Explaining the web

Monday, December 13, 2004

Pretty readable dialog between a web developer and his (non-geek) wife about how the web works.

He touches on the subject of "deciding what the data should look like" and machine to machine exchange, but does not develop into RDF or the Semanatic Web ideas, focusing on web services instead. Worth a read anyway.

[via More News]

Publishing industry doom?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On Wired's Newspapers Should Really Worry, are some disturbing numbers on where print media is headed. I've always argued that reading print vs. online is more of a generation issue, but eventually, online (or e-ink) will dominate. What I find amusing is that many people in the publishing industry don't see the impact this will have in the next few decades.

The advertising industry will probably start suffering first, as it scrambles to find creative ways of reaching the 18-34 year old demographic and slowly starts moving away from print.

Introductory Semantic Web video

Friday, November 19, 2004

Via Nova Spivack, a introductory video explaining the Semantic Web. It, also demonstrates a good way to present slides and video together.

Nova has some additional interesting commentary about ontologies in subsequent postings: The Ontology Problem: A Definition with Commentary and Use of Role Classes to Define Predicate Semantics: Proposal for Semantic Web Best-Practic. Good stuff to think about as I immerse myself in OWL.

'Closed world' assumptions in RDF

Saturday, November 13, 2004

One of the properties of RDF that bothers XML people is that the RDF model describes an 'open world' model. If something is not stated, you cannot assume it is true or false, because that information might be somewhere else e.g. pigs don't have wings.

Could we not use the XML declaration attribute standalone to determine that a document is self-contained? As in:

<xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes">

That assumption would possibly elimitate the usefulness of that document in a Semantic Web, but could potentially make the 'open world' issue controllable.

Are RDF URI references ugly?

Friday, November 12, 2004

In RDF, you use fragment identifiers to identify concepts as a URI reference. After wrapping my mind around the idea that a simple '#' can change a URI to mean anything, I set myself to work on the magazine ontology for my project.

From good URI design, you learn how to generate URIs that look like http://www.example.com/2004/11/12/whatever. The namespace for my vocabulary is not an issue - http://example.com/ns/publication# . That means that I can use pub:Issue element and it will expand to http://example.com/ns/publication#Issue . The problem occurs when I try to use this design pattern to identify instances of my magazines. Consider the following rdf:about attributes I had created before reading about The Hash:

<Publication rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/">
<Issue rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/">
<Section rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/tech/">
<Story rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/tech/rdffun">

Nice looking, no? Now let's try to change the URI to use the fragment identifier:

<Publication rdf:about="http://example.com/pub#mypub">
<Issue rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/volume#11">
<Section rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/section#tech">
<Story rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/tech#rdffun">

Something just doesn't feel right about these URIs. They look... ugly.
Considered individually, they don't bother me as much. Another example:

<Page rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/page#5">

Maybe I'll get used to it...

What is the meaning of all of this?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

After reading the great fable in RDF for Modular, Extensible Markup at Semantic Planet, I decided it's time to take the plunge and learn more about ontologies and OWL. I've picked up the latest version of Protégé and am exploring the wonderful world of meaning.

A good introduction to can be found at Ontology Development 101.

Once I wrap my head around this, I plan to generate a magazine ontology for my Openflow project.

Slashdot | Tim Berners-Lee and the Semantic Web

Monday, September 27, 2004

Slashdot community on Tim Berners-Lee and the Semantic Web.

Figuring Out RDF

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Raymond Yee's Wiki has some good material on RDF from the perspective of someone learning the technology.

Also check out the ESW.

Interesting projects

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Automatic backups to an iPod on Mac OS X and TIVO web based viewing and control.

How to raise "homeland security concerns" (AND test the Semantic Web at the same time!)

Friday, September 03, 2004

XML.com: Screenscraping the Senate: "For the last few years, I've wanted to collect as much data on the U.S. government as I could, convert it to RDF, and build a site and a web service that make it possible to explore that data. This will be my goal over the next year, and I'll document my progress here on XML.com"

It will be interesting to follow the creation of a Semantic Web app, even though the subject matter is not that interesting (to me, at least).


Thursday, September 02, 2004

URLinfo provides a bookmarklet frame with several popular web services. Should be very useful to examine all aspects of a web page.

FOAF-Galway Workshop papers

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Very interesting collection of papers. Many papers use the extensibility aspects of RDF very creatively.

