The Robins of Spring

May 12, 1998

Xavier McLipps

Puzzlin' Evidence #5

by Xavier McLipps

Spring is in the air and even a dedicated rumormeister such as I is having trouble working up a sleuthing spirit. No matter; my mailbox runneth over with goodies.

And, dear readers, proof that we've finally made it: this week, received its first-ever lawsuit threat, in response to <blush> one of my unworthy contributions. Next, Quentin Tarantino will want the movie rights... -X.McL.


Earth-shattering news in .org-land: OASIS, the consortium formerly known as SGML/Open, recently announced that it had "taken the helm" of the XML Active Content Technologies Council (X-ACT). Awfully generous of OASIS we'd say; does this mean they have to take the nasty phone calls from executives at companies who unexpectedly found their logos appearing in lists of X-ACT "members"?

Speaking of OASIS and the Robins of Spring

We seem to recall, last December, OASIS' winsome and competent Robin Tomlin announcing in triumph that the glorious (if a bit ponderous) SGML Web Page, maintained with monastic discipline by world-class FOX Robin Cover, was going to become sponsored by OASIS. Gosh, six months have passed and the sponsors still seem to be SoftQuad and the Summer Institute of Linguistics.

All we can say is: this is a job for Batman!

Big Black and Blue

We hear consistent low-level buzz with the letters x, m, and l in it surrounding the "Dark Tower" database vendor just off route 101. So I bribed the night security guard at the neighborhood Mercedes dealership and dug a tunnel into the database underground. While I did discover the secret of Larry's unnatural skin-tone, the only XML revelation was the existence of an internal server named, which I am told has been hitting all the XML-heavy Internet sites at a regular clip these past few weeks.

On the Big Blue front, a reliable source says that we can soon expect an IBM submission on the subject of digital signatures for XML documents.

Fury in Vancouver

We called up's technical editor Tim Bray to sanity-check a juicy rumor, but did we ever pick the wrong time. Seems he'd just got his free copy of IDG's new XML For Dummies; we heard sounds of carpet being chewed, books thrown at cats, and some names which are well-known in our community being accused improbably of sexual congress with corporate entities. In an inexcusable display of in-house favoritism, we'll suppress the details.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing

Following up on that last story, we visited Amazon to check the menagerie of XML books and books-to-be. A sobering experience. Looking further into the future, we checked to see if there was anything on RDF. Sure is, and it stands for: Refuse Derived Fuel.