The hard drive in my laptop decided it had had enough today and decided to crash (with only two days before I depart to Boston for a W3C meeting!). Luckly I was able to recover all my PhD stuff and work I had been doing today on Widgets. I’m currently in the process of reformatting my drive with Windows XP. I was able to recover almost everything using BartPE, which creates a cd-bootable stripped down version of Windows. BartPE is very useful as it allows you to map network drives. To get my data, I just copied all the stuff that I could onto one of our development servers. It took me about 2 hours, as BartPE kept crashing trying to copy files.
Tomorrow I’ll have to waste time reinstalling all my apps and testing the system to see if it is stable enough to take to the US… otherwise, it’s “off to the shop” to for a new hard-drive 🙁 If all else fails, my girlfriend has offered to lend me her new MacBook which I will happily take over my PC any day 🙂
Update: went to get a new 160GB hard drive, but once I started reinstalling Windows the installer kept crashing with IRQL_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL (new BSoD error, which I had not seen before). Did a google search and all evidence pointed to either that the RAM or CPU was overheating. One of the IT guys here at QUT ran a memory tester and we discovered that it was infact one of the RAM chips that was fried. Sucks, as I only bought the new RAM about one week ago 🙁 . Anyway, all seems semi-stable now… currently reinstalling Windows XP. I made a 40Gig partition to install Windows Vista so I can agian play with SideBar Gadgets. I previously unistalled Vista because I found it so shockingly bad to use and unstable.
Yesterday I started writing a paper for WWW2008 about widgets (and given the highly competitive nature of the WWW conferences, I doubt it will be accepted). Anyway, the conference mandates that citations conform to ACM’s referencing style (eg. smith  says, “bla bla”), which is not currently supported by Microsoft Word. My immediate thought was, “Right! Word’s style files are just (OO)XML so it should just be a simple matter of changing some angled brackets to create the ACM style!”. My plan was to base the ACM style on the already supported ISO 690 style, which is similar except it uses parenthesis “(1)” instead of brackets “”. So I went into MS Word’s program file directory, and located the bibliographical styles. To my shock, the reference style file was an impenetrable XSLT file (7093 lines long and completely uncommented!). I spent about 20 minutes trying to work out what the hell the file was doing… but eventually I gave up :(. I compared ISO 690 XSLT style file to the ACM Bibtex sytle file. The bibtex style file is only around 1700 lines long, and nicely commented I might add.
Yay! the W3C has canned the work on the Declarative Format for Applications and User Interfaces (DFAUI), putting an end to something that had no way of ever finishing. Of course, you probably have never heard of the DFAUI because the WAF WG never published any documents about it. The idea was to standardized an XML language similar to XAML or Openlaszlo…. but instead, what the WAF-WG got was an input from Nexaweb called XAL. Anyway, the people that were supposed to be editing the document never got very far, and as far as I am concerned, the work they produced was of fairly low quality (that’s not to say my work doesn’t suck!).
These are my random thought on how I think the DFAUI should have been standardized…and why it failed….
Continue reading W3C stops standardization of the declarative format for application and user interfaces (about time!)