Archive for February, 2008

Conspiracy meetings

(About the move of my blog: it was in part due to buggy Blogspot code, but now I also have a more flexible solution. Overkill at this point, maybe, but that’s me. 🙂 )

I’ll go to FOSDEM this weekend (where the former President of the FFII will be speaking), and hopefully see Richard Stallman come here next Tuesday.

Next week is the BRM for OOXML, and I wouldn’t want to be in Alex Brown‘s shoes. Maybe the meeting itself won’t be so dramatic – no press allowed there, for one thing – but it’ll be interesting to see just how much bullying ISO national bodies are going to take from Microsoft, I mean ECMA. Basically, the strategy has changed from “OOXML is a perfect standard, and there isn’t even as much as a spelling error” to “look, since we’re good guys, we’ll include your idea too – now there are at least two ways to do everything”. To use a car analogy (sorry):

You: This car is not working, the engine is broken.
ECMA: How do you know? Let’s give it some time.
You: It is broken, alright.
ECMA: OK, look. We added a new one.
You: Doesn’t work.
ECMA: Yes it does. Start both engines.
You: I told you, the old one is broken. Why didn’t you just fix it?
ECMA: Come on, one of them is new, isn’t it great!

All that is missing is a press release from SCO that endorses OOXML. (Oh, is it flying pig season again? The fine company that made up random lawsuits about Linux, then went through bankruptcy proceedings, is now getting $100 million in support. Maybe I have been focused on the wrong career?)

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CNN notes that the EU is looking into the OOXML actions of Microsoft (the original article requires a subscription).

I wouldn’t count on the EU to show more backbone than last time, but I guess the company won’t be so happy about the timing, considering the BRM takes place in about two weeks from now. (By the way, isn’t all this bad press quite ridiculous? People keep confusing themselves with ideas such as “quality”, or “fair play”. It’s so annoying!)

After that, there’s another month for voting countries to present their final opinion, so I guess we’ll have to wait until the beginning of April for the actual outcome. (Would a rejection from ISO put an end to it, though? Or would an approval of OOXML be taken seriously?)

One thing is clear: both Microsoft and ISO will have to reshape – the length of the rubber stamping process demonstrates clear deficiencies on both ends. Let’s hope for the best.

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Mortal assumptions

Update 2 Aug 2010 09:27: correct year of said update now denoted. 🙂
Update 2 Aug 2010 09:20: replaced a Wikipedia link.

(Warning: clear signs of philosophical tendencies follow.)

Humans. When will we ever learn?

Why could, say, sarcasm be so hard to convey at times? An audience would simply assume a message is serious, and for some reason – no matter how absurd the conclusions would seem – the assumptions are not the first to be questioned.

To make things worse, sometimes said conclusions are not communicated back, but maybe this is not a big deal in the long run? Or maybe it is?

Interpreting a message without trying to understand the context is like running a business without a strategy.

Incidentally, I suggest the more convinced you are that you know the context and the underlying motives, the more likely it is that you don’t. Just consider e-mail conversations.

Apparently, exercising the mind with openness means accepting that there are no simple answers. On the other hand, it should bring you closer to the truth, so it seems like a logical choice. Inconvenient, maybe, but logical.

What, then, is worse than one assumption? Software patents, of course! (Oops, I meant: “several assumptions”.)

Now and then, I see people who argue heavily for one cause one day, and the opposite the next. Repeat this process any number of times, without any tangible attempts of understanding what went wrong, or even the mere awareness of having changed their mind (a possible side effect of using the gut).

So, how many assumptions did you just engage in when reading this post? (Don’t forget to count the idea that they can be counted in the first place.)

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