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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I couldn't let go untold the 20th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Falcone, a just man, or just a man, who fought mafia and payed his obedience to his duty with his life; and with him, in a blast of fire ignited by 500 kilos of TNT, his wife Francesca Morvillo, and the men of his armed escort, Vito Schifani, Antonio Montinaro And Rocco Dicillo.

In this photo, Falcone is with his best friend, colleague and companion in his fight against mafia, Paolo Borsellino, who knew in the moment Falcone was killed that he was a dead man walking. Yet, he called for his confessor and then went on fulfilling his duty, till the next 19 July, when some 200 kilos of TNT were used to blast him and his escort away.

Falcon and Borsellino

Every Italian knows that it wasn't properly the mafia to kill this men; very dense evidences, we might even call them proofs, point to the fact that the two were killed as they found out the links between criminal organizations and major political parties, and through them, to the government-run most important institutions of our country. A set of common interests that was born soon after WW2, through the intense activity of both the Italian and American secret services. But here the trails get fuzzy and misty, and that's not the topic of my post.

This is also the tenth anniversary of the writing of the first line of the Falcon Programming Language. I was back from a hard day of underpaid work, while my pocket radio was playing the recordings of the police radio frequencies as the bomb blew 10 years before. I still remember the voice of the show host, on the brink of crying in the recall of the event, explaining that the code name for Falcone was "big personality", as it was a bit more than a tad overweight, and nice enough to accept jokes about this. And the recorded dialog was something like:

"They hit a big personality. I repeat, a big personality was hit."

And the policeman on the other side, his voice down to a broken whisper: "Received."

As I recalled his famous quotes, "I have no fear of dying. Who has no fear dies just once; who has fear dies thousands times every day", and especially "A man can die, but ideas don't", I took the decision to do something on my way back home from the train station. And so I sat all night long and had a first toy compiler running by the next morning.

I am going to have a sip of wine tonight to cheer at the 10th year of Falcon, at the 20th year of the death of a just man, and at the 20th year of an idea of justice and rightfulness being born.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

This time, it's a song of mine I want to write about.

I have all the music and the words, but had no time to work it out completely. Hope to complete the music production as soon as I am able to get a first day off. But in the meanwhile, I really wanted to fix the words down.

This is a song telling how I see things. It's not very cryptic, so I don't think there is the need to explain it.

Comments and criticism are welcome.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

I have recently bought a new classic guitar, an Alvaro 4000-EF (it's hand-crafted; you won't find it in the on-line catalog). It has an excellent sound and a very sensible microphone-pickup pair, which seems to be able to capture even the most subtle resonances.

I composed a small, slow tune exposing some of the resounding frequencies of this little marvel: Notturno sulla seconda corda.

Other than having a top notch professional sound quality, this guitar is also extremely playable; it just requires gentle touches for the barré to hold, and it's pretty forgiving about light pressures in difficult positions. Also, it responds pretty linearly to string touch; althoug it's easy to play it piano, it's easy to get clean fortissimos, and the expression range comes out pretty docile at the touch of the right hand nails.

Just, I got to find "its strings". Every guitar has its own strings. The "quality" of the strings is not always directly resulting in better sound on a given guitar; some even famous guitar find their mating strings in poor quality, low duration strings. It's a trial and error process.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tonight, after dinner...

Wife: "Dear, would you please brew me a coffee?"
Me: "No way."
W: "Oh, please, dear!"
M: "Got to run, I am writing..."
W: "It's a matter of life and death... and not mine."
M: "... I am brewing your coffee."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Ora et labora" (pray and work) is St. Benedict's Rule. But few know this saint whereabouts at the time in which he founded his order. The homeland of this words is located halfway between Tusany and Romagna, in an area that is now a natrual park, and that I visited in the last day of my vacation.

The trip starts right below Forlì, a relatively big town near San Marino, which is connected to Florence through the Tosco-romagnola street. The first interesting place you meet there is Castrocaro (Pricey Castel), guarding the street. Engraved in a scenario of unpaired beauty, you finally reach San Benedetto, (St. Benedict), in the heart of the National Park of the Casentino's Forests. This is very likely the sight St. Benedict did see while writing the rule.

