Sunday, December 29, 2002


JAlbum A free web photo album generator.

Eclipsing All

ApectJ's Eclipse Home "PARC has decided to transfer AspectJ to an openly-developed project. This project will include documentation, web site, mailing lists, bug database, and sources for the AspectJ compiler (the primary tool produced by the project)." Just another part of the growing Eclipse ecosystem.

This follows the Koi Project: "The goal of the Koi project is to develop an infrastructure that can be used to create collaborative features. The addition of specific collaborate features to the Eclipse Workbench are beyond the current scope of the project. However, as a test of the infrastructure, we have created a set of sample collaborative functions that support activities such as messaging, metadata storage, and a shared calendar. These are available as part of the Koi download."

They're using a client/server architecture because "A server-based architecture provides a centralized place to store any collaborative metadata. It also permits expensive computations to be performed without impact on the responsiveness of client machines." most peer-to-peer systems exist to extend both computation and storage capacity of client/server systems. Although they do say, "Thus using Koi, there is the potential for every “client” to also be a “server”. This could form the basis of a Koi peer-to-peer architecture. We think this could be an interesting application of the Koi infrastructure and encourage experimentation in this regard."

Saturday, December 28, 2002

The Nonsense of KM

The Google cache of "The Nonsense of Knowledge Management". He likens KM (or DKM - Distributed Knowledge Management) to TQM, ERP, CRM, BPR and others (love TLAs).

"These have sometimes been called management fads and fashions, but it would be wrong to assume that, for that reason, they all lacked effectiveness when applied in organizations. Some, however, have been [downsizing] could be a recipe for industrial fact, two thirds of BPR efforts are said to have failed...Happily, it is quite easy to distinguish between 'knowledge' and 'information' in such a way as to remove ambiguity and, at the same time, demonstrate the fundamental nonsense of 'knowledge management'." Most of the papers he found used "information" as a synonym for "knowledge". He also pokes fun at major consulting firms like Accenture, Ernst and Young and KPMG and their use of "search and replace" marketing.

In the end, we are left with: "'If getting promotion, or holding your job, or finding a new one is based on the knowledge you possess - what incentive is there to reveal that knowledge and share it?...Organizations need to learn to think about problems, rather than grab at proffered 'solutions' - which often turn out to be expensive side-tracks away from the main issues.'".

Open Source Visualizer

OpenDX - "As its name implies, OpenDX is Open Source. The license allows you to freely create, distribute, and develop visualization solutions as you see fit.

OpenDX is a uniquely powerful, full-featured software package for the visualization of scientific, engineering and analytical data: Its open system design is built on a standard interface environments. And its sophisticated data model provides users with great flexibility in creating visualizations...The GUI is built on the standard interface environment: OSF/Motif(tm) and X Window System(tm). The current version supports software-rendered images on 8-, 12-, 16-, 24-, and 32-bit windows." Supports Windows, Linux, Solaris, OS X and others. A Java version is planned. The gallery of animations is pretty cool.

Friday, December 27, 2002

It's Trying to be Easy to Use it's just Failing

I'm not the best drivers, I'm very tall, and have fairly large feet. I drove a manual 1925 Chevy. It's top speed is 25 miles and cruising speed is about 15 miles. The accelerator is between the clutch and the brake. I could not just depress the accelerator, I had angle my foot between the clutch and the brake, trapping it between them. This meant I could not brake quickly. The clutch and the brake are merely levers - no hydraulic assistance. Only the two rear wheels brake, it's braking distance is fairly long, even when you push it down hard. The steering is awfully unresponsive and as the car is top heavy, turning, even at its modest speeds, it felt very dodgy. At first I could not change the gears because my legs did not fit properly; nothing is adjustable except for the driver. No one else was game to drive it. In every way this car was slower, more dangerous, less stable and convienent than modern cars.

For a comparison, here's Aaron Swartz's review of a Segway.

MS to Carry Java

Main point - IE must install Java Plugin " After reading the judges decision from the PDF helpfully linked elsewhere, I found what I was looking for - the judge does not just generically demand that any .Net implmentation must also ship with Java, but also that in particular IE must ship with the Java Plug-In and Windows Update must notify MS users of Java to make it availiable for install."

Microsoft ordered to carry Java links to the PDF of the ruling.

JPEG 2000 Interview

Interview with Dr. Daniel Lee, who currently convenes ISO’s JPEG group, "Compared to current JPEG and other common image file formats, we have seen better compression efficiency, anywhere from 30% to 60%, bearing in mind that compression efficiency is image dependent...The committee has obtained the generous offer of royalty and license-fee free conditions by its technology contributors. While one can never be certain that there will never be any assertion of patent rights that may cause problems in the future". Mozilla will support it around 1.4 according to bug 36351.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

End of On-To-Knowledge

EU funded project delivers cutting edge knowledge management tool " of the aims of the on-to-knowledge project was to identify an ontology language standard for the Internet that could be adopted by the Worldwide Web consortium, bringing the next generation web - the semantic web a step closer." The deliverables included Sesame, OntoExtract, OntoEdit and more.

Other deliverables included: visualization (the cluster map is a pretty standard ball and stick type interface), EnerSearch case study, Analysis and Requirements of Ontology Middleware (includes security (which TKS can do of course), versioning and metainformation) and an implementation of a DAML+OIL reasoner. They (BT) developed a text mining tool called ViewSum.

Burning Records

Librarians Receive Advice on Law and Reader Privacy - "The speakers all agreed that proper federal requests for data should be dutifully complied with, but only when an official court order is presented, and not just because an FBI agent asks for information. There was also a general consensus that fewer records should be kept by libraries and that even necessary records should be destroyed after use." I wonder how it will work in the future when libraries are web services.

Death of Swing

Two articles from Martin LaMonica "Open-source group broadens its reach" and "Oracle plan exposes Java rift" both focus on the continuing momentum of Eclipse and SWT. The issue does seemed to be confused around the IDE and the GUI framework.

You could say that SWT does not compete with Swing because it does not provide a platform independent widget set and it requires management of resources (why use Java then?):
"The advantages of using SWT come at a price. You now have to manage allocated resources such as fonts and colors instead of relying on automatic garbage collection to free resources. Whatever your requirements may be, knowledge of the trade-offs can help you decide which Java GUI is right for your application."

Friday, December 20, 2002

JDK 1.4.1 DP8 for OS X

"This is just a quick note to alert you guys that DP8 is available for download now! This is an important release, because it essentially represents our Beta milestone. There are still a few features not implemented, but is mostly complete. It is very important for those of you who've been staying off the bandwagon, to get on and try your stuff out and submit bugs. We're almost there! "

How to Compare URIs

"Software is commonly required to compare two URIs. Such comparisons can have two outcomes, in this document labeled "equivalent" and "different". Since URIs exist to identify resources, presumably they should be considered equivalent when they identify the same resource. This definition of equivalence is not of much practical use for reasons which include:

* Resources may have many different identifiers.
* Web architecture defines how resources are named and how their representations are interchanged, but doesn't define resource equivalence."

