When
· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · October
· · · · 19 (3 entries)

Bright Autumn Leaves · A bunch of glean­ings that are lan­guish­ing on my write-about-this list, and I’m just too busy to stretch out at length. Uni­fy­ing the­me: none. The Adel­phi Char­ter is sound, pro­gres­sive think­ing on in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty. Alec Muf­fet wants to launch the Cam­paign for the Abo­li­tion of Ap­pli­ca­tion Splash Screens; right on. The Ar­chaeo­ge­net­ics Lab­o­ra­to­ry at Cam­bridge plots the spread of Ho­mo Sapi­ens. From 1996, Jeff Bigler’s Tact Fil­ters.
 
Extreme Low Tide · A cou­ple of week­ends back, we took a walk on the beach when the tide was way, way out and the sun clear and slant­ing ...
 
Bits on the Wire? · In­ter­est­ing twofer from Jim Wal­do, who is one of the Real­ly Smart Guys in the Sun soft­ware ecosys­tem. Way back in May, he wrote Go­ing all in­..., ar­gu­ing that when send­ing da­ta over the wire, it’s good to send ob­ject­s, and that try­ing to send raw data, not gov­erned by the se­man­tics of any par­tic­u­lar ob­ject sys­tem, is prob­lem­at­ic. I’m OK with send­ing ob­jects over the wire—as long as they’re short-lived and you keep those fal­la­cies in view—and the prob­lems Jim out­lines are re­al. But in fac­t, the ba­sic val­ue propo­si­tion of XML is that it al­lows you to re­ceive da­ta from an­oth­er pro­gram while in­su­lat­ing you rad­i­cal­ly from the oth­er program’s choice of com­put­er, op­er­at­ing sys­tem, pro­gram­ming lan­guage, database, and so. And, it seems to work in lots of places, for ex­am­ple syn­di­ca­tion feeds and prod­uct lookup. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that it works ev­ery­where, but there are ex­is­tence proof­s. So I wrote a quick note to Jim along the lines of “Uh, what about XML?” Now I’m feel­ing guilty, be­cause I see from his lat­est, What is XML?, that the ques­tion kind of de­railed his plans for what he was go­ing to write about and, well, now it’s Oc­to­ber. Any­how, go read the piece, it’s a good one, worth wait­ing for. To Jim’s points, I’d al­so add that push­ing the syn­tax prob­lem down in­to XML buys you both Uni­code good­ness and ac­cess to a whole raft of good free pars­ing soft­ware, which are not to be sneezed at. But his anal­o­gy be­tween XML and Unix pipe-fitting cul­ture is sound. Al­so, like Jim says, XML doesn’t make the hard problem—What does this char­ac­ter string mean?—go away.
 
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