In Defense of COS, or Why I Love JSON and Hate XML

I don’t miss XML

I don’t miss XML. XML would only have been a quarter as bad as it is if it didn’t introduce the ambiguity of trying to decide whether data should be an attribute of an element or the value of an element.

<element attribute="attribute-value">value</element>

It would only be half bad if it didn’t introduce the unwieldy syntax of triangle brackets and an end-of-comment closing syntax that use more triangle brackets and a second copy of the element name. It would only be three quarters bad if the syntax for comments didn’t also use triangle brackets, along with a few hyphens and a required closure at the end of each line.

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Express 3 Migration Issues

Today I migrated a web site from Express 2.5 to Express 3.0.0rc3. This is a non backward compatible version change. Express has a Migrating from 2.x to 3.x wiki page, but it doesn’t quite leave you prepared for the more time consuming incompatibilities that you’ll need to fix. I’ll enumerate some of these differences here. Note that some of these issues may be ironed out in later releases of Express.

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Files are Important

How Dropbox and the App Store are a counterpoint to Web Apps

About five years ago a colleague and I were lamenting the fragmentation of identity and storage caused by the new crop of web apps. You could edit a Powerpoint-like presentation at one site, a photo at another, and check on your calendar at a third site. Each site required a separate login, and your content was stored in some unique new format in a cloud database that you couldn’t extract your data from. We saw a case for abstracting identity and storage to make life easier and less confusing for users and to help with archiving content beyond the life of the web site (e.g. 280Slides, which is now defunct). We were focusing on fixing identity using OpenId-like solutions, but we also thought the answer to cloud storage might be to provide a standard storage service that all the web apps could use.

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Turning Paper Delivery Back On

This week I turned paper delivery back on for T-Mobile and all my credit card statements. I didn’t do this to save the US Postal Service from extinction. I did it because these businesses’ statement ePickup services weren’t delivering an adequate level of service. I call their electronic statement services ePickup because instead of delivering the statements they send you an email notice telling you to go pick up your own statement. Read more about ePickup in my previous post.

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Fat Fingered Financial

Sophos ran an article this morning describing how “two typosquatting sites, and, have been forced offline and fined £100,000 ($156,000) each by a UK telephone regulatory agency.”

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Apple Restricts iCloud to Apps in App Store

For the forthcoming Mountain Lion release of Mac OS X, Apple is advancing their support of iCloud and introducing the Notification Center. Third party app developers will not have access to iCloud and the Notification Center unless they release their software through Apple’s App Store.

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Stupid Password Rules

I covered passwords in enough detail in this post. You’d think most companies would have got the message by now and the only companies with stupid password rules would be those with legacy sites. You’d think.


Today T-Mobile introduced their new stupid password rules:

  1. Must be at least 8 characters long
  2. Must contain both letters and numbers
  3. Must contain both uppercase and lowercase letters
  4. Cannot contain spaces or special characters (!, @, $, %, \’)


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iBook: Apple At It's Worse

Apple’s greed has passed the threshold for anticompetitive behavior that makes them evil. No company wants to compete in an open market, but Apple is going the extra mile to eliminate competition.

This I conclude from three distinct moves:

  1. Apple long ago blocked third party document innovation on their devices
  2. Their new iBook format is built as proprietary extensions on the shoulders of ePub
  3. Any content produced with it’s new, free iBooks Author tool can only be used on Apple devices

You wouldn’t think Apple would need to limit competition with earnings results such the ones they announced today, but I guess when you’re big, the only way you can grow your value is to bite off new markets to own.

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SOPA: Was the MPAA Stupid or Manipulated?

There’s little point in adding to the discussion on SOPA (and PIPA), particularly since the protests from this past Wednesday have been so effective. If you don’t yet understand what is wrong with SOPA read this or watch this.

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Solving e-delivery: Solutionscape

This is part four of a series on e-delivery:

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In my previous post I looked at the requirements for an e-delivery solution. That post hinted at the need for standards so that businesses could future-proof whatever solutions they adopt. I discussed the existing cloud-centric solutions in a bit of detail in my post Statement E-Delivery is Broken. In this post I dig a little deeper and look at what constraints and trends businesses should consider and how they should future-proof their solutions.

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