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Fluidinfo, Wikipedia For Databases

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-your-base-are-belong-to-us dept.

Databases 79

Slags writes "The idea behind Fluidinfo is that read-only information is just not as useful on the Web as openly writable information. Metadata is used routinely in the real world from name tags to post-it notes but it is much harder to apply metadata to information on the Internet. That is where Fluidinfo comes along. When information needs to be stored about an object the Fluidinfo database is queried. If the object exists in Fluidinfo, the information is appended to the object. If the object does not exist then it will be created and stored."

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79 comments

OK, so where's the data? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096410)

I didn't find a link where I can actually access any data (not even to read it).

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

telekon (185072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096442)

You have to sign up for API access. It looks liek this is early stages, plus they want to create an architecture for devs to build on, less than a site for browsing. So hopefully we'll see apps using their API soon. I'm going to play with it.

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097444)

There are a few browsers for Fluidinfo data beginning to pop up. The most accessible is at http://explorer.fluidinfo.com/ [fluidinfo.com] which lets you do almost anything (make objects, add tags and values, query, change tag perms, etc) but its interface isn't crystal clear. You can also get at the data using http://shell-fish.appspot.com/ [appspot.com] which is a browser based shell for interacting with Fluidinfo (type help). You can get visualizations of Fluidinfo objects at http://abouttag.appspot.com/ [appspot.com] You can search Fluidinfo about tags at http://abouttag.appspot.com/search [appspot.com] There are several other tools, but those are the main ones I'd suggest looking at to start with.

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098120)

The first thing I notice: It's incredibly slow. To be of practical use, it must speed up at least by the factor 100 (probably more; I've still no result for my first query, and that was one of the example queries shown by the help command!).

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098240)

Hi. You might want to try that again (btw, what was the query?). You have to keep in mind that we just got slashdotted :-) Sorry!

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098718)

Hi. You might want to try that again (btw, what was the query?). You have to keep in mind that we just got slashdotted :-) Sorry!

On shell-fish: show -q 'about = "Paris"' visited rating

It's a sample query from the help command.

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

q0 (1040214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37099038)

That's embarrassing: the documentation for fish was wrong.

The command should be:

show -q 'fluiddb/about = "Paris"' visited rating

If you try that, it should work in a reasonable time.

It's all my fault...I'll go and fix the documentation.

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37099216)

Indeed, with that it works quick.
However, I'd also consider hanging on an incorrect query a bug.

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

q0 (1040214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37099420)

And, of course, you're right. It seems to fail a bit more gracefully now, if you try the original ("bad") query again.

I don't think it was Fluidinfo that was misbehaving: as far as I can see it was giving a 400 error, which is OK. I think shell-fish's AJAX magic got confused, which is bad (and my fault).

Apologies again. I'll try to figure out what made it hang and fix it.

Re:OK, so where's the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37098812)

yea sites get slashdotted every day and the majority of them can handle it, that doesn't sound like a great start to an interactive service

Re:OK, so where's the data? (1)

ntoll (902042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098616)

The first thing I notice: It's incredibly slow. To be of practical use, it must speed up at least by the factor 100 (probably more; I've still no result for my first query, and that was one of the example queries shown by the help command!).

Yup, we're a start-up losing our Slashdot virginity... ;-)

deletionist (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096488)

just like Wikipedia has a web page for everything

So they're taking a bold anti-deletionist position. Good for them.

So what is it? (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096506)

Fluidinfo is an online information storage and search platform.

So what is it?

Fluidinfo provides a universal metadata engine because it has an object for everything imaginable, just like Wikipedia has a web page for everything.

So what is it?

Fluidinfo makes it possible for data to be social. It allows almost unlimited information personalization by individual users and applications, and also between them.

So what is it?

Re:So what is it? (4, Insightful)

oscartheduck (866357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096584)

It's a slashvertisement; the page linked to in the article is just the front page for the product. No news, no editorial, no review, no discussion (as you pointed out) of what it is. Nothing.

