Friday, February 10, 2006

Darkness falling

I've been puzzled by how lightly our ministers seem to have been getting off when I hear them interviewed about the legalised kidnapping and torture that is extraordinary rendition. Chandra Sekhar has an excellent article on what is being done, and has ben done, and the laws that are being bent or ignored in the process.

And what is wrong with Extraordinary Rendition? Follow Chandra's link to the statement of Maher Arar...
a Canadian citizen, that a public enquiry in Canada has been found was tortured while in Syria, having been rendered by US agents in 2002.

(I'm not going to trivialise his words by doing some kind of executive summary. Read it for yourself.)

Everything is wrong with Extraordinary Rendition. The thought that we in the UK might be complicit in a process by which innocent people are effectively disappeared and (by any ordinary meaning of the word) tortured - which is what this Extraordinary Euphemism actually means - appals me. And the thought that our security services might be desparate enough to depend on the notoriously unreliable results of torture fills me with fear.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

When is a Web Service not a Web Service?

(Written while waiting for DB2 v. 8 to uninstall itself... )

Excellent post on almost-Web Services. I've been there, seen (and suffered) that. Using MQ Series is not a problem, I've done more with that than with SOAP (which tells you a bit about our market). But what is it about XML that inspires host developers with an insane urge to write their own XML parsers?

I've had messages going back where half the content was going to a system with a home-brewed XML parser that rejected XML-escape sequences like "&". We had to skip the built-in .NET serialisation, write our own pseudo-XML formatter and leave ampersands unescaped. We then discovered that the other half was going to a system with a real XML parser that naturally rejects unescaped ampersands. In the end we simply translated all "&" characters in user data into "+" signs.

( ...Oops - DB2 uninstall finally came back, and wants me to close firefox amongst other apps. Back to the grindstone.)