When
· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · October
· · · · 14 (6 entries)

Airplane Power · Some air­lines have these weird lit­tle spe­cial sock­ets that you can use to pow­er your lap­top, if you have the right adapter cord. They work OK. Twice in the last cou­ple of weeks I’ve got on an Air Cana­da flight, both Air­bus­es (a 319 and a 321) and found an or­di­nary 110-volt 3-prong plug in the seat-back in front of me. All air­planes should have the­se.
 
Co-eds · This week I paid a vis­it to the Univer­si­ty of Guelph, from which I grad­u­at­ed over twen­ty years ago. They’re fine peo­ple and it’s a fine school, and I’ll have more to say about that, but I learned some some shock­ing num­ber­s. First, of Guelph’s 18,000-or-so stu­dents, around 70% are fe­male. At the Ve­teri­nary Col­lege, it’s around 90%. And in this year’s grad­u­at­ing class of 50 Com­put­er Science stu­dents, 4 are fe­male. The vi­su­al ef­fect is not sub­tle: ev­ery­where you look there are swarms of bright, healthy, eager-looking young wom­en. And in the CS build­ing, the usu­al geek­boys. Guelph’s pop­u­la­tion, they tell me, is not un­typ­i­cal for mod­ern uni­ver­si­ties. What does this mean, a cou­ple of decades from now?
 
Rick Jelliffe · He’s been work­ing on XML since be­fore it was in­vent­ed, he knows ap­prox­i­mate­ly ev­ery­thing about XML and pub­lish­ing tech­nol­o­gy, he in­vent­ed Schema­tron (which you should be us­ing if you need to val­i­date XML in a com­plex or sub­tle way), he’s a nice guy, and he’s look­ing for a job. Go get him.
 
Splogs · I sus­pect most peo­ple nev­er see spam­blogs, but let me tell you, there are a lot of them out there and they get weird­er and weird­er and weird­er. I’m ac­tu­al­ly baf­fled as to why they ex­ist. The ev­i­dence sug­gests that if you can get emails in front of lots of peo­ple of­fer­ing pe­nis en­large­men­t, cheap mort­gages, fake Rolex­es, and stolen-money bank trans­fer­s, enough will bite that it’s worth do­ing so. But, as I said, most peo­ple nev­er see a spam­blog. When you see them, many have no ads at al­l. Of the ones you see that do have ad­s, the ads are to­tal­ly gener­ic, blah, un­in­ter­est­ing. Where’s the mon­ey? I sup­pose they’re vi­o­lat­ing the on­go­ing terms of use, but who cares, nobody’s see­ing it... I think. [Up­date: James Robert­son points out that in fact these things seem to be high­ly tar­get­ed at PubSub and Feed­ster user­s. Yep, that’s where I see ’em. Stil­l, it’s hard to imag­ine any­one ac­tu­al­ly read­ing them, still less click­ing on an ad. John Clin­gan emailed to sug­gest that these spam­blogs are good places to plant mal­ware, with the in­tent of in­fect­ing un­patched vis­i­tors via their browser­s.] [Up­date: Toi­vo Lainevool, who runs fight­splog.­com, thinks that splogs are try­ing to link to sites to boost PageRank, work­ing around link-farm de­tec­tion.]
 
Ultra and Wildlife · When I got back from On­tar­i­o, there was a mes­sage that my Ul­tra 20 had showed up at the Sun of­fice; since I was too jet­lagged and burned-out to think very much, I drove the half-hour to the burbs to pick it up. Back home, I was hors­ing the box—it ain’t light—up the back stairs, and some­time dur­ing the last week, a re­al­ly ma­jor spi­der had built a re­al­ly ma­jor web across them, which I knocked down with my face; the big fat hairy brown arach­nid land­ed on my shoul­der and seemed to think that this was a good place to sit and reel in the rem­nants; I swear I could feel him tug­ging at the shreds stuck to my nose. I, uh, have is­sues with spi­der­s. I’m hap­py to re­port that both work­sta­tion and spi­der sur­vived. Then I stepped on the dead rat my dar­ling lit­tle cat had left on the back porch as a coming-home pre­sen­t. I’ll write some about this com­put­er, but it’s all got­ta be up­hill from here.
 
XML 2005 · I just spent some qual­i­ty time with NXML-mode and a DocBook-derived tag-set (if the whole world would learn Emac­s, the prob­lems around XML edit­ing would dry right up­), pulling to­geth­er my pa­per, On Lan­guage Creation, for the XML 2005 con­fer­ence, next month in At­lanta. Can’t wait to hang with my tribe; be there or be ❏.
 
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