Archive for November, 2004


Buzz. Here’s a new buzzword for bloggers: Gravatar. In the words of the inventor, Tom Werner: “A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an 80×80 pixel avatar image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites“. Simple.

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Announcement. This weekend, the discussion about the Belgian draft versions (we’re a multilanguage country) of the Creative Commons licences has been closed down. The official announcement of the CC licences is planned on December 10th, 2004, in the Royal Belgian Library (Brussels). So Belgium is joining Austria, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and Taiwan: all of these countries as well as the divided states of the USA now have a flexible and simple copyright framework for sharing original works within the limits of their respective laws.

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Strange. It looks nice: TargetProcess is “an Agile Project Management System”. I just wonder why it was mentioned on Javalobby: it’s a .NET project. Would it run on Mono? Who knows?

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What The Doctor Ordered…. I should have known better: of course I’m not the only one, let alone the first one, to see the need for content editor that concentrates on content and not on the presentation of that content (see here for details). Meet Ulysses. The text editor for creative writers. Where Word and Style are not defined through buttons and palettes. This tool has a versatile and pluggable export facility: how about an “export this paragraph to my blog” function?

… This Certainly Isn’t!“Take all you can. Give nothing back” as management axiom in the IT industry. Or why even red-blooded Americans need trade unions.


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Laura. This morning, I took the time to make some photographs of the sunrise. After the cold and starry night, the view towards the south-east was just beautiful – I wished it would last for hours, letting me enjoy it again and again.

Picture of a sunrise over a wintery landscape


A few more of these pictures can be fond on Flickr.

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And Still… One of the problems with letting IT technicians decide about how to do something, is that they think ‘how’ before ‘what’. In the words of Brent Simmons: “Forget the API for a moment (though that’s important too) — I’m talking about the features different systems support“. Obviously (or isn’t it?) you have to think about what you need before working on the solution (the API in this case) – that’s why most, if not all, software development methodologies have a phase dedicated to requirements gathering and prototyping. And XP (that being eXtreme Programming, of course) also has that, even if it’s in the form of ‘the ever-present user’. And still we’re having trouble (yup, I include myself, because I make the same mistake too) to focus on requirements, and wait with the application of possible solutions until we have a reasonable view of the problem at hand. Must be something in the technologists mind.

Will Blog Editing Morph Into Content Management? Reading through the discussion on Brents proposal mentioned above, I stopped at this reflection from Adam Rice: “And there are many different content types: static pages, blog entries, event notices, photos, etc (all extensible via add-on modules). Right now, Ecto (and Mars Edit?) can only see the blogs in there, but I have to ask myself ‘Why stop there? Why isn’t all the content accessible via the API?’“. To me the answer is obvious: of course, blogging is just a (small) part what is known as Content Management at large. CM is the handling of all sorts of content, textual or other, in view of the use (and reuse!) of that content in multiple channels. So acquisition, storage, editing, archiving, publication, deletion, etc. of that content must be supported by the CM platform; publication may be done on the web or elsewhere, as desired/requested/allowed/… by its author and editors. Blogging will probably become part of mainstream CM systems (if it isn’t already – see concepts like project blogs), and anything but the publication part will be handled through CM API’s like the “Content Repository for Java” (aka JSR-170) or something similar. One thing is certain, to me: the whole CM domain is already a very complex subject by itself, and adding problems like categorisation and Topic Maps will not help simplify the matter. I think it will be a long time before we will see a widespread and common, stable and mature base to build our own CM tools on.

But in the meantime Barry Cohen writes: “So is the next version of Word (or Open Office) going to have a print to blog function? Will Photoshop?“. Do you really need Word to type a bit of text? I don’t believe so – but Word might well generate a sort of blog, about what you are doing: new versions of documents could be signalled through a blog-like interface. After all, a blog is a “log”.

The Wow Factor. Not yet ready for prime time, but a promising development nevertheless: the Mozilla XUL FileManager. And on a different tack, but just as promising: the XStandard: free standards-compliant XHTML WYSIWYG editor for modern browsers.

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Communication! I’m not sure whether there is any relationship with Zen, but Web Zen pointed me to zefrank’s communication skills. So I laughed out loudly, Zen or not.

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