This year I attended and Presented at Balisage (http://balisage.net/). I have been going to (and presenting at) this Geekfest for years although a small slice of the time of many attendees. For those who don't know, Balisage is THE Markup and XML conference of north America. As things do, over the years things have changed ... but this year I really felt a groundswelling of change rather than surface changes.
A few years ago this started with a sense of "Is XML Dead" ... then came the "JSON Is Taking over" ... But now I get a feeling the tips of the changeberg have melted and merged and matured. The "fight" of HTML vs XML vs JSON seems largely over and subsumed by "How can we work together". Many discussions of how to compromise or change data models to work better with different formats rather than to force the other side over. XML seems as solid as ever ... or even more so ... after seeing what big agencies like the US Navy and the CDC are doing ... XML is no longer a new technology, it is the foundation of huge complex systems - but by that it seems not particularly interesting in itself but rather the complex systems built out of them.
Purity of format doesn't seem as dominate as much as the need to adapt to complex and heterogeneous systems where XML is a core part but often not the beginnings or the ends. XML has found its place strongly in the complex document area and the tools are widely used. The change I feel is a shift of focus from XML as a Technology, to Processes, Integration and Complexity management. I think the next few years will see some deep shifting sands in things like data models and tools - not cataclysmic changes but rather adoptive changes as competing technologies, processes and people work out what it will take to handle the next level of complexity. People seem less religious about the shape of the angle brackets and more interested in how to get work done.
At least that is my view.
(fyi my presentation is here : http://www.balisage.net/Proceedings/vol8/html/Lee01/BalisageVol8-Lee01.html )
Pictures care of Syd Bauman
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
A few months ago I was at a concert.
A mind-blowing, incredible awe-inspiring amazing kind of concert. The kind that sends you to another world you didn't know existed. The kind that you're embarrassed to describe to people because they think you must be insane or on drugs. The kind I suspect few ever experience or know could possibly exist.
But its true. Hit back if you don't believe. There is nothing more for you here.
At some point I realized I was disconcerted, nearly depressed. Why? Because while I think of myself as a kind of closet musician; there is no way I could achieve this. The level of excellence so far surpasses my ability as to humble and shame me. The excellence was so far beyond what I could ever achieve even if I were to pursue music and art full-time I would never come close. Ever. It was the Mozart to my Amadeus. To my pretense of Amadeus. A diamond to my cheap fake glass. I felt bad, inferior, ugly, insufficient, ashamed, a sham, a fraud. I couldn't tell anyone because admitting such inner feelings was too shameful.
Yet here I was at an incredible event with incredible people, both performers and audience. And both enjoying it beyond description and envious and sad because I could never achieve what I was experiencing.
Like Lucifer was tempting me with the joy of the impossible hoping I would succumb to the sins of envy and shame.
Then I realized: Be Excellent. How can I possibly feel bad in the presence of such masterpiece? This is a crack in the doorway to heaven and the light shines so brightly so I am blinded and yet I feel bad because its not me? Because I could not do that?
What an amazing tower of egotism such that I cannot appreciate the accomplishments of others because I am incapable !
Then I realized:
I can be Excellent.
It may not be in this form or expression, but in everything I do I can be as excellent as I possibly can. It may not have the rare majesty and skill of performance art, but the beauty is in the creator as well as the creation. We all can be excellent even if no-one but us experiences it. But more. We *must* be Excellent. What is the point of life if not to be the best we possibly can be. Anything less is a waste of life's miracle. Every second that passes where we are not the absolute best we can possibly be is a waste of the most magical event that has ever occurred in the universe. Whether you believe in the creator or the emerged ... life and consciousness is the most amazing thing ever and we waste every second of its precious minuscule finite mortality unless we are excellent in every way. Always. Every Moment. Every thought. Be Excellent.
I left with the best understanding ever, and I can only hope to hold onto it.
You can do it. you must.