Friday, May 30, 2003

How MS is Going to Kill the Web

Don't try to re-invent the browser, please. "I read all kinds of thoughts how and why IE should evolve but it really shouldn't. It should be put to rest, and the focus should be moved to an application which is already at our desktop: the CLR itself. It's a waste of energy when you are trying to re-invent the wheel that is already available: winforms. The majority of web-applications use cumbersome HTML-forms to try to build a workable GUI, while a winforms developer can do that with ease using the winforms glyphs and controls. If there was a way to run a GUI using winforms on the desktop of the website visitor, you can build a rich and powerful GUI with common technology which doesn't suffer from the fact that there is no scripting available, all HTML form glyphs are text based and other nasties related to HTML (or XHTML for that matter) which are totally avoidable when you use a decent GUI framework, like winforms."

I think applets have a lot to answer for.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

32-bit C64

C64 32-bit processor test! "Ruud Baltissen and Gideon Zweijtzer are testing the selfbuild 32-bit C64 processor. This so called 65GZ032 processor is build in an original Commodore 64..." Pictures of the processor.

iPod - Stupidly Sized Portable Storage

The iPod As A Digital Wallet Gateway Drug "So what to do with all that space? Apple has an unique opportunity at this time to make it available for different uses. Digital cameras are a great place to start. Most of them use expensive flash cards, buying a 256 mg one is quite pricey. Remember those gigs on our iPods? Apple, let us use them with our digital cameras. The same goes for Digital Video cameras. How cool would it be to record directly to your iPod instead of to tape and then transferring it to your machine."

News From Today's Steve Jobs Interview in Carlsbad "No PDA in Apple's future -- their research is that people primarily want a small device which has copies of data already on their computer, make occassional small changes."

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

WWW2003 Apps

Big Changes for Search Engines notes several applications demonstrated at WWW2003: TimeSearcher, PhotoMesa and PhotoFinder. See also imgSeek and Eikon.

Text Database

Emdros "The data domain which Emdros handles is that of text. Emdros provides a certain abstraction of text that makes it ideally suited to storing and retrieving annotated text, such as linguistic analyses of a text.

These analyses can be, e.g., syntactic analyses, morphological analyses, or discourse analyses, or all of these. Phonological analyses are also supported to some extent.

Emdros is particularly useful in domains where research questions need to be asked of databases of annotated text. This would include dictionary-making, Biblical language-research (Greek or Hebrew), other linguistic research, and research on annotated text in general." The backend is either PostgreSQL or MySQL.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

DARPA gives US$1.7 million for OS Semantic Web Project

"Teknowledge says the open source framework will be one of the tools that drives the Semantic Web from research vision to practical reality.

"[Our] Knowledge Systems group is doing extremely innovative research and development that will provide a semantic foundation for the next generation of financial and security software applications," Teknowledge president and CEO Neil Jacobstein said in a statement. "The software in our lives today may be graphical, fast, and useful, but it knows very little about its users tasks, or the underlying meaning of what is displayed on a computer screen. This project is exciting because it offers the possibility of building software that can begin to provide meaningful support for user tasks. I would not describe this as a breakthrough, but rather an incremental step in a long development path. This kind of software has been on Teknowledge's radar screen for over twenty years, and its day is coming."

The technology is steeped in Teknoledge's Suggested Upper Merged Ontology (SUMO) and the company says it has mapped it to over 100,000 word senses in the WordNet natural language lexicon. The company says its research helps give technical users a comprehensive language for asking precise questions."

Sunday, May 25, 2003

How MS's DRM works

Rights Management Comes to the Enterprise "Windows RM lets enterprises establish a set of trusted entities, including users, groups, applications, or machines, within an organization. Once these trust relationships are established, users can encrypt data items, such as documents, PowerPoint presentations, and e-mail messages, and assign usage rights and conditions to them based on various levels of trust."

Why Rent?

