Marc, himself, his blogs, and you reading them.

January 31, 2003

Kind of email-swamped here after my trip... some things that grabbed at least my initial attention (hope to report soon on my actual appreciation):

[1] The SE/EE Executive Committee has approved the Final Approval Ballot of: JSR-000031 XML Data Binding SpecificationView the ballot results here:

[2] Jesktop ( is written by Apache commiters, Avalon based and could be a good foundation for a GUI project ;-)

[3] OJB provides a plugin to the JDO reference implementation. By using thisplugin you can write JDO compliant applications running against the OJB O/Rmapping.See here for a sample application:

off to bed now...

# Posted by mpo at 01:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recycled Definition of Re-use

I remember this XP seminar I went to ages ago...

Halfway this guy makes a neat statement about software re-use: (paraphrased from memory)

I spent my pre XP professional OO life, chasing the idle hope of writing something re-usable... The chase always led me to writing the overly generic component that would try to serve the universe... my tendency for 'genericity' always led to pulling in possible future aspects that never were needed all together in any project... so the component always got rejected as reuse candidate mainly because it was too big for anyone's use (bringing the other developers into contact with concerns they didn't even want to think about)So now I'm writing stuf that gets the job done: no more re-useable focus, but just plain usable stuff.... Guess what? People are re-using those in their projects.

I had a flash of the same kind while explaining the basics of plugability to the Luxembourg crowd...

Software reuse is not about the one component that is going to be used in each and every project in the world (it is only partially). There is more re-use a lot closer to you, outside of that one component you work on: Re-use, odly enough, is achieved through the component that can be thrown away and replaced easily because you had it correctly hidden behind some interfaces. At the moment you throw away that one component, all the other ones in your project are... reused?

Reuse is not the cause, not the goal; try to enjoy it as a nice bonus from a job well done :-)

# Posted by mpo at 01:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Actually I did this customer-thing already earlier this week ...

Went over to Luxembourg to give a Java-XML training to, well rather utterly clueless people, employed by a very large world-wide consulting firm. And much to my own satisfaction I succeeded in actually getting quite a bit of the (basic) message through. So all in all I guess I met most expectations, how low-demanding they might have been. I wouldn't have called them my most-challenging audience ever, nevertheless it was quite demanding...

Actually most initial astonishment came from my side... In the introduction round I always do they proclaimed:

  • to have varying from 2 to 4 years active Java experience.
  • to be active in writing EJB's and servlets all the time.

Yet, I had to discover:

  • they had never heard from ant.
  • nor make, nor the concept of build-management
  • they either new about Tomcat OR Catalina, and saw no connection between the two.
  • since they were unaware of the Basic Java Code Conventions, they got me very case-sensitive
  • were using IBM WSAD since its existence and learned from a recent Eclipse user how to work with it...
  • could not place Java RMI...

Basically I.m still trying to figure out which planet they actually fell off right into the classroom, since the term 'webservices'was never heard before.

Probably all of this is just proove that we all live in some modern tribe that self-confirms the members in certain frameworks | ways of working | ...

# Posted by mpo at 01:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Customer Focus

I learned a valuable lesson today...


  • (some frustration) Ah, I can't get this computer to do what I want
  • [You go over and do it]
  • (more frustration) No, no, not so fast! I want to be able to do this myself. Now, do it again, but slowly and explain me what you are doing (and why)

My typical wrong approach would of have been to exactly do that: "explain" and go by at the real message "I want to be able to do this"... so today I just setup a stupid shortcut and told to just double click :-)

I even succeeded in not explaining what a shortcut is.Customer focus! I'm finally learning it :-)

(Q: is this obviously about me and my wife?)

