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Ken's supplement to his LinkedIn profile

Crane Softwrights Ltd edited this page Jan 27, 2020 · 11 revisions
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The description fields on LinkedIn are too limited to share what I want to share! So this is my supplement to LinkedIn (moved from Crane's web site to here as part of our disaster planning)

My bio page is supposed to be at, so I won't copy that information here. You can see the latest at your convenience. For some status updates, please see below. I say "supposed to be" because one never knows when the site will be retired because the company has been retired. As part of our disaster planning, all of our free books and developer resources are now available at or if necessary. But until the site is shut down for whatever reason, you can simply use to find everything.

This page is more along the LinkedIn style of "what am I up to and what do I want to get up to?" and I have published essays at on LinkedIn.

Finally, thank you for considering being connected to me on LinkedIn! My LinkedIn profile can be found at: G. Ken Holman.

. . . . . . . . . . . . Ken

My immediate interests in finding revenue work

... have ended. My focus now is on volunteer work in standards committees and keeping a couple of long-time clients happy with piecemeal consulting. I'll continue to develop free resources related to my standards work, and I'm funding that with the "donation" business model (please see link at the right).

It has been a great run!

Edit: well, I never say "never" ... I will always consider interesting work or global speaking opportunities (I am proud of how my presentations are well-received by audiences; see for some fun pictures of me on stage, though I don't promise to colour my hair again in the future! Edit: But I did! and likely will do so again based on how well it is received).

p.s. I've halted all book revisions and training material development.

Updated: January 27, 2020

Almost two years since my last update to this page. I should try harder to maintain this information.

The focus of BBILLER has moved on to an exciting concept of moving money through crypto using which is an area to which I don't have the chops to contribute. I hope Stephen does well with it. But I still talk with people and at conferences (most recently Singapore last November) about the Open-edi Distributed Business Transaction Repository (OeDBTR) ISO/IEC 15944-21 and how useful it is as a single record of truth for business transactions.

Meanwhile, I have stepped down from all my ISO, IEC, and CEFACT work and I'm in the slow process of divesting my OASIS responsibilities to my new co-chair Kenneth Bengtsson. I'm delighted how my committee colleagues have been taking up the slack I've been giving out in my own contributions.

I'm very proud of the accomplishments of the startup team of and my contribution of XSLT/XSL-FO formatting stylesheets for the rendering of international standards documents. The team, led by David Ratcliffe, has been producing world-class results for an ever-growing clientele. I'm delighted to be an advisor in my part time to this burgeoning effort.

Just yesterday I confirmed my return this year to East Africa for my fifth trip to the location in Longido, Tanzania. For the third year in a row I will be spending the month of June offering tutorial assistance in high-school mathematics and English comprehension. It is something I very much look forward to every time and I hope it will continue.

In other volunteer work, I continue to run courier missions for the Brian Denniston Bone Marrow Society Ottawa Chapter, transporting human tissue across international borders (typically blood and bone marrow). This is very rewarding on a personal level.

Other than that, I am enjoying my retirement by preaching the use of open standards and open solutions to audiences who are willing to listen to what I have to say. I'm landing short-term gigs doing so to help pay for my volunteer work.

Updated: May 24, 2018

It has been a busier spring 2018 than I expected. And more exciting! I am now the "documents and standards advisor" to the project and the team there have been very receptive to my contributions. And I've been able to talk about the project at forums around the world (Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US). And I did colour my hair green once again for the conference in Miami! Check out my essays for a couple of my presentations. More of our work on the project will become public some time after my return from Africa (I leave in less than a week). And I've also taken on the co-editor position for the new ISO standard ISO/IEC 15944-21 (formerly ISO/IEC 15944-15) regarding distributed business transaction repositories, which has been very interesting. It is my plan to be demonstrating BBILLER to be an implementation of a distributed business transaction repository. But all of this goes on hold for me (not for my colleagues) next week for a month while I delve into the complexities of high-school mathematics.

Updated: December 29, 2017

Big plans in the new year! I've just bought my tickets to return to Africa for the month of June 2018. I will be volunteering in the mornings as a math tutor at a Maasai girls' school and in the afternoons as a math tutor at the community centre for anyone in the village (high school or college students). I fly out June 2 and return July 1. It has been over 40 years since I've done high school mathematics, so I am a bit daunted. The NGO is and when I asked them the best time for someone to help, they told me June (I had hoped it would be during the Canadian winter!). While my trip is neither funded nor tax-charitable, the organization itself is a registered charity and can always use more money to help more girls and to maintain the community centre. If you are looking for somewhere where you can donate to help, please consider ... Canadian donations are tax deductible.

Updated: October 25, 2017

I've just completed a mini speaking tour in Europe at the Exchange Summit conference in Barcelona and the TC434 Public Conference in Brussels ( In Barcelona I received one new invitation to speak in Europe and in Brussels I received two new invitations to speak in Europe. If these pan out then I will be making the trip across the pond far more often than of late!

