Category changes ahead

I'm going to make some serious changes to my cubicgarden blog categorys. At the moment I have too many and the information archtecture has been bugging me for months now. Specially now I'm using the same archtecture for my feeds. So please update any links you may have soon as I make the changes and I will try to do the same to internal links.

Oh note, I've upgraded to Blojsom 2.02, so you search via xpath, try out the Trackback Auto-discovery and post in privicy knowing your email is obfuscated.
Great stuff from David Czarnecki, two thumbs up.

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Educational blogging updated

Oh my goodness, I've been so slack its unreal.
I keep quoting bits from my blogging experienment last acdemic year, but never really published the final results.
And unfortually I never did, but I can represent what I already have. So here is the opml file and the converted html version.

Some background on the experiement,
I wanted to see how many hoops students would be willing to jump through to blog there work. A few students wrote a xml document which was handed out to the rest of the class in the summer term. The xml document was very long and overkill for a blog, but it was proposed as a blog and cv for a student through out there 2-3 years in Ravensbourne college. Work was done on it by Harry, Miles, Vanessa and Jc – All 1st year students with little to no experience of xml.
The blog was put up under and was done without any blogware. So all updates were sent to me over email where i could read them and then put them up on the site. So as you can see its quite a world away from the blog systems you see now. However I choose to make things difficult to test the barrier for entry.

In the end I moved all the blogs to blojsom under the /messaging/blogging/music video catergory. There all there for reading.

Some highlights from the experience

Students form a bond with the blog through what they write.
Vanessa complains about a kidney infection
Poil talks about the project and whole lot more

Students voice there real concerns and thoughts.
Julie vents her built up frustration
and before that
Harry bitches
kelvin tells me the truth without too much fear

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Cleaning up, Bloglines vs Flock

In my post during August I looked at the service bloglines. And honestly I have been checking out bloglines over the last month, and I like it but its not for someone like me. I have flock and I use it for reading feeds plus more. Bloglines is perfect for someone who just wants to read there feeds and thats all. I thought avantgo would beable to read my bloglines and display it on my ipaq, but it wasnt to be. Actually Flock did a better job at that.

I havent yet messed with the flock *.war file yet, but i will soon because the javascript open thingy is a pain in the arse. Would also be nice to intergrate the flock css into the cubicgarden one. Obvioulsy all this isnt possible with bloglines. I will be interested in seeing what other services popup and if bloglines will stay up with the massive server and bandwidth requirements needed with every single rss feed added by a user. I mean flock works hard and eats a lot of memory and thats only one user.

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Consumer electronic itch, needs scratching

Its been along time since i bought anything in the consumer electronics category. And worst than that, i haven't done much with my existing setup.

I keep looking for a another freeview box but cant find one going cheap enough to add to my current setup. remember i only need it for recording digital tv completely independent of my old freeview box. saying that i haven't looked through loot or ebay recently.

I have this itch for buying, and it might have something to do with the stuff show today. Seems I'm mistaken about the prices of Freeview boxes, because I looked on ebay again. Maybe I will treat myself to a box very soon

I finally had a real try out on panasonic's sdav20, better known for its role in tomb raider as d-snap. and the believe it or not the quality is better than i expected. I put the d-snap sd card in my ipaq and tried to play it in philips platform 4 player. but nothing came up! so i went to file explorer and it had windows media icons. so after clicking on it, windows media 9 started and played it. i thought nothing more about it.

Till on the tube home from olympia exhibition hall, i analyzed the mpeg4 file i had copied off there sd card. It turned out to be a *.asf file.
Yes that means the dsnap doesn't do real standard mpeg4 at all. it does the mpeg4 codec inside the windows media advanced streaming format container. What a con! how dare panasonic sell this fantastic device, which even i was thinking of buying on the fact it does mpeg4 when it doesn't. i'm going to investigate more into this.

But if its true, Panasonic may be laughing but I'm not!

Another interesing thing I saw at the stuff show, well actually it was the What hifi 2003 show, which is usually in the Bristol Broadmead Marriot hotel around Febuary time. Toshiba are launching a projector for the budget end of the home cinema market. Yep sub one grand! 999 pounds. No details on the web as of yet, I kind of wish I took down the model number of the projector. All I kind of remember is that its round, white and contains speaks and scart, which is very odd for a projector.

