Friday, December 07, 2007

VISAGE, Air Traffic Control and Google Earth!

Flatirons is doing some VERY cool work with the FAA. One result of this work is a tool called VISAGE, a geospatial visualization and analysis tool that processes data into files that are loaded into Google Earth. These faces of VISAGE provide aeronautical viewing for the FAA legacy En Route system adaptation (ACES) and the modernization effort (ERAM).

You can check out the solution brief here:

If you are interested in seeing a demo, check out one of the following links:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Move to ROA

Saw an interesting post on the O'Reilly blog from XML 2007:

Instead of SOA (SOAP, XML Schema, WSDL, UDDI, WS-*) move to ROA: RelaxNG, REST, Atom, AtomPub, and OpenSearch.) [I’ve never heard “Resource oriented architecture”/ROA before.]

Sounds right to me! Of course, you know my famous quote:

If you're not RelaxNG, you're working too hard!

Sounds like the industry is finally catching on! I'll have to look deeper into this ROA approach as well.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Missing XML 2007

Once again, I'm left disappointed because I couldn't get travel authorization from my company. This happened when I was at Sun, and now at Flatirons. It's frustrating because the big XML conference is one of the best opportunities to learn about cutting edge developments in the industry and to network with industry leaders. It's about the best form of training I can get anymore. Once you are at a certain level of XML expertise, web courses just don't cut it!

Unfortunately, my paper wasn't accepted this year, or I would have tried to find a way to pay my own way to get there. I had to do that one year when I was at Sun, and swore I shouldn't have to do that again.

I'm also disappointed, because I'll miss the annual DocBook Dinner! Hopefully I'll get a chance to see everyone at some point during the new year...

Following the Star...

As yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, we studied Prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. The Star of Bethlehem also plays a significant part in foretelling the coming of the King.

We watched an extremely interesting video concerning the Star and research that was done matching the Scriptures and celestial positions using the Starry Night software. More information can be found at:

If you have any kind of interest in astronomy or are looking for deeper meaning to this Christmas season, I would highly encourage you to check it out!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

This year we're trying something a little different. We're sending out Christmas Cards without the traditional letter and directing people here to do our part in "being green".

We've had a great year! Here's an update from each of the family members:

Dawn - I'm still busy with homeschooling the kids, which I enjoy more and more as the kids get older and we start talking and learning about really interesting things like the science of creation or the effect of Christianity in Rome or the foundations and beliefs of the United States. It's great fun! This year was extra chaotic as I directed our church's summer VBS program, hosted my Grandma's 80th Birthday and am currently co-directing the Christmas play. The word 'No' is still a concept beyond me. Scott and I did manage to spend some quality time in NYC for our 11th anniversary where my wonderful husband took me to "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King" on Broadway. I loved every second of it and then and there determined to bring the kids to "The Little Mermaid" which was being held in Denver for pre-Broadway shows in August. We had a magical time. Oh, and we went back to Disneyland with our adopted family Mo and Alex Gulas in September. I know, it's an addiction but one not likely to end any time soon. Overall, God is good everyday and has blessed us with a fabulous year!

Scott - I'm now in my 3rd year as a consultant, and I've spoken at 3 conferences and have a technical book out with an interested publisher! I've been fortunate to only work with one major client this year, and that work has taken me to New York City, San Francisco and Oxford, England! Oxford was a particular treat, since I took a little extra time (on Mother's Day nonetheless, which Dawn continues to point out...) to go on the C.S. Lewis tour and experience this incredible city! Dawn and I have been able to travel quite a bit together this year, including New York City, San Diego (twice), and our favorite: Disneyland! It was great to spend the day with Brandon and getting to meet Carina! We also got to see the Red Bull Air Races in San Diego on that trip (very cool!). I was also blessed to take Collin to a Broncos game, and Connor to Game 3 of the World Series! Caileigh and I have a special engagement in December, too. This year, I also took the MSF safety course and now have my motorcycle endorsement, and am saving patiently for a good commuter bike. Life continues to be busy, but fun, and blessed with good family (including a new nephew, Garrin!) and friends.

Connor - I am 9 years old and in 5th grade, and learning Spanish, Latin and started a new math program from Singapore (Singapore Math). In June I went to a Bible camp by myself for the first time, called Maranatha. I went with my best friend, Austin. I played basketball last January, and I learned about a new programming language called Scratch! I continue to learn piano and compose my own songs, too! I really liked going on California Screamin' at Disneyland and getting soaked at Sea World. I got to meet Dusty Baker at the World Series, which was AWESOME!

Caileigh - I am 6 years old and in 2nd grade. I have a really fun math and I like to do art the most. I had swim lessons and went to Soccer Camp this summer, which I really loved. The new Nemo ride at Disneyland was really fun. I liked the roller coasters too. I also went to Sea World and saw the dolphins which I really liked. I got to talk to a dolphin trainer, too. I had a great time seeing Little Mermaid before it went to Broadway! I really studied hard and got a really big part in the Christmas Play; the character's name is Holly. Merry Christmas!

Collin - I am 6 years old and in 2nd grade. This year I went to Disneyland and my favorite was getting Miss Mo on Tower of Terror, since I had to go on Pirates (I was scared and didn't like it)! I went to Soccer Camp with coach Poncho and I loved it. I've been in soccer for a long time. I also went to Grammy's house with my favorite cousin, Jadin. I also went to the Children's Museum with my friends Carly and DiDi. I loved going to a Broadway show, too. It was very special and I didn't have to wear a tuxedo! I went to the Broncos game and had Dippin Dots (yum)!

We hope you enjoy this special time of year as we celebrate the birth of God's son! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DITA Learning Content accepted for DITA 1.2

More big news in the standards world today! The DITA 1.2 feature proposal #12058, "Design and language specification for DITA learning and training content," submitted by the DITA Learning and Training Content sub-committee was approved at today's DITA TC meeting.

Congratulations to John Hunt and all the members of the DITA Learning Content SC! The specification and sample plugins are all publicly available. Next steps for us is to work on our Best Practices for Implementation and create some sample processing for the DITA OT. This effort will continue into the first quarter of 2008.

DocBook v5.0 now an official Committee Draft!

I was on the road last week and didn't have a chance to post the GREAT news!

At the DocBook TC meeting on November 7, 2007, DocBook V5.0 was approved as a Committee Draft! This draft was a result of several years of hard design work, especially by Norm Walsh, who created 9 Beta Releases and 7 Candidate Releases since October of 2005.

The most exciting feature, IMO, that this standard is based on RelaxNG rather than DTD. DTD and XSD are still supported/provided, but the canonical format is now RelaxNG (RNC). Vendors, start your engines and add support for RelaxNG validation! Actually, several vendors are already "ahead of the game" with RelaxNG support: oXygen XML Editor, XML Mind XXE, Editix, Emacs nXML, Cladonia Exchanger XML Editor. Conspicuously missing: PTC Arbortext Editor and XMetal. [NUDGE: C'mon big guys!]

