Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Croquet: deeply collaborative multi-user online applications

Croquet is a powerful new open source software development environment and software infrastructure for creating and deploying deeply collaborative multi-user online applications and metaverses on and across multiple operating systems and devices. Derived from Squeak, it features a peer-based network architecture that supports communication, collaboration, resource sharing, and synchronous computation between multiple users on multiple devices. The Edusim (built using Croquet) on an ActiveBoard or SMARTBoard turns your interactive whiteboard into a 3D interactive virtual environment.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

5 years from today, a web that thinks?

Telegraph (20/03/2008).

How will the internet look in five years' time? According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, it will be rather different to the cyberspace of today. He envisages an internet in which all information, applications and data are seamlessly linked and interwoven - everything will work with everything else and that will, in effect, allow us to live our lives almost entirely online. Brainwave: The new web will 'understand' the context of searches The new web will 'understand' the context of searches Technology experts call this the "semantic web". At the moment, search engines such as Google place more emphasis on the links and connections between websites, rather than on analysing the specific information contained within them. The semantic web, by contrast, will focus on the meaning of data on a page. Computers will "understand" the context of information and will be able to identify and appreciate the complex links between people, places and data, pulling it together to deliver rich search results and a better online experience. "The semantic web is not a separate web but an extension of the current one," said Berners-Lee. "Information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation."
Would be brilliant to be at this stage in five years time, the question is how much of the internet will be made semantic? Currently researchers are in the lead, but guess what will happen if the Yahoo's and Google's take over the job? Researchers are currently using existing library catalogs, thesauri, descriptions made by the world's museums curators and art connaiseurs - quality content made semantically interoperable. Then the advertising income driven search mastodonts come in and take over... finish the story yourself.

Guide to Information Design Patterns

Christian Behrens an MSc candidate of the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (Interface Design programme) developed a useful website as a guide to Information Design Patterns.

Information hyper-saturation

We have reached the point of information hyper-saturation. It can become quite a chore to find relevant content online, when there is so much other information competing for your attention. But by implementing attention profiling, it becomes possible to have the services and websites you visit begin to make suggestions for content that you might be interested in. APML is a proposed standard that gives you greater control over your own attention data, and in principle will allow you to selectively record your attention profile - the sites you visit, the search terms that interest you most, the content you most commonly link to - and share it with your favorite websites and services.

Designed for humans first and machines second

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns (e.g. XHTML, blogging).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Real Web 2.0: Practical Linked, Open Data with SIMILE Exhibit

Uche Ogbuji, IBM developerWorks

SIMILE (Semantic Interoperability of Metadata and Information in unLike Environments) is a research project developing tools to share diverse collections of data and digital media. SIMILE is a joint project of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the W3C, and it has produced some real gems. One of these is Exhibit, which allows you to produce Web pages with widgets the user can use to quickly comb through large collections of data. Exhibit makes this easy and requires little programming. It is developed by David Huynh, with contributions from others on the SIMILE team. This article explains how the Exhibit Web library allows you to construct functional and visually attractive user interfaces without much work, once you have good 'LOD' available. Linking Open Data (LOD) is a community initiative for moving the Web from separated documents to a broad information space of data. The principles of LOD are very important, but when a Web developer has a deadline looming it's not always easy to put "important" into perspective. Exhibit is one of those tools that takes a grand idea and uses it to actually make a developer's life easier. If you have a collection of information and you need to present it to users so they can easily see it in context and find details they care about, take advantage of the large head start Exhibit offers.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee to Track Origins of Digital Content

K.C. Jones, InformationWeek

Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has received a grant to create a technology that will give users more information about the origins and sources of digital content. Berners-Lee received a Knight News Challenge award Wednesday, during the Interactive Media Conference and Tradeshow 2008 in Las Vegas. Sixteen ideas to fund innovative digital projects around the world were awarded $5.5 million dollars from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This is the second year of the $25 million Knight News Challenge, which funds digital information innovations that transform community life. Announced at the Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas, this year's projects will touch people in rural India, the townships of South Africa and on college campuses across the United States, among other places. Berners-Lee's project is a partnership between the Media Standards Trust and the UK-based Web Science Research Initiative, of which he is a director. According to the 2008 Winners Reference: With the copious amounts of information (and misinformation) on the Internet, the public needs more help finding fair, accurate and contextual news. The plan: to design a way for content creators to add information on their sources to their reports, as a form of source tagging. For instance, a reporter could note that an article was based on personal observations, interviews with eyewitnesses or specific, original documents. Filters would then use this data ('the story behind the story') to help find high-quality articles. A reader searching the phrase 'Pakistan riots' for example, might find 9,000 articles. But filtering by 'eyewitness accounts' would yield a more selective list. Berners-Lee, Moore and the Web Science Research Initiative are working with the BBC and Reuters on how to best integrate the tagging into journalists' normal workflow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How to launch a satellite to orbit?

Discovery Channel is the place to be when you want to stay in and learn something the easy way, cosy laying on your couch. Well, doing so, I learned something about building rockets to launch satellites to orbit. The programme addressed some issues the Japanese were facing during the build of the HII-B (H2B). Japan launched its first satellite to orbit with licenced American rockets in 1970. Since then they chose the path of liquid fueled rockets as launchers. Leading to the first successful launch of a satellite to orbit in 2005 with the H-IIA rocket. 35 years of development! In 2004 they started developing the H-IIB rocket. This rocket is much larger able to carry a much heavier payload. The aim of the rocket is to carry the H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV. A robotic spacecraft intended to resupply the Kibō Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station, and the rest of the station, if need be. Scheduled to be launched in 2009, carrying 16.5 tons. 35 years kept me busy for a couple of days. 35 years spans a full carreer of a space engineer, I guess. So quite some engineers joined and retired during those years. How do they ensure knowledge and experience is retained? In this domain a failed launch means years of delay and millions down the drain. You can't just launch another one the next day... Since 2004 they invested €150 million ($150 billion).

Friday, May 09, 2008

Microformats: Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0

How to make a website mashable? Read this book and start mashing!

EUROCONTROL launches new wiki-style web site on aviation safety

May 9, 2008. Brussels, Belgium – SKYbrary - a new wiki-style web site which aims to be the single point of reference for aviation safety knowledge was launched today by EUROCONTROL in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Flight Safety Foundation. SKYbrary provides in-depth information for aviation professionals, backed-up with an attractive search engine. It already hosts some one thousand articles, covering fifteen areas, including critical safety issues such as Level Bust and Runway Incursions. Articles are added regularly, and search words inside the articles link to additional information both on SKYbrary and on external sites. The wiki format means that visitors can contribute both articles and information to SKYbrary. An open discussion forum aims to enhance visitors’ awareness of and interest in safety. With permission from ICAO, SKYbrary includes an ICAO search engine. This will increase the speed at which answers to queries can be retrieved. As of today, key documents including ICAO Annexes (2, 10 and 11) and Documents (4444 and 8168) are included.