This week I’m attending the
href="http://www.xmlconference.org/">XML 2004 conference in
Washington, D.C. And you, dear reader, will get the benefit of my
thoughts and experiences over the course of the next few days. As
well as XML-focused coverage, I’ll be sharing some random Linux and
technology-centered observations along the way.
York, UK. Monday, 6am
Struggle outside with suitcase to get in taxi. Surprisingly warm.
Driver has an XDA smartphone. Upon enquiring, I find out he likes it
because the soft-buttons are big enough for his fingers to press
easily. “I find it useful” he says, and I’m left wondering if he’s
had to try hard to justify the purchase to his wife.
On the way he tells me how the train company I’m about to use has
a bad record for the airport run. I’ve never had any problems I say,
and reassure us both.
Now on the train to the airport, I pull out the laptop and start
some work. Marvel at href="http://usefulinc.com/edd/notes/UbuntuOnSonyVaioTRSeries">how
sweetly the little Sony TR1 runs href="http://www.ubuntulinux.org/">Ubuntu, and write an excited
blog entry about the href="http://www.xtech-conference.org/">XTech 2005 conference,
which I chair.
I’m going to be talking about
href="http://usefulinc.com/doap">DOAP at XML 2004. I’ve talked
about the project several times before now, and it’s getting some
pleasing take-up and interest from software distributors. I don’t yet
know whether my audience will be die-hard XML geeks, semantic web
wonks or those with a more general interest, so I expect I’ll be
adapting my presentation on the fly.
Manchester airport, UK. Monday, 9.05am
A snack breakfast and duty-free shop later, I get into the business
lounge in Terminal 1. Pleasantly surprised to find, via the nifty href="http://people.redhat.com/dcbw/NetworkManager/">NetworkManager
system, that there’s free wireless access here. Pretty unusual for
I checked in 3.5 hours early for my flight to Washington. The
security man observed quite a few people had been early. For my part,
it’s concern that there may be additional security rigours so soon
after the election. I’m already looking forward to my first
fingerprinting on entering the US.
Glancing at other laptops seen on the journey, I noticed a marked
prediliction among business people for spreadsheets. This backs up a
theory of mine I’ve been developing since I noted a colleague from href="http://www.bridgeheadinternational.com/">Bridgehead virtually lived in
Excel. Everything from the expected financials right down to project
planning happened in a spreadsheet for him.
For a certain type of person at least, spreadsheets are like the
TODO.txt files that hackers use to organise their lives,
pace Danny O’Brien. Excel is the basic vi, grep and
sed of such businesspeople’s lives.
I’ve never been able to face forcing my thoughts into a grid — one
reason I’ve been finding Tomboy such fun — but it
seems like plenty of people find it a comfortable place to be.
Contempt, vitriol and dinner invitations please.