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Nepomuk Brings Semantic Web To the Desktop, Instead

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the semantic-researchers-play-better-tag dept.

GUI 140

An anonymous reader writes "Technology Review has a story looking at Nepomuk — the semantic tool that is bundled with the latest version of KDE. It seems that some Semantic Web researchers believe the tool will prove a breakthrough for semantic technology. By encouraging people to add semantic meta-data to the information stored on their machines they hope it could succeed where other semantic tools have failed."

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140 comments

Bright Red (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133505)

Why is it bright red?

Re:Bright Red (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133567)

Am I the only one getting an "Unresponsive Script" dialog every time I load the /. front page? It started about a week ago.

Re:Bright Red (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133739)

It probably depends on the performance of your computer. Mine still handles the script within the browser's script timeout limit, but the script is taking noticeably longer and it's getting annoying enough that I am considering turning off Javascript on slashdot.org if this issue isn't fixed soon.

Re:Bright Red (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26137087)

no, i get that in both ff3 and 3.1 on a 2ghz machine

Re:Bright Red (0, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133587)

It just got anally raped by your timothy's mom.

I guess it'd be sometimes better to be a man and (vaginally-)frequent quality ladies instead of that shitty internet thing.

if you're bored you can still go to a scientology booth, play with the tins and, once you're about to sign up, do it as "Xenu", then, post the video on youLube.

"Whatever Taco" (-1, Offtopic)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133507)

Commander [wikipedia.org]: Commander is a military rank used in many navies and some air forces but is very rarely used as a rank in armies. [...] A commander in the British Royal Navy is [...] below the rank of captain.

Taco [wikipedia.org]: a traditional Mexican dish composed of a maize or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. [...] A taco is generally eaten out of hand, without the aid of utensils.

Should I conclude that he's a mediocre sucker?

Nepomuk is actually a decent product... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133525)

BUT, consider:

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Nigger, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, and assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of his sleigh, jump down the chimneys, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course we know to be false but for the purpose of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (refer to point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal load, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per SECOND, EACH! In short, hey will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create a deafening sonic boom in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal* forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead by now. And he'd be a faggot.

======================
*Please note that centrifugal is a made-up non existent word. The real word should be centripetal. Centrifugal is a made up force that physics people HATE! So please, everyone use the world centripetal, not centrifugal. Thanks!

Re:Nepomuk is actually a decent product... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133679)

[original research]

Re:Nepomuk is actually a decent product... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133685)

*Please note that centrifugal is a made-up non existent word. The real word should be centripetal. Centrifugal is a made up force that physics people HATE! So please, everyone use the world centripetal, not centrifugal. Thanks!

http://www.xkcd.com/123/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Nepomuk is actually a decent product... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134885)

Even if one is using a proper reference frame (not a rotating one), there is still an outward force in the system, namely the reactionary force to the centripetal force. Said reactionary force could legitimately be called a centrifugal force, but it is a force applied to the central object, not on the outer object, which distinguishes it from what people usually mean when they say centrifugal force.

But this is really quite off-topic.

Um, no thanks (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133527)

I've tried Symantec products in the past, and they are worse than actually having a virus. They slow your PC to a crawl, get their claws into every part of your computer, and are extremely difficult to purge when you finally give up on them.

Re:Um, no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134173)

I don't know - MUD's were (perhaps still are) quite popular. Name didn't hurt them.

Care to explain? (2, Interesting)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133537)

What exactly is semantic web, and why haven't I ever heard of it?

Re:Care to explain? (2, Informative)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133613)

It describes the ability to add metadata to web content (tags, etc), and you haven't heard of it because web 2.0 is the more popular term. ;)

Re:Care to explain? (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133849)

It describes the ability to add metadata to web content (tags, etc), and you haven't heard of it because web 2.0 is the more popular term. ;)

Personally I think that metadata/tag based systems are the wrong road for semantic analysis of web pages. As soon as the semantics of a thing is decided by additional information added to describe that thing, its open to abuse.

The only advantage is its faster than what should be done, which is using good old maths to extract the true 'meaning' of a document or object.

Its not hard. Well, ok, its a little hard. Oh ok, its really rather difficult, but there are plenty of places you can get example code or libraries to make things easier.

Re:Care to explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133959)

for non believers, look at the wonderful slashdot tagging

Re:Care to explain? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135359)

Semantic information is not more or less trustworthy than the document itself.

It offers a useful perspective though. If the costs of storing data in a way that preserves more information are low, why not do it.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135869)

Semantic information is not more or less trustworthy than the document itself.

Well, no. Its possible using some admittedly complex math, to strip out all but the core meaning of a document. Its very hard to hide the meaningful content of a page from properly done semantic analysis. I know this because I've done that kind of thing before (deliberately vague mode active here, sorry).

It offers a useful perspective though. If the costs of storing data in a way that preserves more information are low, why not do it.

True, true, but if that additional data conveys less meaning then correct raw document analysis, it becomes potentially less useful. I would be against the cost of storing it, but then that's me.

I think tags are good for, say, you and me for our own stuff, but my tags almost certainly wouldn't hold for you.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136065)

If Jack the Ripper writes a document and signs it Joe the Plumber, and you proceed to extract that Joe the Plumber wrote the document, you aren't any better off than if Jack the Ripper explicitly marked the author as Joe the Plumber.

Sure, semantic information added by a second party might have a different level of reliability than the original data, but if you don't have the original data, you can't tell if the implied semantics of the data have been changed, so the situation isn't all that different.

I guess what I am getting at is that semantic information mathematically extracted from the source data might be more reliably associated with the data than externally added semantic information, but it isn't necessarily more trustworthy.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136507)

What is this "true 'meaning'" of which you speak?

This is the fundamental error of advocates of the Semantic Web: that data have any meaning at all, much less a single "true meaning."

Think of any string of bytes as having the same relationship to a thought as a lossy-compressed document has to the uncompressed document. Lossy compression algorithms depend on shared assumptions, and you can uncompress such a document on the basis of different assumptions than it was compressed with, but it won't give you the same document, which may or may not be what you're looking for.