Atom RDFized

Friday, August 20, 2004

Henry Story has a good explanation of his 'simplification' of Atom into RDF. By separating common or reusable parts, we can see the Atom 'core'.

Streaming future

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Both Russell Beattie's conclusion and the recent TiVo/Strangeberry blogs point to a streaming future. Can't wait!

RDF XSLT Stylesheets

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Pretty impressive use of XSTL to convert RDF into other formats such as RDF To Triples Stylesheet. This should allow more programming language independence and (maybe) lesser need for frameworks such as Jena or Redland.

Custom Publishing

Saturday, August 14, 2004

SafariU is a very interesting way to create and publish customized versions of O'Reilly (publisher) content. Should be interesting to see if other media companies follow this example of providing customized versions of their content.

Web marketing pyramid scheme

Wouldn't you say that these GoMeme tests are the beginning of a type of digital age marketing pyramid scheme?

The Smartphone Primer

Friday, August 13, 2004

Pretty good Smartphone Primer for those of us just starting to get up to speed on the new mobile future...

RDF/XML Variation factor

I agree with James Tauber on most of his points about XML and RDF, but disagree that "the default serialization of RDF as XML should not be the principal way RDF is interchanged."

XML is a proven syntax for interoperability between machines and has an extensive list of tools. As such, it should be the machine-prefered way of expressing RDF.

His reasoning might stem from the variation factor present in the ways you can express RDF/XML. A canonical way of expressing RDF would probably go a long way in minimizing the differences (and flame wars) between RDF and XML.

Tauber's best practices for vocabulary/application development also reinforce the W3 stacks in a very positive way.

Learning CSS

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Wealth of resources and links from the creators of CSS Vault: Learning CSS

Web Design Guidelines

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Web design from Scratch is a pretty comprehensive look at the elements involved in designing a site.

Aside from the lack of 'next'/'previous' links at the bottom of each topic, it follows its own advice, making it a pleasant learning experience. Web standards' advocates can clearly benefit from several of the concepts presented (content ordering, et al). Well designed URLs is one topic which should be included as it is an important exposed interface to the user.

Collaborative Editing

Friday, August 06, 2004

Collaborative Editing in Chris Schmidt blog.

This seems like the ideal way to create software. I wonder how long it will take for people to really 'discover' this.

Notation3 Tutorial

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Excelent, and short, tutorial on Notation 3.

Very instructive, so you can (almost) start writing your RDF after reading it.

Apple unDRMing itself

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

iMovie strips FairPlay DRM from iTunes songs | MacNN News

GMail Accounts

Monday, August 02, 2004

Blogger is now offering GMail accounts to all blogger registered users.

Meme propagation

Meme GUID: as098398298250swg9e98929872525389t9987898tq98wteqtgaq62010920352598gawst

(1) I found this experiment at URL: http://www.semanticwave.com/blog/archives/000152.jsp

(2) I found it via "Newsreader Software" or "Browsing the Web" or "Searching the Web" or "An E-Mail Message": Newsreader Software (Yahoo RSS Feeds, RDF Planet)

(3) I posted this experiment at URL: http://openflow.blogspot.com

(4) I posted this on date (day, month, year): 02/08/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 10:30:00

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Anaheim, California, USA

OPTIONAL SURVEY FIELDS (Replace the answers below with your own answers):

(7) My blog is hosted by: Blogger.com

(8) My age is: 30

(9) My gender is: Male

(10) My occupation is: Operations Manager, Publishing

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: NetNewReader

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: Blogger.com

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 01/05/04

(14) My web browser is: Safari 1.2

(15) My operating system is: Mac OS X 10.3


Wouldn't this experiment have been more useful in RDF? Maybe we should create a secondary experiment using RDF. I am sure the resulting data would be a lot more specific and machine-readable..

Web Design statistical analysis

Sunday, August 01, 2004

An interesting article by Fran├žois Briatte: These web sites are identical—or are they?

It approaches web design of 10 popular bloggers using statistics and empirical data, concluding that most designs are similar.

Cutting Edge CSS

Friday, July 30, 2004

Impressive CSS experiments from Stu Nicholls. Check it out!

Personal Computers 2.0 - smart phones

Thursday, July 29, 2004

With the death of the PDAs, the upcoming Motorola A780, a Linux and Java based phone, is a very tempting candidate for my next phone.

