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Mon, 14 Nov 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Libraries : culture by proxy, epistomological musings and perceived freedom from technology
[update!] Denham Grey talks about Social knowledge, 'Why I believe knowledge is constructed, emergent, ephemeral and tied to a community', which ties in nicely with what I (think I) say about how culture is knowledge.
I work as an information and knowledge pimp at The National Library of Australia. Let me state for the record that I do love my job despite my frustrations with it and the library world at times. I soundly believe that my love comes more from potentials I see here than things that are done, and this post will try to explain this.
Let's talk about what a library is first. At the core sits 'collection of books and periodicals', and on top of that, with the advent of newer technologies, ' libraries are now also repositories and access points for maps, prints or other artwork, microfilm, microfiche, audio tapes, CDs, LPs, video tapes and DVDs, and provide public facilities to access CD-ROM databases and the Internet.' And with 'recent thinking' thrown into the mix, 'libraries are understood as extending beyond the physical walls of a building, providing assistance in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of knowledge with a variety of digital tools.'
My job here at the National Library of Australia is 'web technology manager' (a different name for project wrangler and over-geek of all things involving the web), and I'm involved in all sorts of projects, from the public website to resource search services to exhibition sites (not open yet) to the intranet and a dozen applications within.
In the beginning
When I started working here, I started with a mission statement which is still with me; to promote and use Topic Maps to bring the library properly into the knowledge representation world, usability and information architecture to promote good design, and funnel ideas and cultural junctions of interest through open communication in ways to evolve and nurture my love of epistomology.
Unfortunately, it seems that most people meet their 'Gradus ad Parnassum' of Knowledge Representation and good design a lot earlier than I would like it to be. The hurdle of going from information wrangler to knowledge worker within contextual design is a huge one for most people, featuring steep learning curves, new paradigms, academic baggage and 'opinion-over-standards' essays, not too different from this one. What to do? Cause a storm.
 In musical terms, the 'Gradus ad Parnassum', in addition to be a book on counterpoint and possibly because of its defining nature of that most important part of musical theory known as 'counterpoint', is often used as the definition of some musical category, often referring to a hard and complex piece of music or a technique, or musicians. For example, the 'Gradus ad Parnassum' of church organ music is often said to be the Trio Sonata No. 6 by JS Bach.
Lately I caused a teapot storm within the geeky library world. I think I caused my own reputation more harm than I did good to the library world, although I did actually receive some positive feedback (unfortunately, almost exclusively in private emails. Hmm.). I also tried to engage in the geeky library world without getting any response. Yes, you might say this is an isolated occurrence, but the fact of the matter is that speaking with other likeminded people (and you should check the excelent comment number 8 in my link above from Daniel Harrison for one of those like-minded people, although sadly he is no longer with us as you shall read ...) I discover that dreaded 'Not Invented Here' coupled with 'fixing our own problems first' syndrome.
Not invented here
So let's talk about 'Not invented here' first, because surely, we're all guilty of this one from time to time. For example, lately I dug into the ANSI/NISO Z39.88 -2004 standard, better known as OpenURL. I was looking at it critically, I have to admit, comparing it to what I already knew about Web Services, SOA, http, Google/Amazon/Flickr/Del.icio.us API's, and various Topic Maps and semantic web technologies (I was the technical editor of Explorers Guide to the Semantic Web)
I think I can sum up my experiences with OpenURL as such; why? Why have the library world invented a new way of doing things that already can be done quite well already? Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the standard per se (except a pretty darn awful choice of name!!), so I'm not here criticising the technical merits and the work put into it. No, it's a simple 'why' that I have yet to get a decent answer to, even after talking to the OpenURL bigwigs about it. I mean, come on; convince me! I'm not unreasonable, no truly, really, I just want to be convinced that we need this over anything else.
So, is this me ;
'Not invented here' is what forces organisations to reinvent whatever wheel they think they need.
Fixing our own problems first
Oh boy, this one is a tough one; did the chicken or the egg come first? Humans have argued both sides and alternatives since the dawn of, well, chickens, and we'll probably still argue well beyond the last one.
Similary, how can we fix everybodys problem when everybody is busy fixing their own problem? You would think that sharing solutions would do the trick, but that somehow implies that all legacy is equal, which it absolutely is not. We're all stuck in our individual legacy hells, and we can't get out because we're all to busy getting out. The advent of truly open data storage standards is the very key to save ourselves from ourselves! Sure, protocols are nice, and we couldn't do much without them, but truth be told, we can do even less without open data storage formats. And my assertion is that all legacy in the library world stems from this fact, yet we don't make it perfectly clear to neither ourselves nor our vendors that open data formats is a requirement for any system. Instead they've chosen to wrap the data storage problem in an open data access layer, for example with OpenURL. Shouldn't we fight for freedom first, and the right to party after?
Sure, there's MARC XML as the de facto open data storage format. Insert hysterical laughter here; whenever I lecture about bad schema design, I always point to this one. It is embraced by vendors because it gives us percieved freedom, yet with ugly tie-in to legacy systems. Don't get me started. MODS is one understandable step up, two lossy non-embracing steps to the side. XOBIS is experimental. FRBR is cute and smells of semantic modelling, but soaked in 'Not invented here'. There are others as well, giving hints to the lack of a unified and thoughtful way forward.
In the library world, the function of the comitee is supposed to solve a part of this problem, be it a standards committee or a working committee or a coffee-brewing committee, all sharing another huge problem that it is hard to get away from. Of course, now there are more improptu technological advances that offer mailing-lists, IRC channels and instant messaging for more open means of communication. I'm inclined to think they would certainly help out in trying to be more flexible with how we go about using and sharing technology in the future, but there are a few pitfalls there as well, for example the lack of formalities, or, as often is the case, we're all too busy fixing our own problems so we overlook and ignore grassroots solutions.
People are people; libraries are not libraries
It always come down to people, no matter if it is being a president or flipping burgers. Personal skill and vision is more important now than ever; the role and function of the library is dramatically changing. At the top of this post it became clear that at the core of the library is the book, no matter how you want to twist the meaning of 'library' to fit your hopeful future direction, and the book is dying. Professional books are probably gone in 30 years, at least in any fulfilling way such as it is today. So what to do?
There is one thing that isn't talked about much in the library world, and is totally absent in the geeky part of it; culture. Libraries are carriers of culture, not knowledge! It is one cultures percieved baggage that is stored in the library hull, not some accumulated knowledge, or understanding of information, nor the actual writings themselves. We have only the traditional understanding of the library from the curator perspective, but this needs to change. We need to embrace and promote the culture within, not guard it like a prized collection item. In 50 years, no one cares about the printed book in the dungeon, but they certainly care about the culture that produced it, just like we should care about promoting it, creating systems that grant access to it.
And then there's the clinch; culture is not books, but people. Let's go back and take another hard look at epistomology which for me links culture and people to our perceived knowledge. I belive firmly in representationalism, or otherwise known as proxy thinking; that all things are percieved by proxy, that we see things not as they are, but as they are seen through our tools such as our eyes and brain. Given the nature of tools, as passive but interactionable objects to our disposal, we all percieve things differently dependant on what our tool is like. The shere amount of neurons and couplings that are different from person to person given us a good hint that all perceived knowledge cannot be constant, nor singular.
'Culture' is one word that tries somewhat haphazardly to join perceived experiences from many people into one fuzzy blob we can talk about and understand. I personally feel that the lack of this focus when we librarians (or as the case is with myself, a perceived wannabe librarian) talk about our world is the very thing that will be our demise!
The book will change, and unless the library changes with it, the library will disappear. Should we not focus more on the culture we are made from than on the objects in our collection? Our collection is one more proxied perception away from the real thing; a curator for a collection is yet another hop away; an exhibition from a curator about objects in a collection that belongs on a shelf in section three of a building in Dixon is so many hops away from the real thing that it becomes nothing more than a museum.
So, is that what we are? Or perhaps more importantly; is that what we want to be?Permalink (Mon, 14 Nov 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Fri, 28 Oct 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Libraries, technologies and progress : A ranting mess!
I've been working in the library sector now for almost two years, trying to work it out, suss out how they prefer to do things, and looking into how I can improve things.
Lately I've come to a number of conclusions, and they've slipped out of me in the shape of rants;
In short my point is that the library world are slow movers, embrace complexity and can't design smoot solutions to save themselves. What are we going to do about it? Damnit!Permalink (Fri, 28 Oct 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (14) | General
Tue, 04 Oct 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Life as an artful dodger
Lots of time have passed. Lots of things have happened. None of them really interesting.
The thing is, once you're inside doing interesting things, at some point they will turn mundane. What to others might be cutting-edge is to you more like yesterdays nappies. Technology is a fad; it is nothing without good ideas, and good ideas are eternal. Most of us got this thing the wrong way around. Some updates ;
Sorry for the low blogging. I've reached some kind of exhaustion-point with it all, being technology, blogging, epistomology, knowledge representation, whatever. I'll let you know if I snap out of it.Permalink (Tue, 04 Oct 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Mon, 22 Aug 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Busy at work : Nearing completeness of exciting project
Just thought I'd pop my head into my blog to let you know why there is so little I write these days. First of all, I have too much to say, but I haven't got around to sort and group my thoughts for public display ... which is another way of saying that I haven't had the time to get my shit together. I will, soon enough.
The other reason is of course that I've been busy completing off a new search service here at The national Library of Australia that includes the following goodies (consider this a non-visual preview) ;
All in all, doing development of new services (in fact, this one is a redevelopment of an old service, but who cares?) the smart way. It has a development name of "Research and Reference", but it will most definitly have a different name when done. See this space at the end of this month.
A note to all those into library things out there : The next iteration (and we're doing small numerous releases, not the big-bang crap of the past) will include another project I've started which is called the HeatEngine, which creates semantic meaning between search-terms people search for (through looking at the activity logs) and our catalog (and all its MARC XML backend glory!), so that when people search for 'Ned Kelly' (famous Australian villain / hero) and the initial database have no record of such, the catalog (with its 8 million records) surely has, and we extract meaning from a) the subject headings of any record associated with 'Ned Kelly', b) regroup our search-results by this group, and Voila! c) Google can suck my Solanum tuberosum.
Until the end of this month, I'll be just a tad busy, but the interesting thing is that we're not stressed out about it. It is a comfertable busy, the one that makes you feel you're doing something right. I'm excited to tell you more about it once it hits the world. I'll let you know when. Until then.Permalink (Mon, 22 Aug 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 09 Aug 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Thoughts on design
Lately things have gotten a bit out of hand. As much as I thought I was on top of things, then along comes some people who's supposed to be the mentors and great thinkers of certain paradigms (and hey! there's even an ISO standard! *shiver* ) These people I find myself not to agree with. Yes, shocker, horror, but I don't swallow their stuff blindly.
