Thursday, October 28, 2004

I've enjoyed working at OSAF for the past eight months and I'm starting to understand why. We're nice but we're not losers.

We shipped a minor release this month - the 0.4 release of Chandler. The release date of October 26 was picked months ago, as was a candidate set of workflows and other tasks to achieve. We met our release date, partly by making some minor cuts to the feature set (though we still reached the overall goal of having something experimentally usable or demoable), partly by working professionally towards common goals. Even better, we did it without panic, without yelling at each other, without having sales presell the release (heh heh -- no sales). We didn't make developers stay all night. We didn't have unpleasant meetings. We didn't demonize anybody for their bug counts. And we still managed to release on a schedule.

I don't want to get too deep into how we did it (one could write a book), but it had a lot to do with honesty and trust. Maybe when the stakes and egos are high it's too easy to fool oneself into believing ridiculous schedules. I'd like to think our transparency (it's all out there on the wiki helped us be honest with ourselves and communicate potential problems early.

It's nice to have confirmation that it's possible to reach high goals and still be sane.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

My local security expert can be opinionated and frank, sometimes.

Me: "So have you ever tried getting IPSEC working?"

Him: "I'd rather have a prostate exam."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Making wedding stuff

I had a fun time making stuff for my friend's wedding a couple weeks ago. Now the pictures have come out.

I made silk shawls for the bridesmaids. Lessons learned:
  • I couldn't iron a double-folded-over edging into silk organza. Pin a lot.

  • Sewing raw silk organza edges into a folded border is hard. I bought black silk thread so the seam wouldn't show much, and then held the organza very taut, front to back, as I fed the pinned edge through the machine. Still, the tension in the seam pulled the organza together a bit, until I ironed the *&$! out of it.

  • Use a ton of water to iron silk charmeuse. But do iron, because it's worth it to get the piping straight.

  • Silk must be carefully pinned, particularly when you're sewing 7 layers together. Even so, I caught excess organza in the seam a couple times.

  • Use the right sewing needle to go through those 7 layers. When I used the needle I normally use for quilting, it made a scary "thunk" sound.

Sorry, no pics of the finished shawls at this point. They ended up black silk organza bodies, with charcoal charmeuse endings (folded over the raw organza edges) and purple charmeuse piping.

I was hanging around doing nothing on the wedding day and suddenly (but willingly) pressed into service making the ball for the flower girl to carry. The materials: a styrofoam ball, ribbon, and green "toothpicks" with wire already wrapped around the non-pointy end. The idea, as I saw it (but I Am Not A Florist) was to wrap the free end of the wire around a flower stem, then put the pointy end of the toothpick into the ball. Repeat until covered. Sounds simple, right? Lessons learned:
  • Plan ahead. Will you be putting leaves on the ball along with the flowers? Put them on first, dummy, or they cover up the flowers.

  • Pick flowers with strong stems. Flowers with weak structure will be soooo frustrating.

  • Wrap several flowers/leaves together onto the same toothpick. You probably don't have enough toothpicks, plus it goes faster.

  • Don't try to push the toothpicks in too far. Otherwise you push the wire or flower right off the toothpick just as it gets buried in styrofoam.

  • Attach the ribbon handle as strongly as you can -- it's going to be swung around by a 2.5 year old (cute Ava). Very firmly attach the ribbon to two toothpicks and stick them in at different angles so the tension doesn't pull them straight out.

  • Don't fret, there is no way to hold it without crushing some blooms or tearing off some petals now and then. After failed attempts at wrangling it with wire handles which backfired and tore off flowers, I just used the fingertips of one hand to support it.

  • Finally, don't worry. Everybody will love it anyway.

Actually, it turned out quite pretty. It's by no means the prettiest thing in this photo, but it worked. Many people helped out a lot and it was a beautiful wedding with a sense of cooperation. For example -- credits to Cheng for the photos I used here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Joe and St. Peter wrote a WebDAV-related IETF Internet-Draft recently. In fact, it combines two technologies I admire, WebDAV and XMPP, in a way that uses each technology precisely for what it's good for (WebDAV to store application data, XMPP to route application-specific messages).

