Monday, January 24, 2005

Snow Coverage Needs Embedded Reporting

I'm not sure what the reporting is like back on the East Coast, but here in Central Ohio you have the following constants:

  1. One or more reporters will get on roads, regardless of the snow emergency levels, and drive around town doing reports about how you shouldn't be outside.
  2. Weathermen will show lots of radar pictures. One of the lower tier guys will go outside and do various things to show the depth of the snow.
  3. Some lowly reporter will get salt barn duty where they get to stand in front of the huge tent covering the supply of rock salt for the roads. Occasionally they talk to the communications person at ODOT or the city.
Last week, I was talking with some co-workers and we realized what was missing. Embedded reporters on the plows.

With all of the other useless crap they give us, why not stick some reporter on an actual truck and have them report via video phone like they did in Iraq. It would be brilliant mindless television. Imagine the conversations with each Mr. Plow. Imgaine the sight of them showing idiot drivers swirving out trying to pass the plow.

It would rank right up there with LA police chases in terms of entertainment. They might even be able to sell the footage to CNN and Fox News.

Here's hoping someone takes the plunge. It would be memorable.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Vick and Snow = Bad?

Is everyone forgetting where Vick played college ball? Virginia Tech is located in an area that is not warm in the winter. It's right in the Appalachian foothills and gets its fair share of snow.

I'm more concerned about his other teammates in the snow than I am for Vick. Same thing goes for McNabb, he may have played in a dome while in Syracuse, but he knows what cold is.

Neither of these guys should be impacted by the cold. And the announce teams will gush about how well they're's all crap. They should play well, expect them to play well, anything less is a poor performance with no excuses.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Media and Iraq

A facinating read by a commander in Iraq currently involved in security operations in Iraq.

I take it with a grain of salt, as with anything at World Tribune, but if it's 50% accurate, it shows the major problem with our media reporting in general, and it has to do with what brings the ratings. It is scary that we can be so easily manipulated.

Rest assured, there are those who know that the media is reporting 99% of the bad things which take up 1% of the story and 1% of the good things that remain.

These elections are key. When they go off without major issues, the entire media will be scrambling to find out why they were a failure and attempt to drive that point home (very much like this "election fraud" in Ohio that wasn't). It will be interesting to observe.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Alias Season Four = Boring

I don't feel like making this too long of a rant, but wow, the new season of Alias is boring. Basically in three episodes, they've developed no main plot line.

Oh sure, it's just like Season One now. The "Gang" is back together, Jack is semi-evil again, and Sloane is back on his, I'm only evil if I show you I'm evil.

But where's the enemy? Where's the mystery they are trying to solve. At least with Rambaldi, there was something to drive the show. Now that's dropped off of the face of the earth. I'm sure it'll be has to be or else they'll have a huge plot gap. But there's still no enemy. You can't tell me this German terrorist group is really the big deal.

Right now it's like an action soap version of Scooby Doo. The gang solves mysteries and everything ends up ok in the end. And there's romance. And there's T&A. Which means I can get more out of my soap by watching pro wrestling. At least in pro wrestling, there's two distinct sides....and the good guy doesn't always win. It has romance and T&A, so right now it actually offers me more. And that's scary.

It's almost like all of the writers got bored with Alias. The writing on Lost is much better and is infinantly more interesting. Then again, maybe they're doing with Lost what they failed to do with Rambaldi, and that's have an actual vision as to how it would end. It's like they came up with a concept with no ending, so they just decided to pretend it didn't exist.

Alias has got about two to three more episodes before I consider the show dead. It's just not good at all.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Better late than never: Batman B'Day Pix

Here's some pix from Batman's first birthday on Nov 25.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Fun with Forrest

This past few weeks at work have been slower than usual due to the holidays. So I took the time to play around with Apache Forrest, which really seems to be coming into its own.

Forrest is a publishing tool based on a subset of Cocoon. It's very good at taking XML documents and presenting them in a nice neat format using the xdocs format. It contains hordes of transformations based on xdocs that allows you to get pdf, html, etc out of them.

However, I'm doing some fairly extensive "light" hacking onto the tool. I'm using it to document XML based rules that are used to drive parsing algorithms of printer files. Bascially, these parsing algorithms are defined by two XML files. I was able, after hunting around, to dynamically create an index page that listed all of the directories underneath itself. Each directory contains the two rule files for a client. When someone clicks on the directory:
  • The cocoon engine, finds the names of the files using the directory generator.
  • Passes the directory listing to an XSL stylesheet that creates a small xml file with the names of the actual files that contain the rules
  • That file is used for another XSL stylesheet that merges the two files so that each definition matches with each execution rule.
  • The merged file is converted into xdocs.
  • Forrest then takes that xml file and converts it to HTML or PDF, or whatever you need.
I'm very impressed with it so far. I converted a homegrown JSF application to present other documentation to the tool, and it works like a charm also. Even better than the JSF/XSL app due to the power of the engine.

I'm just now starting to see what goes wrong if I use 0.7-dev release, and have found a couple things that need to be fixed with my app, but I do not think it will be too difficult to resolve these issues.

Don't be Blinded by the Media

Quite a few folks in Iraq appreciate what is going on there.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year...more posts to come later this week.