What's going on? Well, the dispute above is Human-centred Design vs. Activity-based design. I think Activity-based design is an important part of Human-centred design, so why the separation? No one has yet explained it in reasonable terms, but I think their gist is;
Doesn't this again comes down to; with good people you get good stuff, and with bad people you can get crap? I don't know, I tend to agree with Ziya from the SIGI-A mailing-list: "Best-practice is a set of guidelines you follow if you haven't got a clue what to do." And this is exactly what Human vs. activity design sounds to me.
I'm sure I'm missing something. Until then, I appoligse for the lack of postings here; life is more than busy.Permalink (Tue, 09 Aug 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 26 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Electric brain and proxy thinking
Oh dear, what is going on? Particles race across my brain, trying hard to inflict a more permanent pattern of some kind of knowledge! Help, a rant is coming on!
Some time has passed since my last update. I've been reading. And contemplating. And philosophised. And concluded. The world, as I knew it, has gone from one to the other. A more technical posting is expected tomorrow. Until then;
There is no place like home!
Indeed, there isn't even a place that I call home anymore. I've moved pretty much all my life, and even though I moved overseas on a few occasions I always came back to my home town of Oslo. I can't say that anymore. Now, there is a new reality for me; home is where I place my hat (to quote an Australian song), not where my friends might be.
Friends. What an odd word it is; some times it means people we love, other times people we know, and then again it means someone we have some kind of association with no matter how opaque. Moving away from "home" to a new place makes you look a little closer at what friends are, and I can tell you that finding new friends is tough, really tough, especially for someone like me.
Someone like me
I've had a few issues lately about raising my children. Like most other parents, I raise my children in my image (like the good Gods we pretend to be), but lately I've looked at myself and thought that even as much as I like being me, I don't want my children to be like me. Odd thought maybe, but this is what I am;
I'm a knowledge experimenter with a fetish for epistomology, which mean that if you say "Did you know ..." there is a good chance I'll reply "No, and neither do you!" Any conversation built on the notion that we know anything (as in facts) just doesn't grok with me, and since I love to talk, discuss and propagate information, I blend my knowledge (Hah!) into the discussions, almost certainly losing people along the way.
I'm also a music buff; it is my passion in life! It guides me, shapes me, form my thoughts and emotions and occupies a great deal of what I'm all about, conversation or action. The problem is of course that I'm passionate about a very small fraction of all music; that which falls into certain categories within certain periods, like baroque madrigals for two voices or more, with continuo. How bloody specific can you get before you can't talk to anyone but your mirror about your biggest passion in life?
I'm a firm believer in the anti-methodology methodology. If someone comes along and suggests a methodology for doing my work, I will firmly tell them to shove it up their religious omnibus; just as in "knowledge" there are as many ways of doing things good as there are good ways to do things. There is no singular better, only the hazy plural! I just can't belive that people don't see this as nature shows us all the time. How can I "manage projects without templates" they balk! It is astounding that so few project managers don't see it as people management.
All in all, I'm somewhat of a bore! My wife, who is the social extrapolation of me, tells me all the time; stop talking about this high-level fluffy stuff, and try to enjoy yourself a little. She is wise, but I'm weak. I can't stop, and hence, I do not wish any of my children to become like me. I'm not having fun. I want to have more fun. But I can't.
What I consider fun
Fun is a fun word, and has as many implications as there are interpreters of the word itself. My own world is a bit skewed; I can't enjoy something I don't understand, which means that as I understand things I clearly see why it isn't funny anymore. Mystery works in that way, doesn't it? Something is mysterious and fun until you figure out that mirror A reflects hand-movement B smoking out foot-motion C, and voila! the trick goes from fun and entertaining to neat but logical.
So what things haven't I figured out yet? Well, why we think object-oriented programming is so cool, for example. Or why usability seems like magic to most people. Or why people can't get out of the way when I'm in a hurry, but more waddle along like cows on a grassy hill with not a care for what goes on around it. Also I haven't figured out how to make a million dollars. Nor why my kids can't be less messy eaters at the dinner table. Nor have I figured out why algorithmic citation-linked historiography should have any impact on the TAO methods I use in some of our bibliographical user-interfaces.
So there is tons of stuff I haven't figured out that has some potential of being 'fun'. And yet there are only three things in my life that I find gives me 'fun', and they coincide with the categories 'love' and 'drives me up the wall sometimes' as well; wife, child A and child B. Everything else in the universe is not important.Permalink (Tue, 26 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Wed, 13 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Slow car and an XSLT article
It's been a bit slow around my blog lately, mostly due to the heavy workload of catching up after my surgery. On a positive note, I have started to write several articles, one of which will be rather cool for Topic maps and XML lunatics. I'm writing it for the norwegian site HardWare Bedrift who just published my translated XSLT article (which you'll find in English over here).
I'm also getting reasonably close to finishing off some exciting projects at work that I'll link to. I also have a rant about libraries in the new world coming up. Until then, enjoy whatever you're doing.
What's all this got to do with cars? Nothing. QED.
Read the full story at < Slow car and an XSLT article >Permalink (Wed, 13 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 4 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT
I've sorted, grouped and uploaded to Flickr.com some of my favourite photos I've taken since I moved to Canberra, Australia, and I've added a badge in the right hand column, too. You can view them here. Let me know what you think. As you can see, I like close-ups, nature, elements, light and shade and colors that traverse logical boundries.
Read the full story at < Flickr goodness >Permalink (Mon, 4 Jul 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Thu, 23 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Back in non-control
Well, whaddayaknow; I'm back out of the hospital, out of bed, and now back at work. I used this time to rest and do nothing, so in some weird timely matter, this broken appendix came at an oppertune moment; I really needed a break from it all.
Now those who know me knows that I can't sit still without my brain flinging itself against mountains of ideas and thoughts, and such happened quite a lot. Some were fueled by books I read, others by having a good think about life, universe and everything. I'm sure a lot of these thoughts will accumulate themselves here on the blog in the time to follow. But before then, I'd like to point you to a book that I read while lying low;
Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is just that; a quick summary of 'how we got to this point' in science, asking the simple question 'How do we know how old the earth is?' If you didn't get excited by the inner workings of proteins and cells and atoms and animal collecting and rock analysis and bone structure and all that jizz at some earlier stage, this book just might change all that. It may not be accurate, but it sure as hell makes a good and fun read of some of the traditionally most boring stuff known to man.Permalink (Thu, 23 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Thu, 9 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT
I was heading for self destruction ...
Hi folks. I'm sitting in bed at home with a huge wound in my side which now needs to heal; My birthday last friday (see last post) was absolutely wonderful ... until about 2am in the morning when I was taken to the emergency room at the hospital with a pesky appendix. Yes, my body had set itself for self-destruction, and if come nothing, it might have burst and have made my life non-interesting permanently by a few days. But it was removed in an operation on saturday at 7pm, and now, after a short hospital delay, I'm home for recovery for about 4 weeks. And hence, the blogging here will be low. Very low. I see you all soon.Permalink (Thu, 9 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (4) | General
Fri, 3 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Hi, Folks! It is general assorted friday today! And not just any friday; it is my birthday, and hence, in the fine tradition of Donna, my birthday present from you to me is a comment; who's reading this cruft? Ok, what else? Well;
I think that's it. At home we're thinking of either a) getting rid of our dog, or b) get him a companion dog. Watch this roof yet more! Until next week, have a wonderful life.Permalink (Fri, 3 Jun 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (10) | General
Tue, 17 May 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Happy birthday, Norway!
Today is Norway's independence day; in 1814 we broke free from our union with Denmark, only to forced into a union with Sweden, which we today celebrate breaking free from exactly 100 years ago (1905). I attended the celebration here in Canberra in sunday, which was great; I ate Wiener sausages with lompe. Happy birthday, Norway!Permalink (Tue, 17 May 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | Topic maps General
Mon, 09 May 2015 13:00:00 GMT
Terror alert at the National Library of Australia
On friday we were locked (meaning; all doors shut and locked automatically) in the library from morning to over lunch; no one could get in nor out, the air-condition system was shut down. The reason was that a suspcious package / letter had arrived leaking powder, and as we know, letters leaking powder is a scary thing.
In our case, it turned out to be a huge mistake, and the people involved have offered apologies. Now, I wasn't scared while this was going on ... until I took this picture. After this I felt a bit different - a bit hard to define, really - a physical reaction to what I saw. I at least gathered the seriousness of the situation. It wasn't long after this that rumours trickled in on what had really happened. (Bonus picture "No, don't shoot!")
Not long after we were let to know that the Linneaus Quartet (search the page; I couldn't find a website for the quartet but they really should get one, and I could make them one, so let me know, ok? :) were stuck inside too, and had agreed to play in the foyer. Me and Matthew rushed down, got some good coffee, and enjoyed a very nice concert indeed, where the highlight without a doubt was the second movement of a piece by Ravel (which I can't remember the name of, and no, it wasn't Bolero, you nimwit! Ravel has made bucketloads of other far more interesting music!). What is interesting in all of this is how it made me aware of another piece by Ravel I hadn't heard before but now has to go forth and investigate; it was quite amazing!
There was a rumour in the news that nappies were put past the security barrier, and this police officer certainly is carrying some, but no doors were opened and I suspect that these were for use once everybody got outside. I thought this was great show of understanding though, especially talking as a father of small kids. And besides, this was after we've known for a little while that it was probably sand and not any other terribly substance.
I have to say that everything went swimmingly and even though other people (those who were not trapped inside because they get paid for it) were trapped inside against their wishes, the wonderful service of the Bookplate cafe and our own librarians made everyone feel good and safe. Quite extraordinary.
Anyways, there you go; I was involved in a potential terror operation. But as I kept saying throughout; "Who the hell attack books?" No, don't get me started on that subject either. And here is a picture of my free cuppa'.Permalink (Mon, 09 May 2015 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 28 April 2005 13:00:00 GMT
Oh dear, it has been 20 days since my last confession. Forgive me, but times have been close to breaking time. Let's just say that things have progressed out of hand, and that I'm working very hard on retaining a balance of work, family-life, thoughts and matter. My family comes first, no doubt, and as such things have been quiet and will be somewhat quiet for some time to follow. One of the major problems in moving countries is the lack of support network in the place you're coming to. Anyway, I'll let you in on the secret at some later stage, but right now, consider this an official notice of blogopause.Permalink (Thu, 28 April 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Fri, 8 April 2005 13:00:00 GMT
Ok, so this is a quick update of things workish;
And a few personal tidbits;
Anyway, next week will see the first glimpses of releases of stuff I've been doing. As I've said before; watch this roof.Permalink (Fri, 8 April 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (4) | General
Fri, 1 April 2005 13:00:00 GMT
What does MARC mean to you?
