I’ve updated this graphic to include XSD 1.1, ISO DSDL part 9, TEI Feature Sets, CSD and WSDL which has a kind of content model capability.
Contact me for the SVGs or PDFs for printing.
I’ve updated this graphic to include XSD 1.1, ISO DSDL part 9, TEI Feature Sets, CSD and WSDL which has a kind of content model capability.
Contact me for the SVGs or PDFs for printing.
Two different stories this week highlight what’s worked and what hasn’t at the web’s biggest standards body. Elliotte Rusty Harold’s RELAX Wins has generated a stir about how much “W3C XML Schemas (XSD) suck,” according to Tim Bray. On a positive note, though, Norm Walsh announced eight Proposed Recommendations around XQuery, XSLT 2, and (hooray!) XPath 2.
I’m spending the five mnutes of “extra” time I have this morning (waiting for a response email before I can continue is what’s providing me this snapshot moment :) catching up on as many of my favorite blogs as I can fit in, and stumbled upon this gem from Todd Ditchendorf,
Q. I’ve tried reading the (XML | SGML | XSL | XPATH | DSSSL | …)
specification, but it doesn’t make any sense! There’s too
A. Specification authors deliberately obfuscate the text of
ISO and W3C standards to ensure that normal people
(e.g., Perl programmers) can’t use the technology without
assistance from the so-called “experts” who designed the
Fortunately, there is a handy translation table you can use:-------------------------------------------------- ISO/W3C terminology Common name -------------------------------------------------- attribute tag attribute value tag attribute value literal tag attribute value specification tag character reference tag comment tag comment declaration tag declaration tag document type declaration tag document type definition tag element tag element type tag element type name tag entity tag entity reference tag general entity tag generic identifier tag literal tag numeric character reference tag parameter entity tag parameter literal tag processing instruction tag tag command --------------------------------------------------
With the help of this table, even Visual Basic programmers
should have no trouble deciphering ISO prose.
ABSOLUTELY CLASSIC!!!! :D
Thanks for the laugh, Todd!
Software and hardware makers have long complained that a glut of so-called junk patents threatens to disrupt the way they do business.
One key gripe about the patent process is expected to take center stage before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday morning. In their third major patent case this year, the justices are scheduled to hear arguments about what courts should consider when deciding whether an invention is too “obvious” to warrant protection.
Dear Supreme Court Justices: Please let common sense prevail!
“He he he he he….”
Kurt Cagle, from a private IM session on the evening of November 25th, 2006
(more to follow…)
But musicians? When the cops finally came, they protected the labels.
Sorry lads, but you and Tim Bray and the rest of the ‘information wants to be free as long as it isn’t our software or graphics’ can go…
(more below) NOTE: Don’t worry, if taken out of context, the last sentence from above probably seems to be something that its not… LOTS of good stuff! I promise, it’s worth the click ;)
As mentioned in my last post,
DRM is one thing. DRM affects us in the here and now, so it’s an issue worth arguing.
DRM? When it keeps us humans from being able to listen, watch, read, and in other forms interact with creative content by locking us into a particular media player/device and locks us out of being able to share that content with others (e.g. “Hey Sam, check out this track from the FooBar Fighters!”), this –
THIS we SHOULD FEAR and FIGHT AGAINST!
Thanks for the link, Sylvain!
The documents of our time are being recorded as bits and bytes with no guarantee of future readability. As technologies change, we may find our files frozen in forgotten formats. Will an entire era of human history be lost?
The above lead-in to the above linked story is about as close to the actual content of the story as we are to the last “Ice Age” this planet encountered. Subtle changes in the processing software is one thing. But the idea of a hard drive crashing, an online email company going out of business, or the magnetic disk our data is stored on losing its “memory” is quite another. It has nothing to do with the fact that they are stored in “bits and bytes” and everything to do with the storage medium they are stored on as well as how many places they are stored.
Today we have hackers crackin’ some of the most tightly guarded cryptographic file formats — formats that were specifically designed to keep people from viewing their contents unless they have “permission” to do so — in a matter of hours, days, weeks, sometimes months, and in rare cases, a few years after these formats were first introduced. So the notion of no guarantee of future readability is a flat-out fabrication of the imagination.
