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Published: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 03:47:03 +0000

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Copyright: 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved

Getting enveloped by the potential of Cloud computing

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 14:30:10 +0000

By taking a fundamentally Web-based approach to the development of applications, we shift from bolting Web capabilities onto the silo toward a mode in which data and functionality are native to the Web. How do we change the mindset of today's application developers, in order that they stop building 'old' applications in the new world?(image)

Demonstrating the value of SPARQL to the Semantic Web

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 09:30:10 +0000

Reduced to its simplest, the SPARQL Recommendations offer a simple and standard means of querying any store of RDF, regardless of the software used to run the store. The software has to support SPARQL, of course, and the Talis Platform is amongst those that do.(image)

Amazon's latest web service? A database

Mon, 17 Dec 2007 10:22:20 +0000

Amazon Web Services Evangelist Jeff Barr has been at it again, using Twitter to announce the release of his employer's latest offering.Amazon has come a long way since its days as a big book shop, and is increasingly making a name for itself as an exemplar of commodity computation.First we had the Simple Storage Service, S3. Little more than a big disk in the Cloud, it offered an affordable means by which anyone could make large amounts of data available for download by large numbers of people. Second Life client downloads come from S3, as do Talis podcasts. Several of my colleagues use S3 for backing up their laptops (I use Mozy myself, but that's another story).Then we got the Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2. This commoditised availability of virtual computers, making it relatively straightforward for those experiencing rapid growth - or needing short-term access to additional computing power for some other reason - to call upon additional computers as required, configure them as needed, use them for as long as necessary, and then throw them back into the pool when done.Unsurprisingly, given Amazon's e-Commerce heritage, a payment service came next. This essentially opened Amazon's own e-Commerce capabilities to third party developers, and allowed them to build it into their own applications. Although we knew that this would come, I should admit here that the pundits at Talis (including myself) were sure that Amazon's third web service would be the one they actually only announced today. Given our interest in data and their interest in e-Commerce, it's perhaps not surprising that we prioritised them differently.Next in the path, a Service Level Agreement. Essential, if Amazon are to move beyond the early adopters and actually see mass market numbers of mainstream enterprises rely upon their web services.Which brings us to today, and the unveiling of Amazon SimpleDB. It had to come, and now it has, offering; “a web service for running queries on structured data in real time. This service works in close conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), collectively providing the ability to store, process and query data sets in the cloud.”It's great to see, and in some ways the conceptual use of Cloud-based 'content' and 'metadata' is similar to our own ideas around the Talis Platform... although with very different emphasis and realisation.And yes, I know I missed SQS and Mechanical Turk, and various other Amazon web services from my story...Story originally posted on the Nodalities blogTechnorati Tags: Amazon Web Services, AWS, EC2, Jeff Barr, web services, S3, SimpleDB, Talis, Talis Platform(image)

Hulu, News Corp, and the Web (2.0?)

