Monday, April 25, 2005

A Pleasant Apertif -- DocBook NG: Lillet

DocBook NG is really more of an appetizer for the main DocBook 5.0 course to come later, but Norm Walsh has released the DocBook NG: "Lillet" release.

As of the April DocBook TC meeting, we've also adopted an official namespace for DocBook NG and 5.0:

Norm has Lillet releases for full DocBook NG, Simplified NG (Thanks, Norm!), Slides NG and Website NG! From Norm's post, changes in this release include:

  • Support <annotation>s as per the 20 Apr 2005 DocBook TC meeting.

  • Allow <alt> in more places

  • Allow <area> to have either linkends or xlink:href.

  • Allow floatstyle on <table> and <informaltable>. Remove float.

  • Restore <caption> to <mediaobject>; add it to <figure>, <example>, <table>, <informalfigure>, <informalexample>, and <informaltable>.

  • Change method attribute values to lowercase; make action an xsd:anyURI on <html:form>. Add enctype and accept attributes to <html:form>; support <fieldset>.

    Move the HTML form elements to a separate extended schema.

  • Allow common attributes on HTML table elements; allow orient, pgwide, tabstyle, and floatstyle on HTML table element.

  • Allow <title> to be optional on <equation>.

  • Restored <olink>.

The files for this release can be downloaded at: or Simplified NG at:

Bon Appétit!

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

DocBook vs. DITA

I was planning a post discussing this topic, but it looks like Lars Trieloff beat me to it with his post on DocBook vs. DITA.

Now that the DITA TC has approved the 1.0 version, it seems to be gaining quite a lot of momentum. Our (Flatirons Solutions) CTO, Eric Severson, spoke at the Content Management Strategies Conference, where they had 14 presentations on DITA related subjects! See for details.

I plan to get a lot more involvement in DITA in the near future. Perhaps you will see a new "DITA" category on the blog.

I will continue my involvement with DocBook, as I'm extremely interested in DocBook NG and Simplified DocBook!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Where in the World?

I just subscribed to Norm Walsh's WITW web service:

I'm sure it was a bit of a challenge to set up, but now that he's done all the hard work, using it is very easy!

So, just where is Scotty?

Try it and see!

Thanks Norm, for yet another useful tool!

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Congratulations, Katy!

I work with Katy, and just found out she is a Denver Broncos cheerleader outside of her day job! Katy successfully secured a spot on the squad for her third season!

She definitely breaks the typical cheerleader stereotype, and is a very talented software engineer.

You can read her bio at:

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XForms in Star Office

I was fortunate enough to attend Lars Oppermann's presentation on XForms in Star Office 8 at XML 2004. I was stunned at the power of this new feature and have been "chomping at the bit" for the Open Office equivalent to be released. Looks like OpenOffice 2.0 has this feature, and is now available as a snapshot build, though not a stable release yet.

Today, Erwin Tenhumberg posted a tutorial for getting started with XForms. You can check it out here:

Thanks to all the folks at Sun working on Star Office and Open Office, and thanks to Lars and Erwin!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Simplified DocBook NG in Kahlúa!


As promised, here is the announcement for the next release of Simplified DocBook NG!

Norm Walsh fixed an element name problem from the "Jägermeister" release of full DocBook NG, and at the same time has released an update to Simplified DocBook NG, which hasn't been officially updated since the "Bourbon" release.

This is a customization layer of DocBook NG that implements, as closely as possible, Simplified DocBook V1.1. The only differences are:

  • The <articleinfo>, <objectinfo>, and <sectioninfo> elements have bee replaced by <info>.

  • The <authorblurb> element has been replaced by <personblurb>.

  • The <corpauthor> element has been removed. The DocBook NG equivalent is <orgname> inside <author>.

  • The <personname> element has been added as it's now required for personal names (for example, inside <author>).

  • The <ulink> element has been removed. The equivalent is xlink:href on <link>.

The files are available at:

Enjoy! and THANKS NORM!

