Checking in

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I ended up stopping for the night in Limon, Colorado, at this little oasis of hotels/eateries/gas stations. The motel was a bit pricey, but as an added bonus – high speed internet! In the middle of Colorado cattle country.

I have found that I’ve finally reached a saturation point in this particular route. All the states between Missouri and California are very nice, lovely, friendly and interesting – but after this trip, I don’t want to see any of them again. Well, at least for a good long while.

Uneventful trip other than a car in front of me blowing a tire out. They managed it like a pro. Hope that never happens to me. I did make excellent time, but today’s miles are catching up tonight. You all would recognize the feeling – tired and disoriented. I hate that feeling.

The decision for tomorrow is whether to go up I15 to catch I80 in Salt Lake City, or to take I25 and catch it in Cheyenne. This is the shorter route, but I haven’t been in I15 for ages, and it’s very pretty. Rocky Mountains.

Catching up on weblog reading, I can see some disagreement that the Echo project is even occurring. This isn’t surprising, but it shouldn’t be happening. Echo is open to everyone, and all input is welcome. People can involve themselves if they want, or ignore if they don’t. This is the weblogging way to run a project of this nature.

I was going to make several detailed comments on this, but they would serve no positive purpose. Instead, I’ll continue my support of Echo, help when I can, and focus on photos and other writing.

See you in a couple of days in San Francisco.

PS Quick update before I reluctantly pull my hands away from the computer and start today’s drive: Who’s up for working on a RDF vocabulary of Echo with me? Not as a syndication format, but a full vocabulary, for integration with other RDF-enabled vocabularies? There is this but more in line with co-existence with the syndication format. However, I think there’s enough data in the data model to start the vocabulary now without waiting on the syndication effort – the vocabulary should derive from the model, and mappings developed later.

Has someone started this already? If so, can you paste a link to effort in my comments?

Second Update Started wiki page for this effort.

outdoors Photography Places

Water, water everywhere

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I spent the afternoon and early evening at the Busch Wilderness Center, exploring the 35 lakes contained within the area. For an out-of-water nymph like myself, just drifting between the lakes — small and large — was like coming home. What was especially delightful, wonderful, and surprising is that each lake has it’s own personality — no two were alike.


Most of the lakes weren’t much more than larger ponds, though Lake 33 was quite large, with it’s own overflow area, associated stream and wetland. Big enough for several boats, and the Wilderness Center rents boats for fishermen — fishing is quite popular, as you can imagine.

Some of the lakes were pure catch and release, while others you could keep what you caught up to a limit. No bass under 18 inches, I remember that one, but what the heck are ‘crappies’? Regardless of the rules, the fishermen I saw seemed to be happy just to be out, in the sun, line in the water, eyes half shut looking at the far shore.

But what the heck are crappies?


There were so few people that many of the lakes I visited had no one else around and I could sit by the water, watching the birds and the fish jumping at the dragon flies overhead. The weather was warm but not hot, and though there was some humidity I think I’ve adapted to it, because I’m finding that I enjoy it.

It’s a serene feeling, walking by the lake, warm humid air wrapping around you, sweat on your upper lip, and trickling down the small of your back — holding the cool breezes blowing in across the water.


I was surprised at the plant life at the Center, and I’ve seen enough Missouri Green to know what I should have expected. I expected the bushes and trees and grasses, but not the tiger lilies, yellow daisies, purple thistles, and pink primroses.

Still, the stars of this show were the lakes, bright sapphires among the green.


The road leading to all of the lakes is yet more crushed limestone, with some pretty significant pot holes. If the view didn’t slow you down, or the road didn’t do the trick, the baby rabbits that positively crawled all over the place would. I got to the point that I almost ran off the road, peering into the bushes on either side to see if a bunny was going to run in front of the car.

Can you imagine how bad you’d feel, running over a baby bunny? Well, I can. I got so paranoid at one point, I stopped for a brown leaf in the road.


I didn’t walk through the trails too much, because they were so badly overgrown. Not being afraid to walk during the summer is one thing — walking into a thicket of tics is another. My mama raised no fool.

But there was an honest to goodness stand of pines, I had to explore. It was so unusual to see the tall evergreen tress, with little of the traditional Missouri undergrowth. I’ve become so used to the persistent, all over pervasive green.

But, back to the water. Water water, everywhere.

Me and my love of water. I can’t go near water without using all of my ‘film’ — space on my digital chip — on pictures of the water, near the water, boats on the water, and so on. Cute bunnies and pretty flowers may come and go, but there’s always more room for yet another reflection, or another boat.


Copyright Weblogging

There’s an echo with Echo

Joe Shelby, in the comments associated with my last posting made a good point about “Echo” as name of this weblogging initiative:

Echo is already a name for a product, a Java web application framework, that just released its 1.0 earlier this month, and very nicely under the LGPL license. By choosing “Echo”, the Wiki participants have effectively hijacked that name and may potentially destroy a product from a company doing TheRightThing ™, before that product even gets off the ground.

