Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I'm sitting around my grandparents' house, having finished the morning unwrapping-of-the-presents, and the family has now broken down into familiar routines -- some cooking the turkey for dinner, some calling other relatives not present, but most sitting around and reading. Art and Leanne gave all of our family gift certificates to Borders. They know us so well.

Heading back to our motel room shortly. My sister flew in last night, but unfortunately her luggage did not arrive with her, so one of her presents this morning was a delivery from the airline, which she was most excited to receive.

Shannon got a PSP from her parents, and we haven't seen her since. May need to borrow that for a bit to see just how cool those things are. My dad got a GPS unit, and my sister got a Creative Zen MP3 player. It's tiny, about twice the size of the AAA battery which powers it. Greg and my dad exchanged bottles of port, as is their tradition.

Oh, and chocolate. Lots of it. It will be months before I can look a truffle the same way again...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Massachusetts Debates the future of Documents

Andrew Updegrove has been covering much of the debate in Mass about it's decision to use the OpenDocument format as a standard instead of the Microsoft Office format. For those of you that haven't followed the drama, shortly after that decision, MS stirred up a lynch mob to go after Peter Quinn, the state CIO.

The comment that caught my eye, and really put the whole debate in a nutshell, was this one:
It is vital that our national records are not saved in a format owned by any single company. Ask yourself the question: what would we do if we needed vital documents created on a Wang processor 20 years ago.

Most people reading this will never have heard of Wang (that's the point), but 20 years ago they were where Microsoft is today -- Wang sold desktop computers and word-processing software, and they owned the majority of the word-processing market. Five years later their computers weren't worth their weight in scrap metal, leaving users with a bunch of Wang-format documents that needed to be converted to the format of the new market-leading word processor.