Re:So what is it? (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096738)

Fluidinfo named as Tim O’Reilly’s favorite startup
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I've lost track since '00, does Tim O'Reilly have a hand in Geeknet/slash now?

Re:So what is it? (3, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096594)

Fluidinfo is a database of metadata. But since metadata is really just data, Fluidinfo is really a database of data. Which is to say, it's a database. But there's a twist. You can make new "objects" at will. Kind of like most other databases, actually. But with even more of a twist, anyone can do that! Like what happens when you forget to secure your firewall. Then the excitement starts: You can add arbitrary key/value data -- metadata! -- to the object! Like a JOIN with another SQL table but with different semantics. But since the actual usage of the key/value pairs is not governed, you will have to collaborate with other users and applications through some external channel. The shared keys could be coordinated in an external database, for example.

Sarcasm aside, I'm sure this project is really cool and stuff, but the cynic in me thinks otherwise.

Re:So what is it? (2)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096716)

The Gist: http://blogs.fluidinfo.com/fluidinfo/2011/02/23/putting-domain-names-onto-data-with-fluidinfo/ [fluidinfo.com]
Example Object: http://blogs.fluidinfo.com/fluidinfo/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/book-object.png [fluidinfo.com]

My 15s appraisal:
They want to be the single-source OO database for 'everything'. Take all the data in wiki or any webpage ( assuming it's about an entity), extract any quantitative properties, ( Size, color, temperature, weight, Atomic Number... etc) and add them to Fluidinfo. Incorporate a way for domain names to 'brand' their data, and you how have a way of defeating spammers and griefers who are just going to setup bots to load crap into this OO database.

Way too many ways for this to fail imo. In the 'future' I expect the same info to simply be published by data owners. Or, simply extracted by an app for us running in a Google data center.. Actually... Wolfram Alpha already does this. but I think they threw people at the problem, not natural langue parser.

That said, wouldn't it be cool if ounce of knowledge was query-able in a semantic way? Yeah sure, it'd be cool. Don't hold your breathe we get their through Fluidinfo.

Re:So what is it? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096922)

So it's basically semantic web, but concentrated in a single server?

Re:So what is it? (1)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097224)

So because Web 2.0 has blown all it's buzzword potential they decided to give Usenet 2.0 a shot?

Re:So what is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097342)

Hey, why don't you decide to give proper apostrophe usage a shot?

Re:So what is it? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097704)

In a way, but it's much simpler than the semantic web stuff. It's more like post-it notes - walk up to anything and put a note containing anything onto any object you like. I don't think it should be a requirement that you have a PhD in CS to understand a data model (and in the case of the semantic web with its jungle of acronyms that's sometimes not enough). Fluidinfo has an object for everything, in a very simple way, and those things don't have to be URLs - they can be email addresses, zipcodes, DNA sequences, dates, names, whatever. You get to add any tag to any object you like, you have a permissions system for your tags, and a query language to find things. It's pretty simple. The most important aspect is that the objects don't have an owner - the tags do. It turns out that an openly writable object system like this changes some interesting things - though it takes a while to "get" it. One high level one that people often don't appreciate is that (digitally) we are frequently forced to put new information about something somewhere else - because we were not anticipated, because we don't have permission, etc.

Re:So what is it? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097640)

The problem with your model of "I expect the same info to simply be published by data owners. Or, simply extracted by an app for us running in a Google data center." is that many people (and apps) don't have a place to put things. And if they do, they put it all separately and it's less valuable (you can't search across it easily). The problem with having Google extract the metadata (as with microformats) is that then only the owners can add to it. Fluidinfo lets you put your data alongside other related info (just as in a wiki, though with good permissions), without asking for permission.

Re:So what is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37105466)

So basically it is a clone of FreeBase [freebase.com]

Re:So what is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096720)

Fluidinfo is a database of metadata. But since metadata is really just data, Fluidinfo is really a database of data. Which is to say, it's a database.

Dear Fluidinfo,

Please rename yourself to the YoDawg Database, and I'll consider giving you another look.