Words compress thoughts with such an astonishingly high loss rate that it's amazing we can communicate at all. Because people do the uncompression/inference process unreflectively, they come to think that words and thoughts are isomorphic, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134781)

It describes the ability to add metadata to web content (tags, etc), and you haven't heard of it because web 2.0 is the more popular term. ;)

Ah, that explains it. So, nothing useful right?

Re:Care to explain? (2, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136921)

It describes the ability to add metadata to web content (tags, etc), and you haven't heard of it because web 2.0 is the more popular term. ;)

Wrong and wrong. Sort of. 8^)

The Semantic Web is the term coined by Tim Berners Lee, describing the ability to associate data using inference (rather than explicit reference). In his conception, it relies on XML data formats and the ability to use common elements to translate between one and the other.

It's not a terribly easy concept to grok at first, but the basic premise is that in data transformation, you only need to know the two steps closest to you in order to translate (and process) data from numerous other sources. As long as we know how to get from A to B and B to C, we can go straight from A to C.

The vision of the Semantic Web, therefore, is of a Web that is completely transparent, because XML data encapsulation and transformation is ultimately universal, albeit with the presence of an unknown number of intermediate steps.

Re:Care to explain? (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133639)

I'm dubious

I have yet to see "semantic web" fully explained, but Wikipedia is giving some good insight [wikipedia.org] into it, especially into its nebulousness. It is supposed to make web (or in this case, desktop) documents machine-readable.

TFA deals not with the Semantic Web, but rather the "semantic desktop". As it says, "Semantic Web researchers believe the tool will prove a breakthrough for semantic technology. By encouraging people to add semantic meta-data to the information stored on their machines they hope it could succeed where other semantic tools have failed".

HTML had "semantic tools" built in - keywords.
<meta meta name="description" content="Auto Mechanics">
<meta name="keywords" content="auto, mechanincs, wrench, sex, penis, tits, clit, boobs">

You see how it was abused. Any more advanced semantic tools will be similarly abused.

There are other problems, as the wikipedia article explains:

Practical feasibility
Critics question the basic feasibility of a complete or even partial fulfillment of the semantic web. Some develop their critique from the perspective of human behavior and personal preferences, which ostensibly diminish the likelihood of its fulfillment (see e.g., metacrap). Other commentators object that there are limitations that stem from the current state of software engineering itself (see e.g., Leaky abstraction).

Where semantic web technologies have found a greater degree of practical adoption, it has tended to be among core specialized communities and organizations for intra-company projects.[12] The practical constraints toward adoption have appeared less challenging where domain and scope is more limited than that of the general public and the World-Wide Web.[12]

[edit] An unrealized idea
The original 2001 Scientific American article by Berners-Lee described an expected evolution of the existing Web to a Semantic Web.[13] Such an evolution has yet to occur. Indeed, a more recent article from Berners-Lee and colleagues stated that: "This simple idea, however, remains largely unrealized."[14]

[edit] Censorship and privacy
Enthusiasm about the semantic web could be tempered by concerns regarding censorship and privacy. For instance, text-analyzing techniques can now be easily bypassed by using other words, metaphors for instance, or by using images in place of words. An advanced implementation of the semantic web would make it much easier for governments to control the viewing and creation of online information, as this information would be much easier for an automated content-blocking machine to understand. In addition, the issue has also been raised that, with the use of FOAF files and geo location meta-data, there would be very little anonymity associated with the authorship of articles on things such as a personal blog.

[edit] Doubling output formats
Another criticism of the semantic web is that it would be much more time-consuming to create and publish content because there would need to be two formats for one piece of data: one for human viewing and one for machines. However, many web applications in development are addressing this issue by creating a machine-readable format upon the publishing of data or the request of a machine for such data. The development of microformats has been one reaction to this kind of criticism.

Specifications such as eRDF and RDFa allow arbitrary RDF data to be embedded in HTML pages. The GRDDL (Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Language) mechanism allows existing material (including microformats) to be automatically interpreted as RDF, so publishers only need to use a single format, such as HTML.

Semantic Web Article in CACM (2, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136025)

There's actually a pretty good introduction to the semantic web in this month's Communications of the ACM [acm.org]. You're right when you say that the semantic web is, as yet, mostly unrealized. But it has huge potential.

Relational databases were in the same position in the late 60's/early 70's. We needed ways to combine and extract information automatically with a simple and expressive language. Relational database management systems, combined with SQL were the result of that, and they were a smashing success. They are now a standard business tool. The key to that success is essentially the role that the database's ontology plays in an RDBMS.

Having spent a lot of time professionally and academically working with and studying database technologies, most of the work is in understanding your data. Specifically, building a data model. A well-built data model is essentially an ontology. There are various techniques used to make sure that your can be handled automatically, mainly by normalization. This requires a tremendous amount of work on the part of the database designer, but the end result is that the end-user can query this data in fairly simple terms and get an enormous richness of data, sometimes in ways that even the database designer did not foresee. I think the success of database systems is what is driving a lot of the work in building the semantic web.

So you can see-- the big problem with the web is not just that data is not just unstructured, but that there are no standardized ontologies out there. RDF is an attempt to solve some of these problems simply, because you can embed your ontology, but it may be well off. On the other hand, if new tools make structuring data very easy or natural, people may be motivated to do the extra work because they'll personally benefit from it. For example, many people annotate or organize their photo collections naturally, so that they can share them with others. A smart photo gallery software writer may be able to come along and take advantage of that behavior to further enhance the meaning of that data.

Re:Semantic Web Article in CACM (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137877)

Right. There seems to be a huge amount of (almost wilful) misunderstanding about what the Semantic Web is trying to achieve.

I think the simplest way to describe it is 'networked databases'.

We already understand databases, and don't have any philosophical problems with 'but what does the data MEAN' and 'but what if it's WRONG'.

Why is it so hard to believe that we could advertise data on the Web in a similar way? And then link small, trusted data islands up into larger webs?

That's all the Semantic Web is trying to do: put data on the Web. Put like that, it seems obvious, doesn't it?

