Thursday, February 26, 2015

A new chapter

I can't believe my last post was back in 2011! The advent of social media has definitely affected my available blog time. If you need to catch up on my recent activity, check out my FaceBook or Twitter.

They say the best time to leave a job is on your own terms and timing. That is also true in this case. I was contacted by a member of one of my XML standards committees about an opportunity to consult in my area of expertise. I will be providing information design and XML content management consulting with Comtech Services, Inc. I will also continue to be active in the OASIS DITA and OASIS DocBook standards, but sadly, not ONVIF.

My first ONVIF meeting was in Zug, Switzerland at Siemens, and it turns out my last meeting was at Pelco in Fort Collins, Colorado. I touched a lot of areas in ONVIF, including:

I truly consider my time with ONVIF to be one of the major accomplishments of my career.

I also had a lot of successes at Pelco. I managed the Pelco Developer Network (PDN) site, including information architecture, administration and content creation. I optimized the process for creating the Pelco SDK documentation using oXygen XML editor, schematron and DITA. I implemented the WSDL documentation format for the Pelco APIs.

Considering that I was entirely new to the video surveillance industry, I think I made a decent impact over almost 5 years! I was able to bring best practices in XML documentation to Pelco and to the ONVIF standard, and met many unforgettable people and places along the way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our first ONVIF compliant product!

I've been representing Pelco by Schneider-Electric on the ONVIF standard since last July. Not only have we been involved in several key Working Groups, but also hosted the December Face-2-Face meetings at our corporate headquarters in Clovis, CA.

We just achieved another big milestone this week: Pelco has just validated our first ONVIF-compliant product: DigitalSentry NVS!

Details about the release are here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

When Hudson went to China

I recently went on a business trip to Hangzhou, China. Following is a log of my trip. You can view the pictures here.

First, I made the mistake of staying awake the entire flight to get on “China time”. Should have slept the whole trip to be rested and recover more easily.

BTW, Hangzhou is correctly pronounced “Haw-ng-Joe”

Monday: Got to tour the Lingyan Temple (4 different temples, 1 giant budda, building built like a swastika filled with 500 statues of disciples of budda, lots of incense, other huge statues that people were bowing and praying to. I had the famous Lingyin green tea in a tea garden at the monastery, served with peanuts, cherry tomatoes, lychee (new and interesting to me!), cumquats, sunflower seeds, oranges. Then went to the Leifeng Pagoda, which was on the West Lake. Very beautiful! Had famous noodle bowl at a restaurant with eel strips.

Tuesday: after meetings our host, Tony, took us all to a big sit-down dinner at a nice restaurant near the Leifeng Pagoda – beautifully lit up at night! Large lazy susan on the table and had at least 20 different specialty courses such as: Beggar’s Chicken, Vinegar Fish, bbq pork, lotus stems, dumplings, soup, flattened-sweet sticky rice (tasted like toasted marshmallow, but looked like pork fat).

Wednesday: after meetings, Tony took us to two famous outdoor markets. You had to haggle. Got Dawn a Louis Vitton ipad purse, 2 jade necklaces, 2 disney watches, all for 440 RMB = $66.91 USD! Found some nice chopsticks, but they weren’t willing to negotiate. I was afraid to buy silk pyjamas, for fear of size - the chinese are much smaller people! Will have to wait for airport to get the boys shirts and hats and my hat pin. I am also hoping to get a jade jewelry box or some silk paintings. Learned the phrase: Tai gui le = too expensive!

Thursday: after meetings, Tony ftook us to a very famous local show called Impressions of West Lake, which was created and directed by Zhang Yimou (creator of the Bejing Olympics opening). The stage was under about 4” of water on the lake, so the people were all dancing on the water! It was a very well done show. All for $150 RMB, too!

On a side note, KFC is huge here! I’ve seen several of them in various places. Another chain I have seen is Subway. I haven’t seen McDonalds or other major chains though.

Friday: for lunch today, had a very spicy yellow soup, but good! Also, apparently, I ate dog. It was very salty and mixed with rice and some kind of pink sausage. I was more afraid of the sausage. Of course, I wasn’t told it was dog until afterwards... Tonight, Stuart was tired of eating vegetables, since he couldn’t eat much with a peanut allergy in China. We went to a French restaurant. I tried a French Bordeaux wine and Beef tenderloin with bacon and fried duck liver.

Saturday: I wanted to go to the The Six Harmonies (Liuhe) Pagoda and the Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley(虎跑泉). It was raining, so instead, we took the high speed train to Shanghai and went to the black market above the Science and Technology Center, then to the Bund area by the river and then to the Jin Mao tower for drinks/lunch. Unfortunately, they gave Stuart something with peanuts, so he had a bad reaction. We got out of there quick and back to the train station. Was hoping to go on the Mag Lev they have, but we had no time. Instead, when we got back to Hangzhou, Lei took me to see the Six Harmonies Pagoda, but we got there just after it closed.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best in Show!

This past Friday I was honored by the Colorado State University Department of Technical Journalism as part of the 2nd annual Alumni Media Festival.