DRM is one thing. DRM affects us in the here and now, so it’s an issue worth arguing. But in regards to we may find our files frozen in forgotten formats.?
If they’re forgotten, it will have been for a reason — for example: NO ONE USED THEM.
Will an entire era of human history be lost?
It’s always possible. But it wouldn’t be because of forgotten formats. Natural disaster, the medium in which data is recorded, or simple human error are all plausible scenario’s. But attempting to scare people into believing that “in the future it’s possible that people may not be able to read our 4th grade “What I Did Last Summer?” report, or even our doctoral thesis on the lifespan of the average floppy disk” because “The documents of our time are being recorded as bits and bytes” is nothing less than FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), pure and simple.
The chance of a natural disaster, the storage medium our data is stored on giving up the ghost, or a fly-by-night online email company? These we SHOULD fear.
“The documents of our time are being recorded as bits and bytes with no guarantee of future readability.
This we SHOULD NOT fear!
Thanks for reading.
The MIT is going to change its curriculum structure that was famous for teaching Scheme in introductory courses. One force behind the reform is no one else than Harold Abelson, famous for his marvelous Scheme opus SICP. But why changing?
The new curriculum is designed with three goals in mind: greater flexibility in requirements, better integration of electrical engineering and computer science, and more depth to better prepare students for graduate school or real-world design challenges, he said.
And programming language wise:
Content-wise, the class is a mix as well. The first four weeks of C1 will be a lot like the first four weeks of 6.001, Abelson said. The difference is that programming will be done in Python and not Scheme.
The new draft of XProc is out and has fewer spangles. Here’s a post I sent to their suggestion box.
The Designer widget is now updated with z-ordering working and a new panel for changing several common properties.
Designer running in IE7 with property panel opened
The next updates will include exporting and importing of Xaml to permit Vst sessions to share interfaces through Jabber instant messaging.
NOTE: Okay, so technically speaking, anything that can be wrapped inside of an XML envelope can be passed as a message via Jabber/XMPP, so I guess this kind of *IS* your fathers Jabber/XMPP — But did your father ever do this?
Well, I’ll let you decide for yourself what you believe the next generation of Web-based applications will be built with, but if you want my opinion: Please see the above mentioned acronyms.
Thanks for the sneak-peek into the
future , Peter!
Waaaay up there on the list of downright impressive geeky books sits Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, known also as SICP.
Part of its gravitas (apart from being technically excellent that is) is its association with MIT and all those tenacious electrical engineering students. Think you are a hot shot between the ears? Then learn computer programming by doing *Scheme* as your first language. Pascal, Basic, Java? Thats all just whimpy stuff. Real programmers use Scheme. All programming languages are toys by comparison :-)
AMEN TO THAT!
Okay so I’m over-stating it a bit. Still, it sure is interesting to see Python in the new curriculum over there.
“Can I get an AMEN?!”
Norm Walsh recently provided an update about XProc - a generalized XML Pipeline language that is being worked on by the W3C. The idea behind XProc is simple enough - you create an XML document that provides “glue” or conditional bindings for difference processes that can occur in an application. One such “standard” project for such a language already exists - Ant - and I find it interesting that Ant has been slowly replacing the cryptic and awkward
make syntax in an increasing number of applications, only a small portion of which are XML based.
ISO is now hosting from their site free PDF versions of many ISO standards, notably Schematron, RELAX NG (full and compact syntax) and NVDL. These are available from the Publicly Available Standards section.
Other free standards available include for C, C# and CLI, FORTRAN, Z, JPEG200, CGM, and many concerned with telephony and removable media. ASN.1 is on the way, too.
Regular grammars model constraints in the form "when we have an element with particular preceding siblings, which elements can be the following sibling?"
To do this in Schematron, we make assertions in the form
<rule context=" element [ preceding-siblings ]"> <assert test=" immmediately-following-siblings ">The following siblings are expected after an <name />.</assert> </rule>
In a rare collaborative effort, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, which compete directly in Internet search and other online services, plan to announce on Thursday their support for the open source, Sitemap Protocol based on XML (Extensible Markup Language).
Excellent work, GYM!
For more info on the Google Sitemap protocol, visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/protocol.html
Update (May 30th, 2007): Thanks for all of your *enlightening* comments, everyone! But I think the time to kill this thread has long since come overdue..
via Sylvain (thanks Sylvain!)
