Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A case of too much thinking !

Imagine my chagrin, as I was watching "Pawn sacrifice", a week after mentioning it in another blog post, that most of the mentions of Life and other magazines in that post, were actually happening in front of my eyes.

They must have showed it in the promos that I had seen, was what I told myself but what about the creeps that are somehow beginning to look like stalkers to me, who invariably find a seat, (*next or near to me*, without this correction, it sounds quite pompous as if creeps should not find a seat even in a near-to-empty cinema hall) in a near-to-empty cinema hall?

This time the moron was more eager to make some munching sounds (for those not familiar with Indians, these are creepy types that go around thinking that if they 'irritate' others, they are either making them 'cute' to others, when they describe such moronity or that they are 'psyching' others.) as if to make me specially take note that 'it' was making those sounds!

Probably, the nutcase wanted to make a point 'tellingly' that 'it' had read my blog post because there was another similar creep, talking to its friend, outside the cinema, that "These are the kind of people that people hear about" and then repeated it, tellingly, even as the other remonstrated that once was enough! Quite clearly, a case of too much thinking beyond what their faculties could allow them.

The point is while you expect some to respond, if not favorably upon reading a blog, to at least not make my life 'stalked' and 'witch hunted'.

Co-incidentally, this is how the life of Fischer, the American Chess genius, was thought best to be described as by the filmmakers of the bio-pic. Strange!

Nevertheless, the biopic, as they call it, is well made.

Boris Spassky, played by Liev Schreiber, is almost like how we, my friends and I, used to talk about Spassky in our childhood - with awe and admiration.

To be absolutely objective, Schreiber seems to have got stuck with the introverted, controlled-in-a-repressed-manner roles - The Manchurian Candidate, even in the Omen - you name them and he looks "ready to look troubled" like an instant mix of "troubled and haunted by ghosts" pack.

But in all fairness, good enough a portrayal of Spassky to merit an Oscar for the best supporting role. I am sure the Russians would agree, too, and back him for the award.

And hey, in my previous blog post on the same topic, I had mentioned that Tobey Maguire looks more like Karpov than Fischer.

Made, then, only with having seen the promos and the ad banner but yet, how right I was.

This was not the Fischer that we used to visualize and probably, not as the screenplay writers must have either, because at many places, the dialogues clearly left me feeling that, "This line should have been spoken by some other type of character, in a lighter vein, but not this person."

I am almost certain that Fischer would have been appalled at how he was being cast had he been alive to see the movie but all credit to Maguire for having produced such a film and for having learnt Chess for the film !!

And they also show the real Bobby Fischer during the credits, bulky, tall and heavily bearded.

Myself, I am almost sure that no Hollywood producer is going to consider me for a role after this or even talk to me for not having praised one of their fraternity or if not praised, at least not have picked on the film at all.

But, as I said at the beginning of the post, the same applies to many blog readers, who are setting stalkers and witch hunters, however harmless they may be!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Stunning combination - a treasure!

I have often noticed that I am a very humble person.

It is not as if I am bragging about something that most of the fraternity that exist in my imagination would give their life for but seriously.

The fact is I am so because there are two sides that war away to nutty glory over me (Here! I am not bragging.) because when the one faction says "Give him some space", the other cramps me up with creeps; when the one says, he is so 'humble', the other brings out something in me to show I am arrogant; when the one get the picture, right?

No matter what, the two factions are always there and here I am, with loads and loads of talent (at times, to the level of genius), commitment, willingness to put in hard work, tonnes of patience and humility, and not in the cover of Life or at the Oscars or the Emmy because these two factions insist on being the 'perfect' mother - father combination to me that even my real parents could not have been.

The fact is because of these two factions constantly at me for as long as I can remember, I have developed some kind of a defence mechanism within me that keeps failing the one or the other and so, I decided to carefully monitor where all I made mistakes (Btw, don't get carried away as one nutcase did because I don't usually make mistakes, in fact, hardly, or rather, I don't make mistakes at all. As I said, I am a humble person and such proclamations about myself are rare so don't think I am bragging again) when playing Chess and why.

Finally, I think I have made the grade as per myself. For, here I was sensing that this opponent on Facebook Chess that had bet 10K would definitely have something up her sleeve as they usually rig up a match with high stakes like disconnecting my internet or having a far higher rated player playing in her place.

But I surpassed myself because here I was playing one of the longest combinations that I can recall having devised.

Take a look at the boards that I managed to screen capture and see how the Bishop is placed at a6 to prevent me from castling on the King side. That is how long the combination was.

Board position 1

Board position 2

Board position 3

After board position 3, I played (let me annotate it as move 3) 3. Ng6 and black responded with ...Ra8-e8. And I played,

4. Qa4.

If 4...Nxf2 5. Nf-g5+ Kxg6 6. Qxc6+ Kf5 7. Qd7+ Re6 8. Qxe6++ !!

Board position 5

Board position 6

Board position 7

From here, evolves another combination that starts not with Nxe5+ but with (let me annotate it as move 8)

If 8. ...Ke8 9. Qb8+ Kd7 loses both rooks for Black with Nxe5+.

8. ...Kf6

If black had played 8. ...Ke6, 9. Nxf4+ black's Queen forked ! But this, losing the Queen, was probably the best way for Black.

9. Rxf4+ ! Rf5
10. Qe7 ++ !!

The depth of the combinations is what makes the game my best ever.

I am sure I can brag about this win even though it has not won me the world championships or any tournament prize.

I treasure it.

"Everest 3D", the movie

Little did I know when I did not put a box in an architectural design - The DropBox Facade pattern - (nothing as fancy as getting it patented but just a few boxes made in a word processor to resemble a design) that I had committed some hara kari or mata kari or hira kari (not sure which kari it was but the Tamilians will vouch that it must have been some curry).



