Puzzlin' Evidence #3

April 11, 1998

Puzzlin' Evidence #3

by Xavier McLipps

Two weeks later, and still some conference hangover - let's face it, at the moment we're a culture of conferences and press releases and alliances and initiatives. Products coming later. But hey, that makes for better gossip. -X.McL.

Venture Dunce Caps

Can you name which companies visible at the recent conference are currently sucking over $6 million out of the "dumbest VC in the world"? We counted no less than three such outfits receiving funds under the latest round of the NIST Advanced Technology Program, which stipulates that funds be used for high-risk, high-benefit research with no ROI attached. Under the terms of the NIST ATP, funds are for research only, all productization to follow on completion of the grant and the government, your government if you live in the U.S., asks for no piece of the eventual pie or the pie maker. In fact, we think this makes pretty good sense, look at what great media is coming out of the space program and that didn't even launch from Seattle.

Name all three and you get a McLipps T-shirt (when we design it); name more than three, and you get to design it.


Can anyone give us a positive ID on the gentleman standing up front, out of our view, at the X-act bash (there was beer there, so we're not knocking the concept) who was clearly heard to say, "Tags inside of documents is a fifties mentality" and the immortal follow-on line, "Bringing XML into documents is introducing legacy into the environment."

Paris in the Spring

GCA stands for Graphics Communications Association, the printing-trade talkshop that discovered SGML lamenting in the wilderness 12 years back, and, having nurtured it through an eon of niche status, is feeling like the belle of the XML ball. In fact, we think the GCA's in love, and it looks like this budding romance will be consummated - and what better setting - in Paris in May. We observe in the program for the GCA's SGML/XML Europe '98 conference that the Opening Keynote Plenary promises:

Hear how Microsoft supports the XML standard today, and understand it's [sic] vision for XML in the future.

And to make a good thing even better, there's an Interim Plenary [Interim? - Ed.] in mid-conference, at which you can:

Come hear how XML is impacting all these fields, understand Microsoft's plans for adding XML support across it's [sic] product lines...[Is there an echo in here? -Ed.]

Is this just dating, or are they Ready For a Commitment? The program also features a Members Only event:

XML-Data Schemas are a powerful new alternative to SGML/XML Document Type Definitions... Members will learn what a Schema is, how it can be built, and how it can help us integrate data from multiple, disparate sources to build three-teir Web applications.

Gosh, it's sweet of GCA to pick, out of the current goulash of schema work going on in the W3C, the XML-Data spud as uniquely beneficial to its grateful members; ain't romance wonderful?

By the way, Xavier won't be joining the frolicking in Paris; doesn't exactly have a European travel budget yet. So remember to send word about all the good bits.


Last time, we carried an item suggesting that the applause for Netscape's little Mozilla/XML surprise might have been less than 100% spontaneous. A reader writes McLipps:
Not only was my applause very real, but to his credit, so was that of Monsieur Paoli in front of me, who was one of the first to start clapping.
Last time, we gleefully pointed out the remarkable similarities in a couple of press releases from well-known industry FOXes. Two follow-ups:
My last Puzzlin' Evidence went up very late Wednesday April 1st. At 11:22:23 AM Thursday, the offending press release had, in a triumph of temporal engineering, been substantially reworded without changing the date at the top. Second, this item was later picked up by the formidable and feared Spencer F. Katt, at whose paws Xavier humbly sits.