WarCraft goes XML

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I noticed this morning that the main World of Warcraft site is indeed raw XML styled with XSLT. They’re serving straight XML directly to browsers. It appears to be mostly well-formed HTML (but not XHTML) wrapped up inside a custom page element.

I’m not quite sure why they’re doing this. It seems like an extra burden just for a different root element, but maybe the stylesheet does a little more. Hmm, looks like they’re using XSLT as a client-side templating language. Not bad. Saves them bandwidth and server-side processing I expect.

Interestingly the HTML includes some JavaScript. JavaScript inside XML didn’t used to work, even after a transformation to HTML. I’m guessing at least some browsers have gotten smarter about that.

#378 (and a half) at Doodletown

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Yesterday Shane Blodgett led the Brooklyn Bird Club up the Doodletown trail in Bear Mountain State Park. Some birds are common there that are quite unusual here in the city and vice versa. In particular, it’s a good site for Yellow-throated Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, and Cerulean Warbler. The latter would be a life bird for me.

Sign: Map of Doodletown; straight ahead to First June Cemetery; left to Tree Nursery

Once we got high enough up on the mountain, we saw several Ceruleans and heard quite a few more. They’re small birds that flit around in the tops of the trees, so they’re hard to spot. However I did eventually see one from the water tank, and that was my life bird for the day. We also had Golden-winged Warbler and Yellow-throated Vireo at the water tank. I thought the latter was a life bird too, but when I got home and checked my records, it seems I saw Yellow-throated Vireo a couple of times in Prospect Park last year, so I only got two life birds this weekend, not three.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Caterpillar with white stripe

Malacosoma americanum, Mine Road, Rockland County, 2007-05-20

#378 Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Ridgewood Reservoir

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo has been my nemesis bird for a while now. Although it breeds in New York City, and although it is regularly reported in city parks, I have never had an unambiguous look at one. That chyanged this morning. I had joined Steve and Heidi Nanz, Rob Jett, Janet Schumacher, Suzanne Ortiz, and several others for a continuing breeding bird census at Ridgewood Reservoir. This was the third of a planned six visits to the site this season.
We parked the cars across Vermont Place from the reservoir. A pair of male Baltimore Orioles were obvious in a nearby tree. However the census doesn’t start till we cross the street. No sooner had we done so, than Rob called out “Yellow-billed Cuckoo!” It was high up in the trees, and moving; but it didn’t fly too far away; and eventually I was able to get a clear look at it. I

I’m afraid this is the best picture of the bird I got, and you really can’t identify it from this:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo in tree

It did not pose for my photographs, I’m afraid. I have several other photos of the branch it just left, but it was clearly ID’able through binoculars. It was obviously a cuckoo, had a prominent slightly curved yellow bill, and large white spots on the underside of the tail. The Black-billed Cuckoo, the only other cuckoo in the area, has a black bill and small white spots on the underside of the tail.

What Happened to Oceanic Flight 815?

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

The latest episodes of Lost have strongly hinted that the survivors are, in fact, dead; and in some sort of afterlife. This is a red herring. They are very much alive and present on our Earth, in the present day.

The strongest evidence that they’re dead are the helicopter pilot’s claims that the plane was in fact found four miles down in the ocean, with the bodies on-board. However, there’s a very simple explanation for that, albeit one that is used frequently in real life and almost never in fiction:

Someone is lying.

One Last Trip To Golden Gate Park

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Monday morning I had a few hours to kill before I had to get to SFO and catch my flight home so I took a quick spin up Ocean Beach and then into the Western part of Golden Gate Park. Common Ravens were once again common. A couple of American Crows also called, but they were vastly outnumbered by the ravens. Song Sparrows and American Robins were common. Hummingbirds, both Allen’s and Anna’s, were almost as common. So were any number of people doing Tai Chi at various locations.

The first new trip bird I found was a Winter Wren. I think I had these on Mount Davidson the previous day, but I was never sure. This particular wren was a lot more cooperative and let me see it rather than just singing from distant bushes.