UMBC ebiquity
2005 March

Archive for March, 2005

Cell Phone with Build-in Projector

March 27th, 2005, by Harry Chen, posted in Gadgets, GENERAL, Mobile Computing

Typical cellphones often have poor user interfaces — e.g. small keypads and small display screens. Researchers at Siemens have developed an interesting solution to solve this problem.

Siemens researchers have developed a cell phone featuring a built-in projector system. A laboratory model was presented at CeBIT 2005 in Hanover. The system makes it possible to project a complete keypad or display onto a surface. With a special pen, users can write on the virtual keypad and operate the phone�s functions.

RSA Finds More Flaws in RFID

March 24th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Pervasive Computing, RFID, Security

eWeek has a reasonable article summarizing the weaknesses in TI’s RFID systems.

After uncovering a security weakness in a radio-frequency identification tag from Texas Instruments Inc., researchers from RSA Security Inc.’s RSA Laboratories and The Johns Hopkins University are now eyeing future exploits against other RFID products in the interests of better security, one of the researchers said this week.
     Meanwhile, TI will keep making the compromised RFID tag in order to meet the needs of applications more sensitive to speed and pricing than to privacy, according to a TI official. …

OWL Pizzas

March 24th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Semantic Web, Web

Here’s an interesting paper out of Machester on problems common in teaching OWL-DL and how to overcome them:

Alan Rector, et al., OWL Pizzas: Practical Experience of Teaching OWL-DL: Common Errors and Common Patterns, in E Motta and N Shadbolt, et al. (eds) Proceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Acquistion, Northampton, England, 2004, Lecture Notes on Computer Science LNAI3257, Springer-Verlag.pp 63-81. Abstract: Understanding the logical meaning of any description logic or similar formalism is difficult for most people, and OWL-DL is no exception. This paper presents the most common difficulties encountered by newcomers to the language, that have been observed during the course of more than a dozen workshops, tutorials and modules about OWL-DL and its predecessor languages. …

Alan Rector also has presentation slides, too (ppt and pdf). Of course, this should also useful if you have difficulty in learning OWL-DL, too.

Miniature Data storage 1 TB per square inch

March 21st, 2005, by Anand, posted in GENERAL, Mobile Computing, Pervasive Computing, Wearable Computing

IBM Zurich comes out with miniature data storage with data storage density of 1 TB per square inch —

“Given the rapidly increasing data volumes that are downloaded onto mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs, there is a growing demand for suitable storage media with more and more capacity. At CeBIT, IBM for the first time shows the prototype of the MEMS*- assembly of a nanomechanical storage system known internally as the “millipede” project. Using revolutionary nanotechnology, scientists at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Switzerland, have made it to the millionths of a millimeter range, achieving data storage densities of more than one terabit (1000 gigabit) per square inch, equivalent to storing the content of 25 DVDs on an area the size of a postage stamp.”

PITAC cyber security report

March 18th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Funding, Policy, Security

PITAC, the US President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, has released a report on Cyber Security: a Crisis of Prioritization. Free hard copies can be requested.

Vital to the Nation’s security and everyday life, the information technology (IT) infrastructure of the United States is highly vulnerable to disruptive domestic and international attacks, the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) argues in a new report. While existing technologies can address some IT security vulnerabilities, fundamentally new approaches are needed to address the more serious structural weaknesses of the IT infrastructure.

In Cyber Security: A Crisis of Prioritization, PITAC presents four key findings and recommendations on how the Federal government can foster new architectures and technologies to secure the Nation’s IT infrastructure. PITAC urges the Government to significantly increase support for fundamental research in civilian cyber security in 10 priority areas; intensify Federal efforts to promote the recruitment and retention of cyber security researchers and students at research universities; increase support for the rapid transfer of Federally developed cyber security technologies to the private sector; and strengthen the coordination of Federal cyber security R&D activities.