Ok, so maybe today isn't the best day to write anything on my blog because people may take it the wrong way (hint: look at the date), but this is a message to the librarians out there (or anyone with a passionate interest in anything MARC, which I really think only a librarian can be) ;
In the new framework I'm creating for the National Library of Australia (which will be open-source, will be all XML/XSLT goodness, will be Topic maps driven and will have support for MARC, docBook, RSS/Atom feeds and a whole lot of other things) I'm trying to construct a simple ontology for converting MARC into Topic maps. Now, I've got a somewhat short list of stuff that I find interesting in pulling stuff out of MARC. If anybody would like to have a look and suggest to me what other stuff of importance they would like the default framework to support, let me know, either in comments here (I'll come back here always to check) or by mail. The current file is here.Permalink (Fri, 1 April 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Tue, 29 March 2005 13:00:00 GMT
Die, fermented scumbags! Die!
Here I was, minding my own business and being nice and all, and then WHAMMO! my whole site goes blown out of the waters by evil hackers! Apparently, my ISP's server was hacked, and all content deleted. No backups. Now, being the clever dude that I am, I've got my whole site also here on my machine at home (and which is why it is now back again) but being the moron that I am I had no backup of the comments made to blog entries nor my personal (and secret, of course) Wiki where I write (uh, wrote) and collect (uh, collected) info. I am most sad about losing both.
I've looked at both the Wayback Machine and using Google Cache to retreive some of it, but they've only have bits and pieces and don't cache the actual included files, so putting all of these things back together would take me longer than to sit down and try to piece them together from memory and rewrite them, so, uh, I'll do neither.
Stay tuned for more updates.Permalink (Tue, 29 March 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Thu, 10 March 2005 13:00:00 GMT
OZCHI.org launches : Citizens Online: Considerations for today and the future
I was working quite hard on getting it out the door, so much that I forgot to yell 'Launched!' Um, so this is the quieter version.
A couple of months back Ash Donaldson was asking for volenteers for the next OZCHI conference to be held in Canberra, Australia in November this year. I stepped up as web chair for that, and by merging bits of xSiteable and some new stuff (which basically now will become the next itereation of xSiteable; see Call for help : Apache rewrite rules) I made http://ozchi.org/.
We just launched the site and the Call for Participation, so if you have an interest in things such as usability, accessibility, user-interface design or HCI in general, have a look.
Read the full story at < OZCHI.org launches : Citizens Online: Considerations for today and the future >Permalink (Thu, 10 March 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 10 March 2005 13:00:00 GMT
Call for help : Apache rewrite rules
I'm creating the next generation of xSiteable, for now called the 'xSiteable Publishing Framework' which is a complete ... er, publishing frakework with support for docBook, Topic Maps (XTM 1.1), RSS/Atom feeds, Text, other various XML schemas, and more. It's mostly an XSLT framework making it quite portable across platforms and systems. What is missing is some help on the serving side.
Currently I've got something like this in my .htaccess;
RewriteRule (.*)$ index.php?id=$1
But this obviously doesn't work. But there are some other issues a bit like this as well I need sorted. So hence this call for help; is there out there someone with a fraction of spare time that would like to get involved in a great publishing framework (FOSS) solving some of the serving issues?Permalink (Thu, 10 March 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Wed, 23 February 2005 13:00:00 GMT
New XSLT article up
It has been 20 days since my last confession of any sort here, and the bulk of that reason is that I went to New York for 15 of them, working on some Topic maps related project over there. I'll get back to that later.
This article will deal with a number of things, from badly created schemas to Muenchian grouping, giving some advice along the way to some real examples. Yes, I will inflict you with my opinionated advice on things such as filtering, XSLT best-practice and sorting and grouping. The example codes used are real data, but with the disclaimer that its somewhat old, the author doesn't work here anymore, some content is scrambled, and I have seen lots of good code here as well. Ahem.
So, enjoy it and let me know what you think.
Read the full story at < New XSLT article up >Permalink (Wed, 23 February 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 3 February 2005 13:00:00 GMT
It's been quiet around here lately. The usual busy excuse, but I'll underline just how busy;
I think that's about it. Now I need to hurry up wrapping all work projects up before I go. If anyone know of cheap accomedation in NY, let me know! Oh, and places I must go to eat and / or drink! I'm a sucker for good food, good beverages and good atmosphere. Hey, if you live there, let's meet up and have a serious talk about Monteverdi's 1610 vespers impact on the formation of Venetian style baroque music, eh? (or something else, probably, like Topic maps or something :)Permalink (Thu, 3 February 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 20 January 2005 13:00:00 GMT
www.patsoft.no goes live!
After a few days of time-pressured spare-time exhaustion, the www.patsoft.no site has gone live, complete with graphic design, validating HTML and a nifty PHP backend CMS. I've even got plans to release an open-source package of the CMS especially minted towards conferences and workshops.
My friend and former land-lord Jens Mï¿½ge (Norway) needed a website for his upcoming conference in Oslo (Norway) on IPR (Intellectual Property Rights). If you are remotely interested in the subject of software and patents, this conference is for you. Oh, and spread the word around to others who might be.
This is the first conference in Norway about this topic, and Jens has managed to get some really exciting people to come and speak at it, such as Jon Bing (famous Norwegian professor in law), Bjï¿½rn Olstad (CTO Fast Search & Transfer ASA), Kaj Arnï¿½ (vice-president of MySQL AB), Eirik Chambe-Eng (President and co-founder of TrollTech), Hï¿½kon Wium Lie (boss and brain behind Opera, the fastest browser on earth) and a few others, all held together by the ever wonderful Eva Bratholm (top Norwegian media journalist). I'm impressed and wished I could go, as it's a topic close to my heart.Permalink (Fri, 20 January 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 17 January 2005 13:00:00 GMT
Whoomp! The sound of me dumping myself firmly into my office-chair filled work this morning. it was remarkably empty of people, but I think that might have been Monday-morning blues. I've never had that, and hence the sound was heard by no one.
So I'm back after three weeks of doing pretty next to nothing, apart from light gardening and lots of family time, which has been - quite frankly - grand! Spending time with my family and not worry too much about the constraints of a taxonomy that deals with splice-rules of professional organisation ontologies from intranets, has been good for the soul. I've even read a bit Pratchett, so I'm all sane and clean and fresh now, thank you for asking.
Well, done nothing is a truth with a slight modification, come to think of it. I've laid down some plans for a home-made security system (I worked in the security industry for over 7 years) sporting video motion detection, live feed to the net, calling alarms and various in's and out's controlling bits and pieces. This came from the fact that our house doesn't have any security of note, and I know exactly how I would do it myself if given the chance ... and my wife have! I'm currently collecting information and getting ready for it. I'm trying to design it so that it can be cheapish enough for other people to build as well, and possibly releasing all the plans and software for free, or at least open-source it. If anyone knows of a cheap I/O board that works through serial, parallell or USB ports, do tell. (I've found one at about 1000 AU$, which is way out of sanity!)
Lots of things are coming up, from articles to write, programs to release and ideas to hatch. I've filled my notebook with stuff I'll be exploring, so we'll see what happens. A few new-years resolutions should even speed up the process in which all this is happening. Here we go!Permalink (Mon, 17 January 2005 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 14 December 2004 13:00:00 GMT
I know I had it here a moment ago
Where has my passion gone? I know I had it here a moment ago, and yet now that I'm looking for it, when i need it the most, it has gone. All those dreams and ideas sugar-coated with emotions and bravura, momentary vanished.
It is not the lack of time that has brought me here. In fact, all those little steps I've taken throughout my life, has led up to this moment. And here I am. Look at me.
They say "take baby-step to acomplish your ultimate goal." These people have no wish for creating any bravura, they have no overture to play. They have not felt the immense explosion of hot blood due to a hands touch or the magical but painful implosion of cold evil strategies implicate themselves. Such is the land of the common man; a low woodland with some plains, a mellow river with basking trout and a few cows grazing in a lush field.
It is not the lack of money that has brought me here. In fact, all those pennies earned and spent on all things big and small, they were paying my way to get to this moment. And here I am. Look at me.
They say wisdom lies within failure. I must be very wise indeed, yet I cannot help feeling out of touch with my incredible powers within. I do not know a lot of things. I don't know how to make soap, for example. I don't know the axiom that deals with parallellism. I can't figure out how to properly control my anger in an argument. I don't know what a muzogiat is. I wish I did. Oh, I so really, really wish I did, but my wisdom is limited in so many ways.
It is not the lack of desire that has brought me here. In fact, my wants and needs have been flowing through me since early age, never to stop! Never to end! Never to duck! Never to hide! And look now; here I am!
My passion is lost. Here I am snowed in in a cabin on a mountain many days away from that green meadow. I'm waiting for moments ago, that lustrious springtime. See you then.Permalink (Tue, 14 December 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 10 December 2004 13:00:00 GMT
This is an update of sorts. And it will be big. And it ain't gonna be pretty, either. It will be whingy in nature, of course, as that seems to be the theme here lately. But I do promise it will be the last whinge in a while. Really. Probably.
What's up, Alex?
I'm not feeling all that happy these days, and I'm writing this update in trying to work out what's eating me; some technical, some personal and some general issues about.
A big thing dragging me down is all my little pet projects that I have scattered about the place that never seem to finish;
Bloody hell, I need to kill off some babies here, for sure. I'll give it a thunk and let you know. (You can vote for your favourites in the comments, I guess)
Australia and people
I've now been in Australia a little over a year, and yet can't seem to make any friends here. There's been a few dinners here and there in family settings, but as much as we try, both in contacting and inviting people over, we never seem to be invited back. Sure, we got two kids, and as such it is a bit more work, but they're really nice kids. Is it all just too much for people? Possibly.
Things are no different at work, mind you. Sure, I have collagues, but it seems the Australian thing is to not mix after work for some reason. Maybe it is where I work only, but it sure is evident. I've even held a branch BBQ at my house, trying to open us up to people, but I guess they're happy with the friends they've already got. Understandably.
I still haven't talked to the neighbours on either side of our house. I've approached them, though, but they were distant and uninterested, and they never returned any interest. There is Damian down the road as an exception, because Grace gets on with his son Noah, but outside of that there is nothing much at all. Odd.
Another factor I need to consider is if I'm simply a bore by Australian standards; An uninteresting wierdo without any of those beer-quelching (Hey man, have another beer? No? Makes you drowsy? Weirdo!), footie-loving (Man, did you see the Spankers last night? What a game! No? Weirdo?), sports-cheering (Man, I just love watching sweaty butch men in tight costumes rub eachother and kicking and hitting both pigskins and people, don't you? No? Weirdo!) qualities? Someone who don't love pop music (Have you heard FitzGardenRumpus latest song? Man, it's so cool! No? Weirdo!), don't watch TV (Man, did you see Pilk and Pelter last night? Did you seem that skit where they ate and threw up all that chocolate? Man, that was hilarious! No? Weirdo!) and think talking about the weather is a pathetic practice (Man, nice sunny day today, ain't it? What do you mean 'Schrodingers Cat'? Weirdo!) by people who don't have anything better to talk about. (We're mostly not farmers anymore, you know) Oh, the possibilities.
