At a Glance: B. Tommie Usdin
My name is Tommie Usdin, and this is my personal web page. Please wander
around, have a look, and drop
me a line if you want to say hello.
I want to talk about several topics:
Mulberry Technologies, Inc. (a consultancy specializing in SGML and XML) systems for textual documents
- Conferences, and in specific Balisage: The Markup Conference.
As is conventional, I also include a brief description of my professional
capabilities and experience (Tommie's Quals).
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.
Mulberry Technologies, Inc. entered the world on April 1, 1996, and I have
served as President since then. Mulberry started business in my
house, then moved to a largely-abandonned office building, and now has
offices in a cozy old building in historic Rockville Maryland.
Mulberry is a consultancy specializing in XML and SGML, in
particular with respect to text or prose documents. You can read more
about Mulberry at: www.mulberrytech.com.
I like conferences. I like the occasion to step back from day to day business and getting projects done and think about the bigger picture.
I like meeting a lot of people who do more or less the same things I do, or at least understand the world in which I work. I like writing
conference presentations, because it forces me to articulate what I am thinking on some topic for people who may have a different point of view,
and I love giving conference presentations where an informed audience questions my assumptions and conclusions.
Perhaps because I like conferences so much, I have been involved with managing several conferences over the years. I co-chaired and later
chaired GCA's SGML conferences from 1991 through 1997, and then "Markup Technologies" and then "Extreme Markup Langauges" conferences through
2007. I have spoken and taught at ... conferences as varied as Seybold, ACH, Xplor, Association of American Publishers Annual Medical Publishing
Practicum, Tri-XML, XML 'XX, XML Dev Con, Java Developers, and the BioMed Central Freedom of Information Conference.
I am excited about a new conference series, called Balisage: The Markup Conference. Balisage is a
forum for discussion of all things markup. XML, SGML, overlapping structures, XSL, RDF, Topic Maps; the whole constellation of
markup-related specifications and standards, their use and abuse; the theory of marked-up documents and the theory of marking-up documents;
practical aspects of creating, managing, manipulating, and archiving marked-up content.
Balisage is an XML conference and a whole lot more. It isn't about the XML, but then XML is such old news that a conference that was
really ABOUT XML would be a real bore. Balisage is about what we can, and more important what we can't quite, do with XML and other
markup systems. It is about what we want to do with markup, how we want to do it, and solving the problems that prevent us from
doing what we want to do with XML the way we want to do it.
Balisage is different from other XML conferences because at Balisage we delve in the details, we talk about unsolved problems,
and sometimes we argue about approaches. This is not a sweetness-and-light don't-scare-the-paying-customers type conference;
this is not a place for Vice Presidents of Marketing to flog products from the platform; this is not a place where sponsors can buy
time on the program. And this is not the right conference for people who want to know what most people think or what usually works,
or who want to learn about the safest approach to solving a common problem. Balisage is a conference for people who want to get into
the weeds; who are comfortable stretching their view of markup; who are more interested in the expertise of speakers than in their
(sometimes uneven) presentation skills; a conference for people who want to think seriously about markup and what you can do with it.
The Balisage Series on Markup Technologies
The Balisage Series on Markup Technologies is an series of electronic publications. The first few volumes in the series
are proceedings of Balisage conferences and related symposia. It is likely that there will be additional volumes of other
There are a few pictures of me at Tommie Pictures.
Some of the pictures I have taken are available on the web:
On Facebook I have started a stream I call “Something Caught My Eye Today”. I don't post a picture every day,
just when I notice something interesting (and I have a camera with me, and time to take a picture, and think of it in time, and ...)
Facebook albums seem to get unweildy when there is too much in them, so I break this into several, all of which are (I think)
visible to anyone:
Recently I have been participating in an exercise called The Daily Shoot. My contributions are visible