OpML, why?

Ok I looked at the opml spec and what a simple standard. Its almost too simple and I feel goes slightly against the idea of xml. I mean it structures data but using the outline tag is like me using the paragraph tag in html to structure all data.

Anyway seeing how people and applications are using this simple xml schema, I've been thinking maybe I should use it for my bookmarks. Because I've been looking for a standard way of storing those in xml for a long time now. Also been thinking I could import xlink and use that on top of opml rather than html href's? I swear there has to be better way of storing bookmarks.

Also kind of related in a round-about way. The newsreader on my ipaq pocketfeed is working but seems to have problems connecting to certain types of rss streams. I got a feeling it has problems with rdf based ones. But also has problems with my own stream which is weird because it works with other blojsom streams. Maybe the port 81 thing is causing problems or something? Also my newsreader on the pc doesnt support opml, so i keep having to copy and paste things between my tabletpc, workstation and ipaq. I really need to sort out the file sync issue on windows xp, because this is becoming a bit of a pain now.
Oh also why the hell does feedreader put its config and xml files in the user directory? ANd why cant you change it? Its a bloody nightmare. Hope they fix this issue in the new version. Tempting to use something else. Specially with the webserver not having any template file I can modify to change the code it generates. Non standard html code at that too…
Sort it out!

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How flexable is Smil?

I pose the question knowing the answer already but its quite something to see projects coming together.
In my college there were courselets which I developed along with others, but they were the idea of my guru of a boss Miles (sure he'd hate to be refered to as a boss). Anyhow courselets are basicly question and answers packaged in xml complete with metadata in the form of dublin core elements. They are transformed via xsl into webpages for students to read. Makes sense.

And that would be fine in a normal college, but this a design and communication college and students demand something visually rich. So my work friend Adam setup video resources which are basicly streaming video tutorials which everyone in college can watch. Now moving forward from where he was before, he's now deploying along the lines of about 200 video resources for everything from word to how to write xsl.

The link is perfect because video has little metadata and by xlinking courselets to videos, we can supply not only content rich but also visually rich resources. How does smil fit into all this? Well the question and answer nature can be multiplied to make a complete short course. Smil can join together video and can be generated from the xml by me pulling out the xlink href for the video with xsl. In the first stage it would be easier to pre make the smil and dynamicly generate it later on when students are using the resource fully.

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First thoughts on Microsoft Office 2003 beta 2?

So I finally got a copy and installed it on my workstation.
I'm hoping to see what Microsoft have done when it comes to xml, because if the hype is right (very unlikely) it should bring xml to the desktop market.

First things first…
Not much has happened to Office when it comes to installation. Still a real pain. God help anyone who does typical install of office 2003.

Ok so first things first, I loaded a plain xml document into word 2003. Inpressive, it actually knows its xml and will let me author it in the same way as xmetal. Kinda of tag based if you want or non tagged if you like. Seems good enough so far.

But what if I load a xml document with a DTD attached? Ah it does it but doesnt like the DTD, kind of what I expected really. Doing the same with a XML schema fairs better, but it doesnt seem to restrict me from putting in non valid content. Didnt try saving, maybe thats when it does the checking? Also found if you open a xml doc with a xsl also attached it will show the html tags instead of the xml ones.
Could be useful, but I actually thought it would show the final result, so you could almost edit the webpage in word. Because editing the html isnt a good solution for non technical people.

So I started thinking lets have a look at infopath 2003.
It seems very much like xmlspy's stylesheet form editor. But with a little help you can drop a xml schema in. But lo-and-behold it doesnt like my schemas…Why?
My schemas have been checked against many xsd checkers and there not actually that complex. It seems Infopath doesnt like includes and imports at all. I had to revert to a schemas I wrote over a year ago to test it out, and even some of those didnt work. Maybe its the namespaces?
Once I finally got a schema in it a matter of dragging and droping elements and attributes around on the plain page and editing from there. You can add validation rules to the forms and areas but why does it not just add default rules from the datatypes in the xml schema?
If I make the datatype xs:AnyURI, that usually means no numbers to start off with, etc.

