World Day Against Software Patents – 24 September

September 24th, 2008 by sjan

Whether you think that software patents are a BAD THINGTM (as do I) or you think they are a good idea, it is important to know what it happening around this issue. Today is World Day Against Software Patents. Organized by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure the day is meant to draw attention world-wide to the issue of software patents and encourage active participation in the fight to stop the practice. There are links to articles, a draft of their petition to stop software patents worldwide which you can sign and/or comment on, and way more information than you are likely to be able to get through today. Check it out.

Intel joins One Laptop Per Child

July 13th, 2007 by sjan

An Intel news release from today states that they are joining the One Laptop Per Child project. This goes beyond making the Classmate PC to active involvement in developing the technology and educational content of the program, as well as joining the board of OLPC.

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Live on (yet) another social site

July 7th, 2007 by sjan

Yes, it’s true, I finally broke down and signed up on MySpace. Truth be told, I have had a rather private account on there for a while now, but never set up anything in the profile – mainly to allow me to visit band sites of some of my favorite Nerdcore artists. Since my wife has been using it for a while, as well as several friends from Washington state I thought I’d go ahead and dive in as well. So you can find me there too, at

I also set up a site for 2DL at (the 2dl url was taken)

Now I guess, I should think about doing something with my Facebook account. Ok – never mind, I did it, it’s here.

So, how does one keep up with all of these? Well, for one, I found a nifty thing to update my MySpace blog when I update this blog. Now if I can get the Feed Invasion app to work on Facebook it will show up there as well. Haven’t I done enough damage for one day?

Shape of the Future?

May 14th, 2007 by sjan

Is the end of our notions of privacy the shape of the future? While most ‘What does the future hold’ articles seem to be full of overly wishful thinking and fluff, this is an interesting and thought-provoking article from SF author Charlie Stross. This is a talk he presented in Munich at a TNG Technology Consulting technology open day. (transcript: Charlie’s Diary: Shaping the future) He brings up some interesting possibilities – from an always-on, completely connected populace, to complete “lifelogs” housed in synthetic diamond storage devices.

Spoke too soon? Formal Objections filed in W3C vote

May 4th, 2007 by sjan

While the vote totals in the poll are still positive by a large majority, there have been a couple formal objections lodged which could overturn the vote. The W3C‘s process for consensus and dissent allows for formal objections to either be remedied by compromise, or in a case where that compromise is not possible a Chair may record a decision in spite of dissent in order for a group to move on. According to the same process document:

Groups should favor proposals that create the weakest objections. This is preferred over proposals that are supported by a large majority but that cause strong objections from a few people. As part of making a decision where there is dissent, the Chair is expected to be aware of which participants work for the same (or related) Member organizations and weigh their input accordingly.

While there doesn’t seem to be much interest outside the W3C and WHATWG on this issue right now (at least none that I am seeing online) I will be keeping a close eye on the developments and announcements from W3C to see how this all plays out.

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Looks like WHATWG’s HTML 5 is a go

May 2nd, 2007 by sjan

Although the poll hasn’t closed yet (it is open until May 4) 90 96 of the 115 voting members of the HTML Working Group have cast their vote, and the results are:

Shall we Adopt HTML5 as our specification text for review?

Yes: 78 84
No: 2
Concur: 7
Abstain: 3

So, even if the remaining 25 19 votes are all no, the vote is to adopt the WHATWG HTML5 (comprised of the Web Apps 1.0 and Web Forms 2.0 specifications) as a starting point for the next HTML version.

Other votes on the page include the decision to name the next HTML specification “HTML 5” and to appoint Ian Hickson and Dave Hyatt as the specification editors. I highly recommend reading the results, in order to see the rationale given by many of the members for their vote on each of the questions, as this gives a valuable insight into where the group currently is and in what direction they are looking to move.

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Edits: updated numbers on 5/3

WHATWG Pitches HTML5 to W3C

April 12th, 2007 by sjan

The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) has sent a Proposal to Adopt HTML5 to the HTML Working Group of the WorldWide Web Consortium (W3C).

HTML5, currently in working draft status is comprised of the Web Apps 1.0 and Web Forms 2.0 specifications. While the W3C XHTML2 Working Group has just been chartered in March 2007, with a goal date for completion of December 2009, the work of WHATWG on the HTML5 recommendation has been ongoing since 2004 and has support from Apple, Opera and Mozilla. In explaining the relationship between XHTML2 and HTML5 the Web Apps 1.0 draft has this to say:

1.3.4. Relationship to XHTML2

This section is non-normative.

XHTML2 [XHTML2] defines a new HTML vocabulary with better features for hyperlinks, multimedia content, annotating document edits, rich metadata, declarative interactive forms, and describing the semantics of human literary works such as poems and scientific papers.

However, it lacks elements to express the semantics of many of the non-document types of content often seen on the Web. For instance, forum sites, auction sites, search engines, online shops, and the like, do not fit the document metaphor well, and are not covered by XHTML2.

This specification aims to extend HTML so that it is also suitable in these contexts.

XHTML2 and this specification use different namespaces and therefore can both be implemented in the same XML processor.

It will be interesting to see if the WHATWG proposal is taken as the HTML Working Group, like the XHTML2 Working Group, was only chartered in March of 2007, and as such, failure to adopt the proposed HTML5 draft would mean the need to reinvent the wheel.

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Petition for Linux Users

February 28th, 2007 by sjan

Bryan Peters at has put out a petition for users of Linux to add their voice to the Open Letter to Steve Ballmer to show the code where Linux infringes on Microsoft’s intellectual property. It would seem to be the only strategy left to MS at this point, is to prove that there is some basis for their threats of lawsuit against distributors of Linux for IP infringement, or to apologize tactfully and say “We made a mistake.”

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Rosetta Code: A Call for Editors

January 25th, 2007 by sjan

Rosetta Code has put out a call for editors. The idea is ingenious in its simplicity: a Wiki that shows how to do the same tasks in a wide variety of languages. For anyone who learns best by example this is a no-brainer.

Stop by, create an account and help out!

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Interview with some of the biggest

October 10th, 2006 by sjan

In an article titled “Stiff asks, great programmers answer,” blogger Jarosaw “sztywny” Rzeszótko gets answers from some of the most influential programmers of the day. Includes responses from Linus Torvalds (Linux), Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), James Gosling (Java), Tim Bray (XML, Atom), Guido Van Rossum (Python), Dave Thomas (Pragmatic Programmer), David Heinemeier Hansson (Rails Framework), and Googlers Steve Yegge and Peter Norvig.

While there are a good deal of serious answers about tools, platforms, methods, skills and so forth, the gem that made me chuckle was the response from Guido Van Rossum to the question “What do you think is the most important skill every programmer should posses?”:

I guess being able to cook an egg for breakfast is invaluable.