Annotation Really Is A Big Deal!

My expressed interest in annotation began as a footnote:

An alternative approach has the following two steps: First, extract RDF from the .GGP and .AUX files as before. Second, incorporate data contained in the .LOG file via annotation. Annotation is a well-established practice [45, Chapter 4] involving RDF and the XML Pointer Language (XPointer, [22]) — essentially a URI-centric fragment identifier. This conversion flow is currently under investigation and the corresponding manuscript is in preparation.

This footnote appeared in a paper that was published by the IEEE for HPCS 2006. The alluded-to manuscript will soon be available from the IEEE and will be presented in mid-May at HPCS 2007.

In addition to this manuscript on annotation, along with my co-authors, I’ve recently submitted a broader-based treatment to a special issue (“Geoscience Knowledge Representation for Cyberinfrastructure”) of Computers & Geosciences (C&G). The abstract of the C&G submission is as follows:

Incorporating Annotations into Formal and Informal Ontologies: Experiences and Implications

L. I. Lumb, J. R. Freemantle, J. I. Lederman & K. D. Aldridge


Traditionally, and to a first approximation, annotations can be regarded as comments. In the case of the Web Ontology Language (OWL), this perspective is largely accurate, as annotations are internal constructs included with the language. As internal constructs, annotations in OWL Description Logic (DL) are also constrained to ensure, ultimately, that they do not negatively impact on the ontology’s ability to remain computationally complete and decidable. Formal ontologies, however, can also be annotated externally with the XML Pointer Language (XPointer). Because XPointer-based annotations are quite likely to result in violations of the constraints traditionally placed on OWL DL’s built-in annotations, there exist potentially serious consequences for maintaining self-contained formal ontologies. Insight gained in modeling annotations in formal ontologies using top-down strategies can be applied to informal ontologies. In part, the previous practice of incorporating feature-based annotations directly into informal ontologies is regarded differently, as the XPointer-based annotations may require more complex OWL dialects in which computational completeness and decidability cannot be guaranteed. Critical to the development of informal ontologies is Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL), as it facilitates the extraction of Resource Description Format (RDF) relationships from representations cast in the eXtensible Markup Language (XML). In order to fully enable the creation of informal ontologies, however, an analogous functionality is required to extract OWL classes, properties and individuals from RDF-based representations. Although a strategy for this capability has been specified, hopefully community based efforts will soon target a corresponding implementation.

Key words:
Annotation, Formal Ontology, Informal Ontology, Ontology, Semantic Web, XPointer, Web Ontology Language

In addition to these papers, I’ve blogged a lot about annotation. And the more I delve into annotation, the more I’m taken by it’s applicability. For example, I’ll be making a presentation at CANHEIT 2007 on annotation and wikis.

Annotation really is a big deal!

Collaborative, Browser-Based Mind Mapping with MindMeister

I serendipitously happened across MindMeister about thirty minutes ago.

Since then, I’ve created a mind map from scratch, plus imported and exported maps with FreeMind – my incumbent mind-mapping software. (The importing/exporting appears to work very well. This is one of the capabilities of Google Docs & Spreadsheets that makes it a keeper, so kudos to the MindMeister team infor getting this right in a beta version!)

So, based on less-than-an-hour’s experience, I am quite impressed. This is yet another example of a browser-based application that performs as if it’s installed locally – on a powerful laptop/desktop! Although I haven’t been able to confirm this yet, I suspect that MindMeister is based on AJAX – just like Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

As you can read for yourself from more-comprehensive reviews, others are also impressed with MindMeister even though it lacks a number of features/functionalities. For example as a former use of Mindjet MindMapper, and current, frequent user of FreeMind, what I’m missing the most in MindMeister (so far) is the ability to attach notes and hyperlinks to my nodes. I’m sure that capabilities such as these aren’t far away.

In addition to being intuitive and responsive, the online aspect of MindMeister is impressive. Taking another page out of the Google Docs & Spreadsheets’ book, this inherently online element is used to enable collaboration.

And just to close with some wild speculation … MindMeister would make a nice acquisition target for Google. It’d be a complimentary inclusion in their expanding online productivity portfolio. I would also expect it to be an interesting fit with Google’s JotSpot wiki and even Google Notebook.

Get a Mac!

I’ve had a MacBook Pro for about a year now.

When people ask me “Why Mac?”, there are a few things I tell them.

Now all I need to do is refer them to the Apple Web site – and specifically the Get a Mac area. In addition to the 15 reasons that Apple provides, you’ll find the amusing PC vs. Mac commercials plus a bunch of reasons why you should avoid Vista.

Get a Mac!

Teens: A Surprising Market Segment for the iPhone

In Wikinomics (pg. 133), Tapscott and Williams state:

Of the hundreds of customer-inspired hacks that have emerged, the most powerful is a program called Podzilla – essentially a bare-bones version of Linux with a graphical user interface that runs on the iPod’s tiny screens.

On the following page, these same authors state:

Analysts speculate that Apple may use upcoming generations of the iPod to move into the mobile phone market as well.

Not surprisingly then, the Mac OS X based iPhone bears a lot in common with the Podzilla-based iPod.

As the following schematic illustrates, both are attempts to extend the features/functionalities of the iPod in, particularly, the application domain.


In addition to technical mutations, contextualizing the iPod as progenitor of the iPhone is likely to be useful in business contexts as well.

Take market segments for example. By understanding the well-established market segments for the iPod, it’s possible to predict market segments for the iPhone.

