Open Government and PDF

•02Nov09 • 29 Comments

Daring Fireball just linked to two equally foolish articles about how PDFs are “bad” for Open Government.

The premise of these articles is that the world would be a much better place if all governments would publish all of their information on the web in HTML or XML. You know what else would make the world a much better place? Unicorns.

The issue at hand is not whether governments should pick HTML or PDF. The issue at hand is whether governments are capable of publishing information at all. Show me an HTML creation tool that creates high quality, standards conformant markup from a Word document or any of the zillions of editing tools that government employees use. Now add in all the tools used by people who submit documents to the government. And all the versions of those tools released in the last 20 years. Now make sure that the HTML/XML works correctly even when the user doesn’t have the right browser or the right fonts installed. Guess what? There are no such conversion tools available. And who would pay to make sure that everyone had access to these tools and knew how to use them correctly?

Creating PDFs is trivially easy for all these cases, whether you use Acrobat or something built into your OS. It works regardless of what tool was used to create the content in the first place, and it works on pretty much every OS out there and on mobile.

HTML/XML Standards nerds should get a grip. They aren’t even in the running to compete with PDF here.

new url for site:

•03Sep09 • Comments Off on new url for site:

Since my previous domain got grabbed by some domain speculator, I’ve registered for a new domain as You can continue to use if you like. Sorry for the hassle.

Rock Climbing

•27Aug09 • Comments Off on Rock Climbing

I usually stick to technical topics, but I’m a proud papa. This is a photo of my 7 year old daughter rock climbing at Pacific Edge in Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago. That’s the top of a 50 foot climb, one of four she did that day.

ac rock climbing sc

How she decided that this was the sport for her, I don’t know. She tried it for the first time at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk a couple of years ago, and has done it several times since on the same kind of portable 20ft wall. This is the first time she ever tried anything quite this extreme, and she was pretty intimidated at first. But about half-way up the first climb she “got it” and from that point on she had a great time.

Amazing facility, by the way, next to the Beckmann’s bread factory.

Palm Claim Chowda?

•30Jul09 • Comments Off on Palm Claim Chowda?

TechCrunch, AllThingsD, and many others are giving Roger McNamee a lot of crap about his claim that yesterday, the 2 year anniversary of the iPhone’s launch, would be the day that everyone who bought one of those iPhones would upgrade to a Palm Pre. Now I do think he deserves some of that crap, since the hyperbole was so extreme. But to take that claim and try to paint the Pre launch or Elevation’s Palm investment as a failure because it didn’t stand up to that hyperbole is ridiculous. The refutation of these claims is really quite simple: compare the stock performance of the leading cell phone makers over the last year:

Stock performance chart, PALM vastly outperforms others over past 12 months

Note that while Palm’s stock has soared, Apple’s stock is only slightly higher and the other major phone makers are down. If I was Elevation Partners, I think I’d be pretty happy with Palm’s performance relative to its competitors…