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Theology and robots

I came across a very interesting article about Anne Foerst's new book "God in the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About God and Humanity". Sounds like a very interesting read, if I ever finish my current reading list.

I'm almost finished with "Walking with Bilbo" by Sarah Arthur, using it in my morning reading time. Aside from that, it seems that I only have time to read Popular Science, and catch up on my Bloglines blogs...

The article mentions the Aibo, and I just happen to know a major hobbyist in the Aibo community, Richard Walkus! You can check out his site at:

I'm curious to see if anyone has read Anne Foerst's book. Post your thoughts!

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Star Wars boy

My wife sent me this email when I was in New York a few weeks ago, and I just have to share:

The boys were downstairs playing with star wars ships and their voices started to rise...

Connor - “Star Wars ships aren’t real!”
Collin - “ Yes, they are! Luke Skywalker flies them!”
Connor - “ No, they are just in the movie!”
Collin - “No, they ARE real – I’ve seen them!”
Connor - “ The movies just make them look real!”
Collin - “They are real!”

At this point they were getting heated so I stopped them but just thought it would make you smile to know that your youngest son may be more of a fanatic than you!

After being snowed in by a spring blizzard (16"!) yesterday, we watched the snow scenes from "The Empire Strikes Back". Wonder if that reinforced Collin's position or not? :-)

Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans!
"Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans!"

Sleep well, and keep your blaster handy!
Sleep well, and keep your blaster handy!

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Latest DocBook NG, "Jägermeister" now available!

The latest version of DocBook NG, based on the Relax NG grammar, has been released by Norm Walsh at:

Changes in this release include:

  • Added for simple equations.
  • Added for inline term definitions.
  • The constraints on spanname, colname, namest, and nameend where tightened.

Norm will also be creating a Simplified DocBook NG release, also based on Jägermeister! I'll follow up with a post when it is available.

Good work, Norm!

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Good things come to those who wait/blog!

I'm glad my wife reads my blog, too.

When I got home from New York, my wife and sons surprised me with a copy of Star Wars Lego: The Video Game! Not only that, but the game comes with a free ticket to Episode III!

We played the game together Saturday morning, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I'd read some good reviews, but for my 6 and 3 year olds to be able to play the game, and for it to have all the Star Wars and Lego quality I wanted, this will be my favorite PS2 game of all.

The game has a lot of extra features to replay with different characters and build custom lego models in the game! It has a high Star Wars and Lego nerd quotient. If you are either type of these nerds, you must get this game!

The other cool thing to come out on Saturday, was the Episode III collection of Lego sets. I was quite restrained, limiting myself to only 4 of the coolest sets:

More than anything, I'm out of room in my office, and I don't know where to put the new models... I'm going to have to get some of those expandable shelves from Home Depot or Organized Living!

I also let the boys pick out 1 toy of their choice. My oldest chose the Darth Vader Voice Changer Helmet, and my youngest the Clone Trooper Blaster Rifle. I had suggested the Anakin and Obi-Wan starfighters, but they wanted something with cool sound effects.

All I could say was, "Impressive, most impressive." My wife just rolled her eyes...

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I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!

I've spent another great week in the Big Apple. Our flight was delayed several hours inbound because of the rain on Monday, but the weather was just great for the rest of the week.

I was pretty beat, since we were supposed to arrive at 8pm, got in at 12am, and then had to unpack and crash by 1am.

On Tuesday, I had to hit up the Greek place near Madison Square Garden. The Gyro platter was awesome! For dinner, we went to Nick and Stef's Steakhouse at the Garden. I had so much for lunch though, that I had to settle for a light Caesar Salad w/ steak tips.

On Wednesday, I had a return visit to Guy and Gallard for a wonderful Cuban panini and the best Beef and Barley soup I've ever had! For dinner, we went back to the Tir na Nog Irish Pub near the Garden, though I opted for a burger this time.