All the details I can find about it right now.
Toshiba's new Home Cinema projector created the biggest impact at this years IFA. It's show-time! Toshiba presents its new, outstanding, visually unmistakable home-cinema projector. This innovative projector does not just impress by its design, but particularly by its technical features, geared mainly for home use. Thus a Faroudja video-scaler, integrated into the LCD-projector, allows for outstanding picture quality. Three different video modes (standard, movie, and sport) round off the picture presentation (in genuine 16:9 format, of course). The ET1 projector is extreme quiet: ventilation produces merely 28 db, further reduceable by means of a bulb-saving ECO mode. Additionally, the ET1 excels with user-friendly controls and numerous plug-ins, like a scart connection, for instance. Due to its excellent price-performance-ratio, the ET1 is the perfect projector for the first-time buyer.

If I could understand German language, the word document would be useful. Did get some specs out of the word doc though.

  • Widescreen 858 x 480
  • Format: 16:9
  • Contrast ratio: 600:1
  • 130 Watt lamp
  • Intergrated surround sound (2 x 5W)
  • 32,0 width x 13,1 height x 32,0 length
  • Supports 16.7 million colours
  • VGA, SVGA / XGA-emulated i guess
  • Supports RGB ( D-sub15 x 1 ), Component (YPbPr) Video, S-Video, Composite Video (RCA x 1), SCART, Audio (RCA x 2 (L/R)
  • 3.4 Kilograms

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Pirate radio in your pocket

I found this great device today while reading T3 magazine.
It basicly feeds music from any source which has a 3.5 headphone socket out into the local area as FM radio waves. So what this basicly means you can listen to the music on a ipaq via any radio tuned to the right frequency.

I've also been thinking of ways of abusing this device like taking over someones radio by tuning the device to match there current frequency. This would be great when you get some Kevin in there supa'ed car with loud music playing from a radio station. Because you could replace there music with something of your own choosing. The same would work when your noisy neighbour is playing there radio too loud. Change it to something of your choosing. Excellent, I love the smell of hacked hardware.

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AMD 64 now in stock

I went to the computer fair on totterham court road last saturday just to get some more blank cd-r's. And finally saw people selling parts for the Athlon 64. One guy was selling the Asus K8V Deluxe for a silly price of 120 pounds. Not bad for AMD64, Hypertransport AGP 8x, Firewire, Gigabit ethernet and Serial ATA Raid.

But it got better, MSI have a package for there motherboard. All for 435 pounds. Now I would say yes thats expensive but the 3200 Athlon64 and MSI K8 in a package is very attractive. Dont like the Live update feature of this motherboard though.

The big question though is what os would you run on this chip? Because at this moment its a pretty simple choice, I would say.
Microsoft unwraps Windows XP 64-bit beta. While I say Linux is the only option worth thinking about. 64-bit Linux: Ready for prime time? and 64 reasons to opt for Linux

Slashdot Athlon 64 debuts
Athlon 64 FX-51 reviews deluge begins
AMD prepares for Athlon64 launch
Is Prescott 64-bit? by slashdot
AMD fires up 64-bit chips

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Xforms revisited

I've beening having serious difficulties installing infopath 2003 on my wife's laptop. Keep on getting some error about install server not responding. So I've been trawling around the web looking for a answer. I was looking around the infopath newsgroup and hit across this site. And read this post about xforms. has a great review of some xform engines. Its making me think again about reconmending microsoft infopath 2003. I need to try these other solutions. And look at the xforms spec once again.

Chibacon Chiba = open source and java based, sounds great. might give it shot on my development server.

MobiForm SVGView Plus = SVG and XForms, the perfect combination I would say.

Mozquito DENG = Uses flash but could be worth checking out.

Orbeon Open XML Framework = It uses XForms along with XSLT, XQuery, SQL, and web services interfaces as building blocks that together can compose an entire application. Looks good but maybe not right for us.

Cant believe I forgot Xsmiles. Also very good to see xport have there interests in the right place. Also spied this Post about Adobe getting involved using acrobat for forms – nothing new i guess. But I kinda of forgot about Adobe. Some stiring words to end.
The only missing InfoPath ingredient is a forms designer that nonprogrammers can use to map between schema elements and form fields. Thats just what the recently announced Adobe Forms Designer intends to be. I like where Adobe is going. The familiarity of paper forms matters to lots of people. And unless Microsofts strategy changes radically, those folks are far likelier to have an Adobe reader than an InfoPath client.