Just thought I would start it off on a different note because I am getting more bored with these creeps than "Jack the ripper" must have been when he did not find women to rip off that are bent on spoiling others' day at the movies or maybe it is simply because they speak. So how worse can it be that they are so shameless as to want to speak at all? Maybe 'they' were not prepared that I would go to watch "Everest". :D

That was the beginning of about 30 minutes of expensive 3D reels reeling away with only crunches of popcorns keeping me interested. I almost reached out to grab a handful from the bucket next seat.

It is only when the story of collecting some name and money for some kids back there as the reason for climbing Everest does the 'spirit' behind such expeditions make an impression.

It is not a gripping movie, not even a spectacular one, except for a few seconds of 'unbelievable' shots of views from 'impossible' angles of the heights and those, too, do not exhilarate because the mind tells you 'that is so unbelievably impossibly beautiful so must be graphically generated on a computer' but the eeriness of barren, white ice and vast stretches of mountain ranges with no signs of vegetation makes you wish if you should watch the movie at your home theater.

One of the best scenes, though, was the helicopter (a word that is supposed to trigger some anxiety because it gets used also as a 'chopper') landing at a camp and the subsequent take-off. The filming of it conveyed how incredibly tough it must be to fly the helicopter at that altitude, with the winds, but the same intensity is missing in the filming of the climb itself.

The 'storm' scene is beautifully filmed with the sheer speed of the change of the weather in those heights - "this mountain makes its own weather" - well depicted but possibly the movie is begging somebody to notice the clean aesthetics of the camera angles while showing the dead bodies and death in Everest, in an impassioned manner, without sensationalizing the tragedy, that is.

It did make me think 'tragic' more than a Greek tragedy has ever done.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Pawn sacrifice - Not Fischer?

That heroes, from Bobby Fischer to Za (one of the many unsung heroines), have been treated badly and consistently over a period of time is not such a great concern, but what is, is that even Hollywood did not think it necessary to show a semblance of Fischer at least as how he was physically.

Image source: Wikipedia

Imagine this picture of Fischer almost resembling Captain America and yet Hollywood did not find anyone closely matching the height or appearance, even if fugitive status and franchise start with 'f'!

Image source: Wikipedia

The reason I find such deviations so odd as to warrant a mention in my blog is because many go around memorizing how to respond and how to 'position' themselves with their opinions by memorizing all those personalities, foreign, who may have either a fugitive status or a refugee or some unlawful stain to them and this, they consider as some kind of a patriotic, strategic stance (although mentioning that they themselves may never even have talked to greatness is definitely not demeaning myself) and then pointing out all the other persons' 'mistakes in life', who praise or glorify those 'tainted' greats, as due to them not following 'protocol'.

It is very important, this bloated 'protocol', because there is a coterie that attempts to prove such 'thinkers' right by maliciously causing others who do not fall by the protocol to be shown deliberately and forcedly in bad light, with the excuse that it is meant as a 'lesson' for the younger in the organization and circles.

Sometimes it is also important to think otherwise - some individuals bring an incredible lot with them for the country and Fischer was the one, who brought the Soviet Union to its knees at its own game - Chess and, respect for the US, with his genius.

The legends that the chess manuscripts and the stories that exist about Fischer's impact on the Soviet grandmasters of that time, especially Botvinnik, Tal and Spassky, carry, are simply fabulous fables that only the Chess knowledgeable could appreciate.

Titles like the 'lone American warrior defeating the mighty Soviet Union' also has considerable historical significance because of how the USSR would begin to see this genius, who time and again ridiculed Botvinnik's predictions and derisive remarks. For not only had Fischer tamed the might of the super grandmasters of the era, he had also probably ignited a spirit that paved the way for the end of the Cold War.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The DropBox Facade pattern

The advancement and move towards leaner approaches in the software development lifecycle should not just stop with processes and the refinement of activities within the processes but must also extend to programming, design and implementation techniques.

For instance, there is the web server that always listens to a client on a specific port using a protocol is the standard definition of the web application architecture.

But why should a server listen all the time? If there are no clients then it is a waste of server resources. Technology advancements now provides the luxury of thinking as per one's needs and not as per the constraints of the technology used.

NodeJs provides the right platform to implement such a server, which does not keep listening but has the smart sense to switch off when no client is talking to it.

Footnote (usually known as PS for the dense in haste and the out of context) - This pattern is based on the Node.Js framework, which has a certain unique flavor! :)

'Switching off a server' is not to be taken in the 'hardware' context but as a web app server that can be started and stopped for each app instance.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

CI with VS Code 2015 - Gulp with a grunt!


Grunting was pretty easy compared to gulp although everybody would tell you otherwise - by everybody, I mean the really knowledgeable ones, that is - the reason being a gulp error that does not seem to resolve except by leaving an ugly footprint in the output.

Grunt was simple - all tasks happening right there while gulp uses 'pipes' making it faster than grunt but leaving the error handling part difficult. This means a failing test reported by mocha would result in an unhandled error !

But where there is a problem there should be a solution, this is the world of logic, right?

The solution is to invoke a grunt task from gulp ! :D

In the gruntfile.js is the 'execute' task 

which I invoke from the gulpfile.js !

To make it clearer, change the gulp.start from 'execute' in the gulpfile to 'grunt-mochaTest':

So, now, instead of the ugly message, you have a warning message, which, too, disappears if all tests pass as below:

To make this integration happen between grunt and gulp, you need the 'gulp-grunt' package. npm install it and happy gulping with a grunt!