The mobile phone revolution is just beginning - personal computers 2.0, The Movie.

Personal data cards

Going to doctors (at least in American HMO reality) usually results in filling out complex forms with all of your medical, personal, and, sometimes, even financial data. Of course the repetition of data in each doctor, dentist, specialists, hospital, and medical insurance provider, etc, presents itself as an interesting application for use of and RDF version of your personal data.

But how do you transport this information so you have it all the time? USB keychains seem pretty widespread, but are still reserved to computer 'geeks'. What we need is something that carries your digital data, but yet has the familiarity, speed and ease of use of a... credit card.

After some googling, I found this interesting item which seems close to ideal, but is still not shipping. I did find a few other options but nothing as elegant. I wonder is some other smart cards meet this criteria.

Whatever the technology, I hope the solution comes quickly - these medical forms are a pain!

8 GB of RDF data

Impressive amount of (processed) data on this entry by Dave Beckett.

Time to check out some triplestores.

Turn your iPod in to a Universal Infrared Remote Control

Cool hack from engadget.com:How-To Turn your iPod in to a Universal Infrared Remote Control

Mozilla RDF Datastores

Monday, July 26, 2004

I wonder why Mozilla does not get mentioned much by RDF proponents, specially when it implements datastores and relatively easy interfaces through XUL.

Bootstrapping websites

Very interesting 8-part article on best practices for the ideal website:Bootstrapping bclary.com.
It includes detailed reasoning on many facets of a 'dream' website, including RDF backend.

A no-nonsense guide to Semantic Web specs for XML people (Part I)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Stefano's Linotype ~ An no-nonsense guide to Semantic Web specs for XML people (Part I)

XML to RDF tutorial

Monday, June 14, 2004

ML Design: A Gentle Transition from XML to RDF
(powerpoint) by Roger L. Costello & David B. is a great tutorial on the little changes you can make in your XML applications to make them RDF compliant.

See Also: Make Your XML RDF-Friendly at XML.com
See Also: Understanding the Striped RDF/XML Syntax

Lazy Web vs. AI

Monday, June 07, 2004

What is difficult for one machine, the network effect (aka Lazy Web) can deal with easily: What is a Wild Hyacinth?

It will be interesting to see what possibilities the intersection of the networks of human knowledge and machine knowledge (i.e. Semantic Web) take us towards. Will we take knowledge for granted? How does this affect the Google generation?

Wireless music to my ears

I just pre-ordered the new AirPort Express for delivery mid July. The (wireless) digital lifestyle keeps getting better and better. I hope the wireless iPod (with TV connections and "Home on iPod" feature) comes out soon, so I can update my "old" original 5GB iPod.

Projector instead of a monitor?

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Funny to run into an article about a rumored Apple Projector. After reading reviews of a few projectors in the latest Wired, I jokingly suggested to my wife that we exchange the TV for a projector, as it would be more mobile, take up less space, and have a bigger "screen".

City of God

I was not prepared to see the City of God (Cidade de Deus) DVD.

Having spent most of my life in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), drug traffic "wars" and slums were a backdrop of my everyday life. What shocked me was that I had forgotten, or rather, chosen to ignore, this reality since living in California the last 3 years.

Overall, it is a movie worthwhile watching, although the documentary in the Special Features section finishes in a pessimistic tone: "I see no light at the end of the tunnel." - Special Forces Police

Time Compression and the Singularity

Monday, May 31, 2004

The article Technology's Time Compression demonstrates the accelerating speed of change we are constantly moving towards. This is a prominent idea in the Singularity theory.

I wonder if any science fiction books have captured this rate of change effectively.

Introduction to the Semantic Web

Friday, May 28, 2004

Short introduction to the Semantic Web. Clear explanations without a lot of jargon.

Baby Sore Throat

Thursday, May 27, 2004

After getting a call from baby Maya's day care, I picked her up and took her to the doctor. She was diagnosed with Pharyngitis ("Strep Throat"). She is in a good mood overall, but not eating. Hope she gets better soon.

Cool Future

HP's future vision is nicely demonstrated in this video (84 MB).

Cell phone as Virtual Mouse

This Slashdot article illustrates the direction mobile phones are going. Very shortly, the cell phone will be our new "digital wallet", only much improved.

Of course, the mac has had an application that lets you do this for some time now.