On Blog categories <==> tags

March 16th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Blogging, Semantic Web, Web

This week we discovered that most of our posts were not being automatically tagged by Technorati. We had WordPress configured to only include an excerpt in our feeds and those excerpts, apparently, did not include the categories. Reconfiguring to include the full posts in our feeds fixed the problem. See, for example, the Technorati’s items tagged with SemanticWeb or agents. Technorati will recognize either of the following in a post

     <category> tagName </category>
     <dc:subject> tagName </dc:subject>

as an assertion that it should be tagged with tagName . In addition, it will also recognize links with a rel=”tag” modifier, such as

     <a href="" rel="tag">iPod</a>
     <a href="" rel="tag">Gravity</a>
     <a href="" rel="tag">Chihuahua</a>

See Technorati’s tag page for more information.

Folksonomy, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mess

March 16th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Semantic Web, Web

Folksonomy, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mess was a panel today at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego that included Clay Shirky, Stewart Butterfield (of Flickr) , Joshua Schachter (of, and Jimmy Wales (of wikipedia). Cory Doctorow has an ‘impressionistic transcript’ (I’m not sure what that means — I guess he’s not promising word-for-word accuracy.) It’s pretty interesting, as panels go, and includes some discussion of RDF and the semantic web.

LAIT Retired

March 15th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in GENERAL

We retired the old web sit for the UMBC Laboratory for Advanced Information Technology (LAIT) by redirecting it to the UMBC ebiquity site. You can still see the old web pages, frozen in time, at I’m not sure when we formed LAIT. I think it must have been around 1994. The AI stood for “Advanced Information” because “Artificial Intelligence” was somewhat in disfavor in certain US funding agencies at the time. The site hasn’t changed much since about 2000 and we’ve moved on the the UMBC ebiquity research group. I have a lot of good memories from the small, crampted but cozy LAIT lab in the ECS building. Soon we will work up the nerve to deal with some of the other ghosts from the past — KQML and agentWeb.

SICoP’s vision for the semantic web

March 12th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Semantic Web, Web

The Semantic Interoperability Community of Practice (SICoP) is a special interest group in the Knowledge Management working group of the Chief Information Officers Council of the U.S. Government. It’s objectives are to (i) promote semantic interoperability as an operational characteristic of software used in US Federal agencies; (ii) support semantic data integration among software and data repositories provided by the US Federal Government; and (iii) to make the Semantic Web operational in member’s agencies.

A recent white paper Introducing Semantic Technologies and the Vision of the Semantic Web (PDF version) (v5.4, 16 February 2005) is aimed at explaining applications of semantic technologies to agency executives, CIOs, enterprise architects, IT professionals, program managers, and others within government agencies responsible for data and knowledge management. The paper discusses applications to semantic web services, information interoperability, and intelligent search as well as the current use of protocols, schemas, and tools that will pave the road toward the Semantic Web.

Tutorial on Semantic Web Technologies

March 12th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Semantic Web, Web

Ivan Herman of the W3C has a very nice Tutorial on Semantic Web Technologies available in SVG and also POH (plain old HTML). The tutorial includes two nice interactive graphics that summarize the basic RDF and OWL features. Note: viewing SVG in your browser will probably require the latest beta version of Adobe’s SVG plugin (ASV6). To get this to work in Firefox, I also had to follow these instructions.

Check out the other great W3C offices’ overview presentations on a wide range of the W3C related topics. Ivan also inlcudes a link to a page on, the program he uses to generate these slide presentations.

UMBC Semantic Web Reference Card

March 10th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in Semantic Web

The UMBC Semantic Web Reference Card as a handy “cheat sheet” for semantic web developers and programmers. It can be printed double sided on one sheet of paper and tri-folded. The card lists common RDF/RDFS/OWL classes and properties, popular namespaces and terms, XML datatypes, reserved terms, grammars and examples for encodings, etc. Please send any comments or suggestions (especially about errors or omissions) to feedback @

Paul Graham on How to Start a Startup

March 9th, 2005, by Tim Finin, posted in GENERAL

I’m sure we all have this in the back of our mind. Paul Graham, who’s done this, has a essay “How to Start a Startup” (March 2005) that’s worth a look.

You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.
     And that’s kind of exciting, when you think about it, because all three are doable. Hard, but doable. And since a startup that succeeds ordinarily makes its founders rich, that implies getting rich is doable too. Hard, but doable.
     If there is one message I’d like to get across about startups, that’s it. There is no magically difficult step that requires brilliance to solve.

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