Microsoft prepares reply to iTunes "Services such as Pressplay, which uses Microsoft technology, have been put on the defensive with news that Apple has sold more than 2 million downloads since April 28, the day its iTunes Music Store launched. But Microsoft is betting that new security enhancements planned for later this year could make renting music, rather than owning it, more attractive to consumers.

Microsoft said it is developing software that makes it easier for subscription services to transfer music to portable music players. These services now provide unlimited downloads of hundreds of thousands of songs to a PC for a monthly fee, but they typically do not allow files to be moved around much. Microsoft said it will soon address this shortcoming with technology that will allow unlimited downloads to a portable device--a dramatic improvement. "

How can it be made more attractive? You don't own the music. One day, when you don't pay your bill not only could your PC OS stop working, your music, your documents, your stereo system could all be made useless or inaccessible. This is the future?

Friday, May 23, 2003

What is a Librarian?

In some ways a librarian could be described as paranoid:

"If we understand libraries simply to be nodes in a global digital network of common resources, nobody retains any responsibility for either those materials or serving the needs of the community. In this environment, there would indeed be no meaningful role for libraries. We do not see this as serving the needs or interests of our readers, particularly if viewed over time. We have come to understand "access, not ownership" more as rationalization of constrained choices than as a functional understanding of libraries' service to their communities, other than purchasing and licensing agents."

And somewhat snobbish:
"So to some extent the question of what is a library anymore could be one about which, "if you have to ask the question, you wouldn't understand the answer.""

I think it's all pretty justified mind you. An interesting read.

What is a library anymore, anyway?

Finally, DRMed HTML

IE beta plugs document leaks "Microsoft released a plug-in for Internet Explorer that is designed to protect sensitive documents from unauthorised editing or copying--an early step in its effort to encourage corporations to use its software to share sensitive information."

Something that would never had worked, to allow the Web to get going, can now be applied now that Microsoft owns over 90% of it.

Another Chat with Gosling

"IDGNS: So, other than easy-to-use Java tools, what else are you looking forward to at JavaOne?

Gosling: The really big trend these days for me is how interesting and how different the edge of the network is becoming. The data center side of the world is kind of like a solved problem, but you see interesting things happening on the edge with things like cell phones and embedded systems that are becoming really fascinating.

IDGNS: Are you saying that Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) will not necessarily be the most exciting area of new development for Java?
Gosling: I'm not exactly sure how to answer that carefully. I mean, J2EE remains a very exciting thing and it has been extraordinarily successful, but it's become so successful and so pervasive that it's kind of like the oxygen in the air that you breathe. It's everywhere; you depend on this critically, but it's not what excites you when you get up in the morning. Of course, if you found yourself on the surface of the moon, all of a sudden it would be really exciting to have oxygen. But around here, oxygen is a fairly common thing."

Tim Bray's RDF Challenge

Want to win the domain name? "To the first person or organization that presents me with an RDF-based app that I actually want to use on a regular basis (at least once per day), and which has the potential to spread virally, I hereby promise to sign over the domain name"

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Disorganise your Music

Clutter is a small Mac OS X application that lets you put music CDs on your desktop. You can drag them anywhere -- they're really windows. Line them up neatly or put them in piles, it's your choice. Each one looks like the real CD's cover, and double-clicking it tells iTunes to play that CD.

Take on the World

Lux looks to be a Java based clone of Risk but available only for OS X. There's also Java Risk and others.

WWW2003 Coverage

Tim Berners Lee's opening keynote covered the Semantic Web and Web Services according to Edd Dumbill's coverage.

The TAP people are semantically marking up the entire web with SemTag.

FOAFFinger is finger using FOAF and Rendezvous.

Then there's also notes taken during the first day.

