May 31, 2003


Fascinating notes from Denise Howell on Steve Jobs' and Bill Gates' current views of the world.

Intro music (Beatles - Revolution) could use some work, though. This isn't revolution, it's Plutocracy Writ Large (and Us In The Tailwind). Time for an immersion in Yes Sir, I Will again, loud.


The flip-side of blog-writing is blog-reading (and I'm a voracious reader, even though that means skimming and frankly ignoring a lot). Ray says he reads employee blogs, inter alia, to inject some serendipity into the Overhead's perspective.

Well, we all need that. It works not only 'vertically' (after all, hierarchy is designed to filter communication, and it works all too well), but also horizontally - between departments, across workgroups, connecting individuals. If everyone in the company had a true workblog (and I will, as will you), the network of subscriptions would "pave the beaten trail".


Time to chime in to the discussion - Don, Ray and Joshua - about employee weblogs. It's a beautiful spring weekend, I'm sitting on the deck, definitively on my own time - so I can say what I want, right? Free, unencumbered?

Well, not quite. If I had a really interesting life, there'd be plenty to talk about which didn't cross over the work-related boundary. But as it is, my private life is fairly private, and many of the other things which keep my mind occupied are all about technology, and (honestly) I enjoy building code during my working hours. There's so much to talk about there. Groove Web Services, to which John just shipped a significant maintenance version. Groove Mobile Workspace for SharePoint (where I just fixed a number of important bugs too). The cutting edge is especially fascinating - having spent recent weeks experimenting with InfoPath integration, there's a lot to discuss.

Still, that's not what my weblog is for. If you want to see the current state of InfoPath and Groove togetherness (it's primitive but wildly hip), go to TechEd and drop by our booth.

So, what is this blog for? Wish I knew.
When I started blogging, it was experimental, with a frisson of self-promotion; a little later, with Cabezal, there was very little distinction between work and non-work life, and certainly no legal impediments to opening the kimono in detail. Now, it's simply a way to join in a few public discussions, in the full knowledge that

  • very few people take any notice,
  • everything is public and permanent, and
  • someday everyone's "work identity" will have a weblog-type journal attached, so let's help steer the form that will take.

Maybe I should expand on that last assertion. If I have an important concept on the back burner, and haven't discussed it in the office, that's not yet company IP - is it?

May 30, 2003

How to advertise a job opening

Sean and Scott are hiring -- with an amusing set of qualifying conditions.

May 27, 2003

Long weekend

A good weekend camping in Camden, ME (nice place - like the Lake District without the sheep). It rained, but not too much...

May 23, 2003


Sean, meet Neil and Forrest from Mysterian - you should talk.

DevZone RSS

The revamped Groove DevZone includes an RSS feed for its "what's new" section. Nice work, Jeff!

Now, how about the RSS feeds for those forums? (-_-)

May 21, 2003


Sounds like Neil Finlayson is having some exciting ideas ("Groove becomes Hypercard through InfoPath spawning"). Well, I suppose that beats the InfoPath-looks-like-Notes comparisons on the newsgroup :-)

I'm impressed with InfoPath's flexibility. But to use HyperCard terminology, it's like a single (XML/XSLT/XSD) card, not a stack. A distributed stack-of-cards with HyperCard-like ease of design, though, would be lots of use.

Sometime, we'll get there...

May 14, 2003


I couldn't quite put my finger on my misgivings about FOAF, but then I read some of the LinkedIn coverage (among the in-crowd, natch). My issue is this: FOAF seems way too explicit.

Is there a non-identifying FOAF vocabulary? For example, I'd love to build something which identified people only by hash-of-identifier. (Happens I have a really great dataset for that, running in Groove all day). A visual interactive network map would be really valuable, but just cannot identify by name any people you don't actually know, or shared spaces you don't belong to. Whereas, a hash-of-ID FOAF might allow mapping without identification.

This would leave it to each person in the network to resolve their known values, so naming the people they actually know. Like LinkedIn, Friendster etc, you'd gain the nice socialness of having to politely request introductions via mutual acquaintances.

Game world

Great interview with GameNeverending's Stewart Butterfield. Sounds good.

If the gameworld is good enough, people will work there too (and not just to maintain the fabric).

If the workspace is good enough, people will play there too.


Lots is passing me by. Working too much, I think. At work I get to play with InfoPath and WSS; large amounts of fascination ensue.

Jon (aka Rubber) is back in touch after - years. Whoo. Resynch.

App keys

Tim Bray:

The problem is that all the URIs have to include an “appkey,” basically a ticket representing your right to use the API. The whole point of publishing a URI is that anyone can use it in any way they want, and you just can't do that the way it's set up now.
Sounds like the essentially same problem John and co. needed to solve for localhost GWS: service-authorization, without polluting the namespace. In the local GWS case, your appkey can be found stashed in the registry, but changes regularly, so knowing the key inherently authenticates you as having certain rights on the device.

But where to put the key in the message?

GWS answer: soap:header. Yuk, clunk, grunch. (Actually, it works reasonably well - the largest problem usually ends up being to find the key). But what are the alternatives? HTTP content header? (Not bad - but SOAPAction made that decision for something like the opposite reason, which makes no sense to me).

May 07, 2003


Kevin Werbach puts a very positive spin on the emerging Post-PC world:

On Sunday, the New York times published a marvelous article by Steve Lohr about the evolution of the technology industry... enterprise technology is moving into a new phase. Bigger, faster, and more feature-laden are no longer selling points in the same way. Smarter, simpler, more efficient, and more flexible are the new criteria.
Lots happening. The One-Per-Desk PCs logjam is largely broken, for sure.

(Note to self: need to get on a regular dose of HBR again.)

May 03, 2003


Steve Bell in last week's Grauniad.

May 01, 2003

Easing equations

Robert Penner has a great set of "easing equations", aka "slow-in-slow-out" (SISO) tweening animation curves, implemented in Flash ActionScript. My favourites: sine, and elastic. These are a really useful part of a smooth-UI kitbag, even though they add a little latency. (via moock)

I used a similar technique for the drag-response mechanism in PinBoard. Pinboard is realtime-persistent-multi-user (of course), so other people can move notes around while you're using the board (or even move or resize a note while you're editing it), and SISO dramatically helps to avoid "losing" your notes: the movement begins and ends slowly enough for you to notice.