When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · October
· · · · 16 (2 entries)

OOXML Hoo-Hah · Bob Su­tor and Rob Weir (both of IBM) have been been whack­ing away at the stan­dards lip­stick be­ing paint­ed on the Mi­crosoft Of­fice In­ter­nal Da­ta Struc­ture XML Dump pig. Oop­s, of­fi­cial­ly, that’s “ECMA Of­fice Open XML”. In A Leap Back Rob de­scribes Excel’s well-known date-representation bug be­ing en­cod­ed in an al­leged In­ter­na­tion­al Stan­dard. Then again in A bit about the bit with the bits, he talks about bit­masks and of­fal (re­al­ly). But it’s Bob’s point, in Is Open XML a one way spec­i­fi­ca­tion for most peo­ple?, that’s cen­tral: this is just a six-thousand-page da­ta dump de­scrib­ing a par­tic­u­lar XML se­ri­al­iza­tion of a par­tic­u­lar com­mer­cial application’s ob­ject mod­el, com­plete­ly obliv­i­ous to the uni­verse of publishing-related stan­dards that have been ham­mered out and put to work while MSOf­fice was be­ing tend­ed in Red­mond. You can write “STANDARD” on it in let­ters as big as you wan­t, but there will on­ly ev­er be one full im­ple­men­ta­tion, and if you stan­dard­ize on this stan­dard you’ve locked your­self in. Shame, shame on the oth­er com­pa­nies on the com­mit­tee, help­ing Mi­crosoft per­pet­u­ate this trav­es­ty. There’s just no ex­cuse.
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The Greatest Show on Earth · Here in Canada, Amer­i­can pol­i­tics is a spec­ta­tor sport; and this year our south­ern neigh­bors are putting on a ter­rif­ic show. The Wash­ing­ton machi­na­tions get fur­ther and fur­ther in­to you-couldn’t-make-this-up ter­ri­to­ry. My fa­vorite this week: ap­par­ent­ly Repub­li­can supre­mo Ken Mehlman did sleaze­meis­ter Jack Abramoff a fa­vor by get­ting a gov­ern­ment lawyer fired for labor-policy re­form ef­forts that were both­er­ing Abramoff’s clients. Now, while this is an out­stand­ing­ly clear in­stance of cor­rup­tion and evil in ac­tion at the high­est lev­el­s, it’s re­al­ly noth­ing new; hu­man­i­ty is prone to cor­rup­tion, large or­ga­ni­za­tions (both pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor) are where it’s most prof­itable, and there will al­ways be a cer­tain amount go­ing on. What pushed my weirdness-meter in­to over­load on this one is that while the quid pro quo was most­ly at a strate­gic lev­el around large-scale cam­paign fund­ing, in this par­tic­u­lar case Abramoff al­so scored Mehlman a cou­ple of U2 con­cert tick­et­s. There’s just some­thing about U2 tick­ets be­ing used to bribe of­fi­cials to re­sist labor-law re­form that res­onates in all the wrong places. And, for those who like to watch the show, I’m hap­py to re­port that Andy Tanenbaum’s Elec­toral Vote Pre­dic­tor is back; its cheer­i­ly ob­ses­sive track­ing of ev­ery cred­i­ble poll in ev­ery state of the union will add some en­ter­tain­ment val­ue to your dai­ly feed scan­s.
[3 comments]  
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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