With no advance notice or explanation, Baton Rouge indie rockers Bones have lost their long-established Myspace URL (www.myspace.com/bones) to the FOX Television show of the same name. Bones, the band, has used www.myspace.com/bones for nearly 2 years, racking up close to 20,000 profile views, over 21,000 song plays and over 2100 Myspace friends.
Apparently when they decided on the name MySpace, they really meant it!
NOTE: Apparently the band got it back, but as per my follow-up comment to Sylvain,
regardless of the fact they gave it back, it goes to show the mentality of the folks running the show at myspace…
NOTE-TO-WWW: Go get *YOUR OWN SPACE* (meaning, your own URI) and then link to it from whatever happens to be the latest “rage with the kids.” If this proves nothing else, it proves that nothing belongs to you unless *YOU* maintain control of what it is used for. While technically speaking you only “own” your domain name if you continue to pay the yearly fees, @ $8.95 or less this shouldn’t be problem for *ANYBODY* to maintain. Unless, of course, your band *REALLY* sucks. In that case maybe you should worry more about practicing than maintaining a web presence, but for $8.95 a year you would have to *REALLY*, *REALLY* suck, so while practice is still important, maintaining your own URI is *MORE* important.
In a private email thread, Kalvin Wang, someone in whom I have both the privilege and pleasure of working with on some as-of-yet-to-be-announced/launched projects, made the following comment that left me busting a gut. So, with his permission, I am passing along the following info which contains the mentioned QOTD so you can share in both the laugh and the smile,
You’ve probably seen this already, but it’s rather unusual for an IP law entry to make it to Techmeme’s popular list–it’s usually dominated by “Google launches new universe” entries–so I thought I’d pass it along.
I LOVE IT! :D
In other news, VISIT THAT LINK!
err, I mean: Please visit that link. :D
Thanks for both the link and the laugh, Kalvin! :)
The recent announcement that Sun would be GPL’ing Java has caused an immediate (and well deserved) reaction among the technical blogosphere. It’s another one of those titanic shifts that occur periodically as large software companies jocky for position, one that causes all of the pebbles on the Go board to suddenly shift into a different alignment. I’m sure that these pages will be analyzing this move for months, but I thought I’d get my two cents in now while the topic’s still germane.
Java and XML have long had a significant, albeit somewhat uneasy, relationship. Most of the early XML tools were written in Java, and even today, many of the major ones, from Saxon to a number of the Apache technologies, appear first in Java form before showing up in other languages. Eclipse, the open source editor that is rapidly becoming one of the major development platforms for XML work, is of course fundamentally a Java application, and it is fair to say that Java likely has near as many (if not more) developers in its fold as C++.
That being said, it took XML to accomplish what Java couldn’t. Most communication that goes over TCP/IP nowadays is not done via either Corba or RMI - instead, its marshalled XML as either SOAP or REST-like messages (with a growing proportion of JSON added into the mix). AJAX has largely replaced Java applets as the mechanism for providing functionality on the web, and on the server Java’s role is increasingly a supporting one to host either XML based services or XML oriented server frameworks.
If it were possible to have TOO MANY XML/XSLT toys (which it’s not!), you could EASILY charge Todd Ditchendorf with a crime.
That said, and as suggested — It *AIN’T POSSIBLE*! (Dear Grammar Nazi(s), BYTE ME! ;) :D )
I’m like a phrickin’ kid in a candy story, I tell ya! — (Dear Grammar Nazi(s), Okay, I promise that was the last one (in this post, anyway.) ;) Much love in this heart of mine for you GN; *MUCH LOVE*! ;) :D )
So back to
In follow-up to yesterdays “bridge” announcement, Sylvain Hellegouarch has both updated and released the next version of Amplee, an Atom Publishing Protcol implementation, using bridge to enable compatibility with a variety of XML document types, including System.Xml-based document types. From the announcement posted to his blog earlier today,
I am pleased to say that amplee, my Atom Publishing Protocol implementation for Python is now released in version 0.3.0 and uses now bridge fo its internal XML parsing so that you can easily use amplee with Amara, lxml, xml.dom or even System.Xml on IronPython.
Amplee allows you to easily setup an APP store and serve it via CherryPy 3 or any other WSGI server such as wsgiref.
