Updates from March, 2007 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Joe 11:45 on March 29, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: access site, , , Benelux, Bernhard Seefeld, Brandon Badger, CRM, een site, GMaps Utility Library, , , New Foundland and Labrador, open web, Rotterdam, satellite imagery, Sidney Mock, USD, web crawler, web-applicatie te maken, www.nederkaart.nl   

    Google Geo Day 1 

    Google Geo Day, part 1

    Today the google geoday is held in Amsterdam Expo XXI

    The morning programme consisted of three speeches, most about google maps and google earth, focused towards developers who want to create mashups based on the maps API.

    A bunch of quick notes, some in Dutch (with the Dutch speakers mostly)

    (More …)

  • Joe 08:07 on March 28, 2007 Permalink  

    Joost 0.9 update 

    The folks at Joost.com are a speedy bunch; the second release candidate has been released already and a bunch of very visible bugs have been fixed. And some new content channels are going live as well. Yesterday I watched a good match on the Fight Network.

    Much to my pleasure, the Apple Remote does control sound volume. I was under the impression that this didn’t work, because the volume initially starts at 100% and there is no visual queue that something happens (no OSD indicator). All in all, plain watching and channel hopping are completely possible now. For the social interaction (widgets overlay) you still need to grab your mouse.

    Finally a note for all of you who are asking for invites.

    The invite system has been suspended, waiting for a much more massive release to new beta testers. As far as I understand, first those who signed up on the website will be invited. This form has been pullled now, but then there may come a system much like gmail in the old days, where users can invite others.

    Until then, we just have to wait…

  • Joe 16:30 on March 26, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: Esther Dyson, Now Jon Udell, ,   

    Freebase as productive playgound? 

    Some time ago I revisited the subject of tagging vs the Semantic Web, focused on personal data use: Making Sense of Tagging.

    My conclusion was that, in order to make semantic tagging effective, the interface must be as simple as possible, while still providing linkage with the real world outside. I other words: as simple as traditional tagging (del.icio.us, flickr) but anchored to some broader defined ontology. Which can be anything you agree upon.

    In the mean time, Freebase has entered privite beta testing, and the reviews are raving (Esther Dyson, Tim O’Reilly)…

    Now Jon Udell added his view in Semantic web as social enjoyment.

    One sentence strikes me as the essence of what is needed for the semweb:

    The authors of the semantic web are going to be people, not machines. And people will only want to play the game if it’s easy, natural, and fun.

    The essence is the bottom-up approach. End users “doing the work”, both for fun and for their own benefit. Food for explorative and enquiring minds (which we all have), nothing like being forced to use a top-down, pre-defined hierarchy.

    Man, I would really like to play around with Freebase (trade an invite for a Joost token, once these become available again?).

  • Joe 13:48 on March 26, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: a lot of W3C protocols, , , Semantic Web technology, Semantic Web technologies, Web technology, Web technologies   

    Joost 0.9 enables Mac Remote 

    This weekend, the new Joost beta 0.9 was seeded to a select group of “super special beta testers“.
    The first impressions are very good. A few highlights.

    Support for Mac Remote!
    So now my iMac really behaves like a TV set on steroids. Zapping works fine, other navigation still is a bit crude.

    Fast Forward
    Until now, rewinding and fast forwarding was possible only for content which was already viewed (and thus available in a local cache). This beta enables forward skipping to any point in the stream. If you skip beyond a previously viewed point, you first get a preview still image. Then the playback is started after some delay (buffering period?).

    Improved UI
    Controls and widgets have been redesigned and look really slick now.

    New content
    There are a lot of new, interesting channels. In the preview-beta, many of these are not available yet.

    Behind the scenes

    The promise of Joost is way beyond yet another replacement TV distribution channel. The most interesting things have yet to come with the extensible social / sharing components.
    This morning, the website was relaunched with some more hints at what is coming too.

    Extension API
    No details are revealed, the site just says:

    Coming soon… Write your own add-ons, watch yet more great content. Come back regularly for updates.

    Some guessing…

    Mozilla XUL
    The Joost application is based on XUL Runner 1.9 – which makes it likely that the extension mechanism is somehow based on XUL and XPCOM. If so, there are really exciting possibilities ahead. Likely, many Firefox plugins could be ported for the platform. Imagine having one of these running as a transparent overlay on your video screen!

    The Mac OS version of Joost appears to be Applescript aware as well. However, nothing beyond the obligatory standard suite appears to be defined and a simple test script throws exceptions. This may simply be a remnant of the Applescript core in XUL Runner. And because Joost is platform independent, Applescript seems a very unnatural choice for extensions. At the other hand, Skype has a (very awkward) Apple script interface.

    Powered by Semantic Web technologies

    The Joost development team has strong roots in Semantic Web technology. Until now, this has been used mostly at the back end. But at a few places it appears at the surface: the chat widget uses the Jabber protocol, there is a RSS reader widget (OK, hardly semweb) and the there are traces of a lot of W3C protocols scattered all over the place.
    This all means that the social component has the potential to become really, really rich. I’m not sure what wil happen here, but my expectations are high!

    • Jigsaw hc 19:04 on March 26, 2007 Permalink

      Fast forward is a great add. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Vinicius 01:39 on March 28, 2007 Permalink

      Great features!! My expectations are very high too, but there is a problem…
      I’m not invited yet. Could you help me?

