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Monthly Archives: January 2007

Some of you have already heard about W3C’s Semantic Web framework. Tim-Berners Lee, the inventor of the Web,  presented roadmap for Semantic Web in 1998.

The framework can be summarized as:

“The Semantic Web is a web of data.”

“The Semantic Web is about two things. It is about common formats for integration and combination of data drawn from diverse sources, where on the original Web mainly concentrated on the interchange of documents. It is also about language for recording how the data relates to real world objects.”

Web today is about sharing documents, Semantic Web is about sharing and reusing data. If it gets the momentum, it will break the boundaries between applications, free the data from their silos. W3C provides a concrete example: my calendar application could – if I wanted – display my bank transactions from this week, and also the photos I’ve taken, day by day.

Some of the tools that the Semantic Web will be powered by are RDF, a knowledge modeling language, and SPARQL, a query language for RDF.

RDF is a method of describing data and resources formally so that they become accessible and understandable for software. Here‘s a primer for it. Berners-Lee’s view is that the future lies in “programming at the RDF level”.  

Below is an example of a SPARQL query. It displays title and price for books that are priced below 30.5. 

PREFIX dc: <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/&gt;
PREFIX ns: <http://example.org/ns#&gt;
SELECT ?title ?price
WHERE { ?x ns:price ?price .
  FILTER (?price < 30.5) .
  ?x dc:title ?title . }

On IBM’s developerWorks interview (28.7.2006), Berners-Lee gives his view on the status of Semantic Web:

“I hope the Semantic Web will take off so that the data basically all the data which is out there which you have access to, to the Web pages, will now be available as data so you can treat it as data. There will be lots of very exciting applications built on that.  And we’re starting to see that now, but it really is, you know, we’re seriously into the exponential growth of the Semantic Web right now, and that’s very exciting.”

Some questions arise in my mind:

Is the original Web – this Web here you’re using now – non-semantic?

Where’s the boundary between data and a document? If Semantic Web uses RDF documents, will it eventually fall to the same “trap” with the original Web?    

Considering the massive amount of data in the Web today, could it be somehow utilized and reused in building the Semantic Web?   

Is there a demo somewhere showing the power of Semantic Web?

Do we really need another query language with its own syntax – why not expand SQL or use English? Could this query be enough:

book title, book price, book price < 30.5

Gary Flake runs Microsoft Live Labs, MS Research unit which is concentrated solely to the Internet.

His one-year-old presentation “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Imminent Internet Singularity” indicates the Road Ahead for Microsoft’s Internet strategy. 

When I hear the word “singularity”, it brings an image to my mind of all things united to one place, then Boom!!! – and a silence that lasts forever…

IMO Microsoft has been quite silent about Artificial Intelligence in the past. But now it seems that they are really starting to focus on that, utilizing the massive amount of data in the web and its feedback mechanisms.

For around 8 months, Scott Adams’ blog has been one of my favourites.

Besides writing and drawing Dilbert, he still has creative juices left to blog about religion, politics, his everyday philosophy, … 

He is very direct, very provocative and very often very funny. And very serious in his search of solutions for global, difficult problems. 

He plays with words, tricks your mind – one can never be certain how a sentence ends. Here’s an example of that, in the context of someone hacking electronic voting machines:

“…the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?”

The teenagers here in Finland take this as a compliment. 😉

His views on blogging can be found from this recent Questions & Answers post. Some snippets:

I think one of your major fantasy is to have the prime idea that will change the world, reboot the world. Is it what you try to accomplish with this blog?

It’s not the main reason for the blog, but I prefer activities that have some potential, no matter how unlikely, of changing the world in a good way.

How do you decide about what you want to write in your blog every morning?

It’s whatever interests me that day. I have to be personally interested or it won’t come.

Why do you do this blog day after day? Not that WE don’t enjoy it, I just can’t see what YOU are getting out of it… day after day, smarmy retort after smarmy retort, the endless whining and moaning…etc. etc.

I enjoy it creatively. It’s nice to have no editor between me and you. And I’m not much affected by critics who are irrational or humorless.

I often wonder if the cynical views that you express through your work or your blog ever cause marital trouble.

No.

Your life has become more public since you started this blog. I’d be interested to know how your family and friends feel about that. Has privacy been an issue? Has anyone done or said something followed by “don’t you dare use this!”? Did you have to adjust your day to accommodate blogging or are you usually on the computer a lot anyway?

Blogging takes a lot of time. So that’s an issue. Privacy has been an issue too, but for reasons of privacy I can’t explain how.

With the religious Apple worshipping come boost and attention to entire mobile phone industry.

It is always interesting to see how original a new product is, and what the other manufacturers have previously demonstrated. 

Through the hectic iPhone conversation on Scobleizer’s blog, Lance gives links to:

Nokia Aeon concept phone with a touchscreen,

LG’s ke850 (iPhone’s brother) and

BenQ’s Black Box Concept

[Update 18.1.2007] Other concepts on Okan Vardarova’s iPhone blog. Apple fans have sent several cool looking designs.

Get the QuickTime plugin and jump here to see the demos:

http://www.apple.com/iphone/

The user interface is looking very good indeed. All the unnecessary junk is removed letting the user concentrate solely to the task in hand.

There’s not too much data visible at one time, only the context.

Small visual cues like horizontal scrolling and zoom effects aid the user in keeping track of his/her location in the UI. They keep the experience flowing and seamless.

They’ve even added sensors for determining the device’s position. Very clever.

This is how technology should work; quietly and hidden in the background.

If it all functions as advertised (do they ever?) and the batteries last, it will be a damn good device.

Toying with InnerSpace applet – this image caught my eye:

 InnerSpace applet

It does not represent beauty in my mind, but it contains a large amount of different elemental shapes: a rich set of basic visual elements. Circles, squares, pentagons, flowery thingies in warped dimensions.

I’m still curious about where the images generated by the applet come from. A rounding-error perhaps.

Hmm, the applet could parse parameters out of an HTTP request. Let’s add that feature to an to-do list.

As an experiment I decided to open a dedicated blog for gathering feedback and comments for “On How The Brain Functions” article. So, take a deep breath and jump to here.

I wish You a Marvellous New Year 2007!