Tim Bray (that's him on the left with the hat on) is worth admiring, not least for his co-invention of XML, which is a major reason my company is in business at all. He's also genuinely personable and writes a great blog.
Okay, enough sucking up. Over there today he has a great short essay today about how he and many others are working on creating an XML-based standard for financial reporting data, so that public companies and government bodies could provide their financial statements in a structured way that can be automatically exchanged and processed by anyone with access to it. Plus it's an essay about accounting that made me laugh out loud, which is pretty hard to do.
Robert Scoble, another nice-guy tech blogger, has a fascinating half-hour interview with Tim over at PodTech too, in which they talk about XML, Atom, and programming in languages like PHP for parallelism and multithreading in newer, power-efficient server architectures for web apps. Sounds like a big yawn, I know, but Tim manages to make it both understandable and interesting—and emphasizes how important power conservation is in the new Internet era. Go listen.