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 07:58:24 +0000

I know this is behind the game, and that the bleeding edge of blogreviews has moved well beyond online streaming service Hulu (eventhough it's not yet out to the public). But I received my beta invitelast week and have had all this time to play around with it.My initial thoughts: none. No, not one initial thought. Hulu doesn't work in the UK. They don'ttell you: "Hey, if you live in the UK, you will be able to access andbegin your Hulu experience, but when you choose a show to stream,you'll be disappointed. Have a nice day." You have to jump through allthe Beta hoops to get there first.Now, I know I should have known better, being a generally web-savvychap. But after a few pre-reviews of the Hulu service, I decided not toread any more blogs about it until after I'd tried it out myself. Iknew not to expect too much, after reading the last review over at Between the Lines , but I wanted my own experience.Since then, I've found dozens of blogs about how bad it is that Hulu doesn't work in Europe. Aside from whingeing about the lack of support, I can't really thinkof anything more to write about Hulu (apart from its ridiculous,trying-too-hard-for-the-Web-2.0-market name). But, doesn't this kind of go against point of the web? The idea thatwe can make connections, share content, stream and connect? The principle of the internet is broken by this experiment, and Idon't think a platform intended to be a YouTube killer should ever havebeen trialled in a geographically-limited network. Sure, I understandprivate Betas, but why limit this to the States? I don't think News Corp really gets the Web 2.0 thing. In fact, I wonder if they really get the internet? It reminds me of LaunchCast (now Yahoo Music). When I first launchedthe player, all the content was free, and there was absolutely loads ofit. I was thrilled! Over months, however, content became harder to finddue to advertisement interruptions and restrictions on skipping tracks. Suddenly, Launch re-directed to Yahoo, and I could no longerskip any content without upgrading to a premium service which hadn'texisted before. Then, when I moved to Britain, all the content wasunavailable apart from a limited selection which I can only presume wasintended for a British audience. (Don't think my mates here wouldhave agreed in a focus group!)I haven't used a yahoo service since. No, seriously, I haven't usedYahoo. As soon as Konfabulator was purchased by Yahoo, I uninstalledit. I was all set to set up a Flickr account, when I found out it wasYahoo. (I might go back on that one, once I get a decent digitalcamera.)This wasn't really a boycott so much as a pre-emptive decision. Iknow that as soon as Yahoo gets a hold of a service, itsuser-friendliness will dissolve into advertisements and 'premiumservices' (a contradiction in terms!) This is what Hulu reminds me of.An attempt at grabbing a market instead of a well-thought-out startuptrying to sell a genuinely good service and make a profit on itsquality.What is Web 2.0? Hulu doesn't know, and it makes me think that NewsCorp hasn't really got its head round it at all. I shudder to think what's going to happen with LinkedIn.-Zach ( (image)

Who is afraid of the GGG?

Mon, 26 Nov 2007 05:30:00 +0000

 Dan Farber was one of the first to cover the Giant Global Graph, here on ZDNet. A few days on, though, there's value in taking a look at how these ideas are being discussed across the blogosphere.The GGG, or Giant Global Graph. It sounds like something with which you might terrify a child at bed time, but this is no Gruffalo, no Jabberwock, no Smaug. Rather it's father-of-the-web Tim Berners-Lee's label for his latest attempt to express the power of the Semantic Web's core technologies in ways that will resonate beyond the established SemWeb literati. In the post he writes; “So, if only we could express these relationships, such as my social graph, in a way that is above the level of documents, then we would get re-use. That's just what the graph does for us. We have the technology -- it is Semantic Web technology, starting with RDF OWL and SPARQL. Not magic bullets, but the tools which allow us to break free of the document layer. If a social network site uses a common format for expressing that I know Dan Brickley, then any other site or program (when access is allowed) can use that information to give me a better service. Un-manacled to specific documents”As we might expect when someone like Berners-Lee posts, his thoughts sparked the usual flurry of interest, picked up by The Guardian, Read/Write Web, ZD Net, Nova Spivack, GigaOM, Nick Carr, and a host of other bloggers. The compulsory Wikipedia stub is already in place, and anticipating (at the time of writing) that “it may become a common expression.”So what is this Giant Global Graph, how's it related to the Semantic Web, and what does it all mean?In his post, Tim clarifies the distinction between the Net(work of computers) and the (World Wide) Web offered up over that network; “So the Net and the Web may both be shaped as something mathematicians call a Graph, but they are at different levels. The Net links computers, the Web links documents. Now, people are making another mental move. There is realization now, 'It's not the documents, it is the things they are about which are important'. Obvious, really.”He then goes to the next level, to connect the statements in that web of documents to form a graph; “We are all interested in friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances. There is a lot of blogging about the strain, and total frustration that, while you have a set of friends, the Web is providing you with separate documents about your friends. One in facebook, one on linkedin, one in livejournal, one on advogato, and so on. The frustration that, when you join a photo site or a movie site or a travel site, you name it, you have to tell it who your friends are all over again. The separate Web sites, separate documents, are in fact about the same thing -- but the system doesn't know it. There are cries from the heart (e.g The Open Social Web Bill of Rights) for my friendship, that relationship to another person, to transcend documents and sites. There is a ”Social Network Portability“ community. Its not the Social Network Sites that are interesting -- it is the Social Network itself. The Social Graph. The way I am connected, not the way my Web pages are connected. We can use the word Graph, now, to distinguish from Web. I called this graph the Semantic Web, but maybe it should have been Giant Global Graph!”Tim concludes; “In the long term vision, thinking in terms of the graph rather than the web is critical to us making best use of the mobile web, the zoo of wildy differing devices which will give us access to the system. Then, when I book a flight it is the flight that interests me. Not the flight page on the travel site, or the flight page on the airline site, but the URI (issued by the airlines) of the flight itself. That's what I will bookmark. And whichever device I use to look up the bookmark, phone or office wall, it will access a situation-appropriate view of an integration of everything I know about that fligh[...]

