The Semantic Conference :: A Story Told With Pictures

by M. David Peterson

So I just spent the last two days in San Jose at the Semantic Conference and had a *fabulous* time. I've known Uche and Chimezie Ogbuji now for nearly three years and yet this was the first time we have actually met in person.

I also had a chance to meet and speak with Eric Miller for the first time which was an absolutely fantastic experience as was meeting all of the good folks who collectively form Zepheira, the company Eric Miller recently founded, bringing together the best in the semantic web business to aid with the ushering in of Web v.Next() (AKA Web 3.0.) (Update: I wrote this in a rush this morning and should have elaborated a bit more in regards to what I was referring to. As such, what follows is the elaboration I should have provided. Hopefully this will make a bit more sense in regards to why I was excited by the overall experience of chatting with Eric. ) After reading John Borland's article from the MIT Technology Review in March, a lot of things that had previously made little to no sense (in regards to their applicability to the web) suddenly made a lot more sense. Being able to chat with Eric in person about some of these same topics was quite an amazing experience! While I still can't say that I have a full grasp of everything that relates to the semantic web, it was obvious to me after speaking with Eric that some of the things I have criticized in the past had more to do with simply misunderstanding what these technologies were all about, and less to do with them simply not being relevant.

Moving forward: To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what story these pictures tell but there are probably quite a few folks that many of you will recognize, so while it may not tell a story like the title suggests, they still may be of interest to many of you.

As such, enjoy!

QUICK-NOTE: I met a *TON* of really cool folks at the conference. A quick shout-out to each of you: Thanks for the good time! Do it again next year? I know I'll be there for sure! :D


2007-05-25 05:46:11
Zepheira3D: Zepheira Data Due Diligence (3D)

So a semantic web company starts a business with one of the oldest and most shameless means to game a search engine by driving traffic to a site with a misrepresentation?

The values of a company are instilled by its founders at the founding of the company. The shape of those values are forever circumscribed by that initial pattern. As the twig is bent...

Caveat emptor.


M. David Peterson
2007-05-25 14:08:39

I'm not sure I understand the connection? I mean, I understand the 3D portion, but if I'm searching the web for 3D games and come across this instead I think I would be more confused as to what this was referring and simply leave the site.

Hasn't Google, Yahoo!, MSN and so forth fine tuned their algorithms to the point where a search for "3D" is going to turn up something directly related to 3 dimensional graphics as opposed to something like this that, as far as I can tell anyway, doesn't make mention of any other key words that would connect this with the more common purpose of a search for the term 3D? Or am I simply missing something more obvious?

2007-05-25 16:34:14
I liked the 2nd keynote the best with Jamie Taylor (freebase). I also enjoyed Josh's talk about's open data initiatives.

Much of the rest of the conference was realy about data integration within an enterprise. I attended Uche's preso, he really went for the jugular on microformats by using xoxo as an example. (I really can't figure out what that one's for). But at least microformats are on the WEB. in the context of many of the talks, OWL needs to have the "w" removed.

Bradley Allen gave a well delivered talk on using atom to deliver rss. The idea really shows how XML can drive people literally insane. 1st rss was rdf, but for some reason became xml. Then he recommends we embed rdf back into Atom. I guess it's all for practical reasons, but if you know the history you have to admit it's ridiculous.

M. David Peterson
2007-05-26 02:25:58

Thanks for the summary!

> I guess it's all for practical reasons, but if you know the history you have to admit it's ridiculous.

Oh, I definitely know the history and I definitely agree. It is ridiculous, though much of this stems from being placed in a situation where the leading "brand name" syndication format was a broke down mess that needed fixing. With the explosion of blogging, syndication obviously became a *HUGE* deal and as such the need to fix the problems with RSS became much more obvious and the need much more immediatte.

2007-05-29 12:39:02
It's the irony, David. Search engines won't save a reputation.

If you are a semantic company and first thing out of the gate you use syntax to obscure semantics, it makes one doubt the depth of your purpose in your business. It's like being a horse trainer who fixes races without having to worry about RICO.

M. David Peterson
2007-05-30 05:33:48
>> If you are a semantic company and first thing out of the gate you use syntax to obscure semantics, it makes one doubt the depth of your purpose in your business.

Point well taken.

Phuoc Huu Nguyen
2007-06-01 00:41:08
Thank you for summary
I am paying attention to semantic web! This information is very useful for me!