Monthly Archives: August 2004

A nice cup of tea

I do drink rather a lot of tea. Making the tea in our house can be a delightful and unexpected gift (“ooo! tea! yes please!”), or a passive-aggressive competition as to who can go without caffiene the longest.
An ongoing notes and queries argument in the Guardian about the relative merits of putting the milk in first or not (and whether this has class implications or not) reminded me that George Orwell wrote an essay entitled A nice cup of tea. (How did I not find that when I named this blog I wonder?)
I always put the milk in last (as Orwell argues you should), and for the reason he suggests: purely that you can judge the exact colour of the resulting combination rather than have to guess at it. And people are very picky about that. People who way ‘oh, just as it comes’ are lying. Actually, they like their tea brewed for exactly two minutes, with the bag squeezed twice, and it has to have exactly enough semi-skimmed milk added to reach a precise shade of beige. So they sit there and look miserably at the tea you made them that isn’t really up to scratch, and wish they’d asked for coffee instead. Tea is very personal.
I never make this mistake. I only trust about three people to make me tea (this is an essential quality in a housemate). I tend not to drink tea away from home in case there’s anything up with the milk, or they only have Earl Grey. An exception is greasy spoon caffs, which tend to get it right – and leave you to put your own milk in (last).
I orginally started this entry with the words “I’m not obsessed with tea”. But clearly I am. Orwell isn’t the only one: Douglas Adams wrote about it too, and he’s right about Americans (and most continental Europeans too) get it wrong – water not hot enough. Although completely wrong on other counts (Earl Grey! why?!).

Update: A discussion about tea at lunch prompted the observation that “shall I be mother” was a favourite phrase. I love the incongruity of, say, middle aged men taking on the role of mother, albeit temporarily…

Calendaring and RDF

Leo’s talking about it and having problems finding good and consistent information about it. This is really my bad…I promised I would find time to document what we’ve done in a much more human readable way but I just haven’t had time. Masahide Kanzaki’s summary is very cool, though I think slightly out of step with the most recent changes to the schema (and Masahide wasn’t happy with those changes).
So this is very much an activity (a taskforce of the Semantic Web Interest Group) that depends on people’s interest and enthusiasm, which seems to have petered out at the moment. This has happened before and the mojo of the group always comes back. At the moment though, it’s clear that the work is in a state such that people can’t easily pick it up and play with it, despite all the good stuff that’s out there.
At the same time, the IETF Calsch working group (who created iCalendar and related RFCs) are starting to stir and sort out their priorites for further work. One suggestion is perhaps to simplify iCalendar, something that a lot of our RDF iCal users would like I think.
As to the future….these would be my priorities:

  • stablize (a subset of?) the schema
  • fix up the documentation
  • specify a subset of icalendar/RDF iCalendar that’s mostly interoperable and expresses what we want
  • work out how to identify events
  • provide some examples of mixing vocabularies together, espcially GEO, images and RSS 1.0
  • perhaps specify an XML profile of it (using schematron perhaps?)
  • relax and watch as everyone moves to using RDF iCalendar 😉

Update: Dan Connolly has suggested some ways forward.