Friday, March 30, 2007

Owl for lists

One of the slightly irritating thing about OWL for me is that there is no direct way of specifying a list of items.

Over the last day (using some great resources on the web) i have created a List class which allows lists of items to be specified. This means i can now define a category class that represents a category for a blog post as follows.

<owl:Class rdf:about="#Category">
<rdfs:comment rdf:datatype="&xsd;string">A simple category of the post.</rdfs:comment>
<owl:Class rdf:about="&base;String"/>

I can then define a list of Category classes as a Categories class which can then be used in other OWL classes i am working on as follows:

<owl:Class rdf:about="#Categories">
<rdfs:comment rdf:datatype="&xsd;string">A list of category of a post.</rdfs:comment>
<owl:Class rdf:ID="&list;List" />
<owl:ObjectProperty rdf:ID="&list;hasContents"/>
<owl:allValuesFrom rdf:resource="#Category"/>
<owl:ObjectProperty rdf:ID="&list;isFollowedBy"/>
<owl:allValuesFrom rdf:resource="#Categories"/>

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Something that occurred to me yesterday during testing.

What happens if bugtracker for the L'Oreal web site says there is a cosmetic error?

Numenta and Hierarchical Temporal Memory

I read an article in Wired and due to varous interests i have it really caught my attention. It would around the next step in intelligent software called Hierarchical Temporal Memory.

Quite, erm simply...

Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) is a new computing paradigm that replicates
the structure and function of the human neocortex. HTMs can perform tasks which
have been easy for people but hard for computers - for example, recognizing
objects, making predictions, understanding speech, or navigating in a complex
environment. HTMs promise to approach or exceed human performance in many
cognitive tasks.
I ran their demonstration software and it was pretty good - it really only stopped working at the point where i myself wouldn't really have recognized the image. The first test i did worked fine, so i added some noise to test what would happen. The successful result is shown below:

I kept adding noise to see when i would actually break it and the noise tipping point is shown below.

The whole concept is excellent. I read Emergence and various other titles and this kind of thing was in my head. I knew this is the only way it could work, but where to start was the problem. Well, Numenta have started and it's pretty cool stuff. What i really like about it is that it involves community and collaboration - not in the Web 2.0 style, but rather each layer talks to each other and feeds back - the way we think and learn. It's pretty exciting. The work i am doing is more along the lines of peer collaboration, but i can see so many similarities on how i think these things can work that i just kinda know this is the way this stuff should be. Start simple and layer complexity.

Friday, March 16, 2007

back to Chile

So "tata and lela" (my wife's parents and Xavier/Francisca's grandparents) have gone back to Chile after 3 months staying here in Scotland.

Xavier stamped his feet and said "I don't want them to go" as we tried to explain to him, but he gets it now, although didn't seem particualarly happy about it.

We had a great time while they were here and they have now been in Scotland when both the kids were born, so that is great in itself.

Next stop - us in Chile - sometime in the next year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I just jointed Twitter after reading a post from Joi Ito. I added my first update, but i'm not 100% sure the web interface is particularly great - i do like the idea of mobile use tho'. We only one or two friends it's not hugely useful but with a network of friends it may get pretty interesting.

I'd like it mashed up with Plazes maybe - what are you doing and where?

btw, if you haven't tried Swivel yet and like stats, it's worth a go!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Pain in Milan

Argggghhh, so near, yet so far. Celtic played AC Milan last night and despite our best efforts we lost 1-0, with a goal by Brazilian Kaka (which means sh!t in Spanish - unformtunately he doens't do the name justice as he is a great player). It was a great game by Celtic and we were denied one clear penalty and another that would have been given most of the time.

Milan have some great players and at times we outplayed them - and we have a lot of young players. Great hope for next year, but we have to learn that when we make mistakes in Europe the big teams take advantage of them!

I hope Milan now go on and win the cup.

XmlHTTPRequest cross domain calls

There is an article in MSDN that got some discussion going in Conscia yesterday. The key part was a statement that the XMLHTTPRequest object can't make cross-domain calls. Now, although not the ideal solution you can actually permit this.