Please read the brief documentation to get a better idea of what amplee can do for you and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Sylvain and I are working together today to finish out the next batch of applications to be released as part of the nuXle.us project virtualized XML messaging appliance. Below is the list of both current applications available in the most recent release of the project (still a developer only release, though things are coming together quite nicely) as well as the additional applications we are working at integrating and testing to make available once everything has been tested and verified to work as expected.
Will update with a new post once this has taken place.
The mentioned application list follows below,
Step One: Check to make sure that the .odt isn’t just an .sxw in disguise,
During this “real life” tests, we noticed that all the files created with the online application “Google Docs” were not converted successfully. This was strange enough for us to look in detail at what was wrong. And we found out that Google Docs was simply not able to export to ODF. Actually, the file menu says “Save as OpenOffice” and not “Save as OpenDocument”. The output file is an SXW file (the legacy format from previous versions of Star Office and OpenOffice.org)… with an ODT extension! I don’t know if by doing this way the guys from Google wanted to make people think that they had implemented the ODF format, but that was a nice try! ;-) I guess that they are working hard to achieve the compatibility, but in the mean time our converter won’t be able to open documents made with Google Docs - no need to complain, we have commited to handle OASIS OpenDocument format, not all the formats of the earth!
Step Two: See step one.
XSLT, SchmeXSLT — Just change the file extension and thats it — *POOF* — it’s transformed from one document format to the other!
Uhhhh… Sure. Why not.
I’m happy to introduce the first release of bridge. A general purpose
XML library for Python and IronPython (and ultimately Jython).
bridge is very simple and light. It basically let you load an XML
document via a set of different parsers (xml.dom, Amara, lxml,
System.Xml) and creates a tree of Elements and Attributes before
releasing the parser resources.
This means that once the document is loaded it is independent from the
bridge then provides a straightforward interface to navigate through the
tree and manipulate it.
bridge does not try to replace underlying XML engines but offer a common
API so that your applications are less dependent of those engines.
bridge offers a couple of other goodies however to play with the tree of
elements (see the documentation).
== Download ==
== Documentation ==
Hope this will help a few people in working with XML without worrying on
which engine they choose to use.
– Sylvain Hellegouarch
NICE! Thanks Sylvain!
I have to admit … I knew if I ventured into Microsoft land that I’d likely end up with these responses (and yes Dave, I get the message).
I haven’t done a formal analysis of the release version of IE, nor was the attempt in my last post an attempt to do so. The article I wrote WAS intended to point out a few of my major peeves with the way that Microsoft went about upgrading the browser:
I’m frankly a little disappointed in the feedback on the article, however. Linux and OSS partisans have a reputation for occasionally getting hostile and anal about their particular OS, but its a little disturbing to see the same kind of attacks coming from the highly literate readers (I hope) of this site from the Windows side.
I am frustrated with IE because it could have and should have been so much better a browser. It is still the one that most people use, largely because its what gets defaulted in any new windows installation, and many (especially non-technical) people have neither the time nor the understanding to seek out something else. However, this didn’t prompt my last rant … rather, I am taking fault with the user experience of the installation, which is THE front door that most people will end up seeing before using the browser in the first place.
The IE7 auto-upgrade gave Microsoft had a chance to gain back a lot of people that it has lost in the last few years - wow them with something spectacular, send the user to a page that would put the browser through its paces and show off the positive points, get past the “We are Microsoft and we know better than you do what you want.” attitude and make people wonder if maybe they were wrong about Firefox after all.
They blew it.
Instead, the user experience that was sent out was cold - “We don’t trust that you’re running a valid copy of Windows, so before we go anywhere, we’re going to frisk your operating system!”, “We’ll let you know how soon we can give you back your computer as soon as we’re actually done.”,”Oops, there’s a glitch here that we didn’t anticipate, and on 17.2% of all computers this program will crash.” Programmers may not believe that User Experience matters - I’m USED to Linux programs crashing all the time - but for most non-programmers, the message that comes out of this user experience is simple: “Microsoft is a cold, large, indifferent monolithic corporation that builds shoddy products”. Is that the reality? No, from my own experiences, generally it isn’t. But it IS the perception, and experiences like this only serve to bolster that perception, especially among the non-technical.
