Just Shelley

All work and no play

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I have been a busy little worker lately. I spent all weekend reviewing the hard copy of the Unix Power Tools book — all one thousand pages of it — looking for problems, as well as pulls for the book’s web site.

I also made a stab at my first chapter for my online book, but I’m very unhappy with it. Very. The problem with reading wonderful writing by truly great authors is that my own writing suffers, dramatically, in comparison. Everything I write lately just sits on the page, flat, dejected, and suffering. If there was such a thing as a gun for words, I would shoot each of mine and give them a quick and painfree end.

I took a break from writing today to interview at two different consulting companies. If all goes well, I should be back in the land of the employed by month’s end.

Between company appointments, as I was sitting at the computer trying to think of something less than dismal to write into the weblog, my cat Zoe wanted up on my lap for snuggles. Considering that I always interview in a black suit, I wasn’t too happy about her jumping up and getting silvery hairs all over me. I snapped at her, yelling at her to get off my lap.

She left the room and when I went looking for her later, I found her curled up in a small, sad, hurt little ball of fur on my chair down in the living room. What does she know of work? What does she know of suits? All she knows is that I yelled at her just for coming in for snuggles. I felt like such a heel.

She’s sitting on my lap now. She says Hi to everyone.



RSS and disappointment

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I am disappointed.

I am disappointed that the work I did yesterday to show that RDF can work well within a simplified RSS environment is for naught because assumptions have already been made, decisions sealed. Jon Udell writes, paraphrasing Sam RubyAssuming that the RSS core is now frozen…. Why is there an assumption that the core is frozen? Why is there an assumption that Userland owns RSS 2.0? Because Dave Winer says so? Because a few – a very few– other people say so?

What of the community, who must continue to be faced with issues of two different RSS specifications; who will have to face the difficulties inherent with this again in the future?

I’m disappointed because assumptions have been made that the efforts of the RSS 1.0 working group and Userland can never merge. The result of this assumption is that those who wish to write or read RSS in the future must bear the burden of both groups lack of cooperation.

I am disappointed because we were starting to see such good questions from the user community — questions such as those that appeared in the comments attached to my postings. Questions that allow us to define why some of these issues are important to many of us. Questions and comments that serve to make technologists take a good hard look at what we arrogantly decide is ‘good’ for the community.

Both RSS groups have been working far too long in a vacuum, and this week the lid got popped and fresh air came in. And I have never seen groups, normally so diametrically opposed, work together so well as these two did this week, trying to put that lid back on as quickly as possible.

I am disappointed that the RDF working group didn’t join the debate and benefit from such an open discourse with the user community, in addition to taking this opportunity to clarify much of the confusion and complexity about RDF. However, the debate was so short, the working group may not even be aware that it happened.





Note from Management

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I get private email communications all the time based on my postings, and most are great.

Sometimes people will write because I have made a typo or a grammatical error, and I really appreciate this. I prefer not to make these kinds of mistakes, but can get excited when I write and not notice the problem at first. These kinds of emails are very helpful.

Sometimes people will send gentle notes to let me know I’ve gone over the edge, I’ve lost my perspective, or I’ve been unnecessarily rough. Again, I appreciate this. I am nothing if not a passionate person, but I genuinely don’t want to be mean or cruel, or pedantic or tiresome. Only a friend would take the time to let me know that I’m heading in a direction they know I’ll regret at some point.

Sometimes people will want to agree or disagree with that I write and want to chat offline. Well, I consider this a treat. I am a richer person by hearing your views, and being allowed to discuss mine. Most sincere thanks for this gift of time you give me.

However, there are times when I get people who want to say hurtful, vicious, demeaning, and abusive things offline. By doing so, they can dump on me but still maintain a persona of sweetness and light with the world. This passive aggressive technique is, to me, about one of the most dispicable things a person can do.

When people (a very few people) indulge in these sorts of emails, it leaves me tired, hurt, and very touchy. Then I react online and the rest of my readers haven’t a clue why I’m so cranky, or why I’m reacting so strongly to certain events. Or worse; they wonder why am I lashing out at such as generous and kind hearted person.

I don’t like getting emails that tell me that I’m sick, I’m sad, no wonder I’m single because I’m such a bitch and nobody would have me, I’m a loser, I have no life, or today’s particular treasure which stated that I blamed this person for all the problems in my life, and that this was pathetic.

Say what? No offense to any of you, but none of you have that kind of power over me. But these kind of emails wear me down.

So, here’s my new plan. I’ve replied to the sender of the recent email the following:

No more. If you want to talk with me, do it in public. No more of these personal attacks in my email. If you’re so proud of what you have to say to me, say it in public.

I have received abuse from this person for months. Next time I get an email from this same source, it goes online. And this person is more than welcome to print anything I say privately online if they wish. I am not ashamed of what I write.

There is a difference between disagreeing with a person and abusing them. And I’m tired of being abused.

Thanks for your time. End of management memo.