Re:Care to explain? (1)

danboarder (773630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136875)

If web content is readable and meaningful to me than it already has inherent meaning. Semantic tagging duplicates effort. Google shows us that machines can read content directly, just like people. I see no need to create separate 'machine readable' meta content alongside the normal content.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137543)

Google shows us that machines can read content directly, just like people

Actually NOT "just like people". Google does a simple keyword search, then ranks the various hits in order by criteria they set up, like # of times the search term is repeated, how popular the site is, how many links go to the page returned, etc.

If you do a book search for "Tom Sawyer" you will get Huckleberry Finn returned, after the book "Tom Sawyer" most likely, but the machine will not read either book an any sense of what you would call "reading" and it will not know who Becky Thatcher is.

Computers cannot understand. They only maniplate symbols. Your computer doesn't know that two times two equals four any more than an old analog slide rule did.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26138039)

I have yet to see "semantic web" fully explained, but Wikipedia is giving some good insight [wikipedia.org] into it, especially into its nebulousness. It is supposed to make web (or in this case, desktop) documents machine-readable.

Talk about nebulous, look at the mission statment for the OSCA. What does that even MEAN?! It's ironic that an organization devoted to making information more easily consumable cannot even get a decent statement of purpose together.

And look, you have to pay to be a member. So the standards that nobody will even adhere to will be decided by corporations who are willing to pay for seats on the committee. I mean, isn't that basically what's wrong with the whole ODF/OOXML thing, as well as the W3C?

While I am on my soapbox, am I the only one severely annoyed by slashdot's web2.0-wannabe UI? It makes posting a real pain. Clicking the reply button results in an endless wait. The disease is spreading. First the firehose, then the idle page, then the comments on articles, and now the user profile pages. Will someone please stop the madness?

Re:Care to explain? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133665)

"Semantics" is information about meaning (whereas syntax is information about form). Semantic tools try to provide meaning by describing relationships between information atoms. The goal is to create systems which can answer questions like "how old is the president's oldest child?" with just the age, instead of listing all documents which contain the words "old" "president" "oldest" and "child".

Re:Care to explain? (4, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133763)

The Semantic Web is a failed attempt to extend the WWW via "semantic markup", which allows users/editors/etc to tag content (text, images, data) using a standard format that can be read, processed and exchanged by machines which can then give users more useful pointers to stuff that they care about.

The Semantic Web has failed for a bunch of reasons, with many people tending to blame the tools. However, those of us of a particular epistemological bent believe that it is doomed in principle as current conceived because "meaning" is a verb, not an adjective.

"These data mean X" is completely incoherent on this view of meaning, like saying "This smell of orange blossoms has Republican leanings." "Meaning" is simply not an attribute of data, any more than political tendencies are an attribute of scents.

The Semantic Web fails to capture almost everything about the entities that do the meaning (people) but instead is based on the belief that meaning is a property of data. Data inspires meaning, but meaning is something that humans do, and the Semantic Web has no effective mechanism for capturing this, although with sufficient markup by many individuals on the same data it should be possible to do something similar to ROC evaluation of the ways people mean, which would greatly enhance the utility of the Semantic Web.

A colleague who works in GIS pointed out an consequence of this phenomena to me many years ago when he described an experiment involving a bunch of geologists mapping a particular terrain. At the end of the day, after integrating all their inputs, he could tell who mapped where, but not what anybody mapped.

Re:Care to explain? (4, Insightful)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133915)

I've got a better reason why it failed that doesn't require delving into first year philosophy.

People are lazy. Look at any image database and figure out why it's difficult to find something. Because people don't want to spend 20 minutes filling in tags for a single image they just want to show off to their friends.

Now expand that to every other form of data type, and its easy to see why the semantic web never did, and never will take off without significant AI involvement.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

azgard (461476) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134043)

Not only that, but also, businesses are control freaks and do not like their websites to be easily processed by machines. They could just open their databases as well.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134047)

Add the people who fish and phish the net for clicks and passwords and you have a technology that's mainly interesting to those only seeking to abuse it. Not unlike the HTML meta tags today.

Re:Care to explain? (2, Informative)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135109)

People are lazy. Look at any image database and figure out why it's difficult to find something. Because people don't want to spend 20 minutes filling in tags for a single image they just want to show off to their friends.

And even when they do fill in the tags, they're sloppy about it. Things get misspelled and mislabeled all the time. Most people are very inconsistent about labeling even when they're trying their best to do an honest, thorough job. Okay, let me tag this photo "wife", because has my wife as the subject. And "boat" because she's standing on a boat. And "ocean", because that's where the boat is. Better make that "Atlantic Ocean". Let's add the month, year, and day, too. And the time of day. There. Now I can query for "all pictures of my wife in the Atlantic on a dark and stormy night". Oh, wait, I forgot to tag the weather...

Of course, this doesn't even touch on the problem of people just plain lying about their data to make it more appealing to possible viewers. I want the picture to show in search engines, so I'll tag it "nude", "pr0n", and "teen". Those tags have nothing to do with the picture, of course, but they'll get it noticed.

I don't expect a Semantic Revolution to happen as long as fallible, inconsistent, lying, cheating humans are in the loop.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137623)

There. Now I can query for "all pictures of my wife in the Atlantic on a dark and stormy night". Oh, wait, I forgot to tag the weather...

I would imagine that one of the goals of the Semantic Web would be that you would tag your photo with:

wife boat latitude longitude timestamp

and then "dark and stormy night in the Atlantic ocean" could be determined without explicit tags.

That's the idea. (4, Informative)

Balinares (316703) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136027)

> ... the semantic web never did, and never will take off without significant AI involvement.

I understand that the point of Nepomuk is to allow for automated tagging by the standard tools of the KDE desktop. For instance, say you receive a picture from an IM contact who KDE also knows (through the address book framework, Akonadi) lives in Europe.

Then Nepomuk would allow you to make search queries as "Bring up all the pictures that people living in Europe sent me last week". Well, that's the theoretical goal anyway; we will see if they ever get there.

There's one nifty application already: you can create a Folder View plasmoid on your desktop, and instead of making it display ~/Desktop/ as usual, you can make it display the result of a query through the Nepomuk KIO slave. See here [osnews.com] how it works.