Out of about 150 entries, about 25 "Cammy Award of Excellence", 10 "Cammy Grande" awards, and 4 Best of Festival awards were given out. Entries spanned Broadcast, Newswriting, Public Relations an Technical Writing. Each entry was judged on a 0 to 100 point scale.

At the last minute, I decided to enter the specification for the DocBook Schema for Publishers, which finally achieved OASIS Committee Specification status this past August. The entry scored 100 points and was awarded a "Best of Festival" award!

Department Chair Greg Luft presenting me with the award
A proud Ram and his awards

Best of Festival Award


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another beginning's end
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." Seneca

After 5+ years in content management consulting at Flatirons Solutions, I've decided to move on to new opportunities.

I've had a great experience with colleagues and clients and had some very cool travel opportunities! In fact, I've achieved a few of my life goals and grown professionally and personally as a result. It has been a good run.

Some of my most favorite/memorable projects include:

  • Boeing Delta LPD
  • John Wiley and Sons HECMS - Oxford, India, NYC
  • McGraw-Hill Create
  • Jeppesen
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  • Cerner
  • McData
  • Informa
  • McGraw-Hill Digital Asset Library
  • Harvard Business School Press

I've also had the privilege of speaking at several conferences, including:

  • XML 2006
  • DITA 2007 West
  • OASIS Symposium 2007
  • XML 2009

In fact, many of my travels can be attributed to my work at Flatirons.

I've also taken a significant role in standards as Flatirons' Standards Coordinator. I helped to create:

  • DITA 1.1
  • DocBook v5.0
  • DITA Learning Content specialization
  • DITA for the Web
  • DocBook Publishers schema
  • DocBook eLearning schema

I hope to continue my involvement in DocBook and standards at my new company, including a new (for me) standard: ONVIF

I'm going to be an API Architect for Pelco ( Pelco makes high-end security cameras and systems, so I'm sure I'll be monitoring your activities soon. ;-)

To all of my former colleagues both at Sun/Oracle and Flatirons, as well as my former clients and the folks on the various standards committees: I have been honored to work along side you and get to know you. Please stay tuned here or on FaceBook to monitor my activities! Let's stay in touch!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DocBook for eLearning

I'm very happy to announce the formation of the DocBook Subcommittee for eLearning! The DocBook Technical Committee approved the subcommittee and following charter on 21 Oct 2009:


For more than a decade, DocBook has provided a structured markup vocabulary for hardware and software documentation. DocBook is now widely used in both commercial and Open Source environments. DocBook has a very broad element set, and applies to much more than just technical documentation. The DocBook TC is engaged in evolving the suite of DocBook specifications. The community benefits from having a standard, open, interchangeable vocabulary in which to write structured content. DocBook has been, and will continue to be, designed to satisfy this requirement.

The OASIS DocBook SubCommittee for eLearning is chartered to develop and maintain official variants of DocBook in support of the eLearning industry. Specifically, the subcommittee will focus on schema and stylesheet customizations to support:

  1. Develop and design a DocBook-based method for creating reusable learning objects, and the learning content types needed to support them. Some specifics of the design for learning content include:
    1. learning types, including assessments and exercises
    2. a content assembly for structuring, sequencing and managing the learning types as reusable learning objects
    3. linking and relationships between learning objects
    4. interactions
  2. Establish guidelines that promote best practices for applying DocBook markup to learning content

Scope of Work

This subcommittee will submit additional enhancements back to the full DocBook standard as appropriate. The scope of this DocBook subcommittee is eLearning content. Broadly, this includes online learning, instructor-led training and other related educational materials.

This effort will deliver on the following goals:

  • Build official DocBook variants, based against the DocBook v5.0 schemas.
  • Address issues and enhancement requests that have arisen from experience with real-world DocBook and eLearning implementations.
  • Add support for features specific to the eLearning industry.

We already have 5 members, who are very eager to get started! If you are an OASIS member and would like to participate, please let me know!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Incredible India!

I had the incredible opportunity to travel to India last week on business. It was hectic, so I didn't keep a regular blog for each day. Instead, I kept a brief log of my travels which I'm posting below. I also posted pictures to:

4:30a local time, 23 Aug 2009

I'm in India! As I've only seen the airport and darkened roads at night to the hotel, I have to say it reminds me a little of Mexico -- the people look different, and the roadside adverts are in a different foreign language, but there are some strong similarities. On the plus side, almost everyone speaks very good English (except my driver) and are very friendly.

Favorite trip moments (so far):

  • Flying over Ireland when I was awake! It truly is the Emerald Isle!
  • Lime Pickles on the flight from London to Chennai. No, it didn't taste like lime OR pickles, but it was still very tangy and tasty!

I basically stayed up for 24 hours straight, since I worked early on Friday and then stayed awakefor the Denver-London leg. Sleeping on a plane is never great, but did get some rest from London-Chennai!

I'm a little bushed still, so am going to take a cat nap. We are going to see the sights at 8am!

6:15p, 23 Aug 2009

Just got back from a day of sightseeing in Chennai.