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A couple of days with Microsoft infopath

During my jury service, i took my tabletpc and installed office 2003 beta refresh 2. In the hope to create a suitable authoring environment for people who know little about xml to write it.

So how did it go?
Well I first tried word 2003, and had no luck. Word 2003 does now support my more complex schemas unlike the previous beta. which is progress at least, but you still have to understand xml to get word to write xml. Working to a schema is a nightmare to say the very least. Not quite as user friendly as it should be.
Please also note the wordml xml is a joke to say the least. Check this monster out! This doc bellow is just the wordml saying this is a test. View source if you can not see the xml tags.

< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"? >
< ?mso-application progid="Word.Document"? >
< w:wordDocument xmlns:w="" xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" xmlns:w10="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns:sl="" xmlns:aml="" xmlns:wx="" xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:dt="uuid:C2F41010-65B3-11d1-A29F-00AA00C14882" w:macrosPresent="no" w:embeddedObjPresent="no" w:ocxPresent="no" xml:space="preserve" >
< o/images/emoticons/grin.gifocumentProperties >
< o:Title>This is a test
< o:Author>Ian forrester
< o:LastAuthor>Ian forrester
< o:Revision>1
< o:TotalTime>1
< o:Created>2003-09-22T22:09:00Z
< o:LastSaved>2003-09-22T22:10:00Z
< o/images/emoticons/silly.gifages>1ages>
< o:Words>2
< o:Characters>13
< o:Company>Ravensbourne college
< o:Lines>1
< o/images/emoticons/silly.gifaragraphs>1aragraphs>
< o:CharactersWithSpaces>14
< o:Version>11.5329
< /o/images/emoticons/grin.gifocumentProperties>
< w:fonts>
< w:defaultFonts w:ascii="Times New Roman" w:fareast="Times New Roman" w:h-ansi="Times New Roman" w:cs="Times New Roman"/>
< /w:fonts>
< w:styles>
< w:versionOfBuiltInStylenames w:val="4"/>
< w:latentStyles w:defLockedState="off" w:latentStyleCount="156"/>
< w:style w:type="paragraph" w:default="on" w:styleId="Normal">
< w:name w:val="Normal"/>
< w:rPr>
< wx:font wx:val="Times New Roman"/>
< w:sz w:val="24"/>
< w:sz-cs w:val="24"/>
< w:lang w:val="EN-GB" w:fareast="EN-GB" w:bidi="AR-SA"/>
< /w:rPr>
< /w:style>
< w:style w:type="character" w:default="on" w:styleId="DefaultParagraphFont">
< w:name w:val="Default Paragraph Font"/>
< w:semiHidden/>
< /w:style>
< w:style w:type="table" w:default="on" w:styleId="TableNormal">
< w:name w:val="Normal Table"/>
< wx:uiName wx:val="Table Normal"/>
< w:semiHidden/>
< w:rPr>

< /w:rPr>
< w:tblPr>
< w:tblInd w:w="0" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:tblCellMar>
< w:top w:w="0" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:left w:w="108" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:bottom w:w="0" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:right w:w="108" w:type="dxa"/>
< /w:tblCellMar>
< /w:tblPr>
< /w:style>
< w:style w:type="list" w:default="on" w:styleId="NoList">
< w:name w:val="No List"/>
< w:semiHidden/>
< /w:style>
< /w:styles>
< w:docPr>
< w:view w:val="web"/>
< w:zoom w:percent="100"/>
< w:displayBackgroundShape/>
< w:doNotEmbedSystemFonts/>
< w:proofState w:spelling="clean" w:grammar="clean"/>
< w:attachedTemplate w:val=""/>
< w:defaultTabStop w:val="720"/>
< w:characterSpacingControl w:val="DontCompress"/>
< w:optimizeForBrowser/>
< w:validateAgainstSchema/>
< w:saveInvalidXML w:val="off"/>
< w:ignoreMixedContent w:val="off"/>
< w:alwaysShowPlaceholderText w:val="off"/>
< w:compat>
< w:breakWrappedTables/>
< w:snapToGridInCell/>
< w:wrapTextWithPunct/>
< w:useAsianBreakRules/>