Some of you may be aware that we almost got sent back to Norway for a year (in an exchange between the national libraries of Australia and Norway), but it has now been called off. The biggest reason was that the National Library of Norway has two branches; one in the Oslo, where all my friends and family lives, in my childhood city, the place of culture, good foods, cute cafes and wonderful oppertunities for both me, the wife and the kids; the other branch is in Mo i Rana. Enough said.
We're currently looking at spending another year or two in Canberra, and then possibly move on, unless someone here gives us a darn good reason to stay, like a friendship we can't live without (and heck, I left at least three such relationships in Norway coming here!) or a shitload of money or an amazingly inspiring job.
Some times I feel like giving up. People don't want to listen to me. Maybe I have a lack of oomph or a certain degree of tact, but I'm tired of telling people what the best thing to do would be, they go and do something they think is better, and having them come back to me to fix it every darn bloody fucking time! Now excuse my foul language for a minute, but it is really getting to me. It doesn't matter if it is Topic maps, usability, accessibility, markup, frameworks, basic technological solutions or even management, it just keeps coming back to the same; people choose not to listen.
Now, there could be many reasons for this. The first one is of course that I might be wrong, and as much as I hate to admit it (and my wife would be grinning if she read this) I sometimes do mistakes and stupid things. Sure thing. But the type of stuff I'm referring to above is stuff that I really know. It is my field. It is what I do. And I'm quite good at it too. I've been doing a lot of development for over 15 years and have specialised in some of the above areas. Specialists knows more about something than a generalist, and here we have people who's not even generalists but bloody ignorists! It's driving me nuts! You would think that when they come back to me to ask me to fix it they'd change their outlook on the given issue, but noooooo, that incident was only a one in a million ... until it happens again ... and again ... *sigh*
Condom suited people
Boy are they annoying. In Canberra, there are two types of people who ride bikes; condom suited super-riders with shades, pointy helmets and half-cut gloves and 10.000$ bikes, and then there's me. I'm not saying they're evil or stupid or anything like that, just annoying. Slow down. This isn't a race. Take this whole commuting business a little less seriously, please, and enjoy the scenery as I do.
Well, that's it. I think i got it off my chest, albeit there are a few things here and there which isn't suited for public display. Thanks for ... uh, not listening. I'll soon return to my normal schedule. Boy, is this christmas vacation coming up going to be needed!Permalink (Fri, 10 December 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 26 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Proud to be wierd
Just read an interview with American author Thomas Ligotti which I enjoyed very much. Right there in the introduction, I found this nugget;
' "The Last Messiah" by the Norwegian philosopher Peter Wessel Zapffe. It was written the 1930s and is the only work by Zapffe to be translated into English. In Zapffe's view, human beings in general and human consciousness in particular are a mistake of nature and that the human species should stop reproducing as soon as possible in order to put an end to the tragic horror of our lives as conscious beings who spend all our time deceiving ourselves that life is worth living.'
Two things to note here; I agree that the human spirit is an abomination of nature, albeit I might disagree on how to fix it. Also, Zapffe happens to be a relative of my best friend, so of course it must be good stuff.
And finally, thanks to the few who actually commented on my whinge of yesterday. I won't stop, but I may take a break. We'll see.Permalink (Fri, 26 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 25 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Things have been a bit slow around here lately. Last time, I promised a simple tool of filesystem ontology making, which has grown into a rather sophisticated tool. So, no, I haven't given up on it; I'm actually fiddling with it every day, trying to create a tool that can bring some success out of the box. It is slowly getting ready for release.
Also, if all goes well, I might be going back to Norway and work for a year or so. But things may not go that well. We'll see.
Next, I went to another great Baroque concert last week with Salut Baroque! which this time took on the concert form. I won't babble on about it, as I think the people who appreciate this sort of thing is in a miniscule minority here, but it was really, really good. I'd like to point out Tim Blomfields wonderful writing in the program; I wish he published these as they are truly great little masterpieces. Oh yes, and he and the gang plays really good. See you next season. I hope.
Apart from that, life is just the way life is, with no hgihs or lows to tell about. Kids great, wife wonderful, house beautiful, job exciting; all same ol' same ol'. Hope yours is good too.Permalink (Thu, 25 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 25 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT
I write and write at this blog, giving hours to it, hours of thought and hours of doing stuff. It ends up here on my blog. But lately I've had the ratio of 5 comments / 10 lines (where two comments was by me!) to 15 entries / 4500 words. This not good. It either means that my readers don't have anything sensible to say, or I'm writing tripe. Which one is it?
I started blogging because I wanted to share and communicate. I created a comments system to extend this because I wanted comments and feedback. I may end up cutting dramatically back on the length, quality and effort I feel I've put into it, because, believe it or not, it is a very tiring thing to do, as writing is concentration and hard work. Is it all tripe, then? Is it all uninteresting? ( ... and yes, I expect some comments on this )
Yes, this blog has the worth I give it. No need to tell me to stop it if I hate it. I don't hate it; in fact, I enjoy it very much. That's not the issue. The issue is that I need feedback. Simple as that, because, without feedback, I'm writing for no one. I'm not one of those who feel they have to write for themselves, because my head is an enclosed enclave of eculous eucarism, quite capable of sorting itself out without public venting. It's just that I want to share. But am I?
</whinge>Permalink (Thu, 25 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 1 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Rare Czech baroque music rediscovered
In my last chapter of this blog, I wrote about a 'new' CD (SUP 110760) I imported from the US a week or so back. It was recorded and issued back in 1989 by Czech recording company supraphon.cz with the title "Music at Prague's St James' church" with music by Cernohorsky, Vanura and Artophaeus.
Now, before anything, let's get it out of the way straight away; this is not a OVPP nor HIP recording. This is an A=440Hz tuned and 12-tone symphony orchestra normalised version, with a full 40 voices choir (Prague Radio Chorus) and the Dvorak Chamber Orchestra, all directed by Josef Hercl. With heaps of vibrato on some of the soloists. And I hate all of that. I love HIP and OVPP and clear, strong voices without the "I'm so darn dramatic" vibrato. So this CD was a poor buy then, huh?
No, not at all. In fact, it was rather wonderful. Despite some of the non-HIP flaws it has been quite enjoyable as I managed to put my prejudice behind me, and listen with an open ear and mind. Here is what I really think about it;
The three composers catered for here needs to be explored more. This is not a wish, but a direct command to anyone listening. The music is quite wonderful. Cernohorsky, Vanura (and the only thing I found about him was "Ceslav Vanura, 1694-1736, Czech Republic". If you know more, please do tell!) and Artophaeus are here represented by motets and masses, all beautifully done by the performers.
Highlights on this CD for me was the "Concertus de Resurrectione" by Artophaeus and all the compositions by Vanura. The singing is on par with the best of 1989 anywhere, and so is the playing; it has got drive and flame. They're singing and playing with fire and brilliance, and I would even claim that it is here better than most 1989 contemporary examples. Incidentally, for all my Monteverdi fans out there; also in 1989 Andrew Parrott released his famed 'Vespro Della Beata Vergine 1610' (with ever-charming Emma Kirkby, et al), and hence a landmark for new thinking in mainstream Baroque performance. I am tempted to say that some of the performances of both recordings are on par, not a small feat from an unknown Czech recording at all!
One chilling performance is in Cernohorskys 'Regina Coeli' where the Prague Radio Chorus simply outdo most of choir music I've ever heard! Phrasing and diction is so spot on at the same time being warm, dramatic and inviting; it is worth the CD purchase alone.
But the true winner for me on this CD however was Ludmila Vernerovï¿½ singing solo on Artophaeus' "Concertus de Resurrectione". If we ignore the tuning of the violins and concentrate on the music and the singing, it is impeccable! Glorius! Wonderful! Passionate! Perfect! Her voice is smack HIP on. I hence have found two favourites in this composer and in this warm, clear and alive soprano voice. I want to hear more of her, but it seems I need to travel to Prague to the State Opera to do that.
All in all, I am very pleased with this CD, despite its non-HIP flaws. Simply enjoy some really well-performed unknown Czech music, and catch a few gems while you're at it. By the way, this one is next on my quest for Czech Baroque music. Wish me luck, and blow other suggestions my way.Permalink (Mon, 1 November 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Wed, 27 September 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Been a bit quiet around here lately, all due to the normal amounts of work, work, work;
Mon, 18 October 2004 13:00:00 GMT
There hasn't been much pictures around here lately, so since some of my family and friends all over the world (and especially in Norway, of course) would like to know what the heck is going on, here is a few pictured updates on things around down under;
First, here are my girls (from left) Grace (5), Julie (31) and Lilje (1). This trio is the very bane of my existence, and we have a lot of fun together. I think we all are starting to settle into a more or less normal life, although every weekend consist of a lot of work since we're now home owners. If you enjoy not doing much, don't buy a house. Nough' said.
We're constantly talking about "where we'll end up", as Canberra hasn't left the everlasting impression on us to make us sacrifice our dreams and wants to stay here. Norway is always on our minds, and me and Julie have been talking that if I get a job offer in Norway in about a year, then we would come back, so if you're in Norway and need someone as ... uh, challenging as me, you know what buttons to press.
She is generally a very happy, dancing, playing and eating kid who throws small fits if the banana isn't on her tray within a certain time. So, this picture shows her from her cutest, well-behaving angle, albeit there is something here that you're not seeing, such as the cheekiness and playfulness that she pushes everywhere she goes. I think I can do better. Let's ruffle up the photobag ...
Ah yes, that's more like it. She's got a nice vocabulary going these days, and have stringed her first sentances together, such as 'go down', 'more num-num', 'have nani (banana)' and so forth. The amount of words she understands is quite impressive, and you can tell her pretty much anything (within reason, of course; she isn't that well versed in politics yet) and she can understand you. If you're lucky, she might even do what you ask her, although we're still practicing that part of it, although she's already taking her used nappies, opens the under-sink cupboard, pulls out the bin compartement, and puts it into the right beholder (not the recycle one, that is). Heh, I'll teach her how to wash cars for cash next.
Grace just turned 5, to much rejoice. We held her party on the 10th, which was me and Julies wedding anniversary (three years! Wohoo!), and we all went out on the 13th (Gracies real birthday) to an italian restaurant to celebrate ... uh, it all, anniversary and birthday.
It also marks us being in Australia and Canberra now for one year, and grace has been in pre-school this time. She's going to real school next year and is quite excited about that. She's into fairies and princesses and pink, so quite a normal little girl as such, albeit with a very impressive singing-voice. Oh yes, and she can already read basic stuff and spell very well indeed. I need to remind myself sometimes that she's only just turned 5.
I mentioned a bit back a cubby house me and my father-in-law built, and here it is, in more traditional Norwegian barn colors of red and white. It is very sturdy, and would probably out-perform the house if a big storm came to test their strengths. The inside is now filled with toys and pictures, and the kids love it so much that they will actually give us peace to work in the garden. A win-win situation, indeed.