Love,
Anonymous Coward

Re:So what is it? (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097334)

My interpretation is that it's freebase.com but with a different (easier?) API, loose (or absent) semantics, and no starting data.

Re:So what is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37098302)

My interpretation is that it's freebase.com but with a different (easier?) API, loose (or absent) semantics, and no starting data.

There are some similarities with Freebase, but the two projects really have different goals. Freebase, from what I know of it, is very interested in categories of data and ontologies, whereas Fluidinfo aims to be a more general-purpose datastore. For example, if you search Freebase for "numbers" you'll see Apple's application and the Lost episode among other results, but they take you to different objects. As far as I can tell, Freebase doesn't recognize any connection between "numbers" the program and "numbers" the episode, other than the search results page. On the other hand, Fluidinfo not only allows these connections, but encourages them through the use of About Tags (http://doc.fluidinfo.com/fluidDB/about.html). In Fluidinfo the tags for these two different objects would likely be placed on the same object, the object about "numbers." This may sound a bit odd at first, and it certainly isn't the best example, but it allows applications and people to share data in a way that Freebase cannot, and afaik doesn't want to.

Re:So what is it? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098326)

There are some pretty big differences from Freebase. All their data was readable. There were no perms and therefore no way to build apps with private or shared data. Freebase was also very heavily into ontology (which I guess is what you're getting at with your reference to semantics), whereas Fluidinfo is heavily into evolution (of representation, convention, reputation & trust). There's actually quite a bit of data in Fluidinfo, but we've not done a good job of making that obvious yet. Hop onto #fluidinfo on irc.freenode.net if you'd like to hear more in real time. Or comment further, etc. Thanks!

Re:So what is it? (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097466)

Sarcasm aside, I'm sure this project is really cool and stuff, but the cynic in me thinks otherwise.

Same here. Why do I get the feeling that my name, address, and birth-date will be stored in this DB and all spammers will have easy and immediate access to it? More importantly, what's to keep them from doing that?

Re:So what is it? (2)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097556)

Hi. I know, it's easy to be a cynic - I'm great at it :-) I'm happy to help you understand if you like. There is a perms system on tags, so you don't have to collaborate with others over the data you add to objects. Your tags are in your namespace, like lordgrey/rating and you control them. And sure, it's a database (in fact it used to be called FluidDB). It's also a Turing Machine :-) The main point it that normally when people or apps have information about something (a URL, an email address, a zipcode, a name, whatever) they are forced to store it somewhere else - by which I mean you normally can't just add your own information to the digital objects you bump into. That's because you weren't anticipated, the data structure doesn't support you, you don't have permission, etc. So you (and your apps) end up putting your data elsewhere - in another database, behind another API, etc. - and that information is then less valuable than it could be. Fluidinfo is like wikipedia for data - anyone, or any app, can contribute data about anything - no questions asked, don't stop to ask permission. The incremental information (metadata, if you like) becomes more valuable because it is stored in context and can be queried with other related but independent information on the same object. Humans work like that all the time in the real world, but it's usually impossible in the digital world.

Re:So what is it? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096598)

So what is it?

It's a database about data. Who's data? What data? What kind of data about data? Who knows.

Re:So what is it? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097792)

It's any data - yours or anyone who cares to add it. You can add tags to objects, and the tag values can be null, Boolean, numbers, strings, sets of strings. But they can also be anything you like: PDF, binaries, audio, etc., each with a MIME type (and you can make up your own MIME type if you like). So you can store HTML, CSS, JS tags onto objects in Fluidinfo and get at them through your browser. Or anything else you like.

Re:So what is it? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096748)

from the blurb it actually sounds like it's another spin on so called "context web" or "flock".

looking at the site, it seems it's that idea expanded to random strings that can have a random number of strings as attributes which can.. and then calling those object.

tags mentioned, of course. there's also some api, which I guess is the main entree here, actually. but I still fail to see the advantage and practicality and freshness of this... an article which would have done some performance testing etc etc on it, now that would have been interesting and useful.

Re:So what is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096892)

Yeah. A real marketese summary. A long jumble of words without any meaning. Wonderful. Needless to say but I certainly didn't RTFA.

