Dialogue

One of the reasons I started this blog is that I wanted to be able to express ideas and thoughts that I found I had no other appropriate avenue to do so. This has mostly been me talking to myself, and maybe a few friends here and there, but the past few days have been strange for me.

People started to talk back…

First, my trackback ping to Diego on Objective media started a conversation, and really challenged me to clarify my thoughts and thing a little harder.

Secondly, I posted on the Echo effort (it was named Pie yesterday) and (rightly) got pushback for shooting my mouth off without thinking and reading more.

This is a new experience for me, and a welcome one. Not because someone out there is reading my blog (haha), but because it challenges me and forces me to think about what I’m saying. Rather than just expressing opinions, I have to ground them and back them up. And this can only be a good thing!

I do hope the dialogue continues and grows. It’s what I want in my life, to have constructive exchanges that help me to learn more about the topics I explore, and by extension more about myself. Very cool.

And I have to say – trackback scares me now! In a good way I suppose. It makes me stop and ask myself “have you thought this through” before I post. I know that blogs are about just speaking your mind, and to a certain extent that won’t change here. But at other times, particularly when I’m being critical or presenting someone else’s words, I will think twice and make sure that what I am saying helps, and isn’t just mouthing off for the sake of it.

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Safari

Apple launched version 1.0 of Safari the other day to little fanfare. (Questionable claims about the G5 speed were the order of the day).

I’ve downloaded it and been using it. I know I griped about the news when Apple first announced the development of their own browser, but I’m loving it. Fast, simple and rarely has a rendering problem with the sites I frequent. Very cool. Even supports the Macromanage website – almost – without changes, and our product runs fine as well (we “officially” support IE 6 PC, and Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x and other Gecko flavours on Mac and PC) which is a bonus.

We’ll need to test some more to claim we support Safari, but I think it’s testament to Dave Hyatt and the team at Apple that they’ve done so much so quickly (yeh – they had a strong kick start with KHTML, but even so they deserve some kudos).

A new RSS? (cont..)

Check out the comment on that last post. Mark points to I Like Pie. Makes complete sense to me…

Mark suggests my comments were premature. He’s absolutely right. And the pointer does clarify a lot. As I mentioned in my previous post, I only skimmed the Wiki – didn’t really get all that far and hoped to follow it up later. I also didn’t expect Mark to be leaving comments on my blog, little fish that I am – damned trackback 😉 I should mention to those that don’t already know, Sam, Mark, Tim and others involved are all kinda legends in the game, and deserving of a better response than that last post gave them.

The article Mark points to says “Because the new thing should be as Easy as Pie” – I hope this mantra is heard often during discussions, because, imho, this is the primary strength of the existing RSS 0.92 and even 2.0 specs. I know some of the RSS 0.92/2.0 spec is vague (and I too found it hard to work out exactly what was ok – looked at samples to work out “best practice” so to speak), but like I said – easy to put together without a lot of headwork. From the tiny amount of additional reading I’ve done, it looks like this is clearly a design goal, and that’s definitely a good thing.

I’ll be watching with interest, and I’ll be reading up more before I post in future…

A new RSS?

Sam Ruby is collecting ideas for a new weblog data format. [via Scripting News]

I see some pros and cons to this effort.

Cons: RSS is already well established. It is simple, easy to implement and understand. In other words, done properly (which isn’t hard to do) it just works. I whacked together an RSS feed from a database in an hours or so – and it worked in aggregators straight up. I don’t think (particularly with RSS 2.0) that there is a significantly better mouse-trap. (I’m sure others disagree)

Pros: Ever since I first looked at RSS I couldn’t work out why auther and publication date of the individual entries were not included (not that I could see anyway). There were other annoyances, but that was the main one. It basically meant that RSS couldn’t be used for multi-author news. This didn’t make sense. However, (and that’s a big however), these gripes were fixed in RSS 2.0.

IMHO, weblog tools that include standard HTML as content in item and description elements shouldn’t – it should be well-formed XHTML. But this fact doesn’t seem to bother most RSS aggregators and other tools.

Looking quickly (read: skimming /really/ fast) at the WIKI for what the effort is discussing, this looks like it’s going to be another SOAP – really hard to use and understand. It looks as though it’s going to incorporate attachments and all sorts of cruft that make it hard to get up and running without pre-built libraries and a couple of weeks to get your head around the concepts.

But this is probably jumping the gun a little. As Sam states: “At the present time, I would like limit the scope of this wiki to describing a conceptual data model of what constitutes a well formed log entry.”

Maybe they’ll come to the conclusion that RSS 2.0 kinda does that, maybe they won’t…

Pattern Recognition

Diego is reading Pattern Recognition.

I’m hearing ya! I couldn’t put it down when I read it a few weeks back (you’ll see it in my ‘Recently Read’ list in the sidebar). I was in the middle of writing uni essays and I was trying really hard not to get sucked into the book. Finished it in four days, despite writing three assignments and doing work as well. Waaaay too addictive!

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