I'm at the back of a dark room sitting next to an air vent
listening to Let Me Entertain You being played by a big band on a
stage 20m in front of me.
Look me up in the yellow pages
I will be your rock of ages
Your see-through fads and your crazy phases, yeah
Little Bo Peep has lost his sheep...
This dark room is far underground for a shopping mall which has
been rented away for the night for the purposes of entertaining 4000
people. Actually the mall is only half the party, they are also using
the concert hall across the street.
The 4000 people are all musicians, members of Norwegian concert
bands who are here for the annual concert band competition. I'm here because I'm a member of one of
those bands, the Romerike Konsertorkester.
"Here" is in Trondheim, the furthest north I've ever been as far as
I know. This town has the prettiness of Bergen but the weather of
Oslo. In fact the weather is probably even worse than Oslo. It was
sunny yesterday (if ridiculously cold), but today someone aimed an
incessant stream of crystallized water pellets at the town for no
apparent reason, and it became all slippery, white, and wet.
The band I'm in came fourth out of about twelve in our division.
We're in division 1. (It's a zero-based index. There is one division
above us, the Elite division, and three divisions below us.) I've
never been here before so I really have no point of reference, but
based on the looks of extreme joy on my fellow band members, I'm
guessing this is extremely good. (We were apparently hoping
to be lucky and place eighth or ninth.)
I'm currently singing along quite loudly to the music being played
on stage. It's drawing looks. It has to be said, I'm the only person
who has a laptop here. They are all enjoying themselves with alcohol
and tobacco, much to my disgust, but hey, to each his own.
Before sitting down here I tried to get myself a drink.
Har du eplemost?
Har du eplemost?
They didn't have any apple juice.
They didn't have any water either.
Eventually I found a bar that did have water, about 100m
from where I'm sitting now. I came back to enjoy the Jazz with my
glass; by the time I'd gotten here I'd drunk half of it already.
I'm not going for more water for a while. Trying to push myself
through the increasingly drunk people isn't too fun.
The age range here is quite dramatic. There are people from early
teens all the way to retirement age. Sadly the smoker population spans
the same age range. There are also quite a few cute girls, although
many are smokers too, and none of them are the right cute
Much to my amusement somebody just asked me if what I was doing
(using a computer) had anything to do with what was going on around
me. I went for "no". How anyone can communicate with the level of
noise in here I have no idea. There's no wireless network, so the
obvious answer (an IRC network) is right out. It certainly isn't
vocally. I can't hear a word of what people say even when they shout
in my ear. I've often wondered this about events of this nature.
As is probably obvious, I don't go to these kinds of these parties
very often. My kind of party is usually very quiet, with very little
sound except the hum of several dozen fans and the occasional
expletive from an indignant party-goer. (And at that kind of party,
IRC usually is indeed the preferred communication
Young man, there's no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town,
there's no need to be unhappy.
Everybody just stuck their arms in the air simultaneously, then
folded them, then threw them to the side, then brought them together
again above their head. How odd.
The same guy just asked me what I was doing again. I gave him the
same answer (
DIARY!!) and he nodded and went away again. He'll
probably be back.
In other news, I recently bought 30 DVDs from the
UK. (Not coincidentally, last weekend my parents came to visit, which
was nice, since I hadn't seen them in ages.) I would have bought the
DVDs in Norway, but the prices here are astronomical, and despite this
being highly appropriate given the content of the DVDs, it was not
very attractive to me.
This purchase increased my total DVD ownership by a good base-10
order of magnitude. And it is quite impressive on the shelf.
The DVDs were seasons one through six of Stargate SG-1. My
flatmates are eating it up like addicts, it's quite funny. They
watched season one in about a week. They'll probably have finished
season two by the time I get back tomorrow. I'm having a great time
rewatching the early episodes, too... I might even resume my detailed
analysis of key episodes which I started a year or so ago.
Now we die.
Well that's a bad plan.
My ulterior motive for purchasing these DVDs was actually to
attempt to get someone hooked on SG-1. I'm going to get an
extended period of quality time with this someone and her
three cute ferrets at Easter to attempt this.
I didn't used to think ferrets were cute, by the way. Now I
consider them almost honorary cats. That's quite a statement, coming
During the rehearsals for the band I mentioned above we sometimes
spend many minutes playing sections where I have long 24 bar rests, so
I've been taking the opportunity to work on a proposal for a
Web Applications specification. This would be something along
the same lines as Web Forms 2,
but specifically for client-side application development. (I asked for
ideas along these lines a few weeks
ago — thanks again to those of you who responded.)
Some of the things I'm thinking of are:
- A per-domain, per-window "file system". This would allow you to
be running multiple instances of the same application (from the same
site) without the instances writing over each other's cookies. Anyone
who has tried to compare prices of multiple Travelocity tickets knows what
I mean by that. (I once nearly bought the wrong plane ticket because
of this, so I feel quite strongly that there is a problem to solve
- Native popup menus and context menus. As fun as it is to have to
guess how the menus on every site work, I'm thinking it's about time
we got consistent UI on this feature.
- For people who want it, command updating. This is where you have
several access points for the same feature, for instance a menu item
and a toolbar button, and you want them to all share the same
"disabled" state, so you don't have to disable every one in turn when
the option becomes unavailable.
- Sortable tree views and list views with rich formatting. Do a
search on eBay, and you'll find you have to hit the server
whenever you want to change the sort order. That shouldn't be
- Exclusive sections: At the moment, an implicit semantic of HTML
documents is that all the content is always visible, you need but
scroll to it. But in some applications this makes no sense: you may
not want the login screen to be on the screen at the same time as the
query page, for instance. At the moment you can work around this
using CSS and
display:none, but that's not semantically
correct, and it breaks when you disable stylesheets, which it
shouldn't. Having markup that actually means "hide this until it is
activated" would solve this.
- Content-area popup windows. They're currently possible
divs, but that breaks down when the
stylesheet is disabled, and is semantically dubious at best. (Any
div is the answer, there's a hole in HTML.) The
idea would be to introduce the idea of a native "subwindow" element
which would work as a movable window within the content area, which
can be dragged, resized, etc, as required.
- Remote eventing. I was recently reminded that HTTP is a
client-pull protocol, but that in many cases there is a need for
server-push. Now, you can fake this using an
iframe to a
document that the server doesn't close and into which it keeps
script blocks, but that's a hack to say the
least. What would be nice is a way of letting a remote server trigger
DOM events that standard DOM3 Event technologies could hook
The house lights just went up for a split second
(someone probably leant on the wrong switch) and after they went back
down, a girl came over and asked me what I was doing. I'm writing
about the party, I said. She found this fascinating. I have a feeling
"I'm brainstorming ideas for extensions to HTML to enable richer user
experiences with Web applications" would have gotten a rather less
warm response, but maybe I should try it if someone asks again. Sadly
they would probably reply "but you should come enjoy yourself! Have a
beer! Horrah! Skål!" or some such,
oblivious to the fact that I live for this spec stuff and don't like
the taste of beer... Did I mention "to each his own" already?
Speaking of girls, I've noticed I get a lot more looks from girls
now that I've shaved and cut my hair. I don't recall ever noticing
this happen when I cut my hair in the past. I wonder what the
difference is this time.
Incidentally, XBL is progressing nicely, despite
seemingly insurmountable differences between "us" (the CSS working
group members who are interested in XBL) and "them" (the SVG working
group members who were behind RCC). I have a bunch of action items to
deal with tomorrow, and then we'll be down to pretty much only one
real blocking issue before publication.