Updated: 12/2/2002; 12:18:39 PM.
Patrick Chanezon's Radio Weblog
P@'s links, comments and thoughts

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Forgotten software, space junk by Jon Udell


11:01:15 PM      comment []

Using Jaxen and Jena to query RDF using XPath , Richard. Remember RDFPath ? This is an experimental implementation of the same basic idea. Conclusion : «This code has poor performance on large models and cannot express all possible queries against an RDF model. Nonetheless, it provides a simple query mechanism that is useful for a wide range of purposes. It also serves as an interesting illustration of the power of using the correct abstraction in a software design. « I think I'd have been a lot more upbeat about it than that - the material presented really does suggest potential. [Semantic Web Blog, featuring RDF]
10:57:38 PM      comment []

McNealy touts N1, warns against Microsoft. Sun's outspoken CEO touts recent computing plans during his keynote address and shoots some familiar arrows at competitors Microsoft and IBM. [CNET News.com]
10:56:42 PM      comment []

coruscate: Dictionary.com Word of the Day. coruscate [Dictionary.com Word of the Day]

So now I know where the Coruscant name comes from !

For us poor non native english speakers, in George Lucas world, we never know if names are completely invented, or what the ethymology could be.

I guess he takes some roots in other languages, but he is not as versed in multilinguism as Joyce could be ;-)

10:56:34 PM      comment []

France and Me.

We didn't know this beforehand. Martinique is owned by France and is like any other province on the mainland: 100% French. Between Ana and I we're very bilingual, but no one spoke neither Spanish nor English, it was incredible. At our hotel, the whole staff spoke only French (except the front desk who spoke halting English) and all the other guests of course were only French. Once we got onto the boat, it was more of the same - with only the captain of the boat speaking any English at all and every other couple only speaking French. All the announcements were in French. The movies were in French. Everything. Two weeks of solid French... which would be fine, but even after buying a phrasebook, Ana and I were lost. The low-point came when the captain knocked on our door one morning: "Pardon. But everyone is waiting for you on the bus." Bus? What bus? Where ARE we? We had no idea.

Yes, it's true for both Martinique and Guadeloupe: their economy is very dependent on tourism but they're not very friendly to foreigners. I haven't been to Martinique but Guadeloupe is marvelous. You just have to learn the language ! I've had the same feeling in China (I once embarked a bus not knowing where it was going) and in Tamil Nadu (we were lost in the countryside and the people we met were, rare thing in India, only speaking Tamil)

Recently Nouvelles Frontieres closed one of its hotels in Guadeloupe. I've read it in Liberation but you need to pay for their archive and this resonant news does not seem to have reached the web :-)

That brings us to present day... It now seems that once again French is making an appearance in my life. In the past few days I've learned that there's a large contingent of French people in the Java.blog group! Erik and Cedric are from France and living in the U.S. and Patrick is French and living back in Paris after several years in Silicon Valley! Wow... all these guys amongst us! Anyone else?!? (The thing about these guys is they've all work or worked for big name tech companies like Apple, Sun and BEA. It's very interesting. I wonder what that means?)

Maybe that France has a good educational system ?

Or that the french traditional cartesianism gives us good preparation to deal with machines. Maybe this will change when machines grow more evolved: after machines pass the Turing test, maybe you'll need more artistic capabilities than cartesianism to get something out of machines (you can already experience this with perl though, since it's the first postmodern language :-)

And finally At my current job, all the web servers are in Lyon and I've already been booked and cancelled twice to go up there and check them out. Very soon I'll be in France again... yet again without any sort of knowledge of the French language. Ugh!

Lyon is the capital of french gastronomy. I highly recommend you to go !

Don't forget to taste the hot saucisson, with a beaujolais red wine.

Anyways, it looks like it might be the right time to take some lessons in French. Now that my monoglot mind is warmed up to the idea of speaking another language, maybe learning a third wouldn't be that bad. (That's what they say at least) Well, learning how to count and order a drink at the bare minimum wouldn't be bad since I'm obviously going to be experiencing French throughout my life...


[Russell Beattie Notebook]

As Bogart tells the french cop in Casablanca "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." :-)

10:51:40 PM      comment []

What's right with RDF. I don't tend to use RDF in my own work, but I'm getting very concerned that recent blasting on RDF risks obscuring a lot of things that RDF does very well. [Meerkat: An Open Wire Service]
12:55:02 AM      comment []

Russel blogged the bitworking RDF stuff: let's just link to him

RDF in a Nutshell. Okay, so the past few days have seen some major flamefests break out over the new RDF specs that were just published. Everyone is wading into the topic, it seems and all I really want to add is my two cents from the perspective of someone who's been trying to get RDF and the Semantic Web into his small little pea brain.

First, thanks to Danny for The Resource Description Framework in 500 Words which is as concise a description of the concepts as you can get. (Please add the next 500 words Danny!) Here's a snippet:

Descriptions are made in RDF using statements. A statement has three parts: the thing being described, the characteristic of interest and the value of that characteristic. For example, the thing being described might be a book, say "A Christmas Carol" the characteristic of interest (property) the author, and the value would be the name of the author, "Charles Dickens". In RDF jargon these three parts are the subject, predicate and object, and together they form a triple. The subject is a resource, the predicate is a special kind of resource and the object can either be another resource or literal text.