Giant Global Graph: from the publisher-oriented web to the viewer-oriented web

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 15:00:00 +0000

Sir Tim Berners-Lee coined a new term again. This time it is called the Giant Global Graph.(image)

How smart can a link be?

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 05:00:00 +0000

After my trial implementation of AdaptiveBlue's Smartlink technology on my blog, I was contacted by Director of Business Development, Fraser Kelton, who agreed to a Questions and Answers session about Adaptive Blue's new technology.(image)

Web 2.0: Don't call it that!

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 04:00:00 +0000

Describing a company or concept as "Web 2.0" is so, last half-decade.(image)

Implicit Web: a brief introduction

Mon, 12 Nov 2007 04:00:00 +0000

Generally this concept implicit web intends to alert us to the fact that besides all the explicit data, services, and links, the Web engages with much more implicit information such as which data users have browsed, which services users have invoked, and which links users have clicked. This type of information is often too boring and tedious for humans to read. So, inevitably, this type of information is only implicitly stored (if stored) on the Web. The implicit web intends to describe a network of this implicit information.(image)

Talking about that Semantic Web thing

Fri, 09 Nov 2007 04:00:00 +0000

Opinion, to put it mildly, is somewhat divided on the whole Semantic Web thing. Is it the same as 'Web 3.0'? Or is it simply close enough for the distinction to pale into insignificance amongst those who don't see counting angels on the heads of pins as a worthwhile pastime?(image)

