Saturday, August 08, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
In re-examining society's ideas of success and failure, Alaine de Botton is in the same mould as public intellectuals as Malcolm Gladwell. de Botton examines a very common concept and exposes a multitude of philosophical and societal nuances. de Botton's inquiries are simple: Is success always earned? Is failure? In examining this from philosophical and historical trajectories, often humorous and humble, de Botton reveals four very simple truths to our society's basic unhappiness which are important for us all to remember during times of stress and convolutions of life:
Monday, July 20, 2009
Interestingly enough, one of the keynote speakers, Lorcan Dempsey, had first written about this phenomena on his blog, and subsequently, the terminology has taken off on its own. But more spectacularly, as an organizer for this conference, I had not consciously formulated any particular strategies for an 'amplified' conference as I had not known about Dempsey's concept only a few days prior to the m-Libraries' commencement. But as the conference proceeded, the more and more I noticed how Dempsey's principles of the amplified conference so seamlessly natural this new emergence social media and digitally-inclusive technologies was enriching the very fabric of all that was happening around (and beyond me):
- Amplification of the audiences' voice: Audience members through the use of such social media technologies (such as Twitter) can create online discourse during the sessions in real-time
- Amplification of the speaker's talk: Widespread and inexpensive video and audio-conferencing technologies
- Amplification across time: With low-cost technologies, presentations are often made available after the event, with use of podcasting or videocasting technologies
- Amplification of the speaker's slides: With social media lightweight technologies, (such as Slideshare) entire presentations can simply be uploaded, shared, and embedded on other Web sites and commented upon
- Amplification of feedback to the speaker: Micro-blogging technologies (such as Twitter) are being used not only as for discourse and knowledge exchange among conference participants
- Amplification of collective memory: With the widespread availability of inexpensive digital cameras, photographs are often uploaded to popular photographic sharing services
- Amplification of the learning: With the Web resources and social media technologies, following links to resources and discourse about the points made by a speaker during a talk propagates the learning which takes place at an event.
- Amplification of the historical conference record: The ‘official’ digital resources such as slides, video and audio recordings which have been made by the conference organizers
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
King of Pop. Although the memorial had global coverage, none could surpass that of CNN's remarkable round-the-clock-and-round-the-world features, integrating its superb use of Web 2.0 social media technologies as our hearts followed in rhythm to the marching songs and tributes of Jackson's life.
CNN.com and Facebook partnered for a live event was for the Barack Obama’s inauguration as President of the United States. In all, this memorial service had broadcast around 6 full hours.
observer from TechCrunch notes,
Facebook serves as a proxy for a virtual living room that can hold hundreds of people. I find these comments much more interesting than random Twitters from people I don’t know
when electronic media replace visual culture with aural/oral culture. In this new age, humankind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a "tribal base."
Monday, July 06, 2009
Bang-bang beats tweet-tweet. The Sunni Awakening in Iraq succeeded because the moderates there were armed. I doubt Ahmadinejad will go peacefully.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
In addition to restrictions on foreign media, the Iranian government has imposed restrictions on mobile phone and email networks. As a result, many Iranians have resorted to sending 140 character SMS messages, or 'tweets', to the outside world. Some have described it as a Twitter revolution. Twitter has become so crucial that the company itself postponed essential site maintenance early this morning to allow Iranians to continue to use the service.
Unlike the Iranian Revolution of 79, this current crisis cannot be concealed. As the power of social networking has proven, paper cannot hold fire.
Monday, June 08, 2009
By now, this has become world headlines. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were earlier arrested by the North Korean state and sentenced to twelve years of hard labour. What is most distressing is that the capture of these two American journalists could be a politically-motivated strategic move by an authoritarian regime on its last legs. I've been a large fan of Current TV, and although it shocks and saddens me to see how journalists are used as bargaining chips, I truly believe grassroots journalism in a social media-savvy world will bring down political barriers in the end.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
(1) Linked Data Initiative - In order for the Web to be move from a messy, siloed, and unregulated frontier, the SemWeb will require a standards-based approach, one which data on the Web would become interchangeable formats. By linking data together, one could find and take pieces of data sets from different places, aggregate them, and use them freely and accessibly. Because of this linking of data, the Web won't be limited to just web-based information, but ultimately to the non-Web-based world. To a certain extent, we are already experiencing this with smart technologies. Semantic technologies will help us extend this to the next version of the Web, often ambiguously dubbed Web 3.0.
(2) Resource Description Framework - RDF is key to the SemWeb as it allows for the federation of Web data and standards, one which uses XML to solve a two-dimension relational database world cannot. RDF provides a global and persistent way to link data together. RDF isn't a programming language, but a method (a metahporical "container") for organizing the mass of data on the Web, while paving the way for a fluid exchange of different standards on the Web. In doing so, data is not in cubes or tables; rather, they're in triples - subject-predicate-object combinations that provide for a a multidimensional representation and linking of the Web, connecting nodes in an otherwise disparate silo of networks.