Porn, seriously (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136587)

I wonder if there's an application that will do as you suggest in even more structured environments where such things really ought to be easily possible.

I'd give a minor digit if my Usenet newsreader would tag every download with where I got it from, when, who posted it, and a few other items that should be easily and consistently retrievable from the message headers (that supposedly conform to a defined format). I'd also love it if my web browser would tag every right-click/downloaded picture with the URL it came from and maybe a few other data elements.

Alas, I suppose it's too late for me. Terabytes of unlabeled, unsorted content will probably remain on my computers until long past my demise.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136369)

Apparently light from my point will not be reaching you for at least a few thousand years, as you've made a suggestion (AI involvement) that is doomed to fail for exactly the reasons I laid out in my original post.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134331)

Man, I want to get my hand on some of those Orange Blossoms you got! Two and then pass it man, don't hog it.

Re:Care to explain? (2, Interesting)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134597)

I disagree. First of all, the semantic web is just about allowing content creators to associate context with their content [blogspot.com] to facilitate a context sensitive search. The semantic web has lackluster adoption because google does a great job at context sensitive search without the context providing meta-data markup.

A more limited version of semantic web has achieved some notable traction. Microformats [blogspot.com] are another way of associating context with content that is more agreeable with content providers.

A more compelling technology offering than Nepomuk for advancing semantic web would be Reuters' OpenCalais [opencalais.com] project. That's the one you should be watching. Another interesting trend to watch is how semantic web is affecting the more popular collective intelligence [blogspot.com] movement.

Re:Care to explain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134727)

The Semantic Web is not a failed attempt at anything. It is a work-in-progress. The standard RDF query language SPARQL was only finalized this year.

Your tirades about meaning are also meaningless. First of all, "meaning" is neither an adjective, nor a verb - its a noun. More importantly, the Semantic Web has nothing to do with representing subjective meaning like "These data mean X", it has to do with representing objective facts, like "Slashdot user 464814 has the username radtea", but in a standardized, universal way.

You got that exactly backwards (4, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135303)

The Semantic Web is a failed attempt to extend the WWW via "semantic markup", which allows users/editors/etc to tag content (text, images, data) using a standard format that can be read, processed and exchanged by machines which can then give users more useful pointers to stuff that they care about.

You got that exactly backwards.

The WWW was an earlier doomed attempt at semantic markup, and up until the summer of '93 or so it looked like it might work. That's when the early rants about people using the tags to control layout instead of too convey meta information (e.g. using em to get italics in a bibliography, dt/dd to make roman numeral lists, etc.) started--or at least when I first became aware of them. In fact, pretty much the entire history of HTML has been a tension between the language's designers and purist, who want users to care about what markup means, even if it does nothing, and the vast majority of users who only care about what it does regardless of the "meaning" that may be ascribed to it. Once you can get your head around both perspectives some of the goofier things in the whole tawdry history (the Table Wars, XML, CSS) make a lot more sense.

Ok, a little more sense. But only if you already knew what people are like.

--MarkusQ

Re:You got that exactly backwards (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136257)

You need to distinguish between document semantics, which is what the SGML purists wanted for HTML, and real world semantics, which is what the Semantic Web people want. It is indeed instructive to note that the document semantics crowd completely failed in their fight to separate the presentation layer from the document model.

The only mechanism that has gained any general traction is CSS, which is about as far from a "real" document-semantics-based styling language as you can get, and I'm betting I'll have to wait a long time for an XSLT-compliant browser.

Regardless of cause, given the failure of semantic markup in such a limited and controlled scope, it is very unlikely that it will succeed with the richness and complexity of all the data in the world.

Re:You got that exactly backwards (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26138029)

"Regardless of cause, given the failure of semantic markup in such a limited and controlled scope, it is very unlikely that it will succeed with the richness and complexity of all the data in the world."

What the heck is *with* this argument? It's completely false.

Look, we already have exactly the same thing as what the Semantic Web is trying to do: it's called SQL. Oh noes! Trying to describe real world information on a computer will fail! It's impossible!

And yet, impossible or not, we have databases. And your desktop is full of semantic markup.

Your digital camera, that takes photos, did you know it does 'semantic markup'? But it does. EXIF data attaches time, date, shutter settings to your JPG. Your MP3 collection has 'semantic markup' - the ID3 tags show title, author, album. Your email has 'semantic markup' in its headers and in the folder that you sort it into. Your calendar has 'semantic markup' in its time and date fields; if you have iCalendar, you can publish this to the Web.

Wikipedia is full of semantic markup, in its 'category' tags and links and in all those little infoboxes on each page. There's now a Semantic MediaWiki fork which uses RDF to store that data so you can query it.

The Semantic Web is nothing but an attempt to *standardise data representation* so you can do SQL-type queries between data sources you trust but might not reside on your machine: your photo collection, your MP3s, your friends' calendars. It's nothing more magical than web-distributed RDF, which is nothing but SQL restricted to triples, ie, tables of two columns. And we already understand SQL.

Quit the philosophical strawmen and realise that what you claim is impossible is *already happening*.

The reason we don't yet have *massive* RDF adoption is that it takes a while for people to catch on to the kind of crosslinking that can be done between applications; we've been trained by Windows to believe that linking data and creating mashups is *hard* and should only be done by experts. But things like Nepomuk are showing slowly how it can be done.

Re:Care to explain? (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136145)

Actually, I'd say it's too early to say that the Semantic Web has failed. What has clearly failed for now is the vision for how the technology was to be used.

For one thing, it turned out that really, really clever textual matching is a lot more powerful than anybody thought possible. Twenty years or so ago, you'd have thought that you'd need to have some kind of sophisticated metadata to do the kinds of stuff we take for granted in Google today. I turns out that a technology that turns a needle in a haystack into a box of needles with some straw mixed in is pretty darned useful. Human intelligence picks the needle of meaning from the straw of superficial matches pretty effectively.

But what about non-human intelligence?

Well, here is another failure of the vision. Clearly, a semantic web is much more friendly to non-human agents. However, the whole agent philosophy of software design is extremely failure prone. A project which makes a resource easier to use for people is a safer bet than one which tries to replace human reason.