A simple picture of Web evolution

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 09:00:00 +0000

This picture above shows a simple abstraction of web evolution. The traditional World Wide Web, also known as Web 1.0, is a Read-or-Write Web. In particular, authors of web pages write down what they want to share and then publish it online. Web readers can watch these web pages and subjectively comprehend the meanings. Unless writers willingly release their contact information in their authored web pages, the link between writers and readers is generally disconnected on Web 1.0. By leaving public contact information, however, writers have to disclose their private identities (such as emails, phone numbers, or mailing addresses). In short, Web 1.0 connects people to a public, shared environment --- World Wide Web. But Web 1.0 essential does not facilitate direct communication between web readers and writers. The second stage of web evolution is Web 2.0. Though its definition is still vague, Web 2.0 is a Read/Write Web. At Web 2.0, not only writers but also readers can both read and write to a same web space. This advance allows establishing friendly social communication among web users without obligated disclosure of private identities. Hence it significantly increases the participating interest of web users. Normal web readers (not necessarily being a standard web author simultaneously) then have a handy way of telling their viewpoints without the need of disclosing who they are. The link between web readers and writers becomes generally connected, though many of the specific connections are still anonymous. Whether there is default direction communication between web readers and writers is a fundamental distinction between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. In short, Web 2.0 not only connects individual users to the Web, but also connects these individual uses together. It fixes the previous disconnection between web readers and writers. We don't know precisely what the very next stage of web evolution is at this moment. However, many of us believe that semantic web must be one of the future stages. Following the last two paradigms, an ideal semantic web is a Read/Write/Request Web. The fundamental change is still at web space. A web space will be no longer a simple web page as on Web 1.0. Neither will a web space still be a Web-2.0-style blog/wiki that facilitates only human communications. Every ideal semantic web space will become a little thinking space. It contains owner-approved machine-processable semantics. Based on these semantics, an ideal semantic web space can actively and proactively execute owner-specified requests by themselves and communicate with other semantic web spaces. By this augmentation, a semantic web space simultaneously is also a living machine agent. We had a name for this type of semantic web spaces as Active Semantic Space (ASpaces). (An introductory scientific article about ASpaces can be found at here for advanced readers.) In short, Semantic Web, when it is realized, will connect virtual representatives of real people who use the World Wide Web. It thus will significantly facilitate the exploration of web resources.A practical semantic web requires every web user to have a web space by himself. Though it looks abnormal at first glimpse, this requirement is indeed fundamental. It is impossible to imagine that humans still need to perform every request by themselves on a semantic web. If there are no machine agents help humans process the machine-processable data on a semantic web, why should we build this type of semantic web from the beginning? Every semantic web space is a little agent. So every semantic web user must have a web space. The emergence of Semantic Web will eventually eliminates the distinction between readers and writers on the Web. Every human web user must simultaneously be a reader, a writer, and a requester; or m[...]

Marc Andreesen digs into the Platform

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 18:00:00 +0000

As Danny highlights in the latest instalment of This Week's Semantic Web, Marc Andreessen has once more demonstrated that he's not content with co-authoring Mosaic, sneaking around in the 24 Hour Laundry and driving social networking Ning-style. Far from it, as he continues his recent practice of blogging thoughtfully on issues facing the industry of which we - and he - are part. Yesterday's post, The three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet, touched on a number of issues that we've addressed here on Nodalities before, and it is well worth both reading and thinking about.As Marc suggests in his introduction; “One of the hottest of hot topics these days is the topic of Internet platforms, or platforms on the Internet. Web services APIs (application programming interfaces), web services protocols like REST and SOAP, the new Facebook platform, Amazon's web services efforts including EC2 and S3, lots of new startups talking platform (including my own company, Ning)... well, 'platform' is turning into a central theme of our industry and one that a lot of people want to think about and talk about. However, the concept of 'platform' is also the focus of a swirling vortex of confusion -- lots of platform-related concepts, many of them highly technical, bleeding together; lots of people harboring various incompatible mental images of what's about to happen in our industry as a consequence of various platforms. I think this confusion is due in part to the term 'platform' being overloaded and being used to mean many different things, and in part because there truly are a lot of moving parts at play that intersect in fascinating but complex ways.”How true. The Platform space is a great one to be in and it's brimming over with opportunity and potential; so much so that we're one company staking an awful lot upon the detail of our Platform vision. Traditionally sloppy use of language, however, has led to a situation in which unnecessary confusion is now associated with a superficially straightforward term. Some of this confusion is introduced by innocent drift in the evolving usage of a word, but far more is down to the unfortunate fashion for everyone jumping on the bandwaggon and unleashing a 'platform' of their own. At least we've been using the Platform label for our own endeavours in this area for a number of years.In his attempt to introduce some clarity, Marc's post reiterates his basic definition of an internet platform; “A 'platform' is a system that can be programmed and therefore customized by outside developers -- users -- and in that way, adapted to countless needs and niches that the platform's original developers could not have possibly contemplated, much less had time to accommodate. We have a long and proud history of this concept and this definition in the computer industry stretching all the way back to the 1950's and the original mainframe operating systems, continuing through the personal computer age and now into the Internet era. In the computer industry, this concept of platform is completely settled and widely embraced, and still holds going forward. The key term in the definition of platform is 'programmed'. If you can program it, then it's a platform. If you can't, then it's not.”Check.He then offers three 'kinds' or 'levels' of Internet platform, being careful to stress that one is not necessarily better than those it supersedes; “I call these Internet platform models 'levels', because as you go from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3, as I will explain, each kind of platform is harder to build, but much better for the developer. Further, as I will also explain, each level typically supersets the levels below. As I describe these three levels of Internet platform, I will walk through the pr[...]