Once you preview the final thing it seems pretty good. No idea where the xml goes but it does the validation and nothing much else it seems. Anyway I didnt really test it that much.
Going back to word 2003, seems even when you save it doesnt do the checking against the schema. I even added the schemas to the schema library and it correctly realised there were imported and included schemas attached to the schema I was adding. So why does Infopath have a problem with the same schema?
I really need to read some docs on xml in word to see how it all works rather than fumbling around blindly. Missed the infopath online streaming demo on may 29th but I'm sure they have archived it, would look now but Reservoir Dogs is on tonight and I'm watching that till its finished.

Ah useful Office 2003 Assistance Home.

Ah it seems word 2003 works in the same way as open office. There is one xml file which ties the schemas, xsl, css and xml together. Manifest.xml. Seems you need the Smart Document Software Development Kit to make the whole package? Isnt this what infopath was ment to do?

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Exist projects

Its so true they say about learning while in a project. I have been helping david with his osdavid project. Problem was the same as I had with adding search functianlity to courselets. He is using many xml files pulled into flash for dynamic presenation. Anyway when he searches for something or compares a node against another one, flash chokes and takes along time to return any results.
Bad news eh? yes…I'm not the number one fan of flash but if people want to use it thats up to them in the same way if you want to snort coke, I cant stop you.
Anyhow putting davids xml in exist and doing the queries in xpath on exist will stop flash choking because all it needs to do is format a http get request to the local server and exist will come back with the subsets of xml it needs to do its job. Easy.

This requires david to learn a little xpath because he wants to compare elements and attributes in different documents. And do content searches. It sholdnt be all that hard for him to learn.
I think the hardest thing for him will be getting the file the search results returned. Simply because flash uses a dom type of method. See the power of using standards! xpath to query the database and xpath to write the xslt! Anyhow for his osdavid project this should be good news.

After working with david yesterday, I've been using exist a bit more and finally understand it. Man there is so many ways of getting to the xml database. xml-rpc, soap, http, xmldb, etc, etc. Its one hell of a personal project I have to say.
Links to blojsom? maybe, because i did read you can put not well formed xml into somehow. But by default it checks when you put it in if its well formed, if not it rejects it.
Ah david, that could be the reason why some of your xml files couldnt be moved across to exist even on my own webdav client. Yes I remember had the same problem putting courselets in. ha i love xml.

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Codec feature comparission

Its been a long time since I've done anything on Mpeg4 now, I havent even been keeping up with the latest mpeg4 encoders.
Its not a real problem though because others are doing good research into mpeg4. Mpeg4 codec feature comparission and the fall out on a forum afterwards..
Will look forward to the review on RM9, WMV9, H.264, and several wavelet/proprietary codecs in the near future.

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Ideas and plans

Ideas and plans, boy oh boy have I got ideas and plans in my head. If you’d been to this page before you’d notice it was something slightly different. Something about joining Consume.net, yep I will but this is opnly part of the overall stratergy as such..

So whats the stratergy? well its a mix of ideas and plans (wouldnt you know) If things get very busy on this page I will start breaking the ideas down into multiple weblogs. And I hope to at some point draw up a map of how things should be, and what I need to buy and fit to complete it.

Ok so the idea is to use digital technology to make changes to me and my partener’s lifestyle. Ok sounds easy enough. At the moment we watch films through a computer rather than a dvd player. Because of course you can not watch divx or xvid films on a standard dvd player. Now I know thats changing due to the kiss dvd player and others like it but standard dvd players only have support for mpeg 1 and 2, not mpeg4. Anyhow I’m looking to solve that problem by using a modded (prefered chipped) xbox. So thats part of the plan at least. more later

I already own a home cinema system, which is a 32 inch widescreen tv, Sherwood prologic cinema reciever, Technics ac3 decoder which supports all 6 channel formats including dolby digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. And if you include 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer you got the picture. To add the picture I have a freeview digital television box which was originally ondigital’s own box. More about that at some point maybe.