That said, you have the wrong end of the stick, philosophically. It is because meaning is not an attribute of data that we need semantic technology, It might be less contentious and pretentious if we simply call it "metadata".

If I want to find the rate of a certain disease in each county, the numerator is quite easy: I count all the instances of the disease. But the denominator turns out to be tricky, because of what I call the curious case of the dog barking in the night: some counties don't report any cases because they don't have any, others lack the technical capability to detect it.

Consider a county that can't detect the disease. I ought to exclude that county from the denominator in my rate calculations. On the other hand, a county which can detect ought to be included in the denominator, even if it reports no cases. However, since it found no cases, what we usually have is an absence of data which looks identical to the absence in counties that aren't capable.

You have to have the metadata to tell these cases apart. You have to have a model saying such and such a lab protocol is capable of detecting such and so set of infectious agents, and then you need metadata linking each data set to the appropriate model. You can do it by hand, manually discarding the data for counties you know you can't use, but this is really quite awkward when you cosider that the situation can change from year to year, or even within a year.

The model aspect presents a considerable can of worms. For any purpose, you want enough model, but no more than that. This is akin to the situation of novice designers who set out to create object frameworks before the have defined the software application. For us to share data we have to have some common model of things (although our terminology may differ). On the other hand it is certain our models disagree with each other; we want enough shared model to work together without forcing our entire model on each other, which is impractical.

The point is that you can't guess all the kinds of uses that future users as yet unknown might want to put data to, what kind of meaning they might extract from it. That's why search engine technology works so well: you put your stuff on the web and it gets spidered by Google: no guesswork needed. The Semantic Web, on the other hand, requires anticipating how the data will be used, which limits its usefulness. The "limits" here are, however ones of scope; the Semantic Web can't do everything, it certainly can't take the place of Google. Within the scope of its potential applications, it could be very useful indeed.

The Semantic Web is like an onion... (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136741)

...or a parfait...whatever.

It has layers. At the outermost layer, on the scale of the WWW, "conveying meaning" as you describe is indeed futile. Cory Doctorow's "Metacrap" essay sums it up nicely (linked to in this discussion thread): People are dishonest, lazy and stupid when it comes to metadata...and when they aren't there is no way to impose standards that more than one person would agree to insofar as imparting meaning on data.

However even Doctorow admits metadata, at some level and taken in context, can be useful. "Laziness" may be one of the hallmarks of a good programmer, but it is "false laziness" in information management to throw out ANY idea of semantic markup.

There are good examples of useful, easily implemented semantic markup or meta-data. "Self-documenting code" is a prime example. Effective use of comments helps maintainability immensely. It also helps to give variables and functions names more useful than i, j, k (if not used as simple loop counters) or doSomething(). Does it help make your code more machine readable? Not at all--it doesn't make your compiler produce tighter binary code or whatever, but it is essential for maintainability, and it IS semantic markup.

In terms of WWW development, semantic markup need not delve deep into the true meaning of content. Web documents would be IMMENSELY more useful of they simply provided "semantic structure". There is very limited utility in a web page that is one big table element consisting of a JPEG Jigsaw of image links, or worse one big embedded flash object. Merely using (X)HTML properly can provide useful semantic structure: Stop using tables for layout, unless you are actually presenting a TABLE of data, and for all you CSS freaks out there, tables are your friends, STOP fashioning tabular data out of DIVs and SPANs--a calendar is a TABLE of dates--it's OK to use TABLEs! If you are making an ordered or unordered list then use OL or UL--that's what they're there for!

So, without resorting to meta tags--completely within the confines of a globally accepted standard--you now have a document with "structural semantics". You can now preform searches for a "table containing a column named 'x'" or an "image named 'y'" or "a heading containing the word 'z'" and you've done nothing but simply properly marked up your document with HTML.

Then you can start working your way to the outer layers to the point where enough people can come to a common ground. Once you've got PROPERLY marked up content with real structural semantics you can use class and rel and other attributes to provide more meaningful semantics. For example, don't use class="bigredbold" in a span simply for the purpose of applying CSS styles. Instead, use class="criticalerror". This is not part of any standard and doesn't help the machine parse any better, but the output of that parsed information can then be interpreted by humans much easier. There need not be rigid standards for this to be useful semantics.

THOSE are the layers where semantic markup can be powerful tools. Simple semantic content can evolve into a general consensus and even a standard: Microformats are a prime example. Facebook doesn't apply rigid semantic web standards to its photo album for example, but being able to simply tag people, places and events is very useful.

The biggest limiting factors of the "semantic web" revolve around "leaky abstractions" and the simple fact that the more people involved in interpretation of content the less they can completely agree on its meaning. This will ALWAYS limit how close you can get to the "outer layers" of semantics in content on the internet. However, at the desktop (or small workgroup) level, there is but one person that imparts meaning on personal data, and a limited audience of consumers. If a solid structure is provided to allow the user to apply their own meaning then the user can have their own personal semantic standards at the outer layers.

I think that is where something like Nepomuk could succeed where internet-wide semantic standards fail to gain traction. People are lazy but they DO devote more effort to organising their own personal data vs. what is on a web app. I do make more effort to tag photos with metadata in F-spot for example. If there is a "structural-level" standard that could be applied to all files so I can tag spreadsheets, photos, databases, addressbook contacts...whatever..and I could follow one simple, consistent process to apply my own metadata and search and organise on that data then it is very useful.

Re:The Semantic Web is like an onion... (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26138199)

"I think that is where something like Nepomuk could succeed where internet-wide semantic standards fail to gain traction. People are lazy but they DO devote more effort to organising their own personal data vs. what is on a web app. I do make more effort to tag photos with metadata in F-spot for example. If there is a "structural-level" standard that could be applied to all files so I can tag spreadsheets, photos, databases, addressbook contacts...whatever..and I could follow one simple, consistent process to apply my own metadata and search and organise on that data then it is very useful."

Yes, exactly. I have been wanting something like this for several years now.