I talked to a bunch of people at Educause about this yesterday, and they were excited about this and other new WebDAV features because many universities are betting on WebDAV. University of Memphis reports two services that people can't live without: email, and now WebDAV. Since WebDAV is such a flexible repository technology it's hard to tell a potential customer (like Memphis 2.5 years ago, when I worked at Xythos) what it will give them. But give it to users, and they will figure it out. Looks like the Atompub people are storing blog postings on a Web server, which students increasingly can do now via their WebDAV accounts [1]. And of course the universities are also keen on storing calendar data in WebDAV accounts. More application data in fewer server repositories means lower administration costs for these universities.

With all this increased excitement, you'd think I could get more people to show up at WebDAV Working Group meetings or contribute on the mailing list. The next meeting is in Washington DC, in the second week of November. Want to join in? It's easy -- all you have to do is... join in.

[1] I realize that although giving students WebDAV accounts is a little new, giving them Web accounts, or Web space in their Unix accounts, isn't new. However, in some colleges students had to request this service, or know enough Unix to be able to author the content. Plus raw HTTP doesn't support multi-user applications very well. WebDAV extends the usefulness and usability of personal Web space.

Friday, October 15, 2004

This is why I like cats.
I was trying to figure out if anybody was thinking of implementing CalDAV in Slide, so naturally I googled 'caldav slide'. No direct answers, but I did notice a LaughingMeme blog post from last spring that I'm sorry I missed, commenting on CalDAV. I agree with the gist of his caveats, and we're trying to address those, I think.
I can't vouch for the accuracy of this description of Canadian conversational styles (link via Julie), but it rings a bell -- whether because I'm Canadian, female or both, I don't know. Surprisingly, the "weaving" style can sometimes be seen as more aggressive, because it involves pushing conversational pieces into pauses. My American SO sometimes thinks I'm interrupting him. Well, I am interrupting if you assume there are rules about waiting until somebody is done speechifying even in one-on-one conversation, but the interjections are meant to build the conversation, not to be rude to him.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Recipe for Ginger ice cream -- sugar and no-sugar options

  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 1 cup ginger ale or diet ginger ale
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar or Splenda
  • 1 T. lemon juice

Soak the grated ginger root in half and half cream. Put this and the ginger ale and whipping cream in the fridge to chill for an hour or so. Use a fine sieve to take the fresh ginger out of the cream. Stir the ginger-flavored cream together with the whipped cream, ginger ale, sugar/Splenda and lemon juice. Immediately put in your ice cream maker etc..

Mmm! I imagine for those who love ginger and can also eat sugar, candied ginger would be a nice addition to the recipe.

Monday, October 04, 2004

How thrilling! After only two years, the XMPP WG has produced RFCs.
  • RFC3920, Core protocol (framework for applications like notifications, as well as instant messaging and presence)

  • RFC3921, Instant messaging and presence over the core protocol

  • RFC3922, how to map XMPP presence information and instant messaging to the same common interchange format that SIMPLE instant messaging can map to

  • RFC3923, requirements for end-to-end security of instant messages even when routed over more than one protocol

The work began earlier than two years ago, of course. Jabber was designed while Jeremy Miller was waiting for the IETF to come up with a standard IM protocol (and taking too long). When the IETF process still appeared stalled, Jeremy and others proposed that the IETF could standardize Jabber, by creating a working group to design a revision to Jabber that met the IETF standards for internationalization, security, XML namespace usage and a few other things. A BOF meeting was held in July 2002, very eventful and entertaining as IETF meetings go. The WG was formed, and I was added as a co-chair to help Pete Resnick, on October 31 2002. Peter Saint-Andre authored *all* of our internet drafts, doing a huge amount of difficult work in an extremely timely, professional and skilled manner. Whew! It's been fun!

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