Lightning Tank

Adrénaline éristique

Vous avez vu tous les Fast and Furious, vous connaissez par cœur les répliques de Bruce Willis dans Armageddon, vous maîtrisez chaque stratagème de L’Art d’avoir toujours raison de Schopenhauer et vous récitez la Rhétorique d’Aristote à vous enfants pour les endormir. Bref: en adrénaline comme en dialectique éristique vous êtes sérieusement badass (ou “mauvaiscul”, comme diraient nos amis étouffeurs de la langue française). Mais connaissez-vous le lightning talk?

Looking for my Next Project

What’s Next?

As you well know, dear reader, I am a freelancer, and as freelancers well know All Contracts Must Die. Thanks to the kind support of Adobe, Google, and Microsoft, I have had an interesting two-year run being part of the W3C Team and shepherding the HTML5 specification towards Recommendation. As August goes, these two years too will end.

Web 2024

Waiting for the singularity

With all these Web@25, W3C@20, WHAT@10, and of course Robin@37 worldwide celebrations it seems like as good a time as any to take a few minutes for musings about where we’ll be ten years from now. The content here is not meant to be particularly serious (or anywhere near complete), but I operate under conservative assumptions, for instance that the world doesn’t get overrun by an evil AI in the meantime. I’m also not interested in every other small detail. These are some of my opinions, and while I very, very much welcome opinionated disagreement I certainly don’t mind that part of them may feel outrageous to some — nor how wrong they turn out to be.

Is HTML Too Big To Fail?

The Forks At Helm's Deep

Evil geniuses, be it in history or fiction, tend to distinguish themselves through some unique trait that hallmarks their own personal expertise beyond the generic, run-of-the-mill apparatus of evil. Dracula has dread, Torquemada has torture, Carly Rae Jepsen has Call Me Maybe. If ever an evil genius were to rise from the ranks of the standards community, there is no shade of a doubt for me that her evil specificity will be tedium.

Lions and Tigers

The Day We Fight Back

In 1937, Walter Lippmann wrote The Good Society which captured with stunning lucidity the politics of his time. And as many potent political texts, it echoes well beyond its era. One of my favourite quotes from it is:

Please Bring Me More Of That Yummy DRM Discussion

Austening ourselves to the full Brontë

Allow me, Dear Reader, to kick off with a remarkable statement that will no doubt keep you astonished for days to come: I really, really don't like DRM. I want a third party to be allowed to control my ownership of my books, movies, and music just as much as I wish Ikea were allowed to come reclaim tables and cupboards from my home, Uniqlo to snatch clothes off my hunky pecs, or Tanziti Abdelfattah (the baker around the corner) to grab his baguette right out of my toaster.

Boltzmann Replicators

Fiat Lux

Let us start off with Boltzmann Brains. Imagine a universe that is nothing more than a diffuse cloud of stuff, without any structure to speak of. Perhaps it is at the heat death end of a universe such as ours, perhaps it is because no such structure has emerged yet. That does not matter. It also does not matter what the "stuff" is. It can be lots of elementary particles, the sort that we know of; it can be some variant from another universe; or it can just be a chaotic primordial bit soup, just raw random information.The latter type of ur-chaos can match a good definition of nothing, but that’s the topic for another blog post. What this diffuse universe is made of is irrelevant to the argument made here.