## my recent reads..

### Blogging as RWT (Remedial Writing Therapy)

A collegue of mine said I must have a case of blog-addiction since I'm maintaining two personal blogs - tardate and pratalife - as well as a group internal blog. So of course, how could I respond other than by blogging about it? ;-)

For me, the motivation to blog actually stems from a recognition that after 20 years of a technical consulting career I find myself with a kind of literary disability! I've been trained too well to think and write like this:

• Background

• Early years: enjoyed art. English teacher voted me "most likely to write a novel"

• Shift to science/math high school major

• 4 years of engineering/computing degree

• 20 years in IT - development/project management/consulting

• Understanding of the problem

• Think in bullet points

• Focus on logical presentation of argument/point-of-view

• Descriptive and narrative writing not needed

• (may be spoken)

• drop adjectives - except for sales-related like "best practice", "open standards-based", "agile"

• Solution

• Start a blog

• Start writing full sentences again

• Focus on story-line, experiment with techniques for getting a message across

• Cover wider range of topics and subject matter

• Form of Remedial Writing Therapy (RWT)

• Benefits

• Rediscover vocabulary

• Build story-telling skills

• Rekindle interest in broader range of intellectual pursuits

• Even with a small audience, some chance of feedback

• Not in scope

• Won't help learning how to use a real pen again!

So is it working? I think so. The first effect I noticed is an almost immediate improvement in my ability to sit down with a topic, get into a flow and quickly produce a finished piece. Remember essay writing at school? Yes, like that.

I will leave you to be the judge of whether what I have to say makes any sense or is of any interest!

NB: Yes, you may have noticed my homage to Aaron Swartz' Powerpoint Remix, which is included in Joel Spolsky's excellent anthology The Best Software Writing I
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### Heaven and Hell

Never expected another chance to see Black Sabbath live - let alone in Singapore. But this last weekend, they stormed Fort Canning Park for a huge crowd.

Although the band I saw (Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice) go under the Heaven and Hell name to distinguish from the Ozzy version of the band, this is classic Sabbath. As good or better than a flashback to the Live Evil tour.

I don't think Singapore will see such a brilliant live act for a long time yet. Flawless playing by all, Iommi just magic, Dio as good as ever .. I think they blew the doors of the clubroom at the back of the park.

And the crowd loved it. Any hard rock act that thinks Singapore isn't worth the effort betta check with Dio or Megadeth (who played the night before).

Here's my crap concert photo. I took some video too, but the audio track is useless -the band was pumping out about 100,000 watts too much power for my poor handphone mike!

Thanks to Aat for telling me about the concert and getting the tixs..

16th May 2010 - rumours that Ronnie James Dio succumbed to cancer, but it seems he fights on.
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### Registering namespaces with SOAP::Lite

About time to post about something ... too many OpEd pieces of late!

An interesting question came up on the soaplite mailing list concerning how to modify the namespaces registered in the SOAP envelope. Documentation is not especially clear on this point.

Of course, a quick hack is to attach a full namespace to an element directly, as in:
SOAP::Data->name('itemName')->attr({'xmlns:mns' => 'http://my.namespace'})

With version SOAP::Lite 0.65 and above, the register_ns serializer method helps to correctly construct the envelope, as shown in the following example:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
# $Id$
#

use strict;

#SOAP::serializer->register_ns requires 0.65
use SOAP::Lite 0.65 +trace => 'debug';

my $soap = SOAP::Lite ->proxy( 'http://localhost/blah/DummyService' ); my$serializer = $soap->serializer();$serializer->register_ns( 'http://my.namespace', 'mns' );

my $som =$soap->call(
SOAP::Data
->name('mns:test')
=> SOAP::Data->name('mns:description' => 'an item in my namespace')->type('mns:mytype')
);

This generates the following SOAP request:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<soap:Envelope
xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
xmlns:soapenc="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/encoding/"
xmlns:mns="http://my.namespace"
xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
soap:encodingStyle="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/encoding/"
xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
<soap:Body>
<mns:test>
<mns:description xsi:type="mns:mytype">an item in my namespace</mns:description>
</mns:test>
</soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

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### A blog about nothing (was: a can of worms)

Jake is right .. this is getting a little too much like Seinfeld.

So many posts about bloggers at OpenWorld.

Seems to me a storm in a teacup (admittedly, roughly the same size as a can of worms, but probably shouldn't be confused - print picture on right for easy reference). Most of it driven by a comparison to what "other" companies do.

As an avid blog reader, I'm actually more interested in an intelligent post from someone who has taken some time to reflect and write about their usage of the software (be it from a project, production or just playing with an OTN download).

Don't get me wrong, I definitely see value in blogging from OpenWorld - as much for the community buzz as discussion of the latest and greatest OpenWorld news. But to put too much emphasis on this I think actually plays into the hands of the supposed PR and Marketing heavies (everything focused around a single, well orchestrated event).

Since I also represent a "global audience" (living in Singapore), there's also the geographic factor. Notwithstanding whether travel costs are reimbursed, I never expect an event centred around a single location in the US to fully represent the diversity of the blogging community I'm so comfortable with.

As such, I'd be even more impressed if we saw OTN podcasts evolve into a more interactive channel (e.g. using talkshoe a la net@nite) to give true, open access for the community to key execs (and then blog about it).

Then there is the question of disclosure. Mary Ann Davidson just posted a poignant discussion of disclosure. Although arrowed at a security audience, the timing is perfect for the opening of Jake's can of worms;-)

I just can't seem to get myself worked up over this either. Perhaps something I drank last night? Or perhaps I've just got a bit more faith in the sophistication of the audience that is now growing up with blogging et al. Two factors: influence (declared or not) stands out like a sore thumb (or else why is it so easy to recognise the executive blogs that are straight out of the marketing playbook). Second, thanks to the magic of RSS I'm not just listening to one person's voice.

So all in all, I reckon getting free registration is a pretty good first step (despite the fact that other companies may do more for you). It's not like the information won't be available for all to see and share after the show, so if you want the prestige of having the first blog post up on a particular subject maybe paying some of your own way ain't such a bad deal.

I would make one concession however: I do think it would be in Oracle and the community's best interest for Oracle to have some flexibility when it comes to the (very) few bloggers who have truely crossed the line and are in fact analyst/press and should thus be treated as such.

So much for my post about nothing;-)

Disclosure: since I work at Oracle, I never expected a blogger invite (and I wasn't able to wangle an employee seat), so perhaps that explains my disinterest in getting all het up about the issue!
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