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23 June 1999

And I'm hovering like a fly
Waiting for the windshield on the freeway
-- "Fly on a Windshield", Genesis, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

How not to write: Jesse Berst finally reaches the point of being paid for writing content-free articles:

  • Four reasons you're gonna love XML [ZDNet UK]
    I won't bore you with technical explanations and how-to guides. The latest working draft from the W3C offers details and the ZDNet Help Channel tells you how to make it work for you. Rather than an explanation [??], here are four real benefits XML will offer you in the next few years ... [vague, useless hype]

He manages to oversimplify the benefits of XML way past the point of being misleading and avoid communicating much of anything accurately besides the expansion of the acronym XML.

It's also worth noting that nowhere on the page does he actually provide a link to the latest working drafts from the W3C... or the ZDNet Help Channel for that matter.

Today Web graphics bog down and slow Internet connections. Tomorrow your notebook will download only material tagged as text.

Excuse me? What does he think he's talking about? What graphics format is wholly XML-based and will supplant GIF and JPEG and PNG? Or will we stop using graphics on the Web? (NOT.)

All I get from the whole column is, "XML is magic pixie dust which will make everything better". Which it's not. What a waste of bytes. ZDNet UK should ask him for a refund.

Peter Coffee, on the other hand, rarely writes anything useless:
  • Measuring IT as a valuable asset [PC Week]
    But even if a company treats software as a capital investment, its books may fail to capture the true value of what it has bought. In addition to the applications that a development team builds today, a company also benefits from the experience that its team acquires in the process.

    When a company fails to measure the value of a more proficient in-house development team, that failure creates a bias in favor of outsourced development efforts, rather than doing strategic work in-house. The cost savings are obvious; the lost wealth-creation opportunities are invisible.

Are any other Americans embarrassed that it's taken us this long to begin to pay our delinquent UN membership dues? And this may not even make it through the House:

Jesse Helms and others apparently have objected to paying the dues because they want the UN to enact certain efficiency reforms first. Helms doesn't like giving money to a poorly-run organization, I guess.

Tell you what, I'll withhold paying the US government anything for a few years because I don't like some aspects of how it's run. Does that sound like something I'd get away with?

It's too easy to make a smart remark about this one, so I'll just keep my comments to myself:

I'm taking some time off from the log as I finish up my last days at The Job and get started on My solo projects. Updates may not resume until next week.

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