Technology Web

Name that space

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The fluff about namespaces in RSS 2.0 seems to have boiled down to: the major version number should have warned everyone that this version of the specification isn’t compatible with previous versions. The solution: generate both sets of Userland RSS (0.9x and RSS 2.0) until aggregators can properly work with the namespaces.

Tim Bray wrote in comments at Ben’s:

The best suggestion I’ve seen so far in the thread above is to leave RSS 2.0 with the all the elements in the RSS2.0 namespace, but for publishers to provide 2 different RSS feeds until people get used to it. And then turn off the non-2.0 feeds after a few months. -Tim

First, I agree with Dare Obasanjo — the breakage most likely did occur within aggregators that do support namespaces rather than the reverse; the namespace with RSS 2.0 ‘changed’ and this caused the breakage. However, I disagree with Dare that the solution is to just continue as is and have the RSS generators now create two separate Userland RSS feeds: one for 0.9x and one for 2.0.

How many feeds will we end up with by the time this is done — one for 0.9x, 2.0, and then the RDF/RSS, RSS 1.0 one?

Remember that old chestnut: Poor planning on your part does not make an emergency on mine?

Several things missed with all of this:

  1. Documentation of the namespace support in RSS 2.0 is non-existent, leaving a great deal of confusion about its implementation
  2. Most weblogging tools don’t have the capability of just adding yet another RSS feed, and most webloggers (or others who use software that provides RSS) don’t know how to program enough to generate their own RSS feeds (and those that do, don’t care)
  3. If RSS 2.0 is a major tool release, two weeks to hack it out, implement it, and then shove it into production is a farce — there was no time to allow for third party developers to adapt to the new specification
  4. Focusing on pure technical solutions to what is the result of poor business practices will only postpone these same problems until the next release of something like RSS

However, what I’m saying is not sexy and isn’t full of code. And since I don’t support RSS, it doesn’t impact on me anyway, so why am I talking about it?

One thing I will say, though, is that if RSS 2.0 had been based on RDF/XML, many of the questions arising now about RSS 2.0 would have been answered by the RDF specification, and there wouldn’t be this chaotic scrambling to understand what all of this means (namespace, default or otherwise). RDF/XML is an implementation architecture, and as such, provides a good understanding of what is, or is not, valid XML within the specification. That’s one thing RDF/XML would have provided.

Just Shelley


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

There are few things I dislike more than interviewing for new gigs, especially in a town where you don’t know the consulting companies, and don’t have contacts. However, my name has now been submitted for several longish contracts at some bigger companies and hopefully in the next week or two, I’ll get work.

(I’m not going to mention company names, even when I do get a new contract. Who I work for is between me and the company, and the consulting company that arranges the contract.)

Today, the employers rule, and it shows. It’s discouraging to go into an interview with several years of Java development experience (and references) as well as having worked on two Java books in 1996and being Sun Java Certified, only to have the consulting firm want to have you take a bench test in Java.

Luckily, the weblog doesn’t matter — none of the folks here have heard of weblogging. And most don’t care that I’ve written books on technology. In fact, I’m finding that technology and capability is less important than how you dress and your ‘attitude’, here. Perhaps the mid-western folks in the audience, especially those in the St. Louis area, will let me know if I’m off the mark on this. I truly hope I am.

The worst interview so far was Wednesday, last week. I was interviewing to be part of a team of consultants on a gig, and as soon as I walked through the door, I could tell the guy wasn’t interested. And it continued to show for an entire hour.

So, was my college a liberal arts college or an engineering college? He’d found that people who came from a liberal arts computer science program just didn’t have the proper background as true engineers. I found this question puzzling because I graduated from college in 1987, and most hirers could care less about college when you’ve been working for several years. However, my college was a liberal arts college. He then asked if it was any good.

How does one answer a question like that? My first reaction was to say, “Well, we didn’t have computers, so we got some cardboard boxes and painted switches on them and pretended to program them.” But I didn’t.

Amidst interruptions to take phone calls or talk to people in the hallway (without once apologizing — I guess this is another engineering thing, no politeness), he also asked about what I did before I went back to college since it was obvious that I wasn’t 18 twenty years ago. Well, now, that was fun.

Also, he informed me he would have more references from me since I’d been in so many jobs. I told him I was a consultant since 1994, and normally consultants don’t spend years at a job. Since I was interviewing for a contract, this discussion just didn’t make sense.

I have interviewed so many times in the past, I’ve lost count, but I’ve never interviewed with such an obvious asshole as this guy. When I finished, I went out to my car and just leaned my forehead against the stearing wheel for twenty minutes. What the heck am I doing here?

At least my cat likes me.

Just Shelley


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The way of dealing with the stress of the interviewing process is NOT to sit in front of the computer, becoming frustrated at the BS associated with RSS. I need to work on the RDF book, true, but I’m also taking time to do some hiking.

In fact, I’m going to be increasing the difficulty of the hikes I take. I’m still not in the best of shape, but if I take it slow and use caution, I should be able to traverse some of the tougher hikes in the area.

There are few things more uplifting to the soul than completing a challenge that’s just beyond your current skills. Nothing else seems to give a greater boost to either morale or confidence. I need this now. I need the type of challenge that tempts me to give up half way, but that I’ll stick with, and succeed. No one and no body can give you this type of success, or take it away.

So, if you’re in Missouri, out in the country, and hear the far off faint cries of a woman screaming at the top of her lungs, you’ll know that it’s just me, having met another challenge…or it’s me, and I’ve managed to fall off a cliff.

(Just foolin’ about the cliff. My mama didn’t raise no fool.)





When friendships fade

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Loves come and go, but a friendship should last forever. Well, so the story goes, but we know that in reality, this doesn’t happen.

Over time people change and friends grow apart and the connectivity you once shared with a friend fades away — daily calls giving way to weekly giving way to monthly and eventually being replaced by an occasional note.

Even in this threaded void, connectivity waxes and wanes like myriad new moons; except in this universe, the moons are free to pull up their orbit and move about. And let me tell you, this plays havoc with the tides.

Loss is a part of life, including the loss of a friendship, but still, there’s a tiny little hole in your life that used to be named Friend. No matter how rich your life is, no matter the number of new people you meet, that hole doesn’t go away.



Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

My system has MySql 2.23.51, Apache 1.3, PHP4, FreeBSD, and I’m running into problems trying to update or insert into MySql with PHP. The update or insert works, but I get warning back:

Warning: MySQL: Unable to save result set

The change is saved, but the application breaks. No error message is generated in log, no error number is returned. I can insert or update using Perl without a problem.

I researched the problem and tried compiling PHP as a shared Apache module — and not. I’ve used PHP’s default MySql libraries, and have also tried local MySql libraries.

I’d sacrifice a chicken at midnight, if I thought this would work. Anyone recognize this problem? Suggestions?