I'm sick of how our desktop applications still organise data into little silos that don't communicate. All this data - photos, MP3s, email, IMs, Web bookmarks, text documents - has a fairly rigid structure, or well-defined metadata. So representing it as RDF presents no major semantic problems - the schema's already been defined.

The main problem is infrastructural: we still have this belief that we need to 'run an application' to access a piece of data. I have to 'launch my mailer' to read an email; I have to launch my browser to read a web page; I have to launch Word to read a Word document, and so on. Even if I don't want the whole GUI experience and just want to correlate some metadata. I don't even have a way to *talk* about correlating metadata between Word and my MP3 collection.

We've somehow linked *knowledge* to *human-initiated, application-centred tasks* -- and I blame object oriented programming for spreading this idea by binding 'code' and 'data' together -- but the two are nowhere near the same, and this linkage really limits what I can delegate to my computer.

An MP3 *song* is not an instance of an MP3 *player*, a Word *document* is not an instance of the Word GUI. Nouns and verbs should *not* be tightly bound together. I should be able to analyse the files (nouns) in my system completely independently of the 'user interfaces' (verbs) I can use to manipulate them. But so far, I can't.

Some kind of desktop-wide data framework that can let me construct queries between the structured *data* represented by my emails, my MP3s, my calendar and my photos, for instance, would let me create whole new forms of 'application' or 'applet' on the fly. And blur the distinction between 'user' and 'application developer' in the same way that creating SQL queries blurs the distinction between 'database user' and 'database administrator'.

I've used database systems where users can't construct ad-hoc queries - they're painful, just like today's Windows desktops.

We never should have separated those roles in the first place, and if RDF can take us back to letting *me* decide how to use and interpret *my data*, that's a step forward.

Re:Care to explain? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135379)

Basically, think of the tags that are at the bottom of slashdot articles. You can tag them with things like PATRIOT ACT, or EFF, or whatever, and in theory, its going to help you search slashdot and get more relavant articles in your search. Now, when you add that capability to the unwashed internet masses, you see things like story tags with "No" or "itsatrap" or whatever crap people think is funny, which is funny, but ruins its main purpose of helping people find information. Multiply that by the number of non-technical people using the internet (since slashdot has a tech-minded crowd, and knows they are breaking it) and you see where the real problem becomes..

Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133593)

Please, starting patenting things. And "granting permission" to open source communities.

And refuse to companies.

Would that work?

As a KDE 4 user... (5, Informative)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133599)

I've tried out Nepomuk and, while I have to say that it's promising, it's got miles to go before it's even near ready. The main problem is application support. Sure, you can rate and tag and describe your files in the Dolphin file browser. So what? You can do the same in Vista. This doesn't mean anything if applications don't hook into this and make use of it. Of the apps I've used, Gwenview (a photo viewer) has Nepomuk partially implemented but it's buggy and you need to compile it yourself with it explicitly enabled (this will apparently change in KDE 4.2). Digikam, which allows you to rate, tag, and describe photos already, says that they have no plans of integrating with Nepomuk anytime soon. Amarok 2 has work towards a Nepomuk collection, but the devs say that this will always run along side the main, MySql-based collection and it's nowhere near ready yet. My email is in the cloud so I can't even begin to talk about KDE-PIM's support or lack thereof.

The other problem at the moment is a lack of ability to query your semantic data. Can I get anything to show all photos with my wife in them that I've rated four or above? Not at the moment. Hopefully this is coming in KDE 4.2, but as it stands at the moment it makes Nepomuk a case of write-only memory.

So, maybe something to get excited about in the future, but not quite yet.

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

leobard (1066778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134093)

speed. details. thats up to optimizers.
From what I know about all this, I would say that you get an open, w3c standardized destkop search engine. A slow fruit, but it is open and can grow, compare that to patented-getNervousBeforePublishingWinFS-microsoft.
probably the query thing is possible, but you have to learn the standardized SPARQL language first (oh joy) but wait and see:

Can I get anything to show all photos with my wife in them that I've rated four or above?

someone who has programming skills and also wants to see the pictures of his wife and rating>4 will hopefully help us all by implementing the search UI :-)

/slashdot-humour=ON
... and of course there is a general interest in pictures of your wife rated 4+
/slashdot-humour=OFF

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135563)

Just use digiKam for photos. You can search photos by all metadata what is included to photos. Even that digiKam uses SQlite, you can sync metadata between database and photos.

In future, there should come a API to sync database with nepomuk. But currently not planned because nepomuk is not so well implented for KDE4 or the KDE4 at all. Just like all can notice that you cant search files any other way easily than using the kickoff or lancelot menu search bar.

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134203)

Can I get anything to show all photos with my wife in them that I've rated four or above?

Can I get something to show me all the photos of your wife that you've rated four or above?

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134547)

I still don't get the case for semantic-web, -desktop, -anything.

I think one of the reasons people are slow to adopt it is because people don't know what the heck it is, or can't imagine how it could benefit them in any way.

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136153)

That one I can answer.

Folders are only so useful at organizing things and we are rapidly approaching the point in our digital lives where we can accumulate far more than we'll ever realisticly be able to handle using the "folder" method.

The unfortunate part, as others have pointed out, is that without some sort of significant AI involvement, semantic anything is unlikely to ever reach critical mass.

If you have 25 gigs of family videos and pictures, it's highly unlikely that if you don't have the time to seperate and sort it into the individual folders most suited to each file, you definately don't have the time to intelligently analysis and tag each file with approrpiate values.

On the other hand, despite the horrible ad campaigns [doobybrain.com] concerning racism and underage threesomes, or the outcry concering privacy [techcrunch.com], it sounds as if we are getting to the point where AI actually can make a useful contribution to the system.

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137493)

Doesn't the fact that it hasn't taken off indicate that it's not needed, though?

More to the point, what's the benefit to, say, Amazon.com? Or Google? Or any of the big companies that would have to spearhead this on the web before the general population got involved?

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26138245)

As much as we'd like to believe that the lack of something existence proves it isn't needed, it's not always the case. Often it simply means that we've found measures that work in the interim that may or may not continue to serve us as the need grows.

