Arnaud's Blog

Opinions on open source, standards, and other things

The Facebook Oxymoron

Social networking tools a la Facebook and Twitter associated with the always connected feature of today’s hand-held devices have led to the creation of a new type of oxymoron that never ceases to amaze me.

Postings such as “enjoying a great dinner with my spouse”, “having a great time with visiting friends”, “I’ve got so much work to do!” just don’t make sense to me. I say they are a new form of oxymoron.

Here is the thing in case you didn’t get it yet: If you really were having a great time with your spouse or friends, you wouldn’t be posting about it. Especially since while social networking tools are great to connect with remote friends there is nothing more anti-social than taking time off from interacting with people around you to post on Facebook or Tweeter. In my book this is just rude.

And if you really were that busy, you wouldn’t have time to post about it, would you?

Seriously. I do use Facebook and I enjoy it. But when I’m on vacation for instance, the last thing I think about is posting about it. I’m happy to do so afterward.

This is so obvious to me that it amazes me to see how many people seem to fall into that kind of habit. I don’t understand this.

Of course I know what people are going to say: “Come on, it doesn’t even take a minute to post something like that”. I know. And I’ll accept that even though I bet in most cases people don’t just post but also check what others posted so it takes them more than just a minute.

But still, I want to ask: what’s the point of these postings?

Are we turning into an ever more egocentric society where under the pretense of caring for what’s going on in other people’s life we focus so much on our own that we feel an urge to tell people about everything we do?

I hope it isn’t so and this is merely excess usage that will somewhat fade away over time and we will eventually find a happy medium.


April 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

OOXML: And the light came on

I’ve thought about posting here several times over the last many months and I even have several drafts that never saw the light but this just keeps getting pushed down too far on my priority list to happen. However, I have to react to the buzz I’m discovering on my return from a week off.

Indeed, it is with quite a bit of astonishment that I read about Alex Brown’s frustration over Microsoft lack of interest in implementing ISO/IEC 29500 (OOXML). In the burgeoning comment sections following his post, Alex writes:

@Mr Allison

> The outcome that many had predicted, yet you
> insisted would not occur

Oh? I don’t recall making predictions about Microsoft’s behaviour? URL please!

Well, let me give you a link to a prediction I made! In my post What Microsoft’s track record tells us about OOXML’s future of March 25, 2008 I wrote:

They can, and I predict will, ignore all these additions which are optional and stick to what they have. The only reason they were added was to remove reasons for National Bodies to vote against OOXML.

So, here we are. Two years later, Microsoft has done exactly that and Alex Brown is finally seeing the light.

One can only hope that the standards community will have at least learned a lesson from this sad story: you simply cannot take control away from a vendor who has a monopoly and isn’t willing to give it up through a mere standardization process.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | standards | , | 5 Comments