< /w:compat>
< /w:docPr>
< w:body>
< wx:sect>
< w:p>
< w:r>
< w:t>This is a test
< /w:r>
< /w:p>
< w:sectPr>
< w:pgSz w:w="11906" w:h="16838"/>
< w:pgMar w:top="1440" w:right="1800" w:bottom="1440" w:left="1800" w:header="708" w:footer="708" w:gutter="0"/>
< w:cols w:space="708"/>
< w:docGrid w:line-pitch="360"/>
< /w:sectPr>
< /wx:sect>
< /w:body>
< /w:wordDocument >

So that answers the question of using word 2003.
I then looked at Frontpage 2003 which was no good because it was more suited to someone like me who also knows xml very well. Its basicly a xhtml and xml editor. And not a good one at that.

So moving on quickly, Infopath.
At last something which works for users who dont understand xml. Its how we imagined we would setup cocoon xmlforms or better still xforms.

Anyway like word 2003, the xml schema parser now accepts my complex schemas without me modifing them alot. It even accepts schemas which are linked to other schemas. Anonoying problem which drove me crazy about infopath beforehand.

So I've created infopath documents for both Course units and course vps's. I noticed the infopath documents are not open, as one would first expect. Instead microsoft have opted for binary instead. I believe the document holds not only the forms but also the schemas. Correction:

Had another look at, and it explains the XSN file format.
Even though InfoPath uses XSN as the file extension for form templates, these files are essentially CAB files that you can for instance open with WinZip and extract it to a folder. It consists of bunch of XML files, XSLT stylesheet, XSD schema file, script file, and manifest.xsf. For instance, if you wanted to update an InfoPath form, one option is to load the form in design mode and use File | Save As menu item; alternatively, you can unzip the files into a folder, update the files, create a text file containing list of files (with one filename on each line, enclosed in double quotes if contains spaces), and then run makecab command line utility to create a cab file. Finally simply change the file extension from cab to xsn.

The issues I have with infopath. Well how much will infopath cost standalone? Is the only way you can open and edit the final form via infopath? Why isnt the editor and designer seperate?
I would like to see options or scripts for saving files, so for example you can only save to certain places, via webdav or it takes a element and uses that plus the date for a filename. I believe theres advanced examples which can be downloaded from the microsoft office site.

I do love the way you can drop in many xml files and infopath in editor view drop the elements into place. So I was able to combine many units together into one large unit xml document with a few click of a button. I looked the final xml and it does do the job well. All xml was valid and well formed, otherwise infopath wont let you save it as xml. It does however add this to the document.

< ?mso-infoPathSolution solutionVersion="" productVersion="11.0.5329" PIVersion="" href="file:///intranetinfopathUnits.xsn" language="en-gb" ? >< ?mso-application progid="InfoPath.Document"? >

Which isnt half as bad as I thought would be added, specially after looking at wordml.

So generally talking, unless infopath is expensive or practically impossible to use. I would reckonmend it as it turns out valid xml correct to the schema and its easy enough for a non xml user to use.

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italic’s back in the dance hat – mix

At long last I have done a mix which I'm pretty proud of, first time since being married.
I've put it online now, so all you trance and progressive listeners can go check it out now. Italics back in the hat mix. As usual I'm using atomix mp3 for digital mixing. I did check out the new virtual dj but it was resource heavy and not as smooth and user friendly as atomix mp3. I also keep meaning to checkout what the virtual turntables people are doing as that was my first digital experience and was the best till atomixmp3. The project digital turntables seems to be pretty much dead unfortually…

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Tim Berners-Lee Royal Society Webcast after thoughts

Tim Berners-Lee Royal Society Webcast. And my previous post

Ok I'm live blogging this while I watch and listen from home. I unfortually have to say I missed almost one hour of it. The live stream was difficult to get half way through but I caught the last 10mins of Tim's talk and I am still listening to the questions.

Sam from Spiked asked a question about using semantic web for alternative reasons like making money. Interesting question and Tim made it clear rdf is like paper and can be molded into anything you like. There will be those who do just that, while others will use it for pro-human reasons.

