StratML – Strategy Markup Language

It is nice to know that the emerging technology group of the government is starting a community of practice in developing and using an XML vocabaulary. XML is being used heavily in government. The approach taken is to adopt industry standard vocabularies where available, and develop new ones as needed by the government.

“The StratML CoP will utilize CORE.gov to share ideas, information, meeting schedules and plans to develop a standardized vocabulary and XML template for Agency Strategic Plans.”

A link to the StratML Community Of Practice

A link to the presentation by  Adam J Schwartz

My Source: InfoMinder Alerts on xml.gov

Blogs as tools in Schools and Colleges

This article (found via Stephen’s Web) discusses how blogs can supplement, enhance traditional teaching methods in schools.

It covers various ways in which blogs can be used in class room:

– Blogs as classroom tools

– Blogs as administration tools

– Blogs as discussion tools

– Blogs as publication tools

There is useful link to blogs in online colleges.

I know that Valerie Landau was using them extensively in CSUMB for the past couple of years. When I talked to her recently, she said one problem she found was the very individual nature of blogs. She was looking for a team based tool and was experimenting using wikis.

Really Simple Subscription?

This post is kind of cool. Even though the techie in me recoiled when I read the first sentence “RSS sucks”. But it got my interest. The author is right. Here are his recommendations:

– Call it subscription (almost any one who subscribed to anything before will understand this)

– Tell people that they need a reader to read the content ( I think email clients will evolve to support this automatically, some already do)

– Provide a simple iTunes style interface to “Search, Browse, Recommend, Remix”

The last bullet crys out for a product. Build an AJAX based iTunes style interface to Search. Browse, Recommend, Tag, Remix and Re-blog (I added a couple of my wish list items).

Now I need to get back to read the other couple of links Scott pointed out in his entry.

XML and RDF Trends

Edd Dumbill posts Some trends in Core XML and RDF. This is from his analysis submissions for XTech. Notice that the conference theme is Web 2.0 and covers Applications, Browser Technology, Core Technologies and Open Data.

While I am not surprised to find XQuery and XML Databases in the list, RDF Stores is a bit of a surprise. I noticed an increasing interest in RDF. First, I attributed it to my regular visits to PlanetRDF. However, I am finding it in other places too.

I wonder whether we can get an RSS feed of all the submission to these conferences? This will be great way to keep track of trends in this space.

Update: 25th Feb 09

I tried to find the relative job trends of XML and RDF from indeed.com. If you visit the link, you may also want to try both absolute and relative trends.

xml-rdf-job-trends1

How Do You Choose a Blog Title?

I suddently got a doubt. Am I titling my blogs right? Are there any guidelines on blog titles? So I went to my new favorite search engine and typed “blog titles?”.

I liked what I got. So I am going to list them here with my comments.

Titles that Grab Readers

The entry is simple and to the point. I got what I wanted. I got a lot more when I started reading the comments.

Wiki Titles vs Blog Titles

This was an unexpected bonus. I use a wiki a lot and I normally put the topic keywords as the title. I never seriously thought about blikis (blogs+wikis).

Blog Titles are Ads

This was much closer to what I was looking for. Fairly detailed post with lots of useful information. I will go with the author’s opinion that blogs are your ambassadors. Every blog reveals a bit about you.

Blog Titles should be Song Titles

I could not really resist that one. I think it is cute. I wonder whether this works internationally?

Finally here is my search link. If you find anything interesting, please let me know.

Web 2.0 – Will the Momentum Continue?

Yesterday, I attended an event Web 2.0-will the momentum continue 2006 & beyond?, organized by SDForum. The panel had a couple of people from the venture community, two Web 2.0 startups and an industry analyst. The session was lively and very informative. Seth Sternberg shared Meebo’s startup experience and had some good advice for startups.

Charlene Li, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research gave a few trends she sees as important for Web 2.0 to make inroads into the Enterprise.

– Social Bookmarking (inside the organization)
– Blogs ( internal blogs for products, marketing, business)
– Wikis ( internal to the organization on sharing knowledge)
– AJAX based interfaces to various applications

Many of these exist for consumers today. But it should be easy to modify these for corporate use.

Here is a blog with a list of Web 2.0 Applications. Don’t forget to look through the comments which contain many more. Here is a list of Web mashups.

What makes Folksonomies work?

