February 19th, 2008
Technology Review has an interesting article on femtocells, which may be the next big thing in home networking and mobile computing.
“Similar in concept to the Wi-Fi routers that many people use to blanket their homes with wireless Internet access, these little boxes instead provide a network for carrying the voice and high-speed data services of mobile phones. They’re designed to give bandwidth-hungry cell-phone subscribers the strongest possible connections at home.” (link)
The idea is attractive and I’d buy one in a minute. I live in a hilly area where the hills do a good job of blocking all kinds of signals — cell phone, TV, and radio. So my mobile phone is almost useless at home, even though I’m in the middle of the Baltimore-DC metropolis.
Femtocell technology has its own industrial organization, the femtoforum, a “a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 2007 to promote femtocell deployment worldwide.”
Here’s a part of the TR article that excites me:
“Today, the equipment cost for femtocells runs in the range of $250 to $300. Sprint, one of the first companies to start commercial trials of the products, is offering them to consumers in Denver and Indianapolis for $50 apiece, along with an offer of lower-priced calling plans–altogether a substantial subsidy.”
Sprint’s press release descibes it’s AIRAVE femtocell, made by Samsung, and their pricing plan: $50 for the femtocell plus $15/$30 a month for the service (individual/family). While at home you talk for free.
February 19th, 2008
ISWC 2008, the 7th International Semantic Web Conference, will have a special track on the Semantic Web in Use for papers that highlight applications in business, government, science, education or society. The ISWC 2007 in use track had twelve full papers and the ISWC 2006 had nine industry track papers. Papers for the 2008 In Use track must be submitted by 16 May, 2008. The ISWC 2008 Semantic Web in Use track is chaired by Mike Dean (BBN) and Massimo Paolucci (DoCoMo).
February 18th, 2008
ISWC 2008, the 7th International Semantic Web Conference, seeks proposals for tutorials that present the state of the art of a Semantic Web area enabling attendees to fully appreciate the current issues, main schools of thought, and possible application areas. The half- or full-day tutorials will be given on 26-27 October, just before the main conference begins. Email proposals to David Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 16 May 2008. The ISWC 2008 tutorial program is chaired by Lalana Kagal (MIT) and David Martin (SRI).
Over the years I’ve given a number of tutorials and always found it to be a very rewarding experience. You can reuse the material in tutorials for other events and, if you are an academic, in your classes. And, even if you consider yourself to be an expert, you will always learn something about the subject.
February 18th, 2008
Screedbot is an “animated scrolling typewriter text generator” service. You enter some text, click CREATE SCREED and get an animated gif image. You can define the width, font size and colors of your screed.. Screedbot was written by Zach Beane in Common Lisp. (Spotted on Lemonodor).
February 17th, 2008
Co-located workshops are an important and vital part of modern computer science conferences. They open up events for more participation, allowing researchers to present and discuss new work in a more intimate and focused setting. The call for ISWC-08 workshop proposals for the 2008 International Semantic Web conference (26-28 Oct 2008, Karlsruhe DE). Workshop proposals are due by 28 March.
February 16th, 2008
Bernard Lunn of ReadWriteWeb has a post on 11 Things To Know About Semantic Web. I found his list to be both reasonable and interesting, with some of the 11 more speculative than most. For example,
“Semantic Web will start the long, slow decline of relational database technology. Web 3.0 enables the transition from â€œstructure upfrontâ€ to â€œstructure on the flyâ€. The world is clearly too complex to structure upfront, despite the tremendous skills brought by data modelers. Structure on the fly is done by people adding structure as they use the service and by engines that automatically create structure from unstructured content. Structure on the fly is very, very hard and RDBMS is very, very entrenched so this will be a long and slow transition; but the decline is inevitable. Innovation has slowed in the RDBMS world – with open source at one end and Oracle at the other, there is little reason to innovate – just when Semantic Web innovation is accelerating. RDBMS was good for enterprise scale performance and reliability but for Internet scale it falls short; just look at what companies like Amazon use.”
I agree with this to some degree, but I expect RDBMSs to continue to dominate information systems while I still walk the earth. Well, maybe that’s what he had in mind by a slow decline.
Here’s the item I found most amusing.
“3. If you have a firm grasp of the theoretical underpinnings of the semantic web, things like RDF, tuples, Sparql and OWL that make my brain hurt, you will be able to charge a fat premium in consulting fees for a while, as not many people really understand this stuff. But make hay while the sun shines, as some entrepreneur will surely figure out how to abstract this stuff and make it accessible for the masses.”
How true. In ten years the Video Professor will be hawking Semantic Web lectures on late night TV.
I’m working on my own N things list, but it will cover a more fundamental subject.
February 10th, 2008
Tim O’Reilly wrote in Reuters CEO sees “semantic web” in its future about Reuters’ motivations for embracing Semantic Web technology.
“At Money:Tech yesterday, I did an on-stage interview with Devin Wenig, the charismatic CEO-to-be of Reuters (following the still-not completed merger with Thomson). Devin highlighted what he considers two big trends hitting financial (and other professional) data: … The end of benefits from decreasing the time it takes for news to hit the market. … he increasingly sees Reuters’ job to be making connections, going from news to insight. He sees semantic markup to make it easier to follow paths of meaning through the data as an important part of Reuters’ future. … Ultimately, Reuters’ news is the raw material for analysis and application by investors and downstream news organizations. Adding metadata to make that job of analysis easier for those building additional value on top of your product is a really interesting way to view the publishing opportunity. If you don’t think of what you produce as the “final product” but rather as a step in an information pipeline, what do you do differently to add value for downstream consumers? In Reuters’ case, Devin thinks you add hooks to make your information more programmable.”
This provides some background for their recent announcement of the Reuters Calais information extraction service. It extracts named entities, events and relations from text and returns the information as RDF data.