I posted a note at the wiki about this. I asked that the members form a consensus that they’re willing to use a name that could conflict with another newly released technology. This did start another discussion page.

Wikis are geared to fast, fast, fast. You have to hit the ground running, and be ready to move. Too much for this SysAdmin wore out from getting the Burningbird Network Co-op going (having fun, though). However, in this particular instance, I can also see the power of a wiki.

To me, what brings this all together is combining the technology: wiki to do the actual collaborative work; and weblog to summarize and involve others, to highlight specific points, and make specific persistent comments.

I’m getting a bit burned out on tech at the moment, and need to go back to literature, writing, funnies, life, politics, and photos – but I did want to take a moment to say that I think the wiki combined with weblog approach is very sexy.

Technically speaking. No worries, I’m not that far gone.

Reply from other project:

I do greatly appreciate you asking us before using the name, and
apologize for not having a positive answer. I’d request that you not
name your project Echo. I think the possibility of confusion is too
high, given that both projects are frameworks for building Web-based
applications. I realize that finding a name is very difficult to do (it
took what seemed like forever to settle upon “Echo” in our case).

I am not a lawyer, but I believe that I am required to inform you that
NextApp has a pending trademark registration on the term “Echo” in the
application of “A computer software framework/library used by software
developers for the creation of Internet-and Web-based applications.” It
is my understanding that I am required to state such information in
these circumstances in order to have our trademark be
considered valid, as trademarks must be actively defended. I apologize
again for even mentioning this as a response to your friendly request,
and only state this information because I believe I’m legally obligated
to do so.

I would say that Joe Shelby should take a bow for a good call on this one.


The Echo Project for Poets

Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying

from Lord Tennyson’s “The Splendor Falls”

If one could typographically represent a blur, then that’s what I would use now to annotate the Echo Project – an online, collaborative, and extremely fast paced effort to define a conceptual data model of a weblog, and then to define politically neutral interoperability functionality, such as weblogging API and syndication format.

The effort has had some discussion in weblogs, beginning with Sam Ruby and continuing elsewhere, but much of the work has occurred in the project wiki, a collaborative editing environment.

One only has to look at the change log to see the number of edits to realize that this is not an environment for the cautious, the tame, or the wiki-challenged (or for those who want to sleep or eat, either). I’m not necessarily cautious or tame, but I do raise my hand for being wiki-challenged. Still, there are points that are solidifying out at the wiki, and I thought to duplicate these here in a format that, if nothing else, will help me understand what it’s all about.

The motivation: (also see wiki:Motivation) I don’t think there’s a one of us who enjoys the battles about weblogging APIs, or RSS, or import/export between weblogging products. Though it is the techies who have to deal with the specifics, these discussions impact us all. Every time a battle rages, we have to stop what we do, which is writing our weblog essays and entries, and add support for yet another button, link, or must have dohicky.

We have to support both RSS 2.0 and RSS 1.0. We have to be able to move our Blogger posts to Movable Type, and our MT posts to pMachine. We have to support comments/trackback/RSS/whatever, because people want to respond, comment, suggest, rant, praise, read, and read more easily.

Still, there are the webloggers, or personal journalists, or what have you that don’t and won’t support these things. They make their pages by hand, eschew comments, and answer with “track who?” This effort doesn’t impact on them, nor should it – the motivation behind this effort isn’t to create a jail about what we do, and how we do it. It’s to provide guidelines for the toolmakers so that all the tools we use, regardless of the tools we use, work together.

The conceptual data model. The question really is, what pieces of data are mandatory in order to meet the needs of a weblog entry? Cutting through the tool specific needs, the group seems to have settled on the following data items and their associated definitions:

Author: There is exactly one Author of an Entry, and that Author is identified by a non-empty name and an optional URI of a person, organization, or system. (A UniformResourceIdentifier (URI) is a short string that identifies a Web resource).

Permalink: The persistent URL for the entry on the Web. There is some debate still going on with this, but looks like ‘permalink’ is really being redefined to be a unique identifier of the weblog entry; and that both a URL and a URI (Unique Resource Identifier) will be required. For instance, this weblog entry has a URL for the individual item (page), and also a post or entry identifier, which would be the URI.

Publication date: This is the date the entry was “published”; the date used to decide where the entry goes in Movable Type and Blogger. The use of the weblogging tools is, I’m assuming nothing more than a reference point. This definition could use some work, but the consensus seems to be heading towards the date that the blogger specifies the entry was published, not the tool and not an automatic timestamp.

Content items: There can be more than one content item and associated with each is: media type (i.e. JPEG, MOV), language (i.e. ENGLISH), and the actual content. There was at one point debate that a welog entry doesn’t have to have any content, but I think that got shot down.

There’s discussion still continuing on these items, but it does look like we’re starting to see some stability. Someone even created an example data page, and as this shows, the only items still being debated are having a last modified date, and that URI of the entry (itemid). Additionally, someone else created a entry model that seems to have captured all the data being discussed, not just the required. If you’re not a techie and want to see what’s happening in a nutshell – go here.

