Radiance 4.0.0

June 17th, 2021

It gives me great pleasure to announce the sixth major release of Radiance. Let’s get to what’s been fixed, and what’s been added. First, I’m going to use emojis to mark different parts of it like this:

💔 marks an incompatible API / binary change
🎁 marks new features
🔧 marks bug fixes and general improvements

Dependencies for core libraries

  • Gradle from 6.6.1 to 7.1
  • Kotlin from 1.4.10 to 1.5.10
  • Kotlin coroutines from 1.3.9 to 1.5.0

Substance

Flamingo

  • 🎁 Add support for keyboard accelerators on ribbon commands
  • 🔧 Fix ribbon application menu border color on skin switch
  • 🔧 Fix exception on skin switch when the ribbon application menu is not shown
  • 🔧 Fix for various visuals on multi-monitor setup with different screen densities
  • 🔧 Fix even-odd coloring of command button panel groups
  • 💔 Tweak implementation of FIT_TO_ICON command button layout manager

Trident

  • 💔 Rename TridentConfig to TridentCortex

As with the earlier release 3.5.0, this release has mostly been focused on stabilizing and improving the overall API surface of the various Radiance modules. There’s still a long road ahead to continue exploring the never-ending depths of what it takes to write elegant and high-performing desktop applications in Swing. If you’re in the business of writing just such apps, I’d love for you to take this Radiance release for a spin. Click here to get the instructions on how to add Radiance to your builds. And don’t forget that all of the modules require Java 9 to build and run.

Adding a couple more to the “just five years out horizon” list of wonderfully unrealistic promises in mass transportation sector, courtesy of this tweet.

First off, back in 2016 the breathless “Airbus Expects Flying Taxis by 2021“:

Airbus have announced the unthinkable and stated their desire to introduce flying taxis. As crazy as it might sound, the idea has been put forward by a subdivision of the aerospace and defense corporation named A3. They are responsible for creating innovative ideas and, based on this latest development, they’re certainly delivering.
[…]
Their latest design would be completely autonomous, requiring no driver and hailed using a traditional smartphone app. Customers would open the app and order the flying taxi to their front door before being whisked off to their next destination without the need to tackle rush hour traffic.
[…]
Given the number of ideas that don’t take off, it would be easy to dismiss this as just another marketing gimmick. It is not unknown for companies to announce far fetched ideas to drum up publicity before quietly removing all funding. With this project, however, the first notable milestone is very much in sight.

Certainly delivering. Very much in sight. Yes indeed.

The second one, a bit later in 2017 (with 2021 still being the target year) from “A New Hyperloop System is Slated to Connect European Cities by 2021“:

It looks like the Netherlands would soon join Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as the next European country to have a Hyperloop. A Dutch team from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) won this year’s edition of SpaceX’s competition to develop this next generation, super-fast transport technology, and they’re already setting up a full-scale testing center.
[…]
The initial round of testing has already received $675,000 in funding. More would be needed for a high-speed test line by 2019 to accomplish their goal of setting up a Hyperloop system between Amsterdam and Paris by 2021.

Meanwhile, the best Hyperloop has been able to do so far was a 15-second [!!!] ride late last year in Las Vegas. Of course, the five-year out horizon is still very much alive.

Hindsight 2021

April 26th, 2021

September 2016, from the co-founder of Lyft (emphasis on the timeline mine):

Last January, Lyft announced a partnership with General Motors to launch an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles. If you live in San Francisco or Phoenix, you may have seen these cars on the road, and within five years a fully autonomous fleet of cars will provide the majority of Lyft rides across the country.

December 2020, Uber exiting the much-hyped business of replacing human drivers with self-driving cars:

Uber Technologies Inc. sold its self-driving-car unit to a Silicon Valley competitor, Aurora Innovation Inc., in the latest business exit by the ride-hailing company as it aims to deliver on a promise to shareholders to become profitable.

April 2021, right around the projected mark of 2021 being the year where “a fully autonomous fleets of cars will provide the majority of Lyft rides across the country”, Lyft offloading their (failed) self-driving car division to Toyota:

Lyft, Inc. (LYFT) announced today that the company has signed an agreement with Woven Planet Holdings, Inc., (“Woven Planet”), a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, for the acquisition of Lyft’s self-driving vehicle division, Level 5

As I said just two years ago, self-driving cars are highly unlikely to happen within the next 20 years, with the following disclaimer:

By self-driving cars I mean the combination of technology and legislature that would give me the option, owned, leased or on-demand, to have a vehicle for myself and my family to get me from point A to point B at my time of choosing. The only mandatory condition is that it would not require me to pay any attention to what is happening during the trip.

If I am required – by technology or by law – to be able to take over the control of the vehicle at any point in time, that is not a self-driving car in my world. If the technology is only available on specific roads (highways, for example) or under very specific weather conditions, that is also not a self-driving car in my world.

I still stand by my prediction. If anything, I’ll make you another deal. As long as the loudest voices in the business of selling this pipe dream keep on saying that self-driving cars will be here within 5 years, I’ll keep on saying that self-driving cars will not happen in at least 20 years. Let’s see who wins this little game.

Who are you, exactly?

April 22nd, 2021

Had a phone call from the bank earlier today. Nothing special. Someone from customer relations department, wanting to make sure that I’m getting what I want from the bank (like, don’t lose my money, otherwise we’re good, I guess?). But something was weird.

It was maybe a five minute call, with him doing most of the talking, and me doing most of the listening. But to be honest, all throughout the call I was not quite 100% sure that I was speaking with a real person. He was sticking to the script, which is understandable since he probably has another few dozen similar calls to make today. And then he was taking a pause to wait for my answer. It really felt like I was talking to some sort of an IVR [interactive voice response] system, where based on my answers they would choose their next section.

So he was sticking to his script (assuming that it was a real person). And I kept on thinking that I should stick to simple answers to keep that system (in case it was an automated system) on track as well.

It’s weird. There’s so much automation in these interactions (are chat bots still a thing?) that even a few hours later I still don’t know if he was a human, or a machine.