The other exciting result of DocBook v5 and RelaxNG, is that it makes customization layers EXTREMELY easy to manage. The DocBook Subcommittee for Publishers proposed a new modularization of the RNC schemas for DocBook v5 to create Core DocBook and additional schema modules, which have now been incorporated into the v5 source. As a result, we've also been able to produce an initial draft of an official DocBook Publishers customization very easily!

This is great news for the entire DocBook TC and community!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Spacecraft Spotting

Thanks to, I was able to figure out when to wake up this morning to see BOTH the International Space Station and the STS-120 Space Shuttle Discovery!

I wish I had a digital camera or video camera with me, because it was really very cool! They passed right over Colorado moving from Southwest to Northeast. The whole thing was over in about 5 minutes, so I really didn't want to run in and wake up the whole house trying to find my equipment.

I should prepare a little better next time. Still, it was a really cool site to see!

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm an Uncle, again!

Congratulations to my sister, Heather, and my brother-in-law JC on the birth of their 3rd! Baby boy, Garrin, was born around 2:30pm. His name means "Guardian".

Glad everything went well, and look forward to meeting my new nephew soon!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

DITA Learning Content specialization open for review!

The OASIS DITA Learning and Training Content Specialization Subcommittee is proud to announce the availability of our specification for DITA Learning Content for public review.

The design and language specification for the DITA learning and training content is available here, and the DITA Open Toolkit plugin with working DTD, XSD, DITA content samples, and documentation is available here.

The goal of the subcommittee is to develop a general top-level design for structured, intent-based authoring of learning content with good learning architecture, following DITA principles and best practices.

This specification was formally submitted to the full OASIS DITA Technical Committee today, after we completed the designs, samples, and language specifications for the learning topic types, the learning map domain, the learning interaction domain, and IEEE LOM learning metadata. The intention is to have this specification approved by the TC for inclusion in DITA 1.2, though most of this work is built on the existing DITA 1.1 infrastructure.

Please send any review comments via the public comment facility.

Hometown Heroes and the World Series

I just wanted to provide an update to the World Series ticket fiasco and issue a few public Thank Yous. As you may have read in my previous post, the ticket system hung when I was about to submit my credit card info to complete the purchase. This is not a unique situation, and affected hundreds of other native Colorado Rockies fans. I just wanted to take my son to the World Series - a once in a lifetime opportunity, since it was the Rockies FIRST appearance in the World Series ever!

I sent emails to the Rockies ticket sales, VP Jay Alves, and several local Denver TV stations. I also mentioned my quandary to a guy in my office. He happened to get through with tickets and was willing to sell me 2 tickets AT FACE VALUE, because as he said, "baseball is about taking your kids to the ballpark". Jon didn't have to sell me any tickets at all, and he could have scalped them (like the jerks on StubHub) for up to $2,000 each! Jon is truly a Hometown Hero in my eyes!

I also need to throw out kudos to the Colorado Rockies organization, as they did call me back on Friday morning and wanted to make sure I was able to take my son to the game. I turned down the offer of additional tickets, since Jon was kind enough to sell them to me.

Yes, I could have gotten more tickets myself, but I wanted to give the same opportunity I had to others that might have been in my situation. Hopefully they were able to attend the game, and not get greedy and scalp the tickets themselves.

Even though the Rockies didn't win any games in the Series, it was still an awesome opportunity and a lot of fun. Connor even got to meet baseball legend, Dusty Baker!

More pics are here: Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Major League Fiasco!

Unbelievable. The Rocks and the Sox are going to be playing in Denver!

I was one of the frustrated fans to experience the Monday ticket fiasco (supposedly a Denial of Service attack), to then run into the SAME problem on Tuesday! I actually got in about 12:15, selected 2 tickets for my son and I, and then have the site crash when I went to register and put in my credit card info! My son and I should be sitting in Game 4, Section 401, Row 6, Seats 1-2.

I took a print screen of the page just in case, and am still hoping the Rockies will honor the transaction. Given how this whole mess has gone, I'm not expecting anything. This is really disappointing, and a shame that it makes the Rockies look bad, when we should be supporting the team and the fans!

I wrote to the Rockies, the VP Jay Alves and Call7forHelp. Don't know if they can do anything about my plight. Keep those fingers crossed...

At least I got to see Spamalot when it was in town. Not all ticket experiences are bad in Denver.

GO ROCKIES! Beat those Beantown Baddies!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Got R done!

Way to go Rockies! The Colorado Rockies have now won the last 21 of 22 games, and swept BOTH the Phillies and the Diamondbacks! Next stop, World Series!

The Rockies have come a long way since I saw them lose to the KC Royals earlier this season. Tulo should get Rookie of the Year for sure. Big kudos to the entire team, though!

There are enough divas in baseball, so it has been very refreshing to see just how much this group of players truly focus on the TEAM. I also appreciate their strong faith.

It was a pain that TBS took all the broadcast rights for the playoffs. I think that's bad for baseball -- it's hard enough to get the country interested in watching, and even more so if you take it away from the local stations! Thankfully Fox has the rights for the World Series. I like listening on 850 KOA, but I'd sure like to be able to watch the Series.

I haven't seen crowds this big since the games I saw back at old Mile High stadium when the Rocks were first getting started. I have many sets of inaugural baseball cards, but nothing from this season. Might have to remedy that...

Go Rockies!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Doc Standards Interoperability Framework whitepaper now available!

Jim Earley and I have presented about the Doc Standards Interoperability Framework at XML 2006, DITA West 2007, Open Publish 2007, OASIS Symposium 2007 and DITA West 2007.

The whitepaper is now available at:
This whitepaper contains greater detail on the business case for interoperability, as well as specifics on the framework. If you are interested in exchanging content between DocBook, DITA, ODF and/or other document standards, you should definitely check it out!

We are still working on the charter for the proposed OASIS Doc Standards Interoperability TC. Hopefully we can get that finished soon to form the TC before year-end.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Motorcycle safety: Star Wars style!

One of the key aspects of motorcycle safety is VISIBILITY. If you've been reading my blog, you know I recently completed the Basic Rider Course (certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation) from Thunder Mountain Harley in Loveland, CO. After taking this course, I have a keen understanding of the need for safe riding skills and proper riding attire.

After I got my motorcycle endorsement on my license, I bought a Scorpion EXO400 full-face helmet so I could begin test riding bikes and figure out which bike to buy. I wanted to make sure I would be visible to other motorists, but also wanted to demonstrate my affinity for Star Wars!

Above is the result. Compared to Boba Fett's helmet, I think I'll be much more visible! For Fett, visibility would be bad, but for a motorcyclist, visibility is paramount.

First, I picked out a pattern thanks to the Boba Fett Fan Club. Next, I found some high reflectivity tape (though a 6x6 sheet would have been easier). I lined up the tape on the back of a printout of the logo, and then used an Exacto knife to trace the paper pattern onto the tape. I carefully cut the design out with scissors and laid out the pieces.

I placed the pattern on my helmet first, to make sure it fit (should probably have done this first!), and then carefully placed the tape on the helmet, lining up each piece to minimize error.

