Watch Your Six

Ben of Six Apart explains why Six Apart has pledged support for Echo.  Unfortunately, his list of reasons are mostly resolvable technical complaints against RSS.  For example, Ben writes that Dublin Core elements are technically superior.  I'll agree with that.  If you would like to use Dublin Core, use it to supplement the existing elements, meaning add them alongside <pubDate> and <author>.  Even better, I would insert them under a single element.  That is how RSS is supposed to be extended.

While I understand his enthusiasm for Echo, I don't think attacking your bread-and-butter format in favor of a format that hasn't even been defined yet makes much business sense.  Just saying that the Echo is a good project and Six Apart will implement it if and when it becomes available should have been more than enough.

Ben, Echo is no excuse to stop enhancing and supporting interoperability of RSS.  Since I doubt this was your intention, please make this clear because your list of RSS problems seems to imply that RSS is a deadend for Six Apart.  If you need an MT template that uses Dublin Core without being funky, I can help you with that.

Why I Blog

I blog because I am selfish.  I get ideas, opinions, and noise in my head that want out in one form or another.  The least expensive form is blogging.  As I streak across the sky called life, I pickup debris that will slow me down or change my direction unless I cast it aside.  My blog is the long tail of a comet called me.

However, not everything I post are castaways.  I frequently post information that I think will help others.  Am I performing a service for the world?  Maybe.  I do this mostly because it makes me feel good just like taking a hot shower after a day long hike feels good.  Othertimes, I do it out of habit.  Do I want the world to be grateful for the service I provide?  Yes.  Why?  Because I would be unhappy otherwise.

I blog because I am a Selfish Pig.  Scratch my back a little to the left please.  Ahh.  That feels good.  My Selfish Pig view of life was intentionally constructed in my youth because I felt confused and miserable.  After a failed shopping expedition through all the existing suits of philosophies and religions, I found nothing that fit me comfortably.  So I proceeded to build one myself, one that fits me perfectly using a fabric with no ends so it can't be unraveled later.  The result is the Selfish Pig:

  • I am happy when I am scratched.
  • I am unhappy when I am poked.
  • I am a pig and no more.

Three simple ingredients that interacts with the nature of the container, me, to explain and guide the comet's path.  By now, you should have realized that my use of the word Selfish differs from how most people use it.  Mother Teresa and Buddha were Selfish Pigs that felt most happy when others are happy.  If you find previous sentence upsetting, try removing all negative aspect of the word Selfish and Pig.  Whether there is even an ounce of truth in Selfish Pig matters little.  I like it because it is useful and fits me well.

Dave, try putting on a coat of Selfish Pig lotion and see if it makes the pain go away.  If not, I can try to whip up something that will.  Most importantly, you should do what makes you happy, Dave.  Don't think about what others think unless not doing so makes you unhappy.  While you are at it, please scratch my back a little.  Your poke today made me sad and unhappy.

My Take on Echo’s Future

The question of whether Echo will succeed in replacing RSS seems to be on many bloggers' mind just now.  Scoble thinks Echo has no chance.  Many people on the Echo supporters list think otherwise.  I put my name on that list as well, but I don't think the chance of Echo replacing RSS is very good.

RSS is far more than just a spec as Scoble explained, but engineers tend to focus only on technical side of things so it is no wonder most Echo supporters don't see it that way.  Just looking at the process of picking a name shows clearly how naive most of them are.  I meant naive in a good way so I hope they don't take this comment as an insult.

Although I don't think there is an optimistic future for Echo, I signed up as a supporter because, as I wrote before, I think it is a Good Thing.  There has been pent-up energies among developers that demanded something like Echo.  I don't mean Echo the spec.  I mean Echo the project.  Echo project is a good outlet for all that creative energy which could be destructive and chaotic if applied wrongly.  In my opinion, funky RSS was an example how destructive and chaotic creative energy can be.

I am happy that the funky RSS storm seems to have passed for the most part and creative energy has been released toward more constructive path via the Echo project.  Just as I think Dave is trying to Do The Right Thing, I believe everyone working on Echo are trying to Do The Right Thing.  Even if Echo the spec end up a dud, I think the effort is worth doing and was inevitable in one form or another.

History will happen as it does and not as it should.  Questions, discussions, and predictions are, in the end, no more than memories of turning pages.  So there is no point of asking who will win nor whether it should go on.  Besides, good ideas from Echo can be incorporated into RSS eventually so the users will win no matter which format wins.

Ann Frank to Tony Perkins

In Dying To Tell You Our Stories, Halley Suitt has a message for Tony Perkins* of AlwaysOn, a supposedly blog for Insiders:

"Let me start by saying, Tony Perkins is NOT Anne Frank.   …enter this inner sanctum with head bowed, hat in hand. Tread lightly in this place. Show us your real self. We're naked here, are you? We're alive here, but we're also dying. Dying to tell you our stories." – Halley Suitt

Halley has good eyes and know how to tell it like it is.

* I tried to find a link to Tony Perkins' blog, but all I found were articles he wrote in AlwaysOn.  Tony has a lot of learning to do ahead of him if he insist on his interpretation of what a blog is.  Frankly, I think he'll do much better if he stopped associating AlwaysOn with blogging.

An American Blogger’s Korean Life

I found Shawn Matthews via James K. Lee who found Shawn from Blogs about Korea in my blogroll (?).  Like many English bloggers in Korea, Shawn is an English instructor.  And he has some really funny stories to tell.  Along with James, I found myself chuckling whenever I read his posts.  He has been in Korea long enough to learn how to bump Ajumas (pronounced Ah-Jeum-Mah) out of his way.  Considering that Ajumas are Korean version of X-Men (well, X-Women in this case), he has adapted well to Korean life indeed.

