Older blog entries for Uche (starting at number 33)

20 Jan 2003 (updated 20 Jan 2003 at 00:54 UTC) »

nymia: You don't have to study Latin alone. There are several open (and free) adult latin study groups and mailing lists. When I was brushing up my Latin 5-6 years ago, I joined a group that started with Wheelock and moved on to the Oxford Advanced Reader. I also joined a Beginning Greek group and a medieval Latin group (using the Latin Vulgate: you must read Ecclesiastes in Latin before you're through), all because it was so much fun to study with a motivated group. The group included folks from all over the world, all professionals and very nice as well as smart. Of course all that ended when life fleeced me of my disposable time :-)

I think this page represents the same community, and it looks as if they've expanded their coverage even more. I also find this page, which I think is a different group, catering more to Latin teachers. These guys have the advantage of having a group using the Oxford Latin Series, which I somewhat prefer to Wheelock.

New article: The open office file format, in which I discuss the XML saved file formats for OpenOffice.org.

17 Jan 2003 (updated 17 Jan 2003 at 09:20 UTC) »

I changed my home page to a black background to mark the occasion of the Eldred vs Ashcroft ruling. I expected the result, but it doesn't diminish the perspective this event gives on the entire tragedy that marks the modern concept of "intellectual property". Personally, I think that almost every other policy issue in play in the world today is of less moment than this particular struggle. This is not a facile thought, but I haven't the time right now to expand upon it in the length it deserves. Luckily, others have touched on the importance of an even pitch for the intercourse of ideas. I hope to put forth my own thoughts in good time. For now, I count myself lucky that so many of my areas of close interest are beyond the grasp of Big Media. My literary interests mostly cover works that predate even the most outrageous exaggerations of copyright term. The software I use and write is almost all open source, and licensed so as to encourage free use. My main weakness is my fondness for some of the contemporary music controlled by major labels.

I'm watching Band of Brothers for the second and a half time. Such a brilliant series it is (probably the best TV miniseries I've watched) that I suppose I'll have to find some good books chronicling the "Currahee", the Screaming Eagles. I've already heard the raves for the books by Burgett and Ambrose. I also wonder whether the soundtrack of the miniseries is good on the whole. The main theme is certainly very moving.

15 Jan 2003 (updated 15 Jan 2003 at 07:42 UTC) »

Warning: nothing of technical interest in this entry. I'm taking the "diary" nomenclature seriously this time.

So the same night Evan Lenz tells me his brother broke his arm snowboarding, and a couple of days after Lori's friend Heather was telling her about a pressure cast she'd got for a broken ankle, Osi decided to do an apocryphal Lionel Johnson down the stairs. One trip to the urgent care and a pressure cast for a hairline break later he seems to be doing quite well. It is distressing as a parent to reflect that I've never broken any bones in 30 years and under my watch the nipper did the trick before he was three. Oh yeah, jinx factor number 3: the date was the 13th, though not Friday.

Also, the car manufacturer decided, after four long months, to finally send back the CDs from a cartridge that had got stuck in the player. Nice to have Indigo Girls Become You again ("It took a... long time toooo..."). And Musiq's Juslissen, and Ska down her way. And, of course, Thomas the Tank Engine's Roundhouse Rhythms.

Random thought: most of the world likes to play chess. A handful prefer to clear the entire board at whim with a sweep of the hand and call inexplicable "check". These have always included Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Afghanistan, and most sub-Saharan African countries. Seems the US has joined these ranks for some reason, and if we aren't having the rarest bit of fun with Iraq and Korea.

Anyway, enough gas. I have an heap o' work to do.

10 Jan 2003 (updated 10 Jan 2003 at 08:30 UTC) »

New article. Python generators + DOM builds on Streamlining DOM XML processing with Python. Techniques and routines taking advantage of Python generators for DOM processing.

Bromide buster. There may be no "I" in "team", but there sure as hell is "m" "e".

nymia: Wheelock Latin is indeed very good. I do prefer the Oxford Latin Series, though, which follows the life of the poet Horace. Both are much better than the stultifying Latin texts we used to have in Nigerian high school.

3 Jan 2003 (updated 3 Jan 2003 at 07:58 UTC) »

The fifth and last in the 4Suite tutorial series is now out. "The Repository Features", or a more direct link. Free registration on IBM dW required. If you're already registered on IBM dW, youcan just use this link. As the blurb says:

This tutorial, the fifth in a series, shows Python developers how to use the popular open-source 4Suite toolkit for XML processing to create a Web repository application. The authors, 4Suite's creators Uche and Chimezie Ogbuji, walk you through the process of creating a Web application that allows users to manage a database of software descriptions and related vendors using a standard XML format.

And speaking of 4Suite, I've been having a blast using it to add features to Cara Musis. Yesterday I added a "poem of the day" feature, which is a poem by a master. The "poem of the day" this whole week is Bagpipe Music. An absolutely sublime work, and onethat simply must be read aloud. And in fact, the feature I added today was audio clips of my reading bagpipe music in Ogg Vorbis and mp3 formats. Anyway, using Versa and the 4Suite repository API from the server-side XSLT scripts, and using the setup feature for slurping up files from a directory made such modifications a breeze. The XSLT scripts have a lot of smarts (in very little code) for checkign the poem of the day, presenting the various audio options according to availability, etc.

Random thought: Between Graham Norton in the UK and Wayne Brady in the US, there might yet be some life left in the old sit-down-and-interview-random-celebrity-guest-in-front-of-live-audience genre of TV pap. I'm so glad BBC America has started showing So Graham Norton. It's just hilarious. Lori and I are addicts.