This just goes to show, you can still make a visible statement while being safe! You don't have to just put on boring squares of tape to be visible. Pick out a pattern and make a statement! I also chose the helmet, because it will be the highest location for motorist headlights to see. Because of the large (and skull-like) pattern, I think I can guarantee that I'll be noticed!

For more information on reflective tape and safety through visibility, see:

Posted by Picasa

A powerful ally, this Padawan...

Impressive. Most impressive.

Connor faced Darth Maul in The Trials and successfully completed his training at the Jedi Training Academy!

Posted by Picasa

Red Bull Air Race in San Diego!

We happened to be on vacation in California the week of the Red Bull Air Race in San Diego. Thankfully, our itinerary already included 2 days in San Diego, and the entire family was interested in seeing the race instead of going to the Wild Animal Park.

We even got to see it for free! You could buy tickets to watch it from the Embarcadero, but we went to Seaport Village and found a spot near a fountain where we could see the entire course! It was absolutely incredible. These guys fly at 300+ MPH and have to do very tight maneuvering in a timed course.

We could only see the Pre-Qualifying runs, since we had to start driving back the next day, but it was one of the best, cheapest events of our vacation!

UPDATE: I've made a public album of race pics here.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ready to RIDE!

I have never ridden a motorcycle before this weekend, but thanks to high gas prices and a gas-guzzling V8 Dodge Dakota, I was highly motivated and even got the nod from my wife to go ahead!

This weekend I took the Basic Rider Course (certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation) from Thunder Mountain Harley in Loveland, CO.

It was an AWESOME experience! The instructors, Jeff, Tom and Betty were outstanding. I feel quite prepared for riding a motorcycle safely and responsibly. Here are a few pics:

We rode Buell Blast cycles, and I was the only one in my class to score 100% on the written exam! I did get docked 5 points for going too slow negotiating a curve during the riding evaluation, though. In all, a complete success and I can get my motorcycle endorsement on my drivers license!

Next on the agenda: save up for a bike!

UPDATE: Got my license today, so now I just need gear and that bike!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

David Megginson's cool new Airport website

David blogged about an issue with Google maps and their use of a mercator projection (a problem if you want to use Google maps in aviation). His post, which was very interesting, also pointed me to a new website he has created:

This is a very cool website for many reasons:

  • You can plot where you have been in the world (via aircraft) and get a KML file of it quickly and easily
  • You can get search on any airport and get aviation info, accident history, photos and many other facts!
  • You can read comments from other members who have visited these airports

Thanks for creating such a useful service/site, David! I plan to use it for all of my trip planning and tracking! Also, if you are interested, you can see all the airports I've been to here:

Monday, August 27, 2007


Legacy, originally uploaded by shudson310.

I wanted to be able to create a calendar of all my Star Wars motivators, and had 11 completed. I needed one more, and realized I had not created any entries for my favorite character, Jango Fett. Although this is the most sad part of the film for me, I thought this was a very poignant statement and tribute. It's also a little humorous, in that what Jango really left behind was his head...

The question is still quite valid: What will you leave behind?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Now I'm Lijit!

Saw an interesting news item from Bloglines that referred to wanderingstan and Lijit. I went to high school with Stan, but had sort of been out of touch with him. Looks like when he wasn't wandering, he kept pretty busy!

I checked out the company he founded, Lijit, and it's a very cool web service! Check it out and you can be Lijit, too!

Plaxo now uses OpenID

The folks at Plaxo ( have done a really nice job with their 3.0 beta. I like the new calendar sync features, and the ability to sync across multiple services (Yahoo, Outlook, Gmail, etc.)

I also like the fact that they are now using OpenID! Life is starting to get easier, now that all of these cool services are coming together!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Flatirons Solutions presenting at DITA East

Flatirons Solutions will be presenting at the DITA East conference on October 5-6.

Publishing Technical Documentation with Bookmap and DITA 1.1
An overview of the new Bookmap specialization standardized as part of the OASIS DITA 1.1 release. Details about what is contained in the Bookmap DTD, and ways to think about structuring your data for maximum benefit when producing “printed” (PDF) format technical documentation, as well as on-line format documents. Features examples of how to produce high quality printed representations using Arbortext Publishing Engine.

Tying a Bow on It: A Case Study of a Successful Conversion to a CMS Based DITA Implementation
A case study of the challenges, methodologies, and successful techniques used by a project that was designed to convert the existing documents of an engineering technical publishing group from Framemaker into DITA using the soon to be finalized Bookmap standard, and store them in a CMS repository designed for content reuse. The end to end implementation included migration of the documents into a Documentum CMS, use of Arbortext Editor and Publishing Engine and the DITA-OT to modify and render the content back into its current PDF and JavaHelp “published” form, and packaging the technical content as DITA XML files for exchange with other vendors.

Doc Standards Interoperability Framework
Interoperability is critical when sharing information with partners, OEMs or even groups within the same company. It is especially critical if the parties involved are using different content standards. The presentation will describe an approach to defining a Doc Standards Interoperability Framework, including: current support for interoperability, mappings between DocBook, DITA and ODF, preserving migrated semantics, base classes and structure of the interchange format, stylesheet transforms, and an example of interoperable content.

Come check it out!

DITA 1.1 Officially Released!

It's been a lot of work, but we've finally released version 1.1 of DITA! I've been involved heavily in DITA 1.1, as well as the Learning Content specialization subcommittee.

The full press release is available here:

Key features of this release include:

  • Enhanced print publishing capabilities with the new DITA Bookmap specialization, including extended book metadata.
  • New elements (<index-see>, <index-see-also>, and <index-sort-as>) for "see" and "see-also" references.
  • New elements (<abstract>, <data>) for defining structured metadata, as well as the ability to add new metadata attributes through specialization.
  • New elements for image scaling.
  • The glossary specialization, adding new elements for glossary entries.
  • Support for foreign content vocabularies (<unknown> element)

UPDATE: The DITA OpenToolkit 1.4 has also been released, including support for DITA 1.1. For more information, please see:

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wikispaces uses OpenID!

This is cool. From my previous blog entry, I had set up an OpenID. Now, it turns out that can use OpenID for single sign on!

Woohoo! I've been waiting for this technology to finally hit mainstream, and now I have a practical use. I'm not at liberty to share a link to the wikispace I've been working on feverishly for the summer, but hopefully you'll see a post on that soon, too.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Czech Comments for Office Open XML (in English!)

Jirka Kosek has graciously provided an English translation of the Czech Standards Institute's comments on the Microsoft-created Office Open XML standard.

The English version is here:

I also thought it was interesting to visually see the size of this monster spec. See the photos here:

Personally, I'm glad Microsoft finally got around to providing the specs for their XML export from their products. I also despise the markup, but at least it's documented. I also thought it was a bit underhanded and deliberate to name it "Office Open XML" which is so incredibly similar to the Open Office product that uses the OASIS Open Document Format. They could have just named it MOM - Microsoft Office Markup language...

Thanks for the comments on the standard, Jirka!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New DocBook XSL 1.73.0 released!

The latest version of the DocBook XSL stylesheets, v1.73.0, has been released!