Updated: July 1, 2017

It was 7 years ago today that started my retirement, that being working for fun and curiosity, not working to live. As of today, I'm no longer even trying to sell my PDF books or DVD product. All books are available now at no charge.

And today I decided to do some disaster planning: what if I get hit by a bus or for some reason the company needs to shut down and the Crane web site is lost? The answer is Git and GitHub. All of our free books and developer resources are now available at or if necessary. But until the site is shut down, you can simply use to find everything.

This status update page is also going to be moved to GitHub so that it survives any unforeseen death of the Crane web site.

Updated: April 1, 2017

Today mark's Crane's 20th birthday! The last year has been the lowest revenue year of our history as we focused on volunteer work, but already the year ahead is booking with new revenue work from long-time customers.

Updated: February, 2016

This month I completed my first humanitarian work, volunteering to help the Ottawa-based NGO helping Masai girls and women in the village of Longido, Tanzania.

Last October my son and I visited the project in Longido after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with my son. I then took up the opportunity to design, buy, assemble and install a computer network in the Longido community centre built by ProjecTEMBO.

Updated: December 29, 2014

As of the end of 2014 I have shut down the "training division" of Crane. It was a difficult decision, but one I've contemplated all year because of the cancellations of public training offerings. I've also sold a total of 4 PDF books in the last 12 months (one just last week!), and no DVDs. The materials (as is) are still available for licensing by others.

Updated: April 14, 2014

Another update just to announce another cancellation: the training arranged for Melbourne, Australia now isn't happening. Once again, too few students pre-registered by today's early-bird date to warrant running the class. Other than that, nothing new to report! My volunteer work on UBL continues apace, and that has been very enjoyable and personally (if not financially) rewarding.

Updated: September 13, 2013

Time to cancel another class, and postpone yet another. Not enough students signed up for the classes in Utrecht and Brisbane. It looks like I can't reschedule Utrecht at this time so it is cancelled. The class in Brisbane, however, has been postponed and not cancelled: it is now going to be held in Melbourne in May 2014. I am amazed at how our publicly-subscribed instructor-led training has not garnered any interest for a number of years now. I thought it would recover a lot sooner, and I wonder if it ever will.

So, is the instructor-led training competing with online training? It has been a busy month for me, with a lot of focus on negotiating possible new online opportunities for my old recorded material, and for new material that for the first time I will write for others. More announcements on that soon!

Updated: July 20, 2013

Some sad news two weeks ago regarding the passing of a famous and important man in the history of computing, Douglas Engelbart. He invented the computer mouse, multiple windows, cut and paste, and computer video conferencing. I blogged about my visit to his home in November 2000 a month before he received the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton.

I've also announced upcoming training deliveries in Utrecht and Brisbane. As always, the events are fragile in that I need enough pre-registered students before the early-bird date in order to follow through with the delivery. If you are interested, please register soon.

For those who like hiking, I highly recommend the Inka Trail - I hiked the 4 days and 3 nights in May.

Updated: February 28, 2013

I learned today that my hosts in Helsinki cancelled the April 2013 training today due to insufficient pre-registration. I'm sad to miss the chance to teach a public class again, and I'm sad to miss another trip to Finland. So I'm contacting various leads I've received recently to tell them of my new availability. Maybe I'll fill the time, but if not, there is a lot of volunteer UBL work to do.

Yesterday I completed a six-week consulting gig for the New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office, writing a prototype XSLT/XSL-FO stylesheet for publishing legislation. I hope soon to arrange the second phase of the project where the prototype will be updated into a production implementation.

Updated: February 5, 2013

We are trying again to offer our hands-on training classes in Europe, this time graciously hosted by the XML Finland User Group in Helsinki. See our home page announcement for details of the April 2013 delivery.

There has been no revenue work since my last update, but that means I have been able to spend up to 40 hours a week volunteering on the OASIS UBL project. We are getting very close to the next public review of UBL 2.1.

To keep the skills honed, I've bid on a short XSLT/XSL-FO project. If I win it then this will keep me busy through March. Updated: October 23, 2012

Once again we had to cancel our October European publicly-subscribed offering due to insufficient registration. I was really surprised. Nevertheless I am still proposing public classes to possible hosts, now in Helsinki, Oslo, Melbourne and Lima.

I'll add them to our home page if any host decides to try.

My standards volunteer work is keeping me very busy. I've just returned from an ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 32 meeting in Krakow, Poland. That city is great for a standards meeting! The city is nice and the food is cheap. The Royal Hotel did a wonderful job hosting us. Also, there are lots of tasks to finish over the next two months getting UBL 2.1 complete and started into the OASIS process.