I’m hoping to do a formal analysis of Internet Explorer 7 in the near future, and no, I’m not going to be partisan about it - there are a number of good features and upgrades that IE7 has to offer, and I think it is important to highlight these positive aspects, especially given the expectation that IE7 use will spike this week despite the less than sterling installation process.
Kurt Cagle is an author, CTO and software industry analyst for Metaphorical Web, located in Victoria, British Columbia.
Proof that there is somebody from above (with some pull) that still cares about the REST (< sorry ;) of us down here below.
What we are doing
We want to restore the World Wide Web to its rightful place as a respected architecture for distributed programming. We want to shift the focus of “web service” programming from a method-based Service-Oriented Architecture that just happens to use HTTP as a transfer protocol, to a URI-based Resource-Oriented Architecture that uses the technologies of the web to their fullest.
Our project has technical aspects but it’s mainly a job of evangelizing: spreading the good news. Currently the REST philosophy is typecast as sloppy or unserious. This despite the fact that:
Most of the web services the public actually uses are URI-based.
Most Ajax applications are nothing but browser clients for URI-based web services.
Most of the world’s biggest web applications are technically indistinguishable from URI-based web services.
If REST doesn’t work or doesn’t “scale”, then neither does the World Wide Web.
REST is typecast because its practices are folklore. It’s got no canonical documentation beyond a doctoral thesis which, like most holy texts, says little about how to apply its teachings to everyday life. Its technologies are so old and heavily-used they seem undocumented and unsupported when their true power is revealed. It’s like finding out you can pick a lock with a paperclip.
Because it occupies this odd middle ground–familiar yet suddenly cast in a new light–a lot of people have gotten the impression that REST just means “whatever you want to do, so long as you don’t use SOAP”. That it’s a sloppy no-methodology used to justify bad design, malformed XML, and, in particularly troublesome cases, Extreme Programming.
To counter this, REST advocates have come up with a new term, “HTTP POX”, to describe URI-based web services that aren’t RESTful. But that just brings back the arguments about what REST is and isn’t. Is it like pornography, where you only know REST when you see it? Or is it like communism, where if a service fails it must not have really been REST? Can a service be somewhat RESTful, or is that like being somewhat pregnant? How many resources can dance on the head of a pin?
We’re writing a book to codify the folklore, define what’s been left undefined, and try to move past the theological arguments. We’re doing programming to improve tool support and introduce new kinds of tools. We’re doing marketing and memetic engineering to make REST a more fit competitor in the marketplace of ideas. Some may find our methods heretical; others may see no method at all. Personally, we see six: GET, HEAD, PUT, POST, DELETE, and sometimes OPTIONS.
From the same linked page,
If all goes well, REST Web Services will be published by O’Reilly in May 2007. We want this to be the definitive work on the real-world use of REST. If you’re a REST fanatic, we need your input now: your best practices, rules of thumb, and folklore; your review of what we write. If you’re just interested, we need your questions and concerns. Please send email to Leonard (email@example.com) to get in on this project.
Update: What are you waiting for? GO!!!!!
As part of my ongoing research into social networks, I sign up at pretty much every site I come across. Today, I came across Gazzag.com.
As part of the sign up process, they offered to import all my contacts from Orkut.com. I agreed, entered my login and password, and all the contacts popped over. Then, Gazzag then took it upon themselves to email all of my contacts saying that I invited them to join my network at Gazzag. As something of a social network expert, all my friends have been saying “Well if Jen invited me, there must be something really great here” and wandered into this evil trap of a social networking site. I did not invite them, I did not email them, and there is nothing special about this site. It basically hijacked my email address and spammed these people from me.
The Gazzag Terms and Conditions says nothing about them using my email address.
There is some small text under the box to import Orkut contacts that says ” Type your Orkut username and password. Your friends will be invited to join you at Gazzag. Note: Gazzag will not store your password. ” I did read this, but I naively took it to mean that my friends who were *already in Gazzag* would be invited to join me. What stupid kind of thing would email everyone I know? I certainly should have been smarter about this, but I am not the only one who has been sucked in here. A Google blog search for Gazzag finds lots of people angry about receiving all these spams and other people angry about finding they were sent.