IEEE Article on Jena

Jena: A Semantic Web Toolkit: " The Jena download contains three implementations of the API: One stores its data in main memory, another stores its data in a relational database, and a third uses Sleepycat Software's open-source embedded database, Berkeley DB ( A system programming interface makes it easy to introduce new stores...The Berkeley DB store, like the relational store, is persistent. While it lacks the transaction support of the relational database, it is up to an order of magnitude faster than some relational databases." Also notes they're working on a RDF-S and DAML APIs.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The Shrinking Mac

Following the Motley's McDonald's Cuts Fat where "The company announced today that it'll shutter around 175 locations and cut 400 to 600 jobs worldwide. It will also give up capital investments in four markets and completely leave three markets, all located in the Middle East and Latin America." A local story says that they're cutting staff and that " would post its first quarterly loss in its 47-year history."

Aplix Releases MIDP 2.0 and more

Aplix Ships JBlend Platform Based on J2ME MIDP 2.0...: With JBlend they're offering "...complete support for MIDP 2.0..." as well as "...optional extensions, the J2ME Wireless Messaging (JSR 120) and Mobile Media (JSR 135) APIs." MIDP 2.0 covers things like games and security. The other vendor that seems to have much of MIDP 2.0 and the optional extensions is Insignia's Mobile Fondation which seems more suited to Pocket PC, Smartphone and others.

Big designs for small devices covers four design patterns for UIs under MIDP.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Unstructured Data Management

the451 has released a report called "Unstructured Data Management" it divides the sector into 4 fields: document management, search and retrieval, categorization and XML databases and tools. The winners would seem to be Documentum, Verity (or Google), Inxight and amazingly Sleepycat. They do believe that in the future it will be Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.

Inxight's profile from the451 report and the full report is here. Interestingly, the companies to watch are: 80-20 Software, Octave Software, Recommind and Semagix. From what I've read no mention of RDF or the Semantic Web (although they do note people like Semagix).

Less than a Week

U.S. says no to Aussie libel lawsuit "The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said two Connecticut newspapers could not be sued for libel in a Virginia court on the basis of allegedly defamatory articles posted on their Web sites."

Same Tune

The Microsoft/Linux Connection "There are precedents for a Microsoft about-face. "There have been other examples of Microsoft vociferously challenging technologies, only to turn on a dime and start doing it themselves," says Dwight Davis, an analyst for Summit Strategies in Seattle. Davis points to examples such as thin-client computing and Java." Yup, from stupid idea to the TCO CDs that they sent out last time.

They call me Dr Mem

"This is an attempt to dig into a typical Java programmers problem: A Java program is running for hours and weeks, finally stopping with an OutOfMemoryException. A typical profiler like JProbe or OptimizeIt can be of help, if the problem comes up within a short time, but they slow down the operation too much."

Nope, doesn't sound familar. Dr Mem.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Get Real, get the Semantic Web

The Semantic Web gets real, "And yet the Semantic Web may ultimately hold the answer to many of the knotty problems raised by Web services and other machine-to-machine communications schemes. A handful of major players including Adobe, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Nokia, and even the Department of Defense have thrown resources at it--the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which founded the Internet, is a backer..."We fundamentally believe that the Semantic Web is the only way we can solve the very difficult issues of the growing complexity of information systems," says Celcorp's CEO Jas Dhillon. He acknowledges that building ontologies can be "very time consuming and painful." But, claims Dhillon, "one of our breakthroughs is that we can automatically extract the ontology of the system and the process" as the first step in developing its Celware applications. Another milestone in easing ontology development was the W3C's release last summer of a working draft for a Web Ontology Language (abbreviated OWL)."


I don't know advanced trees (as in binary, red/black, etc) but I know what I like. And I think I like this applet as an example of R-Trees:

This seems very graph/model like to me. I think you could use RTrees to do datatyping, lists and bags.

From a synopsis of the paper:
* Allows searches for contained in/overlapped with some rectangle.
* Like B+-Trees except each child key bounds all the objects below in
the hierarchy.
* Searches may now follow down multiple children because the keys can
cover overlapping area.
* Insert chooses the sub-tree that minimizes the expansion of the
bounding rectangles
* Under-full nodes are entirely re-inserted
* Nodes are split with the goal of minimizing the area of the two new
bounding rectangles

Apart from the basic RTree implementation, some other functions have
been implemented in the applet. In particular the RTree currently
supports the following operations:

* Traverse By Level: Returns a list of all nodes sorted by their level.
* Traverse Post Order: A post order traversal of the RTree nodes.
* Traverse Pre Order: A pre order traversal of the RTree nodes.
* Enclosure: Returns an enumeration of all rectangles that contain the
query rectangle or point.
* Intersection: Returns an Enumeration with all rectangles that
intersect with the query rectangle.
* Nearest Neighbor: Returns the rectangle nearest to the query point.

It looks to me like when to split R Trees is important. It talks about
when to split the overlapping of the boxes into to separate branches.
Again, playing with the applet it seems quite smart as to when to split
and group them.

I think traversing R-Trees is similar to log(n) but it looks like each
sub-tree may be visited more than once.

The paper I've been trying to finish reading is:

Friday, December 13, 2002


There's a lot of rubbish in Australian court's upside-down Internet ruling article, like implying that he could be sent to jail in Australia for opinions published in his article:
"Under the court's perverse logic, every person or organization that posts something on the Internet will need to understand and comply with the libel laws of 190 nations and who knows how many sub-national jurisdictions. That's absurd, of course.

It's also dangerous, because it encourages powerful and paranoid people to use local laws, some of which will be designed for such purposes, to stamp out unwelcome news or opinions. If we all have to temper our speech to fit the restrictions of the worst abusers of liberty, no one will say anything worth hearing."

In the physical world companies operate in jurisdictions that are most supportive of their business (like Nevada or Delaware). It's the same for publishers.

New Google Tools

It begins (already) with Froogle. "This is a smart move by Google. Segmented search is the future of search," said Ken Cassar, senior analyst at Jupiter Research. "The universe of information that the Web has to offer is simply too vast to be able to effectively handle very specific inquiries efficiently without segmentation." Google Feels a Little Froogle

"The Google Viewer displays the pages found as a result of your Google search as a continuous scrolling slide show."

"Google WebQuotes annotates the results of your Google search with comments from other websites."

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Search Engine Technologies

"A report issued by Forrester Research in September 2002 concluded soberly, "Most companies already own a search engine—one that doesn't work.""

"Questions about accessing information from different locations and devices have proved to be among the most vexing, forcing employees to waste time bouncing between company intranets and browsers, with no interface. Among companies making inroads in that realm is Divine (, which in June 2002 began offering SinglePoint Search, a tool with an open architecture that enables users to search all of their resources, in any format, simultaneously."

Goes through different approaches to searching including: clustering, linguistic analysis, natural language processing, ontology, probablistic, taxonomy and vector based. Also talks briefly about image searching. The software that does the linking in Infoworld articles, RichLink, is highlighted and even Zoe gets a mention (go email search engines).

On page 3 there's a side bar at the bottom talking about who owns the metadata. Using trademarked or copyrighted materials as metadata is fair use. Similar to the the article on Feist Publications Inc. vs. Rural Telephone Service Co. Inc. where it was ruled by the Supreme court that copyright does not protect the facts themselves, even though the compiler of the collection may have invested substantial funds, labor or both in collecting and compiling them.

Apparently, MS is in the probablistic camp and Autonomy is in both probablistic and clustering.

Creating Applications with Mozilla

The O'Reilly book, "Creating Applications with Mozilla" is available online in HTML for free. Chapters include XUL, XBL, XPCOM and RDF.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Novosoft Tools

A while ago, I was looking for a C to Java converter there's C2J. They also have FL and Zebra which allows you to construct business logic using UML (use case, class, state and collaboration diagrams).