(3) Ontologies and Taxonomies - LIS and cataloguing professionals are familiar with these concepts, as they often form the core of their work. The SemWeb moves from taxonomic to an ontological world. While ontologies describe relationships in an n-dimensional manner, easily allowing information from multiple perspectives, taxonomies are limited to hierarchical relationships. In an RDF environment, ontologies provide a capability that extends the utility of taxonomies. The beauty of ontologies is that it can be linked to another ontology to take advantage of its data in conjunction with your own. Because of this linkability, taxonomies are clearly limited as they are more classification schemes that primarily describe part-whole relationships between terms. Ontologies are the organizing, sense-making complement to graphs and metadata, and mapping among ontologies is how domain-level data become interconnected over the data Web.
(4) SPARQL and SQL - It overcomes the limits of SQL because SPARQL because graphs can receive and be converted into a number of different data formats. In contrast, the rigidness of SQL limits the use of table structures. In constructing a query, one has to have knowledge of the database schema; with the abstraction of SPARQL, this problem is solved as developers can move from one resource to another. As long as data messages in SPARQL reads within RDF, tapping into as many data sources becomes inherently possible. De-siloing data was not possible without huge investment of time and resources; with semantic technologies, anything is possible.
(5) De-siloing the Web - This means is that we would need to give up some degree of control on our own data if we wish to have a global SemWeb. This new iteration of the Web takes the page-to-page relationships of the link document Web and augments them with linked relationships between and among individual data elements. By using ontologies, we can link to data we never included in the data set before, thus really "opening" up the Web as one large global database.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
In the Journal of Social Computing, Peter Sweeney argues that whatever we call Web 3.0, it is going to be a the automation of tasks which displaces human work. Our information economy is ultimately in the midst of an Industrial Revolution. He makes another excellent point:
Billions are being spent worldwide on semantic technologies to create the factories and specialized machinery for manufacturing content. Railways of linked data and standards are being laid to allow these factories to trade and co-operate. And the most productive information services in the world are those that leverage Web 3.0 industrial processes and technologies. Web 3.0 is a controversial term, as it confuses those who are just only beginning to feel comfortable with the concept Web 2.0 and those who are embracing the Semantic Web. Web 3.0 disrupts these traditional, safe thoughts. It not only blurs the terminology, it also offers business advocates an opportunity to cash in.
But I see Sweeney's arguments as a multidimensional argument that transcends nickels and dimes. He makes an excellent point when he argues that many dismiss Web 3.0 as a fad; however, when we think of the Web as a manufacturing process, that is a disruptive technology -- very much like the Industrial Revolution -- then we can begin to understand what Web 3.0 represents.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Bing is a combination of Microsoft's Live Search search engine and semantic Web technology (which Microsoft had quietly acquired in Powerset last July, 2008). It is said that Kumo is designed as a "Google killer" in mind. However, not without a cost.
It's been reported that the amount of resources Microsoft had spent on Kumo has caused deep divisions within the vendor's management. Many within the hierarchical monolith are arguing for staying put with the companie's money-making ways rather than spreading it elsewhere on fruitless desire for the holy search grail.
This is important new developments for information professionals - especially librarians - to take note. While the Semantic Web adds structure to Web searches in the backend technology, what users will see in the front end is increased structure such as the search results in the center of the page and a hierarchical organization of concepts or attributes in the left (or right)-hand column. This could be what Bing ultimately looks like.
What this implies is that with so much of the spotlight currently on "practical" social media and Web 2.0 applications, much is happening underneath the surface among the information giants. Google itself is quietly conducting much research into the SemWeb. Who will be the first to achieve Web sainthood? Until last week, we thought it was these guys.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
In turbulent economic times, it is critically important to understand what opportunities exist to make our businesses run better. The emergence of a new era of technologies, collectively known as Web 3.0, provides this kind of strategically significant opportunity.
The core idea behind web 3.0 is to extract much more meaningful, actionable insight from information. At the conference, we will explore how companies are using these technologies today, and should be using them tomorrow, for significant bottom line impact in areas like marketing, corporate information management, customer service, and personal productivity.
I would be hesitant to accept this definition of Web 3.0, particularly when the words "in turbulent economic times." It's awfully reminiscent of how Web 2.0 had started: the burst of the dot-c0m economy in 2001, which lead to programmers convening at the first Web 2.0 conference. For better or worse, Web 2.0 was born; but it was never endorsed by academia. The creators of the internet never envisioned for Web 2.0 technologies; the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) never had Web 2.0 standards. Rather, the Semantic Web has its roots from the very beginning.
Unfortunately, I fear the same is happening with Web 3.0. Much is being slapped by corporate and technology interests and labelled "Web 3.0." Because of the downturn in the economy, information professionals beware.