Archive for September, 2007

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Unsubbed: Rocketboom

Speaking of podcasts, last week I unsubbed from Rocketboom, the show having officially become unbearably advertising-swamped. It feels good (but not as good as getting that hour-per-week of my life back from Diggnation).

Possibly coming soon: unsub from Security Now, instead of fast-forwarding through half of it at present. -m

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

On the closing of Yahoo! Podcasts

A strange note at the top of the web site that appeared in the last couple of days:

Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Oct. 31, 2007

It’s underlined to look like a link, but in fact is just styled that way. Some further observations and questions:

  • The writing style is out of sync with the rest of the site, clearly done by someone else, likely not a marketing person nor designer
  • View-source shows the markup was jammed in there without regard to the CSS/structure on the rest of the site (look for style=”color:#fff;text-decoration:underline;padding:6px;margin:4px;”)
  • Is this a case of the original folks who wrote the site having moved on, and the new owners find it easier to shut down?
  • Is this a part of “finding focus in hollywood”? (linked earlier)
  • Is it a good idea for Yahoo! Podcasts to exist? If there’s even a Y! site for Wii, why not podcasts?
  • Is this a case of not being able to automate things down enough?
  • Why doesn’t Yahoo! produce any podcasts?


(Note: I wasn’t involved in Y! Podcasts nor in the apparent decision to shut it down)

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

XForms Editors?

What are some good tools, with a strong preference for open source, for editing XForms these days? Comment below… -m

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Recruitment picking up?

In the last few weeks, I’ve been getting more recruitment pitches, including from the well known person ________ who is now at _______, for a think-tank position with _______, multiple LinkedIn requests from Web 2.0 company ________ and even ________.

So, is this a sign that the general industry is picking up? -m

P.S. I’m not looking. :)

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Tab Sweep

EXSLT support coming to Firefox 3.0. Python Flyweights. Timeline of MSFT engagement on document standards. RDFa Primer. And not that this is a conspiracy blog or anything, but strange things are afoot at Minot AFB, hours from where I grew up. -m

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Come see me at XML 2007

Watch this space for details. I’ll be speaking about something related to Python and XPath 2.0. Watch this blog for tidbits on the subject. :) -m

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Evaluating fiction vs. evaluating libation

My Copious Free Time(tm) has been filled lately by two different evaluation projects. One is the 2nd Annual Writing Show Best First Chapter of a Novel Contest, for which the first round of judging is just winding up. The main benefit for contest entrants is that every submission gets a professional critique of at least 750 words. But additionally, each submisison gets a score on a 50-point scale, based on:

  • 10 points for Story. Is it a compelling read with a great hook? Are we engaged?
  • 10 points for Style. Is the writing smooth and tight, without awkward constructions, extraneous verbiage, and redundancies?
  • 10 points for Dialog. Is the dialog natural and does it move the story along?
  • 10 points for Character. Are the characters interesting? Do we care about them?
  • 10 points for Mechanics. Are grammar, spelling, and punctuation correct?

I’m also attending some classes aiming toward becoming a Certified Beer Judge (details on Meadblog). This isn’t as fun as it sounds. (Well, OK, maybe it is…). The idea is to build up better sensory perception so that my personal brewing and cooking projects can benefit. But the upcoming test is 70% written essay questions like “Identify three distinctly different top-fermenting beer styles with a starting gravity of 1.070 or higher, and describe the similarities and differences between the styles”. 30% of the test is based on actual tasting and filling out a tasting sheet. Of interest, the scoring here is also based on a 50-point scale:

  • 12 points for Aroma.
  • 3 points for Appearance.
  • 20 points for Taste.
  • 5 points for Mouthfeel.
  • 10 points for Overall Impression.

The interesting part is that there’s similarities between the two tasks. For both, I need to work off of physical paper, not in my head on on a computer screen. For both, I first “skim”, building an overall impression, then dig down into individual categories to assign a score for each one. Then I step back and look at my numbers, and check whether everything makes sense and accurately records my impressions. When I’m satisfied, I add everything up and am done.

Most day-to-day problems aren’t so well structured or normalized, but nonetheless, I find myself tackling all kinds of problems with a similar approach. There you have it. Writing and drinking beer make you a better person. :) -m

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Steven Pemberton and Michael(tm) Smith on (X)HTML, XForms, mobile, etc.

Video from XTech, worth a look. -m

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Time to update the XForms Validator (XFV)?

In the last couple of days, I’ve had three completely separate instances of people freshly interested in XForms coming to ask me about Stuff.

A declarative model is pretty much irresistible compared to the alternatives. But nobody can directly use an abstract declarative sculpture–sombody needs to put some solid vocabulary and processing meat on the skeleton. And, of course, a good example of that is XForms.

Around the time the book came out, I put together a modest XForms Validator, modeled after the W3C validator of the time. It later went open source, and is available online. But compared to the latest in online validator technology, it feels more than a little dated.

Hypothetically speaking, if I actually had free time, would it make sense to update the XForms Validator? What would you use it for? Would you be willing to help?

Comments below. Thanks, -m