Web 2.0 Summit - reflections after a trans-Atlantic flight and a day off!

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 12:35:00 +0000

Last week's Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco was pretty intense, all things considered. It's therefore lucky that this week is the Half Term school holiday in this particular corner of the UK, and peppered with days off to do various non-work things.During the conference (sorry, 'summit') I managed to live-blog most of the sessions I attended, and the corpus can be found here. O'Reilly/CMP are also doing a great job of getting session videos up.Now I've had time to reflect without the need to type and listen and keep an eye on the office, what were the trends and highlights for me?I noticed two big switches since 2005 when I last attended this particular gathering. Firstly, although I didn't see much evidence of a credible alternative, there was far less of an assumption that Google AdWords were the business model of choice. And secondly the lobby conversations just seemed much less desperate than last time, when everyone and everything was frenetically for sale.The iPhone was everywhere. I saw lots of people using Apple's latest, but don't think I saw anyone actually talking into the thing, which means that Nokia's phone-less (?) alternative may do well. We get iPhones in the UK in a couple of weeks, and Talis will be raffling one at our conference the week before that launch. Something tells me that my chances of winning that iPhone are about as high as those for Nokia to send me an N810.There seemed less of an emphasis upon scheduled evening entertainment than previously. Richard MacManus comments on this, too. From my perspective it was a good thing, as it made my packed schedule of dinner engagements (and a trip to a real San Francisco home) so much easier to manage. In many ways, these (including one with Mr MacManus) were the highlight of the trip.The main auditorium was a truly unpleasant place to spend time; way too crowded. The overflow room upstairs was a far better bet, complete with comfy sofas, power, wifi (which you could also get downstairs, if your battery was up to the job), and easy access to food and drink. It would have been nice to be able to ask questions with a video link to the sweatshopauditorium downstairs that was bi-directional, though. A second display showing the whole stage would also have been good. The main monitor kept zooming in to provide detail on faces/slides etc; it wasn't always focussed on the thing I considered important.So what about the meat?Well, in case you hadn't noticed, Facebook is going to be big. I don't just mean suggestions that Zuckerberg may be 'selling himself short' at a mere $15bn, or evidence that Facebook's platform is delivering profit for third party developers. More than both of those, there was an underlying - often implicit - recognition that growth opportunities lie in pushing content and functionality off our individual websites and into the cloud. Although I've argued before that Facebook is a very long way from being open, it's 'Platform' remains a compelling example of ways in which external content can be aggregated and consumed elsewhere. Imagine what would be possible in a more open ecosystem, an ecosystem of which Facebook could be a part? Were others (MySpace, anyone?) to seed such an ecosystem whilst Facebook remained off to one side, would the rate of fall in Facebook numbers equal or exceed their recent growth?'Semantic' has arrived; the Metaweb/ Radar Networks/ Powerset pow wow with Tim O'Reilly (pictured) on the final afternoon was great, and was just beginning to go places when they ran out of time. More debate and analysis would have been nice, with (a lot) less demo. This was followed up by John Doerr recognising the whole space as a compelling investment opportunity, echoing trends that Brad Feld highlighted in his r[...]

