You Don’t Always Win

If Nadal lost the French Open, popular opinion was that it would be to Federer/Murray/Djokovic in the final.  Falling to the 23rd seed in the 4th round was simply not in the script.  Now, everyone will have their explanation ranging from all the extra matches he has played since starting this incredible run about a year ago to the pink shirt (my favorite reason).  We saw this happen with Federer and I saw it in a prior generation with Connors, Borg, and McEnroe.  Why would Nadal fans expect anything different?  Despite his extraordinary mental and physical condition, he is (as the agents from The Matrix would say) human.

Perhaps the best explanation is from Jason Statham from the flick Chaos, which I watched over the weekend.   At the end of the movie, he tells the young detective who was his adversary that the detective learned a valuable lesson and it’s good he learned it while he is young.

“You don’t always win.”

Friday Humor for Freelancers

Have you seen those Nextel commercials, like ‘what would happen if film crews/roadies ran the world?’  So, what would happen if clients treated other vendors the way they treat freelancers?  If  you’ve ever gone the freelance route in this business, you might like this video.

Check it out here.

Mr. Pink

I woke up on a beautiful Memorial Day morning and fired up the Plasma,  itching to see Roldand Garros in high def.  My eyes were shocked.  In Roland Garros meets Reservoir Dogs, Nadal is Mr. Pink.  I had to blink multiple times to make sure it was true.  Although he went through some tough stretches, he did win in straight sets.  I suppose when you’re the best clay court player of all time and No. 1 in the world, you can wear anything you want.  In the unlikely event that Nadal loses along the way, I’m going to be the first to blame it on that freaking pink shirt!

Degrafa Natural Cubic Spline

Spare time has been in short supply lately, so this has moved slowly.  Just committed the new files to SVN.  The natural cubic  spline is now plottable in the Degrafa geometry pipeline and can be described directly in MXML.   A sample description looks like

<NaturalCubicSpline id="cubicSpline" graphicsTarget="{[splineLayer]}"
knots="104,299 166,168 217,236 307,225 370,142 440,299 506,309" >
 <SolidStroke weight="2" color="#0000FF"/>

In talking with people who might actually use this capability in math/science visualization and charting applications, one of the requests was the ability to easily highlight ‘vertical strips’ or sections of the area above/below a spline in between knots.

Any spline that will be eventually integrated into Degrafa will return a quad. Bezier approximation to the spline. Since the large majority of splines are expected to be purely interpolative, the algorithm ensures the approximation is exact at the knots. An index array is returned that provides the index to the raw quad. Bezier data at the beginning of each knot.   A sample highlight is illustrated in the following diagram.  Each ‘section’ highlight is a small number of lineTo() and curveTo() calls.

Highlighting area under a natural cubic spline
Highlighting area under a natural cubic spline

A simple demo was created to illustrate this highlighting.  In order to get the demo out quickly, a lot of stuff was hardcoded.  So, one useful exercise would be to make the code more general-purpose.  Click on the numeric stepper to shift the highlight from section to section.

In the near future, I will release another method that returns a quad. Bezier sequence that approximates the spline in any interval [x1,x2], x2 > x1 (for a cartesian spline).  This will enable an even greater set of charting/visualization applications.   There is still some work to be done on the internal architecture, but the long-term goal is the ability to integrate a wide variety of splines into Degrafa with minimal effort and little, if any, understanding of the internal geometry pipeline.

View demo

View source

Madrid Wrapup

Federer is still the only person to defeat Nadal in a clay-court final and did so for the second time today, winning in straight sets, 4 and 4.  Nadal was apparently affected by the semifinal match against Djokovic, seeming unable to reach some balls he might normally have run down.  The higher altitude did not help, causing the ball to move faster.  Nadal has been on a tear since the Australian Open, though, and the one aspect of winning consistently in any sport is that you play more than the field.

Federer seems to have found his clay game and the service game has returned.  Any win against Nadal (especially on clay) can only be a confidence-builder going into Roland Garros.  Still, it seems to be Nadal’s tournament to lose and I kind of hope Madrid is a preview of the RG final.