There is a reason why they didn't have TV's in the 1800's. And it's not because people back in the 1800's wouldn't have enjoyed them.

Semantic "anything" hasn't taken off because as of yet we don't have the tools necessary to make something semantic in an easy, painless way.

Right now, I have to do it all by hand. And therefore I don't. The only people who do are a select handful of 'true believers'.

When I can take a picture and automatically have it stamped with the place name it was taken, the names of the identifiable people in it, and even the colors of the shirts and pants being worn. I guarantee you that people will use it. They might not use it to its full effect, any more than most people use Google to its full extent. But it will get traction.

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134723)

So currently it is just Yet another tagging system .. .that has the ability of sharing the tags with your friends ... the data on my computer is private... that's why it is on my computer and not on my Facebook/MySpace/Bebo etc site....

Another poorly implemented, mis-aimed application by I researchers ...!?

Re:As a KDE 4 user... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134913)

Can I get anything to show all photos with my wife in them that I've rated four or above?

Another problem is that you have to have it tagged, if you don't tag all the images with a given person in it, then it's not going to show up in a search.

I think that's also an issue with Semantic web too, not only do items have to be tagged, the tags have to be accurate and trustworthy. It sounds like a nice system that can be undone by a bunch of tag spamming bozos. It will work better under a controlled environment.

and as a KDE 3 user... (1, Offtopic)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137143)

I've tried out Nepomuk and, while I have to say that it's promising, it's got miles to go before it's even near ready.

Unfortunately the same can also be said of KDE 4 in general...

Horrible name. (2, Insightful)

haeger (85819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133627)

NepoMUCK? Anything ending in "MUCK" doesn't sound like a good product. The concept is very interesting but the name isn't the best I've seen.

I'm glad that they don't prefix everything with K though.

Yes, I know that Nepomuk means "Networked Environment for Personalized, Ontology-based Management of Unified Knowledge" as stated in the article.

.haeger

Re:Horrible name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133711)

I'm pretty surprised it's not NepomuK or KnepomuK or something equally stupid.

Re:Horrible name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133895)

Yes, like gimp, gnome, bonobo, ximian, mono,... Apparently there is no good names out there.

Re:Horrible name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133857)

It's the name of a munk. Blame the Church.

Re:Horrible name. (4, Funny)

shadwstalkr (111149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133955)

Yes, I know that Nepomuk means "Networked Environment for Personalized, Ontology-based Management of Unified Knowledge" as stated in the article.

I assumed it was KumOpen (come open) backwards. I think the real acronym is even stupider than that.

Re:Horrible name. (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134505)

Yep, that was my first thought as well. Quickly followed by wondering if 'into a collaboration environment which supports both the personal information management and the sharing and exchange across social and organizational relations' was some kind of euphemism for, eh, group pr0n of some kind.

Oh, well, either they have much less dirty minds than mine, or someone's desire for well-indexed pr0n browsing has gotten slightly out of hand.

Obscure reference provided here. (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137209)

I assumed it was KumOpen (come open) backwards. I think the real acronym is even stupider than that.

The official acronym is very contrived so I'm sure it is a "backronym". I also suspect a group of tall-foreheads would deliberately come up with a project name with a suggestive reference like that either.

Google and Wikipedia provide the most likely possibilities for the origin:

Nepomuk is a town in the Czech Republic, in the "kraj" (province or region) called "Pilsen". given this fact, here are some posibilities to explain the name:

* Nepomuk is the birthplace of St. John of Nepomuk, who is considered "the protector from floods". Nepomuk (the project) is intended to aid users in dealing with "a flood" of information.

* Nepomuk was a Bohemian town before the establishment of the Czech Republic. Perhaps they named the project Nepomuk as an indirect reference to anti-establishment viewpoints and free exchange of information/property/etc. assoicated with Bohemian culture.

* Nepomuk is in a region bordering Germany, and this project is headed by a German group. Perhaps a German project lead was born or raised in nearby Nepomuk and named the project after his home town.

* Pilsen is where Pilsner-style beer was invented. Engineers like beer. Code-names are often named after objects of affection. Mmmm...beeer.

Re:Obscure reference provided here. (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137411)

It's also the middle name of J. N. Hummel [wikipedia.org], Austrian classical composer of the 18th/19th centuries. AFAIK, he has nothing whatsoever to do with those cutesy ceramic figurines old ladies like to collect.

Re:Horrible name. (1)

kwandar (733439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134209)

The name MUD didn't seem to bother users and MUDs were (maybe still are?) quite popular. I don't think your concerns hold up.

Re:Horrible name. (1)

socha23 (1137849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137141)

Yes, but consider this: currently, most popular games of that type are called MMORPGs, not MMUDs. And the 'Roleplaying Game' part didn't change at all.

Re:Horrible name. (1)

oren (78897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135959)

Neopmuk was the half-dragon in "Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver". His mother was a Hippopotamus. Pleasant enough character and all, but I hope the code looks more like the excellent book and less like a half-dragon, half-hippopotamus hybrid. Yuck!

Re:Horrible name. (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136395)

Oh, shut up. What the fuck is wrong with this site these days, I could swear users here have become more interested in marketing than in technology after OS X became popular.

Nepomuk is the name of one of KDE's small underlying technologies, it's not used for sales and marketing, just like khtml isn't used for sales and marketing. Just shut up if you don't have anything interesting to say.

Re:Horrible name. (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137085)

Yes, I know that Nepomuk means "Networked Environment for Personalized, Ontology-based Management of Unified Knowledge" as stated in the article.

John of Nepomuk is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, a patron against calumnies and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods.

patron against calumnies sounds good for this kind of project. And he protects us from syn floods.

I'm glad that they don't prefix everything with K though.

NEPOMUK brings together researchers, industrial software developers, and representative industrial users, to develop a comprehensive solution for extending the personal desktop into a collaboration environment which supports both the personal information management and the sharing and exchange across social and organizational relations.

A quick look at their webpage would have told you that it's not a KDE project. KDE just has the first usable (kinda) implementation.

But hey, this is slashdot. If we used google before posting what would people do with all their mod-points.