This kind of practice is not just bad. It’s evil. There are real implications to emails being sent from a user’s address. In my case, messages went to my boss and colleagues who are in much higher positions than me. Those are people whom I think carefully about emailing, and I would never send them an invitation to a general social network. Messages also went to a couple of my exes. People do not actively remove connections in social networks, so a person’s list of friends will often contain people who are not friends any more. It implies something to delete a friend, so most people avoid it by just doing nothing. When a site like Gazzag comes along and emails all those people, it carries a lot of social implications that users probably don’t want to make. I think it’s rare that anyone would want to email their full list of friends with an invitation like this, and Gazzag simply shouldn’t do it.
So, for forcing me and several acquaintances to do a lot of damage control today, I officially declare Gazzag.com my enemy. Note that I have not even given them a link on this blog. Don’t go there. Don’t visit. Don’t sign up. Tell everyone you know to avoid them. I’m an expert, and this time, I mean what you’re reading.
Update: Something just occurred to me. As far as I can tell, it has taken longer to finish the development of the XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0, and XQuery specs than it has to finish the development of Windows Vista.
In other words, its taken longer to agree upon how to implement the next generation XML processing technologies, a small subset of the much larger computer programming language universe (many of which are supported on Vista, btw…), than it has to build an entire phreakin’ operating system. And Vista took a LONG PHREAKIN’ TIME!
I’m not criticizing — much love in this heart of mine for the XSLT, XPath, and XQuery WG’s (though something tells me that love ain’t reciprocated ;) — *MUCH LOVE* — Just pointing out a simple fact.
Maybe for version 3.0 of the specs we should see how much of the 2.0 specs we can take away? (A man can dream, can’t he!?)
Update: Title was: “Ready For The XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0, and XQuery Specifications To Go Golden?” but for what should be obvious reasons, I realized that “Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication” is really more appropriate for the occasion.
NOTE: If ever you have wondered where on earth I came up with the x2×2x acronym (of which I often shorten to X5 (X^2+X^2+X=X5) and use as part of user names, graphics, etc…), and what on earth it stood for…
X(SLT) 2(.0), X(Path) 2(.0), and X(Query)
And for those of you who are now left staring blankly at the screen, thinking to yourself (or saying out loud for that matter) “Dude, seriously… you need help.”,
That’s good advice. I’ll look into that right away. Thanks for the tip!
In the mean time, it seems that the rumors that Michael Rys drank one too many glasses of Kool-Aid at Microsoft’s Christmas party last year (a rumor which I just made up on the fly, by-the-way, though I’m not suggesting its not true, and instead its possible that it might not be 100% accurate. ;) and was last seen boarding the MotherShip back to wherever the MotherShip takes you back to (Sirius maybe?) are either a complete fabrication (Possible? Yes! Probable? I’ll leave this as an exercise for the reader. :), or Microsoft has built a ship capable of speeds 16 +/- 1/2 year times that of the speed of light.
Again, left as an exercise for the reader.
With that — I offer the following that Microsoft *truly has* has built a ship capable of speeds 16 +/- 1/2 year times that of the speed of light (as well as evidence that it might be time to look into Kurt’s advice and start taking those meds again ;),
Now *THIS* is the kind of social networking I can proudly take part in,
NOTE: Yes, I realize this is like two weeks old, but I haven’t seen any follow-ups that suggest the case has been solved, so I figured what the heck.
Yesterday (Saturday) evening, I left my office, walked out to my car, and noticed something missing: the license plate off my car.
Yes, that really is my license plate. Or more precisely, that really was my license plate.
Here’s my guess: someone from the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area was in Healdsburg yesterday wandering around the downtown area, saw my license plate, and thought it would be a giggle to take it. It would look great on someone’s office wall, and hey, the car owner could just get a new one, right?
The best case scenario involves Tom and I spending many many many hours dealing with this, and ending up (finally) with a replacement plate. The most likely scenario involves Tom and I spending many many many hours dealing with this, and losing the plate forever.
I know a lot of people in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area. I know a lot of Web geeks. The chances are good that whoever ends up with my plate knows someone who knows someone who knows me. So, I’m asking you for a favor; could you please:
Tell your Northern California friends that I’m looking for it.
Tell your Web geek friends that I’m looking for it.
Post a message on your blog asking for help for me to get my license plate back.
If you happen to come across it when visiting tech company offices, help it get back to me.