SearchEngine Watch's Virtually Attending the 12th IW3C2 Conference has links to the papers being presented.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003


"Armadillo utilizes multiple strategies (Named Entity Recognition, external databases, existing gazetteers, various information extraction engines [such as Amilcare & Annie]) to model a domain by connecting different entities and objects." Related to KIM through the use of the GATE framework. GATE is an LGPLed Java library/framework and provides support for RDF, RDFS, DAML+OIL, and lots more.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Matrix Uses Real Exploit

""That's exactly how the fictional Trinity uses it. In a sequence that flashes on screen for a few scant seconds, the green phosphor text of Trinity's computer clearly shows Nmap being run against the IP address, and finding an open port number 22, correctly identified as the SSH service used to log into computers remotely."

"But the unexpected nod to hackerdom doesn't end there. Responding to the Nmap output , Trinity summons a program called "sshnuke" which begins "[a]ttempting to exploit SSHv1 CRC32."

Discovered in February, 2001 by security analyst Michal Zalewski, the SSH CRC-32 bug is a very real buffer overflow in a chunk of code designed to guard against cryptographic attacks on SSH version one. Properly exploited, it grants full remote access to the vulnerable machine.""

Matrix Sequel Has Hacker Cred

Sunday, May 18, 2003

.NET two times slower (eventually) than Java

.NET performance still seriously lags Java "If we look at the .NET CLR, being a simple JIT, it never improves over time. On the other hand, the Hotspot Server only widens its performance lead...The Sun Hotspot server edition eventually widens its lead to the point where it is running almost two times as fast as .NET version 1.1! While the CLR couldn't get below 8 seconds, starting with the 23rd iteration, the Sun Hotspot server JVM never went above 5 seconds! So for applications that don't just open and close, the Hotspot JVM absolutely wipes the floor with the latest and greatest Microsoft CLR."

Automated Annotation

"MnM is an annotation tool which provides both automated and semi-automated support for annotating web pages with semantic contents. MnM integrates a web browser with an ontology editor and provides open APIs to link to ontology servers and for integrating information extraction tools." It uses 1.5 of Jena. Amilcare is used in the extraction of concepts. The UI is fairly bad, there seems to be hard coded references to "Program Files" and certain buttons (like loading ontologies and kb) don't seem to work. It is good to see the ideas of knowledge bases, ontologies and automated annotation being implemented.

Algernon in Java

"The Algernon rule-based inference system has been reimplemented in Java and interfaced with Protege. Algernon performs forward and backward rule-based processing of frame-based knowledge bases, and efficiently stores and retrieves information in ontologies and knowledge bases."

v3.4.0 was released on May 16, 2003.

With Jena 2 supporting pluggable inferencing I wonder how much effort it will take to get Algernon in there. There's a list of 14 things (not quite 100) you can do with Algernon (number 9: "Act as a server for remote rule processing"). The original was written in C++.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Ireland Funds Semantic Web

Looks like Ireland is giving research into the Semantic Web almost as much money as heart disease treatments.

"Digital Enterprise Research Centre - NUI Galway - Working on the technologies that will underpin the next generation of the World Wide Web. Their work will involve developing "semantic web technology" - the next generation of intelligent software to facilitate information retrieval from the internet and personalize web applications...12million over five years." Partnering with HP.

Major Research Investment of 42 million euro in Three New Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology - Top Class Research Centres Key to Ireland's Future - 2 May 2003

Speaking of HP, Jena 2, Preview 3 is available for download. This is the first Jena 2 with relational database backend support (looks like only MySQL for now). The schemagen stuff is quite interesting - taking OWL, DAML+OIL and RDFS and converting them to Java classes. Jena performance is not up to 3 times faster.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


My blog matches at the moment are fairly interesting. Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog is one I've noted before as being close to mine. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves over time.

Live Up to Your Promise

Last week some people at work noted bug 724680 on the Metadatabase site:

"No files nor docs submitted!
Live up to your promise!


Enough said I think. I wonder, if I ever work somewhere else, if I can ask them to make sure everything I do is OS. Probably not - but this stuff (programming) can be so much wasted effort otherwise.

That being said I've been able to update RCOSjava and I've been quite happy with it. I've received numerous (for it anyway) downloads recently. Can't wait to get 0.5 out.