Re:So what is it? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097362)

Hi sakdoctor Sorry, you're right that it's hard to figure out what Fluidinfo is - and it's hard to make a website that is understandable to a wide range of people too. One summary is to say that Fluidinfo is like Wikipedia, but for applications and their data rather than for humans. Like Wikipedia has a page (URL) for everything, Fluidinfo has an object for everything - lazily created, of course. The differences from a wiki that you need to make a Wikipedia for data are: 1) a permissions system so apps can't overwrite each other's data, 2) typed data, and 3) a query language. Fluidinfo provides those. Does that help at all? Terry

Re:So what is it? (2)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097448)

The Cat: [to Rimmer] What *is* it?
Rimmer: It's a rent in the space-time continuum.
The Cat: [to Lister] What *is* it?
Lister: The stasis room freezes time, you know, makes time stand still. So whenever you have a leak, it must preserve whatever it's leaked into, and it's leaked into this room.
The Cat: [to Rimmer] What *is* it?
Rimmer: It's singularity, a point in the Universe where the normal laws of space and time don't apply.
The Cat: [to Lister] What *is* it?
Lister: It's a hole back into the past.
The Cat: Oh, a magic door! Well, why didn't you say?

Re:So what is it? (1)

murakdar (2440778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37129670)

Welcome to fluidinfo. This is fluidinfo. Welcome. You can do anything at fluidinfo. Anything at all. The only limit is yourself. This is fluidinfo, welcome. The infinite is possible at fluidinfo. The unattainable is unknown at fluidinfo. This is fluidinfo. Welcome to fluidinfo. The OP reminded me of zombo.com. Where anything is possible.

Can anyone figure this out? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096520)

Can anyone express what this does in technical terms? Everything I could find was sorta like liberal arts major expounds on the new (to the liberal arts establishment) idea of memoization.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memoization [wikipedia.org]

Their blog has a good example (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096946)

A thought experiment how their service might be used to automatically confirm or reject friendship requests: http://blogs.fluidinfo.com/fluidinfo/2011/06/01/personalized-filtering-of-friend-requests-in-social-networks/ [fluidinfo.com]

If I understand what they want to do, I think it's a failure. They make a big deal about metadata being context dependent and, as such, it should stored in the context in which it is meaningful rather than in a single place. But, if I understand what they do correctly, their service is basically a single place to store all their clients' metadata. You store all your metadata at fluidinfo and it does neat thing.

Re:Can anyone figure this out? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097158)

Can anyone express what this does in technical terms?

Well, from this part:

If the object exists in Fluidinfo, the information is appended to the object. If the object does not exist then it will be created and stored.

It sounds like they've invented the MERGE command.

Re:Can anyone figure this out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097202)

Think of this as CDDB which stores all data on CD tracks that any app can connect to and download that data when you go to rip a CD. Only bigger, so you can do more than just CD's. Store a database of blu-ray disc metadata to get cover art and all IMDB info when you insert the disk. Store all domain names so you can do a whois without a whois server.

Basically it could be a neat project if it's set up correctly, supersets of data can cause problems without proper structure, so if I'm querying for CD track names and get domain names returned along with track names, the information is worthless to my app without some way to figure out what is what.

Re:Can anyone figure this out? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098054)

Yes, that's a good example use case. Then just apply the same thinking to anything (URLs, stocks, email addresses, names, zip codes, etc), and include the possibility that normal people (via apps) might want to store their data onto the same objects - I own it, I want it, here's my rating, whatever.

Re:Can anyone figure this out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097772)

It's "social media" investment meets semantic web. It's largely an RDF triple store engineered with a basic authorization model, more sane predicate-type model, and a simplified access model.

The concept is a catalog of things, which I'll call subjects or which W3C calls resources. The subjects are characterized with metadata I and the W3C call descriptions. The catalog allows lookup of subjects by descriptive properties and allows retrieval of all the descriptions for a subject. It also allows new descriptions to be added, with some basic access control. A description has three parts, like RDF triples: subject, property, value (some degenerate properties may not bind values, and act like simple tags). Users can define new properties and bind a description to a subject. Each new property gets its own access control list to see who can read or write those properties. Subjects can be described by anybody who can write a descriptive triple.