RDF Browser for the masses

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Digesting the information from NYC 2004 WWW Conference , I found a link to Longwellan RDF browser, part of the SIMILE Project.

I was blown away by the in-place facet search narrowing and overall concept for locating and transversing resources. I believe this engine will grow to become very popular.

See Also: Raw » Could be good…
See Also: XML.com: WWW2004 Semantic Web Roundup [May. 26, 2004]

Redesigning design

A slew of designer websites like Stopdesign and mezzoblue did recent redesigns. They really make CSS shine!


The MacDevCenter.com article on LDAP got me thinking of of exporting the data do RDF.

I'm not sure what implications (or applications) this could have, but it seems useful. Maybe the other way around? Export RDF data to LDAP databases for easy retrieval from existing clients (i.e. email clients et al)?

See also: What is LDAP?

Photos and their stories

Lately, there has been a lot on interest in annotating photos/ Some of the recent projects include: Tidepool, W3photo, Flickr.

Using technologies like Fotonotes, the stories in the pictures are finally coming to life. It shall be interesting to see how these new ideas find their way into other applications.

BitTorrent Revenge

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

What do you do when (name of big movie studio) does not want to distribute your movie?

You distribute it yourself!


Sunday, May 23, 2004

The compelling future portrayed by David Brin in this short story brings to the surface a view of our information society in 2020. Facets of the climate, technology, social interactions, trust, and information flow are described almost in passing, painting a vivid day in the life of a young woman.

I'll adjust my "specs" to non-intrusive ads now...

Windows RDF

Cleverly titled commentary by Danny Ayers: ms:WinFS rdfs:subClassOf w3c:RDF.
Should be interesting to see the changes happening in the technology landscape in the next 5 years while we wait for Longhorn. This is a unique window of opportunity for Open Source and Web Standards to pursue innovation.

Open-Source Business Processes

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Slashdot article on Open-Source Business Plans reminded me of the naive idea I had when creating my project OpenFlow. An excerpt of early documentation:

Using the open source development model as the basis for a business structure, OpenFlow plans to use the input from contributors to steer the business direction, processes and activities.

Imagine a business where the regular open source dynamics apply to structuring it into a competitive force in the marketplace.

The focus of contributions (including from customers!) will be on the business model itself and its processes and workflows, not the product (as, for example, software).

The Semantic Web... in Haiku

Monday, May 17, 2004

From The Semantic Web... in Haiku:

No need to panic:

if you don't understand it...

...you're on the right track!

Location Wiki

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Using Map24 to find the best routes to the baby's day-care, I noticed it provides several interest points, such as gas stations, hospitals, etc. Wouldn't it be great if we could browse a map and see ALL businesses in an area?

Google Local provides information about what I look for, but what if I am just "virtually" strolling down the street? For example, I do not know many of the business that are right beside my home, work, or the baby's day-care.

It would probably be too costly to develop and maintain a site with all this information. Learning from the Open Source and Wikipedia successes, we could have a location wiki. Users (and companies) would update areas with the businesses they knew about and their locations. The more information is available, the more traffic that area would probably get.

Now we just need a catchy name and a good interface...


James Tauber expresses his view of XML and RDF. It includes this great gem:

The Infoset is priceless for modelling the surface syntax. For everything else there's RDF.

OLAP Semantic Web

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Could we use OLAP to view RDF data? I wonder how well an RDF triple store translates into a dimensional database. One of the problems would probably be the incomplete data sets available out on the web.

By having an intuitive, spreadsheet-like interface to discover data, end-users could spur adoption of RDF compliant software and the semantic web.


As seen on Slashdot, many patents are controversial. You cannot really blame the corporations for trying to secure their intellectual properties, as it has become a arms race to protect your business. So what can we do to improve, in face of limited resources at the US patent office?

By getting the community (and competitors) officially involved in locating prior art, one of the main bottlenecks would be reduced. After the initial public scrutiny, the patent office could proceed as usual.

Democracy and "open source" (loosely defined) at their best!

Latest Generation Powerbook

This powerbook is the latest in technology! Check it out!

Digital Web Magazine (redesign)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Nice redesign of Digital Web Magazine. This site has many good articles and is worth a look.

Incredible Pixar

After watching the trailer of Pixar's new film,The Incredibles, it seems like they have a new hit on their hands. Pixar has become the Disney of the 21st century.