31 Dec 2002 (updated 31 Dec 2002 at 08:22 UTC) »

I finally got around to putting up a literary Web site. Right now Cara Musis is mostly twelve of my own poems and some links. For those of you who remarked kindly on So Who is Afraid of Oriana Fallaci?, which I'd posted earlier, now there is more like it.

mglazer: yes, Arabs are behind the most blatant current practices of slavery. Furthermore, the Arab slave trade was responsible for far more human displacement than that driven by Europeans. Even furthermore, black Africans were as complicit in the slave trade as either Arabs or European (although to be sure, the Europeans were the ones who perfected the art of turning coastal regions into economies driven by slave raids into the hinterland).

But none of these facts are sufficient for any rational person to condemn all Arab peoples, as you seem wont to do (the issue of modern slavery being just one of your recent pretexts). But I tend to think you're probably rational enough when you want to be, and have just decided that the baiting game is a fun pastime on Advogato.

On a usage note, I'm not sure how you intend anyone to make sense of calling Jimmy Carter a "harbinger of radical islam". Have you invented a denotation all unto yourself?

I really have to figure out a way to update this diary more often.

Anyway, much has been happening lately. First of all, new articles:

I now moderate a Thinking XML forum on IBM dW, covering all the topics relevant to the column itself, though discussion is free to range beyond the very articles.

I've been working on expanding my Akara framework for 4Suite into a full system with elements of blog and Wiki. I'm also working on an XPath NG core spec, though the work has slowed down a bit. For more on XPath NG, see my blog thereupon.

The Open Office XML Format TC was kicked off. I joined it because of my interest in aggregating and processing front office tool saved file formats, and my next Thinking XML column is on this idea framed around a brief look at the OpenOffice word processor file format.

Life. Well I did make it to the Breck superpipe on a bone cold day where the vert was so icy I didn't spend much time in it for fear of breaking my neck. Oh well, better luck in 2003. It was a very nice family Christmas, and I hope I'll be able to get back to productive work. Mom's off to Nigeria for a few weeks. I hope she'll get to enjoy the fruits of the New Yam. It seems I'll be expected to go back next year for my coming-of-age ceremony. Fancy that after having two kids.

22 Nov 2002 (updated 22 Nov 2002 at 07:15 UTC) »

New articles out: Debug XSLT on the fly and RSS for Python. Mike Olson and I are also hosting a Python Web Services Developer forum on IBM dW. Come share your thoughts.

I finally got around to setting up an XPath NG mailing list. If you have any ideas on what direction XPath should take, please join us. It's a community effort, and theer are some heavy hitting players and deep discussions already.to be found there. I also finally got around to setting up ht://Dig to make archives on lists.fourthought.com searchable.

async: Doing the consulting/product development thing is very hard. I won't sugarcoat it at all. It is not a sensible path to riches, and can be a steep path to financial hardship, but the potential rewards, not least of which is a sense of independent accomplishment, are very large. One important factor is to gauge your temperament and that of those you interact with often. You'll need a lot of patience, you'll need to thrust yourself into heavy interaction with a broad array of people (which is how you get and keep clients). You will need to often make cliffhanger decisions based on intuition and instinct, and you will often have to face the consequences of flunking some of these tests. It is certainly not for every taste. One way to test the waters is to chart out all the local techie and techie/business user groups in your area, and attend them all for a month. Talk to as many people as you can. Tell them you're a consultant and what your expertise is. Follow up where there is interest. Best case: you gain a client and thus start off on a positive foot. Worst case, you wind up with a harsh education of the challenges you'll continue to face as an independent. However you decide, bon chance.

Life

I'm hoping the Breckenridge superpipe opens this weekend. As great as the early season powder has been, it's not an unreasonable hope. And I actually paid to get my board tuned this year, so watch out. Meanwhile, I've pretty much been listening constantly to Talib Kweli's latest joint. Strange not to hear Hi Tek beats, but the album's seriously rock-rockin it, nevertheless. And I'm an addict of the OkayPlayer Web site. Looks like the new Harlem renaissance is happening in Philly. Ah. The things that keep me fit to code.

Techie stuff

My latest Python/XML article is out: Proper XML Output in Python. I think this one is applicable beyond the Python community. There is a lot of bad XML being generated out there.

Fourthought won, as a subcontractor, a bid to develop a Web publishing system for the Colorado Secretary of State's legal codes. The project is based on 4Suite, and we are going to be using it as the vehicle for pushing 4Suite through to 1.0 status. It's been a giddy week.

Silly stuff

OK. This 419 SPAM letter from "PRNCSS. L ORGANA" just about had me rolling down the stairs laughing.

Artsy stuff

I bought the new Ms. Jade, Girl, Interrupted. It's straight up banging. I almost drove the car into the ditch when "Jade's the Champ" came on. It's everything it was hyped up to be. Jazzyfatnastees' new joint Tortoise and Hare is just sublime. They come close to surpassing their superb first album. Thirstin' Howl's Skilligan's Island is just as sick and hilarious as I like it. The High and Mighty come a bit less impressively with their new album Air Force 1, but it's OK. For some reason, they didn't include the single with Apani B Fly, "Josie". That was a mistake. Can't wait for the new Common, Roots, Talib Kweli and Cody Chestnutt albums. to come out.

On a very sad note, I just learned about the art show The Gonzagas in Mantua in Mantua, and I'm just crushed. It would have been the experience of a lifetime, and if there were any way I could make a trip to Italy in the next month before it closed, I would be there. But it hardly seems possible. What a terrible shame.

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