    • Jeff Songster 18:16 on March 28, 2007 Permalink

      Looking forward to checking this out… hoping to get an invite… currently looking into all sorts of options for IPTV… about to buy a 24″ iMac to use for it… planning on the HDHomeRun ATSC tuner over IP from SiliconDust…. Joost sounds fun… got any spare invites? Really liking the idea of Free TV again.


    • Jean-Denis 18:48 on March 29, 2007 Permalink


      A “me too” here: may I please have an invitation? I will be good, I promise 🙂

      Thanks a million



  • Joe 22:18 on March 24, 2007 Permalink
    Tags: , car sales, Conrad Black, correct tools, , Dennis Furr, , , Japan;, limit services, MySpace, proper semantic web technolgy, , Rupert Murdoch, , semantic web initiatives, semweb technology, Stephen Downes, , , Web people, Web Will Fail,   

    Why the Semantic Web will NOT Fail 

    W3C Semantic Web stack taken from W3C’s web siteOn Linkedin Answers, Krzysztof Pająk asks the question “Why the Semantic Web will Fail?
    Update: the person at LinkedIn apparently ripped his question literally off a blog post by Stephen Downes: Why the Semantic Web Will Fail– which I just found out about.

    I posted the following clarification to LinkedIn answers:

    I hereby leave my answer as general insight for this thread, but I have no respect for the way you’re apparently doing business. This smells a lot like plagiarism.

    The original blog post is much more about trust and control, while the Linkedin thread seems to focus more about business models and cost. Just be sure to read Spehens blog.

    Quoted, from Stephen Downes:

    I was thinking about the edgy things of Web 2.0, and where they’re working, and more importantly, where they’re beginning to show some cracks. 

A few of key things today: 

- Yahoo is forcing people to give up their Flickr identities and to join the mother ship, and 

- MySpace is blocking all the widgets that aren’t supported by some sort of business deal with MySpace 

- the rumour that Google is turning off the search API 

And that’s when I realized: 

The Semantic Web will never work because it depends on businesses working together, on them cooperating. 

We are talking about the most conservative bunch of people in the world, people who believe in greed and cut-throat business ethics. People who would steal one another’s property if it weren’t nailed down. People like, well, Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch. 

And they’re all going to play nice and create one seamless Semantic Web that will work between companies – competing entities choreographing their responses so they can work together to grant you a seamless experience?

    Then, Dennis Furr answered:

    Another way to look at this is from the perspective of the SME. Let the big players cause restrictions and limit services and their clients will abandon them. This will create new opportunities for new and existing SMEs to demonstrate their worth. 

-Yahoo doesn’t force anyone to do anything. We make choices. 

-If MySpace doesn’t provide the correct tools to satisfy their customers than the customers will vote with their feet. 

-If Google (foolishly) turned off the search API then someone else would provide a replacement service. 

Consumers aren’t loyal to brands, they are loyal to what these brands deliver. Look at the US automobile industry in the 1970’s. US auto manufacturers were building large cars that didn’t get very good fuel economy. Japanese car sales flourished. After much pain and agony US auto manufacturers developed relationships with their Japanese competitors and started manufacturing cars that were more attactive in terms of fuel economy. They even built cars with engines manufactured in Japan that were also used in Japanese cars. 

My point is that if large players in an industry choose not to “play nice“ then this will likely create a place in the market for the SME. By developing seamless working relationships, collectively, the SME may develop enough momentum to displace larger traditional providers.

    But there’s more.

    Why the Semantic Web will NOT fail

    First, Dennis gives a most execellent answer to the question about greed and conservatism.

    Then, about the technology, things may evolve slghtly different than foreseen back in 2000 when the term “the semantic web“ emerged.

    Back then, the perspective came mostly from the AI folks and Librarians, where the interpretation and categorization of data was thought of in a very top-down way. Basically, we needed massive centralized ontologies, which cost tons of money to define and maintain.

    The cost of such a system could easily be prohibitive according to the scenario of Kryzsztof Pająk Stephen Downes.

    But then came round the developments which were tagged “web 2.0“. The key factor in my opinion, is the third point of Tim O’Reilly’s What is Web 2.0 article: data is the next “Intel Inside”. In my words, this means that users have to gain by sharing their data (the sum adds more value to the individual items) and smart companies can benefit from exploiting this data in a sensible/smart way.

    We have seen this in the form of tagging on sites as Flickr and del.icio.us. Individual users get the benefit of putting their data in context of the rest, the service gets the benefits of being able to do all kinds of data mining and exploitation (e.g. advertising). The key point here is: users add their own meta data, for their own benefit.

    Right now these so called folksonomies are becoming more and more mainstream. The center of this bottom up movement is the microformats initiative.
    This doesn’t go unnoticed by the Semantic Web people and the first initiative to build the bridge between folksonomies, like microformats, and proper semantic web technolgy (rdf and ontologies) is being finalized right now: the W3C GRDDL recommendation. So we could finally get the benefits of both massive amounts of metadata, all entered by normal users, and carefully mapped ontologies, created by professionals for some specific benefit.

    I would not be surprised if 2007 will be the year of the first successful, mainstream semantic web initiatives. Interesting fact: the new Video on demand service Joost.com is heavily supported by semweb technology at the back end.

    Here is the linkedin thread in case you’re interested…

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