Category Archives: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

So, How Was London?

Well, thanks for asking.

XML London was great. There was a lot of focus on XSLT 3.0, with Abel Braaksma discussing the intricacies of processing uninterrupted streams (I really need to get around to playing with streaming transformations soon), and a workshop on XSLT 3.0’s new packaging features with both him and Michael Kay, but also a number of interesting case studies. Special mention should go to Lech Rzedzicki for his brilliant talk on XML, blockchains and regulatory reporting in finance (no, I’m not going to tell you what blockchains are; you should read his paper), but also to John Sheridan and Jim Mangiafico for their presentation of their easier-to-use search language and tools for UK legislation. This latter talk holds a very special interest to me, as I recently wrote something similar if not quite as refined for my client, LexisNexis UK.

Also, my friend Andrew Sales presented a case study on what, on the surface, looked like a migration project but where all the cleverness was actually about making the editing and publishing chains as foolproof as possible. It’s a brilliant solution, one that any fan of meta-programming (code generating code) should appreciate.

And yes, Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 35mm was a treat, even though the sound was poorer than expected.

London This Week

I’m in London one week out of four, and this week is one of them. Usually, my London visits are all about meeting colleagues face to face and working in an actual office rather than in my basement study, grabbing a pint with friends at The Harrow, and buying too many books at Foyle’s and Waterstone’s. This week, though, I’m adding two things to this already solid plan:

One: I will watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind at BFI Southbank. Close Encounters is my favourite film. I’ve watched it dozens of times in cinemas over the years and probably as many times on video, DVD and Blu-ray. I own almost every version of it in existence (if you have the 35mm or 70mm print and wish to part with them, let me know), but also a fair amount of associated paraphernalia, from books to graphic novels to soundtracks. It’s an amazing film. It’s pure magic.

Two: I will attend XML London. It’s my first time there and it’s nice to attend a conference just for fun (meaning that I have no involvement with it, speaking, reviewing or otherwise). Who knows, I might do a paper for them in the future, but this year, I’ll stay in the background and let others do the talking.

I’m excited.