Making his mark on the Internet map

This interview and background article profiles Tim Bray, "This map is very interesting," Bray begins, positioning his tall, imposing frame beside the chart. "It's from 1790 or so, and it shows part of Eastern Europe. Why is this map full of writing and not illustration? Because there's no common agreement on measurement. More than half of the map shows the scale of distance in all the different units of the day: Polish miles, Prussian miles, Ukrainian miles."

Yes we've come so far, still haven't decided on a standard measure of distance and now we have Word.

Semantic XML

Age of Discovery: "R.V. Guha, who has been thinking about these problems for longer than XML has been around, has a suggestion that I think will be helpful, a simple usable convention for identifying real objects and referencing them in any XML document. He proposes two magic attributes with a special namespace. The first would suggest that an element was a real object and would provide a way to find it—a URL or URI whose value would be in the attribute."

The paper by Guha has already changed the names from about/resource to key/ref. Already people are changing these names. I don't like the fact that all the examples include numeric keys but as it says any URI is fine.

The Thinking Web

"This fundamental shift in web publishing will have far-reaching repercussions for web search engines. Rather than visit a search engine and trawl through a flat listing of possible matches, users will be able to issue high-level information requests and receive a distilled answer.

The semantic web is intended to complement humans in areas in which they do not perform well, such as processing large volumes of information quickly or analysing large texts for certain pieces of information."

"The upshot is that the semantic web may act as a 'collective memory', augmenting individual brain power and accelerating the pace of human learning and discovery. But we will need to careful about controlling its development and our dependence on it if we wish to avoid the emergence of a dystopian digital dictator."

Monday, December 09, 2002

Opencola Pro 1.1

"Opencola has selected seven search engines that can be searched with a single query: Google, AltaVista, Yahoo!, AllTheWeb, NorthernLight, Teoma, and Dmoz. Users can add their own news sources or blog sites to include in the search and can also choose to search more than 3,000 news sources provided by Moreover. A folder is automatically created for each search.

Users can also add text-based documents (HTML, text files, Adobe Acrobat PDF, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, or Microsoft Excel) to a folder to start a search. Opencola will extract the key phrases from the documents and use them to find relevant information or relevant peers. Users then tag results items that they feel to be relevant, and the Semantic Relevance Engine scores other documents (scale of 1 to 100) on how relevant they are to the tagged documents. It then alters the query based on a user’s preferences. New search results are automatically delivered directly to folders at frequency intervals that are defined by the user (daily, weekly, or hourly).

Opencola PRO customers may access other registered users on the global Opencola Knowledge Network. Opencola analyzes similarities between peers on the Knowledge Network and can suggest a user in search results as a “relevant peer.” Opencola allows customers to set permissions for every item in every folder residing within Opencola. Users can browse folders designated as “shared” and download files."

Available for most versions of Windows. There's also an Enterprise version of the product.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Semantic Web Services

"For Semantic Web services to become a reality, a markup language must be descriptive enough that a computer can automatically determine meaning." Goes through the steps of Discovery, Invocation, Composition and Monitoring.

"the Web Services Modeling Framework (WSMF) has been proposed to facilitate the creation of Semantic Web services. It is based in part on IBM's Web Services Flow Language (WSFL), an XML language for the description of business process-driven compositions of multiple Web services."

Written by the VP of Business and Technology Development for Semaview, Inc.

The Amicalola Conference, which I have talked about before, has a paper called "A Conceptual Architecture for Semantic Web Enabled Web Services" which covers the WSMF. Also of interest is an article by Uche Ogbuji called "Supercharging WSDL with RDF" which talks about replacing WDSL and UDDI with RDF and how this would simplify web services.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Semantic Patent

Well this was linked to recently on the RDF Interest scratchpad about Talee's (now Semagix) patent. It is a rather broad (that's about the nicest thing I can say about it) patent on metadata storage it's number 6,311,194:

"A system and method for creating a database of metadata (metabase) of a variety of digital media content, including TV and radio content delivered on Internet. This semantic-based method captures and enhances domain or subject specific metadata of digital media content, including the specific meaning and intended use of original content. To support semantics, a WorldModel is provided that includes specific domain knowledge, ontologies as well as a set of rules relevant to the original content. The metabase may also be dynamic in that it may track changes to the any variety of accessible content, including live and archival TV and radio programming.".

I have a sense of deja vu with patent 5,684,985 which was used to claim ownership of RDF.

Why or how this is possible escapes me. I'd rather think about things like integrating Slide (a WedDAV framework) into TKS. It makes a lot of sense to me by allowing you to combine your metadata and freetext searching in the one store, stupid patents aside.

REST, SOAP and Java

The AXIS 1.1 beta is now available for download. Now I've always thought abstraction was good and AXIS pretty much takes the cake with its SOAP over JMS. JMS allowing you to use HTTP, RMI, or whatever as the protocol but giving you things like guaranteed delivery too. I also appreciate the fact that there's a WSDL2Java rather than the other way around (language to WSDL).

AXIS has a recommended reading section that includes a link to the Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures. The debate over the SOAP and REST is well covered in Roots of the REST/SOAP Debate, for example. SOAP vs REST is one of the few topics where I don't have a firm opinion one way or another. If you write applications with SOAP they're just not like the Web it's that simple. The web is all about simplicity and scalability just looks after itself.

Friday, November 29, 2002

What's Changed with RDF?

This is by Shelly "Writing the O'Reilly Book on RDF" Powers:

"The W3C working group tasked to update and clarify the RDF specification recently released six new working drafts. The group is collecting comments, concerns, and corrections, which will be incorporated into the documents. At the end of November, in preparation for submitting the documents for review as Candidate Recommendations, the working group will begin its final review."

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Quick Links

Did Picasso know about Einstein? - very interesting review of a book on cubism and relativity.

UML graphics bridge diverse systems - an overivew of UML going over the 9 diagram types.

Role of Java in the Semantic Web - includes an overview of the applications for the semantic web, relevant JSRs, and links to tools such as JTP, Jess, FIPA and JavaBayes. I'd say take a look at the NZDL and others like Jena, etc.

It's a shame that the author of the previous article concentrated on the AI aspects of the Semantic web. In a recent article on
""It's not artificial, and it's not intelligent," said Eric Miller, activity lead for the W3C's Semantic Web Activity. "The conceptual models behind RDF are predicated on work in the digital library community. You can think of this as a common framework that supports thesaurus, taxonomies and classification schemes.""

There was also this commentry which said that: "But the Web of things won't happen, and neither will Web services, unless these systems can understand what the data that they send each other means. To do this, tech suppliers and their enterprise customers must create a Semantic Web built on a few basic standards governing how to tag data so that people or computers can easily look up the tags' definitions and what other tags they're related to--synonyms and hyponyms, for example." This is one of the first times I've heard, without some obvious vested interest in RDF, talk about the industry rallying behind it.

GForge - an update of Sourceforge.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

3,003 (Yes another RCOSjava post)

Well, I've had good news and good news. Firstly, Sourceforge now reports 3,003 download for RCOSjava. Sure that's less than what JBoss does in a day but it's something I guess.

