In an attempt to summarize the relationship among various metadata-related terms and how they relate to building Internet systems I created a metadata glossary. Addressed, for example, are metadata, taxonomies, indexing, CMS, Semantic Web, and XML. I then ordered and tied the terms together with a bit of narrative to explain the relationships among the terms, which helped keep it shorter than an essay but, hopefully, more clear than a glossary only.
I’m serving on jury duty now, as many Americans do in our system of judgement-by-peers. I can’t discuss the actual case, but wanted to record some pedestrian notes:
- No one is quite as bright as on Law and Order, which is not surprising as the writing there is fast, dense, and excellent. Incidentally, if you want to know what my father looks like, and what I’ll probably look like when I’m older, see Jerry Orbach.
- There is a classification system for fingerprints, the major groups of which are whirls, loops, and arches.
- Storytelling is immensely important for trial lawyers. Not just for the opening and closing arguments either. For example, one lawyer has a style of drilling witnesses with questions. The other, which to me is more successful, uses the witness to help tell his story. He moves the plot along with all the characters and details and just happens to be doing it in the form of questions.
- Because of these needed skills, and because the entire trial is a play for the benefit of the jury, a good lawyer is the difference between guilty and innocent verdicts.
- All in all, it’s an impressive system, one I’m happy with. Most Americans dread jury duty, I’m finding it fascinating.
Had a great weekend in the Hudson Valley. For miles and miles both sides of the river offer gorgeous views. We rented a car and drove first to the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, now owned by the U.S. Park Service after the Vanderbilts failed to find a buyer for it in the late 30′s. The craftmanship throughout is astounding, though ostentatious to contemporary eyes.
We stayed at the Cromwell Inn, whose interior balanced quaint and elegant (read: not too much Victorian decoration). One of the proprietors is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America – which I must visit on my next trip to the Valley – and so breakfast was a treat, including Poached Pears
- Find the hardest pears you can
- Peal them
- Poach them in cranberry juice with a little cinnamon mixed in
The result is a steamy sultry treat eaten with knife and fork.
I’ve wanted to visit Mass MOCA ever since it opened, and felt like the recently opened Dia:Beacon would be a closer, albeit smaller, version of the industrial factory-turned-contemporary art museum. The building and grounds are beautiful and functional, including a cafe area that doubles as a free library. The art itself, like so much contemporary art, failed to move me. Nothing happy or sad or surprising in any way, no great messages sent or received. Saturday’s trip to IKEA was much more exciting.
Here’s my new RSS feed. It’s a bit of a hack, generating a Movable Type RSS file and using a server side include to pull in the Tinderbox entries, but it works (or at least it validates :).
If you’re a regular, please note I’m migrating to a new
address: victor at victorlombardi dot com. Please don’t post it on websites and such (unless you encode it as I have here), I’d like to keep the spam to a minimum. And yes, there’s a shameless ego-page at that domain.
‘Sadness sweeps through the land as NBS’s RSS feed goes silent. The dark
gloom and numbness that has enveloped my soul is only slightly touched
by the drizzle of rain that soaks my clothes and sends shivers down my
back,‘ writes James, and I’m sure you’re all suffering a similar fate. Any day now I’ll hack together a combo Tinderbox+Movable Type feed to feed you.
Does anyone know of guidelines for using ampersands vs. the word and when constructing terms in a taxonomy, like Fruits and Vegetables vs. Fruits & Vegetables?
Peterme et al on Craft and Engineering in user experience design. Engineering must refer to usability engineering, with accompanying research. While I’ve been a proponent of the craft approach, I don’t see why there couldn’t be systematic methods inserted where appropriate. I think it’s premature to debunk, or even debate, design engineering as we don’t have any examples of such a thing.
- How much business might I have lost so far?
- How much do I stand to lose in the next year?
- How much could I gain by doing what Java Jim is doing?
- What could I lose by not doing it (my whole business??)
- How much can I invest in my website?
- What would happen if other competitors went online, especially someone big?
- What do I compete on?
- What do I give him?
- Where’s my niche?
The phone rings, she shakes her head free of coffee lust and jogs to the phone, rubbing her slightly oily fingers on her apron. "Hello, Sweet as Love. This is Catherine"
"Hi, Catherine, it’s Tim, from Angelina’s." Angelina’s had been a huge boost to her business a year ago when Tim, a manager there, suggested Sweet As Love deliver all the coffee for their 3 restaurants.
"Hi Tim! How can I help you?"
"Well, unfortunately I need to cancel our weekly order."
The word cancel took the air out of her chest. "Really? Is everything OK?"
"Yeah, yeah, I think we just reached a point where we needed, well, different service."
"Oh, alright. But, do you mind if I ask what kind of service?"
"Well, you know, sometimes we need special orders fulfilled quickly. Java Jim’s website let’s us place an order any time, and it’s delivered within a few hours. We realized it would be easier to get all our coffee there."
Catherine remembered, wincing, all the times she played phone tag with him to get the orders delivered. "Oh, sure, OK. Well, thanks for all your business, I appreciate it."
"Java Jim’s. That is such a dumbass name." She pulled up the website. "Damn, this thing is ugly." But she sees the shopping cart icon, and understands how millions in books, music, clothes, gardening tools, a whole lot of other things pass through that 10 by 10 catalyst of consumer lust. The business reality of it all sets it, deep. Immediately her competitive instinct kicks in.
"Let’s just analyze this for a minute…" She grabs an envelope at hand and starts scribbling…
Bend It Like Beckham…fucking brilliant.
I’m doing a lot of heavy taxonomy lifting these days. Because it involves working with existing systems, what I find more useful than LIS knowledge is IS knowledge, being able to talk to DBAs and read database tables, talking to the people who have to implement this stuff. In this case I’m reverse engineering and then designing, rather than starting with pure data or knowledge and classifying it.
I didn’t completely get the utility of those new little USB pen drives until I saw them in action as the new sneakernet. In a world where removable disks are more rare but everyone has USB, they are the new floppy disk for exchanging files quickly, no networking needed.
Excuse my lack of blogging/email/other, I’m away on business and frantically trying to keep up with everything. More contact and blogging will ensue in a week or two.