The whole thing

The Architecture of the World Wide Web, First Edition was just issued as a W3C recommendation. I love that title — it reminds me of Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”, volume one.

Interesting bit about URIs in the document. To address the ‘resource as something on the web’ as compared to ‘resource as something that can be discussed on the web’ issue, the document describes a resource thusly:

By design a URI identifies one resource. We do not limit the scope of what might be a resource. The term “resource” is used in a general sense for whatever might be identified by a URI. It is conventional on the hypertext Web to describe Web pages, images, product catalogs, etc. as “resources”?. The distinguishing characteristic of these resources is that all of their essential characteristics can be conveyed in a message. We identify this set as “information resources”.

This document is an example of an information resource. It consists of words and punctuation symbols and graphics and other artifacts that can be encoded, with varying degrees of fidelity, into a sequence of bits. There is nothing about the essential information content of this document that cannot in principle be transfered in a representation.

However, our use of the term resource is intentionally more broad. Other things, such as cars and dogs (and, if you’ve printed this document on physical sheets of paper, the artifact that you are holding in your hand), are resources too. They are not information resources, however, because their essence is not information. Although it is possible to describe a great many things about a car or a dog in a sequence of bits, the sum of those things will invariably be an approximation of the essential character of the resource.

The document then gets into URI collision:

By design, a URI identifies one resource. Using the same URI to directly identify different resources produces a URI collision. Collision often imposes a cost in communication due to the effort required to resolve ambiguities.

Suppose, for example, that one organization makes use of a URI to refer to the movie The Sting, and another organization uses the same URI to refer to a discussion forum about The Sting. To a third party, aware of both organizations, this collision creates confusion about what the URI identifies, undermining the value of the URI. If one wanted to talk about the creation date of the resource identified by the URI, for instance, it would not be clear whether this meant “when the movie was created” or “when the discussion forum about the movie was created.”

Social and technical solutions have been devised to help avoid URI collision. However, the success or failure of these different approaches depends on the extent to which there is consensus in the Internet community on abiding by the defining specifications.


Bloghost blogs

Elaine just posted a note at IT Kitchen that Bloghosts has failed, perhaps because of some form of deliberate manipulation.

If you’re a Bloghosts blogger, and you’re adrift right now, feel free to use the Kitchen weblog as a way of letting people know where you’ve moved, or to let people know what’s happening with you until you get a new home.

P.S. If you can help a Bloghosts blogger move, or find a new home, please put a note either at the Kitchen Wiki, or the Kitchen weblog.

Christine at Big Pink Cookie passes along an offer of a home at Blogomania, with the first month free to Bloghosts webloggers, to help in transition.


Kitchen reading

Aha, a new cable modem and I am back among the continuously wired and co-dependent for another couple of weeks.

Don has written a couple of wonderful weblog posts about blogging gardeners: on the raft and Staying True. In Staying True, he wrote:

Genre blogs do not display the arc of a good long novel, or a series of tightly written and well-thought arguments. They are notes from a corner, maybe a small corner, maybe a big one. My own sense is that this little golden age of blogging won’t last—that new technology will come along making us radio bloggers or tv/film bloggers to the extent that we lose this odd, populist outburst of the written word.

I hope not. I sincerely hope not. It is odd, though, that those who are weblogging’s most ardent supporters are also the ones that seem to want to destroy that which is unique about this medium. I guess there are those who want to carve their names into history, and those who are content just to scratch their initials into dirt.


The culture of the cafe

I am finding that there’s a sub-culture that exists within coffee shops. There are those who rush in and grab a cup of coffee, and still others who stop by for sweets for work. Now the lunchtime crowd is starting to come in.

Amidst all of these people who scurry and scatter about are those like myself, who grab a roll and a cup of coffee, which we’ll nurse for the next hour or two, as we sit and read our papers or books; or like the newer generation of cafe society, open our computers and type away. But not all the time, because to not look up from time to time is to miss the magic of the moment.

We tend to congregate in one area of the cafe, and we chat quietly from time to time when one of us happens to catch the eyes of another. I’ve already shown my computer to a retired gentleman who is thinking of buying one to keep up with his grandkids. I expect to see him with an iBook one day.

Another gentleman sits and does crosswords, while a lady about my age, a former mainframe programmer, studies books on new technologies a couple of tables away. Across from me is a Nun having lunch with her friend, and every time I catch her eye, she smiles at me as if we’re sharing some kind of secret. Rather than be intrusive, it adds to the feeling that sitting here has somehow pulled us out of time and place, and given us a new space in which to explore — books, crosswords, something online, each other.

Years ago, philosophers and artists and writers and others mad with creativity and drunk on wine and discovery, would sit in cafes for hours and hours and from these times would come the works that astound us even now. Somehow, somewhere, we’ve lost this society, with our phones and our televisions and our computers, and we are both less and more because of it: less because of the loss of the mystic; more because we’re coming to understand that the mystic relies less on place than on person.

I doubt that I will pull a masterpiece from my time here, in this tiny shadow of society, but I’m sure that I’ll find both contentment and inspiration. And a good cup of coffee–not to be taken lightly, you understand.

I’ll probably leave soon; making room at my table, which I’ve occupied for two hours. It’s tough, though. to leave the smell of the baked goods and homemade soups, and to give up my seat by the window overlooking the outdoor seating. The weather is nice and a foursome with a dog and a small child is sitting outside. The child just came up to the window, all curly brown hair and toothy smile, patted at the glass and gave me a grin.

However, too much of anything and the magic begins to fade and wonderous become ordinary. Besides, it’s nice out and a walk sounds good.


Hidden nooks and crannies

I have been experimenting around with my new copy of Photoshop CS, and realize that I’ve never really utilized my previous copies, as much as I could. The new version has added a whole lot more to the tool and I estimate it will now take a couple of months to really understand how to use my Nikon D70 and Photoshop CS to best advantage.

For instance, I was looking at the File Folder option, and am amazed at what I can do: preview images, automatically package or create photo slide shows, annotate the photos with metadata in XMP format (nice, that), and a host of other activities. I’ve never used the File Folder option before, and can’t figure out how I did without it.

(In fact, I created a photo show and a slide show of several Air Show photos from last year — easy as selecting photos and clicking a few buttons.)

I’m running with 512MB of RAM, but I accidentally opened 25 large photos at once in Photoshop, and it managed. It took a bit, and wasn’t fast — but it worked. But I have so much to learn now. Thanks to O’Reilly, I have several books on Adobe Photoshop CS to help.

It used to be that good photography was more a matter of lighting and composition and filters and darkroom techniques. Now, one has to understand histograms and curves, 16 versus 8 bits, as much as filters and lens. But the composition and the inspiration, not to mention the love and delight, is still between you and your camera, and whatever happens to find itself if your viewfinder.