And if there’s any merit in that speculation, then one of the surprising demographics for the iPhone will be teens.

Teens have been practically weaned on the iPod. The iPod plus various transportable and mobile gaming platforms like the PS2, Xbox, etc. Many teens already have cell phones, or will soon.

Because the iPhone has the potential to be their platform for their music, games, communication and other applications, they’re anticipating its arrival as much as any other demographic group. Although the iPhone’s USD 500 price tag is steep, the value becomes evident when you consider its triple-play-plus possibilities for teens.


There’s no question that those of us hooked on our CrackBerries will be interested in tempting ourselves with the iPhone.

However, it’ll be much more interesting to monitor uptake by teens.

Google & Jott: A Natural Fit

The first time I wrote about Jott, I stated:

I expect Jott to be an excellent acquisition target for the likes of Google …

And for those who like to have everything integrated, Jott would have much more value if it was a part of some existing solution like Google Office (GMail + Google Docs & Spreadsheets).

Just over four months later, it’s clear that Google’s interested in voice:

  • Google Voice Local Search (GVLS) is available from Google Labs
  • Google Phone is getting attention and it doesn’t even exist – or does it?
  • GoogleTalk is a natural target for voice-enablement along the lines of Skype and a host of others …

Given this interest, and the current state of GVLS, there are clearly some synergies for Google with a voice-processing solution such as Jott’s.

Even if Google isn’t sold on Jott’s existing value proposition, Jott’s voice-to-text capabilities are of significant value on their own to make acquisition attractive.

Jott: An Enabler for Working Moments

During his keynote address at yesterday’s Cisco Networkers event, Rick Moran (Vice President, Market Management) referred to the concept of working moments.

In other words, rather than blocks of time, for many the reality is that they have matters of minutes to get things done.

While listening to Mr. Moran speak, it occurred to me that Jott is a wonderful enabler for those having to survive on working moments.

As a case in point …

While driving to the Cisco event yesterday morning, I thought about an email message that I needed to write and send. Once I had some clarity on the content, I Jott’ed myself. Then when I arrived at the event, I edited my Jott on my BlackBerry, and emailed the completed message.

Once done, my mental self caught up with my physical self – which was already at the event 😉

Jott’s a great enabler for working moments!

You Blinked!

Have a look at this:

Even if you don’t know what Cisco TelePresence is, you’ll definitely get a feel for it from this deceptively simple, yet highly effective commercial!

A relatively recent offering:

Cisco TelePresence is an innovative, new technology that creates unique, in-person experiences between people, places, and events in their work and personal lives—over the network.

And according to what I heard today at a local Cisco Networkers event, all you need is 6 Mb/s!

Very cool!

Googling and Swoogling for Ontologies

Using, you can Google for ontologies.

Currently, Google returns over 53,000 results.

If you prefer, you can Swoogle:

Swoogle ( is an specialized web search engine that discovers, analyzes and indexes knowledge encoded in semantic web documents published on the Web. Swoogle reasons about these documents and their constituent parts (e.g., terms, individuals, triples) and records meaningful metadata about them. Swoogle provides webscale semantic web data access service, which helps human users and software systems to find relevant documents, terms and triples, via its search and navigation services. Swoogle also provides a customizable algorithm inspired by Google’s PageRank algorithm but adapted to the semantics and use patterns found in semantic web documents. Swoogle currently has indexed nearly 1.3M Semantic Web documents which contain almost 240M triples. In addition to providing general Semantic Web search services, Swoogle has been used by several projects to maintain and manage specialized collections of RDF data.

Currently, Swoogle searches over 10,000 ontologies – even more if you register.

Swoogle’s stats provide even more meaningful and impressive numbers:

  • Swoogle’s aware of about 1.2 million error-free Semantic Web documents
  • Swoogle was able to parse over 412 million triples from Semantic Web documents

Based on these data points, ontology developers would be wise to consult Google or Swoogle to avoid reinventing that which already exists … !

When using pre-existing ontologies, it’s also important to remember that as developers you have various choices:

Existing ontologies are inherently reusable, extensible and refactorable.

2007 Semantic Technology Conference

This is an event I wish I’d had on my radar … alas, May is already rife with conferences!

Some data (not information!) points:

  • The tutorials/presentations content looks quite good
    • I even recognize or know some of the presenters 🙂
    • The content is bleeding-edge to current to mainstream
    • Much of the content is published
  • Judging by the demographics, e.g., there are a number of vendors involved, the Semantic Web continues to get real – and some of the vendors have cool names (see the sponsors page for more 😉
  • A primer is available for those who are new to the subject
  • San Jose will be a nice place to be in May – it’s close to San Francisco … still one of my favorite places to go!

My Next-Gen Mobile Platform: A Plain Old Cell Phone plus Jott?

Will I be trading in my BlackBerry for a Plain-Old Cell Phone (POCP) plus Jott?

Will I just say “No thank you” to the iPhone?

These aren’t entirely ridiculous considerations.

Even for the highly mobile tech-set, the POCP plus Jott is surprisingly enabling.


The Jott-enabled POCP provides an impressive bridge between your analog-and-digital selves. A divide otherwise narrowed via high-end handhelds such as BlackBerrys, iPhones, etc.

Not to devalue Jott’s substantial accomplishments to date, but this really is just the beginning.

For example, services like Jott’s might be teamed with ChaCha to involve people directly in high-value search offerings.