Sunday, July 20, 2008

OpenLink Virtuoso Windows Notes

I'm keeping notes on playing with OpenLink Virtuoso 5.0.7 on Vista.

The Web's Bridegroom Cometh

I'm convinced that the marriage of web content with semantic web meta-data is the future of the Internet. (This isn't a big leap and lord knows I'm late in saying this.) The main reason why people like me are so late to jumping on board this slow moving freight train is that while the theory is all there, and is very solid, the tools just haven't been coming. There's little obvious incentives for the groups that are the builders of the web to make their products semantic web friendly, and even when they do their only interested in doing so to lock you into their product. Linking things together, even though it is the entire purpose of the semantic web, is like pulling teeth. The reason for this is simple: there is an almost complete disconnect between traditional databases, which are the life blood of the web, XML, and semantic databases. The engines are different. Their query languages are different, and their interfaces are completely different. While there has been a lot of effort to create a bridge between relational databases and XML, there has been little to add a bridge connecting it to RDF semantic data.

Most of the initiatives have are hard time at acceptance because they make the same mistake that most failed projects make: they completely reinvent things instead of trying to seamlessly integrate with what already is. Very few people are going to abandon their desktop for a "semantic" desktop. They've invested too much intellectual and emotional capitol in their existing interfaces. Forcing them to abandon everything that is in addition to learning a whole new way of envisioning data and its relationships is completely unrealistic.

Semantic Web data is designed to make it easier for machines to process what's on the web. It is a construct that needs to be relegated primarily to the machines in order to be effective. When the users don't even think about it because they are so lost in the ideas, THAT'S when it can be considered successful. (This is true of all of what I call the invisible arts: typography, movie soundtracks, etc)

There are two products that I know of that have successfully bridged this gap: Fedora-Commons and OpenLink Virtuoso. Each has their strength and their weaknesses.

I'll provide a comparison between them soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting Credit from Old Media

This blog, sparked by Jill Miller Zimon, fascinates me since it's totally contrary to my philosophy as a political blogger. You see, from the start my main goal was propaganda. I was a one man left win pinko version of Fox News pouring liberal poison into the ears of the media elite.

My theory was that most regular reporters were too jaded/overworked/lazy to actually write good content, so that merely by reporting on stories that didn't get any coverage you could completely shape how the media covered them. The same way that old media acts as a catalyst/shaper of how the blogosphere reacts to mainstream stories, a blog that targets stories that don't get the coverage could have the same effect on them. It's human nature. The first person to comment on anything shapes how the collective reacts to it. As I like to say, the first person to ride into dodge is always the sheriff.

Bottom line, I wanted them to copy me, and I didn't want any credit, because if they did it would lessen the power of the story. Blogger sitting in his basement who doesn't even live in the district reports... has a lot less power than the venerable Cincinnati Enquirer, why we are venerable is beyond us since we've been endorsing candidates such as Jean Schmidt that have been sucking the lifeblood out of this great nation for decades, reports... I know that it worked because reporters have told me that I had an influence.

This is why I refused interviews where I would be on camera. The story was never about me. It was about my agenda. In the case of the special it was the Democratic Party's assault on the heart in the Republican base. I've embraced the medium and was playing the game as the landscape dictated. The fact that others took credit for my work even though they only showed up at the last minute was the price of a job well done.

In the end the only credit that really meant anything to me came from insiders within the Schmidt camp.

Here's an example. I'm on a mailing list where somebody was complaining about how some of his pro Obama content was being copied, and that people weren't taking it down fast enough after they complained. I asked him if he thought that the people writing slanderous emails about Obama were complaining that they were being forwarded? He should be happy that he's being "ripped" off, because that means that it is viral and thus having impact upon people. In politics, as in everything, the profit comes from selling the sausage, not from making it.