects, some classes, interfaces, bleh,  you are trying to achieve functionality. But also some kind of project coherence. Ever had the feeling, that things work, but you feel that something is wrong, the actual code job is much more like struggling with invisible enemy, bashing against invisible walls?

I’m a great enthusiast of doing things right. Call this a perfectionist aproach, phobia, whatever. I just have to do it right. And I cannot sleep when things are not set up MY way and I’m 100% comfortable this is the best way for me to do things. When it comes to coding, I can waste whole hour on refactoring of 20 classes only to change some internal names from lowercase to camelcase or move a file a one level higher in directory structure. Naming conventions are very important to me as they temporarily define the reality I’m in, when I’m designing, developing, coding. If you are unable to name something properly, you are deep in the forest, without clue what you are doing / want to do. So naming things is a must. The same is with file placing. If you are not sure where your entity belongs, you again don’t have an idea where you are. And sooner or later the problem will show it’s ugly face and knock you down in no time.

But sometimes you have design problems, related to object-oriented design patterns. You know the patterns, but the actual use them in proper way, requires a lot of experience and sometimes just… intuition. And it’s those design problems that renders a lot of pain in your work.

And suddenly, having a snack, walkin’ on street, talking with other dev/architect you get the brilliant idea how to reorder things to get what you want. This is really a pleasant moment. Hell, depending on the problem, you can even compare it to orgasm :). The sun shines brighter, everyone smile, and you feel like everything is all right and in it’s place. Going futher from now on will be just like riding the bike downhill. I really like those moments. I feel great when I know stuff is in right place. This boosts up “morale”.