RSS, XML, and Namespaces—oh my!

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Dave writes that the use of namespaces is fundamentally flawed because the hasty introduction of namespaces into RSS 2.0 generated problems with several aggregators:

If this is true, we can’t design using namespaces until:

1. All the parsers are fixed, or

2. Users/content providers expect and accept this kind of breakage (I don’t want to be the one delivering that bit of bad news, got burned not only by the users, but by developers too, people generally don’t know about this problem, or if they do know are not being responsible with the info).

Anyway it looks to me like there’s a big problem in the strategy of formats that intend to organize around namespaces.

Sam Ruby writes:

I therefore must change my opinion. Where I previously thought that RSS 2.0 suffered from a simple omission, now I must consider RSS 2.0 fundamentally busted.

My oh my oh my oh my.

Dave, saying that the problem you experienced with the hasty rollout of RSS 2.0 is because namespace implementation in XML is flawed, is about the same as me saying that MySQL and PHP aren’t working correctly on my system because the theories behind relational databases and web application script engines are fundamentally flawed.

Damn PHP and MySql for mucking up my system, anyway. Bad boys.

Update: I think Dave’s essay was deliberate bait. I think he was having fun with us when he wrote it: pulling our legs, yanking our chains, getting a rise out of our choleric reactions. Why, if he really believes in what he wrote, I’ll eat Jonathon’s hat.

Update Two: Lovely posting on this by I. M. Orchard. More fodder over at Ben’s. Now, ‘scuse me, I have to find work to do.


The hunt for the wild MT Documenters

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Jonathon Delacour and Allan Moult have started their Movable Type Documentation posts. If ThreadNeedle had existed, this tool would be perfect for tracking their work, as well as ancillary writing and posts related to their generous efforts. I know it’s only a matter of time before others also post their own tips and experiences, and ThreadNeedle could have pulled this all together into one lovely package.

However, ThreadNeedle, the tool, does not exist, for which I must bow my head with shame. (Well, not really with shame; more of a slight nod of consternation –a bot mot of “Oh well, it didn’t get done and loss of techie karma points to me”.) Therefore, I have no other option: I am become ThreadNeedle.

(Don’t sue me for that ‘become’, Ryan.)

I have created a new weblog, The Hunt for the Wild MT Documenters specifically for tracking Jonathon’s, Allan’s, and other’s efforts related to User-originated Movable Type Documentation.

Why have I done this? Well, one reason is as I stated — there is no ThreadNeedle tool, so I am become ThreadNeedle personified. However, a second reason is that I’m blatantly crashing Jonathon and Allan’s party. The wonderous thing about the Internet in general and weblogging specifically is that you can’t keep out the riff raff out no matter what you do. And baby, I can be the worst form of riff raff.

So join me at the new weblog, The Hunt for the Wild MT Weblogger, as we spy on the elusive and wiley MT Documenters going about their every day life. The first installment, The Hunt’s Afoot, and the second, First Sighting have already been posted.

MT Documenters: Serve with capers and a fine red wine, and in the company of someone you love.

Just Shelley Photography

Kick own butt—the elephant marches on

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Well, I was feeling sorry for myself earlier until my friends told me to lay off and ‘quitcherbellyachin’ — sort of.

In particular, Loren reminded me that rather than being out hiking in the woods, or at the St. Louis zoo as I was today, I could be as he is — poor soul, chained to his desk and computer, slowly converting his weblog from Adobe GoLive to Movable Type by copying and pasting each individual entry. Select-Copy-Paste. Select-Copy-Paste. Select-Copy-Paste.

Loren, though you’re not the first to make the move to Movable Type, you’re ahead of the pack in quality of material posted … and in the sheer volume of work necessary for you to make the conversion. So, this photo’s for you.



Becoming a dead bore

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Well, I’ve become such a dead bore, lately. Either writing on technology, or other stuff that lacks zip and zing.

I should be writing about Chris Locke rising from the dead in his manic phase. Hey Chris, if you want to know about Krakens, holler, I have a story for you. Gary Turner has gone soft, warm, orange in his new weblog design, and Allan MoultJonathon Delacour, and Loren Webster are all out experiencing the joys of Movable Type on Unix. They’re having fun.

And others are out and about having fun. I should stop being a dead bore and start having fun.


Sentimental Reasons

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Jonathon Delacour writes about sentiment and freshman photographers:

When I taught photography, the photographs taken by first year students were—with very few exceptions—sentimental clichés.

As an attempt to counter this, Jonathon and the other photography department instructors posted a notice that banned certain subjects in photographs the students submitted, such as closeups of bark on tree trunks, toddlers with ice cream smeared on their faces, and nudes. Denied their usual subjects, the students were then forced to use their own imagination.

Sentimentality is more than dusty red velvet boxes and a baby’s lock of hair pressed between the pages of a book. At its worst, it is both a fake and a fraud, an attempt to package a thought, memory, or mood into something palatable to the general populace.

Ansel Adams was a master of the photographic technique, and generally held to be one of the best “nature” photographers of all time. Yet, lately, I’m beginning to understand Jonathon’s intense dislike of Adams’ work. When I view Adam’s photograph of Canyon de Chelly, I see technique and perspective, but the photo is flat, emotionless, safely consumable. It completely lacks respect for the spirituality of the location.

It is a photograph you can hang at McDonald’s.

Yet when Nat King Cole sings “I love you for sentimental reasons”, he isn’t singing about clichés and pop art. The song reflects the simple, honest love of one person for another, and the hope of shared memories in the future. This is the sentimentality that Loren Webster writes about:

Personally, I worry about friends who aren’t sentimental about their childhood, their children’s childhood, or their grandchildren. You’re supposed to be sentimental about these things, for God’s sake. Does anyone really think you’re supposed to be totally objective about your children? And grandchildren? You’d have to be a real Scrooge not to occasionally indulge the temptation to spoil grandchildren, wouldn’t you?

The tendency in art in the past was to paint the family, the ultimate symbol of life, in an ideal light: (One) Mother always smiling, (One) Father always strong, and the children always bright and sunny. A hopefully impossible vision for any family to meet. Today’s artist, in a burst of artistic integrity and honesty rejects this bland rosiness, and paints the family in the palette’s darkest shades — Father missing, Mother disturbed, Mother’s boyfriend abusive, drunk, and unemployed. And don’t even ask about the kids.

Yet, the pictures we paint of the darkness of family life are just as much a lie, a characterization as the pictures we paint of the positive — it is the worst form of sentimentality, that which is fraudulent and false and focused on making the work consumable, at least by today’s standards.

The reality is that the best of families have a little horror in them, and the worst have a little hope. Scratch life and you’ll find this everywhere.

I thought about this as I walked along a trail in Powder Valley today, camera in hand. I thought about how difficult it was for me to pick a good shot because it seemed as if I was surrounded by great shots. As a little experiment, I deliberately looked for bad shots, and when I found a good candidate, I would take a photograph of it, and of the scene directly opposite. What an eye opening and exciting experience this was — and disruptive.

What I want from my pictures, and my writing, is to somehow pull in my audience while simultaneously pushing them away. Sentimental? Yes. Non-sentimental? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Today’s photographs:

And sorry, Jonathon, but I couldn’t pass up this bark closeup. I think you’ll find, though, that it is anything but ordinary.

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