The Killers

While this post may be late to the party, I’m far from it. Lauren introduced me to The Killers back in October I believe, maybe even sooner. We then went and saw The Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse at a Christmas concert in December where The Killers totally stole the show. It’s not often that I totally get into a band, but I have to admit that this band pretty much completely rocks my socks off. The whole album is great and I highly recommend checking out their album “Hot Fuss”.

Who designed the intelligent designer?

I’ve been sort-of following the recent push to introduce intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution. I’m totally against this for two reasons.

  1. Intelligent design smacks of religious overtones. The Supreme Court has, time and time again, ruled that religion has no place in public schools. If you’re so intent on having your kids learn intelligent design then send them to a private religious school.
  2. The huge hole in this theory is the question of who created this “intelligent designer”? Where did they come from? Where they in turn designed by another intelligent designer; one even more intelligent than our own designer? Or, oh the irony, did they evolve from some lesser designers?

My main complaint with the whole thing is that the market should fill this void. If there is a demand from parents wanting their children “taught” this “theory” then that demand should be met by private schools who have teachers on staff that are well versed in this theory. The courts all agree it’s illegal to teach it in public schools so why not save us all the headache and send your kid to private school where they’ll be taught all about this amazing new “theory”?

Present status of XSLT support in browsers

Despite supporting XSLT Safari 2.0 ignores XSLT when it comes to RSS/RDF (I would assume Atom as well) feeds. This means that, if you have an XSLT transformation on your site’s various feeds, Safari will ignore the XSLT and render it within its native RSS viewer. Needless to say I’m not happy about this.

I’ve also discovered that Mozilla’s XSLT parser ignores disable-output-escaping, which, in their defense, is deprecated. In order to properly output XHTML/HTML that may be present in your <![CDATA[ ... ]]> you need to do the following.

  1. Remove your <![CDATA[ ... ]]>
  2. Make sure the markup inside of the <![CDATA[ ... ]]> is valid.
  3. Use <xsl:copy-of select="./*"/> to copy the content of the valid XHTML (it’s no longer HTML once it’s valid XML) into your output.

I’ve got an example (tested in Firefox, but not IE) of my RDF feed here. If you’re using Safari you’ll notice that it uses the new RSS reader instead of displaying my XSLT output. Thanks Apple. The odd part is that XSLT works just fine with non-RSS/RDF XML. The only thing I can guess is that Safari recognizes certain RSS tags and switches to whatever the RSS/RDF reader is.

I’ve been thinking about redoing the site so that it’s just XML/XSLT. This was the initial test to see how things would work in various browsers. Things look good, but in order to support Safari, I’ll have to use non-RSS/RDF XML.

I have seen the future

Lots of people, including me, have wondered where the internet will be going in the future. What will be the next big boom? What will the next big technology be? Too late – Google has whooped everyone’s asses to the punch.

It’s been predicted before and, maybe, I’m just a little late in “getting it”, but XMLHttpRequest (aka AJAX) and web services (ie. SOAP) are totally where the web is heading. Combine this with micro formats and the semantic web and you can start to see where things are heading.

In the next five years it will no longer be acceptable to simple post XHTML to a website. Users will start demanding semantic XML delivered via HTTP through SOAP or XML-RPC so they can consume the information you post online in any manner they wish. The browser space will explode with new, alternate viewing methods (RSS aggregators being the first in a long line of new products that will alter the way we consume online materials).

If having an Internet connection isn’t already a requirement it will be within 10 years because, at that point, your operating system will rely on an Internet connection to function. If Google has anything to say about it you’ll most likely be booting off of their massive cluster. This has been widely anticipated for some time and I can see it’s already happening (GMail being a good example).

So, where are the opportunities? I see huge opportunities in the consulting end with helping people to bring web services online quickly. I also see a huge arena for people to create new specialized applications geared around specific web services. I also see new protocols popping up based on web services (ie. every photo sharing site publishing API’s that work the same for each site). The specialized applications I mentioned before will utilize these new protocols to create rich new applications that allow you to consume information in a totally new way. For instance, I could browse to img:// to view Cam’s photos. Or you could go to acronym://SOAP and have it give you a definition for SOAP. My favorite would be someone who would create info://Joe+Stump which would leverage the various API’s from Wikipedia, Google, etc. into a single “fact sheet” for the term provided. The possibilities are endless in this arena.

The interesting thing to mention here is that programming languages, for the most part, will become a moot point. It won’t matter what I program my web services in or what programming language you use to consume my web services. With AJAX, XML and web services the future is looking very interesting on the web.

I studied today

I did something today that I didn’t think I’d ever do again – I studied for a test. I’m scheduled to take the GMAT on July, 15th. A few days ago I picked up a few books that cover the GMAT and spend about an hour today looking over the first two chapters.

I’m getting somewhat anxious over the whole idea of going back to school, but it’s also exciting. I hated school in undergrad, but I’m excited to go to school this time. I think this is mainly because of the fact that undergrad is comprised of, mostly, mediocre teachers, students and course materials. This time around I imagine it being differently. The University of Washington’s MBA program is ranked 18th in the nation. I envision great teachers who have hands on experience and students that actually want to be there. Should be fun.

Anyone have an extra $50,000 USD laying around they’d like to lend me?