The other good news was that Danielly Karine da Silva Cruz got a 9 for "Implementação do Sistema de Arquivo do RCOS". This was an implementation of the MSDOS file sytem using RCOSjava.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Swapping will Continue says MS

"Record industry attempts to stop the swapping of pop music on online networks such as Kazaa will never work.

So says a research paper prepared by computer scientists working for software giant Microsoft...The researchers point out that the growth of consumer broadband and cheap data storage will mean the numbers of people willing to swap is growing and will soon outstrip attempts to shut them down."

The original document is here:

I've covered the "dark net" before which was extra to the "deep web". Funny though, music isn't the only thing traded on these networks. Peerfear has the original article. In the same vein there's discussion on how P2P not only can provide a good archival medium but also providing distribution more cheaply.

I went all goose bumpy when I read this:
"Like other networks, the darknet can be modeled as a directed graph with labeled edges. The graph has one vertex for each user/host. For any pair of vertices (u,v), there is a directed edge from u to v if objects can be copied from u to v. The edge labels can be used to model relevant information about the physical network and may include information such as bandwidth, delay, availability, etc. The vertices are characterized by their object library, object requests made to other vertices, and object requests satisfied."

Yes, they are aware of software:
"We believe that binding software to a host is a more tractable problem than protecting passive content, as the former only requires tamper resistance, while the latter also requires the ability to hide and manage secrets. However, we observe that all software copy-protection systems deployed thus far have bee broken. The definitions of BOBE-strong and BOBE-weak apply similarly to software. Furthermore, software is as much subject to the dynamics of the darknet as passive content."

I think the most interesting part was on digital watermarking:
"There are several reasons why it appears unlikely that such systems will ever become an effective anti-piracy technology. From a commercial point of view, building a watermark detector into a device renders it strictly less useful for consumers than a competing product that does not....Even if watermarking systems were mandated, this approach is likely to fail due to a variety of technical inadequacies. The first inadequacy concerns the robustness of the embedding layer. We are not aware of systems for which simple data transformations cannot strip the mark or make it unreadable."

The other reason they say that watermarking will fail is because once the private keys are broken (like with DVDs) then the keys or the unencrypted data can be distributed.

You could use marketing spin like DVD players with "Macrovision - Protecting your data" on the sides. Although, it probably has to be a real feature not something where you pay more and can use less. All record and software companies have to do is create a commercial "dark net" that would provide faster distribution, cheaper per megabyte downloading and more easily searchable content.

How is it going to be stopped? When I watch a movie, will some of MyLifeBits be owned?

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Tablet Computing to Take Off?

About Tablet Computing Old and New:
"If developers learn about what was done in the past, they can move ahead and produce better solutions to the problems we were addressing, and discover new areas to be covered. Software development is a continuous process of building on what came before, and then testing with real use. By Microsoft starting with an advanced ink application of the last generation, they've set the bar high enough to give people a boost. If they really leave things open for outside development (from both a technical and business viewpoint), and continue innovating themselves, new ideas can be tested and evaluated by the market. The fact that we now have good hardware with lots of marketing behind it means there will be at least some market for new software."
The main point of the article is that through marketing and iterative development tablet computing will eventually get many times better. The emphasis being on tablet computing, the handwriting and those aspects of usability seems to be further away. To me it seemed the hardware had changed but the usability had not. Has Microsoft created a really innovative platform for tablet computing like they did for the web?

Destruction of the Web

A recent Dan Gillmor blog entry calls attention to the vandalism perpetuated by greedy corporate types:
"The correct word for what has happened here is "theft" -- because the government has allowed private interests to steal from the public domain.

The claim that this was done to save money -- a paltry $200,000 a year -- doesn't even begin to pass the smell test. This was an arrangement on behalf of corporate interests, and an absolute thumb in the eye to the public."

The savings are so paltry and the utility so high. I simply don't understand how this could happen but Dan claims that it's because:
"America's government doesn't work for the people. It works for campaign contributors and corporate interests, for the rich and powerful who are getting just about everything they want from the government they've purchased.

What to do? Some public-minded foundation should immediately offer to put this back online, by covering the $200,000 cost. Or the collective brain out there should find a way to put the data up on peer-to-peer systems."

And from the original article:
""What we worry about is what's next," said Charles A. Hamaker, associate librarian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte."

Things that are put in trust to the government because society thinks its worthwhile. The way private companies compete with the government is being innovative and value adding services. I can't see this as being any different. I've just started read Code I wonder how deeply depressing this will all get. To paraphrase from the first few pages of the book, if something is owned it can be controll, if it is not owned, control is much more difficult.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Okay, everyone into the Faraday Cage

"One major exhibitor was playing it safe, said Mike Millikin, senior vice president of Comdex Worldwide. Microsoft Corp. and its partners displayed their wireless tablet monitors in a tent set up in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"It's one reason why the Microsoft Smart Displays hands-on area is in a tent off the floor because they didn't want the interference,'' Millikin said. "It's hard to effectively display a wireless device if you can't be wireless. And it's hard to be reliably wireless in an environment where you've got a thousand exhibitors.''"

While it doesn't say that this was a Faraday cage it's funny to think that you go all the way to Las Vegas only to haul onto a parking lot to escape all of the interference.

Yukon Hits the Scales at 15 terabytes

"For less than $1 million, the eight-CPU system chewed through 110,000 transactions per minute. "This is the kind of thing I was hinting at," Gray wrote in the message, sent earlier this month. "This is mainframe performance and engineering at commodity prices." Gray admits a $900,000 system isn't everyone's idea of a commodity, but the cost is, at minimum, "half the cost of competing systems.""

"While Gray is busy demonstrating SQL Server's scalability in scientific and lab environments (he says Microsoft Research has 15 terabytes on SQL Server), the marketing folks at Microsoft have a harder time coming up with business customers who are using their relational databases in such impressive, or at least sizable, ways."

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

The Valley of In-Q-Tel

"Over the past year, Louie has emerged as a kind of valley kingmaker. In-Q-Tel has the goods. It offers something to start-ups that few others do these days: a steady source of contracts, solid financial backing and the chance to ally with other In-Q-Tel portfolio companies...In fact, it's been easier than Louie thought. He isn't even pounding the pavement. Rather, big-name venture capitalists like John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are coming to him...``We've become a port of call for top-tier funds,'' Louie says, sitting in his small corner office, a stone's throw from other VC firms."

"In-Q-Tel ``is like a baby with a beard,'' A.B. Buzzy Krongard, executive director of the CIA, told Government Executive magazine earlier this year. ``Everyone is rushing to see it.''"

"Another advantage of investing alongside In-Q-Tel is its reputation for rigorous scrutiny before investing. Todd Wakefield, the founder of Attensity, an In-Q-Tel start-up, says Louie's team took his software to CIA engineers and let them play with it for six months."

RDF/XML Syntax again

*sigh*. RDF/XML is difficult for people to understand and people have to write the APIs and tools. The RDF Model and whether people think in triples is a different problem to people wanting to rename "Resource" or whatever problems they might have with the syntax. And just when you thought RDF is getting too mainstream they go and introduce IRIs.

A good summary from Timothy Appnel and the saga of RDF continues. A recent Simon St. Laurent notes that RDF is good at description and that complexity is alive and well in others (I noted this in Has RDF Failed?).

"However, if a third aggregation/syndication format comes out, I vote we all
tie and gag the originator and stuff him or her into a deep footlocker
somewhere and throw away the key. Oh wait a sec? Does Aaron read this list?"

