Older blog entries for Ankh (starting at number 165)

Been busy working on words and pictures from old books - it's mostly pictures right now, partly because I haven't decided exactly how it should work. I need to experiment. Up to almost 700 pictures though, all with at least a little metadata.

Also started an XML Blog as an experiment. I don't think what is there now is very controversial, but I don't promise it will stay that way.

Today Clyde and I went to a Pow-wow near Napanee, ON, which was a lot of fun despite the gently drizzling rain, and then afterwards ate at a new and not altogether inexpensive restaurant in Bloomfield, where the food was very good.

There are more restaurants in the expensive range (say, Cad$40/head and up without wine) than I'd expect in this rural community. I think it's because we're within weekend range of Toronto, as evidenced also by the number of bed and breakfast places.

We're still moving in to the new house. Next is to get permits to do some floor and window work. I was slightly worried that our new scanner wouldn't survive the trip: it's an Epson E10000, which does 3,200dpi at A3+ (12x18" roughly), although if you try that you get awfully large files. The scanner is working fine and I've added several new images to the fromoldbooks site.

Next big purchases will be a new computer for me, a paper-making machine for Clyde, and a giclee printer for us to share. Probably an Epson stylus pro printer with third-party inks, but I don't know for sure.

Now, back to Skobo Deluxe Level 50!

I'm at Extreme Markup in Montreal this week; I think it the best of the XML conferences for philosophy of markup. It's the only conference where people talk about the meaning of meaning itself.

Amusingly, I found a #XML channel on irc.sorcery.net, but when I went there I got banned on sight. Maybe it's not about markup.

Found two more XSL-FO implementations to add to the XSL Web Page today, with thanks to Ken Holman for pointing them out.

Also been watching the slow growth of my Words and Pictures From Old Books Web site. This reminds me...

One of the saddest things in the markup world is Project Gutenberg. Thousands of people involved in typing books into dumb plain text, and not even preserving metadata about which edition they used. It's not scholarship. And many of these books might never be digitised again. Once you've rekeyed/OCRed the public domain text of the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, and in the process you've lost all the small caps, which were used to mark cross-references, how do you restore the cross references?

In the same way, I've seen people (including the New York Public Library) scanning old out-of-copyright engravings. This is wonderful, but they are using only 300dpi, which they call "high resolution". The beautiful engraved lines become a grey mush. Surely librarians would know this? It's simply not archival quality, not useful for research at all. But that's OK, they sell prints, so maybe that's the purpose of libraries these days.

Back to Extreme Markup, the meaning of meaning, and conversations in the hallway about situational semantics.

redi, thanks!

I'm in Redmond/Bellevue America for a week for W3C XML Query/XSLT 2 meetings hosted by Microsoft.

Meanwhile still working on my pictures from old books Web site; the search is gettting better. The new server is running Fedora Core 2; we ordered FC3 but they made an error. We may upgrade. It's several years since I've run a Red Hattish server; generally I prefer Mandrake/Mandriva these days, and it's taking a while to get used to it. Yum helps, although I prefer urpmi. One thing I miss is bash completion; e.g. if on my laptop I type urpmi perl- and hit tab, I'll get a completion list of all packages whose names begin with perl that I could install; if I type perldoc XML I get a list of all XML modules for which there might be perl POD documentation, and so forth. The bash-completion package that provides this doesn't seem to be around for FC2 though.

Travel is tiring!


Wow, been busy! Moving is progressing: I can now work from home thanks to Kingston Online Services, an ISP giving (amongst other things) high speed internet access using 900MHz wireless. I am getting 1Mbit/sec download and sometimes faster upload.

My brother and I moved holoweb.net, our shared personal server, to a new service. I won't name it until I'm happy (e.g. they promised Fedora Core 3 and gave us FC2) but my pictures from old books Web site is moved over OK, including the XQuery-based Search interface. There are also RSS and ATOM feeds now.