If you read blogs or use any of the social bookmarking services like flickr and del.ici.ous, you already know about tags. Also known as categories or metadata, tags are used to describe content. Tags are used by services like technorati (a search engine for blogs) and other search services to locate blogs, articles and other documents on the web. Social bookmarking services let people easily tag a resource – an article, a book or anything else on the web. A resource with a lot of useful tags has a better chance of being found on the web.

Folksonomies are informal distributed classification systems. In this article, Folksonomies – Tidying Up Tags, Marieke Guy and Emma Tonkin provide some details on folksonomies work. They discuss how tags evolve through social networking into popular keywords and provide some interersting analysis. Finally they provide some guidelines on improving tags.

“At the moment, although there are no standard guidelines on good tag selection practices, those in the folksonomy community have offered many ideas. Ways in which tags may be improved are presented frequently on blogs and folksonomy discussion sites. In his article on tag literacy, Ulises Ali Mejias suggests a number of tag selection “best practices”. These include:

  • using plurals rather than singulars
  • using lower case,
  • grouping words using an underscore,
  • following tag conventions started by others and
  • adding synonyms.”

After reading these tips, I have gone back and made some changes to my own categories and discovered another great feature of word press. You can just type your category name and the category slug automatically converts this into the recommended format.

Doing Algebra Mentally

A few days ago, I posted an entry It’s a magnificient time to know math. So I decided to keep an eye out for any resources that teach math or articles that show how to teach math. Today I came across this link in del.icio.us on Inner Algebra. It is the text of a book and looks very interesting.

Whenever I talk to a small group about Thinking and Problem Solving, I always try a few mental math questions. For example, what is 29*31. You can instantly answer this as 899 if you know a simple algebraic equation. Here are the mental steps:

Step-1: 29 * 31 = (30-1)* (30+1)

Step-2: (30-1)*(30+1) = 30*30 – 1*1

This based on the algebraic equation (a+b)*(a-b) = a^2-b^2

Step-3: 900 -1 = 899

You may not encounter these type of problems in every day life. But if you develop a mind set to solve problems mentally, life will be a lot more fun.

When I was in India in August, one of my favoire nephews (he is 11 years old) asked us to solve a simple equation. a^b+b^a= 100. What are the values of a and b? ( “a” to the power of “b” + “b” to the power of “a”).

AppExchange: An On Demand Application enabled by XML and WebServices

“Creating and Using applications should be as easy as creating and using blogs” says Marc Benioff, of Salesforce.com. The announcement of AppExchange is getting a lot of attention in the technology press. While I was reading a few of these, the ZDNet blog by Phil Wainewright caught my attention.

“AppExchange from salesforce.com is a service that lets companies create, customize, integrate, and share on-demand applications over the Internet — all without needing to purchase or install software. The service is comprised of two main parts: the AppExchange directory, an online marketplace for sharing on-demand applications, and the AppExchange platform on which those applications are developed.” There are already several on-demand apps available here.

A developer white paper describes the essence of the service and provides a look into what makes it possible.

  • Meta-data-driven app development model
  • A Web services API that provides direct, low-level access to all data stored in AppExchange from
    virtually any programming language and platform
  • Multiple applications which share a common data model, security model and UI

But a very innovative move on Salesforce.com part is the Directory. It is an iTunes-like Web site where visitors can share, review, demo, and install AppExchange apps.

Salesforce.com is bringing WebServices into main stream. It will be interesting to see the adoption rate.

Couple of Notches up the Cool-O-Meter

Our collective technical sophistication is going up, steadily. In an article on the Essence of Geeks, ZDNet’s Matthew Broersma talks about how “technology and technologists were permanently lifted a couple notches up the cool-o-meter”.

“Technology companies suddenly became the focus of the kind of attention that had been reserved for the music or fashion industries. In the UK TV makers even went so far as to create a hip series, Attachments, based around the antics of a tech start-up.”

Look at us. Over 25 million people blog. Over 34 million use iPods to listen to music or read books. We perform over a billion Google searches in a day. Mathew calls this techno-lust. He recounts several instances where we use technology without even being aware of it. It is not uncommon for teachers to blog and student to collaborate on projects using wikis. A few months ago, I  set up a wiki for a parent-teacher’s association for a school in Los Altos, California.

“we may be coming to resemble geeks a bit more, but through the growing importance of design, technology is also changing to be a bit more human” says Mathew. The new gadgets are much easier to use than the earlier generation VCRs.