The garden is coming along pretty good. I made a pair of 2.2m long window boxes for her birthday (in addition to the expensive necklace in white gold and diamonds! Sheesh, what sort of cheapscape do you think I am?) that now sits under our kitchen windows. They're excelent, filled to the brim with flowers, bursting with color and life. Also, Julie has transplanted and fixed and fiddled with most things, and it is quite stunning. Maybe there is a picture of that in the next batch. We've also laid down some new lawn.
This little cute fella I found climbing around, and since I a) has been thinking a bit of my old and now departed friend Jorn who was a bug collector and freak (and every time I think about bugs, I think about Jorn; miss you, you old bastard!) , and b) simply adore his stripey antennas and sexy legs, I decided to post him here for all to see as well. (If anyone knows what he is, let me know) It sure it is better an alternative to ... uh, the alternative.
We recently went camping to this place, and it was great; I think the picture speaks for itself. We were there for three days, and although no big drama, I had quite a scare driving home. I was racing on the highway at about 100 km/h (the legal speed limit for most major roads here) when all of a sudden a huntsman crawled out from the air-vent to the right of the steering wheel, and quickly crawled across the dashboard and slipped into the side of the instrument panel. I didn't freak out, but quickly stopped the car on the side of the road. After a quick breather we went on, knowing that it would be quite difficult to get him out. He's still in there somewhere, ready for future surprises.
And finally a picture I took a few months back from our place in Curtain; my wifes' sunflowers. They turned out quite good, and we're now planning a second batch over in our new house as well. This picture was added also because spring just hit Canberra, giving us a reason to go outside. Finally.
Anyways, in other general news we're fixing up the house the best we can, and I'm currently sanding back and re-oiling the massive deck we've got out back, so that the future bar-b-que session will be even more impressive than before. Please, come on over! We would love visitors. You hear that, freakin' Norway?! Now that the cold is setting in there, there are warm beaches and cold drinks all around down here. You know where I'm talking about. Ho-hum.Permalink (Mon, 18 October 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Fri, 1 October 2004 13:00:00 GMT
So, I'm having next week off, going camping in the Australian bush, something regarded as everyday downunder but as super extreme sport everywhere else. I'll bring my bottles of spider spray, snake survival pills and shark bait (making them hunt in another direction than mine, of course), and I'll let you all know how it went.
In the meantime, I bring you the best Nigerian spam I've seen in a while, in full color, Nigerian-English intact; the SPAMalogue.Permalink (Fri, 1 October 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 31 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT
An annotated and whimsical reading list
I've read quite a number of interesting things over the course of the last few ... um, months I think, and I'd like to share with you what I think is the most important ones. (And please add more suggestions in the comments, as I plan to make this a permanent page)
About data and information modelling : Emancipating Instances from the Tyranny of Classes in Information Modelling is - despite the funny name - a must-read for anyone in the business of data modelling, be it RDBMS or semantic models or whatever. I suspect the authors read the book I read and had a similar reaction to it. It hits right on the "classes are constructs" nail. Then go on to read the TMDM (Topic Maps Data Model), and it will all fall into place, especially if you also flip thorugh the TMAPI. Oh, and also read anything by James Franklin, which I have enjoyed immensly. If only one thing, try The Renaissance myth which was the article that started me on the path of his writing to begin with. All of these entries will make it to the "Topic Maps must-read list".
About social engineering : Collaborative knowledge gardening is - in short - about how we need to think anew how we model ideas and things. Social patterns are hence more important to certain business requirements than before thought. I've pondered about this (in libraries, but it applies to most any organisation) before. Also, on the same note, The human information filter continues the thread.
About writing : Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See But Can Easily Fix When They Do, a set of good advice for the aspiring writer on any sort of material. Once upon a twice I wanted to be a writer, but I was lured from writing love poems in the park into the obscure and lucrative world of software engineering instead. I hope to combine the two in some version of the future.
About software development : A tale of two programmers is a most interesting piece that may or may not hold some good information. In my ramble about being sick of the objectivist language of modern days, I briefly touch upon the issue in "A tale of two programmers" where a process and quite often methodology gets in the way of the real issues at hand. As a former senior consultant I know how to "talk the talk, and walk the walk", and maybe because of that I claim it to be mostly bullshit and more in the way of progress than solving anything real, apart from stimulating petimeters and suck-ups in organisations everywhere.
About programming : Jenny is a cute RDBMS to Java classes generator. Then it strikes me; why on earth must we create such tools as this? Yes, it is cool and cute, but shouldn't the fundamentals of what we're trying to achieve be a part of the languages we use? Apparently, nobody has yet thought of it that way. Hmm. It reminds me of an extension the the XHTML standard that my friend Murray Altheim was fiddling with before he left Sun, called Augmented Metadata in XHTML; it is brilliant, would make all our metadata dreams come true, but ignored by people who had different agendas and probably didn't understand the problem it solves to begin with. The world is hence a bit more stupid because of this ignorance.
About learning : So, speaking of learning, for someone like me who missed one fatally important lesson back in primary school, sites such as Visual mathematics and documents like On the parallel between mathematics and morals [PDF] is of great help. Others cannot be taught anything new, such as a warmonger explains war to a peacenik, and yet others tries to teach us about new ways to think about business. We'll see how it all turns out.
Hmm, I get the feeling I've missed something out, but please subscribe to my alternative feed where I dump and comment on all things of interest found elsewhere on the net.Permalink (Tue, 31 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Thu, 26 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Bits and pieces
So while I've been at home mending sick wife and children for the last three days, I've been visited and deemed worthwhile by Whitespace. Thanks for that, although the added traffic focused on my pohr speling skils more than anything. Slik er livet.
In other news, yesterday I received in the mail my own copy of 'The explorers guide to the semantic web' which I was technical editor for. It is just amazing how nice that book is and how it feels good to hold and touch and let my fingers run through those crisp papers, not to mention how nice it was to see my name mentioned twice. Thanks Tom.
In more news, a librarian standards group at ISO may involve Topic maps in a standard for interlibrarian loan systems, and I might be taking part in that process, but don't quote me on it.
I built a window box yesterday from scratch using recycled bits from a cubby house I built with my father-in-law a few weeks ago. It turned out great, and the cubby house now has a cute window box under its window sporting a hanging rose flower. I'm enjoying the tranquil moments of carpentry.
I'm also (don't I ever rest?) finishing up something I call a Topic Maps Starter Kit, a Java Servlet-based web application (distributed as a WAR, maybe?) that is a full-fledged dictionary/thesaurus editor/viewer with full Java sources using and examplifying the TMAPI and possibly distributing the TinyTIM Topic maps engine, but I'll chat with Stefan about that first. It will make an excelent package you can a) use for your dictionary/thesaurus purposes, b) look at the code and extend to learn about TMAPI, and c) use to learn about Topic maps. I'll keep you posted.
In final news, I'm returning my loaned copy of "How to get things done" by David Allen about 2/3 read, simply because I haven't had the time to finish it. Oh the irony. Luckily his method weren't too far off from what I already had in place (I'm a blogger and Wiki user, so how wrong can I be?), and good thing that this Wiki exists, courtesy of the ever wonderful Jen Vetterli.Permalink (Thu, 26 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | General Topic maps
Fri, 20 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Losing it ... again.
Hi. My name is Alex, and I'm sick of it all. I am an angered and bitter individual, full of bile and threats of vengance. Oh hear my lament;
Why must "processes" and "business analysis" be the beakon of shining light through the fog of "enterprise" development? We throw ourselves into situations where we must collect "user requirements", demonstrate to the "project investors" that our "business objective" is met by our "specifications." The "management process group" lead by the "chief superindendant technical officer" needs "milestone reports" and "board reports" (that of course also needs to go to the "steering board") so that their "ongoing work processes can be adjusted." Fun stuff like that.
Maybe it's just me not grasping how the world works or something, but this incredibly strong focus on anti-human parlance and functionality is so darn wrong! It is why usable design processes (See! I just did it again!) appealed to me in the first place; getting away from a hierarchical description of processes ('The implicating supervisor for this process of structured governance reports to the requirements specifyer on specific events of process control.') for simple stuff that really amounts to "Send Bob an email when its done".
Now don't get me wrong; I understand the value of templates and explanations of "how we do things around 'here" - even a processing workflow (Dangit!) - but I do not understand why the people making these templates and explanations whinge because people don't use them, or don't use them fully, or wrongly, or slightly right but not right enough, or don't understand them, or don't like them, or don't want them, or - like me - don't grasp what they're trying to say, or whatever criteria a failed process or project or company gets. Ah yes, the abstractions and the objectivism should make things arbitrary and straight to the point, deliciously logic and fit for breaking any fuzzy human thing down to machine parts to be easily assembled by low-skilled assemblers, ... but they don't! They never will! Humans are terribly good at not being logic, at not wanting to be treated as a piece of factory assemblers. In fact, we rebel against it, we hate it, and do things oppositely in shere protest. It is why these big machines are known for their slowness.
And yet we embrace this practice further! As I said, I'm sick of it all, because this is a management aspect I've seen all my life, faught against and tried to change, without much success, even when said management knows and admits it "isn't the best thing to do, but what else can we do?" The mind boggles; How about "Something else?" Anything will do. Try something new; treat the former processes as you would treat a person you like. Treat the former project specifications as a dinner you're holding for friends. Make it personal. Make it more human. Make it so that humans won't rebel against the core of the ideas you're trying to push.
End of bile. Yes, yes, some do it differently, but somehow they seem to be small companies where there are fewer cooks. Where is the benevolent dictator when you need him?Permalink (Fri, 20 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (11) | General
Tue, 10 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Switching mails around!!
I was trying to be cool, to be hip, to be new and fresh, so I got myself a .nu domain. Little did I relaise it would get me into trouble so fast!
My site is shelter.nu, and as such, my mail address is "alex" at that address. But the .nu domain is so littered with spammers and other cretins that a lot of places outright blocks and bans any mail coming from any .nu domain. And that would include me.
So here's the plan; I'm now using the "alex" at thinkplot.net address instead. If you feel I've been silent lately, maybe my mail never reached you; I have no outstanding mails on my side of the planet, and it is getting terribly quiet here too, so please, let me know if you are waiting for something. I'll also resend all my mails from the .net account for the last month or two. Fingers crossed. Stupid spammers. Stupid internet.Permalink (Tue, 10 August 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | General
Wed, 21 July 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Stop! The! World! For! A! Moment!
