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Fandom

Derrick Ko

I wrote this shortly after Sir Alex announced his retirement a year ago, but I never did hit publish. In light of today’s news about David Moyes, this piece feels especially apt.

Just like that Sir Alex Ferguson has retired. And a million voices did cry out in terror. 659 million fans to be exact.

Football fandom is a weird beast. I grew up 6800 miles from Manchester. Why should I even care what goes on there?

Humans are complex social creatures. The random bonding with strangers for 90 minutes. The shared emotions that come with winning and losing. The sense of purpose that comes with weekly matches. We are, by evolution, tribal and competitive by nature. Club support feeds those instincts.

So how does one decide which club to support? Apart from the obvious reasons like geographic location or family tradition, I dare say it’s because we find aspects of the club that we resonate with. We see ourselves in a club’s character, its values, and the way the team plays.

And when things are going well, fans don’t want change.

What I believe scares United fans the most is that they finally have to grow up to 21st century football. It is a world where long term planning typically takes a backseat in pursuit of success. Fans watched managerial musical chairs played season after season, only to take heart that all is stable back home. Not any more.

Club owners and managers often preach that no man is above the club. But when that man has been there for 26 years, we don’t bother drawing the line. As far as the world remembers, Sir Alex is Manchester United. Never, in the history of sport, has there been or will there be another figure like Sir Alex. And now, fans have to face the reality and decide what truly makes Manchester United.


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Book of the Day: Discover Meteor

Chris Webb

Book of the Day: Discover Meteor

by Tom Coleman & Sacha Greif

The Long Introduction

Back in June, I wrote a quick blurb about using Express.js and Node.js as a prototyping medium for web apps and data architecture. I quickly received a handful of tweets saying: “Yes, but why don’t you use Meteor?”.

My curiosity was piqued and as I had no experience with Meteor, I decided to do a little exploring.

Meteor is an ultra-simple environment for building modern websites. What once took weeks, even with the best tools, now takes hours with Meteor.

— Meteor Docs

The documentation is a great place to start. However learning a new framework through it’s docs is not always the quickest path for getting started. Not to mention that the challenge often increases proportionally to the youth of the framework because of the lack of readily available resources and answers online.

Unless it’s for the purpose of doing it better, I don’t like wasting time solving problems that others have already solved. I also appreciate learning about pitfalls before I encounter them and knowing best practices from the beginning. This allows me to make informed decisions later when I choose to deviate from the beaten path.

With that in mind I went looking for a Meteor book. I found

Discover Meteor and

Getting Started with Meteor.js JavaScript Framework.

After reading the samples chapters available for both books, I decided to go with the first book. It also helps that the book has gotten some rave reviews from the founder of Meteor, Matt Debergalis as well as Alex Young from dailyjs.com.

The book

Discover Meteor: Building real-time JavaScript Web Applications is a great introduction to the world of real-time JavaScript web application development with Meteor. It aims to make learning Meteor easy in the same way that Meteor aims to make developing a real-time JavaScript web application easy.

Discover Meteor is written as a tutorial. It walks through the process of building a real-time JavaScript web application — a Hacker News clone. Each chapter starts with a short list of objectives and progresses through adding a new feature to the web application. It’s a really nice touch that all of the code examples are available online via Github and are linked to a live demo of the app at the stage you are currently working on. Along the way the authors take the time to explain the magic — the abstractions that make everything a little bit easier.

The development of Meteor is actively progressing and as a result it’s easy for a book about it to quickly be behind the times. Luckily, Tom and Sacha are active in the Meteor community and keep the contents in the book up-to-date with the development of Meteor and its ecosystem (at no additional cost to purchasers thus far).

My only real complaint with the book is the brevity of the coverage of the testing and the process of deploying a JavaScript web application as getting these processes setup can be a time consuming process.

The Verdict
I can confidently echo this praise from the Meteor website: This book is one of the gems of the Meteor community and widely agreed to be the best way to learn Meteor.

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