Cluster analysis (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133995)

I've been experimenting with metadata and blogs, and specifically the cluster analysis of those conversations on the web - so far so good ( http://www.wallcloud.net/ [wallcloud.net] ). I'm really interested in seeing how our desktops change as our information starts "clumping" together for us - our contacts, files, work items, etc arranging themselves on screen. I'd love to have a dev tool that would allow me to right click and jump to the SQL table I'm hovering in the code, and maybe gesture to bring up jobs that intersect with those tables. I think our work will one day be more like origami - unfold and turn find related information...

I doubt it will catch on... (2, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134021)

And I'll tell you why.

The Nepomuk Web site wants to make me chew my own arm off. Now, I'm familar with the Semantic Web, I'm excited by the idea of semantic organisation. But this site is the epitome of grim, lifeless European research-ese. It completely fails to convey the technological approach, how it works, or why you should give a damn. I get the impression that the team was more interested in the EC funding then actually developing a disruptive technology.

Why why can't researchers spend 15 minutes thinking about how to convey the importance and excitement of what they are trying to do in terms of practical examples.

I'm afraid you'll probably have to wait until some enterprising 3rd party to grab the source and build some of the technology into a different product.

Re:I doubt it will catch on... (2, Informative)

leobard (1066778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134245)

The Nepomuk Web site wants to make me chew my own arm off.

ha, good one.

Why why can't researchers spend 15 minutes thinking about how to convey the importance and excitement of what they are trying to do in terms of practical examples.

There are some, but they are not very elegant:

http://dev.nepomuk.semanticdesktop.org/wiki/UsingNepomuk [semanticdesktop.org]
http://dev.nepomuk.semanticdesktop.org/wiki/UsingDropBox [semanticdesktop.org]
Or check out the KDE stuff:
http://nepomuk.kde.org/discover/user [kde.org]
also in cute little moving pictures:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8oavLQeAjM [youtube.com]

Re:I doubt it will catch on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134797)

You're totally on the money with this. EU projects dont really care if you get anything done. Its 98% about papers and bla bla.

Shmemantic (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134087)

Semantic shmemantic. It's so 2008, let it go.

Let's have a new buzzword for 2009. I nominate "emotional".

Redundant (2, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134123)

All information is semantic. This slashdot post is information encoded using English semantics. Unfortunately for the machines, the English semantics are way to complicated for them to understand. So they need a simpler set of grammar rules to be able to parse it. But why would anyone want to waste time marking it up just for the benefit of machine readability when google basically can accomplish the same thing without all that metadata markup cruft?

giorgio@elementi.ws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134249)

Dear friends,
I will summarize, for all of you, the semantic web in a few lines getting inspiration from this tool (which is, if we want, the semantic web narrowed to your workstations).

The only scope of this semantic tool should be that of:

1) Tagging pictures/whatever with tags like "my wife", "woman", "person" etc

2) Searching pictures using deduction (given an ontology,let's say a SCHEMA, that states something like: my wife (IS-A woman AND IS-A person))

then searching, e.g., for women' pictures, you will find also those of your wife and so on..
(definitions could be, of course, more complex).

Semantic web is all about this and any average joe can easily guess the following LITTLE (ahahah) problems:

1) Everything must be tagged.
2) Information must be TRUE (otherwise you will get bad deductions).
3) Ontologies, that is schemas stating what IT IS, should be shared (please don't die laughing)
3) Not all "SCHEMAS" can be deductible (the complexity of what you state is a huge COMPUTATIONAL problem).

finally: watch out .. there's a lot of hype around semantic web.. it's *ONLY - ahhaha* 8/9 years that researchers are trying to turn into business this s...t

Re:giorgio@elementi.ws (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134749)

1) Everything must be tagged.

Easy: Just have a bot add "untagged" tags to everything not yet tagged. Then it's tagged, because it's tagged "untagged".

2) Information must be TRUE (otherwise you will get bad deductions).

Also easy: Just remove all wrong information before making your deduction. OK, so how is the computer to know what is wrong? Well, that's of course again semantic information, so just tag anything wrong as "wrong". If some "wrong" tagging happens to be wrong, you can still tag that as "wrong" as well.

3) Ontologies, that is schemas stating what IT IS, should be shared (please don't die laughing)

Just upload them onto any p2p network. Sharing is what they are for, aren't they?

3) Not all "SCHEMAS" can be deductible (the complexity of what you state is a huge COMPUTATIONAL problem).

Well, if the software gets stuck, it still can ask a human.

Note to the humour impaired: Imagine a smiley after each sentence!

This indexing fad should curl up and die (1, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135319)

Everybody and his uncle tries to make systems that will index every piece of crap on your PC and it invariably results in a useless and horrible waste of resources. The biggest annoyance is trying to figure out how to turn these damn things off. Considering that the average user only searches for something once in several years, an on-demand search system makes far more sense.

Strigi/Nepomuk and JPEG comments (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136619)

Since this is on topic...and Nepomuk uses strigi components:

My problem: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-710966.html [gentoo.org]

I've tried contacting both strigi developers, other one doesn't respond and the other says "ask the other guy".

Anyway, I've got about 10000+ JPEGs off my digicams, all of them are commented - in the JPEGs internal comment field. When reading about strigi and other desktop search tools, I was thrilled - I could just search for stuff instead of my old standby jhead *.jpg | grep Comment | grep .

However, at least KDE 4.1 implementation seems to be based on some crappy database with proprietary format with no chance to import the metadata from elsewhere...and when using stand-alone strigi the whole thing doesn't seem to work. From all that I've read, I SHOULD be able to search e.g. all images that were taken with ISO >800 or whatever is in comment field (although there is apparently some confusion whether the comment is JPEG comment or EXIF comment).

Only problem that it doesn't work.

Anyway, I hate the idea of some separate "metadata-database". DB can be used for CACHING, but all the metadata should really be integral to the file itself. EXIF tags for images, ID3 tags for MP3s, and so on - that way if you copy/move the file all the attached information goes with it and requires no specific "transfer metadata too" support from the copy operation.

Anyway, has anyone on /. actually gotten strigi to work with image files/photos?

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