On the computer side of things, got 1 workstation with stacks of memory, beefy Ati all in wonder 8500 dv graphics card, multiple hard drives and a cd bruner and dvd drive. That is then connected via 100megabit ethernet to a server which is where your reading this weblog now. That server has stacks of memory, hard drive space and also has a cd burner and region free dvd drive. The Network I’m using is all 10/100 and has a wireless hub using dhcp to allow the tabletpc and my partner’s laptop to roam anywhere in the house. there is also a 400megabit firewire link between the server and workstation to stop tieing up the network during heavy transfers. But doesnt work because Microsoft didnt put in the driver for firewire networking on windows 2000 professional, such a shame too. In the kitchen there is an old 21 inch toshiba television which use to be my main television, its mainly used by my partner while cooking for watching analogue stations. And I think that basicly covers everything for now.

Ok so plans and ideas. First thing the wireless hub, its an 802.11b hub and supports 11megabits, its based in the living room and covers the whole house but signal drops alot when it hits the bathroom at the far end of the house. You can get a signal, but not a very good one if your on a laptop. If your on a pocketpc with wireless, it drops the connection at the bathroom door. So no streaming music while in the bath at this moment. I could either move the current wireless access point to the middle of the house and get a even spread of wireless or buy another one and stick it down pass the kitchen and very near the bathroom. See that option sounds good because I can then cover the garden which is also on the far end of the house, past the bathroom. that will also give me a chance to swap the hubs around and put a 802.11g hub in the living room and the older 802.11b hub near the garden instead. I was thinking of using the bridging mode, but i think a long ethernet cable to the far hub will do the trick.

Next up, the xbox media player. I have been following the xbox scene of the sly and have been quietly suprised by the amount of development going on. The best development effort has to be the xbox mediaplayer, which will play divx 3 – 5, xvid, vcd, supervcd’s and dvd’s. Aka every kind of film I own. So what i’m thinking is that if I buy a xbox then get it chipped or modded I could use that as digital media jukebox (sorry yes it plays ogg, asf and mpg3s as well). But rather than use the cd drive or small local hard drive all the time I can use the network sharing option to access shared drives on my server or workstation as well. There is also a ftp option if all else fails. Ok so that means I can access all my films without unlocking a computer, which will make my partner very happy. If all goes well then maybe I’ll buy another one for the kitchen television.

Ah i love digital television, its clear bright and cheap. We in the uk have had 3 main ways of recieving digital tv, sky (expensive and requires a dish, but has tons of interactivinty and channels), Cable (just as expensive and lacks serious interactivity) and Free to air (use to be called OnDigital before ITVdigital took it over and that was before the BBC pumped millions in to it and called it freeview). Freeview is just that, free to view. Basicly its partly funded by the tv licence (yes we have to pay to watch tv here) and all you need is a set top box and a ariel nothing more. You get about 30 channels on freeview at the moment with more in the pipeline soon. Anyway, I’m thinking of buying one for the kitchen and or one for the workstation so I can watch one thing and record another.At this moment i can only record what i’m watching, unless its on analogue tv and i can watch that and record the digital feed. there is a freeview box by pace which has pvr (tivo) fuctionality and has two digital decoders, so you can watch one and record another on to its local 20gig hard drive. Its good but not at 300 uk pounds its not. Specially now you can buy freeview boxes al low as 70 pounds brand new.

will MMS revolutionize the photography industry?

Very interesting view about picture messaging and professional photography. I remember when the first and second generation of digital cameras came out and there was such a bad feeling about them in the professional field of photography. What are they going to make of this?
Why will wireless camera phones revolutionize the photography industry?

