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 These days, I mostly post my tech musings on Linkedin.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanmcgrath/

Saturday, March 20, 2004


Markdown is a well thought out syntax for creating (X)HTML from plain text. Coming to a blogging tool/CMS near you RSN.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Kala 300 handset registration

So, I gets me a cool new Kala wireless phone extension from Philips for my newly habitable home office. And whaddya know? The instructions for setting up this puppy *suck* real hard.
Herewith, a message in a blog bottle for future Googlers perpelexed with page 7 of the Philips Kala 300 manual.
    You need to register the base station handset *first*. Switch it off and on again to put it into registration mode. Punch in the RC code as instructured. Then, switch it on and off again to put it into registration mode for the additional handset. Now go to work on the additional handset. Register it by switching off/on, punch in the registration code.
Now it works like a charm!
Note to technical writers. When there are two objects involved in a procedure and those objects are both handsets but they serve different purposes and have different associated instructions, give them unique identifying names why don't ya? Sheesh!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

And finally for today, on the subject of language

I recommend mother tongue by Bill Bryson. I'm about 3/4 through it now and its fun. Well worth a look if the complexities/power of language - especially English - floats your boat.

Warning: don't inhale this stuff : dihydrogen monoxide

This story nicely illustrates the powers of deception language grants to those who wish to wield it.

SOA is like the night sky

A useful analogy by Pat Helland. SOAs like the night sky. Mr Helland has a knack for useful analogies - Fiefdoms and emissaries is a particularly powerful one for helping people see past OO to the really valuable abstractions underlying true web services.

Schematic Vacuity

I just *love* the tolerant - yet mildly reproachful - tone behind the "Using vacuous schema" message produced by James Clark's nXML XML editing package for emacs. What are you? Some sort of markup wimp? Get yerself a schema man and look sharp about it!.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Ugly, inefficient and fully functional pretty much from first run

It never ceases to amaze me what < 100 lines of Jython will do and how quickly (in terms of development time) it will do it.
Here is a command line app + useful library of stuff for applying xpath's to DOM's and files: xpath.py

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Tippy technology and the 'winner takes all' effect

Tippy technology and the 'winner takes all' effect is an ITWorld article concerning the tension between tippy technology and interoperability.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Cute - a bot with some smarts

GrokItBot does the AI/Inference/Baysian thing to reduce the syntactic cruft you need to memorize to interact with it. Nice.

XML Interoperbility Guidelines - Comments/bug reports solicited

Reach (http://www.reach.ie) is an agency established by the Government of Ireland to develop a strategy for the integration of public services and to develop and implement the framework for electronic government. In particular, Reach is mandated to procure and build the Public Services Broker (PSB), which is an integrated set of processes, systems and procedures designed to provide a standard means of access to public services

Technically speaking, the PSB is a hub based, asynchronous XML messaging infrastructure. Some people would call it a Services Oriented Architecture. Others wouldn't.

Anyway, XML messaging is a critical part of the PSB and interoperability across systems and platforms is a major concern in the architecture.

To that end, Reach have created a website dedicated to XML messaging and interoperability known as the Services and Data Exchange Catalog (SDEC):

Guidelines for XML interoperability are known as RIGs (Reach Interoperability Guidelines). The current RIGS are published on the SDEC at this URI:

Of particular interest to XML tech. folk:

RIGs 2 (XML) (http://sdec.reach.ie/rigs/rig0002)
RIG 3 (namespaces) (http://sdec.reach.ie/rigs/rig0003),
RIG 4 (Schema languages) (http://sdec.reach.ie/sdec/rig0004)
RIG 5 (Unicode) (http://sdec.reach.ie/rigs/rig0005)
RIG 6 (Versioning) (http://sdec.reach.ie/rigs/rig0006)

RIG 12 is an overview of the interoperability rationale that underpins the other RIGs. (http://sdec.reach.ie/rigs/rig0012) and would be a good RIG to read first.

The RIGS are maintained as OpenOffice documents. PDF and Word versions are exported from the OpenOffice source. We are working on a down-translate from the OpenOffice to nicely hyperlinked HTML.

For more information about the PSB, see http://www.reach.ie/publications/#psb.

Comments/bug reports on RIGs are welcome.

If you wish, you can send comments directly to Reach. Each of the RIGS has e-mail addresses in the front matter.

Also, a mailing list has been set up for public discussion (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rigs-discuss/).

Sunday, March 14, 2004

A Plone book cometh

The Definitive guide to Plone should be an interesting read. Plone is a ridiculously good CMS/portal/web development environment based on Zope.