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!