In IE you can add the domain to trusted sites and change the "Access data sources across domains" option in the custom security menu. This should allow cross domain calls. In addition, you can sign your scripts in firefox and trusted scripts in firefox can make cross domain calls.

However, whether you can call services using this AJAX style on another domain out of the box if you make these changes is a cool thing to check for.

An example of an application proxy (for anyone interested) can be found here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Train strike

There is a train strike by the signalmen/signalwomen here in Scotland. On thing is, they haven't indicated to anyone what the reason is. Ironic heh?

Xavi is 4 !!!!

Today, my son, Xavier is 4 !!! That must make me about 60 - well, time seems to fly!

We were up at 4.38 AM to give him a kiss as that is the minute he was born 5 years ago. he was really excited and we had baloons and stuff up. He got a batman toy which is about the same height as him and i think that was his favourite toy. We are hiding his spiderman DVD until later today. He has a party on Saturday so he's excited about that too. The picture is him telling me his "new" age.... at 7 AM or something!

Alex Salmond opens the offices

On Monday Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party opened the offices here at Conscia. As part of the deal of me working with Conscia, i am getting office space, network connections and so on, so it was cool to be part of it all.

Monday, March 5, 2007

RFID and Wifi

Today should be interesting - i will have a few hours to research RFID and see how it may or may not be using in the barcode application i am working on. I had suggested it a week or so ago (i wasn't involved in the original discussions) - it seems that programmable RFID tags with an identifier would be less likely to get damaged than simple barcodes. You also don't need to worry so much about having to GO to the exact location of the tag and scan it as you do with a barcode.

The advantage of the barcode solution i have created is of course that you can just print it anywhere, whereas RFID chips will need some programmable device to set the information you want to store. However, it would be a useful option over having to manually scan the barcode which is more susceptible to being eroded the more it is used.

We will want people to actually be within a giving radius of the RFID chip so i wonder whether this can be set (e.g. only transmit a maximum of 2 metres).

Speech on Windows Mobile

I'm very interested right now in the possibilities of speech on pervasive devices, in particular apps running Windows Mobile. I looked into it and was helped by some useful posts from Mike Hall. It is still quite early in its development but a 3 year old demo app from Nuance which worked really quite well on my Pocket PC.

The problem is they don't have an SDK so you can't embed it into your Windows Mobile app or even see samples to see how easy it is to do. I really hope they change that - it only hinders people using their product.

I'll put updates here as i learn more.

Barcodes, Bluetooth and Windows Mobile

As part of some work i am doing with a company here in Glasgow i've managed to get my teeth into barcodes, bluetooth and window mobile.

Last week i wrote a app that can take in some data, generate an associated barcode, can be printed out and then scanned in by a barcode reader. The reader uses bluetooth to send data to my Windows Mobile app, which catches the barcode, looks up the data on a web site and stores some pda generated data with it.

It was mainly a week of making sure all the tricky stuff works and now that it has, we need to pull it all together to demonstarte the application to the sponsor who has buy-in from a number of large retail businesses here in the UK. Very cool stuff!

Wifi Ad Hoc

I've been writing a simple app to talk between my laptop and pda using Wifi Ad Hoc mode - it's still a way to go for software developers i'd say. It's actually fairly simple to get data back and forth - the difficulty is in initializing the connections. Manually it is easy (for those in the know), but users will want it automated. I'm going to have a look at the PNRP offerings and see if that can solve the discovery issues i am having.

Still it's very cool when you get these things talking - i just hope things get easier. It's fine when you don't cradble the pda and have just one connection, but mix connections and things go gradually from bad to worse. I have the Wifi tab just disappearing from my PDA and only a hard boot could get it back. Virtual Wifi from MS research is cool though. The problem is i am really dealing with the here and now so i need to figure the best way to do this now - i get the feeling it will have to appeal to tecchies as Wifi adhoc doesn't seem user friendly quite yet.