Anthony Lilley doesn't seem keen on Web 3.0

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 09:30:00 +0000

With Ian Davis and I packing to join the UK contingent hopping across the Atlantic to this week's Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, it was interesting to see Anthony Lilley's piece on Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in today's Guardian. He's clearly not a fan of the labels; “So, finally web 2.0 is dead. Its jargon half-life has expired and the buzzword du jour is being interred and superseded. And by what? Well, you'll never guess. Long live web 3.0. Honestly, give me strength. We'll look back in 20 years and wonder when we decided to hand over the English language to people who can haggle for hours about the difference between versions 2.1 and 2.5 of some software.”In amongst the criticism of marketing hype, and the grounding in nappy/diaper changing that I am so happy to have left behind for the giddy heights of the tooth fairy, Anthony follows John Markoff's line in postulating that Web 3.0 may be the Semantic Web; “I'm coming to the conclusion that if web 3.0 is anything at all, then it's a step on the way to something I first heard about several years ago - the development of the semantic web. And, let's be honest, a version number is a better selling point than the word semantic is ever going to be.”On the way, Anthony steps sideways into discussion of money; “But I share some of the cynicism of a Canadian colleague who says that web 2.0 will actually come to an end when the venture capital money runs out. Well, given that lots of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly starting to talk about web 3.0, maybe that day is near and web 3.0 is just a branding relaunch, kind of like Kylie's new look?”Despite recent figures in the Financial Times, I'm actually not so sure that the money is leaving Web 2.0. Rather, I think that we're seeing the sort of technological bedding in that Brad Feld and Talis Platform Advisory Group member Mills Davis talked about in their podcasts with me. VC's aren't drawing back from funding Web 2.0 at all; instead, we're moving through the hype that Anthony rightly criticises, and we're emerging into an environment in which smarter entrepreneurs and smarter investors are once again becoming interested in meeting real business opportunities. Web 2.0 technologies are there, through and through, but there's far less interest in funding a company just because its website has curvy corners and a smidge of AJAX. That's a good thing. It doesn't mean Web 2.0 is dead. Maybe it does mean Web 2.0 has grown up a little.Like so many others, Anthony also refers to Jason Calacanis' recent PR stunt. I commented on that at the time, but he draws value from Jason's assertion that; “Web 3.0 is the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform. Web 3.0 throttles the 'wisdom of the crowds' from turning into the 'madness of the mobs' we've seen all too often, by balancing it with a respect of experts.”Well, maybe. “The reliability of content and an understanding of the wider context in which content sits are rising in importance on the web and taking their place alongside the wondrous power of group communication, especially as more and more people join the party.”Absolutely. Here, Anthony hits the nail right on the head. Long before the all-encompassing ontological wonder of the Semantic Web is realised (if it ever is), there is much that some of its building blocks can do to help us deliver real solutions to real problems right now. I touched on this mid-point between Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web in my presentation in Cambridge last week, and will be expanding upon those ideas in various places over the next wee while. Behind the curvy corners and the blurring of boundaries betwe[...]