The .0 designator means this is the beta version, and should be tested. If no bugs are found with the new distribution, a .1 release will be issued shortly!.

Hopefully a new version of the namespace-aware stylesheets for processing DocBook v5.0 documents will be following soon. UPDATE: The 1.73.0 namespace-aware version is also available now!

The stylesheets can be downloaded from here.

Features in this release include:

This release includes important bug fixes and adds the following significant
feature changes:

New localizations and localization updates

    We added two new localizations: Latvian and Esperanto, and made updates to
    the Czech, Chinese Simplified, Mongolian, Serbian, Italian, and Ukrainian

ISO690 citation style for bibliography output.

    Set the parameter to iso690 to use ISO690 style.

New documentation for processing instructions (PI)

    The reference documentation that ships with the release now includes
    documentation on all PIs that you can use to control output from the

New profiling parameters for audience and wordsize

    You can now do profiling based on the values of the audience and wordsize

Changes to man-page output

    The manpages stylesheet now supports single-pass profiling and single-pass
    DocBook 5 namespace stripping (just as the HTML and FO stylesheets also
    do). Also, added handling for mediaobject & inlinemediaobject. (Each
    imagedata, audiodata, or videodata element within a mediaobject or inline
    mediaobject is now treated as a "notesource" and so handled in much the
    same way as links and annotation/alt/footnote are in manpages output.) And
    added the man.authors.section.enabled and man.copyright.section.enabled
    parameters to enable control over whether output includes auto-generated
    AUTHORS and COPYRIGHT sections.

Highlighting support for C

    The highlighting mechanism for generating syntax-highlighted code snippets
    in output now supports C code listings (along with Java, PHP, XSLT, and

Experimental docbook-xsl-update script

    We added an experimental docbook-xsl-update script, the purpose of which
    is to facilitate easy sync-up to the latest docbook-xsl snapshot (by means
    of rsync).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New DITA information resources

Bob Doyle has created several new DITA information resources:

DITA News will also aggregate posts that use the tag DITA. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Publishing Word docs direct to blog via Google Docs

Here's the first test:

OASIS DocBook SubCommittee for Publishers


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 Publishers is chartered to develop and maintain official variants of DocBook in support of the publishing industry. Specifically, the subcommittee will focus on schema and stylesheet customizations to support: periodicals as regularly published technical notes or journals, book publishing (such as business, legal, medical, and other non-technical domains), educational textbooks and other document types as appropriate for this industry.

Scope of Work

This subcommittee will submit additional enhancements back to the full DocBook standard as appropriate. The scope of this DocBook subcommittee is publishing industry content. Broadly, this includes books, journals and other related publications.

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 implementations.

  • Add support for features specific to the publishing industry.

I can also link directly to the doc here:

With Blogger, your best option is Google Docs. If you have a gmail account, it should be pretty easy to set up:

From my gmail account, I click on Documents.
then click Upload
From the upload page, I can browse to a Word doc and name it
Then in the Google Docs page, I can select Publish and set it up to Publish to my blog!

Monday, July 16, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

This year has been a big home improvement year, and summer vacation was no different!

Over the 4th of July week I built a dog run (with about 4" of pea gravel at the base):

And we converted the boys' Train theme (complete with working train set around the top of the room) to a NASA theme.

We did have to buy the 4'x6' Shuttle for one wall, but the rest came out of my Lego/NASA/space collection and existing posters that the boys had. I did make the face for the clock on the wall, too, reusing the train clock they previously had. We also plan to get a futuristic bullet train to use with the existing track.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 13, 2007

The last candidate release?

Norm Walsh has released DocBook v5.0CR5, which will (hopefully) be the last candidate release so we can get the official v5.0 ball rolling!

Please test this release thoroughly!

This release also incorporates recommendations on schema modularizations from the DocBook SubCommittee for Publishers. Much of the schema was already modularized, thanks to Norm's forward thinking and best practices.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dealing with tokenize, atomic values and a for-each

I've been working on a little identity transform issue, where I needed to resolve some transclusions in an XML document. Some of the ref attributes in the doc also contained multiple space-separated values that needed to be processed separately.

After a few Googles and a great deal of hacking, I was able to process refs with a single attribute value. I Googled a bit more and found some help (including a great article from Bob DuCharme) to process the multiple values using the tokenize function in XSLT 2.0.

I kept running into an odd error though: "Cannot select a node here: the context item is an atomic value". I thought it was some kind of XPath issue, so tried a number of different hacks to get around the issue to no avail. Finally, I Googled on the error message and found the solution. Here's the code snippet that I used:

  <xsl:template match="widgetRef">
    <xsl:variable name="root" select="/"/>
    <xsl:variable name="widgetID" select="tokenize(@stuff, ' ')"/>
    <xsl:for-each select="$widgetID">
       <xsl:variable name="widgetNum" select="."/>
      <xsl:copy-of select="$root//widget[@id=$widgetNum]"/>

Hope this helps someone. It took me a while to discover that I needed to reset the context when using tokenize within a for-each.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Staking my Claim

Thanks to a post from Jeni Tennison, I found out about claimID and openID. I've created a claimID page here: It's also cool that it sets up an hCard for you on the same page!

Friday, June 22, 2007

4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. Coming Home

Just watching the Live NASA TV broadcast of the shuttle landing at Edwards AFB while listening to "Major Tom" by Peter Shilling. The two media work well together! (This version with Apollo 13 is cool, too)

Earth below us
Drifting falling
Floating weightless
Coming home...

Come home safely, Atlantis!

UPDATE:Touchdown! Welcome home, Atlantis!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My new favorite Martini

I had the BEST martini ever at the Trinity ( tonight.

It's called the Key Lime Martini, and contained: Stoli Vanil vodka, Malibu rum and lime juice. It tastes just like a slice of key lime pie!

I really liked the Celtic theme of the restaurant, which was also on Sinatra Drive, and had a great view of the Hudson... inside and outside ;-)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hurricane-force winds and a new record low

Hurricane-force winds hit Colorado on Wednesday, though thankfully our house did not incur any damage. Denver 7 news reported:

Just above the surface, winds were equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. The National Weather Service Doppler radar measured a 142 mph wind gust 2,000 feet above the town of Louisville at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday.

We've always joked about the Superior Wind Tunnel (since we used to live there), where there is a valley that flows from the foothills toward Louisville/Broomfield. This time we weren't kidding! There's a reason the National Wind Technology Center is nearby!

We also had frigid temperatures with the passage of the strong cold front. This from the National Weather Service:


Additional coverage on the storm can be found here: Denver 7 9 News

Monday, May 14, 2007

Walking with Tollers and Jack

One of the highlights of my day today was Addison's Walk at Magdalen College in Oxford. It was incredibly beautiful and filled with the scent of spring blossoms. The small stream flowing along the path was mesmerizing.

It was inspiring to walk on the same path that Tollers (J.R.R. Tolkien) and Jack (C.S. Lewis) discussed spiritual matters. I could just imagine my personal "Inklings" (Don and Cam) alongside me as well. Later we would also need to head to the Eagle and Child for a pint!