I’m not asking people to call the police, or to turn their buddies in to the authorities, or anything like that. I’d simply like to get it back. No questions will be asked; no charges will be pressed — I just want my own property returned.
I got the license plate in 1998, and it’s been a cool thing ever since then. I’m frequently stopped with questions about the plate (most recent occurrence: at the library last Thursday), and it has great sentimental meaning to me on top of the geek factor. The shot above, in fact, was clipped from one of our wedding photos.
You know, if we all handled the day-to-day mini-crimes such as this in the same way Dori Smith is handling this particular situation, I would venture to state that by the simple power of social friction, a lot fewer crimes such as this would take place, and a lot less drama would be filling our court systems with the soul-sucking he said/she said crap that we waste *MOST* of our tax dollars allocated for running our court systems.
Of course, this is beside the point: If you happen to see/find/know where Dori’s plate is, and/or happen to know anybody in the “industry” (the license plate making industry, that is ;) who can make the task of getting another plate allocated with little to no red-tape, contact information is located at the above mentioned link.
What do you call a program that gets loaded in surreptitiously and without your approval, has the potential to lock down your computer so you can’t get access to it, takes up significant system resources and promptly crashes upon running. Normally, I’d call it a virus, except for the last part … viruses are usually stable (and well written) once they start. On the other hand, it’s a perfect description of Internet Explorer 7.0.
I am a programmer dealing with client-side development, which means that, like it or not, I spend a great deal of time in Windows, because that’s where my users are. Given the nature of Windows, I am also forced to keep Microsoft’s Auto-Update feature active, because without it I can’t receive the dozens of weekly patches necessary to keep the system stable in the face of bad programming decisions made by Microsoft over the years. However, I was more than a little bit peeved to discover that Microsoft seemed to consider Internet Explorer 7 a “necessary patch”, rather than giving me the decision to choose to install it.
On November 1, the world over, people will boot up their Windows system and discover that mysteriously IE6 has gone the way of the dodo and IE7 is now the designated heir apparent. Of course, this assumes that in the process of booting up their system they don’t run afoul of the Validation feature, which presumably goes in and checks with the mother ship that the Windows that people are running is in fact legitimate. I don’t know the fate of those who don’t, though I can see significant swathes of business throughout the world suddenly in the dark because the copy of Windows they THOUGHT they were legitimately buying proved to be bootlegged.
Of course, if that wasn’t bad enough, I then get to sit through the install process itself, which features the increasingly common we’re-doing-something-in-the-background “cylon” bar that only tells me that Internet Explorer Core Components are being installed. At no point can you say “No, don’t install this, I’m still developing my app for backwards compatibility with Internet Explorer 6!”. At no point can you say “Hey, I really don’t LIKE Internet Explorer taking up resources on my system and I spent the requisite six hours deep in the bowels of the registry trying to extricate the LAST version of IE, so don’t install this!” At no point can you say “Wait, we haven’t properly tested this in our enterprise setup to insure that the applications we have spent YEARS developing will actually work in your stupid browser!”
Nope, you WILL install Internet Explorer 7, we won’t tell you what’s going on in the background even as we do, and we won’t even bother to show you a simple progress bar that indicates how far to perdition you’ve actually gone. We are Microsoft and you aren’t. So there.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have reached the point of ranting about this issue, save for the simple fact that after this whole process had completed, and I, begrudgingly, double clicked on the Internet Explorer “e” icon, the browser opened up, showed the default installation page, then promptly crashed.
I am writing this in Firefox 1.5. I’ll be upgrading to Firefox 2.0 in a week or so when the XForms extension is completed for it and I can finish my development there. FF1.5 does occasionally crash, usually at 3am after I’ve been extensively programming and have left all kinds of interesting things hang in the environment. As a developer, you expect crashes - if you don’t get them you’re not pushing the envelope enough, but you generally expect that such crashes are due directly to something you did. I like Firefox. I like Opera 9, which to me is a fine-jeweled watch that’s a wonder to work with. I’m even beginning to like Konqueror when I can escape outside of Windows land and play in my Linus sandbox.
I don’t know about IE7 - I’m afraid to start it up again for fear that it will corrupt my system.
Kurt Cagle is an author, software developer and technology analyst, and is the Chief Consultant for Metaphorical Web, in Victoria, British Columbia.