Saturday, April 20, 2002

O'Reilly Network: The Semantic Web: It's Whom You Know [Apr. 19, 2002]

Tim Berners-Lee defines the Semantic Web as "A new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers" and believes it will "unleash a revolution of new possibilities". This is a very broad definition and includes any kind of machine-machine communication, any kind of "Webservice".

Andy Oram's article at O'Reilly Network focuses on using semantic web technology for knowledge management purposes, i.e. for "intelligent" retrieval of information from the overwhelming amount of content that is available on the Web.

The semantic web people are trying to formalize semantic and by that means make it machine-processable. Is this the right approach? Andy Oram points out that formalizing semantics basically means reducing semantics to syntax. And the more you delve into formalizing a semantic system, the more complex it gets. By the point you have formalized enough to make the system somewhat useful, it's so complex that it's hardly possible to handle it any more.

While Tim Berners-Lee's semantic web tries to offload the filtering work to machines, Andy suggests that the filtering can only be done by people, and we should then leverage technology to access this filtering work that has already been done. Google is doing this by evaluating the links that have been set by people between web sites, for its page ranking system. Imagine e.g. you could configure Google to personalize the page rank computation by taking your personal amount of trust in differerent web sites or even authors into account. Amazon's "customers that have purchased this book also purchased these ..." is another example of machine-reaping of semantic filtering work that has been done by humans. It was a human who was interested in subject A, bought book B and then decided that book C may be interesting as well. The machine did not understand anything of the content of the books and why the people bought them. Weblogs are another powerful source of filtering work that has been done by people.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Modularity: upgrading to the next generation design architecture

"Product development is no longer about creating a product but about creating a platform, or more precisely a modular architecture."

"My view is that we are living in the early years of a third revolution that will transform strategies and management processes. The first was the Industrial Revolution, the second was the information revolution, and the third (now underway) is the design revolution. The design revolution is basically about realising that there is not a direct trade off between product variety and product cost. Through modularity you can achieve very high levels of product variety, while at the same time achieving low cost for development as well as cost savings in production. Modularity is pushing out the productivity frontier in product creation and is changing the rules of competition. What some companies today are already doing with modular design is changing a lot of assumptions in management about what is possible. The first company in an industry that understands how modularity lets you approach the market in new ways and implements a modular strategy can rewrite the rules of competition."

Monday, April 15, 2002

CNET about Groove 2.0

Nice interview with Ray Ozzie about moving from email to online cooperation and providing a solution for spam as a by-product.

This quote of him is particularly funny: "The catalyzing event getting me off my butt (to start Groove) was watching my son play "Quake." I still have this feeling that if we could get businesspeople collaborating as effectively as people do in gaming environments, we'd have something."

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Dan Bricklin's impressions after riding a Segway HT

HT stands for "human transporter", a totally new kind of vehicle ...
Joel on Software - Our .NET Strategy

Interesting article - Joel summarizes the .NET migration strategy of his company:

1) Why migrate at all? Answer: .NET is a big advance in productivity, especially ASP.NET
2) We don't have enough experience with .NET sofar, so we don't build things in .NET yet which we ship to our customers. Instead we focus on internal applications.
3) The 20 MB CLR runtime is not deployed to most customer's computers yet. Bundling it with our products increases the download size/time, so fewer customers might try out our software - not a good idea. We wait for 75% penetration of the runtime.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002


Interesting stuff: ASP.NET WebForm Server controls for Outlook-style panels and hierarchical DHTML menus.

Sunday, April 07, 2002

TheFeature : Managing Your Edentity

"What do you do with your email addresses, fax numbers, fixed-line and mobile phone numbers, voice mailboxes and URLs? Simplify."

Another impressive example (look for oddpost and webfx below) for what can be done in the browser is Xopus. A web-based WYSIWYG in-place editor driven by XML schemas to control the page structure and XSLT.

Interesting technology: "moving the web from point-to-point, synchronous RPC to asynchronous, event-driven publish/subscribe communications".

"...browsers can be updated automatically, rather than having to be constantly refreshed to get updates – [this] represents a fundamental architectural change to the will likely affect the way all software is produced in the future."

The architecture is based on "MicroServers" implemented in Jscript on the browser/client side, EventRouters and Gateways to legacy systems.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

What's Open Spectrum?

In this article Kevin Werbach explains the idea of open spectrum. This idea challenges the assumption that wireless spectrum is a scarcity that must be spit up, licensed and restricted in use to prevent interference. With spread spectrum technology (e.g. CDMA) however many devices can use the same frequency without interference. This is accomplished by intelligence in the receiving devices. The idea of open spectrum is to open up a significant amount of spectrum for common use.

Thursday, April 04, 2002


Incredible. A webmail client with drag and drop, auto-complete and just everything what fat desktop email clients do. Fast.

How do they do this? No client-side Java or ActiveX-Controls, they only use things that are built into IE 5.0 and later, i.e. DHTML. Behind the scenes they use SOAP to talk to their server. I'll try to investigate more.

This is an interesting site about cutting edge DHTML: WebFx.