# Posted by mpo at 01:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 24, 2003
So Busy?

Seems like ages since I touched this blog, was I so busy? Naah, just didn't get to straightening my mind out in a fashion I could write it down. English very much remains a foreign language. All despite of all the seminars I speak at, it still takes some more processing cycles, definitelly when writing down - so don't start on all my spelling errors :-)

Nevertheless a week in review:

  • my favourite IDEAliance employee send me a congratulation e-mail explaining my workshop (Java and XML, what else) was selected for the upcoming XMLEurope conference... an event that caused Steven to point me to James, which in return made me send an email about applying for the 'financial assistance package'.
  • spent some time trying to get into the code of the javax.swing.text.html.HTMLEditorKit since I'm hoping it could be a basis for some XMLEditorKit? Anyone else on it, it's back-of-my-head for me, but the itch is steadily growing.
  • brushed up and gave my Java & XML: API's - seminar to a small but attentive audience. Had a great time with lots of enteresting questions about real life problems people are facing. Which means they are actually doing it! (Last May the audience on the same topic would of have been more people of the 'considering on doing it' - type)
  • ... got struck by how little of* and* are known to the broader audience of ICT professionals... guess we need to do some more apache-advocating in this country. I don't consider the apache community as an 'inner circle', but that's maybe cause I'm close enough to it? Odly enough not everyone wants to be that close up to what they are doing (themselves)...
  • so on the advocating: I'm actively thinking about a less api oriented and more tools oriented version of my speech: more showcase tutorials then API-caveats is probably what people need first anyways? Ideas welcome.
  • supported from the side line (you know: this kinda stuff) the new python explorations of Steven. (Freaky what a back-surgery can do to one's mind :-))
  • and we do seem to have customers :-), so overall I just did some work:
    • brushing up my java-xml examples for a course next week,
    • doing some investigation into SVG for a prospect,
    • trying to catch up with all the design documents my immensly productive colleages are writing for a new project
    • thinking about new ways to extend and promote the xreporter. (Steven did this, and Bruno is actively helping the early adopters on the mailing list)
    • and sent out invoices... YEAH!
# Posted by mpo at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Shared Thoughts

Somebody else is making the link between monopolies and taxes :-)

And then this dear friend made me see that there is some change forthcoming.

# Posted by mpo at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 16, 2003
Talking about it...

Yesterday, I was at the OSS|What can it do for me? - seminar. Nice and cosy in the audience.My English interpretation of some catchy quotations:

  • "The [OSS-] world is so fast that the person who says it can't be done is interrupted by the person who is doing it."
  • "There is no such thing as an OSS|FS business model, but there are plenty of business cases." -- Toon Knapen.
  • There is some logic in: "To invest in what is to be, instead of what is now."
  • "For public services it is just common sense to invest tax money into ICT only when the result becomes available under a public license."
My all time favourite however, wasn't heard:
  • "OSS is like style-dancing and bungy-jumping: You can sit down, watch and talk about for ages... But you need to get your ass up and do it to really know what it is like." -- Steven Noels.

In every case I had a plesant time, and was glad to notice that the idea is catching on (maybe the title of the seminar just selects 'that' portion of the audience?) And even better multiple times the "Cocoon" project was mentioned (without us doing it!)

Shocking to hear this guy mention that the Belgian goverment just can't do without buying more MS licensenses (yet).

And, yes, resistance is futile:

I was so stupid to try and make this guy really see how scary that dependency is... They basicly pay their Belgian taxes with office licenses :-)
# Posted by mpo at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 15, 2003
Public confession

I am a terrible email inbox manager.

Two times in 30 minutes I need to ask people for sending me again what they send me some months ago already...Would of been a good new years resolution to focus on my Inbox Management, helas a chance missed (a new opportunity is 350 days away) In the mean time: if I'm in your addressbook, you might consider not deleting your Sent Items automatically :-S

But I do compensate for this: my own Sent Items gets never deleted! So don't hesitate to ask again. :-)

Observation: I'm not the only one here. More people seem to have the same way of (not) working.

