26 August 2010

Salut Baroque! concert, and true love

Ok, so last night I went to see the disgustingly good Salut Baroque ensemble at the Conservatory of Music in Sydney, and I got mostly what I expected (Hans Diether Michatz [who's student Shaun Stewart is my two girl's violin teacher!] in his normal good form, Valmai Coggins getting more and better sound out, Tim Blomfield doing his usual funky bass violin, the beautiful Monika Kornel making me wish I was a harpsichord, Sally Melhuish keeping it all together) with a few new faces worth noting ;

Matthew Greco was a new name (and face) to me, playing remarkably well (although the Folia could use some extra booyah!) and with an extraordinary body language. He seems to be involved in a lot of good stuff, so I'll keep me ears open for more. Brilliant left-hand technique.

Simon Martyn-Ellis was a pleasant addition to the line-up; mellow playing smooth as silk which I'm sure he's "inherited" from one of his teacher, the best lute / theorbo player in the world (uh, yeah, I'm biased), fellow Norwegian Rolf Lislevand (of Jordi Savall fame, and who was musical director of the last concert I went to in Norway, the 1610 Vespers by Monteverdi, and you see him briefly in this video I recorded from the event and which I wrote about here). Or maybe he's got talent, who knows? :) Really nice playing.

Then there was soprano Anna Fraser which had a most delightful timbre to her voice! No unnecessary vibrato, no fake phrasing, just full goodness the whole way. Loved her voice.

And then there was my new love, soprano Jane Sheldon, who blinded me with her expressive and passionate rendering of anything she did, clear, passionate and full of life, no silly-billies or cheap courtesying, beautiful as a summers evening. Even sitting still she moved in the most enthralling way. Of course I can't here write a love letter without lamenting much about the meaningless of life away from mountains and the severe lack of spring in my walk to and fro work, so I'll spare you the details, except to say that she did a most thrilling Zefiro Torna I've ever heard a non-Italian ever do (yeah, I'm a Monteverdi geek).

Oh, Salut Baroqe, you tease me and pain me and drive me crazy with all that I long for. Until next time, thanks a lot.

18 August 2010

Updates and recommendations

Right, so here's where I'm up to these days ;

I'm working for a local (but fairly large) health care provider as their intranet guy (building an empire from scratch, and may well include Topic Maps) both in design, implementation, usability, and process management, a role that is being expanded crazily with every day as we discover new territories to conquer and submit to our new reign of knowledge management. So yes, I'm actually enjoying it, even though the challenges are sky-high and densely packed.

I'm writing a book tentatively (and probably) called "The well-tempered monkey" (with some fancy sub-title, I'm sure), and it's about evolution, baroque music, the IT industry, software development, human psychology and cognition, category theories, philosophy, geeks, procreation and laser-guns! I'm roughly 1/4 finished with the first draft, and it contains heavily edited blog posts, lots of new writing and thinking, and my own pictures and designs. (Can an eBook embed music? If yes, I'll put some of my music in as well for good measure) Looking for tips, but think I'll make it a eBook-friendly PDF with a donate button at this point, unless you have a better way.

A good friend and librarian / cataloger Saskia has started a new blog called "All things cataloged", and she is well-versed in the black art of Topic Maps and identity management. You should check it out, it's good stuff.

Today I stumbled upon a Dutch version of a Norwegian classic by Sigrid Undset on a lonely bookshelf in the corridors of a health care facility in Albion Park, Illawarra. Man, that was a seriously crazy moment!

I'm closing in on xSiteable RESTful event-driven resource-oriented PHP framework for enterprise application development with embedded Topic Maps / identity management. I've started documenting the thing, and I'll release it soon-ish, I think. It also feature a funky Topic Maps-based XSLT dynamic GUI templating framework that I think should be a project all by itself, but hey, I'll throw it in for good value.

I've created a number of upper and core ontologies that I might release at some point, some of them obviously designed for more fuzzy Intranet stuff, but I'm increasingly getting all representialist on my arse, outing basic category theory and generally thrashing the good name of entites everywhere. I feel a long blog coming on.

Did I mention that all enterprise knowledge management software friggin' sucks? Like, sucks balls? All of them. I've tried them all, extensively, and they all just fail the one simple rule I've got; make KM easy for people. Confluence, Atrium, Documentum, SharePoint, SocialText, LifeRay, all the portal apps and associated server technologies, Vignette, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Sun (hehe), I could go on and on, they all SUCKS BALLS! They are technologists solutions to human problems, and failing basic compassion and respect for the generic user! Usability is not about pretty friggin' colors and cute graphics! I'm disgusted with the state of affairs as the usability of these things have not improved much or at all in the last 20 years I've worked in this field. (And yes, I'll friggin' make my own, I'm sick of this ...)

Anyway, on that happy note, life isn't so bad, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next crazy chapter in my life. We'll talk soon.

3 August 2010

I would think that, too

If I were you, I'd think that this blog didn't exist anymore, that it was abandoned and left behind in some digital heap of leftovers and unwanted peripherals. But no, it's still here, still serving your humble host as a way to express himself. But wait, if that is true, where is it? Where's this expressions you speak of?

Fair question. And the answer is a bit complex, but since my Indian adventure ended I've had a really shitty time finding proper income, especially given that I live in a region that is chemically free of IT jobs. It's pretty here, and life is nice and slow, but my family can't live off pretty and nice and slow (or so my wife and kids tell me). I've done a smidgen of contract work, but laughable as it stands, and it has in general been quite difficult for me to focus on much else. Of course I could vent here every day about my struggles, especially the vile and evil ways of the recruiter (and a lot of blame has to fall on those morons who hire them; shame on you) but I've been sparing you, good reader, from a repetitious stream of vile and frustrations.

Sure, some interesting things have happened, and a lot of it will be revealed in due time. But right now things are slowly falling into place (although not all is as good as it could be), normality returns, and I'm having a cup of tea before bed, and wanted to pop this message out there that things are looking up, if only for a brief moment.

One thing that has happened which I'm somewhat excited about is that I've decided to write a book, and I'm already 50 pages of edited and (re-)written materials. the title and contents will come a bit later, but I'm thinking of a self-publishing model in eBook form, but I'll take any advice at the moment. (It's a book for technology developers, managers and entrepreneurs - very broad in scope! - on the more philosophical side of things)

Anyway, I'll let you in on the details of work later. I'm in Australia for now, but there's a Norwegian adventure possibly a bit later on, but as with all things in my life, the details are light and fluffy.