I've been stymied a bit with the LinkedIn skills and expertise feature. Initially I listed the typical XML-related skills that I offer, but I didn't think at the time to list "Instructor-led training" as one of the skills. I just recently added it, but only after dozens of people have already looked at my list and checked the ones they wanted to check. I doubt they will return to see the new item I added. Now the bias towards the other skills looks like nobody things I'm any good at instructor-led training, which is the opposite effect of what I wanted by adding that skill to the list! The private training in Boston in September was very well received. Nothing is on the horizon, so I should have plenty of time to focus on my volunteer work. A couple of proposals are already being considered for private training, but my calendar remains open if you are interested in getting a quote for me coming in to teach.

Updated: May 2, 2012

We had to cancel our May European publicly-subscribed offering due to insufficient registration. It seems people don't have a lot of training budget these days. We'll try again at the end of October.

Thankfully, I filled half of the time with a private XSLT training gig in the US, and I'm looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to look for private training opportunities and handle the upcoming UBL volunteer responsibilities I have in creating another draft public review package.

Updated: March 27, 2012

I managed to escape the Canadian winter (though it really wasn't bad as previous years) and take a cruise with my wife ... it was a wonderful experience!

Late last year I got the impression the year ahead might be good for training and I think it is finally happening. A number of people who contacted me last year tell me they are still working on having me in on-site to teach. I delivered a private class in England in January and I've quoted on a private class in Boston in April/May. I'm still open to private classes delivered anywhere in the world ... just ask me for details!

Although I had to cancel a proposed publicly-subscribed class here in Kars for April, another public class has been proposed, this time in Europe! A quick summary is found here on LinkedIn or on our home page.

Updated: December 28, 2011

The recent announcement at the end of October is that I responded to a cold call from a cloud-based training hosting company and in less than a week I mounted my DVD-ROM video for online access: Crane's Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath Video is available to stream online and offers five free hours of online video instruction, plus 19 hours of paid content covering our 5-day in-depth hands-on comprehensive training class.

I'm confident visitors will find the free five hours of interest. I weighed how important it was to get people to understand how XSLT works vs. trying to sell more copies of the paid portion, and I landed on the side of proselytizing and hoping people would watch the free version just to learn the basics.

On April 1, 2012 we will be celebrating 15 years of our little company. With time on my hands I'm able to keep up with my volunteer standards work at OASIS and TC154. I'm doing fun stuff and releasing free resources related to my UBL contributions.

Why, you may ask, do I have more time on my hands these days? I retired in July 2010 and have been taking on only interesting projects since then. I'm still charging what I used to charge for my services, and it seems sometimes I'm as busy as ever even though I've been able to say "no" unselfconsciously a few times. But I don't mind being busy as I'm now working for vacation money rather than working to live. Since founding our own company in April 1997, XML has been very good to us. We travel a lot and it fits with our retirement plans to travel for both teaching opportunities and for standards volunteer work.

I'm looking for new opportunities to teach publicly and privately, so let me know if you want me to teach in your area of the world. I recently delivered the inaugural delivery of Practical Use of oXygen XML, a departure for us as this is our first ever training class for a vendor's tools rather than a standard technology. After turning down over the last few years a number of requests for such a class, I have more time on my hands these days and so can make the time to develop a new curriculum of two or three classes related to the use of these tools. The "Developer's Version" of the class, two days in length, is done, delivered, polished and ready to go again. I haven't written the "Author's Version" yet.

Monthly invoicing on Tradeshift continues to be smoothly completed every month: is a totally free invoicing solution for small companies and individuals. Whereas Facebook is the free social network for friends, and LinkedIn is the free social network for professionals, Tradeshift is the free social network for businesses and governments. Invoicing is also totally free to larger companies, municipalities and governments, but these organizations may need the premium services that are charged and fund the operation of Tradeshift for the little guy. At the core is the use of OASIS UBL document structures, and I'm a co-editor of the UBL specification. Neither the sender nor the receiver need to know they are working with UBL, but if they do know, then they can take more advantage of the information ... it is otherwise seamless and users create, send, receive and manage invoices, orders and in the future other UBL documents.

To help promote UBL and Tradeshift in North America, I helped to found this information portal, and I was pleased to have it shared : is a commercial ecosystem of companies interested in supporting the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) specification. The goal is to provide a resource primarily for the North America market, but members will consider work worldwide when asked.

Earlier this year I managed to get some radio and television press regarding Tradeshift and UBL, which was exciting! Please let me know if you have any questions regarding training or Tradeshift or UBL in general.

Did you hear I finally resigned all of my JTC 1 volunteer responsibilities? After 22 years of working in various subcommittees of JTC 1 I decided to step away from it all to free up some time. And it reduces my expenses since I'm now retired. I'm still keeping up with my OASIS responsibilities and my TC154 Canadian chairmanship, but just not all the JTC 1 work. Now that my focus is moving towards e-commerce rather than publishing, it makes sense to make this change. And it is consistent with my work at Tradeshift and Even some former publishing customers are talking with me regarding some commerce issues they are facing. It has been very interesting to change my focus from publishing to commerce, while still sticking to my strong suits of XML and XSLT/XQuery.

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