After Addison's Walk, I stayed for the Evensong service at the Magdalen College chapel. It was absolutely amazing! The voices of the choir were simply angelic and brought tears to my eyes. The Magnificat and Nunc dimittis were in a much more pleasing format than the Evensong I attended at Christ Church yesterday. I would highly recommend attending here (every night at 6pm!).

I'll post photos from my walk and one of the beautiful stained glass walls in the chapel soon...

UPDATE: Here is a link to my pictures from Magdalen College and Addison's Walk:

C.S. Lewis Tour in Oxford

I had a personalized 4+ hour tour with Ron Brind, founder of the C.S. Lewis Tour in Oxford today. In a word: Spectacular! Ron is a wealth of information, and provided the best opportunities for photos and even took a few for me so I could be in them!

If you get a chance to come to Oxford, this is a MUST SEE tour! Information on the tour can be found at: or

One of the most memorable moments of the tour was seeing The Kilns (the home of C.S. Lewis) and the C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve, with the woods that inspired Narnia!

Seeing the home where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings trilogy was also very cool, and of course, eating at the Eagle and Child pub where the Inklings met!

I'll post a link to my photos when I get them uploaded, and write a bit more too. I'm a bit worn out from a full day of touring! :-)

UPDATE: Here's a link to my pictures from the C.S. Lewis Tour:
If you're planning a trip to the UK, make sure you allocate a day trip to Oxford and take this tour! It's absolutely worth it, and guide Ron Brind is extremely friendly and knowledgeable!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Evensong Highlight!

I was absolutely right about my previous post. It's all uphill from here!

I spent some time trying to orient myself in Oxford this afternoon. While taking in some of the breathtaking architecture, including the Radcliffe Camera and St. Mary the Virgin Church across from my hotel, I decided to try to find the location to meet my tourguide for my C.S. Lewis tour for tomorrow.

I turned the wrong direction from Cornmarket Street, and was blessed to find Christ Church. It just so happened that they were having Evensong service at 6pm, so I made a note of how I got there, and continued to try to find the Randolph.

I stumbled upon the Oxford Museum, and got to see some very cool Roman artifacts. By this time I was also a little hungry and got a recommendation and directions to The Nosebag for a quick Cream Tea (yummy scones, jam and clotted cream with tea) on my way to the Randolph.

After finding the Randolph, I decided to time my way back to the hotel so I could change into something nicer for the service. I then made my way back to Christ Church.

Truth be told, I'm not a Catholic or Anglican, so some of the ceremonial parts I was not at all familiar with. The contents of the Evensong Service, however, seemed to follow along with my beliefs, so it was not all that awkward. The choir was absolutely amazing, though the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, were a bit discordant for my taste. All of the other choral pieces, especially the anthem, were amazing!

Even more so, the day had been filled with rain, but after the service, the heavens opened up and I was treated to a beautiful few hours of sunshine to continue exploring.

I eventually wound up at The Crown, where I had bangers and mash and a Worthington's Cream Ale. The Crown's claim to fame is:

Yet another Oxford pub with a literary connection, and they don’t come much more impressive than the big Bard himself. Apparently Shakespeare was fond of breaking his journey between Stratford-on-Avon and London by staying at the Crown Inn.

I'm hoping to eat at The Eagle and Child tomorrow!

I've got pictures posted here:

Overall, a much better ending to my rough-starting day!

The BA Vomit Comet

Well, traveling to London has to be one of the lowlights of my trip. When Dawn and I traveled to Scotland last summer, we had issues with security (2 days after the big liquid scare) and got to go on board with only our wallets, and everything else checked.

This time, there was a guy in the centre section (I had the far window, thank God!) who got sick pulling away from the Denver terminal. I keep hoping it was motion sickness and not something catching! I think we had been moving for a grand total of about 1 minute, when this guy puked all over the seatback in front of him. Unfortunately, I had a direct line of sight. Everyone in the immediate vicinity turned a shade of green and looked away.

This poor sod proceeded to lose it about every 200 miles on the trip. On a 4300 mile trip, you do the math. Not a pretty picture. He must have gone through half a dozen air sick bags, and the flight was completely booked so no one could move! Every little turbulent air pocket sent him flying.

It was hard for all of us in the vicinity to get our in-flight meals down. This guy even decided he wanted to try to eat! Big mistake. The flight attendants should have nipped that idea in the bud.

I resorted to 2 Tylenol PMs, earplugs underneath my Bose noise reduction headsets, eye blinders, and classical music cranked to make sure I couldn't hear him.

He was still going when we pulled into the gate at Heathrow too. Nothing like having a captive audience...

Not meaning to rant, but this was by far the worst of my business travel horror stories to date. And I travel about every 3 weeks! I still love British Air and being in the U.K. The rest of the trip should be all uphill from here!

Oxford bound!

I'm headed to Oxford Saturday night to work on a Content Architecture for Wiley Blackwell! I'm very excited, though I will be gone on Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day, Dawn! I'll bring back something nice to make up for it. I promise!

I'll be posting pictures, as I'll have about a day and a half to work through the jetlag before my meetings

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What my son wanted to do for his 9th birthday

Pinky: " Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
The Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - Try to take over the world!"

In case you missed the obscure Animaniacs reference, you might need to read about it on Wikipedia and then catch the episodes on DVD!

Connor wanted to go to the Apple Store for his birthday, so he could play with the new iBooks and his new favorite app: PhotoBooth! I was taking care of his sick sister outside the store, but he emailed me some of his favorites. The above had the caption: Evil Scientist by Connor H.

He hasn't even seen Pinky and the Brain, but maybe it's time... ;-)
Happy Birthday, my computer progeny and mad scientist!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Godspeed, Mr. Schirra

The world has lost another of the original Mercury seven. Walter "Wally" M. Schirra passed away at age 84.

More details are here:

I never had the opportunity to meet "Wally" but have had the opportunity to tour the launch site, and have seen many of his space suits and flight suits at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center, Marshall Space Center Museum, and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum (both in D.C. and at Dulles).

I am still in awe of the achievements of that time and of great men like Wally Schirra. I hope we can kick off another era of space achievement in my lifetime.

Godspeed, Mr. Schirra!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Talisman Rome expansion!

Every year my friends and I gather for an annual Talisman tournament. Talisman is an adventure board game published by Games Workshop.

As part of the fun, we have created multiple expansions that are allowed in the tournament. My labor of love has been a Rome expansion, since I'm a huge Ancient Rome buff. It's now available for non-commercial use at Talisman Island, a fan site. Here's a link to a preview and the download.

Struck by Lightning!

In a good way! I just found this extension to Thunderbird (my preferred mail client):

From the project home:

Lightning brings the Sunbird calendar to the popular email client, Mozilla Thunderbird. Since it's an extension, Lightning is tightly integrated with Thunderbird, allowing it to easily perform email-related calendaring tasks.

I haven't had the best luck with Sunbird in the past, but Lightning works REALLY well! I can import my appointments from LookOut, er, OutLook, and can also view my Google Calendar in one interface that I always have open!

