irark nun auch youtube

der gute alte IRARK Film vom Grenz und mir, den er jetzt auf Youtube gestellt hat, kudos an Niko.

immer noch gültig “sie haben den verdammeten Krieg angefangen nun müssen sie ihn auch zu ende bringen”. “Es ist nur eine Frage der Zeit …”

Es ist verrückt, wir hatten in den ersten Tagen des Kriegs im Jahr 2003 gedacht das wird nichts mit Blitzkrieg, und leider ists wirklich daneben gegangen.

Creating Standards is altruistic?

update: based on the comments, I learned that the original idea “creating standards is altruistic” was wrong. It seems that altruism plays a role, but vendors gain a market advantage when implementing a standard first. Making good products that spread is another way to create a standard.

so, this is wrong for now:

Creating standards, as for example the W3C or the ISO does, is an deeply altruistic behavior and I think a hint that the people involved are altruistic.

A definition of altruistic is “Benefiting others without regard for one’s own needs or safety.”

Creating a standard is usually a process of endless and endless discussions, exchanging arguments, giving arguments for every decision, reworking drafts, fixing formulations, agreement, and discourse, and this process can last over years, and usually does last more than a year. The outcome is rather simple: a document describing the decisions in one simple manner. If you look at the HTML, HTTP and URI specs, you can read and understand them in a day. It took years from the first idea to write and improve them to their state, and it took a lot longer time, namely many years, to establish them as a standard.

Now, what is the benefit of creating a standard? For the author, nothing. The author doesn’t get paid for it (unless you charge for reading your standard, what many organisations do). You don’t get fame nor money, because you invested all your time into the standard, but not into your product, which can now by copied by everyone in the world by implementing the standard.

So, why do people do standards? I cannot say for you, but I work on them because I think that the world would suck very hard if we not had standards for some things. Think of having to switch to a different browser when looking at asian websites, like carrying around an platoon of power adapters so that you hopefully can suck electricity from whatever socket you are confronted with.

The opposite of making a standard is implementing the solution. Then you have it, your great solution, coded in executable binary, nothing can go wrong now. You are quick to do it, you don’t have to care much for documentation, and your customer is happy.

But imagine looking at a website hosted by an Internet Information Server (Microsoft) would mean that you have to use a Microsoft Operating System, or a Microsoft TV, or a Microsoft Phone. At first, there is no problem. But after others did the same, I would have to carry around many phones. So, clever people (who are often altruistic and may work for market leaders like Microsoft Corp.) see these problems beforehand and decide to sit down to make a standard, once sitting you notice that there are others seated next to you who feel the same.

Some say “the good things about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from”. This is not true, because for anyone in such situation of choosing, “good” is exactly not the way you feel, because you get this slight feeling deep inside, that your decision is shiny today, but sits down in some dark place and comes to bite your behind years later.

So, if you are stuck again while working on a standard, like me at the moment, and life is blackened by endless arguments and paperwork, think about why you started the whole thing.

And on the other hand, if you watch people like the W3C members sitting around in endless discussions about details, dissecting every piece of it and making a lot of seemingly useless paperwork, and you think to yourself “ha, I could do a better standard alone”, think twice. First of all, open your cupboard and get out your beloved assortment of travel power socket adapters for a short personal meditation about the stupidity of man. Then, think of the motivation of people writing standards: not money nor fame can be the reason, there is neither of it in it, they do it for you.

p.s. HM, the Queen of Britain, has honored Tim Berners-Lee again by giving him the Order Of Merit, putting him in one league with Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa. I think this does not only honor him but also everyone wasting his life away for the W3C and technical standards in general. People travelling as much as the royals do, seem to know the irony of power sockets that look a bit unfamiliar compared to the plug you want to put in them, and cars that have their gear switch on the left hand side of you, adding to the irritation of driving them on the “wrong” side of the road. Feel free to comment.

p.p.s. perhaps I don’t get it because I am a complicated thinking Java programmer and not a witty Python hacker (like Gromgull), where the standard is set by best practice.

about Eclipse and other rich client GUIs for the Semantic Web

In the last year, I was involved in many discussions revolving about the question of “how to make a semantic desktop gui”. Semantic Web guis in general have to be dynamic, adaptive, generic, because the ontologies are changing and data of two ontologies can be mixed. This causes friction in software development, when all our frameworks and developers are used to relational databases or compiled Java beans that hold the information.

To gather my own thoughts for our NEPOMUK project I have prepared some slides to get an overview, a document summing up my view, and a screencast showing one framework.

If you are interested in Semantic Web guis on the desktop, have a look. If you have a similar itch to scratch and want to join our open source projects, contact me!

Reification (the other meaning)

Reification is the soul of the Semantic Web” is a good example of reification in the Marxist interpretation. Don’t believe me? Then stumble yourself accross the wikipedia article on reification (marxism).

Reification (German: Verdinglichung, literally: “thing-ification”) is the consideration of an abstraction or an object as if it had human (pathetic fallacy) or living (reification fallacy) existence and abilities; at the same time it implies the thingification of social relations.

Ordinary examples of Reification

Reification occurs when specifically human creations are misconceived as “facts of nature, results of cosmic laws, or manifestations of divine will”. [3]

Reification is very visible in advertising when the advertiser or designer deliberately tries to associate a commercial product with all kinds of desirable qualities or contexts, with the suggestion that if you buy the product, that you will have access to or experience those desirable qualities. The product thus acquires an deliberately contrived imaginary status in addition to its real status.

A very graphic visual example of reification is pornography in which sexual acts are separated out from the total human context in which they occur.

Reification also frequently occurs in language and any form of communication which involves the representation of things or relationships by symbols. For example, the sentence “Make your money work for you” contains a reification, because money does not do any work at all, people do. The power to do work is falsely attributed to money.

A characteristic of mental illness can be that the mentally-ill person reifies himself or parts of the world around him, misplacing the true context of things, or attributing powers to himself and to objects in the world which they do not really have.

Because of heavily copy/pasted from wikipedia, this blog post is under available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Semantic Web Case Studies Published by SWEO

Do you want to know what problems the Semantic Web solved?

The Semantic Web Education and Outreach (SWEO) Interest Group is pleased to announce the first set of Case Studies and Use Cases giving some examples of how the Semantic Web of machine readable data is used today. Applications are presented in areas ranging from automotive to health care, and from B2B systems to geographical information systems. The SWEO Interest Group will continue to publish new Case Studies and Use Cases in the future; an RSS feed for new submissions is available. A short overview is also available in Open Document Format, PDF, and HTML formats.

see the original post by Susie Stephens at W3C.

Internships / Diploma Thesis / Hiwi Jobs

We are offering several open positions for projects in the Semantic Desktop area.

At the moment, the question is: how to support knowledge workers with the Semantic Desktop? Clever AI algorithms, text analysis, personal ontologies, flickr-mashups, many roads lead to the goal of smart computers.

This topic can be done by you as a diploma thesis (or internship, if you are not at the end of your studies yet):

I also search for assistants for implementing user interfaces and other things at hand.

Requirements are:

  • Java developing
  • Basic Semantic Web knowledge (you shouldve created a few triples)
  • You have your own homepage or show us by other means that you are capable of presenting your work
  • Preferably you are near Kaiserslautern, or live in Germany, plan to move here

We offer a challenging task and a friendly work environment, as you can see, we expect well-thought work and qualitative results from you.

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