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there is something bothering me

with all the talk about metadata in blogging on blojsom and specially off David Czarnecki's blog about the future blog it worries, maybe less worries me but bothers me that the actual blogs themselves are not written in a richer format. Yes I know at the moment i'm adding my own structure to it using just elements and attributes not supported by browsers. But the damm file isnt xml complient! mainly due to some stupid legacy issue with bloxsom. The first line of the file blojsom uses has to be the title. * pulls a face * why? why? why? why the hell? ok maybe its just me, that i havent read the documentation yet or researched enough. But what sense that make? The rest of the file can be anything you like but not the first line. If its not done now already, i will find someway around it, even if i have to write a damm plugin myself.

on a lighter note, if there was a option at least to have a xml based weblog then you could take advantage of all the key parts of xml, specially if we thinking about the context of metadata. I mean why have some weird crap when you could use dublin core instead? Ok yes i know once its through the blojsom engine its all turned into rss, strict xhtml, blah blah. But wouldnt it be nice to have that from start to finish.
Ok to be fair i havent looked at the xmlrpc stuff yet or anything else, but I will when i finally get time…ummm maybe never this side of August?

Also i have problems with a filesystem as a database. I mean that just sounds so bloody backwards, yes i understand why they do it and it makes sense if you want low trouble storage. But come on lets get real when you have many weblogs and entrys the file systems gonna be a mess. How you gonna archive it? zip it up? so blojsom cant see it anymore?
I know there working on ways of using a real database, but i say toss that lets use a xml database like exist. Once again if no one else is going to do it. I damm well will. Damm you all. getting a bit over excited need to chill out…

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the bleeding edge of blogging

I've been reading
the guy who wrote blojsom's engine. And boy his weblog is a pile of ideas waiting to happen. Maybe I might show a few interaction design kiddies where its all at. Also realised where dave was getting his links from /images/emoticons/happy.gif

This link is directly about the future of blojsom and its off the page compared to what I was thinking.

the blog about blojsom – bleeding edge stuff, the metadata stuff.

I'm totally convenced now that this is the way forward and I need to think of a way of getting students using this once dave sets it up on a server.

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sunshine and wireless thats all i need

Cant remember the character name in Donnie darko, but his comments were Beer and pussy, that is all i need. Beer and pussy.
Well for me right now sitting outside in my garden, wireless and sunshine is it. I'm still really tempted to buy some ikea garden chairs and table just so I can get very comfitable. who could turn down wireless and sunshine?

My idea keeps coming into my head. I'm unsure about disclosing the information on the net, but I dont know if I'll ever have the time let alone the capital to set it up. So I think letting someone else use it would be the best idea.

I name the idea net holidays which is its catchy title. But I prefer connected holidays. Anyhow I cant decide if its a gooer or not. But everytime i'm outside it makes me think again that it could be really good, even a small money maker? Who knows I need to do tons of research or just try it out and see how it goes for that trial run.

But Ian what is the idea? i can hear you asking… Well i've reached the end of my bus ride. So I'll detail more on the way home or maybe when I have lunch. Till then, think about it…sunshine, wireless = connected holidays…Humm.

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installing blojsim

Ok I've now installed blojsim on my tablet pc and its all set to go. I think I need to wait for the next release of blojsom to make it work, because it seems to be working but I cant actually tell.

I know the creator Mark Lussier is working on docs and help files for blojsim. And Mark when you do I'll be first to download them for sure.

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Xbox mediaplayer reviewed in uk homeautomation

Theres a review of the xbox mediaplayer on the website homeautomation uk. I havent yet read it because i'm on a bus and i'm only aware of the review due to avant-go non my pocketpc.
The homeautomation uk website
The direct review link

The review is a good one but only at the basic level, comparing it to windows xp media centre is a difficult one because of the lack of video input on the xbox.
Give it time though because there are projects on the go in this area.
Project Dreamix is the one i'm keeping my eyes on.

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Xbox first few days

Xbox first few days

Oh my god is all i can say… The legacy of the xbox is true. I’m currently watching a divx film on the xbox which actually exists on a shared folder on my workstation. It plays flawlessly, allowing me to skip around the content with no noticable jumping or slow down using xbox mediaplayer. I updated from mediaplayer 2.0 to 2.3 which is the current realease mainly for better support of smb aka windows shares. But theres lots of other things which this mediaplayer does..