It took a while, but I finally got something very important into my head: The concepts of RDF and its implementation are quite separate. I was going into the whole thing from RDF/XML on up - trying to figure out what the heck all that fugly markup was trying to do. It turns out that starting from the top down is actually a nicer way to go about the whole process. The concepts are very clear and immediately obvious in their usefulness and power. However, where the rubber meets the road is where the problem lies.

Bitworking has several recent posts which encapsulate all the opinions out there by Shelley Powers, Mark Pilgrim, Tim Bray (the originator of XML), and more. And it includes this very brutal summary (in his opinion) of RDF:

Frankly I think it's about time the tide turned on RDF. For a long time it has been beyond reproach. The attitude has been that because RDF was thought up by a bunch of really smart people and that it's a W3C standard that it was above criticism. I think a healthy dose of skepticism and a critical eye turned on it by people outside of the usual circle would be helpful to RDF, and it certainly couldn't hurt the XML serialization.

So to summarize, my sources of animosity towards RDF:

  1. The XML serialization.
  2. The push by RDF proponents to turn every format into RDF/XML.
And Tim Bray really has a lot of really good points along these lines to make in this email to the xml-dev mailing list.

I have to say that I'm on this side of the fence. RDF/XML is really, really obtuse. Personally, I don't think we need to throw out all the work so far and start from scratch, but there needs to be a serious effort on the part of all the RDF people to make the technology more accessible. Otherwise it's going to just get replaced, and quickly. RDF seems really cool - it's a shame that its rate of adoption is so slow because smart people forget that dumb people have to use their technology in the real world.

By the way, I've been linking to Danny for a while now because he's both a Java developer (and author of a book I actually own) and an expat blogger living in Italy. Now it turns out that he's quite the heavy-hitter in the Semantic Web space. Why this surprises me I'm not sure, noting the name of his weblog...

-Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook]

12:48:07 AM Google It!      comment []

With great power comes great responsibility. Our friendly neighborhood Charles Miller fscked his hardrive tonight:
Oh God....

I meant to type: dd if=rescue.bin of=/dev/fd0. I typed dd if=rescue.bin of=/dev/hda. I have utterly destroyed the partition table on my primary hard drive. I have no backups. I am so completely fucked.

Don't drink and su.

Doh! I feel your pain. However, it seems a few hours later he's well on the road to recovery from the disaster, so that's good. Raible had a similar brush with HD Death recently also (I'll link to it when I can see Matt's site again).

This might be a good time for everyone to put "Back Up Hard Drive" at the top of their action items for this weekend again.

-Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook]

12:47:04 AM      comment []

"RDF as description" (A very practical gloss on RDF). This is a very interesting message by David McCusker of the OSA Foundation, the group founded by Mitch Kapor who are currently working on an open-source PIM. In it he gives a fresh, unbiased and practical view of RDF as a general facility in application architecture. [Meerkat: An Open Wire Service]
12:46:40 AM      comment []

Of RDF, RSS, and clumsy backpedalling. A knee-slapping exchange on XML-DEV. [Meerkat: An Open Wire Service]

Poor Dave :-)

12:44:24 AM      comment []

Sun EVP Schwartz on the Marketplace and Future Strategy. In a recent interview, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president in charge of Sun's software group says that Sun's goal is to ship a a tighly integrated stack of all of Sun's server-side software stack by June 30, 2003. Other interesting tidbits include his allusion that the majority of WebLogic and Websphere revenue is on Solaris, Java's role in Sun's strategy, and more. [TheServerSide.Com: Your J2EE Community]
12:42:42 AM      comment []

Cedric, a cool french guy in San Francisco


Cedric, by the way, is quite the cool guy. I mean, first he reads my weblog so that gives him points right there. But he's actually an expat like myself, but from France and lives in San Francisco. Since I'm from San Francisco and live in Spain, the similarities are many. I hadn't noticed until I just read his post about learning new words:


Anyways, after seeing Cedric's post on speaking another language, I decided to check out his resume to see where's he's from and where he is now which is how I learned he's a Frenchman in San Francisco. Also, he's got a PhD (Doc Cedric?) and it seems he's working for BEA right now as a Senior Software Developer. Holy crap! That's awesome. I'm amazed at the people in the Java.blog space.

-Russ [Russell Beattie Notebook]

I wonder where Russel finds all this time and energy to write his weblog (+ all the stuff he seems to read in parallel :-). It's always a pleasure to read, and it allows me to discover many interesting blogs.

Since I'm a french guy "exiled" in France after 3 years in Silicon Valley (I work for Sun, from my appartment in Paris, with all my team in Santa Clara and Bangalore), I'll subscribe to Cedric's feed to see what he's saying about the silicon valley climate.

12:42:26 AM Google It!      comment []

Wikis are good for communication!. The WebWork Cookbook is really firing up, great community contributions! Also there is a link to an Eclipse + Resin + WebWork + Hibernate tutorial on the WebWork page of the OpenSymphony wiki. [rebelutionary]

I like wikis.

I have tried to introduce Twiki in Sun but it did not catch up :-)

Some of my friends at a french startup have standardized on it for their engineering group.


12:30:02 AM      comment []

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