On top of this basic semantic catalog concept, FluidInfo has decided to try to create a scalable catalog resource and try to entice others to create all the content and user demand. Their benefit is twofold: get users and application vendors hooked, for later monetization, and get access to a crowd-sourced catalog of descriptions about the stuff out there in the web world.

Re:Can anyone figure this out? (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097918)

Hi. Love the memoization comment :-) I don't know how technical you want it, but there are some slide decks on http://www.slideshare.net/fluidinfo/presentations [slideshare.net] and some more technical ones in http://www.slideshare.net/terrycojones/presentations [slideshare.net] (back when we were still calling it FluidDB). If you have specific questions I'll try to answer them. Fluidinfo doesn't provide the actual storage layer (we build on a variety of things), it's more that it's an alternate interface to information - a bit like Wikipedia was an alternative way for people to store information: one in which you didn't have to ask permission to contribute, your additions didn't have to be anticipated, and where there was a single logical place for any thing (i.e., a URL in the case of Wikipedia). Fluidinfo does the same, but for apps. Plus you get a perms system on tags, typed data (of any type), and a query language. The main change is to objects without owners, which allows related information to collect in the same logical place (Fluidinfo has a unique 'about' tag, which is like Wikipedia's URLs) because information in context is more valuable than identical information that's isolated elsewhere. It can be searched across, for example. Does that help?

WikiDB (1)

ihop0 (988608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096588)

I've had some ideas for wiki-like databases for awhile now, if this were open people could create some really cool open information sets

Re:WikiDB (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096654)

Of course, you'd run into the same problems Wikipedia has. How do you curate data from diverse sources and ensure integrity?

Re:WikiDB (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096708)

Duh. Build up a huge hierarchy of preferred "editors" of the database and have them camp out the bits of metadata that they wrote. Then when it gets successful have those same people start marking en masse lots of the metadata to be deleted because it's not notable.

Re:WikiDB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37098470)

That's a risk with officially curated db's, such as wikipedia, with their pretenses to accuracy, but Fluidinfo is not intended to have a corporate curating entity, afaik, nor any such high-minded pretenses. Rather, I believe the intention is to let information and conventions about information coalesce and evolve more naturally, and not as some designer or programmer intended. This removes, I think, an artificial boundary on how information evolves, on computers. The results may surprise the cynics among us.

Re:WikiDB (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096712)

The less contentious the subject is, the less likely that this will be a problem.

Even then, you can provide metrics that allow the individual to judge the information based on it's churn.

The fact that some data will be crap is not a good reason to be afraid of collecting data in general.

Re:WikiDB (1)

ihop0 (988608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096878)

Well if you're creating a db of measurements or values, like dimensions of various objects, or automobile specifications, there's much less bickering to be done. If the nature of the DB isn't open ended && subjective, you avoid lots of landmines.

Re:WikiDB (1)

gridaphobe (2438206) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098666)

If the nature of the DB isn't open ended && subjective, you avoid lots of landmines.

You can also avoid the landmines if you have a mechanism for attributing content to specific users as Fluidinfo does via namespaces. There can only be one Wikipedia page for Transformers 3, so there might be a lot of contention about whether the article was fair/neutral, but in Fluidinfo you, RottenTomatoes, IMDB, and anyone else can place a rating or review tag on the object about Transformers 3, without any conflicts.

Re:WikiDB (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098602)

Over at C2.com, the very first web wiki, we have kicked around various ideas for things that are kind of catch-all dumping grounds for semi-structured info: part wiki, database, file-system, note-pad, content manager, and CRUD-stack. It wouldn't necessarily do any of these well (up front at least), but integrate various aspects of them all.

It could be useful for projects where you are not sure what you want yet and want to grow in an organic way.

I can't wrap my mind around this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096644)

A database that can both read and write.

The mind boggles.