Wie To Go!

I am not much into sports, but I do enjoy tracking Koreans in sports like Big Choi (my wife is a Choi) of Cubs, Byung-Hyun Kim of Boston Red Sox, Jae Seo of New York Mets, and Chan Ho Park of Texas Rangers.  I feel great when they do well even though news about them are usually buried among all the news churned out by the media.

Michelle Wie seems to be a whole new ballgame, a Star in the making.  Since she is only 13, I'll be able to enjoy her games for years to come.  Wie To Go!

6 feet at 13?  Ah-Ya-Ya!

Pictures of the Day

I stopped by Arcot Systems today to chat and took some photos of a few Arcot folks.  Below is the view from my office minus the screendoor.

It's kind of dark, but the greens on the right are cucumbers.  My wife slaughtered one of them for dinner today.  To the left and just beyond it are Korean peppers and tomatos.

Niche Ads using Empty Spaces and Tooltips

I just had another one of those seemingly silly idea that could end up being popular, well, at least among advertisers.

Empty Space Ads

Every web page has empty spaces which are normally dead areas.  Why not use mouse clicks in those areas to popup or navigate to an ad?  When I tried it out, it feels like accidentally falling between cracks and I ended up paying more attention to the ad than normal banner ads.  And since I was the one who did it, meaning self-inflicted, it didn't feel as irritating.  Weird.

Tooltip Ads

Web pages have lots of areas that just does nothing.  Why not display small WordAds like Google does in a tooltip when the mouse hovers over those dead areas for a while?

I am not into advertising but I thought above two ideas could be useful to some people.  I get too many ideas, you see.

Java Updates

Bad News: Eclipse 2.1.1 final release has been postponed to July 2nd due to a SWT bugfix not being included in the build.  Maintenance build seems to be having problem also.

Good News: JDK 1.4.2 was released.  It took me by surprise and gave me a smile.  I'll install it today and report back by tommorrow if I run into any serious problems.

Otherwise, have a great weekend folks.

Update: Struts team voted to release Struts 1.1 final.  Code freezes on today (Saturday) and release should be coming next week.  If you were about to upgrade to Struts 1.1 RC2, I think it is a good idea to wait a few days.  Congratz to the Struts.

Thoughts on Chaos in Iraq

Matt Mower, responding to my Destroy Majar Al-Kabir post, wrote:

"Enough's enough.  Normally I think Don is right on but this is so not it's almost off the scale.

  • Destroying a town because it contains criminals?

Well it's justified isn't it?  And we all know that escalating violence bring peace right?  I mean you only have to look at Israel bulldozers destroying palestinians settlements to see what a good policy it is.

For the sake of argument though: what if destroying their town doesn't stop people seeing this as an unwanted force of occupation.  What if it doesn't bring the correct long term response?

Well of course you could go one better couldn't you?  Destroy a city next time.  Just to make sure they know you really mean business.

And of course, there are one or two people killed whilst "just doing their duty" in US cities.  I can't wait to see this policy employed back home!" – Matt Mower

I understand Matt's view, but I think he misunderstands where I am coming from.  Our soldiers in Iraq are there because I let it happen out of desire for security and comfort at the cost of strangers in a fog of confusion and misinformation.  Since I let it happen, I feel responsible for their safety and well being, again at the cost of same strangers.  I am being selfish yet I find comfort in that Iraqis would do the same if given the opportunity.

While Majar Al-Kabir is a town composed of individuals and families, most of whom did not take part in the violence, it is also a community that has some responsibilities as a whole.  Letting thousands of angry townfolk attacking and killing two British soldiers and then besieging four trapped British soldiers for two hours are not innocent bystanders in my view.  They also had guns and could have done something during that two hours if they believed the angry mobs were threatening their own livelyhood.

Instead, they just let it happen thinking that, since they didn't raise their own hands, they were innocent.  If the town was a person, anyone would call that person a madman who must be put away for he lacks the ability to balance his violent thoughts and emotions with his other more reasonable thoughts and emotions.  If they catch and imprison those killers, then they can recoup some of that presumed innocence.

I believe that peace is an unstable state that can only be maintained by constant effort and willingness to enforce the line that separate peace from violence.  Letting Majar Al-Kabir off the hook with only a slap on the wrist blurrs that line.  Think about what message they will get from this event and scale that thought up to what it means to the entire population of Iraqis.  Matt's peaceful approach is more likely to bring about more violence in the future than delivering a clear understanding of 'letting violence happen' now through destruction of buildings in Majar Al-Kabir.

As to Matt's reference to Israel bulldozers, same policy applied in different circumstances need not have same results.  Palestinian situation is in a loop of violence with both side reacting to each other like a boxing match between vending machines that blindly drops violence whenever a button is pressed.  Palestinians to Iraqis cannot be compared for they are in far different situations.  I would not have made the suggestion unless I thought it would work.  As things are happening now, I fear that more massacres on both sides are inevitable, thanks to misapplication of peace and reasons.

PS: I know that my views are not the norm in most societies so most of my readers will disagree with my view on this topic.  But I hope you will continue to read what I write and object when you disagree like Matt did instead of stop reading.  Otherwise, I'll be left with only readers who agree with my views which will eventually create a reality-distortion field even I can't break out of.