O'Reilly and Spivack grapple with the Webs

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 06:45:00 +0000

I've really enjoyed the recent flow of posts between Talis Platform Advisory Group member Nova Spivack and (not yet a member!) Tim O'Reilly. Through them it's possible to see some of the complex interrelationships between aspects of 'Web 2.0' and the more pragmatic areas of 'Semantic Web' development. 'Web 3.0' occasionally makes an appearance, confuses things, and gets pushed down the pile in order that a more sensible dialogue can take place. Except, perhaps, in Nova's use of it to describe the third decade of the Web, 'Web 3.0' does seem to currently be causing little more than confusion; which is surely exactly the opposite of what a loose label such as that should be for? Despite that, it - or a term like it - will be needed as the media and others struggle to describe the transitional phase that we're entering as the exuberant outpourings of the early Web 2.0 days bed down into sustainable and longer-term activity. We can either craft these labels ourselves and use them to tell our stories, or we can have them created for us with language that will (doubtless) pit the new thingummy against the 'old' Web 2.0 in ways that are unhelpful. For want of a better term, many of us do seem to fall back upon 'Web 3.0' to describe something else, but I'm not sure that any of us actually like the term. 'Web of Data'? Maybe. 'Web of Intentions'? Possibly... and I'll begin to dig into why in an upcoming series of posts. 'Semantic Web'? No, probably not. It's far too bound up in the totality of Tim Berners-Lee's vision; something that we see small parts of in various labs around the world, but something that is an extremely long way from the mainstream web of today or tomorrow. Parts of the Semantic Web ideal figure extremely highly, but it may be unwise to shoot them in the foot by bogging discussion of them down in all that ontological big system stuff that seems to accompany any mention of the big SW.Robust, pragmatic, and Web-scale deployment of the technologies and ideas of the Semantic Web is not a replacement for Web 2.0. It is an evolution, a change of emphasis and approach. It is the realisation of many of Web 2.0's under-delivered promises, and a powerful step forwards for incumbents and new entrants. The opening up (legally, technically, and practically) of the data that drives the current social web is the big story. The particular W3C recommendations that make it possible are a means to an end.As Nova comments; “The Semantic Web is not about AI or anything fancy like that, it is really just about data. Another and perhaps better name for it would be 'The Data Web.'”Nova also remarks; “I agree with Tim that the Web 2.0 era was a renaissance -- and that there were certain trends and patterns that I think Tim recognized first, and that he has explained better, than just about anyone else. Tim helped the world to see what Web 2.0 was really about -- collective intelligence.”Absolutely. And it is here that the opportunity lies in taking a huge step forward. We're seeing plenty of interesting examples in which silos of reasonably collective reasonably intelligent data are growing and being mined.The opportunities are so much greater with an open pool of data, to which context, role and reason can be applied, and it is here that semantic technologies such as RDF have so much to offer.Nova goes on to say; “The fact is, while I have great respect for Tim as a thinker, I don't think he truly 'gets' the Semantic Web yet. In fact, he consistently misses the real point of where these technologies add value, and instead gets stuck on edge-cases (like artificial intelligence) that all of us who are really working on these technologies actually don[...]

The Semantic Web - is everyone confused?

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 04:30:00 +0000

The Economist. Tim O'Reilly. Nova Spivack. Danny Ayers. Read/Write Web's Alex Iskold. Kingsley Idehen. Brad Feld. Over the last few days all of them have been amongst those writing to clarify their understanding of the Semantic Web and where it's going.Each piece is thoughtful, each piece is well worth a read, and each differs somewhat from the others in outlook as they delve into 'ontologies', 'classic approaches', 'machine intelligence', 'SPARQL', 'Turtle' and other geekiness [meant in the nicest possible way]. I do wonder, though, if all of them are bypassing some fundamental points as they seek to clarify their own perspectives to themselves, to one another, and to the world; points with which I suspect that each may actually agree.First, I definitely don't think that a company, technology or approach can only be either 'Web 2.0' or 'Semantic Web'. Sure, some companies will see themselves (or pitch themselves) in one space or the other, but there's going to be an ever-increasing number that reside firmly in both. Ultimately, of course (and figures in the FT this week, suggesting that “The pull-back was particularly acute in Silicon Valley, as big Web 2.0 investors such as Benchmark Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Omidyar Networks, the private financing vehicle of Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar, cut back on their investments.”might more logically be interpreted as supporting this argument) companies won't be Web 2.0 or Semantic Web. They will be companies that solve a particular set of problems for a particular set of audiences. Some of the tools in the toolbox they use to do this will be Web 2.0-ish, some will be Semantic Web-ish, some will be both, and some will be neither. Those things that currently differentiate us - and to which we apply labels in order to reinforce the differentiation - will become mainstream, run of the mill, mundane, and simply expected. That's progress, and it's a good thing. Web 2.0 won't go away. The Semantic Web won't go away. Shouting about either might, and it doesn't have to mean that their importance has diminished.Second, 'collective intelligence' applies equally to both. Tim O'Reilly's absolutely right that it's been a key differentiator of many Web 2.0 darlings; “By contrast, I've argued that one of the core attributes of 'web 2.0' (another ambiguous and widely misused term) is 'collective intelligence.' That is, the application is able to draw meaning and utility from data provided by the activity of its users, usually large numbers of users performing a very similar activity. So, for example, collaborative filtering applications like Amazon's 'people who bought item this also bought' or's music recommendations, use specialized algorithms to match users with each other on the basis of their purchases or listening habits. There are many other examples: digg users voting up stories, or wikipedia's crowdsourced encyclopedia and news stories.”It's also front and centre in Semantic Web work, though. For example that from ourselves, Radar Networks and others. See this white paper [PDF] for one, and watch here and here for public sight of internal developments... soon. The connections that RDF makes so manifest are a perfect way to express, traverse, and mine the habits, behaviours and desires of the collective.Third, 'a formal ontology' is not a requirement, and nor is pushing structure in the face of the user.Tim makes a good point here; “The Semantic Web is a bit of a slog, with a lot of work required to build enough data for the applications to become useful. Web 2.0 applications often do a half-assed job of tackling the same problem, but because the[...]