Freebase (3, Insightful)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096730)

It sounds like Freebase [freebase.com] to me, which has been around for years.

Re:Freebase (1)

ntoll (902042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098762)

It's similar to Freebase *but* rather than curating the organisation of data (as Freebase does) Fluidinfo is, er, "fluid" in that it expects conventions in tagging and organising data to emerge. Evolutionary pressure will make the best / most appropriate "schema" to survive (become conventions) in much the same way that hashtags is a bottom-up convention that emerged in Twitter.

Re:Freebase (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37114004)

Hm, I see. Well, I'll definitely keep an eye on it. I do like the general concept of these sorts of things. There's a lot of good uses for them and I've used freebase for a project or two in the past.

Re:Freebase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37103696)

In the same way Altavista had been around for years when Google showed up? ... does anyone actually use Freebase for something non-trivial.

Re:Freebase (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37113992)

No idea. The biggest thing I used it for was pulling data on video game and game console release dates for a demo website. That was more due to the amount of data and convenience than anything else and pretty simple.

Actual Wikipedia for Databases (1)

Downchuck (1333195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097412)

The OmegaWiki project provides a multilingual database, is based on MediaWiki and was authored in large part by a Wikimedia staff-member. It's an interesting re-imagining of Wiktionary.

Wikipedia already is a Database (1)

popo (107611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097622)

Wikipedia *is* a database. This is like proposing a search engine for "data"....oooh! Sounds amazing!

100% vaporware. But please don't tell the VC guys who got bamboozled. They're just figuring it out and hoping to pass the buck to a greater fool.

Re:Wikipedia already is a Database (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098026)

wikipedia is a service that runs some wiki-sw.
this is a tagging or databasing, data linked to data software.

once you put it like that, without the marketing talk, without the blog, without their non functioning demo.. yeah it seems a bit boring.

Re:Wikipedia already is a Database (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37098198)

Once you remove accuracy and even meaning by using only incomplete sentences to render your incomplete ideas, everything probably seems a bit boring.

Re:Wikipedia already is a Database (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37098608)

Wikipedia is built on a database. It provides an alternate interface to information, allowing anyone to contribute. Ten years ago that sounded pretty ridiculous, I think to just about everyone. What if you had the same thing, but for applications and their data (or metadata, if you like). Is that also ridiculous? The idea of openly writable storage (with a permissions system, typed data, and a query language - as in Fluidinfo) isn't as bad as you're making out. Re vaporware - actually not. I've spent about 6 years of my life building and re-building versions of Fluidinfo, starting in 1998. I used to have an apartment, but I sold it and put all the money into starting the company. It hasn't been easy. You can go create an account if you like, at https://fluidinfo.com/accounts/new/ [fluidinfo.com] Feel free to drop by #fluidinfo on irc.freenode.net if you want to chat. Terry

Of comparable ingenuity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37098386)

What about a skateboard that doubles as an external keyboard? You could thrash around on it in the daytime and blog about it at night.

Reminder to myself: Keep my glasses on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37098512)

I read the title as "Wikipedia for Dumbasses" and thought "This will be fun! Ragging on Conservapedia and the morons who use it."

Flawed reasoning (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 2 years ago | (#37100042)

Quote from the discussion:

"The justification is simple. We're removing the Firefox version number
from all of the common user-visible locations because we don't believe
that users need to know what version they're on. We're moving to a model
that's more like the Web. What version of Gmail are you on?

We've removed it from all of our marketing materials. We're removing it
from the download button on the Website. We're removing it from how we
talk to users about Firefox. We're ending version numbers because
they're not meaningful to users (except in troubleshooting situations.)

People using Firefox do need to have confidence that they're on the
latest version, though, and that's what this feature provides. Telling
the user explicitly that Firefox has checked and that she is indeed up
to date is a much better way of letting the user know that she's up to
date than giving her a number she can compare with some other number on
a website somewhere to figure out if she's on the latest version. "

I cannot subscribe to this reasoning. There are many, many reasons why an end-user will want to know the version of Firefox he's using. For instance if he wants to avoid a certain feature present in some builds but not in others. Example: the so-called "AwesomeBar" (more of an AwfulBar if you ask me) which I had to go to extra lengths to avoid. Not everyone likes every single bit of Firefox.

