Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Echo: Stop the madness!

Log Format Roadmap. There seems to be quite some excitement around Ram Ruby's Roadmap. At first I was a little skeptical on the project (why not calling it YASF as in Yet Another Syndication Format?). After reading Tim Bray's why we need a new format at all I think that it's worth a try. Recent history tells us that the main divide was between people saying "It has to be powerful and thus not necessarily easy to understand, we will build tools to manage the complexity" and others saying "It has to be simple so that anybody will be able to hack new solutions using it without being an expert". Both positions make sense. You don't really need to understand how the jpeg format works to create cool images, but at the same time all of us learned html looking at other people's pages, because it was relatively easy to understand. Ultimately it's only a matter of a very little number of tools vendors, most of them small companies, agreeing on a new standard and changing the world. [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

My first thoughts were "don't we have enough format arguments as it is?"  I guess I am less skeptical now.  Maybe this is a chance to end the madness and get our collective shit together.

I like the sound of Echo as a name for the new format (much more than PIE).  I think a new name is essential to avoid getting into squabbles about RSS 1.5, 3.0, whatever...

I would prefer that it not use RDF unless that is absolutely necessary.  If there are advantages to having RDF available then Danny Ayers has already shown how this can be achieved.  On the other hand I would like to see some advantage taken of the work that has been done on topic maps, like XTM, XFML and ENT.

I'm also hopeful that Dave's comment (I was a little suprised not to find a permalink) indicates that he will support the new format although I notice he has not added his name to the list of supporters.

25/06/2003 11:17 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

The good, the bad, and the flexible

Bosses and workers split over flexi-working. Surprised? We didn't think so [The Register]

Employers who think this issue is going to go away are in for a nasty shock.  When people tell you that the benefits of flexible working are as important to them as high salary you are a fool if you don't listen.  So what do you do?

First you acknowledge that the problems inherent in a more flexible workforce are soluble and that there may be tangible benefits to be gained as well.  One of which is likely to be a happier, more effective, work force.  In the long run people who are more in tune with, who have balanced, their own lives are likely to deliver much more value for their employers.

Loss of productivity is cited as one problem.  If you have employed good people & they are properly set-up for home working then loss of productivity should be short-term and minimal.  If you haven't employed good people then maybe you have problems closer to home.

A big issue that I am very interested in is the potential breakdown in community.  The loss of face-to-face time and the weakening of the social fabric of your organisation.  That could have a huge impact on your ability to get the right things done.

This is very much an area that I am looking at for our k-collector software.  Helping an organisation which is at the breaking point of it's communities to rebuild those bonds and, where possible, to create new ones.

As I have said before I think that it is people and their relationships that drive business.  The better those relationships are, the greater your capactiy to make things, the right things, happen.

If you have a flexible working issue right now I suggest getting in touch with someone who really knows what they are talking about, like John Blackwell.

25/06/2003 13:31 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Support your local hacker

Why I'm Buying 'Hacking the Xbox'. MIT's Bunny Huang has written an important book -- "Hacking the Xbox" -- that covers more than its title suggest.... [Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

Dan putting his money where his mouth is.

25/06/2003 19:14 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments: