Semantic Web Isn’t As Semantic As NLP, Web 3.0 Hype Overload Too!

 

This a comment I posted on the Nodalities blog (or I think I posted it.  The form submit resulted in a blank page) 

Quote:

It’s ironic, really, that the Semantic Web should struggle so much with semantics!

The problem is that if we present a mixed, complicated, and difficult concept forward, the journalists and media commentators are not going to be able to sort out the tangle of meanings for us. They will present an (over)simplified, half-understood message to the rest of the world. When even a brilliant communicator like Tim Berners-Lee’s message gets scrambled, maybe it’s time to take stock in how we present the Semantic Web, especially to the general media. Maybe, a set of metaphors could help us present these:

The semantic web is a platform (one we already use frequently)! The semantic web is a layer of connectivity (like a concentric ring around the web itself). The semantic web is a series (more than one thing) of enablers (it makes possible, rather than it does)

(me:)

I think there’s a big problem, obviously, with the phrase “Semantic Web.”

It’s easy for Press to confuse the intentions of SemWeb with those of Natural Language Processing.

Talk about ironic:

NLP is really more about human “semantics” than The Semantic Web is.  SemWeb technologies are only really semantic by comparison to the HTML-Web, and they’re only really “semantic” from a MarkUp/database/programming point of view, and still, only in comparison to older/existing systems.

As Tim Berners-Lee has pointed out, the name “Semantic Web” wasn’t the best choice of names, but it’s too late to change it.  “The Data Web” or “Web Of Data” or “Linked Data Web” or many other names for it would be more accurate and less conducive to misrepresentation than “The Semantic Web” is.  But “Semantic Web” has already stuck, and I doubt anyone is going to change it.  

Fortunately, “The Semantic Web” sounds lofty enough for people to think it probably is going to be the next big thing.  Unfortunately, the name is deceiving to most people and the technologies would probably seem more or less trivial to them anyhow.  

SemWeb is a movement that would ideally be taking place among inspired, pro-active developers, but unfortunately, devs are too comfortable with the tools at hand and there’s no visible eminent market force in the development field pushing for movement beyond the same old skill-sets and practices on the ground, at least for most businesses and the programmers they hire..  For this reason, we should be glad about all the “Web 3.0” hype, and work to inform the press and the public between the lines where and when we can.

For those of us that understand what “The Semantic Web” is, it is our duty to evangelize RDF and MicroFormats where and when we can.

Soon we will be forgotten.  Soon we wont need to call the “semantic web” anything so this conversation will be meaningless… I hope.

Stainless Steel Water Tanks, Infrastructure Collapse, Global Warming Etc

People that live in the country like I do should buy large-capacity water-storage tanks.  Really, even suburban homes should be equipped with water-storage tanks too.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.  If you’re on muni water, it wouldn’t take much to screw up that infrastructure, an earthquake etc. And if you’re off the water-grid so to speak, you’re still dependent on electricity to run your well pumps etc which isn’t a whole lot of insurance against some sort of crazy natural disaster, which I fear we will be seeing more and more of.

I went googling around for prices on large stainless steel tanks and couldn’t find a lot of info on actual prices, but it appears that it costs about $0.60 per gallon for big water tanks.

It would be nice if every home (at least in the burbs and in the country) could have a gravity-powered backup or cache of their water supply.

I don’t know what the ideal size is.  I don’t know why this isn’t already a business that’s being flooded, no pun intended, by people who want to bank on the fear we all have of infrastructure collapse, especially with the whole global warming thing finally “becoming real” and the recent wave of disasters worldwide that seems to suggest that things might get really screwed up in the near future.

If only I could have a month’s worth of water saved up in a tank.

I bet a lot of people would pay for that assurance nowadays.

I was trying to imagine what would be the best material to store water. At first I was thinking concrete because it’s cheap, but I realized that it isn’t very earthquake-proof.  I think metal is the way to go.  I don’t know if there are any health problems associated with stainless steel.  Maybe aluminum?  Zinc-lined steel?  All I know is that plastic is a tough sell… Many plastics gradually contaminate water or food as they decompose or whatever, however slightly, or at least that’s what I’ve heard, but maybe it’s just hippy propaganda. Somehow, I suspect it’s true.  Plastic is poisonous.  

What about stainless steel?

Comments encouraged!

 

 

Craigslist Spam -Collecting Emails or What? Hate These Bastards!

from: nade05@uku.co.uk

reply to: johnram555@gmail.com

 

Hello

Please I’ll like to know if your ITEM is

still available. I want to buy it for my wife

as a Britday gift.Email me or call me as

soon as you can so that we can proceed

because I’ll be leaving town in few days

time

cole.

Phone: (915)-808-3485

They don’t say what the item is or ask any questions about it.  The telephone number is a Texas Area Code and is disconnected. I suspect this is a spam-bot that responds to all craigslist ads of a certain parameter, and then collects the email addresses of the people that respond.  Or something like that.  I hate this.  

Comcast Bought Plaxo. I deleted My Plaxo Account.

A “Letter to Comcast,” but also, and more importantly, a letter to people who read my blog.

Source: TechCrunch

Plaxo has some really compelling address book synchronization offerings.  Really, for me, Plaxo was sort of a mini dream come true as far as my personal data is concerned.

But I thought about it and I just don’t trust Comcast.  They are limiting my access to competing media distribution channels, and they have a reputation for fighting against consumer interests, and perhaps even human interests, if you’re willing to step back and see the implications of the non-neutrality they are in favor of with regard to the Internet.

Comcast, you have an uphill PR battle in front of you.  People like me will continue to think of your brand as representing pure evil until you start to prove us wrong.  I don’t know how you’re going to do this, but making acquisitions that appear to consumers to be privacy concerns, given your already soiled trust with the public, isn’t the best thing to do right now.  I’m all for socially curated media, and I’m glad if Comcast is working in that direction, but frankly, you’re in a position where you could really start to seem like the orwellian “Big Brother” Nightmare everyone is terrified of.  Perhaps you should point all your guns at bringing IPTV into reality, or better yet, let’s see the real convergence between TV and Web that we all know is coming one way or another.  Do that first.  And why don’t you also try getting all the dark spots in the Net lit up! The South, you know? Let’s get those people online and you can sell them programming later.  I know there’s not really a bandwidth problem, not when there’s 100 channels of “HD” programming streaming into all your cable customers homes 24/7. C’mon. Quit lying and cheating and stealing and start making some progress toward our common good.  Or on the other hand, why don’t you announce the acquisition of an arms manufacturer.  That’d help your company’s image.

I’ve deleted Plaxo’s software from my machine, and I closed my Plaxo account.  Goodbye Plaxo.  Really, an open-source version of the same type of thing would be better anyhow.

I Don’t Want FaceBook Comcast To Buy Plaxo

Update… this was actually news back in January.  Coincidentally, today it was announced that Comcast is buying Plaxo.  Goodbye Plaxo.  Nice knowin’ ya.

Got the rumor tip from Scoble (there’s no real info there so don’t bother)

Plaxo? Are you listening?  Keep doing what you’re doing, stay behind the scenes, work on enabling users to publish their own data, at will, in Semantic Standards as they become timely (now?) and stay independent of the little tug-of-war between closed, albeit increasingly API-enabled social apps.   You’re better than them!  Hang in there and you’ll be worth way more!  Don’t turn to the dark side!

Competition for traffic will get everyone using RDF and Microformats soon enough…  Semantics are like SEO 2.0… The next bandwagon everyone will want to pay way too much for.

Plaxo, you’re in the perfect spot to make money on this.  Think Virtual Private Networks, Semantic Publishing to the Web, and Semantic Productivity Tools at home.

Seriously.  

WordPress Hack: Convert Tags To Categories

If you mistakingly used the WordPress “feature” “convert categories to tags,” and then realized that you just threw away all of your categories, do not fear.

ankurb.info, or “Needlessly Messianic” has a solution for you.  Thanks, philanthropic wordpress community member!  

…Let’s all take a moment to realize the value in posting solutions to our own tech problems online, for the sake of the community, and if you’re a cynical bastard, for our own interests as traffic mongers in the Social Web…

I’m not going to quote the solution here.  Go read Ankur Banerjee’s blog and learn what to do with your MySQL Admin tools to fix yourself up.

What if you’re blogging on WordPress.com?  I am in the same boat.  No access to my database because I’m blogging for free here at wordpress.com.  

Here’s my response to Ankur’s post.

I agree that it sucks. No warning and then bam, one of your best navigational features is destroyed (categories listed at the bottoms of posts).

I just accidentally did this too, but I’m currently on a wordpress.com blog…

I really appreciate that you took the time to post this fix.

Unfortunately it wont help me. I’m trying to find a script or something to hack the wordpress.com export file ( WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR), so I can re-import it and have my categories back. Let me know if you know of anything.

Really, I think WP has made a few unwise decisions recently. The first was to insert automatically generated tags (based on users’ cat names) at the bottoms of our posts so when someone clicks on them, rather than seeing the posts by that blogger under that tag or category, the reader is taken to WP’s blog-surfing, technorati-like blog search results. I’m so disappointed, but I can’t move to my own hosting a for a month or two. In the meantime, My blog’s navigation is destroyed. So sad.

I’m determined to get one of my smart friends to help me with a script that will re-write the wordpress export file, turning the tags for each post back into categories, so I can re-import everything and be back where I was, back when I had functioning categories.  If you’re waiting for a solution to this problem, message me privately and I will let you know when I get it squared away.

Google Search Query Add-Ons. Ways To Get Better Search Results

You know about using quotes to get an exact text string including spaces between words.

You probably already knew about -word to 86 any sites containing a certain word from the results.

And there’s site: url 

And you may already know about Define: word to get a dictionary entry.

But there are tons of these things.  You can use Google as a calculator, you can search for text in specific HTML tags and much, much more.

A good place to find many of these (if not all of them) is at GoogleGuide.com  

One interesting example of this is using intitle: or inurl: to get addresses of security cameras that aren’t password-protected.  Since the software that comes with these things is left to the default settings and someone wasn’t savvy enough to password-protect the cameras when they were set up, you can actually go to these cameras and control them as if you were in charge of them.  You can peer into other places in the world in realtime thru the lenses of un-secure security cameras!  And move them about!

Here’s a myspace blog entry where this guy lists many examples of this.

Here are some example google queries from the post.

  • google – inurl:”view/index.shtml” – Axis Network Camera
  • google – SNC-RZ30 HOME – Sony network cam
  • google – inurl:indexFrame.shtml Axis – Axis Video Server(cam)
  • google – intitle:”Live View / – AXIS” – AXIS Video Live Camera
  • google – intitle:”Live View / – AXIS” | inurl:view/view.sht – AXIS Video Live View
  • google – intitle:”The AXIS 200 Home Page” – AXIS 200 Network Camera
  • google – intitle:liveapplet inurl:LvAppl – Canon Network Camera
  • google – intext:”MOBOTIX M1″ intext:”Open Menu” – Mobotix Network Camera
  • google – intitle:”WJ-NT104 Main Page” Or inurl:”ViewerFrame?Mode=” – Panasonic Network Camera
  • google – intitle:”QuickCamPro WebCam” inurl:webcam – QuickCamPro
  • google – intitle:”SiteZAP WebCam Control” – SiteZAP WebCam
I bet SEOs are going crazy over this with their dragon-chasing.  Someone could spend weeks trying to figure out more about Google’s results systems using these more sophisticated queries.
My question is, why does Google effectively hide these tools from us?  I have gotten so frustrated looking for something specific while only knowing a few ways to narrow my google results.  These new tools promise to be very helpful.  But why are they coming from some other random site?  Why isn’t this right there on G’s results pages or something? 
Jeez.

Usefulness of DataPortability.org’s Rel=Me project

In the suggested reading section of the page for the DIY Rel=”Me” project over at dataportability.org’s wiki, There’s a link to this blog post, which is an attempt to explore the usefulness of rel=”me” to the regular old web user.  The article is slightly tunnel-visioned at what you can or can’t do with your browser to exploit MicroFormats.  Of course, being able to detect locations or personal contact info thru a browser extension is useful and I’m all for it, but beyond a few obvious exceptions like those, The Semantic Web, MicroFormats included, wont be much use to us at the level of the browser.  We will still need Web based portals or “Libraries” or “repositories” or “Catalogs” or what have you, to connect to, in order to really take advantage of this stuff.  Semantic markup on pages is great. RSS is an example of how a little bit of semantics can go a long way.  But what’s of greater significance is the idea of the Web Of Data, where resources are “semantically” interconnected, by leveraging information that’s mapped to the domain of knowledge where it’s useful and the relationships between resources are also specified in a machine-understandable way.

Rel=”me” is the equivalent of saying “The person represented by this URL is the same person as the person represented by this other URL.”  Taking that into consideration, imagine how this would effect the experience of searching the “Web of Documents.”  I argue that if enough of us implement rel=”me” (or other microformats or RDFa) in our HTML pages, we will empower the Googles and Yahoos to take advantage to knowledge expressed by this markup.  So let’s do it!  

Quotes from the Article I mentioned:

“…So assuming that you went through the trouble to write up your HTML with rel=me, what next, where is that information actually consumed. I don’t think the 2 most popular browsers (IE 7 and Firefox 2) at this time have native support for XFN, I hear Firefox 3 is suppose to have native microformat support but I haven’t looked for it and if it is there, it isn’t immediately obvious to me. The closest thing I can find is a Firefox plugin called Operator. Operator is a microformat capable reader and for the most part seems to be able to consume most of the above microformat standards except rel=me, kind of odd but kind of understandable…”

“…At this time, I can honestly say that XFN rel=me proliferation is limited and experimental at best. It would take a while for mass adoption to happen and requires a lot of user education, adoption by popular social sites like Facebook, MySpace, etc, and native browser support…”

 

I commented there and when I take the time to write a long comment out, that isn’t something I’ve already written in so many words here, I like to steal my own comment and put it here for anyone who reads my blog.  My response:

I felt like I had to chime in and point out that the point of MicroFormats or RDFa isn’t really to make an overnight change in how we use the Web. It’s to create a backbone of linked data so that as Search Engines and other “Libraries” begin to have stores of these relationships between documents and other resources available to work with, they can begin to improve their services. It will be nice when Search is only partly based on scanning for text-strings or combinations of words.

If you were looking for Andrew in Sebastopol, CA, how would you do it? Perhaps you’d google “Andrew Sebastopol CA…”
But what if you could specify that you are looking for a person?
What if you could specify geocoding info or otherwise specify that Sebastopol is a town in Northern California?
What if you could filter your results by the time web-pages were created or filter by domain specifications (like show me wiki articles first or show me all MySpace profiles) or filter by type of site like say, show me blogs only, and finally, and this is where rel=”me” comes in, what if you could specify in your search results that you want to see every other document that is an expression of the same person, once you have selected from your query, a person named Andrew who lives in Sebastopol, CA? This is what it’s all about. It works because links work backward. In other words, you can already say “show me all the pages that link to this thing…” but what about being able to say “show me all the pages linking to this Twitter page that link using rel=”me” or better yet, show me all the pages linked to with rel=”me” from any page that links to this twitter page with rel=”me” …And so on…

The Web is becoming a library. By adding microformats and other semantic markup to our documents, we are making it possible for decent “card-catalogues” to be built, whether they’re being built by google, yahoo! or the guy down the street.

ASCAP’s “Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers”

This is what ASCAP, which I am a member of (I’ll report on whether or not that was a good idea in the future), has recently put forth as its sort of manifesto for the digital age.  I will be adding strike tags to indicate the parts I would like to see removed, for the sake of freedom of culture, ethics in general, or for other reasons.  
Just as citizens of a nation must be educated about their rights to ensure that they are protected and upheld, so too must those who compose words and music know the rights that support their own acts of creation. Without these rights, which directly emanate from the U.S. Constitution, many who dream of focusing their talents and energies on music creation would be economically unable to do so – an outcome that would diminish artistic expression today and for future generations.   

At this time, when so many forces are seeking to diminish copyright protections and devalue artistic expression, this Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers looks to clarify the entitlements that every music creator enjoys. 

  1. We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate.
  2. We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used.
  3. We have the right to withhold permission for uses of our works on artistic, economic or philosophical grounds.
  4. We have the right to protect our creative works to the fullest extent of the law from all forms of piracy, theft and unauthorized use, which deprive us of our right to earn a living based on our creativity.
  5. We have the right to choose when and where our creative works may be used for free.
  6. We have the right to develop, document and distribute our works through new media channels – while retaining the right to a share in all associated profits.
  7. We have the right to choose the organizations we want to represent us and to join our voices together to protect our rights and negotiate for the value of our music.
  8. We have the right to earn compensation from all types of “performances,” including direct, live renditions as well as indirect recordings, broadcasts, digital streams and more.
  9. We have the right to decline participation in business models that require us to relinquish all or part of our creative rights – or which do not respect our right to be compensated for our work.
  10. We have the right to advocate for strong laws protecting our creative works, and demand that our government vigorously uphold and protect our rights.”

DataPortability In Motion Podcast

A weekly roundtable discussion about the DataPortability Project in specific, and efforts involved in data portability in general. The show is produced and hosted by J. Trent Adams and Steve Greenberg.

PodCast is HERE

 

I recommend Episode 7 

QUOTE:

We kick off episode 7 of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast with the news of the week that MySpace launched “Data Availability” with Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket, and Twitter. Following immediately on their heels was the announcement that Facebook is releasing “Facebook Connect”, an extension of their 3rd party API providing deeper access to their user’s data.

 

We’re also joined by Brady Brim-Deforest, founder of Human Global Media, talking about the DataPortability Legal Entity Taskforce. He provides a good overview and update on the process underway to formalize the the project under a recognized legal banner.

The featured interview segment is with Danny Ayers, Semantic Web Developer at Talis. He touches on moving from document linking, through microformats, to feature-rich RDF modeling to identify portable data. Contrary to popular belief, he dispels the myth that it’s hard to migrate from a standard SQL data representation into addressable semantic objects.

Danny regularly posts on the following sites:

Also mentioned in the episode:

 

  • Planet RDF
  • MySpace Spam.MRS MARY DAVID FROM FRANCE, WIDOW TO LATE MR EZURUS DAVID

     

    Subject:

    hi

    Body:

    BELOVED,

    GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

    I AM MRS MARY DAVID FROM FRANCE, A WIDOW TO LATE MR EZURUS DAVID NOW A NEW CHRISTAIN CONVERT, SUFFERING FROM LONG TIME CANCER OF THE BREAST, FROM ALL INDICATION MY CONDITIONS IS REALLY DETERIORATING AND IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT I WON’T LIVE MORE THAN 2 MONTHS, ACCORDING TO MY DOCTOR, THIS IS BECAUSE THE CANCER STAGE HAS GOTTEN TO A VERY BAD STAGE. MY LATE HUSBAND DIED LAST TWO YEARS,AND DURING THE PERIOD OF OUR MARRIAGE WE COULD’NT PRODUCE ANY CHILD. 

    MY LATE HUSBAND WAS VERY WEALTHY AND AFTER HIS DEATH, I INHERITED ALL HIS BUSINESS AND WEALTH. THE DOCTOR HAS MADE IT CLEAR TO ME THAT I MAY NOT LIVE FOR MORE THAN 2 MONTHS, SO I NOW DECIDED TO DIVIDE THE PART OF THIS WEALTH, TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCHES IN AFRICA, AMERICA ASIA,AND EUROPE. I SELECTED YOU AFTER VISITING THE WEBSITE AND I PRAYED OVER IT. I AM WILLING TO DONATE THE SUM OF $2,000. 000. 00U. USD( TWO MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) TO THE LESS PRIVILEGED. 

    PLEASE I WANT YOU TO NOTE THAT THE FUND IS LYING IN A SECURITY COMPANY IN ABIDJAN COTE D’IVORIE. ONCE I HEAR FROM YOU, I WILL FORWARD TO YOU ALL THE INFORMATIONS YOU WILL USE TO GET THIS FUND RELEASED FROM THE SECURITY COMPANY AND TO BE TRANSFERRED TO YOUR ACCOUNT. I HONESTLY PRAY THAT THIS
    MONEY WHEN TRANSFERRED TO YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE SURE FOR THE SAID PURPOSE, BECAUSE I HAVE COME TO FIND OUT THAT WEALTH ACQUISITION WITHOUT CHRIST IS VANITY MY DEAR PLS I WILL LIKE YOU TO CONTACT ME AT (mary. david40@yahoo. com)

    MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. PLS FOR THE SAFETY OF THIS FUND LET IT BE BETWEEN YOU AND MY DOCTOR. 

    I AWAIT YOUR URGENT REPLY. 
    YOUR SISTER IN CHRIST. 

    MRS MARY DAVID 

     

    TED Talks is Amazing But. Why Are They Hiding Their Video Podcast?

    (Lately I’m realizing that good companies and orgs have watchlists so a post like this one serves as an open letter to the company, unless of course, they’re not listening, which of course is their problem, a big problem.)

    To TED

    I love that you’re providing all of these stimulating and informative videos.  Thank you for that.  

    But why did I just spend five minutes clicking around on ted.com, looking for a “Podcast” or “RSS” link?  

    I was thinking “C’mon!  You MUST have a feed here somewhere!!”

    Finally I decided to search the iTunes Music Store for TED… There it is!  WTF?  Why are you hiding your feed?

    I’m so glad I found it. But you need to put a link somewhere on your site so people don’t waste their time looking for what’s not there.

    Please?

    -Andrew

     

    Apture! Multiple Resources From One Link. This is Really Cool.

    I heard about this through Lawrence Lessig’s blog. Professor Lessig is taking the month of May off, and off the grid, which I applaud him for.

    What this web app does is allow you to make links that, through the free Apture service for your site, link to numerous resources, all previewable via the same sort of javascript popup you get from Snap or the ZitGist “zLinks” plugin.

    You must see this in action. This is inspiring. It shows how much more dynamic web pages can and will be in the near future. I’m a bit sick of the over-use of javascript, ajax, whatever you want to call it. It tends to be resource-heavy on your machine. This is an exception.

    I wonder if these guys are going to implement any Semantic technologies into the data they store… I wonder if they’re going to make deals with bookmarking services like del.icio.us… All my words could automatically be links to mini-libraries of items I’ve bookmarked! It’d look a little ugly given the current style conventions but hey. Let’s change those.

    It’s interesting to me to ponder how this non-semantic-web service, because it’s also a library/bookmarking tool, could become hugely useful to the Semantic Web as they snatch up web user’s resources/web-bibliographies.

    Oh man. This is a hot item!