The Church where the order has been founded is incredibly small, but the original paleochristian nucleus is even smaller; there just the space for a small display containing the fingers of the saint. If you have three or four hours to spend in the area, a visit should be paid to the Acquacheta (silent water) falls. It's a place cited in Dante's Divine Commedy for it's beauty. We didn't have so much time, but this is the river silently flowing besides the church.

Finally, you descend down in the upper Chianti region. A stop to eat wild boar based cuisine is absolutely in order. No where in the world you can eat food like this, and nowhere in the world you can taste it while drinking the local Rùfina red wine, which taints the tongue and lasts longly in your mouth and in your throat after you drink it.

My dream vacation ended on a bench of Prato (Lawn) Railway Station, north of Florence, where you wait the trains cherished by warm winds, sighting the last rolling hills of the Appenino mountains.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Again, a short account of my daily trip.

Today we took a trip down in the north part of a region called "Marche" (Marquis lands). Up to about 150 years ago, this area was under the temporal dominion of the Church, and this area was its north landmark, called "Montefeltro" (Cushion Mountains). This area is known to be one of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy, pointed with sharp mountains raising up to 1400 mt. and rolling hills fiercely farmed through the millennia. Bravely facing San Marino, the last, mighty Fortress of Saint Leo held safe the farthest lands of the Popes. The Forthres, built in the late part of the Renaissance, was so militarily effective that it played a major role enven in World War II. Yet, this place is famous to have been the jail of the Giuseppe Balsamo, Count of Cagliostro. The Church condemned him to be buried alive in this cell; the door of the cell was sealed before he was sent there and he was cast down in it through a trapdoor in the ceiling, through which he was also fed.

We then reached Pennabilli, where the Dalai Lama paid back a visit to the hometown of a monk that visited Tibet in 1600 (and making a bit of proselytes there). The place where a Tibetan bell and some prayer rolls have been placed resembles a corner of Tibet itself; just, a bit greener.

We then crossed the Carpegna pass at 1007 mt., and went down to the Lake of Mercatale (Marketplace) and Sassocorvaro (Raven-grabber stone). In some magical landscape that cannot be told, but just seen, crossing roads right through the crest of the mountains, we reached the Fortress City of Urbino (a merge of late Latin and early Italian meaning "Citadel", "little city"), now practically a University Town (and as such, lively with students and pulsing with culture and youth). I made quite a long set of shots, but the fascinating part of the town here is the contrast between the massive buildings and the landscape on which they are laid down. There isn't a single meter running horizontal; you're constantly climbing and descending steep waypaths. In this short, just let me summarize the impact of the majestic buildings through the front "false entrance" of the Duke Palace, built just to face the valley, as the real entrance is on the other side, and a way mark stating that this alley is called "Turn of Death street". Every stone must have an interesting story to tell here.

We then came back to San Marino; after all, still a very Italian place, as you can tell from this pizza restaurant, where we had one of the best pizzas in our life. Just, as delightful as Italy may be, if it were just run thoughtfully.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I casually found out I am stopping at the trendiest facility in San Marino: the Vintage Hotel (with a trendy reception). Here's a shot of the my trendy room, with a view of my trendy bathroom. I'll have more shots of this trendy place tomorrow, so you'll know better what i mean.

Also, I am bit tired to write a decent reportage of what I am doing here, so, for now I will just show you the restaurant where I ate tonight, a typical local house, half dug in the mountain and half made of mountain rocks.

But the most intriguing thing about San Marino is that the it's the ancientest Republic in the world, and it proudly bears a single word as a Motto on their national Insigna: Libertas (Freedom). So much that it hails visitors with welcome signs stating "Welcome to the Ancient Land of Freedom."

With the rock of their mountain, and the braveness of their arm, San Marino people conquered their freedom, and they kept it high above everything, as they proudly want you to know at every step you take in their country, and as this photo summarizes.

I took something around 400 photos just today... and I have visited just half of the central part of San Marino Town, the capital of the state. Every stone here deserves a photo, for how dense it is with history and beauty, and freedom. So, I have many stories to tell. Many.

More tomorrow.

Hello world!