Our host, Abel, was very gracious throughout the day. We tried tender coconut, saw Mamallapuram and the Shore Temple, and ate at a wonderful place on the beach called Fisherman's Cove.

Unfortunately, I thought I was also pickpocketed for $5USD and 500INR. I thought I had left it in my pocket when I wanted to get some change. When I went to use it, I couldn't find it and thought the worst as I searched my pockets. Thought a bunch of street vendors that were very persistent had taken it. My host felt very bad, as did I (although I thought it was a $15 lesson to me...).

Turns out I outsmarted my jet-lagged self and moved it to a hidden zipper pocket on my pants!

Didn't find it until I was going through all my pockets at bedtime. Will issue an apology to my host when I see him again!

There are motorcycles everywhere! Tons of them. It's the easiest way to get around. It's funny to see ladies in sarees riding sidesaddle behind a guy riding the motorbike.

We then went shopping for sarees. Got some very beautiful ones, that I hope the girls will like.

Also jet lagging very bad now. Almost fell asleep in my food at dinner! Time to go to bed, methinks!

24 Aug 2009

Met with a vendor today. Very nice office, and very smart people. They are most gracious hosts.

They took us shopping for saree tops at the famous Nalli and Porthy shops. Must be a million sarees in there as they each had about 5 floors worth! Then they took us to dinner at the Pergola restaurant atop the Accord Metropolitan hotel. Very modern, top-floor restaurant overlooking Chennai. I told them it was the Rainbow Room of Chennai!

25 Aug 2009

Met with a new vendor today. It was quite a bit further and we got stuck in traffic. We started a bit late. The working conditions seemed much more "rustic". They also work multiple shifts, so they are open round the clock. Training went OK. John and I had dinner at the hotel at the Peshawari restaurant. It was very good, Tandoori grill. They had amazing, different ice cream, too. I also tried "filter coffee" today. It apparently is slow brewed with chicory root. I liked it.

26 Aug 2009

Met with another vendor today. Nice facilities, and another sharp group. They were also kind enough to take us to see St. Thomas Mount on the way to the airport, where it is said that the Apostle Thomas was martyred, and a bone fragment has been retained as a relic. Interesting history, and nice view of the city from up there.

Our flight was delayed about 2 hours, so we didn't get to Delhi until 1am. Didn't get to the hotel until 2am, unpacked until 3am. Had to get up at 7am to get breakfast before going to the client site.

The hotel, BTW, is outstanding! I can see why several Presidents have stayed here! If my room is this nice, I wonder what the Presidential Suite looks like?!

27 Aug 2009

Traffic was really bad, so we still started an hour late! More smart folks, and a really nice facility! They have 5 floors, too.

Ate dinner at Buhkara. It's world famous and right in the ITC Maurya, New Delhi. Very good food!

The dessert was interesting. Tasted like rose water flavored noodles alongside pistachio ice cream. Yum!

28 Aug 2009

Great day. Wonderful folks, and very smart. On the way to take John to the airport, we stopped and saw Qutb Minar - built in 200-300 A.D.! Incredible detail and design. Quite beautiful. Traffic was a mess at 7pm. After getting John to the airport, we had dinner at an amazing restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel. Beautiful hotel lobby, and then great food! The palatte cleanser was served in this teapot-looking thing, that was spewing forth vapors. It looked like it would burn you, but was actually dry ice! it was a yummy tamarind ice cream. very good company, food and dessert.

29 Aug 2009

Saw all kinds of things today: Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, lunch at the Monsoon restaurant at Le Meridien. The water wall was very cool, and the best ginger ale ever! After lunch, went shopping at Connaught Place, then Akshardham Temple, then sunset at India Gate. Got a flower chain made of Chameli (Jasmine) blossoms - the Indian girls wear them in their hair for the flower's potent perfume scent. I also learned "BHAJSA" - the sequence of the Mughal Emperors: Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan (builder of Taj Mahal), Aurangzeb Alamgir.

30 Aug 2009

Today is my birthday! We tried to get an early start at 6am, but it was raining, so traffic was horrible. They didn't get to the hotel until about 6:40am. Then it was about a 5 hour drive to Agra. It was worth it, because the rain cleared so the Taj Mahal was beautiful! Momentous occassion to see one of the 7 Wonders of the World on my birthday! After the Taj, we had lunch at the ITC Agra hotel. They had delicious Moong Dal Ka Halwa - a sweet pudding made from lentils.

Then we went to Agra Fort. It's amazing how much inlay was done in both Taj and Agra Fort! Then we made our way back to the Intercontinental Hotel for dinner - they had made a birthday cake for me and requested the live band sing Happy Birthday to me!

31 Aug 2009

Traveling home today. It was a great trip, but I miss my family and look forward to seeing them!

Got a surprise upgrade from Delhi to London, so I was able to rest on this leg. Need to stay awake from London to Denver to get back on Colorado time.

Overall, I had a wonderful first trip to India! The people, places and food were all absolutely incredible. I hope to return again soon.

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