Don't Panic!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy movie is coming. I recently heard the audiobook (read by Douglas Adams himself) and it was a blast.

Simple Computer

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Is this(PDF link) linux tablet from Screen Media destined to be the Simputer to the masses? I wonder how much it will cost.

iSight and a site

Sunday, May 09, 2004

After thoughtful analysis between buying a video camera or the iSight, we decided to go with the iSight. Maybe it was because we where in an Apple Store?

We wanted to test it as soon as we got home - but with whom? To the rescue iChatfinder. Set-up of the camera was a snap, and after locating a random "victim", we were able to experience the marvels of science fiction in front of our eyes. Truly amazing.

My efforts to convince my parents to get an iSight will definitely pay off (literally) as they see their granddaughter grow from a continent away.

Recursive Design

Good article describing the process of the new Blogger design. I also recommend reading The Great Blogger Relaunch from the source.

Black Screen of Death

A Longhorn Gallery. Waiting... Always waiting... 2006, no?

Brother's Travels

Saturday, May 08, 2004

You can find pictures of my brother's adventures at Indythink.

The hilarious stories he emailed from his trips are on this blog's archives.

RSS for the masses

This article is a good introduction to RSS and foreshadows the interesting direction media consumption is heading.

Neural Networks in RDF

The RDF model is made up of graphs. It should be able to represent neural networks' nodes, weight, and values. Would this mean we could potentially transfer the entire state of our minds electronically?

RDF Tutorial

The R in RSS1.0 is a good tutorial about RDF for beginners. I am planning to write a little tutorial myself as well, focusing on how to convert your XML to RDF friendly markup with minimal changes. A lot of it is based on the RDF striping concept.

May we live in interesting times...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Last week, my company went through a major organizational restructuring and my boss was let go.

This week, my wife got a job at a place she really wanted - Hooray!

Next week, my baby starts going to day-care.

XML complexity

This article pinpoints a problem emerging from the ever more complex XML applications. I hope darwinism takes effect and the simpler and more functional vocabularies survive. That also means the Web Services complexity.

Mobile URL reading

Semacode - interesting way to present URLs on physical objects. This should help minimize the typing required in mobiles - I hope it takes off.

Sports - live version

Last night I went to my first baseball game after a last minute invitation from a friend. It was an interesting experience, which I plan to top by going to football, hockey, and basketball (and soccer) games. Just need to find those free tickets...

Law of Maximum Baby Space

Monday, May 03, 2004

Have you ever noticed that when a baby sleeps in a your bed, s/he will use the maximum possible area of the bed? How do they end up sideways?

Free 3D (repeat quickly several times)

I just discovered Blender 3D. Wow. It brings back memories of my freelance times, were I would spend the night crafting the perfect 3D scene on my Mac... This program seems to be pretty powerful - best of all, it it open source and free!

Open Source Web Life

Life on the web is getting better with the new versions of Thunderbird 0.6 and Camino (nightly builds). These builds are almost first class citizens along other Mac OS X applications. I am impressed with their polish.

Props: The Tao of Mac

Move Your Feet - Baby version

Our 7 month old baby is teething and is having trouble going to sleep. One way I put her to sleep is by playing the Move Your Feet (iTunes Link) music video. For maximum effect, I downloaded the video using this hint and play it full screen repeatedly, until she sleeps...

Is there an easy way to get music video URL from the iTunes Store?

Personal portal

Sunday, May 02, 2004

How does My Way, a personalized portal, make money? It can't be only through sponsored links with their search partners, can it? With all the ways to search the web, using their site for searching because of the content seems like a far fetched idea.

Even though I use My Yahoo regularly and this site seems "cleaner", the small effort to set the content and layout up does not seem worth it. Could it be the user interface is not as good? Maybe personalized content should learn the users link choices and adapt automatically.

Should be interesting to see how long this site lasts...

Personalised Publishing

Working in a magazine publishing company and with past experience in newspapers, this article really hit home with me. I had just discussed this subject with a (technologically challenged) friend, but it was difficult to explain it this clearly.
props: Nathan

iTunes Movie store

With iTunes 4.5, Apple provides music videos and movie trailers. To me this seems like they wish to test the feasibility of distributing on demand movies. The full screen quality might not the best at this point, but would you "rent" a streaming movie for $2.99?