Monday May 21, 2007

Now With Added Comments

Just a note to say that SunMink blog now offers comment feeds in both RSS and Atom formats.

Tuesday Jan 16, 2007

Edited Out of History

Now here's an interesting difference in corporate styles. I remember when I left IBM in 2000, the (extensive) mentions of me on IBM's web pages were gradually edited away until today, six years later, there seems to be only one or two left that date from my pre-Sun days (doubtless they will also get expunged now). This one's interesting - my job title has been changed to Sun even though I was still at IBM on the date I gave the talk (7 months before I gave my notice in fact).

When we started, we had a long discussion about what we should do when employees left. The conclusion we all reached, supported strongly by Jonathan Schwartz who attended the meeting, was that they should simply be left in place, merely closed for further changes. Our view was that, if the blog text had been acceptable when it was published, there was no reason a change of employment status should vary that. Not to mention the desire by Tim to preserve URIs. Interestingly, one of Jonathan's motivations for this was also so that people could pick up where they left off when they rejoined Sun! Going one step further, Sun now has a blog aggregator for alumni.

So it's with some surprise that I see IBM's former Fellow, "Father of Websphere" Don Ferguson, is already in the process of being airbrushed out of history. His blog already redirects to the home page for IBM's dW bloggers (he's still listed as I type this) despite the cached version showing no signs of being any less defensible than it was a month ago. You can see an older version in WayBackMachine. It seems that, now he works for Microsoft, his views are retrospectively unacceptable. Or is there another explanation?

Update: IBM has responded to this controversy by re-instating Don's blog, with the addition of a comment to say he no longer works at IBM. Jolly good, hope it's now a policy since URL-rot is a problem we all hate!

Thursday Dec 21, 2006

Blogger Downgrade

If you're a subscriber to my Daily Mink aggregator you may notice that stuff from my personal blog is not showing up. The reason is that I foolishly accepted Google's offer to "upgrade" to the new version of Blogger, which I use to maintain that blog. The change invovled associating my GMail account with my Blogger account, and the opening screen assured me that "nothing will change" in my blogs. Except, of course, they have dropped legacy RSS support, and even the cute workaround (a parameter on the feed URI) doesn't seem to work for blogs published via FTP.

Now, it wouldn't be so bad that they only had Atom support - after all, that's a modern and progressing standard - if it wasn't for the fact that the version of Planet Roller that I'm using believes there's an XML error in the feed. That makes it skip the Webmink feed altogether when building Daily Mink. I have no idea what the problem is right now - Dave is kindly building a fresh version of Planet Roller for me - but the effect is that my aggregator is missing entries. Apologies.

Update: With huge thanks to Dave Johnson, the Daily Mink is now working properly again using the new BlogApps.

Update 2: Dave provides details in a posting about proposed new features to the Planet tool.

Sunday Oct 01, 2006

Bray Comments

Yep, it's finally happened. Tim Bray has turned on his hand-crafted comments system over on Ongoing, which I am sure will evolve at a steady pace (threaded comments, maybe?). Great move (I hope), Tim, congratulations.

Saturday Sep 30, 2006

Browsers of Power?

Now here's interesting. I've just been reviewing my log files and for once I looked at the browser version list. No surprise to find that two-thirds of my visitors are using Mozilla browsers, but one entry caught my eye because I'd not seen it before. It said "NSA Power-Browser,gzip". I have spotted "gzip" as a browser before but nothing that said "NSA".

I've done the obvious and googled for obvious hits - nothing. Is someone playing a prank, or should I expect a special interview next time I pass through a US port of entry?

Thursday Aug 24, 2006

Ego Graph

Is this the ultimate tool for the blogging egomaniac?

Posts that contain "Simon Phipps" per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Saturday Jun 24, 2006

Gone but not forgotten


It's hard to see colleagues move on for any reason, but one of the good things about Sun is that we often find people returning later - indeed, some of our key leadership right now are re-hires. Sun has always had a policy of not re-allocating employee serial numbers so that people can come back.

There's a radical new step emerging though. Sun alumni can now apply to have their blogs aggregated at the new aggregator page by filling out a form, staying part of Sun's extended family. I hope we'll see a broad spread of blogs syndicated there - there are so many people I want to stay in touch with, Geoff Arnold included. No reason why turning in your badge means I have to stop respecting your considered opinion (assuming I did before!).

Sunday Feb 26, 2006

Blog Family

This is a periodic pointer to the blogs that I run. Apologies if this is all familiar (but I know I have some regulars who aren't aware of this...).

This blog, SunMink, is where I write on technology topics related to my job at Sun as Chief Open Source Officer. Things written here do not necessarily represent Sun's (or any other entity's) official position, and have not necessarily been checked by anyone else at Sun.