Rich Salz made a version of my lq-text package that used GNU configure, but unfortunately in doing so the source got corrupted (I think by a bug in one of the tools he used) so it doesn't actually work. I'm thinking of trying the same thing but with a later version of my package, since he used 1.17 and I released 1.18 maybe a year ago. I should do a new version anyway, to distribute the RPM spec file. Years ago someone promised to make a Debian package, but I'm pretty sure he never got round to it.

Some internal discussion last week (in W3C) about the meaning of XML documents was a good prelude to the upcoming Extreme Markup conference in Montreal. It's the only conference I know of for XML that's primarily about the philosophy, a real markup geek conference! I may be able to repost some of the XML discussion to the www-tag mailing list next week.

Good news about software patents in Europe balanced by bad news about terrorist bombs in London, although it seems to be the (at least partly American-trained) Al-Quaeda rather than the (at least partly American-financed) IRA this time.

I hate moving. I've moved just enough stuff to live in the new house and work a ten or fifteen minutes' drive away, although since I can't drive in Canada it makes me reliant on lifts from other people, unfortunately. I also find I forgot some things I needed (like the power supply for my router) and brought some things I didn't need. I'm hoping we'll get high speed wireless Internet access in our house next week or the week after, which will let me work from home.

zeenix - the rage mobility support deteriorated noticeably between XFree86 3 and 4 as I recall, losing both 3d accelaration and the ability to switch to/from an external monitor via the hotkey. xorg isn't much better as far as I could tell. I changed laptop though, and now use one with an ATI radeon, whose X support is also pathetic.

roozbeh, thanks for posting the link to the satellite pictures! Interesting also because the maps button doesn't seem to work very usefully there! I just received O'Reilly's Mapping Hacks and Web Mapping, but perhaps they were published a month or two too soon, since neither covers Google's Web-based mapping API.

svu, some parts of the open look ui were always public: the style guide was published (in two books) early on, and the XView sources were (and are) public. Sun considered some of their deskset tools to be of value, especially calendar manager and mailtool, and did not relea se them. They were also unable to release some other parts because they were jointly owned by various combinations of AT&T, Morisawa Corporation and Sun.

I used to keep the open look ui faq on Usenet years ago, and there are still copies floating around. Sun had at least four separate toolkits more or less conforming to the spec (The NeWS Toolkit 3.x was my favoutite, then XView, but there were also OpenView for their kernel-based windowing system and OLIT, an XT-based toolkit). I can imagine that you could get ORA to contribute the online versions of their three (I think) open look books: two for XView and one by Ian Darwin on using X under the open look ui.

I'm not from Sun, but I can tell you that some (most?) of the original developers and OpenWindows and NeWS teams have long since moved on. Your friend should probably compile a specific list of tools and technologies (e.g. tooltalk, the XView pre-MIME mailtool (why?), calendar manager, the xnews server :-), the F3 font renderer, or whatever.

Wow, a Perl conference (YAPC in Toronto) the day after the Pride Parade, boy am I tired! And I was only watching, along with (literally) a million other people. Ran into someone at a party who was sad because he couldn't get to the Perl conference, because of having run out of money. I wish more problems were so easily solved. I'd noticed him because he was naked. Apart from shoes and fishnet stockings: the courts have ruled that if you have shoes on, you're not actually naked, and therefore nudity laws don't apply. Oddly, public nudity is otherwise illegal here in Canada. Although it's OK if you're on private proprety, even if others can see you. But I digress slightly...

Status: Totally frantically busy.

Finally added RSS and ATOM feeds to my picures from old books Web site. Tantek, Danbri and Libby all helped with the ghastly horror of RDF Literals.

Much pondering on Binary XML vs. Efficient Interchange vs. Let The Market Decide. No definite conclusion yet, but there's a lot of FUD about. I won't link to specific FUD, but there seems to be some on both sides.

Toronto's Pride Parade is coming up this weekend. Many naked ankles! yay! They expect about a million spectators. Panic, can't find the purple boa tht Jeremy gave me. Nor my orange hat. Will search tomorrow. Also lost the blue silk flower I was going to wear.

