Web Services

I had the opportunity to answer the rather generic .NET sucks! assertion this
evening, this one pointed at the unwieldly oververbosity of XML. A valid point
circa ten years ago, but today broadband is ubiquitous, and even the largest XML
files are generally no bigger than 100k. And the advantages of having that
verbose data are huge – documentation, as this old spaghetti hack has
begrudgingly come to accept, is half of the job. (And if conforming to standards
is the other half, where does that leave the actual job?)

when applied to web services.
Unlike the java parsers and other XML-post destinations I encounter, my XML web
services are very browser-friendly. That default MS page is a wonderful shot of
my application, documenting –

– What functions my class can run.

– Exactly what your input for each of these functions needs to look like.

– Exactly what my output for each of these functions will look like, if I
get that proper input.

That simple little bit of verbosity, my friend, is a thing of beauty when it
comes to building apps that other people can understand at a glance. And isn’t
that what the web is all about?

Lists

The top 50 influences
on the tech world, according to silicon.com

I disagree with Ridge and especially Jintao, as they are as much figureheads
as anything else, whereas the corporate leaders – Gates? – are actually pulling
the triggers on decisions which effect all of us. Don’t really have any other
comments, lists like these are always so predictably subjective and usually to
the point of irrelevance, though when my tired brain scanned the list and bumped
against Daniel Egger, my reaction was ‘Dave Eggers? What the hell is he doing on
this list? Oh…".

Democracy

Listening to NPR this morning, hearing about how the tribal leaders in Afghanistan are using coercion by force to ensure their own victories in the upcoming elections. The reason elections don’t work in places such as Afghanistan is that there’s no traditional of deferential treatment for the excumbents. In America now as well as in the infant stages of the Democracy Experiment, the departing were fairly assured of being treated well after they gave up office. In Afghanistan, however, to lose power is to not only fall to the level of the tribe, but likely to be put to death as punishment for the suffering you enacted on whoever you enacted suffering on during your In-Chiefdom.

Public Transportation

The problem with public transport is that none of the vehicles are wired. A wired vehicle situation would mean that I could purchase a ticket either on a bus, a trolley or from the Net at home. Because often what I really want to do is to buy an allday pass – like it’s Saturday morning and I don’t want to drive because all the spots downtown are metered, so I want to take a bus to the trolley, and then in the afternoon another bus back uptown for lunch, and then finally the trolley again to a third destination. Only I can’t do that because you can’t buy an allday pass on a bus, which means that I have to play the Transfer Game. And deal with the unwieldliness of handling monies, paper usually and me never carrying less than twenties if I’m even carrying cash to begin with. And the worst of the worst, trying to shove crumpled bills into the trolley ticket machines.

So what we need is a card with a pin #, and a site where we can deposit funds into the account linked to the number. So that we can either pay ahead or have our rides debited as we go. And if we lose the card, we just call a phone number, key the pin, and the card is void. The privacy ramifications of course need to be considered, but we would also make fixed-amount debit cards available, so that anyone who didn’t want the government to know which buses they’ve been riding could ride anonymously (assuming the debit card was purchased with cash).

And I’m not even mentioning the positioning benefits of a wired system – like I could punch up on my cell phone and know in seconds if I should be on First to catch the eleven downtown or on fourth to catch the five or the six.

The PBX Market

Why has Microsoft not joined the PBX game? I would think the field would be ripe – there’s not a lot of loyalty, in my experience most legacy systems are loathed and in fact held onto due to the extreme cost of swapping out proprietary equipment / code, from the software systems which link the data to CRMs etc to the those $1000 dollar phones sitting on cube desks.

And why do I want M$oft in the PBX game? Easy. I want voice messages and even phone calls shoved into Exchange. I want text recognization software to scan my calls and produce transcripts of them and I want those transcripts, along with a wav/mp3 file, shoved into an exchange folder.

This would be easy of course if for example Avaya would give me the data via XML. Will they? Here I am, playing visionary, when I’ve got an Avaya PBX of my own, monstruous dinosaur of incredible capabilities, sitting in my shop, just waiting to be monkeyed with.

I shall report back.

Café Culture

Went to Caffe Italia in Wee Italy to write after work and after wading thru an hour of Pads-Dogs traffic, but gave it up after wading across a rather nasty monoversation. The singular crowd, with one by one dominant voices, are anathema to proper concentration, as another fellow laptop warrior who bailed on the scene would certainly attest. A quiet, well lit room is of course the one ideal, with the steady hum of a packed, boisterous, enthused crowd being the other, and both situations being extremely conducive to two different but vivacious and productive creative vibes. That one voice though, that noisy guy and that noisy girl, clean clear and naked burning through your brain with their conversational demagoguery, these are unbearable, and so I left, to head home to make a simple black bean sauté and watch some baseball.

Learning From Drugs

tonight’s glass of french vin blanc evokes last night’s, and despite not inhaling any cannibinoids I can feel their pull, the world slowing to a careful, beatwise flow, allowing ideas to form, bloom, burst in midair – a pleasant end to the day.