As a follow-up to and closing of my journey through Lakoff's "Women, fire and dangerous things", I'd like to quote (quite a bit) from what I feel is its strongest and most shattering argument for why we need to stop the world for a moment and re-think our strategies;
The objectivist Legacy (pages 183-184, paperback edition, 1990)
According to the objectivist paradigm, true knowledge of the external world can only be achieved if the system of symbols we use in thinking can accurately represent the external world. The objectivist conception of mind must therefore rule out anything that can get in the way of that: perception, which can fool us; the body, which has its frailties; society, which has its pressures and special interests; memories, which can fade; mental images, which can differ from person to person; and imagination - especially metaphor and metonymy - which cannot fit the objectively given external world.
It is our objectivist legacy that we view rationality as being purely mental, unemotional, detached - independent of imagination, of social functioning, and of the limitations of our bodies and our memories. It is our objectivist legacy that leads us to view reasoning as mechanical and to glorify those kinds of reasoning that in fact are mechanical. It is our objectivist legacy that leads us to view machines that are capable of algorithmic computation as being capable of human reason. And it is our objectivist legacy that we view it as progress when we are able to structure aspects of our physical and social environment to make it more like an objectivist universe.
[...] People have been treated as numbers and collections of records for a long time, and they will be treated much more so in the future.
Such treatment serves an important function in our society. There is a major folk theory in our society according to which being objective is being fair, and human judgement is subject to error or likely to be biased. Consequently decisions concerning people should be made on "objective" grounds as often as possible. It is the major way that people who make decisions avoid blame. If there are "objective" criteria on which to base a decision, then one cannot be blamed for being biased, and consequently one cannot be criticized, demoted, fired, or sued.
Another reason for the attempt to construct our institutions according to objectivist metaphysics is that is is supposed to be efficent. In some cases it may be, in others it may not be. But an awful lot of time and effort goes into trying to make matters of human judgement fit what are supposed to be objective pigeonholes. If the classical theory of categorization is not correct, the then wholesale importation of objectivist metaphysics into our institutions may not only be inhumane, but it may in the long run be an inefficent way for human beings to function. At the very least we should be aware that our institutions are being structured in terms of a perticular metaphysics and a psychological theory of categorization which, as we shall see, is highly questionable.
One of the reasons why the classical theory of categorization is becoming more, rather than less, popular, is that it is built into the foundations of mathematics and into much of our current computer software. Since mathematical and computer models are being used more and more as intellectual tools in the cognitive sciences, it is not surprising that there is considerable pressure to keep the traditional theory of classification at all costs. It fits the available intellectual tools, and abandoning it would require the development og new intellectual tools. And retooling is no more popular in the academy than in industry.
For people working with SemWeb related technology this implies "taking a long hard breather" before continuing. Lakoff uses the rest of this book to crush the idea of classical categorization theory, giving strong evidence and use-cases and - probably most importantly - common sense and "Duh!" moments.Permalink (Wed, 21 July 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | Knowledge and information General Topic maps Programming
Wed, 7 July 2004 13:00:00 GMT
I normally don't get exited about programs I use, and I seldom - veeeery seldom - promote any program I'm using here on this blog, but today Bloglines.com which is the second "program I can't live without" (first being my email reader), through celebrating their 1st year anniversary, released a new version that is impressive enough to make me babble here. There are several goodies;
Happy, happy.Permalink (Wed, 7 July 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 13 May 2014 13:00:00 GMT
Please read this article, and please spread the word
In these days when anything out of the Iraqi war seems to get an Al Qaeda link, all that you thought you know about Al Qaeda are most likely wrong. Please read the article, and please make sure you friends, cat, spouse and milk-man does to, so that we know what we're talking about. Claiming Bin Laden is the head of Al Qaeda is plain wrong, and claiming his capture or killing is going to do any good is also wrong. Let's have a closer look at what they really are.
Read the full story at < Please read this article, and please spread the word >Permalink (Thu, 13 May 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 13 May 2014 13:00:00 GMT
A bit quiet : All for good reasons
Things have been a bit quiet around my blog lately, and here are the reasons why; work, work, family, celebrations, work, tired, work, time. In that order;
Wed, 24 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT
Thu, 11 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT
Balloons over Canberra
Balloons over Canberra is something we get a lot these days, and they are a part of a ballooning festival of sorts. On the bridge between Civic Centre and the National Library I took this cool picture.Permalink (Thu, 11 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Wed, 10 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT
The new house
Now, our house ain't big, but we like it that way. It doesn't look like all that much from the outside either, but looks are a bit deceptive; it is very cosy, has wonderful light going through it, and is in tip-top shape throughout. In fact, everybody in it (me, my wife and two kids) all love it. We simply adore it.
Oh, and did I mention that is has ducted gas heating (look for little slits on the floors) and air-flow system?
Here is the general view from the front, giving us plenty of trees and greens to bask in. We've even got our own street lamp, which is a darn nice feature when you're coming home late. Or leaving early. whichever.
There is a long drive-way up to the house (the fence in front of the garage needs re-doing; the planks are a bit on the rotten side) where we plan a possible hedge, possibly going all around the front. Also, note the little green maple just in front of our front door; it turns into the most wonderful colors now that autumn approaches.
Also notice our new (well, used new) car, the Toyota Seca GSi 1996. We have no complaints about this car at all.
The back is in bricks, as is most of the outside of the house. There are a few scattered tin things on the north side of the house, painted in friendly yellow. Yes, the house has a distinct yellow feel to it, a nice calm and cosy feeling.
I need to get up onto the roof and a) make sure the drains are good/clear/clean, and b) set up an arial antenna so that I can receive 102.4 ABC Classical radio music without any interference. Luckily, we're a few good stone-throws away from Telstra Tower.
Next up is the back side of the house with its massive deck. Imagine the BBQ and the nice setting (the current deck, in bits ready to be sanded back this coming weekend is located in the picture of the shed below) with an umbrella positioned there, with us nicely leaned back watching a setting sun with a few glasses of white wine or port.
Of note here is the back garden you can't see, which is quite nice. (It was too dark to get any good pics of it. More later.) Lots of plans for this one, but Julie's got this one under strict control. Whenever she needs a break from the kids, this is where you'll find her.
The idea here is that we're going to have a low-cut fence going through on the front-side of it, blocking kids from accidentally crawling headlong into the garden, and having lots of pots of cute plans and flowers on the sides.
This is where I'm to be transferred from a mere male to an Aussie bloke; the shed, where tools, bits of plank, pieces of wire, buckets of oil and paint and beer together in a dangerous mix form the backbone of the Australian culture. Plans have been made. Oh yeah, baby. Currently the sanding-machines (borrowed from father-in-law) and paints are stored here, but I'm building a set of benches and shelves to host all my wonderful bits of stuff my wife says "shouldn't be on the kitchen table."
Let's peek inside. This is the main living room, with our two sofas. The floors are either nice light wood (living room, hallway), nice blue comfy carpets (the three bedrooms, no pictures due to sleeping kids and poor lighting) or lovely Terracotta tiles (kitchen, bathroom, toilet and laundry, no pictures due to poor lighting and too tired, except the bathroom).
The door you see in the picture leads out onto the deck. The main entrance door is just to the left. The kitchen behind us, but the pictures I took of it looked so bad I'm not going to embaress myself here with them. Don't you worry; more pictures will come.
And here is a sneak-peek into the bathroom. Yes, Mr. Ducky is already in place. In fact, the bathroom is the first room we'll do something massive to. We're going to knock down the left wall, and join the toilets and bathroom together, re-tile the caboose, and put in a nice spa, and of course bigger and brighter windows.
We are all suckers for the best bathroom experience, so this is obviously a high priority to us, and we'll probably be starting this process in a month or so. Also, the taps and shower will be new and shiny. We also need some nice shelves and places to put the electric shaver.
And finally a little extra something that happened this morning; a flock (here, two of them) of balloons strode gently across the sky. There is a lot of ballooning going on in Canberra, and notice the left one. It looks like someone is moving their house, and the only bugger is that "why didn't I think of that before I moved this weekend". Oh well, maybe next time. In a few hundred years.
Maybe.Permalink (Wed, 10 Mar 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Wed, 25 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT
My first spam! Ooooooooh, how cute!
I have been working in the National Library of Australia for three and a half weeks. So, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour to present to you my first spam in my new job.
The honors go to a Nigerian / Liberian spam, offering me 25% of US$18,000,000. I'm so lucky. And how they got my e-mail is somewhat beyond me, because I haven't advertised it anywhere. Possibly some mail-archive of recent date (possibly the Subversion list? Congrats on the 1.0 release, btw.), and then snatched up by some spambot. Effective buggers, I must admit.Permalink (Wed, 25 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Wed, 18 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT
A closer look at a hairy spider in my bathroom
Here he sits (Image is 104Kb. We named him 'Pedro' for the time he was living with us) in the corner of the doorway to our bathroom, apparently waiting for food to fly in his general direction. Now, huntsmen aren't dangerious, so we pretty much left him to his own devices, but after about three days I chased him into a bucket and threw him out into the garden; not because we feared him, but because he was staring at my wife. In the nude. So out he went, all pretty undramatically.
Now, I have for some time thought about a follow-up to these spider postings, titled "The number of ways you could be killed while gardening", but the amount of gardening has been minimal. Now that we've bought a house in Cook ( Update : links to the house removed as they were taken off the house selling site because ... erm, we bought it) the gardening and crawling-under-the-house-to-lay-cables activities will increase. We'll be sure to bring our camera with us (of course, while dressed in chainmail and heavy boots! :) and expect that follow-up in a month or so.Permalink (Wed, 18 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 13 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT
End of week report
This week has been quite interesting, but mostly on the personal level;
On work-related things;
Anyways, have a nice weekend, and I'll try very hard to enjoy the forcasted 40 degrees Celcius. *sigh*Permalink (Fri, 13 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 9 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT
I'm a positive librarian
There are several adantages of working for the library, and one of the most exciting ones happened a couple of days ago when I searched the internal system as part of me learning what there is to learn about this place.
For shere amusement I searched for Claudio Monteverdi, and lo and behold! I found a book that I've been drooling over for a few years now; The Letters of Claudio Monteverdi by Denis Stevens. I promptly ordered it over the intranet, and went down to collect it!
It is a most wonderful book with translations of Monteverdis 126 letters that has survived, with tons of annotations, contextual commentary and a few goodie pictures to flesh it out. I was excited as a small child getting candy, and I finished a quick reading of it in two settings. No doubt I'll be using this more when the fabled ClaudioMonteverdi.org site ever gets up and running.
If for nothing else, it gives me a serious kick up the bumside to start my Monteverdi site seriously.Permalink (Mon, 9 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Tue, 3 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT
New job going
Just a quickie this time to let you know that I've started my new job at the National Library in Canberra (started yesterday) and things are looking really good; the people are nice and friendly, the place is big but cool, and the jobs here seems really interesting. It is still too early to tell much, but it is looking good so far.Permalink (Tue, 3 Feb 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | General
Fri, 23 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT
... and now; a House!
And such a lovely house it is. All details will follow, but it is in Cook (one of the better parts of Canberra) and is just beautiful. We're very excited about this.Permalink (Fri, 23 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Fri, 16 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT
A new and important announcement
The news that all of you (yes, all three of you!) have been waiting for is finally here; I've got a job. After three months of exploring Canberra life and trying to find a foot to stand on here, I finally reached a platform upon I'm very pleased and excited about.
Remember that interview before christmas that I felt went down the tubes? Umm, well it must have gone better than I thought, because a couple of weeks back I got called back for a second round, this time being interview by 5 people at the same time. But this time I came prepared and they were all really nice people, so it went really well, and here I am starting as a EL1 Software developer at the National Library of Australia at the beginning of February.
They're located close to Parliament House, Canberra, right on the lake, just right of Yarralumla, meaning it will be a wonderful scenery 20 minute bike-ride every day which I'm looking forward to. Thanks to all for encouragements and "she'll be right's." I'll inform the masses of how things progress.Permalink (Fri, 16 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (8) | General
Mon, 12 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT
Another personal update
This is just a small blurb to say that we're still here, we're still kicking. It is still hot as ever in Canberra, but we've been in both Kiama and Bowral during the last week, so we're staying sane by leaving.
Which reminds me; I had a little coffee-meeting with Steve Ball and another guy (both from Zveno) the other day at Parliament House, Canberra, and one of the more memorable things Steve said was that "the best thing about Canberra is that it is so esy to leave." Heh. Also, I might join one of his open-source CMS efforts using the XML Pipeline Definition Language with a few add-ons to make it a viable building-block for proper content managmement system. Stay tuned.
Oh, and there are some announcements coming up this or next week of major importance. Could it a new baby? New job? New version of xSiteable? New world peace? New car? New house? New world order? Or even a new set of briefs for me to sprawl around the house with? Could it even be all of them!? Umm, no. Stay tuned.Permalink (Mon, 12 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Sun, 4 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT
Boy am I hot!
Canberra has been sporting a good 35 degrees Celcius for close to a week now, and the house we're renting is so boiling hot it is unbearable. The wife took the kids over to their aunt who has an air-conditioned house, and I'm stuck here in front of the computer, in my underwear with a fan blowing straight on to me at full strength, and it is still too hot.
This christmas up in Newcastle I was bitten by a bull-ant three times. Darn painful, I tell ya. Oh, and did I mention the swarm of cicadas that keeps up up in the night (in addition to the heat) with their high-pitched broken-phone-line screaming? And of course we must not forget the most annoying flies on the face of this planet. They are known around the world as the most pesky things to exsist, famous for such things as the Bush Salute (wave off the flies from your eyes and nostrils all the time) and the double netting of doors (they're fast, too!). And of course all of these lovelies comes out even more when it is so dang hot.
This is a strange place, folks. Even my Australian wife, who comes from down the coast at Kiama, is starting to hate it here. Just going to the shop yesterday I had a swarm of little beetles who sit under leaves of trees weeing on me. What next? Birds laughing hysterically and maniacally at me?! Nevermind.Permalink (Sun, 4 Jan 2014 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Sun, 21 Dec 2013 13:00:00 GMT
On friday I had an interview (well, not just any interview; it was the first I've landed in this country so far!) with a potential employer that didn't go all that well. I was simply not cut out for the job; they wanted dogmatic, conformant and specific, I am pragmatic, innovative and general.
Some interesting jobs have come up in Sydney (three) and Melbourne (two) that looks very promising. Applications and contacts have been exchanged, although the interesting bits will happen after christmas. We'll be waiting.
On xSiteable I've been doing exciting things lately. The X2 prototype (working title for the 0.9 release) that I released a beta-beta of a few months ago has had a massive fiddling-with, and I've got a host of new an important features added. Also the code it produces is so much better, being accessible and validating to strict standards. Also, the designs have been updated, and these days I'm spending a few moments here and there on updating all the documentation and writing new.
Anyways, I'm off tomorrow on christmas holiday up to Newcastle, so merry christmas all around. And Santa; you know what I want for christmas ...Permalink (Sun, 21 Dec 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Thu, 11 Dec 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Well, hello there!
Another good use of our new digital camera; This is the third time in a month we've had someone like this over. He's a huntsman if I'm not wrong (and please, let me be right, or I'm leaving this country right now!), he's about the size of my fist (way too big for comfort; around 15cm across the legs!), slightly hairy, fast, and somewhat non-leathal. We've had two in our livingroom, and one (the one pictured) in our bedroom. It goes without saying we've bought a lot of canisters lately.Permalink (Thu, 11 Dec 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Wed, 3 Dec 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Assorted stuff : life, universe and everything
The last year has put many strange dents in my reality, and the winners are;
More stuff has happened, of course, but these stand out as the wrap-up of the year. I live in exciting times.Permalink (Wed, 3 Dec 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 24 Nov 2013 13:00:00 GMT
New approach to getting work
Yes, ok, my last post of misery was maybe a tad bit on the self-pity side. Enough of that, and on to something more fruitful.
I've created a new site, thrown together over the weekend, that adresses how I can utilise my skills and knowledge to the Canberrans. I bring you ThinkPlot.net.
Please, have a look, and let me in on how I can improve things around there. My wife is currently going through the textual content, so that will get a nice tidying up. Anything there missing? Something I've got too much of? Please let me know.
Read the full story at < New approach to getting work >Permalink (Mon, 24 Nov 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (5) | General
Tue, 18 Nov 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Life on the other side of the planet
I know, I know; the update frequency on this blog has slowed down almost to a stand-still, and let me tell you why;
Every day I wake up, thinking that today something will finally happen. And the day goes by and nothing happens. At least, none of that stuff that I want to happen. I am looking for work and a place to feel welcome.
It is not that Australia is an unfriendly place, but they are not all jumping out to help me and my stranded family much. There isthe occasional mention of things, but no one really cares whether we're doing well or poorly. It feels a bit strange, I have to admit, as I always viewed Australia not as the land of promise, but as the land of hope. I'm slowly loosing hope.
Yes, I'm not an Australian citizen, and to work for the government you need to be one. Bummer, then, going to Canberra which basically holds nothing but government jobs. This is a huge factor in the misery. The other is the way that recruiting companies aren't too helpful either, as they know that finding me jobs is slightly more work (not being Australian and being a specialist), and hence a bit shrugged to the side.
We're currently looking to other cities in Australia (heck, we're looking at anywhere, even the bloody desert!) for places that might need me for some work. Canberra does not seem to be an option anymore, and it kinda saddens me, for we had some hope coming here.
Anyways, I'll try to keep the blog posted. I'm sure there is more misery here to keep this "poor me" blogging going, if not for letting you know all about it, then at least a good place to vent a little. :) Thanks for your patience.Permalink (Tue, 18 Nov 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Wed, 15 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Kicking Australian dirt!
Yes, me and the family has moved to Australia, more specifically the suburb of Curtin in Canberra, the capital. We've been here two weeks now, but only ow do we have an online presence.
The flight itself went smooth, and any parent with a 4 year old and a 5 month old knows what achivement that was. The trick is to stay clear of the lollies, always have fruit and drinks around, and a good dose of Phenogen from Hong-Kong to Sydney. I hope you're taking notes.
For those who thought that Australia is an always warm presence, forget it! We've been colder here for two weeks that we were ever in Norway. Blame it on poor houses and bitter winds. Oh well, summer is just around the corner, so things will shape up quickly.
Also, as a result of now looking thirsly for work, I've got a home number and a mobile phone, so if you want to get ahold of me you can. Even more importantly right now, if you know anyone in need of a darn fine programmer (mostly Canberra, but we're not picky) let them know. My numbers (which may get edited out of this post over time) and another new email are:
(replace "02" with "+61 2" if calling from abroad)
Now, for those interested in things xSiteable, nothing has happened, and nothing will happen for a little time still. I might just let the pre-pre-beta announced in my previous post be official, because I haven't had any feedback in negative (nor positive, but who's counting?) manner. Stay posted.Permalink (Wed, 15 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | General
Fri, 26 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT
xSiteable getting closer
Those (few :) that sits around biting nails while anticipating the much hyped 0.9 version of xSiteable will have to brace themselves for another few weeks. The reason is obvious; in 6 days I'm moving to Canberra in Australia permanently with my family, and hence I'll be a bit busy with things not linked to hobbies, fun and fiddle. The race has been on for the last two weeks, and I won't even have a computer until a bit into my first week of Australia.
So, please be patient. I've issued a pre-pre-beta of X2 over here (heh, don't you love the name), but it ain't official, not ready, not fully tested (especially the admin application), so go easy. If you wanna help me out with it, please do.
Anyways, back to cleaning out my stuff; it is also my last day at work, just had cake with the boys, and I need to wrap up one more prototype before I leave. Wish me luck, folks.Permalink (Fri, 26 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | General
Fri, 19 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Ouch! Hit hard with Swens!
Some bloody 50 Mb worth of virus attachements, and a rough 1000 of the darn mails, portraying to be from Microsoft (how ironic), all in a mail-box that sees about 20 legit mails and an additional of spam of about 30. Fun, fun, fun!
Can people please stop using that ultimately crappy e-mail client so that I can have my e-mail address back? Thanks.Permalink (Fri, 19 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 18 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Amazing new line of consultants
In shock and bewilderment, banana in hand, I read about this new craze of highly-effective and much cheaper consultants that are bound to soon put me out of work.
Read the full story at < Amazing new line of consultants >Permalink (Thu, 18 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 09 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT
A long time passing; update
Sorry about the absense of late, people, but life is more hectic these days than ever before, and the reason is four-fold;
So all in all, it comes down to being busy with the stuff of my life. I have some great new plans, ideas and schemes that will manifest itself soon as things slow down, and some of them might just be good for other people as well. Stay tuned; I'll let you know how it goes.Permalink (Tue, 09 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 1 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Job offers. Bugger!
People have called me from Japan, England, Denmark and a few others, all wanting my services and availibility, but for some reason, Canberra - where I'm moving in a month - is horribly absent from the list. It is really frustrating, epsecially given that the jobs I would like to do are most often not advertised in the normal job-databases, but are the type of jobs you get through having a network. As such, I don't have one from half-way across the globe.
I have a few leads in Canberra, however - but it would be mighty nice to reassure my wife that we can make it just fine in Canberra too - not just everywhere else where we're not moving.Permalink (Mon, 1 Sep 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 15 Aug 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Dinner with Joel Spolsky
Last night I had dinner with Joel Spolsky, after he and his partner selected - of all strange places - Norway as a country to visit for a plain-as-vanilla vacation, seeing the fjords, the mountains, the sheep and the cheese. Joel thought someone in Norway (probably amongst the sheep and the cheese somewhere) might read his site and stuff, so he announced "Meet me there!". We did.
It was good fun. Talking with Spolsky was nice; we shared a lot of the same ideas and got on well. I was told that a) Spolsky is an internet celeb, and b) has written several books; I didn't know either. Anyone read his books?