I voted for an RFE to make the calendar panes dockable, so I hope that feature gets incorporated soon. It's a terrific little extension, so I encourage you to check it out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Welcome, Jeni!

Jeni Tennison has entered the blogosphere! Welcome, Jeni! Jeni and Michael Kay are my primary sources of XSLT wisdom, so I look forward to reading her posts!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Interoperability getting some attention!

We're getting some exposure on the Doc Standards Interoperability Framework now! Check out this entry on the Gilbane blog:

Thanks to Jim for sending me the link...

SKYWARN at the OASIS Symposium

SWEET! Being a trained SKYWARN spotter and HAM operator, I was really impressed by the presentation from Michelle Raymond on the Emergency Management TC. During the presentation, she sent an alert to an OASIS demo web service that alerted many blackberries in the audience. Wish I had a subscription to that service :-)

The Emergency Data eXchange Language (EDXL) was described in detail, including the Common Alerting Progocal (CAP). NWS uses the CAP already today!

This may be one of the few times I will ever get to use the tags "Weather" and "OASIS" on the same blog post! :-)

Some interesting sites related to this include:

Interoperability at OASIS Symposium 2007

I'm presenting this week at the OASIS Symposium in San Diego.

A very interesting theme has emerged in the morning sessions, which is that of interoperability. I find this very encouraging and other standards bodies should stand up and take notice!

Bob Sutor, VP of Open Source and Standards at IBM gave a very interesting keynote that included this theme. He gave a great example of ODF and how they are addressing accessibility and interoperability as part of the standard.

Another interesting tidbit from his preso was on how to measure the "openness" of a standard:

  • Development - how was it developed, who got to play, who contributed, how much did they contribute?
  • Maintenance – who is maintaining? How are RFEs handled? Errors? What happens after v1?
  • Implementation – are there any roadblocks preventing open source? Can it be implemented?
  • Acquisition – can you get a hold of the standard? Can you download for free? Many standards orgs are not that way! Can you afford it around the world?

Following Bob's keynote, another terrific presentation was given by Bob Stayton. Bob Stayton was talking about interoperability between DocBook and DITA. Bob primarily focused on a form of processing interoperability, where source DITA content is transformed to DocBook to take advantage of the DocBook publishing toolchain.

After Bob, I presented "A Doc Standards Interoperability Framework for DocBook, DITA, ODF and more!". I'll provide a link here when the slides are available online.

Overall, the talk was well received and I look forward to getting the proposed Document Standards Interoperability TC started at OASIS! I also had the pleasure of meeting Alex Wang, from the UOML TC, who has been very active on the docstandards-interop-discuss list at OASIS recently. I look forward to exchanging ideas about interoperability!

This is the first OASIS Symposium I've attended. Hats off to Patrick Gannon, Mary McRae, Jane Harnad and the other OASIS folks who've put this together. I'm quite pleased with the level of technical detail and expertise here at the Symposium.

I'm attending some presos on BPEL, BPM and SCA (Business Process Modeling and SOA Component Architectures) right now. Will blog additional detail later!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

DocBook SC for Publishers wiki page is up!

For those interested in following our efforts on the SC, I've set up a page on the DocBook wiki:

Velocity DocBook Framework

Elliotte Rusty Harold pointed me to the Apache Velocity DocBook Framework at:

This looks pretty interesting and would be an easy way for folks to set up a multi-platform processing framework for DocBook. It uses the community stylesheet releases from sourceforge, but makes it easier to set up the rest of the toolchain.

Definitely worth giving it a test drive!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Welcome, James!

James Clark, the father of groff, sgmls, SP, DSSL, Jade, expat, XP, XT, TREX, XSLT, nXML mode, Relax, Jing, Trang, and best of all RelaxNG has entered the blogosphere! His blog is

James has started with an interesting proposal called TEDI (Type Expressions for Data Interchange, pronounced "Teddy").

James, please keep working on RelaxNG, too! For its elegance and ease of use, I love it! Remember: If you're not RelaxNG, you're working too hard!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Free Fallin'

To celebrate my friend, Lee Martin's, 30th birthday we went indoor skydiving on Saturday. We had both always wanted to go skydiving, but never had the opportunity. Thankfully, Lee's wife found SkyVenture (!

The indoor skydive was a very non-stress and fun environment. Our "freefall" lasted only 2 minutes per dive, but it was so much fun! An instructor was close by to give direction and correct any balance issues. He also did some tandem stunts to keep it lively.

With the indoor skydiving, you don't have to worry about chute failure or bugs in your teeth, either! We even got a DVD and flight certificate to commemorate the event. I highly recommend it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Who ya gonna call?

I thought I might see these guys when I was in New York, but not in Colorado!

My family and I were driving home after lunch yesterday and saw a very unique Subaru Outback: it had hoses, beacon lights, dish and Ghostbuster logos everywhere! I found a few pictures on the 'net, and it's exactly what we saw:

The guy driving looked a lot like Dan Akroyd, too! I'm still not sure if it is just a fan car, part of a fan film, or if these guys really do try to chase down paranormal activity...

Still, it made me want to listen to Ray Parker, Jr. for some reason... :-)

Friday, March 23, 2007

DocBook v5.0 CR3 already!

Norm Walsh is quick on the turnaround! Please give the latest candidate release of DocBook v5 a test drive and report any issues. You can download the schemas here: There is also a set of stylesheets released that support v5.0 as well. You can find them here:

I was a bit of a "problem child" with my RFEs that are now included:

  • RFE 1588693: Added an <acknowledgements> element, peer to <dedication>, replacing <ackno> which had only been available at the end of <article>.
  • allow <info> in HTML tables.

You can specifically blame me for these. :-) I do think they will be quite useful enhancements.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

DocBook SubCommittee for Publishers approved!

I am very pleased to announce the formation of a DocBook SubCommittee for Publishers was approved by the DocBook TC during yesterday's meeting. The charter as approved is a as follows:

OASIS DocBook SubCommittee for Publishers


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 Publishers is chartered to develop and maintain official variants of DocBook in support of the publishing industry. Specifically, the subcommittee will focus on schema and stylesheet customizations to support: periodicals as regularly published technical notes or journals, book publishing (such as business, legal, medical, and other non-technical domains), educational textbooks and other document types as appropriate for this industry.

Scope of Work

This subcommittee will submit additional enhancements back to the full DocBook standard as appropriate. The scope of this DocBook subcommittee is publishing industry content. Broadly, this includes books, journals and other related publications.

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 implementations.
  • Add support for features specific to the publishing industry.

If you are a Publisher, and would like to be involved, please let me know! I have a good-size core group of about 8 folks at this point, but would be interested in all the industry expertise we can gather!

Monday, March 19, 2007

DocBook v5.0 CR2 released!

Hot off the press, courtesy of Norm Walsh! Please give the latest candidate release of DocBook v5 a test drive and report any issues. You can download the schemas here: There is also a set of stylesheets released that support v5.0 as well. You can find them here:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Finding Love in New York


My wife and I celebrated our 11th anniversary in New York City this weekend! We still found love, too! :-)

This was her first time in the Big Apple, so I tried to take her to the top sights in two days: Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Broadway, The Disney Store, Trump Tower, Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum, Ground Zero at WTC, Battery Park, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center. There's still so much to see, but we did catch "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King", so I think we did rather well!