Someone in the crowd asked if there something tim wished he could have changed in the last 14 years? He replied yes the slash slash. Great answer Tim. Not quite what I would have thought he would have said.

Interesting question asked about xlink came up too. Tim talked about the xlink in brief and touched on other areas of the w3c like svg, smil and x3d. Explaining how the semantic web was just one part of the w3c and the lecture had to be about something. Then he went back to rdf and touched on annonation – in the amaya browser. Suprising it would seem only a few knew what he was talking about it.

A good question came from the web. Should the w3c have been involved in streaming media standard? Tim makes it clear w3c dont impose standards, but maybe just maybe they should have been involved in the dissucssions at a earlier stage. The question also made reference to the fact you needed IE 5+ with Realplayer 8 to view the live stream. Cheeky but good point made.

Another cracking question came from the web.
Should there be unique ID's for web users to cut down on web fraud, etc? Tim had a good think about this one for a while, then replied with a sensible answer. For small communities yes, but not on a larger scale like nation. Everyone should be responsible for there words, but people have the right to be anonymous. He mentioned Slash dot's system as a balanced way of everyone being responsible but also allowing people to be anonymous.
Tim mentioned he will be involved in some talk about this issue somewhere in the uk very soon, it sounded like maybe within 2-3 weeks. Will have to check his blog for more details.

Then that was the end of the questions, which was a real shame. I'm hoping Fly on the wall will put up a clean version for vod very soon. I cant believe I missed almost a hour of the lecture. Shame on me, all i was doing was burning cds and watching the channel 4 news.

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London events lack of progress

Ok I've hit a brick wall it would seem.
The issue is a very simple one, Cocoon wont accept Louise's non-valid html at all. I've defined a pipeline using jtidy which is the java version of html tidy, so the html from this source should be cleaned up before its used in a xsl transformation.
This isnt happening at all, and in the end i'm getting this instead. You can clearly see the title which is valid xhtml, but as soon as it hits anything non valid it throws a 500 servelet exception.

I have two paths forward, manually rewrite louises html into a file I can use or talk to louise about writing things in standard xhtml. The last one is the most difficult, because looking at her site, its all written using the same template. I dont want to add work to louise because this should be do-able with cocoon.
Oh heres the link for the clean one I'm working on.

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New phone needed

My contract is up on my 2.5g phone, I currently own a T68 which has been upgraded to a T68i.

But all that aside, I'm going to pass my T68 on to my wife whos on pay as you go. But I need a phone just like my T68 but with a decent camera. Ideally it would beable to take videos not only pictures.

So whats the choices?

Sony Ericsson Z600, even though I hate flip phones this is better than the T610 I feel.

The Sony Ericsson T610 is the natrual choice and is currently free with a new contract. I noticed the T610's picture resoultion is half of the T68 with the extra camera

I have considered buying a different brand, but I need a phone with decent bluetooth support. Some of the Siemans are looking decent now. The only Nokia I would consider is the Nokia 3650 because its not quite a smartphone so it wont replace the features of my ipaq. But it has a MMC and can record mpeg4 video. And I bet its smoother than my 3g phone. I was also going to say I could get a smartphone and duplicate some features.

Something like the Sony Ericsson P800 or even the P810 now. Or I could consider the Orange SPV or SPV2 if that had a decent camera.

I think I'm gonna wait a little longer before i make the jump.

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Gone to the Blogs

Some pictures taken with my ericsson communcam.

Gone to the blogs

Noteable points.

Met the guy behind, Tom Coates

Blogging for the mainstream
What are the barriers for entry? and should there be any? specially in regards to the live journal, blogger and aol users starting to blog. Is the current blogsphere going to welcome all these extra users?

Are blogs a revolution or really a evolution?
Ground up publishing or peoples voices is the name of the game here?

Blogging outside
Are blogs much more interesting when there focusing outside the blogsphere? Is there too much self reference in the blogsphere and emphase on blogging it first?

Do we have the right infustructure to blog? And I dont mean network. I'm of the view blogs need to be more structured than they currently are. But without making the experience of blogging more complex than it currently is at the moment. I think the metablog Atom spec will go along way in solving this problem. Also this is key in the Semantic web vision.

Why do people read blogs?
Interesting question that no one really answered in depth.

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