Thursday was my favorite day of all. I worked from the hotel in the morning, doing updates to our documentation and preparing for our afternoon meeting. Around 11:30, I finished up and decided to make a "quick" run to the World of Disney store. Unfortunately, I didn't quite realize the hike from 9th and 36th to 5th and 55th! I made it around 12:15, and had a 1pm meeting at Two Penn Plaza near the Garden. I had about ten minutes to shop, and then run for a cab. The cabbie tore through the streets, giving me a true cab experience, and getting me to the meeting on time. He got a really good tip, too!

Our meetings finished up at a reasonable hour, so we walked to the Empire State Building. Unfortunately, the line was still really long, and I didn't want to stand around all night. So, we walked up to Rockefeller Center. They had a ton of Easter lillies out front, and they smelled heavenly. The ice rink was very cool.

The highlight of the night was going to the Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller center. In honor of New York, I had a Manhattan (a little strong, but the cherry finish was great). From the Rainbow Room, I think we had one of the best views of the city, without having to wait in line for hours!

Since it was nearing 9pm, we left for some lower cost dinner, and came across Via Brazil, a nice atmosphere with live music off Little Brazil. I had a mixed grill, and a terrific banana tiramisu for dessert.

Friday had another trip to Guy and Gallard this time for a Sicilian panini and some terrific clam chowder. After that, it was good bye to the great folks at McGraw-Hill Education, and back to my family in Colorado!

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Simplified DocBook 1.1 Official Release!

It is my pleasure to announce the release of the official Committee Specification for Simplified DocBook 1.1!

The second candidate release has been out for several months, with no major problems reported.

The major features of Simplified DocBook include:

  • The imageobjectco tag has been removed; it should never have been present.
  • The spacing attribute has been removed from variablelist.
  • The package element has been removed.
  • The biblioref element has been removed.
  • The content model of subscript and superscript have been adjusted so that they no longer contain references to elements not present in Simplified DocBook.
  • adds the subscript and superscript elements.
  • adds the anchor element to a few more parameter entities.
  • adds the anchor element and the remap attribute.
  • introduces HTML tables but no other additional markup.

These enhancements should also make it much easier to convert HTML documentation to DocBook.

I've always been a very strong proponent of Simplified DocBook, and will continue to do so on the DocBook TC. I think these are very positive changes.

Special thanks to Norm Walsh for handling the builds and release of Simplified 1.1, and for putting up with all of my quesions and promptings...

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A Great Loss

My sincerest, heartfelt condolences go out to all members of the Catholic Faith this evening at the loss of Pope John Paul II.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of sadness.

Though I am not Catholic, I personally know quite a few who are, and are feeling the loss of such a great man.

Though we are of different faiths, there are some core beliefs which we share, and I think that Pope John Paul II had a personal belief and relationship with Jesus Christ, and is therefore with Him in heaven tonight.

Even though many in this world do not share those core beliefs, I'm sure everyone would agree that John Paul II made a major positive impact on this world.

It is my great hope that the next Pope will carry forward this great humanitarian, and spiritual work, bringing many to faith in Jesus.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Giving Chance A Chance

I needed to get a USB hard drive for transferring files to/from clients. I priced them out at the local Best Buy, and found most 512MB versions around $79. I was curious to see how much an equivalent USB drive with MP3 features would cost, and was pleasantly surprised to find the iPod Shuffle for only $20 more! For that alone, the extra cost for the functionality was worth it.

My hotel in NYC happened to overlook the Lincoln tunnel (I think?), so I was getting quite a bit of street noise in the room. Even with the heater blowing and a pillow over my head, I could still hear it. So, I picked out a soothing blend of Jazz and New Age instrumentals, loaded them in the shuffle, and was good until morning!

The Apple billboard I saw in Times Square "Give chance a chance." was very appropriate. As far as the Shuffle is concerned, I like chance!

My son saw my Shuffle, and wants to save up for one of his own, too! He's quite the artist using Garage Band, and wants to jam to his own creations.

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