Question: Which psychological explanation would there be? Plain narcism? Or just cultural training: "They 're going to ask me for this later again!" :-)

# Posted by mpo at 01:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google expands service

Waaw, next to offering a great service, they will soon start feeding the man who used to be called our favourite hp employee.New candidates for the title do not need to apply.

Outer Web Thought Log: Ovidiubot [link]

# Posted by mpo at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2003
He is doing it! All by himself.

This is true independence:A picture named tuurkakt.jpg

And utterly bad news for the blokes at P&G of course. But I will recommend their great service product nevertheless to all 10 newborns we are expecting in the inner circle of family and friends. [Mini baby boom between May 2002 and May 2003 | Saar,Tuur, Darren , Raf and Joppe make the 5/10 count | male dominance 4-1 at this time | check back for score updates...]

To boldly go and shit when, where, how and why you please... I'ld better stop here, before there is a new pro-Open Source statement that slides in: "There will be a time (like my son today) that the software industry, will take this becoming-independent-hurdle in it's evolution" :-)

# Posted by mpo at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Next to JSP...

Random quotes (not doing justice to the full story) from Hacking Log 2.0:

BTW, my term for JSP is "inverted servlets" -- think about it..Its true.
Yep, in my public appearances I use to call them "Servlets Inside-out" (I believe this has more of a vommit-triggering ring to it)... The real 'gross' part about it is that the JSP's are being Outside- inned again to Servlets :-)

Nice to know there is more reserve against these things out there, equally about not feeling (completely) satisified with the Taglib|Struts 'patches'...However, being an absolute positivist by nature I believe in keep on trying for the best... from that angle I still have this hopefull reservation towards flow control, and a slight favourism for how xreporter is tackling the issue. Maybe we hould isolate that idea out of it? Oh well, in due time, and after it really catches on.

By the way: first installation reply's are coming in on the xreporter mailing list: You should hurry up if you want to be 'amongst the historical first' :-)

# Posted by mpo at 03:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2003
It's not *just* data. It's YOUR data.


What about your data?.

Dave Winer: much more important than having access to the source of the program, a program must give you complete control of your content, and for that, you must be able to get a copy. And you must be able to use some other piece of software to read it, that's why interchange formats and protocols are so important.


[Sam Ruby]

In public speaking opportunities I like to redefine this precise thing as 'The True Data Hijacking' (Which is not precisely as it is described by  The Threat of XML ). 

Question: how much are you "owner" of your articles written in MSWord? What happens if there (for whatever reason) is no Word around to change|view|print *your* article.  Scary?  

It's just us, sheep, that 'accept' any license scheme proposed to us, just because we were allowed to also pay for it?

We should at least bounce-back an equal license obliging the vendor eternal free access to OUR own data.

Of course this kindly reminds us of that other content-ownership thing that happened this week:  Teen cleared in landmark DVD case.

update: When doing my 'MSWord|ownership' routine in public I used to mention the POI project as a great way out of the catch-22 (as in: I don't want it - someone else did it - I want to read that data!).  Recently however my experience is that someone in the audience already knows and just waiting a bit before one of them speaks up just has a bigger effect.  This time the audience contained nobody less then Dr. POI himself. :-)

# Posted by mpo at 03:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 08, 2003
Less Silent Announce

There you have it. xreporter flies out into the big world. "To boldly go..."

Sure enough Bruno gave it great wings to start off with, and there is more willingness here to support the future, but I sure like to find some more of a (yet to be discovered) supporting community out there.

# Posted by mpo at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 06, 2003

"Much have I learned from my teachers, more from my fellow-students, but most from my pupils" - The quotation was on one of my university handbooks, and I must say I didn't really learn a lot from it :-p

Last Java Fundamentals course ended with some homework, and I'm now active reading through the solutions... even more then thinking about 'how will I explain this or that topic' I realize now that carefully considering 'why this or that constructions is not that good' makes me learn a lot.

{Sigh} Never to old to learn, I guess. - Another year started, happy one to you!

# Posted by mpo at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)