Building Brand With Web 2.0 Tools

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 00:00:00 +0000

If you’re familiar with Twitter, you’ve probably figured out there’s some interesting things you can do with these types of SMS-based apps. If you’re a power Twitterer all of you know it’s way more than “what am I doing”. Jaiku’s the other one, and although essentially both provide the same capabilities, I give an aesthetic edge to Jaiku for its slick looking badges.  That aside, while working on a community project yesterday, we started thinking about how these tools can benefit the business. If you extrapolate what’s being done  by some of the big brands, it’s pretty easy to see the evolution. Take ZDNet for instance. Their approach aggregates all of their blogs into one Twitter feed. Using something like TwitKu, (screenshot below) I get a pulse of what ZDNet is covering that hour. And ZDNet knows most people won’t have the inclination to subscribe to all of their blogs, so they give us options. That’s an important notion when building your business case. Always give the user options. If you want to be a media company, act like one. Show me how to consume, repurpose, mashup, and deliver your content not just in ways you want but ways I want.Other companies, including Dell and the NYTimes, also use  use Twitter to push out all sorts of content, from product updates and discounts to industry information and news. And isn’t it a bit ironic that the NY Times is so prolific on Twitter? They came across as a skeptic back in April. So know that we know there’s some real-world scenarios for this stuff, the question becomes how to best incorporate these communication tools into an integrated and cohesive marketing strategy? I’d suggest start by stripping away all the Web 2.0 monikers and buzzwords and boil it down to content and communication. From there think about what everyone else is thinking about. How do I come up with creative ways to distribute my content? After that, think about how to be a facilitator. Once a brand becomes a trusted information source or content provider, conversations happen. Tools like Twitter and Jaiku can drive those conversations.  And conversations build brand.(image)

Seriously, what is wrong with Comcast?

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 09:09:13 +0000

Back in January I wrote a blog entry discussing my desire to cut back my cable television and rely more on iTunes, Netflix, Joost, etc. I asked Comcast to simply disconnect my cable TV but keep my Internet.(image)

No iPhone for me, thanks to AT&T!

Thu, 14 Jun 2007 09:42:05 +0000

Not content to simply spy on Americans without a warrant, AT&T has taken a bold move forward and decided to work with the MPAA and RIAA (two of the most hated organizations on the planet), to eliminate copyrighted materials being transmitted between parties on their network.Tip o' the hat to Doc Searls suggestion...(image)

Pandora politically correct?

Wed, 13 Jun 2007 17:41:48 +0000

File this under funnny?I'm listening to Pandora Radio through my Sonos today when up comes a track from one of my favorite artists, Cock Robin.(image)