How to think about Fluidinfo (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37100062)

Probably the simplest way to think about Fluidinfo is by analogy to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a storage system in & of itself. It sits on top of some form of storage and provides an alternate interface to information for normal people. Its most distinguishing characteristics are 1) that anyone can add information to any page, and 2) that there is a page for everything (you get to create it if it doesn't already exist). Ten years ago if you'd said you were going to build an encyclopedia by letting anyone freely write on any page, it would have seemed, uh, optimistic (to say the least). What if you wanted to do the same thing for applications (and their users)? You could build something like Wikipedia, but there are 3 things you'd need that Wikipedia doesn't have: 1. A permission system on the information that was being added (on tags & their values, in Fluidinfo). That would stop applications from overwriting or even reading each other's data, unless they had permission. 2. Typed data. A number on a wiki page is just text. In Fluidinfo it's really a number. 3. A query language. If you add those things to Wikipedia, you basically have Fluidinfo. Fluidinfo gives you an object for everything (it has an 'about' tag, whose values are unique across the system), each with its own URL. Because the objects are not owned, anyone or any app can add to any object. No need to stop to ask permission, no need to be anticipated, no need for the structure of your data to be anticipated. So in a trivial sense Fluidinfo is just a database, but that's like calling Wikipedia just a database. The value that both Wikipedia and Fluidinfo get at is simple: information becomes more useful and therefore valuable when it's stored in context. Search engines illustrate the same principle: pulling together related but independent information (in HTML) into the same place and making it searchable. In the digital world, most things are read-only or you can only add data when you've been given permission and when the underlying storage structure permits it. As a result, it's very common that when apps have new data (or metadata) about something (like a Twitter user, a URL, an email address, a zipcode, whatever), they have to put it somewhere else. This often means your own server, your own API, your own docs, etc. Instead of doing the natural thing of putting the new information with the old (making it searchable with the old and with future data), you've just made a new hoop for future programmers to jump through. And so it goes, independent but related information that could valuably be living together winds up spread all over the place and less valuable. I hope that helps. Please feel free to send me a mail (terry fluidinfo com) or drop by #fluidinfo on irc.freenode.net

Re:How to think about Fluidinfo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37101908)

Here's an idea: If you have to PERSONALLY respond to EACH and EVERY post in the /. introduction to your whatever-it-is, you're failing pretty badly at coherency.

Folks here are arrogant, snarky, cynical, etc., but on the whole, there's some very bright people here. To have the whole community going 'WTF?' and then respond to absolutely everyone individually, just to, I don't know, keep repeating yourself? totally control the conversation? is pretty awful. You shouldn't have to do that.

Get a grip.

Re:How to think about Fluidinfo (1)

terrycojones (2438168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37104852)

You're exaggerating wildly re "respond to EACH and EVERY post" and "respond to absolutely everyone individually". Have you counted? You're of course right that people are saying WTF, and with good reason. Fluidinfo is a bit abstract and our web site sucks. People are asking questions here and I'm trying to help. It's not about control, it's about trying to answer the questions of people who are trying to understand. If people were asking questions about a project you were involved in, what would you do? Yes, we need to try to make the site more coherent. That's a problem and it's our fault. In the meantime, trying to be helpful isn't such a dreadful thing.

This is simply a REST API for OnLine Object Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37125416)

This is simply a REST API for OnLine Object Model
They offer an online service to share one single object model betwen several web apps (much like the apps architecture for oberon_F/blackbox runtime but on the web) to build object models similar to the extensible object stores from the smalltalk world

Re:This is simply a REST API for OnLine Object Mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37129502)

On second tought... why bother? having seaside/pharo building a library to add the semantics (of the architectonic anotations) in oberon_F/blackbox for secure extensibility in a REST API gives you the same and its sturdier (that also all givesmany "ready made" storage backends)

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