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dynamic Publishing with DITA

With DITA's modular, reusable information elements, you can not only publish across different formats and media - but also flexibly recombine information in almost any way you like.

Initial DITA implementations have focused primarily on publishing to pre-defined PDF, HTML and Help formats - basically static publishing with DITA. The real promise of DITA, however, lies in supporting dynamic, personalized content delivery.

At Flatirons Solutions, we've developed a very cool application on top of Mark Logic to enable this dynamic publishing. We've written a whitepaper about it here:
This whitepaper defines a new publishing paradigm, which we will call dynamic content delivery. Dynamic delivery changes the rules, putting the reader in charge of what content is important and how it should be packaged. It transforms publishing to an audience of many to publishing to an "audience of one".

What's Inside:

  • Static vs. Dynamic Publishing
  • DITA: Dynamic Assembly of Topics
  • A Scalable Approach to Dynamic Content Delivery
  • A Complete DITA Publishing Solution
  • Bottom Line Benefits

Rain in New York

Okay, this week, it's actually been snow and biting, cold wind.

The Rain I'm talking about is a great restaurant we went to yesterday. Our VP of Publishing Solutions and resident New York expert, consistently provides us with excellent dining recommendations when we are in the Big City.

Rain was no exception. It's an Asian Fusion restaurant with a great atmosphere, and great food. Website is here:[Orange Beef Spicy Fried Rice]

Check it out!

He's also taken us to a great Cuban restaurant (named, "Cuba"), though I don't remember the location...[Mojitos!]

Another great recommendation is Jerry's: [Brick Roasted Chicken]

Tonight, I went by myself to the Brooklyn Diner on West 43rd. [Chicken Soup]

My lovely wife is flying in tomorrow, since I have to stay over for meetings next week as well and it's our 11th Anniversary! Can't wait to show her the sites!

Monday, March 05, 2007

DITA 1.1 open for public review!

From the announcement:

The OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) TC has recently approved the following specification set as a Committee Draft and approved the package for public review:

DITA v1.1

  • DITA Version 1.1 Specification Overview
  • DITA Architectural Specification v1.1
  • DITA Language Specification v1.1
  • DTDs
  • Schemas

The public review starts today, 5 March 2007, and ends 4 May 2007. This is an open invitation to comment.


Comments may be submitted to the TC by any person through the use of the OASIS TC Comment Facility which can be located via the button marked "Send A Comment" at the top of that page, or directly at


The specification document and related files are available here:

DITA Version 1.1 Specification Overview

DITA Architectural Specification v1.1

DITA Language Specification v1.1



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DITA 1.1 approved as Committee Draft!

The OASIS DITA TC has unanimously approved DITA 1.1 as a Committee Draft. The announcement for start of public review from OASIS should come soon.

This is an important achievement, as it includes the long-anticipated bookmap and glossary specializations and the following new extensibility features to the DITA standard:

  • A bookmap specialization for encoding book-specific information in a DITA map
  • A glossentry specialization for glossary entries
  • Indexing specializations for see, see-also, page ranges, and sort order
  • Improvements to graphic scaling capability
  • Improved short description flexibility through a new element
  • Specialization support for new global attributes, such as conditional processing attributes
  • Support for integration of existing content structures through the <foreign> element
  • Support for new kinds of information and structures through the <data> and <unknown> elements
  • Formalization of conditional processing profiles

I will send out the URL to the Architectural Spec and Language Reference when they are posted to the public review site.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Saxon 8.9 is out!

Michael Kay has released a new version of Saxon: 8.9

New features in this release include: compiling a query to Java source code, XInclude, and a Saxon specific Ant task.

Saxon is THE engine to use for XSLT in my opinion. Check it out!

Share this Link

Lars Trieloff has created a consolidated link sharing submission service at:

I've decided to consolidate the plethora of link submission icons and point to this service. See below! Thanks, Lars!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Interoperability Framework presentation at DITA West 2007

Jim Earley and I presented the Doc Standards Interoperability Framework at DITA West 2007 yesterday.

Despite the somewhat low turnout at the conference overall (especially given the number of DITA user groups and high tech companies in the Bay Area!), our attendees included several members of the DITA TC, including: Erik Hennum (keynote speaker at DITA West 2007), France Baril and Yas Etessam.

Erik spoke very favorably of our approach and had a number of technical-level questions during the Question and Answer time. France Baril had some concerns from a DITA purist perspective regarding what kind of content this would open up.

This approach opens up access to content that might have been difficult to integrate otherwise. To address France's concerns, while this framework enables non-DITA content to be brought into DITA topics, there is no reason that you cannot treat this as a "stub" to then provide additional enhancements according to DITA best practices. I think her main concern is that the content may not follow some of the key information architecture designs from DITA (it may be dirty DITA), but this approach does not prevent you from then "cleaning" the content up to purist DITA standards. It really is an enabling mechanism.

This "content enablement" and interoperability is especially important in partner, OEM and cross-organizational content relationships, not to mention the reality of mergers and acquisitions.

We will be posting our whitepaper and slides to the docstandards-interop-tech list and the Flatirons Solutions website shortly.

Thanks to all who attended!

UPDATE: I've posted a copy of our presentation to the Flatirons Solutions site here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

XML Block Party at DITA West 2007!

I'm at the DITA West 2007 conference this week. It has been great to meet some of my fellow DITA TC members in person, such as Yas Etessam, France Baril, Amber Swope, Kay Ethier, Kate Wilhelm and Erik Hennum.

The highlight of the conference, however, has to go to Mr. Paul Masalsky of EMC. He gave a very informative presentation on deploying DITA for the enterprise, but in the middle of the presentation, gave an XML Block Party rap for DITA. He had everyone in the room almost in tears! The rap was quite clever and he displayed a lot of bravery to add beat box to the mix.

while it may seem a bit demented, it's topic-oriented!


P.S. If you are around San Jose tomorrow, my colleague Jim Earley and I will be presenting our Doc Standards Interoperability Framework. Hope you can make it!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Does Interoperability Really Matter?

My colleague, Jim Earley, and think so! Come to DITA West 2007 and find out why.

Jim and I will be presenting on a Doc Standards Interoperability Framework for DITA, DocBook, ODF and more! Our innovative approach provides mappings between the more prevalent documentation standards without inventing a new XML grammar.

Learn about the similarities between many of the documentation standards, how to map content between them, and how to process content with maximum fidelity using this framework!

We will also be presenting this framework at Open Publish and the OASIS Symposium.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jim!

My colleague, Jim Earley, has started a blog at:

Jim and I will be co-presenting on a "Document Standards Interoperability Framework for DITA, DocBook, ODF and more" at DITA 2007 West.

Jim is an outstanding guy, and fellow DocBook, DITA and XSLT nerd to boot!