Anyways, I had a good chat to a lot of other people as well, and one thing that I wrote (not that long ago) was a best-practice guide to writing HTML for programmers, and in the conversation this seemed to be high on a lot of peoples wish-list. I'll dig it out, polish it, and publish it ASAP. Thanks for the reminder.Permalink (Fri, 15 Aug 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 15 Aug 2013 13:00:00 GMT
What the heck are you doing?
Crikey, what have you been doing for the last 10 days?
Good question. I've not posted anything here for over a week, and the reason is simple; xSiteable revamp! I've put all my energy into getting a 0.9 version out as soon as possible. People are waiting to beta-test it. The features dying to get out. the speed-improvements wanting to show off. And the new, washed and polished framework (is there anything now you can't configure?) is simply trembling with excitement of helping you all out with your sitely things.
I still read a lot og blogs, but nothing really has caught my attention lately. People are probably still trying to catch up after the hot summer. Maybe the cool will bring some cool. Here's to hoping.Permalink (Fri, 15 Aug 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 1 Aug 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Blog item decomposed!
Wed, 29 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Back from holidays
Yes, a nice three-week holiday with the family couldn't stop me from thinking, and now that I'm back, I'll let you all know what I have thought;
I've thought a lot about a Java-proxy in cooperation with a nice Topic maps engine like TM4J and some fancy metadata sniffing could be the ultimate personal mapper/blogger/recorder/whatever. The ideas have been turned into sketches, and a little more polishing of a prototype, and we're ready to see if the idea is good. I'm excited about it.
I've thought a lot about what the next iteration of xSiteable should be, and the refactoring I've done the last two days looks quite promising. I'm cleaning up and expanding and doing things the Right Way (TM), and although it should break backwards compatibility (not a lot, but enough to agitate the masses into violent mobs with pitchforks and the works in search of revenge) it is well worth it. I'll test and test, and probably release late this week or early next week. I'm excited about it.
I've thought a lot about my life as a software engineer. I don't feel geeky enough to specialise in a language like Java or C#, nor clever enough to only do Topic maps and related things metadata. I'm a bit puzzled about what the future will be, but ... I'm excited about it.
I've thought a lot about my new life when moving to Canberra Australia in two months; will I get good work, will our lives be better, will it work? There are a million things to do and work out before we go, but I've decided to throw away more than bring, so I'm excited about it.
So, in all this excitement, when will I have time to fear all of it? I'll try to think like Dave. Maybe he's on to something.Permalink (Wed, 29 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Fri, 4 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Holidays are here again!
There are many many things I wish I had time to do before I went on vacation, like the prototype I've got for a topic maps surfers auto-generating generator/proxy filler thing (named "pTMVac") that will be an amazing tool, or release a small "spec" (more like a code exerps with commentary) of a new language I'm thinking of starting on, or the first beta of my Distributed Topic Maps Designer (new-concept editor for Topic maps), or the newly cleaned-up and re-structured xSiteable 0.9 with some true powerful concepts and features, or ... *sigh* There is just too much.
But here is what I'll do; I'll take three weeks off, drawing and defining inbetween entertaining my kids, my wife or our visitors. That would make august a rather exciting month indeed.
Now, a few request (I'll be reading mail, don't you worry): Does anyone know of;
A Java open-source proxy with HTTP(S) support which i can bundle? (Yes, I already know of Reitshamer, in fact the prototype is based on it)
A language that is totally OO, has XPath as an integral part, and has a clean simple syntax?
Anyways, if I don't hear from you, have a wonderful summer/winter, depending on wherer you are. Take care.Permalink (Fri, 4 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Wed, 2 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT
The Feed Wars : a new beginning
Prince Winer and his friends onboard the SpaceShip Refractariolus had long yielded and knew the power of the RSS, the essence of what drove the society forward. But in a dramatic change in the winds of time, the federation of Blog overturned the Old Order in persuit of a new force, far more powerful and embracing than RSS. The Old Order, now scattered and rebelling against the New Leaders, finds themselves overtaken, thrust aside. Confusion has clouded the worlds.
Lucky for me that I don't hold any feelings towards neither formats to blog with. I'm happy with any, although I do see this whole thing as a "instead of fixing the broken, let's create a new from scratch." History hasn't shown us that this rarely is the best idea, but we'll see how it goes.Permalink (Wed, 2 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 1 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT
RSS vs. Echo -- The war is being mapped!
Not that I'm trying to make enemies, but since I'm a mapper at heart, mapping out who supports what and who in this debacle seemed like a fun task to a) grok and try to understand it all, b) use my mapping tools further, and c) have some entertainment at others expense. :)
I'll try to update the map as things progress. If you feel something in the map is wrong, don't hesitate to tell me off. May the best man get along!Permalink (Tue, 1 Jul 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Wed, 25 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT
|/On the train home yesterday I cought myself asking that dreaded question: "Who am I?"current work with Topic maps and Knowledge and information. I'll dig up my old code and models, and see what good they can do now 10 years later. Maybe - and hopefully - they are like wine; better with age.
So, who am I? I am the map, and all emotions inbetween which makes things ... interesting. Let's see if I can make my map more emotional.Permalink (Wed, 25 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | General Topic maps Knowledge and information
Mon, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Some tools and stuff I will be hacking real-soon-now!
urely a way to improve stability and features of it.
I think I found all of these (except the Drupal one) through More Like This, which is added to my list of good blogs to scan.Permalink (Mon, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Movies of my newborn daughter
I've uploaded two movies in MPG format to this blog entry of our new arrival, now some 4 weeks old.Permalink (Mon, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Thu, 12 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Back in the habit
I am back after almost three weeks. Lots of stuff has happened the last few days being back, and I'll update the blogs as I find the time to lay them out; I've got lots of news especially where Topic maps is regarded, including three new projects I'm starting up with other people.Permalink (Thu, 12 Jun 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (2) | General
Tue, 20 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT
In Absentia : being busy with babies!
Yesterday, on monday the 19th of May, our daughter Liliane (Lilje) May Johannesen was born in 1.55 hours, weighing 3.48 kg, sporting a length of 50 cm. It goes without saying that I'm not working nor updating webpages right now, as I have a) a new daughter, wife and another daughter to worry about, and b) I've got two weeks off work. I'll update some info here if it is really important, but if not, I'll see you all in a couple of weeks. See ya!Permalink (Tue, 20 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (29) | General
Fri, 16 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT
I got married 1 1/2 years ago, and I went through a process of cleaning up my life, burn some bridges, closing projects and generally preparing my friends and family of "new times to come." It seems that Mark, the one who brought us the fine Dive into Python and Dive into Accessibility is doing the same, and getting married in a week. Good luck with the cleaning up and the new life. It is a good life for those who prepare for it.
Read the full story at < Spring cleaning >Permalink (Fri, 16 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Wed, 14 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Beauty of the past reminder
Was reminded today of a statue by Michelangelo that I haven't seen for a few years. Spend a couple of minutes thinking about how this was done and what it portrays. Then, if you like it, spend a couple of minutes thinking about how you can visit it in real life. A person needs new experiances; without, we stagnate.Permalink (Wed, 14 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Mon, 12 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT
A few updates and flashes
So, there you have it. There has been quite some movement in various mailing-lists lately about the whole social software thing, but I don't know what started people on this old thing. Social software has been around for years in some form or other. That the buzzword should emerge now I guess is due to a few different things, but mostly I think it is due to the fact of a) blogging, b) value of online time and c) "added value" to whatever sites that makes/tries to make money.Permalink (Mon, 12 May 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | Topic maps General
Wed, 30 Apr 2013 13:00:00 GMT
What size is yours?
I stumbled upon this (through Slashdot, I think), which is neat, in a geeky kind of way. It is a comparison of known real and SciFi enteties (CN Tower, King Kong, Mozilla, various spaceships) in an attempted comparative scale. Neat stuff.
Read the full story at < What size is yours? >Permalink (Wed, 30 Apr 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Tue, 22 Apr 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Easter is over
Easter has done me well, with me spending huge amounts of time with my family, sitting around, doing very little, and generally having lots of good food and good conversation. I love my wife and daughter so much, and I can't tell them enough how lucky I am to be in their lives.
Anyways, just a short blurb to say that I'm back, and that I'll dump interesting bits in the blog as soon as I can empty my mailbox. Stay tuned.Permalink (Tue, 22 Apr 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
Fri, 4 Apr 2013 13:00:00 GMT
Hypocrite cought on film
Some "kind" gentleman recently said I was a hypocrit for promoting validation while at the same time my homepages do not validate. As much as this is logically true (it is due to bugs in a software-package I'm using, and the gentleman didn't notice that I haven't said my pages validate), I am reminded that there is a difference between being caught in circumstances and being a true hypocrit.
Like this gentleman that this tidbit is about. Now, I'm not much into politics, and especially not American, but due to the latest happenings in Iraq (which I'm not all that happy about), little gems pop out of nowhere to tell us a side of the story which you will not hear much on TV;
A chronology of Bush saying one thing then doing another
It is both a hilarious and scary reading.
Read the full story at < Hypocrite cought on film >Permalink (Fri, 4 Apr 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | Quotes General
Fri, 28 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT
New bug-fix release of xSiteable
A new quick-fix bug-fix release of xSiteable has been released.
Read the full story at < New bug-fix release of xSiteable >Permalink (Fri, 28 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General Topic maps Information architecture
Mon, 10 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT
CMS vendor information survey
James Robertson at Column Two has a web survey about CMS up on his site, and I encourage everyone to help out.
What do you think about the quality of information provided by the CMS vendors' websites?
This survey is not being run on behalf of the vendors. Instead, I have developed it with the aim of improving the overall state of the marketplace. My hope is that if vendors have a better understanding of what their customers want, they will adjust their sites to match. This can only serve to benefit both customer and vendor alike.
The complete results of this survey will be freely available.
Read the full story at < CMS vendor information survey >Permalink (Mon, 10 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General Content management
Mon, 10 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT
New metadata features in xSiteable
The xSiteable project has got some new exciting metadata features;
All the files are delivered at static placeholders.Permalink (Mon, 10 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General Topic maps Information architecture
Sun, 09 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT
My new homepages are up
My new homepages are officially up and running. I've toned down my personal ramblings, and upped the professional side of things because my focus and direction has changed since the last iteration.
Also, the new site is based on xSiteable and Topic maps, making me able to use these pages as a quick testbed and feature-test of a real-life website. One of these new features is the blogging feature I'm using to write this item.Permalink (Sun, 09 Mar 2013 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (0) | General
"Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it."
My other blog
Goodies from the archives
Blogs I read
Column Two (hot)
Don Park's Daily Habit (hot)
Edd Dumbill (hot)
Guide to Ease (pause)
Scripting News (hot)
Silent Lucidity (balance)
The Bile Blog (hot)
Signal vs noise (hot)
Thought Horizon (hot)