It links to imdb for extra information using the nfo files you usually get with downloads. More on this though, because I was trying to work out why some worked and some didnt. Finally worked out that the nfo file needs to contain the link of course but it has to be formated in special way.http://us.imdb.com/Title?0234215 is a correct url, http://uk.imdb.com/Title?0234215 and http://www.imdb.com/Title?0234215 is not. http://uk.imdb.com/Details?0234215 – also throws an error when parsed by the mediaplayer.I now create my own nfo files using the correct url and found you also need to add a character return after the url otherwise it doesnt work as expected, your’ll be left with no details just the link and no errors.It doesnt have to be anything special just a text file named something *.nfo with a correct url string and a character return – easy.

Also it has a built in tv guide now, thanks to some really clever programming by someone. Its actually part of another sourceforge project called xmltv which basicly grabs the tv listings for differenet channels from multiple sources and combine them into one xml file

17/04/2003 1100 – How quick things change

Check me out, less than a week I was thinking of getting a chipped xbox and moving or buying a new wireless access point. Now I’ve got a chipped xbox for a the same price as a new one. By the way Microsoft dropped the price of xboxes to take out the gamecube. So 130 pounds will now get you a new xbox with no games and one controller, good business move on microsoft’s part – cant believe they sold for 300 pounds when first launched, and i sweared not to buy one because it was the same as my pc. Now thats the reason why I’m getting one.

Anyway, basicly the xbox has already been chipped / modded and has evolution dash board, media player and some other stuff on there already. So it should be a simple case of plug it in and away I go. Already plugged the optical cable into the digital processor and got the ethernet connection ready. It looks like I may have to switch scart sockets with the playstation everytime I want to use it because my television only has one scart socket that can produce a rgb signal. Luckly I got a two scart switcher box, but its a little crap and already has svideo input from the computer in the other socket. Seeing how the xbox will become the main movie player, I will disconnect the svideo for now. More details and maybe another log when I actually get the xbox today.

On the wireless side of things. I moved the access point to a much better location in terms of spread of the signal, the middle of the house. I was outside in the garden getting a pretty good wireless connection the other day (its nice and sunny at this moment in the uk) and I’ve taken to the garden alot more for just checking email and the like, instant messager on the ipaq outside in the garden is also a favourate of mine. Still thinking of getting the 802.11g access point on the next pay cheque to really cover the whole house and garden with a nice even spread of wireless. Should speak to neighbours about using my bandwidth.

Unique directorys

Ok am having issues, with the blojsom directory system once again. This time its not about the file system its self but the display of the directroys shown on the / page aka home page I guess. Currently I have to enable blojsom to look through a certain level of directorys otherwise you will never find the other stuff I write about. But thats not the problem.
Everytime it finds a directory it will add that to the list of available catergories. Sounds great you say? But what incase for example I have 6 directorys inside another one? Well it will display only up to the prefixed limit. What I'm after really is the ability to set a limit for the directory and a limit for the blogs.
So you can have only a few directorys shown but it will grab the newest from any directory and show them on the main page.

Now there is a thing which can do this Blojsom customazation but i swear it doesnt do it as expected. Hence why cubicgarden.com/blog looks messy as hell at the moment. Every day I try to solve the problem on the bus with my tabletpc but theres no progress as of yet. I mean who knows I could be messing it all up again by putting files in the wrong directory?

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TechTV video clip – The Xbox Media Player

The Screen Savers review of XboxMediaPlayer, originally aired April 3, 2003. You can download the full 9 minute Xbox Media Player video clip with TechTV's Kevin Rose here.
High Quality 720×480 at 30fps progressive DivX + MP3 format, 72MB /images/emoticons/laugh.gifivX 5.03+ required)
Low Quality 352×240 at 30fps progressive DivX + MP3 format, 34MB /images/emoticons/laugh.gifivX 5.03+ required)
Alternatively you can stream a even lower quality version direct from TechTV

I love these comments from the review,
They've really gone the extra mile here.
These guys are professionals.
I would go futher than that, its one of the best media centre applications, it really does what you want it to do.
wicked stuff eh? wait to you check out XboxMediaPlayer 2.4 features. Be amazed, be truly amazed.

The live shoutcast recording on the xbox mediaplayer 2.4 is truly amazing, cant wait for live video recording. hint hint…

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