Now, these are the required items, but not the only items. However, the other data items are considered extensions, and therefore optional. This includes:

license – copyright of item (see Creative Commons)
security – PGP Key
metadata – title, subtitle, summary, optional timestamps, version id, and all contributors (in case there are additional authors)

I’ve only quoted the extensions where consensus has been reached. There are other efforts.

Now, what’s next? After the data is agreed on?

Well there’s a Road Map that details what’s to happen. Taking a snapshot, it says:


  • Decide on the conceptual model of a log entry. ConceptualModel
  • Decide on a syntax for this model. SyntaxConsiderations (You are here.)
  • Build a syndication format using this syntax.
  • Build an archiving format using this syntax.
  • Build a weblog editing protocol using this syntax (the Echo API).


What does this mean to you, the weblogger? Especially if you’re not into the technology? Well, if all major vendors of weblogging products– and that includes aggregators, weblogging tools, weblog search and popularity sites – buy into this the following could happen:

– Syndication Both RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0 would be replaced by the Echo syndication syntax, and you would only have to provide one syndication file. In addition, aggregators would only have to code to one syndication format. If there’s any pushback here at all, it’s that the tool vendors will most likely want versioning on this process, as well as some slow down – none of them wants to spend their lives recoding for daily updates.

– Import/Export All weblogging tools would support the same import/export format, which means you could easily move between different versions of weblogging tools. To my friends in the audience moving from Blogger to MT or other tools now – your job would be much easier.

– Common API All weblogging tools and perhaps peripheral tools would support a common API. This means, at a glance, we could post trackbacks to all weblog posts regardless of toll. But more, this also means that you could use any weblogging tool front end to post weblog posts to any weblogging back end. This opens the door to a new set of tools, as well as new technologies to work on top of them – audio/video posts, posting from email, posting from your phone, and so on.

This is the biggie. This is the grand banana. This is where the rubber hits the road. Here’s a scenario for you: you’re on a road trip and you’re writing to your desktop weblogging front end tool (someone else is driving we hope). You put the post in send mode and when you computer finds a passing WiFi signal, quick as can be, your entry is posted. Or don’t bother with the computer, post with your cellphone. Of find a kiosk at a rest area along the way, and send a post, annotated with your map location.

Doesn’t matter your tool – works with all of ‘em.

Of course, this is all supposing that our fictitious weblogger is a wee bit obsessive, and not that any of us are – not us – but it is fun to think of the fanciful situations in which a person could post, isn’t it?

Mine is that I’m in a deep submersible, hunting the Colassal Squid, and I’m blogging the encounter just as I’m about to be swallowed. No! Wait! After I’ve been swallowed!

“May be quiet for a while, I was just swallowed by a squid…”


What’s the motivation?

I’ve reached a lull in the activity for the Burningbird Network Co-op, though I still have additional work to do reorganizing my own stuff. That’s the fun about moving from tiny, cramped quarters to brand new spacious digs.

I guess this means I need to go out any take many more photos. I’m heading to San Francisco again on Sunday (finally, the long awaited trip), and will see what I can find along the way.

Clay Shirky has joined the discussion at the, I guess we could call it the Echo Initiative, with the following:

I find it significant that this page was empty until now. What _is_ the motivation? Is just it to save RSS from the Personality Wars[tm]? If so, would the ideal solution to be to take some flavor of 0.9x and call it PIE 1.0, and then start working from there?

Right now, the conversation looks muddled, because a lot of questions that were asked and answered in the development of RSS itself (it should be 7 bit; it should be represented in XML; _required_ metadata should be kept at a minimum; it should not try to be an input to the Semantic Web) are coming up again, to no good effect, imo. If the goal is to get something that works like RSS, but is more richer, and more extensible, and defended in advance from the new type of standards war of which RSS seems to be an early harbinger, then that probably ought to go in a charter statement somewhere (and the HP would be a better place than here, I think), in order to keep it from being a pile on.

Whenever you see people proposing to base something on OWL, you know the Ted Nelson quotes are not far behind.

I copied the quote entirely because Clay also added RefactorOK next to the quote, which I believe means that people can edit it.

I like Clay – the man is not afraid to say, “Hey! The f**cking King is nekkid!”, but usually using much more polite language. Yes, what is the motivation.

I do know that once an XML syndication format is designed, and the aggregators prep for it (I can hear them, yet another syndication format), the only button, and hence the only syndication format, supported at this site will be one of the following:

[image lost]

Why? Because I think the Personality Wars, as Clay so aptly put them, are a waste of energy and time, both of which could be turned to something more constructive. Because I wouldn’t mind getting involved in this technology, but the ownership angle irritates me – not to mention multiple flavors of the same thing.

Because don’t we all have something better to do? Like create fun techie things to play with? Have great discussions about literature, politics, and philosophy? Talk about our family and friends? Share a giggle?

Like take more bandwidth stealing photos? Write more “…For Poets” essays?

Like, have a life?