Monday, May 12, 2003

More Making Money with OS

I hadn't read this before (or heard about it). It's the expanded version of the paper that convinced Jim Barksdale and other Netscape executives to OS Navigator.

"Commercial software companies face many challenges in growing their business in today's fast-moving and competitive industry environment. Recently many people have proposed the use of an open-source development model as one possible way to address those challenges. This document investigates the business of commercial open-source software, including why a company might adopt an open-source model, how open-source licensing works, what business models might be usable for commercial open-source products, what special considerations apply to commercial products released as open source, and how various objections relating to open source might be answered."

Setting Up Shop

Mentioned in REVOLUTION OS.

ContextMedia and Metadata

" ContextMedia's InterChange is one of the more promising CI tools that Tony discusses. It "builds and maintains a major central metadata store... Capturing all that metadata—-and normalizing it around the Dublin Core or some other universal schema—-is the first critical task of any ContextMedia implementation."

Yow. That's nice and all, but it sounds pretty damned ambitious. In fact, all enterprise-wide metadata initiatives sound pretty damned ambitious. Strange for me: I'm a librarian by background, but I'm increasingly finding myself advising that such initiatives be delayed or avoided altogether. They're just too difficult and expensive for most enterprises to take on. Two main reasons: metadata interoperability and metadata merging."

He correctly highlights these two issues but interoperability can be solved with ontologies and ontology maintenance and metadata merging can be done through the use of mapping metaontologies. Either way there can be heavy costs involved, that's for sure.

Got Enterprise Metadata?

Standards supported by ContextMedia include RDF, etc.:
""We've assembled the only open standards-based integration platform in the content management sector, supporting key technologies such as XML, RDF, XSL, LDAP, and ODBC/JDBC, giving customers the most flexible option available to manage and share their digital content assets.""

Saturday, May 10, 2003

The Whole World has Gone Mad

Tim Bray just read some of Bruce Eckels. I remain unconvinced.

Okay, so maybe not all the world. James has some interesting points about IDEs and using scripting for faster testing (having seen Jython used for Swing testing certainly agrees with that).

Sun is also going the opposite way with generics. This makes Java more type safe, by removing casting and throwing a compile time error if you add something of the wrong type, rather than less.

More Semantic Blogging

Well this is getting quite common and almost boring (yay!). SnipSnap, based on the UML, allows you to serialize labels to RDF.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Pivot Tables

This is the story of Improv. Another time where Steve Jobs was shown a revolutionary new application. This was the first application that implemented the equivalent of pivot tables.

To quote the Linux Spreadsheet page:
" I would suggest that what happened in the history of the developments is that, for ``political'' reasons, the developments attributable to Lotus Improv (originally developed using NeXtstep ) were lost, and that its better model of spreadsheet construction/management was thereby lost."

A screenshot.

Semantic Shoebox

A Semantic Web shoebox - annotating photos with RSS and RDF Slides from the XML Europe Conference which had some interesting benefits and uses of RDF. He used Jena and Redland. Searching for 'hotel' and 'building' - hmm semantics.

Pixory is another Java based, picture server. It uses EXIF for its metadata.

Thursday, May 08, 2003


Classifier4J Prerelease "This includes the source and demo training and analyzing programs. No sample data is supplied, nor is any usage documentation at all." See also: Contextual Network Graphs, PopFile, PMI-IR and Weka (and Kea).

Apparently, Intel will be doing the same:
"Microprocessor company Intel is soon to release a set of Bayesian network software libraries to help software developers to build better machine learning capabilities into their programs...Intel hopes to release the libraries at the Neural Information Processing Systems 2003 conference on 6 June."

Bush vs. Bush

Fairly old but still good. Governor vs President.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

SVG for J2ME

TinySVG Screenshots "Compact code size about 60K, Well defined and documented Java API, *Out of the box* pure CLDC Java SDK for SVG, *Ready to run* viewers for MIDP2.0, Nokia Series 60 MIDP, and Pesonal Profile."