Thursday, November 14, 2002

More Apple Rumours of x86

You can just imagine Steve Jobs going to one of his employees "Send them a message!". And then the head of the Apple project at IBM wakes up with one of these in his bed the next morning.

"If IBM's new desktop 64-bit PowerPC chip doesn't fly, it looks like Apple has at least AMD's Athlon XP processors as a backup. TR reader Jrdbeau sent me a link to this interesting story on what may be Apple's contingency plan if it's forced to move to an x86 platform."

Updated to RDF Specs

RDF Semantics, RDF Primer and RDF Schema

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Collaborative Learning

Sometimes I feel that blogs are just the "highlighter pen" of the collaborative process. I find that running through a book with a highlighter to be one of the worse ways of learning. While blogs are slowly getting better with things like pingbacks and the like there's still a long way to go. I've been trying with RCOSjava to get some place better especially the idea of hypertime to help in the learning and creative process.

Anyway, as this article states: "There is no mistaking the shift in society’s focus from thriving on competition to the need for collaboration. Communication and conversation are among the keys to learning. As Peter Drucker often points out, we need knowledge workers who are skilled in problem-solving, collaboration and learning. Therefore, education must prepare workers for these environments. "

"Simulations are likely the next major market for e-learning collaboration. Already, companies such as WisdomTools are developing collaborative and facilitated scenario learning tools. Scenario-based simulations offer e-learners a chance to test their new knowledge or skills in a safe environment. Learners can be exposed to potential cultural or job-related situations before they are given additional duties or are transferred to a different region or country. As simulation tools increase in authenticity and power, they will require greater opportunities for joint decision-making and role-play."

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Another DSpace Article

"The result of a two-year collaboration of the MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard, DSpace is built on open-source software and is available to anyone free of charge. But it’s even more important to note that many believe this groundbreaking effort will fundamentally change the way scholars disseminate their research findings."

"The $1.8 million project became part of the five-year, $25 million MIT-HP Alliance, a research effort to develop digital information systems. In the spring of 2000, the project team of HP software developers, MIT administrators, and a faculty advisory committee started to develop the system."

They're using Lucene. Wouldn't it be nice to do Lucene and RDF searching at the same time? It's good to see you can download DSpace from Sourceforge.

Exploring KM

I revisited the BRINT site and they claim that "'Why Knowledge Management Systems Fail' was the most popular white paper in recent monthly statistics in the Corporate Computing category."

They're certainly practising what they preach: "The process through which this book [“Knowledge Management and Virtual Organizations”] was born represents an epitome of the theme of the book: more than a hundred persons located in various countries across the world collaborated ‘virtually’ through the Internet and World Wide Web from the beginning to the completion of this knowledge aggregation, validation, sharing, compilation and dissemination process."

More on CNRI

I started going through some of the adopters of handle system and I wonder if Defense Virtual Library and The National Digital Library Program are enough. It's a shame that they're not using RDF more for their values of a handle, although as with things like WebDAV you could always have a RDF store on the backend. There are other applications of the handle system but all of them seem to be top down.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Preview 5 of Java 1.4.1 for OS X

I have no other information except download it at

JBuilder 8

JBuilder 8 is out. It comes out with "hot swapping" allowing you to change code while you're debugging something I was using wayback in 1997 with Visual Cafe (I think it was). It's also very expensive (about 6,000 Australian dollars) considering that a lot of the tools (Cactus, Ant, Tomcat, etc) are free.

Cure for Tablets

Keeping your handwritten notes in an image format is as useful as scanned in magazine articles - useless. Microsoft's strategy seems to be taking away the advantages of the computer and to add the disadvantages of paper to create their product.

More details...

11/11 Cool: "Tablet PCs -- a class of laptop-like machines built by several manufacturers to pair with Microsoft's software -- are fabulous in concept but frustrating in practice. In trying to combine the simplicity of paper with the power of a computer, they lose both qualities." Highlights that it would be helpful to give feedback like Palm or OS X as you write but they failed to do even that.

Washington Post Article

Ontology Building

"As the hype of past decades fades, the current heir to the artificial intelligence legacy may well be ontologies...The semantic structuring achieved by ontologies differs from the superficial composition and formatting of information (as data) afforded by relational and XML databases. With databases virtually all of the semantic content has to be captured in the application logic. Ontologies, however, are often able to provide an objective specification of domain information by representing a consensual agreement on the concepts and relations characterizing the way knowledge in that domain is expressed...In the Semantic Web vision, unambiguous sense in a dialog among remote applications or agents can be achieved through shared reference to the ontologies available on the network, albeit an always changing combination of upper level and domain ontologies."

However, the most useful thing in this article is the 10s (I stopped counting at 40) of editors surveyed.


"XRE stands for XUL Runtime Environment; headed by four netscape developers, the XRE plans to piggyback on the GRE (Gecko Runtime Environment) project to create a system via which, rather than installing mozilla the browser an a system application, an end user would install mozilla the platform as a system toolkit, much like a windows under might install Microsoft DirectX today. After installing the XRE platform, he would then be able to install any number of XRE applications such as Gecko (mozilla the browser), Phoenix, XulNote, MozOffice, etc."

Friday, November 08, 2002

Autonomy and Homeland Security

Well, it happened while I was away:

"[Autonomy] a global leader in infrastructure software for the enterprise, today announced that it will provide 21 agencies of the United States government with the core infrastructure technology for information collection, analysis, routing and retrieval. Up to 200,000 employees across various agencies responsible for homeland security functions will use Autonomy technology to more efficiently analyze, assess, and share information from multiple repositories related to suspected terrorist groups."

Found it here. This blog is probably the one closest to mine that I've seen on these kinds of subjects.


Well I found the URL ( in a recent Slashdot story about some trippy new OS UI and plugged it into the Wayback Machine and bingo. Some of the links don't work but there is a vintage paper by M.V. Guha on MCF. The MCF Research site is also very interesting.


Continuing the coding with pictures thread, here's another tool called JStateMachine which uses UML state diagrams to create logic in web sites. Having used UML to do pretty much this for humans (mainly graphic designers actually) this could be quite neat.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Aspects of Logging

I've been using log4j for quite a while. However, if you are worried about prettiness of your code then using AspectJ seems to be the way to go. It allows you to pick the methods that you want to log without messy if-then-elses. Jakarta's Cactus framework uses AspectJ for example. If it's only performance then a final variable is what you would use. I have seen people suggest using the assert keyword for logging but that seems wrong.

Cactus uses Clover for its code coverage. There's also JATE and JVMDI.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Amicalola SW

The papers of interest to me were: Data Modelling versus Ontology Engineering and Semantic Gossiping.

In Semantic Gossiping they write: "Thus we impose more modest requirements by assuming only the existence of local agreements on mappings between different schemas to enable semantic interoperability, i.e., agreements established in a P2P manner...Search requests are broadcasted over a network of interconnected information systems, and in addition when different schemas are involved, local mappings among them are used to further distribute them...To be semantically interoperable, the peers maintain knowledge about the relationships among their schemas. This knowledge can be given in the form of views..."

This idea is similar to schema operability that I've seen before in Microsoft's CUPID (and others) except it relies on people and feedback in a P2P system (they suggest JXTA) and not on an alogrithm.

