Friday thoughts

Some really interesting things to note for the week:

  1. New blog on Math in OfficeMurray Sargent who was the key architect behind the new math functionality in Office 2007 has started blogging. Check out his first post on Formula Autobuildup in Word 2007. Murray was the one who I'd mentioned having discussions with early on about whether or not MathML would be possible to use as the default persistence format for math in Word. It turned out that it wasn't going to meet our needs (another example was that we needed the <func> and <nary> tags), but Murray is hoping to help share a lot of our experiences with the folks working on the MathML 3.0 standard. I think he's even thinking about joining the working group.

  2. Difficult decisions between loose conformance and true interoperability – Rick Jelliffe had a great post earlier this week discussing the problems you get when you allow for really loose conformance. I talked about it in a post (made about 30 minutes ago), but wanted to bring it up again. I'm interested to hear how folks feel about the latest working draft of the spec. We were really concerned about getting the conformance clause nailed, because we knew that it was something people would really want to see done right. As you can see, Rick was disappointed by statements he'd seen around another standard:

    If Microsoft wrote this, we would be up in arms: "people have been able to exchange spreadsheets using completely undocumented formats, such as Excel's, for many years so this notion that documents "can't be exchanged" until every jot and tiddle is written down is simply untrue. " What a snowjob! Actually, the quote comes from the ODF website.

  3. Traitors or Mercenaries - It's really a shame that there are folks out there that get worked up into this "us vs. them" way of thinking. I talked about this in an older post called "There can be only one?" Well it looks like the folks working on the ODF to Open XML translator project are running into similar problems ( They've had some meetings with the Open Office folks and the ODF folks and had some interesting reactions. I think that we're making some really good strides here though, and I hope that as we continue in this direction with the standard those remaining doubters will be convinced. Here's a little blurb from Jean's post:

    What I see is that Microsoft is taking a new turn on the interoperability field - yes it goes slowly, very slowly, but hey! that's Microsoft! We're not speaking of a little agile company. Yes, they could have done better regarding ODF compatibility, but they could have done less as well. So we have here an opportunity to do a good job, to allow MS Office users to work with ODF documents: let's give this initiative a chance. I'm not saying that or OASIS hostility are a threat for the success of this project - but for sure things wouldn't go worse if they supported it!

  4. IBM comments about level of ODF support – Interesting comments in Andy Updegrove's blog about the level of ODF support in IBM workplace. I had thought they just took the Open Office code base for their support so I was kind of surprised to see they didn't have full support yet. I would think it's not going to be too far away though given that IBM has been ODF's most vocal proponent for the past year or two:

    Q: Which of these products will be compliant with ODF?

    A: Today, the IBM productivity editors do not fully support Open Document Format with 100% compliance. Implementation to complete support for SVG (graphics), SMIL (animation), and XForms (forms) will be complete in the next major release. IBM productivity editors can edit and save to Microsoft Office formats as well.

  5. Beta 2 of the XPS Essentials Pack - Beta 2 of the XPS essentials pack has been released to the web ( It contains:

    • A stand-alone XPS Document Viewer
    • Microsoft XPS Document Writer to output files to the XPS Document format through the print command of any Windows application. 
    • iPreview and iFilter interface implementations for XPS Documents
    • XPSDrv printer driver to enable printing to XPS devices.
    • Shell extensions for inspecting and changing XPS Document properties in Windows Explorer
  6. No sleep - Two weeks ago to celebrate our 2 year anniversary my wife and I got a Weimaraner puppy. I get a kick out of her but man is she a lot of work (the puppy J). I haven't had a full night's sleep in a couple weeks now. Her name is Luna and I love coming home to her, but I can't wait until she gets a little older and doesn't have to be taken outside every 2-3 hours (and I can actually start taking her on hikes, etc.). I'll post some pictures of her at some point since somehow I'm having that same reaction people with new born kids get. I can't stop telling people how cool she is. J

  7. American Football – The Huskies won last week, although it wasn't too convincing of a win. This week against Oklahoma has me pretty nervous, but I'm also a very optimistic person (some would say way too overly optimistic) so I'm hoping for a win. I'm really excited about the Seahawk game though. I was a huge Jon Kitna fan when he was here with the Seahawks, and I'm curious to see how he's going to be in Martz's new system. I'm not too nervous for the Hawks, but the first game of the season is always a bit of a question mark.

Have a great weekend everyone.