Re: A bit of bomb throwing....

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2006 16:57:35 -0500

Zack Rosen wrote:
>> I learned the hard way that debating about technologies, operating
>> systems, text editors, programming languages, XML schemas and RDF
>> ontologies doesn't pay off. Why? because it's deeply subjective and,
>> mostly, irrational.
> I too agree that debating about names and technology flavors is quite
> pointless :) this was definitely not my intention.

Glad to hear that :-)

>> If what the semantic web researching community creates doesn't work
>> for you, well, just use something else :-)
>> For me, personally, the semantic web is just a catchy but a little bit
>> tacky name.
>> What *I* like about it is that I finally have a way to encode graphs
>> that doesn't suck and therefore a general purpose data description
>> language that is not just a syntax (as XML) but also a model.
>> And it's easily mixable.
>> Ergo, I can take your data and mix it with mine and mix it with some
>> other, stir it with some general purpose tool (browser, visualizer,
>> clusterer, inferencer, ruler, whatever...) and find out something that
>> wasn't easy to see there before.
>> World-Wide Web of Data, Global Data Warehousing... call it as you
>> wish, but there is nothing really semantic about what we are doing
>> here, it's just a catchy term (and source of a lot of problems, IMO).
>> If you care about that problem space, jump on board, it will be fun.
>> If not, you won't find anything exiting around here, and that's
>> totally fine too :-)
> I care deeply about the problem space. The issue is that it is simply
> too costly to 'jump on board' at the moment and I don't see that
> changing any time soon.

I started to use Java in 1995 where people knew for those little applets
that ran into Netscape Navigator 2.0, but I used it on the server side.

I started with Servlets 1.0, it didn't have sessions, the apache jserv
servlet engine was so poorly written that the logs where put into a
stack and then output, not a vector, a stack, so you couldn't understand
what was going on because

> Consider me an overly eager early adopter. I
> represent a number of organizations with reasonable development budgets
> that would be incredibly well served by semantic technologies but the
> tools are simply out of reach. Why is this?

How would I know? you tell me. This stuff works great for what I need
(better than anything else out there) and when it doesn't, we try to
find a way to fix it or improve it.

What I know is that coding builds software, complaining does not :-)

You have to choices: walk away or help us improve what you think it's wrong.

Personally, I think we need both people with real-world experience on
writing software and put it in production and thinkers with a lot of
whiteboards and hacked-up prototypes. SIMILE wants to be a place where
the two can meet, speak and confront.


You are welcome to join us.

Or you are welcome to consider us doomed.

Both are fine with me.

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Sat Jan 14 2006 - 21:57:20 EST

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