This Year's posts

Archive for March, 2006

I could never be a specialist.

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I’m just too interested in too many things. This also makes it hard to focus on any one thing.

Richard MacManus gets microformats wrong

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Richard MacManus is talking about how to design with microcontent. There’s few quotable bits that I have to disagree with:

XML has largely lived up to its promise of being the data format of choice for the Web 2.0 era.

Eh, don’t think so. I wasn’t a web professional when XML first hit the scene, but the OG’s have told me all about this potential. I can’t help but contrast Richard’s point with Simon St. Laurent’s:

XML has occasionally found its way to the Web, but it’s hard to remember now that once upon a time, XML was supposed to be directly on the Web, the files people loaded and manipulated…

The particular XML Web described by Bosak and Bray [leaders of developing XML -ed.] never happened. (It still could, but hasn’t.)

XML has failed to live up to its potential on the web. Sure, it works great behind firewalls and in specific applications, but, remember, XML was supposed to replace HTML. Even XHTML doesn’t precisely work.

XML has come no where near matching HTML in terms of distribution and interoperability. Certainly, there are some incompatibilities between various user agents, but those are being improved as I write (and most of the problems are regarding rendering, not HTML itself).

On the web, HTML still outweights XML, in many ways:

  1. There’s more data in HTML than XML.
  2. There’s more HTML resources than XML resources.
  3. There’s more people who can competently author HTML than XML.

Today, the format of the web, 2.0 or not, is HTML. It may change in the future, but it hasn’t yet.

Anyway, on the the point where I want to disagree with MacManus. He says:

Microformats is the generic name given to any format that builds on XML to provide additional metadata about web objects.

Actually Richard, no.

You must not have been paying attention, because microformats are built on HTML, not XML. Sure, you can use them with with XHTML, but that is by no means a requirement.

Also, ‘microformats’ refers to a specific way of extending the web, via modularization and iteration on top of existing formats with existing schemas (where possible). This is much different that Structured Blogging, which ignores the most common format on the web (HTML) and manages to replicate and hide the interesting data.

The interesting data is in the content. Putting data in arbitrary XML is not useful and lacks the sharing potential of the WWW.

Bill Gates name-drops microformats

Monday, March 20th, 2006

I just got into work today, and what do I see? Bill Gates just mentioned microformats on stage.

I’m constantly amazed at the amount of attention the microformats project gets. I guess this raises things up another notch, though.

A suggestion for the Sun Niagra Server Trial

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

Adam Kalsey talks of his trials in getting a demo server from Sun.

Adam has a new startup, Tagyu, so it has no credit history, so Sun asked him to supply a credit card to secure the demo server. Sun needs some way to assure that they’ll get the server back, which is more than fair, but their requirements make it hard for young startups to get a server.

So, beside basing the security on credit, why not just base it on physical security? In other words, just keep the server at Sun and let Adam use it.

For situations like Adam’s where he’s got a brand-new startup, Sun should just host the server for him. Seriously, it will cost Sun more in bandwidth and electricity, but those costs could easily written off and/or recovered when Adam later decides to buy some servers.

SxSW, concluded

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Holy shit batman! South by Southwest rocks!

I’m sitting in the hotel, just getting stuff packed up and ready to roll out. The party’s not over, there’s still stuff going on tonight, but my flight is leaving at 4pm today– I gotta get back to SF, I’ve been gone for 8 days now. Anyway, here’s a quick run-down of the rest of the trip:

Thursday, I saw Aberdeen City at the Blind Pig Pub (they rock!), then over to Film School at Club Deville, then Hurra Torpedo at Fox and Hound.

Just a little note about Hurra Torpedo– I think they would be best described as “awkwardly erotic norwegian appliance rock.” Seriously, the band is three Norwegian guys in matching track suits (which are falling halfway off their asses), who bang on appliances (stoves, washers and dryers). They did the best version of Total Eclipse of the Heart I’ve ever heard. Then they smashed up the appliances.

After this Mark, Nicole and I ran over to see The Refugee All-stars, who’s documentary we’d seen earlier that day. A great show, which we followed up with a quick trip over to see Chin up, Chin up a Chicago-based indie-rock band (a pic).

Our final show of the night was Nickel Creek at Stubb’s. They were fun and even did a cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic (to help a stuggling, working mother out).

I’m not sure how we did it, but in 4 hours, we saw ‘awkwardly erotic norwegian appliance rock’, west afrian traditional music, indie rock and bluegrass.

Did I mention that SxSW rocks? Those fools who left after Interactive don’t know what they’re missing.

Alright, enough with Thursday, on to Friday.

Yesterday I got started even earlier, heading to a party thrown by Filter at about noon to meet up with Mark and Nicole. I saw a couple of bands there including a great one called Illinois. After picking up some free shoes from Saucony (yay schwag!) I headed over to The Drink to catch Birdmonster with Willo, Misty and Ted.

From there, I went to meet up with Buzz and some old friends of his at The Boiling Pot, a cajun seafood restaurant. We were there because Buzz wanted to hear The Twilight Singers, who were playing at an invite-only party across the way. So, we sat on the deck of the restaurant, ate crawfish, shrimp and crab with our hands and listened to some rockin’ music.

The rest of the night consisted of Brakes, Tilly and the Wall (tap dance rock!), an attempt at Billy Bragg (but it was packed), The Lashes (ew, high school girl rock), DMBQ (cheesy japan rock), The Spinto Band (tight six-piece rock) and finally Tapes ‘n Tapes (good tunes, awesome drummer).

I wish I could stay until tomorrow, but I’m not sure I’d be able to survive.