DSpace and CNRI

The CNRI Handle Space is how MIT's DSpace creates a persistant name for any object (audio, video, document, etc). It uses a bitstream type which is more specific than a MIME type (which is what is often needed).

" The Handle System, Handle Icon written in Java and available for Internet download at no cost, includes an open set of protocols, a namespace, and an implementation of the protocols." There's also a plugin for browsers. It apparently supports up to 1K resolutions per second.

DSpaces supports access control, search and retrival, and should have been available yesterday.

The specification includes an interesting use of RDF for auditing changes made to the documents:

Friday, November 01, 2002

More News

There are two ontologies for enterprise vocabularies which are seemingly opposite to a recent paper on metadata searching.

BrownSauce (what's wrong with tomato?) which has an interesting view of the semantic web. It will be interesting to see what other people come up with at the International Symposium of Visualisation of the Semantic Web.

There's also an interesting article on a microcontent client. The claim that the browser was never meant to author content is wrong. However, the general theme of the article is right on (especially on using XUL!). This is pretty exciting.

My googlism was not very interesting at all. Matthew's is vague and exciting. They truly are Google gods.

Dave Farber's Interesting People mailing list was recently linked to by Tim O'Reilly blog.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

The Internet One Week On

Well, dear Internet, I leave you for a week and see what happens. You nearly get yourself killed and people continue to plot against you. Some nice men design an RDF application that I've been wanting. And Apple go and release Java 1.4. See what other surprises you have for me in another week or so.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Unwiring Africa

A recent article on providing 2400 baud to Guinea using high-frequency (HF) radio and not 802.11. A followup to the Wired on Wireless article I posted a while back.

"If you have been making the move to wireless lately, most likely you are working with the microwave, high bandwidth frequencies of 802.11b. If so, you know that on a clear day you maybe can get a line-of-sight connection out 10 miles or so. That surely won't do for the vast distances and wild terrain we need to cover in rural Africa.

HF radio is another animal. Its longer waves roll out across the landscape, reflecting off the ionosphere to follow the curvature of the earth. This gives HF signals a range in the hundreds of miles. From Conakry to Nzerekore--IRC Guinea's most distant field office--HF easily covers a straight-line distance of over 375 miles (600 kilometers.) The road that sometimes connects these two points is, of course, much longer--a gut-slamming, spine-jamming, two-day punishment for the damned."

Euler Proof Mechanism

"The axioms are acquired from the Web and translated into a kind of logic program. The proof engine uses the resolution inference mechanism and only follows Euler paths (the concept Euler found several hundred years ago) so that endless deductions are avoided. That means that no special attention has to be paid to recursions or to graph merging."

C# and Java versions available! Having N3 in Jena 1.6 is obviously going to help this. He also is using OWL.

The actual source code is very procedural, converting it with the visitor pattern, plug in a standard RDF parser and triple store, add some visualization software and it would be very neat.

Island Data

"The unstructured data can include e-mails, chat transcripts, feedback forms, or call center notes collected from a customer...As the unstructured data is fed into the database, the software analyzes sentences and routes data into different categories, such as job applications, feedback about products or sales inquiries. With the data categorized, users can run queries to generate pie charts, graphs and other models to reveal useful information. The product uses a patented content recognition technology developed by Island Data...Insight RT customers can expect to see a return on investment in four months, according to Jones...Insight RT is compatible with various versions of Windows and Unix and integrates with existing databases such as Oracle's Oracle9i and IBM's DB2. The software is J2EE-compliant and uses XML for data interchange."

Customers include Canon and Real Networks.

Soul of the Machine

"Once a year Malte Mundt and his friends in northern Germany party like it's 1982. That's the year the Commodore 64 hit the shelves, and Mr. Mundt and the other self-described C64 freaks stage an annual bash to celebrate their beloved, obsolete computers.

Commodore memorabilia is traded. Beer flows. And most of all, games are played. Not just the dusty old ones, but new titles that hard-core hobbyists have been programming for the old machine. "

" "With one megahertz and 0.064 megabytes of memory, it shouldn't be possible to do anything, according to the multimedia hype of today," Mr. Mundt said. He takes pleasure in proving those multimedia partisans wrong. "It's fascinating what can be done with this machine.""

NyTimes Article

The trailer for Metal Dust is pretty slick.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


You really understand the significance of Australia's place in the world when the frontpage of CNN goes from the bombing to the astronauts in the ISS about 12 hours after. Or one news report with the headline that 2 Americans were killed in the bombing (and those lesser nations can go suck eggs). The news is not to blame though it's simply peoples interest in news. I can't blame Google news for it not being the top item. If I was in America I'd be worrying about the sniper shootings and watching the prequel to "Silence of the Lambs". I'm glad I'm not there. You'd wonder how a terrorist bombing could make people resent America more? I think we absorb so much of American media that some people expect that we're part of it.

What others are saying: Tim Blair, The Blame Game, Bali and Bali Search on Daypop (lots of Whining Matildas). What they didn't: Slashdot search on Bali on September 11.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Dave Beckett Weblog, included an RDF datatyping proposal. The proposals, voting and subsequent discussion reminded a lot of trying to find the one true coding standard. Committees don't work. :-) The option I wanted, with anonymous nodes, isn't there although I'd probably go with option C or F too. F can happen later if need be.

Practical RDF

"I chatted with my Practical RDF editor, Simon St. Laurent, and we decided to open up the technical book review to my weblog readers as well as the RDF Interest Group and the RSS Developers group. "

Ercim News

Ercim News has an edition dedicated to the Semantic Web. Included are, " "The Semantic Web lifts off" which lists some current Semantic Web projects, "OntoWeb: The Thematic Network for the Semantic Web" which is an overview of the project, "Negotiating on Your Own Terms!" which outlines an adaptive hypermedia tool and "Corporate Semantic Webs" which outlines the Acacia project, CORESE Semantic Search Engine and how it's being used to produce "corporate memory". I should have a look at Notio soon.

Monday, October 14, 2002


This is another easy to install, stand-alone piece of weblogging/content management software. Among others, it uses Jetty, JSTL and Lucene to provide Wiki and blogging (rss, free-text searching, blog roll, etc) functionality. SnipSnap collaboration will include: "P2P support: different snipsnap servers host other snispspaces for fallover (DSL, cable modem) and load balancing (slashdot effect) and Meta Wiki: Integrating the content of different wikis, e.g. using a webservice where wikis could register the names of their wiki nodes and search for other wikis with the same node names, MetaWiki". It supports things like RSS autodiscovery and lots of blogging interfaces. The roadmap includes iCal and P2P support and there's a commercial version planned.

This wasn't as easy to use as Antville and it doesn't feel nearly as snappy.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

The Write Stuff

"It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats : the last three versions of the program -- each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors."

"One is the history of the code itself -- with every line annotated, showing every time it was changed, why it was changed, when it was changed, what the purpose of the change was, what specifications documents detail the change. Everything that happens to the program is recorded in its master history. The genealogy of every line of code -- the reason it is the way it is -- is instantly available to everyone."

Helma and Antville

Helma is a application server where you write Javascript instead of Java code. You can glue Java APIs exposed as objects in Javascript. It has skinning support and macros in templates. To get Antville running it was a matter of downloading the 3MB or so package and just running the script. Configuration was straight forward and comes with a lightweight database. Maybe one of the first tools that needs to be written is a migration tool. Scrape away! Then maybe Reptile. I'm not sure, I've still got to check out the many other blogging tools.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Nokia 7650 vs QuickTake 200

About 5 years ago I had a play with the Apple Quick Take 200 and then there's the Nokia 7650.

