Category Archives: Prague


As 2015 draws to a close, I’m thinking of 2016 and specifically these highlights:

  • The Hateful Eight in 70mm. I haven’t bothered booking Star Wars yet, but there’s no way I’m not going to see Tarantino’s 70mm epic the way it was meant to, in 70mm at the Imperial in Copenhagen. Yes, I know, the roadshow is coming to Stockholm, too, but the Danes still know how to run 70mm shows while the Swedes don’t. Sorry.
  • Göteborg Film Festival. Yes, I’m going to spend another 11 days in a dark projection booth, hitting Play at three-hour intervals.
  • XML Prague. I’ve submitted a paper, but I’m also peer-reviewing other people’s papers as I’m now part of the Program Committee. The conference is in February, starting on a Thursday (the 13th) rather than a Friday and ending on a Saturday rather than a Sunday, allowing you and your better half to enjoy Prague on Valentine’s Day. Get your festival passes now, folks.
  • Balisage is between August 1-5. I’m definitely going; a year without Balisage would just be too weird.

The Final (?) Take on Film Markup Language

As some of you may know, I sometimes project films at the Draken cinema when I’m not busy doing XML stuff. Also, as I’ve noted before, film projection is moving from analogue to digital and it’s all happening very, very fast. The commercial cinemas, multiplexes all of them, now run films on hot-swap hard drives in servers coupled with ugly digital projectors, and the one remaining 35mm cinema, an art house, is rumoured to close soon.

So today, after a call from the city council’s school cinema group, I started thinking and realised that while I did consider the advent of all things digital when I first wrote Film Markup Language, even updating the DTD to include some rudimentary support for 2k and 4k projection for my 2010 presentation on it in Prague, it’s too late to actually modernise the DTD or the spec for what’s actually going on today.

See, the digital thingies do use XML. It’s inconsistent and looks like some weird kind of committee hack, though, the kind of XML you might find in Java config files, but it’s XML and it seems to be enough. So, Film Markup Language is dead for all practical purposes.

It’s kind of sad.

It’s Quite Possible to Lose Your Way in Prague

I drove to Prague for XML Prague, yesterday. I left Göteborg on Wednesday evening, taking the ferry to Kiel, and then spent most of Thursday on the Autobahn. It all went without a hitch; not that I’m that good but my GPS is. I would probably have ended up in Poland without it because I often miss the road signs when on my own. Some of my business trips before the GPS era were truly memorable.

So today I took a walk around central Prague, shopping gifts and seeing the sights. And a wonderful city it is, one of my favourite cities in Europe. All that history, all that architecture, the bridges… and small, narrow streets that are never straight. They are practically organic (and probably feed from the gift shops since they are everywhere), and it’s very difficult to find your way. It’s a labyrinth we are talking about.

Yes, I lost my way. The third time I came back to that innocent-looking Kodak shop (and there are a lot of shops with Kodak signs in central Prague, I might add), I knew I was in trouble. I was walking in circles, my feet aching while a particularly wet mixture of snow and rain poured down, and had no idea where I was. And I kept thinking about my GPS, safely tucked away back in my hotel room, remembering that I actually considered bringing it along for the walk but then shrugging, thinking “how hard can it be?”

I found a shelter in a mall I hadn’t seen before (well, I think I hadn’t seen it before) and considered my next move while high-heeled ladies tried lipsticks and wondered what the out-of-place stranger was doing in the cosmetics department. I could ask someone, I suppose, some friendly local…

Then I remembered: I have a GPS in my mobile. It took a few minutes for it to find the satellites it required but after that, I only had to walk for a few more minutes to find a familiar landmark. In a counter-intuitive direction, I might add.

The wisdom in this story? Thank goodness for GPS devices. Oh, and XML Prague starts tomorrow morning.