I am getting my first day off in years, and spending it with my parents and my wife visiting one of the wonders of the world. The Republic of San Marino, a little state fully surrounded by Italy.

Will write more tonight.

Have fun, world!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My wife asked to me: "Dear, can I make an intelligent question to you?"

And I: "Sorry, darling, I don't have so much time..."

(At times I wonder how is she able to bear with me...)

Monday, September 29, 2008

I was sick and tired to wait for people to compile Falcon on Mac, and we often had to release versions without MacOSX support for the lack of developers on that platform. Now the thing is no more, as I will take personally care of MacOSX releases.

Actually, I am not that enthusiast at all about having a Mac. Being accustomed to work on GNU/Linux platform and having to develop things on Mac is like programming blindfolded and with a hand tied behind your back. Oh well, userland programs are cool; Safari, ITunes (best one-click CD import ever), Mail, Quicktime and all the rest are absolutely ok, and I am in love with Garage Band; I bought a discounted USB-Midi keyboard with the Mac (I knew that, when I get some free time from Falcon, I would have loved to do a bit of music having a Mac at hand), and looking back at how much time I spent with Linux in finetuning music applications and sound card drivers... oh well, it's fresh air.

XCode is not bad either, and integration with CMake is even better than in KDevelop and Visual Studio.

It's... the rest that needs working. For example, I can't figure out how to write Japanese or Italian characters in UTF-8; languages get their fixed preferential encoding and that's all. File browsing it's clumsy, application management is worse, and I really feel the lack of a simple "launch application" box (like [start] on windows or [K] on KDE, or [Applications] on Gnome and so on).

Last but not least, the thing I was the most interested to, PackageMaker, is possibly the worst piece of software I have ever seen. It looks like an amateur first post-tutorial GUI application try, and even not a very successful one. Both application logic and implementation are deeply bugged, and the new directory-full-of-xml format for package definition files it's a pain in the a**. Finally... there ISN'T ANY UNINSTALL option. Not even the ability to place a personalized "uninstall" script in the package. There's really nothing good to save of it, (possibly the package GUI generator, but it's too static and fixed to be really good), and it's a good candidate for a complete rewrite.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You work several hours per day in your office. It's probably the place you see the most of the time. Making it a nice place to be in doesn't just help your work, but also your life in general. Thinking so, I decided to place a print of one of my favorite print artists in my office: Hokusai's famous "wave":


I always found Hokusai genial in the simplicity of its representation and in the power of the emotions he transmits. And he's so ironic; even in this print, which is so dense, those small fisher boas with all those even smaller fishers looking down towards the waters, rather than up towards the wave... A metaphor of mankind, or maybe just a metaphor of "people", searching for safety and comfort right beside them while tragedy is falling upon. Yet, even when talking about the magnificence of nature, or about the powerlessness of mankind, Hokusai is always smiling. And it's not a sad smile, or a sardonic smile, it's not derision. It's just fun, the fun you have while watching a funny comedy where the characters keep struggling against bad luck.

Well; other than that I am happy that all my colleagues have praised the artist and my idea to place it in our office :-)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I wanted to thank the last people leaving a message, in particular Qiao and Abby, and say sorry if their message has not appeared soon. I have an anti-spam filter that should block spam, but I turned it off when I installed the Captcha (image confirm) system. Somehow it is back, and I didn't check the standing by messages for a long time.

I apologize.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I am terribly tired. So tired that I had not been able to write (almost) a single line of code yesterday; I went to sleep by 10pm and woke up at 7am, yet I am so tired my eyes can't stay open.

I think this is due to the fact that I went out of sync with the world. I staid up late too many times, spent too much energy in bursts of heavy work for too many times in the past month. Now I am a day forward, or backward, away from the time. I am out of sync, and the world ticks away from my biological clock.

Tonight I'll have another early night and I will try to synchronize again with the world.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The midnight cafe.

A cute intellectual-looking Japanese site. Having some short and well written novel, it's a precious resource for serious students of Japanese language.

Teach yourself Italian.

Great resource to be pointed out to people wishing to learn Italian. Synthetic, complete, but very english-speaking-person oriented. Good if you're a London gentleman, or if you know English as if you were a London gentleman.
I should get that source and make a more international-wise version.