Battery life: QT - 10-15 minutes, 7650 ? say 2-4 hours talk time (assume the same for taking pictures).
Memory: QT - 2 MB (upgradable to 4 MB), 7650 - 4 MB.
Picture Capture Resolution: QT - 640x480x24 bit , 7650 - 640x480x24 bit.
Make phone calls, store contact lists, compose music, calendaring, messaging, calculator, etc.: QT - No, 7650 - Yes.

7650 review and QuickTake 200 review. I'm not going to buy the 7650 (yet) and might not ever (cameras are for taking photos aren't they?). For more context I've been reading What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier.

Friday, October 11, 2002


"SMORE is a tool that allows users to markup their documents in RDF using web ontologies in association with user-specific terms and elements.

The aim of this software is as follows:

* To provide the user with a flexible environment in which he can create his web page without too many hindrances involving markup
* To allow the user to markup his document with minimal knowledge of RDF terms and syntax. However, the user should be able to semantically classify his data set for annotation i.e. breakup sentences into the basic subject-predicate-object model
* To provide a reference to existing ontologies on the Internet in order to use more precise references in his own web page/text. The user can also create his own ontology from scratch and borrow terms from existing ontologies
* To ensure accurate and complete RDF markup with scope to make modifications easily"

I've already downloaded it and started playing with it. It doesn't look like they are using Jena for RDF parsing and the like. It supports OWL. Creating RDF from the ontologies is very straight forward, although I'm not sure how you create reified statements yet (haven't read the Help yet that might help). Very interesting.

The Third Manifesto

This was linked of Javalobby which is unusual a one of my work mates have been going over Date's works recently. "Foundation for Future Database Systems: The Third Manifesto is a proposal for the future direction of data and database management systems (DBMSs). It consists of a precise, formal definition of an abstract model of data, to be considered as a blueprint for the design of a DBMS and a database language. Among other things, it provides a rock-solid foundation for integrating relational and object technologies.

The proposed foundation represents an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary one; it builds on Codd's relational model of data and on the research that sprang from that work. It also incorporates a precise and comprehensive specification for a method of defining data types, including a comprehensive model of type inheritance, to address a lack that has been observed by many authorities; thus, it also builds on research in the field of object orientation. With a sound footing in both camps of the object/relational divide, therefore, the Manifesto is offered as a firm foundation for the DBMSs of the future.

Significant features of this new edition include:

* Major extensions to the inheritance model
* Significantly improved language proposals
* Improved discussions of read-only vs. update operators, selectors, THE_ operators, tuple types vs. possible representations, grouping and ungrouping, first normal form, assignment, constraints, predicates, and many other topics
* All SQL discussions upgraded to the level of the new SQL:1999 standard
* Several new appendixes"

The Book's home page:

It links to Fabian Pascal's Database Debunking page (which I used to read from time to time):

Buy from today:

Thursday, October 10, 2002


The recent review of Zoe has caused a bit of interest in doing useful searches over your mail box. JOrganizer is a PIM, written in Java. It includes a mail client, contact management/address book, an RDF/RSS viewer/parser/store, Google search integration and other stuff. It's still a little too early to be useful though.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Escher Lego

I'm especially impressed with "Belvedere" and "Ascending and Descending". There's also Mobius strips.

Mandrake 9 for XBox

"A media release said a 350 MB installation CD of Xbox Linux Mandrake 9 was available for free download from the Xbox Linux Web site. It corresponds to a standard installation of the 3-CD version of Mandrake Linux, which was released a week ago, so it contains the graphical environments Gnome and KDE, as well as software packages such as, XMMS and Mozilla."

In Search of the Semantic Web

"Designed formats start out strong and improve logarithmically. Evolvable formats start out weak and improve exponentially. RSS 2.0 is not the perfect syndication format, just the best one that’s also currently practical. Infrastructure built on evolvable formats will always be partially incomplete, partially wrong and ultimately better designed than its competition." He misses out Jena and KAON RDF parsers (or even Mozilla's). Jena's ARP parser is probably conformant to a fault.

The original article is also very interesting (he quotes a lot of it in the article), "No one seeing Lotus Notes and the NCSA server side-by-side in 1994 could doubt that Lotus had the superior technology; ditto ActiveX vs. Java or Marimba vs. HTTP. However, the ability to understand what is missing at any given moment does not mean that one person or a small central group can design a better system in the long haul."

"In 5 years, DVD, HDTV, voice-over-IP, and Java will all be able to interoperate because of some new set of protocols which, like HTTP and HTML, is going to be weak, relatively unco-ordinated, imperfectly implemented and, in the end, invincible."

I seem to say this over and over, the RDF club are writing little tools that don't get used by anyone except the inner circle and the commercial players are sitting on the upper end waiting for middle managers to realise the Semantic Web is worth paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone has to produce the every persons' Semantic Web application but no one seems to be able to.

"> The existence of WSDL says very little about the design of RDF.

I agree but it says boat loads about the adoption of RDF. It is not even on designer's radar screens when they are trying to solve a problem that is easily considered the domain of RDF. Not capturing that mindshare is a key indicator that there is a problem. If you don't have mindshare, you certainly don't have adoption."

The Tragedy of RSS

Monday, October 07, 2002

How to Over-Engineer a Mug

I guess I'm incredibly boring but I found this article really interesting:

"Making things flat is an Ikea obsession. How many times can you redesign a simple fired-clay coffee mug? Ikea's Bang mug has been designed three times so far -- simply to maximize the number of them that can be stored on a pallet. Originally, only 864 mugs would fit. A redesign added a rim such as you'd find on a flowerpot, so that each pallet could hold 1,280 mugs. Last year, yet another redesign created a shorter mug with a new handle, allowing 2,024 to squeeze onto a pallet. While the mug's sales price has remained at 50 cents, shipping costs have been reduced by 60 percent, which is a significant savings, given that Ikea sells about 25 million of the mugs each year. Even better, the cost of production at Ikea's Romanian factory has also fallen because the more compact mugs require less space in the kiln.",1640,43529,FF.html

Here's a picture of the mug in question:

Saturday, October 05, 2002


"UK based Protégé Ltd has merged with San Mateo-based Voquette Inc in an all-stock deal, generating a new company called Semagix...Semagix applies patented semantic web technologies to aggregate, enhance,
integrate, analyse and manage all internal and external content. Its patented SCORE (Semantic Content Organization and Retrieval Engine) technology automates these processes and semantically meta-tags digital media of any type and format, so enabling organisations to make fast, intelligent associations between relevant content from multiple sources."

This is not the same as the Stanford Ontology tool Protégé.

They too have a paper on applying semantic technology to homeland security, with some rather spooky screen shots of detecting a terrorist (or anyone else you don't like).

Friday, October 04, 2002

OS Keynote

"Pogue put up a screenshot of Mac OS 1.0. The picture showed an entire OS, application, and application data fit on a single 400K floppy disk with room to spare. The OS took up 211K. "You couldn't put the Mac OS X logo in 211K!" he quipped.

Later, Pogue showed the crowd an exclusive movie. Back in the dark days when Apple killed off the Newton PDA, they ended up with a surplus of Newton modems. What to do with 4000 modems? Simple: Modeminos!