Flatirons Solutions will also be giving a demo of our Dynamic Content Delivery Solution, built on Mark Logic. It's a very cool application, that I had the pleasure of working on.

If you are going to be in the San Jose area next week, you should really consider dropping by! Hope to see you there!

NYC Skyline from Liberty State Park

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

XSLT 2.0, XQuery and XPath 2.0 now official!

It's official! XSLT 2.0, XQuery and XPath 2.0 are now full-fledged W3C Recommendations today.

XSLT 2.0 is da bomb! I'm still learning XQuery, but it pretty much rocks too. Now if we could just get more folks using RelaxNG, I'll be a happy camper!

DocBook XSL 1.72.0 released

The latest versions of the DocBook stylesheets have been released on sourceforge here. Included in this 1.72.0 release are the base docbook stylesheets, as well as docbook5 stylesheets.

The release notes can be found here, but essentially the highlights include:

  • Automatic sorting of glossary entries
  • WordML renamed to Roundtrip, OpenOffice support added

    Stylesheets for roundtrip conversion between documents in OpenOffice format (ODF) and DocBook XML have been added to the set of stylesheets that formerly had the collective title WordML, and that set of stylesheets has been renamed to Roundtrip to better reflect the actual scope and purpose of its contents.

    So the DocBook XSL Stylesheets now support roundtrip conversion (with certain limitations) of WordML, OpenOffice, and Apple Pages documents to and from DocBook XML.

  • Including QandASet questions in TOCs
  • Language identifier in man-page filenames and pathnames
  • property set
  • Crop marks in output from Antenna House XSL Formatter
  • More string-substitution hooks in manpages output
  • Moved verbatim properties to attribute-set
  • enhanced simple.xlink template
  • DocBook 5 compatibility

    Stylesheets now consistently support DocBook 5 attributes (such as xml:id). Also, DocBook 5 info elements are now checked along with other *info elements, and the use of name() function was replaced by local-name() so it also matches on DocBook 5 elements. These changes enable reusing the stylesheets with DocBook 5 documents with minimal fixup.

  • HTML class attributes now handled in class.attribute mode
  • arabic-indic numbering enabled in autolabels

As always, the .0 release is the test release. A follow-on .1 release should follow shortly if no errors are reported.

Friday, January 19, 2007

An XML editor for the masses

Tony DaSilva has written a very excellent and thorough review of XMLMind XXE at It's a very good editor, and something you should consider if you belong to an authoring group that is new to structured markup.

Tony's review is very informative. Even though I've used the tool before, I still learned something new: interactive margins!

I've used the Standard Edition to test DocBook 5 customization layers, and it works like a champ! It's one of the few XML authoring tools that supports RelaxNG validation, too. Just try finding that support in Arbortext or XMetal!

The editor also supports DITA, though I've found it's map support a bit weak. I'm sure that will change over time.

For markup geeks and power users, I still recommend oXygen, but for authors, XMLMind is one of my new favorite choices!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Curriki and open eLearning

I ran across an interesting article in the February '07 issue of Popular Science about Curriki, a new website/organization set up by Scott McNealy to promote Open Source eLearning.

The site is:

In March 2004, McNealy helped create the Global Education & Learning Community (GELC) to leverage open source to provide learning materials for everyone, anywhere. GELC was spun off in 2006 as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit now known as Curriki - the Global Education & Learning Community.

The content is in a Wiki format, but interestingly enough:

it can take a Texbook Wiki document and convert it to a DocBook XML format suitable as a portable eBook, or a PDF file suitable for printing. It can also package assets into portable learning objects in the form of IMS/SCORM compliant content packages. It includes tools for configuring the transformation of assets (Form to form, like XML to PDF or ODF) and packaging of assets (For specific LMSs, or with specific metadata).

We've been working to address eLearning content structure as part of the OASIS DITA Learning Content subcommittee. We will definitely need to make sure these two efforts are compatible!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

DocBook on Mac OS X

Eric Johnson posted a question to the DocBook list about using DocBook on a Mac. I hadn't really looked at this much, because my Mac is primarily for home use. Sure, I've used jEdit and oXygen on the Mac to edit XML, but that's about it.

Thanks to Google, I found Project:Omega DocBook-X. It's a project dedicated to DocBook on the OS X platform. There is a single .dmg file to download and install the necessary tools. You can get to the project home page at:

There is also an interesting article on Processing and Managing DocBook XML Documents linked from the same page. I'll have to give it a try!

UPDATE: Sean Gilligan sent me a note that:

Project Omega has been dormant for years, and I wouldn't recommend it. (I was the last one to submit improvements on it and I gave up years ago.)

I've since rolled my own Apache Maven 1.x plugin, called maven-dbsuite-plugin which I've published in fairly rough form as Open Source on

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Star Tours turns 20!

I can't beleive Star Tours is twenty years old today! My first trip to Disneyland was when I was in 7th grade, and I remember waiting in line 2 hour to ride Star Tours. It is still as amazing today, as when I climbed aboard those many years ago.

Since then, I've been to DisneyWorld three times and returned to Disneyland with my family for the 50th anniversary celebration. I've been on Star Tours many times with my kids, and we all still love it!

My favorite is probably still at MGM in DisneyWorld because of the huge Endor forest and AT-AT outside.

There is a website set up to celebrate Star Tours. Check it out at:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Standards Pecha-Kucha!

Dave Megginson posted that for XML 2007, they are considering a standards pecha-kucha!

Each standards committee will have 20 slides (at 20 seconds each) to give us a quick update on what they’ve been doing over 2007 and what to expect in 2008 — that will make it possible for attendees to learn a bit about a lot of standards in a relatively short time.

I think this is a tremendously good idea! I attended the vendor pecha-kucha night at XML 2006, and found it both entertaining and informative. Michael Smith provided the impetus to get the pecha-kucha night started. I hope he'll host again, as he did a great job.

The timing would definitely a challenge (20 seconds per slide), though I have never tried presenting in a pecha-kucha format. Standards efforts I'm currently involved with include:

  • OASIS DocBook TC
  • OASIS DITA Learning Content subcommittee
  • OASIS Doc Standards Interoperability forum
  • OASIS DITA-S1000D Interoperability discussion list

Friday, January 05, 2007

Spectacular re-entry over Colorado

Several news choppers caught the re-entry of a Russian SL-4 rocket body on tape! You can see the incredible video clips here. Unfortunately, it happened before I got up. Once I saw it on the news, I was sure it wasn't a meteor, as it took too long to burn up on re-entry. Very cool!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Just call me Mercury Man

I've been trying to eat healthier over the past year, so I've been eating a lot of tuna. Specifically I've been eating the StarKist Lunch To-Go kits. These kits come with tuna, crackers, mayo, relish and a mint. I don't like mint, so I always toss them in my drawer.

So how much tuna did I eat? I counted 83 mints in my drawer! Considering I travel every third week, that's a fair amount of tuna.

I've been able to tell a difference in the tuna that is a "Product of Ecuador" and the "Product of Thailand". I much prefer the tuna from Ecuador. The Thailand ones taste metallic. Just call me Mercury Man.