Over at WebMink I write on other topics of personal interest, especially music, photography, reading, politics and metaphysics.

At The Mink Dimension, I aggregate both of these blogs together with my Flickr photos, links and other stuff into a single, chronological stream.

All of the above have syndication feeds so you can subscribe to as little or as much as you wish in your syndication tool of choice.

Friday Feb 17, 2006

Comment Symmetry

For the record, I do not believe that a blog has to have comments to be a "real blog", no matter what people say. The whole point of blogging is that one gets a space to say things the way they are, personally and in the same "voice" as anything said privately, in a place that has a unique and permanent URL so it can be referenced. The right way to comment on a blog at any length other than the passing comment is to write it on your own blog and link.

Having said that, there's a certain delicious symmetry (and rumour-related timeliness?) to seeing on the same day JBoss closing down comments on its blogs and Jonathan Schwartz opening his blog up for comments...

Friday Feb 03, 2006

Blogging breaks

Note to conference organisers: Stephanie Booth has a great idea here:

The audience is in the real-time information business if you have lots of bloggers in the room, so if you don’t want them to spend half the talk time uploading photos, chatting, and writing up blog posts. So, how about give us blogging breaks, and plan post-sized talks? Wouldn’t that be neat?

Those people paying all their attention to their laptops during the talks are actually your friends...

Tuesday Jan 17, 2006

Start the stopwatch

OK, start the clock - let's see how long it takes The Register to acknowledge and correct the egregious error they made in the article Software patents loom large again. In that article, the anonymous writer asserts that

The bill had been supported by the European pro-patent lobby, which included corporations such as Microsoft and Sun, who claimed that the directive would encourage investment in research and development in Europe.

What rubbish! Microsoft was indeed a prominent proponent of software patents. On the other hand, as was well documented, Sun and Red Hat were the core of a small but significant industry group lobbying around the position that the directive would be harmful because it threatened the freedom to create interoperable free/open source software. Anyone who had been paying the slightest attention to the issue, or did more than the most cursory research, would know this was the case.

[Click! Corrected at 2pm PST Jan 18. Thanks, Drew.]

Friday Dec 02, 2005

Back to BlogEd

My colleague Henry Story has been quietly and faithfully labouring away to create a top-class blog editor for us all to use on and he's pretty close to paydirt now. He's waiting for the Atom 1.0 specification to be complete before he really declares victory, but as it stands BlogEd is a pretty cool tool anyway. I used it for a while back when there was just James Gosling working on it, and gave up because it wasn't flexible enough - it old allowed simple page builds pushed to a server with FTP back then.

Today, BlogEd offers support for the MetaWeblog API in its Roller, Blosjom and Moveable Type flavours, there's full WYSIWYG editing as well as raw HTML editing for HTML hackers like me, there's multi-blog support so I can look after several blogs (all mine get aggregated at The Mink Dimension), and best of all it's a Java application so it works everywhere I do. You can give it a try right now if you want as there is a WebStart variant - there's even a Mac OS X native version for smart people with Macs!

So I'm giving it a try again. It just happily downloaded my entire blogging history from, and I'm now trying a new entry to see what it looks like. Maybe I'll be able to edit offline at last, David!

Best part though is it is all open source, licensed under BSD. The configurability, the platform independence, the ability to launch from the web yet use offline, all suggest BlogEd could have a bright future as an embedded part of online tools. Give it a try, and maybe join in with its community.

Monday Nov 28, 2005

Rumours of my death...

Flattery abounds, it seems - I am flattered by David Berlind's concern for my health and sanity (and have forwarded it to my manager to act on as I head out to the Java User Group in Stockholm for tonight's meeting...). And I completely agree with him about Jim Grisanzio as an excellent commentator. But I have to say that one of the reasons I feel at liberty to leave my blog untouched for 20 days while I go to speak in Japan and Brazil (and, I admit, take it easy over Thanksgiving) is the fact that I've already multiplied the workers at the harvest by the very creation (with many others) of and by its uptake by 3,000 or so Sun employees.

Having said that, one of the things I've not quite come to terms with is how to keep up a stream of worthwhile blogging while I am engaged in confidential activity. I find my thought processes consumed by it and my ability to keep hints of it out of my serious writing very hard. Consequently, I tend to stick to postings and personal comment over on Webmink during such periods. I'm back now, though, and I have plenty to say on both open source governance and on open document format standards...

Tuesday Oct 11, 2005

Sun Podcaster Gets Published

Many congratulations to Richard Giles, who creates the I/O Podcast here on among others, on the publication of his first book, the "Podcasting Pocket Book". I gather he's got a full-scale podcasting book in the works as well - he tells me this book includes only 30 of the 150 he contributed to the forthcoming book. Looks like a good holiday gift - more on GadgetLounge Australia.

Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.


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