The movie -- made by Apple employees and sent exclusively to Newton developers -- showed the workers building an elaborate multi-room "domino" chain by standing the rectangular modems on end and then tumbling the 4000-piece chain in a grade finale. Hilarious. The video concluded with the Apple 6-color logo and the tagline: "Apple. The Power to Say Buh-bye!""


"The Sun is overheating and will soon blow up . . . taking Earth and the rest of the solar system with it, scientists warn.

The alert was issued after an international satellite photographed a massive explosion on the surface of the Sun that sent a plume of fire 30 times longer than the diameter of Earth blasting into space."

From Mike Meyer's, "So I Married an Axe Murderer":
"1.Stuart, bring in the paper. 2.Mom, I find it interesting that you call The Weekly World News *the paper*. A paper contains facts."

Funniest Joke

"Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?" "

No cheese humour, but ducks are funny.

Thursday, October 03, 2002


This is another XMI enabled tool. Draw, mix, run:
"EMF is a modeling framework and code generation facility for building tools and other applications based on a structured data model. From a model specification described in XMI, EMF provides tools and runtime support to produce a set of Java classes for the model, a set of adapter classes that enable viewing and command-based editing of the model, and a basic editor. Models can be specified using annotated Java, XML documents, or modeling tools like Rational Rose, then imported into EMF. Most important of all, EMF provides the foundation for interoperability with other EMF-based tools and applications."

Would go well with the UML2DAML tool.

Eclipse now also support COBOL development...hanging out for that one:


In the coming week or two I hope to have a bit of a shoot out of P2P architectures. My new favourite of the day is:


"Direct Internet Message Encapsulation (DIME) is a lightweight, binary encapsulation format that can be used to encapsulate multiple payloads of arbitrary type and size into a single message. DIME is ideal for encorporating binary attachments into any XML-based protocol. "

This is an implementation of the DIME internet draft.

Government P2P

"The network, dubbed the Infrastructure for Resilient Internet Systems (IRIS), will speed up searches and information transfer over the internet, and aims to foil "Denial of Service" attacks by hackers - in which a web server is swamped with requests for a page until it crashes."

"IRIS is being designed specifically to solve these problems. Its three design criteria are to guarantee:
• that as long as there is no physical break in the network the target file will always be found;
• that adding more information to the network will not affect its performance;
• that machines can be added and removed from the network without any noticeable adverse affects. "

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Thunder Stealing

Aaron Swartz has outlined some semantic web projects but is worried that people will steal those ideas, implement them and take the credit. What he has is something that sounds a lot like other P2P system (not the popular ones though), a UI that isn't hierachical (I liked polyarchies) for storing notes, a Python library backed onto an RDF persistance layer, and hyperliterate programming (maybe something like Maven's, specifically XRef). I'm afraid stuff won't be implemented so for the six people that read my ideas please steal my thunder!

A lot of companies that are doing the Semantic Web like products (knowledge management, text mining, persistent layers, document management even) seem to be taking the high-right strategy. While the early developers have done tools for themselves (Java APIs, ontology management, etc) there's not much for the end user. So I do hope some idea is implemented and some of this stuff gets into everyones hands (like Apple tries to do with iBooks and eMacs now).

The Whole, General Mish Mash

"Latent semantic indexing adds an important step to the document indexing process. In addition to recording which keywords a document contains, the method examines the document collection as a whole, to see which other documents contain some of those same words. LSI considers documents that have many words in common to be semantically close, and ones with few words in common to be semantically distant."

A very clear explanation for extracting concepts and seeing which documents are related to others.

Monday, September 30, 2002

UML 2.0

"'UML 2.0 is starting to include BPM. In [UML 1.4], the activity graphs were a bit restricted for BPM. Even in 2.0, they could still be better. But the trend is in the right direction.''"

"Many consider real-time design and code execution issues odd men out in the first UML, but that should change with UML 2.0.

Part of the push toward better real-time support rides on a submission by a group including famed methodologist Stephen Mellor. Mellor -- co-author of a new book from Addison-Wesley called Executable UML: A Foundation for Model Driven Architecture -- was not one of the cheering throng when UML 1.0 happened, but he has more recently joined efforts to produce a UML that leads more directly to executable systems. Such an approach could become an alternative to Java.""

Spring now for Jaguar Playing around with it at the moment it seems as interesting as what I've read. I'm having fun, searching for leeks and Dell stocks in Daypop.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Pingback vs Trackback

Pingback 1.0 - "It basically boils down to telling a Web log when you've linked to it, by fetching the page, looking for a header advertising a pingback server, and then invoking an XML-RPC call on that server. The best thing about this idea is that unlike similar schemes like TrackBack, it is totally transparent to both users. It is also software-agnostic, so any Web logging system can implement pingback and interoperate with all other pingback-enabled Web logs." Maybe by changing the use of "documents" to resources we might have something even better, bi-directional links.

A list of feedback on pingback one week on. The Trackback documentation.

XML Namespaces

It would seem to me that Dave implemented something without understanding it (he says XML is flawed, right). I still reckon some sort of levy on this type of mistake would be in order. The more I look at the process of RSS 2.0 the more I appreciate the W3C.

Here are a couple of blogs that I agree with:
"[on Dave saying XML is broken] is about the same as me saying that MySQL and PHP aren't working correctly on my system because the theories behind relational databases and web application script engines are fundamentally flawed." - RSS, XML, Namespaces, oh my.

"It's funny how he sees RSS 2.0 as a community effort when it's an advantage to him, and as his own playing field when it isn't." - RSS 2.0 busted

"Throwing code at a problem doesn't solve it. Mindlessly following the trends, solves it even slower. Start trying to combine mindless coding with sheep-like trend following and I start to wonder why I bother implementing anything." - Mindless Coding.

A truly exhausting thread.

Luckily, I haven't spent too much time on RSS 2.0. Mainly because it's not that exciting a technology. Something to be integrated with when there's some content. Code to standards or at least code to something that has had some decent thought put into it.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Shades of Grey is All I See

"As with many so-called illusions, this effect really demonstrates the success rather than the failure of the visual system. The visual system is not very good at being a physical light meter, but that is not its purpose. The important task is to break the image information down into meaningful components, and thereby perceive the nature of the objects in view."

Watson - Another Plugin Platform

An interesting interview with the creator of Watson.

"DS: Do you think Watson is going to help change our idea of the Web? We're still very browser-centric in our thinking. Watson represents a shift away from the browser. More like a Web services thing. What's your take on that?

DW: I get a lot of comments from users that Watson opened their eyes that the Internet doesn't have to be just a Web browser. It's very easy for people to get used to one paradigm and get stuck in it. A year ago, there was nothing like Watson to quickly access the most useful services. And now we're starting to see a few other applications that break the boundaries of the Web browser and use the Internet in completely different ways. Take Spring from UserCreations. It puts a canvas of interconnected icons representing real-world objects like people, books, places, and foods on your desktop, and each object is connected to the net. NetNewsWire from Ranchero gathers up news feeds and presents them in a simple UI. WeatherPop from Glucose puts a quick weather display on your menu bar. I don't think that the Web as viewed through your browser will go away anytime soon, but people are starting to realize that it may not be the best way to view structured information. "

According to Tim O'Reilly Watson will be successful over Sherlock because "a platform strategy beats an application strategy every time." Ray Ozzie tends to agree.