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.