Writing update

I just finished the final pre-review draft of my chapters for O’Reilly’s weblogging book, Essential Blogging.

Once the chapters from all the authors have been gently messaged by the wonderous editing talents of Nat Torkington (first rule of thumb — always suck up to the editors until the book is in production), the book is going online, hopefully sometime this week, for public review at the O’Reilly Network.

During the review, I’m pushing to finish Unix Power Tools 3rd edition. To help in this effort — UPT is an extremely large book — we just added a new author: Steven Champeon. If you’re a fan of DHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and so on you’ll most likely recognize Steven’s name.

I’m particularly glad Steven’s come onboard because he shares my interest and excitement about Apple’s incorporation of Unix (Darwin) into Mac OS X. A key difference between the third edition of UPT and the previous two editions is the new coverage of personal computer-based Unix flavors such as Linux, FreeBSD, and Darwin.

If I’m good, meaning I don’t spend too much time with this weblog, I should be finished with the rest of my writing for UPT by end of May and can then concentrate on finishing my beloved RDF book — Practical RDF. The review draft for this book should be completed by end of June.

I’m adding new material to Practical RDF specifically related to my weblogging experiences. In particular, I take on the Google Weblogging Effect, as well as syndication with RSS. I’ll have to send an autographed copy of the book to Dave, see what he thinks 😉

To test out the book code and examples, I’m incorporating material from it into my management of this weblog as well as my other web sites. Fun stuff, though the sites might get a bit hacked in the next month or so as I play around.

Three books for O’Reilly this year. Not bad. And with half a year to go, maybe I can add a couple more.


Verbal drool

Verbal Drool. I paid this weblog a visit when it showed in my referrers list. I like the name of the weblog, and when you visit it you’ll see why I like the weblog look.

(Burningbird is a sucker for cute kittens. What can I say? Whenever I see something helpless with big, trusting, hopeful eyes, I just melt. Do you think that’s why I like Chris Locke so much?)

However, looks and name aside — content is king. Oh, excuse me. I meant to say, “Writing” is king. And spending some time at Sam’s weblog showed me that a) he can deliver (weblogging stuff that is), and b) he has a terrific sense of humor.

In particular, read Sam’s posts about talking with the roomiecustomer support, and especially conversation at a forum.

People Weblogging


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I was surprised at the amount of in-person connectivity that occurs as a result of meeting people through the Internet. In comments attached to a previous posting, CommunitySharon mentions meeting her significant other online and Medley talks about meeting her husband through their mutual weblogs.

Kath states:

Something about meeting through the mind first rather than the normal route – meeting people face to face first – seems to make a stronger bond.

So much of what we are is communicated through our expressions, the looks in our eyes, the movement of our hands; stripping this away to letters on a screen and still being able to connect to people that strongly blows me away. I wonder how many webloggers have met their true love and closest friends online?

And if we don’t connect physically, will the friendships fade in time?


UDDI and Discovery


How do you compare UDDI to other methods of discovering networked resources

(may or may not be web services)

What’s the difference a global UDDI registry and…
– Google: controlled by a single organization
– open, and replicated by other search engines
– DNS: governed by ICANN, but organizations can apply to be registrars
– others?

Do the above services have the same weakness you attribute to a UDDI global registry?

In some ways, we’re talking apples, oranges, cherries, and perhaps some peaches. They’re all fruit, but the similarity ends at that point.

UDDI is a centralized discovery service managed by a consortium of organizations, the content of which may or may not be striped across several different servers. Information is added to the repository by submission of those with services to provide.

Google is a discovery service that is also centralized under one authority but uses many different methods to discover information including automated agents (bots), subscription to other services (such as dmoz) and manual intervention.

Google, though, has an interesting twist to its discovery mechanism: it has a set of algorithms which are constantly evaluating and merging and massaging its raw data in order to provide additional measurements, ensuring higher degrees of accuracy and recency. The discovery of data is never the same two times running within a collection period.

The dmoz directory is a great open source effort to categorize information intelligently. In other words, the data is manually added and categorized to the directory. This makes the directory extremely efficient when it comes to human interpretation of data. You might say that with dmoz, the “bots” are human. You get the world involved then you have a high level of intelligent categorization of data. The only problem, though, is that human interpretation of data is just as unreliable as a mechanical interpretation at times.

However, dmoz is probably the closest to UDDI of the network discovery services you’ve listed primarily because of this human intervention.

Finally, DNS. DNS does one thing and as pissy as people are about it, it does the one thing reasonably well. The web has grown to huge proportions with something like DNS to handle naming and location of resources.

In some ways, DNS is closest to what I consider an iron-free cloud if you look at it from an interpretation point of view (not necessarily implementation). You have all these records distributed across all these authoritative servers providing a definitive location of a resource. Then you have these other servers that basically do nothing more than query and cache these locations to make access to these resources more quickly and the whole framework more scalable.

In some ways, I think UDDI is like DNS, also. You can have UDDI records distributed across different servers to make service lookup more efficient and to make the whole process more scalable.

This same approach also happens with Circle, Chord, and Freenet if you think about it (the whole store and forward, query and cache at closer servers or peers so that the strain of the queries aren’t channeled to a few machines).

UDDI is like DNS for another reason: controlling organization and potential political problems. ICANN hasn’t had the best rep managing the whole DNS/registrar situation. In particular, you should ask some of the Aussie ISP’s what they think of the whole thing. They’ve had trouble with ICANN in the past.

All of the services share one common limitation: they all have hardcoded entry points, and all have some organization as a controller. I don’t care how altruistic the motives, there is a controlling body. There’s iron in all the approaches. All of them.