JFluid and Jeneva

JFluid "JFluid is a profiling tool that allows you to profile an arbitrary subset of your program, that can be changed while the program is running. It uses a modified Java(tm) HotSpot(tm) VM, that supports dynamic bytecode instrumentation. This is a new experimental capability in the JVM, that allows tools to hotswap any methods of a running application on-the-fly, and do that as many times as needed." Only available for Windows and Solaris.

Borland Heats Up New, Upgraded Java Tools ""Janeva enables .Net clients and servers to connect with J2EE and CORBA back ends using [Internet Inter-ORB Protocol] as the transport mechanism," Elloy said. Janeva comes with C#Builder, the Borland development environment for .Net Framework."

Visual Thesaurus

Another ball and stick UI

RDF and WebDAV

I've thought that WebDAV and RDF are made for each other (especially, storing and searching metadata). The Twingle project is another one mingling the two to provide "Locating, Creating, and Collaborating" from within Mozilla. It apparently uses a true MVC pattern and the model is represented as RDF.

"Twingle reinforced the lesson that quick, tangible efforts are ideal for bringing unity." - Against the Grain: Getting Projects To Work Together

Talk About Eating Your Own Dog Food

Chef Moz "Yes, you can read and write restaurant reviews here" All data available in RDF. OpenSite's RDF dump but MusicMoz doesn't seem to have one.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


John Bateman's ontology portal... "WordNets are mentioned, but are not central here as I consider them to be mostly about lexical representation and not ontology; their possible 'interface role' is dealt with separately. There is also a clear overlap and lots of interesting action in the Semantic Web effort, several links on this page lead in this direction."

iPod Wiki

Wiki Meet iPod "Gus Mueller has been working on a desktop Wiki application called VoodooPad which merges the thoughts of a desktop notepad with the linking goodness of a Wiki.

But, as they say, that's not all. Gus has just released version 1.1 alpha 1 of VoodooPad which supports exporting your VoodooPad documents, with links and all, to the iPod."

Buggy Bugs

FindBugs " This is the web page for FindBugs, a program which looks for bugs in Java code... Please note that FindBugs is alpha-quality software. You may find bugs in it, and the features and source code may change significantly in future releases."

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Jars in Jars

JarJar ClassLoader "allows you to load classes from .JAR files that are stored inside your main .JAR file".

Friday, May 02, 2003

The Race is On

New Apple Service Off To Quick Start "The service, which went live Monday, sold an estimated 275,000 tracks at 99 cents apiece in its first 18 hours, according to major-label sources." According to Fortune "The iTunes Music Store will initially offer 200,000 tunes, paying the record companies an average of 65 cents for each track it sells."

Best of the Best

TripleHop Technologies Named as a 'Best of AIIM 2003' by Transform Magazine "MatchPoint 2.0 was chosen due to the software's significant ability to combine the best of semantic and statistical technologies to provide concept search across the enterprise. Transform Magazine noted specifically its ability to "search across the Internet, corporate intranets, corporate file systems, Outlook and Lotus emails (including attachments), desktop files and databases, refreshing its indices regularly, typically in a three- to four- hour process at night."" They support the financial, legal and others. The rest of the best is detailed here.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Rumour and Speculation

It looks like HP have a project called Genesis which maybe an all Java triple store for RDF or maybe it's just a better interface to existing SQL databases, BDB, etc.

The first email that tweaked me was:
"Preview3 is due to be released in May and will include databsae backed persistent storage (provided by the HP Genesis team). The current preview2 support in-memory RDF models only."

The features that it may have are:
"1. Peer-level ingest and publish. This is the server to server interface mentioned previously. In this interface each server owns its own data and is not responsible for the data in its peers.

2. Priveleged peer-level based on one or more of data replication, mirroring, and federation. In this interface each server cooperates to present an interface to a logically combined metadata store."