Moving house hit a snag: the person who was going to drive the rented van to Picton (about 3 hours East) discovered his driving licence had expired and he needs to take a test. So I have to look for someone else at short notice. Meanwhile the first few days of next week are YAPC, the Perl conference, which should be interesting.

I wish Advogato's recentlog page (by far the most useful page on the site) had a "go back further" option. I'd try to hack one up but I don't think raph has time to maintain the site as it is.

About to buy a desktop computer. I'll maybe post separately about why: I have lived without one for years, but this dell laptop nonsense is no substitute for a desktop, since it doesn't (in Linux at least) want to drive an external monitor at a decent refresh rate. I'm thinking the laptop will run WIndows XP all the time since it's pathetic at running Linux. Actually it's not too good at running Windows XP but at least it boots with on battery in Windows. This isn't a good laptop. If you're about to buy one, don't get a Dell. Go look at the high end Acer laptops maybe (my last one was an Acer) or Sony or Fujitsu or IBM. Look to see if they have a PS/2 port, and lots of USB ports, and a firewire port. And see if you can project to an external monitor without emotional trauma.

May is always a busy month, but this year Clyde and I started out by finalising the purchase of our house. Fortunately it's not a C++ house so no constructor is needed, and the previous owners didn't destroy it when they finished with it.

Celebrated Luke Skywalker Day (May the 4th Be With You) by seeing the new film (a little late).

Went to Chiba city, Japan, for the WWW 2005 conference, where I ran a session on the Future of XML. It was actually a lot of fun, although there were fewer questions on binary (efficient) transfer of XML than I expected. We did get the only real purpose of XML is to support Web services closely followed by the only real purpose of XML is a serialization of RDF, which was a good illustration of why we can't (and don't want to) mandate a single processing model or even a single data model for XML.

Then four days of Working Group meetings in North Carolina. Raleigh-Durham airport is obviously not set up for visitors from outside the USA (nor for many people within the USA). When you arrive you are greeted by a long hallway with nanners hanging from the ceiling. Writing on these banners servers as directional signs. There are no icons, so you have to know words like Baggage and Restrooms, the former being pretty widespread and the latter pretty much confined to the US I think.

Then back to Toronto to pick up an Epson E10000 scanner. I always wanted a Sun E10000, but although this scanner weighs a ton and comes in a box that I can climb into and close the lid, it doesn't appear to run Solaris. It does do 3200 dpi scans at up to A3+ (approx. 12x17 inches). Running a Free image editor on a 1.5Gigabyte TIFF file was interesting. The same TIFF file saved into a 630MByte PNG file, but I'd used PackBits and not LZ to compress the Tiff, since my cop of The GIMP won't open LZ-compressed TIFF files. I've already posted the first image I scanned (scaled down hugely) on my pictures from old books Web site; it's a somewhat fanciful rendition of a druid's sacred grove, engraved in the early 1840s or before. The new scanner is a huge improvement on the old one, not least because the book fits on it, but also because the higher resolution scan makes the result massively easier to process.

On the 'plane back from Japan I read Eliot Rusty Harold's Effective XML. More on this later. For now I'll say that it has things I strongly agree with and things with which I strongly disagree, and so at least it provoked a response. I think Eliot is a little loose with the facts about XML 1.1 when it suits him, although I also concede that XML 1.1 was not exactly a popular update.

Now I am in Amsterdam for XTech, staying at the Gay Hotel the Golden Bear, as the Web sites describe it. And ate at a really good Indionesian restaurant. At least, I thought it was good, but I was very tired, very hungry, and haven't been to many other Indionesian restaurants!

pjcolin, I figured that if it was true you needed to be congratulated for having the courage to say so, and if not, I didn't really see why one would find it funny, unless perhaps because you feel it'd be degrading to admit to being gay, in which case I wanted to rub your nose in it. :-)

I was never very good at the April 1st stuff though. Too trusting, I think. So OK, you own me, darling :-)


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