Saturday, February 25, 2006

Entrepreneurial Connections Conference 2006 (EntConnect 2006) coming up on March 23-26, 2006

Every year there is a small but loyal group of former readers of the former Midnight Engineering magazine who gather in the Denver, Colorado area for a conference known as Entrepreneurial Connections, or EntConnect for short. These are people who have a background or interest in technology and are either running their own businesses or would like to be running their own businesses. Some attendees don't have quite the depth of technical background, but are simply interested in the special angle on business that the conference offers.

This year's conference is being held on March 23-26, 2006.

The conference is run by John Gaudio. Details on the conference can be found on his official conference web site at, or you can check out descriptions of past conferences at my Enrepreneurial Engineers web site.

So, if you're in the Denver, Colorado area, or you live in a galaxy that is within teleportation range, and you're a technical entrepreneur or have entrepreneurial aspirations, consider checking out EntConnect this year. Even if it sounds as if you might not fit the profile of a typical attendee, you might consider the conference anyway. Sure, a lot of technology gets discussed, but the focus is running your own business and thinking like an entrepreneur.

Tell John that I sent you. [Really -- I get a commission!]

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, February 16, 2006

COW: Consumer Ontology Web vs. Consumer Ontology/Knowledge Web vs. Consumer Knowledge/Ontology Web vs. Consumer knOwledge Web

I'm still struggling to coming up with a mnemonic name to associate with my white paper entitled "The Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web - A Vision of Consumer Applications of Software Agent Technology - Enabling Consumer-Centric Knowledge-Based Computing." I still feel inclined to go with COW since it's so simple and almost accurate. I now have four options for COW:

My implied meaning is still that COW is consumer-centric and not merely consumer-oriented, but that may be too wordy... or maybe not. So, maybe the list of options should be:

And, if anybody wants to leave off -centric in common use, I won't object vociferously, assuming that they still mean that it is consumer-centric and not something vender-centric that happens to be consumer-oriented.

I'm leaning towards option #4, , but I'm also considering the convenience of eliding the implicit -centric, and capitalizing both the K and O of KnOwledge:


Or maybe I'll just leave the O lower-case and make that implicit in the acronym as well:


My final thought is to go with a triple of meanings, any of which is "correct", depending on context:

    1. :
    2. :
    3. :

Where the second meaning is used as the core source for the O in COW and reflects more of a schema for the consumer knowledge web, the first refers to the actual instances of knowledge in the web, and the third refers to combination of the schema and the instances of specific knowledge.

I'm still not quite happy with this formula, but at least some progress has been made.

If I had to pick one right now, this would be it:

After all, it captures all of the meaning that I intended, and has an almost-precise acronym. And, people can simplify it in a slang manner as they see fit.

Now the question comes up of whether a large, lumbering beast is the desired metaphor for a consumer knowledge web. Unfortunately, it may be more precise than we would hope.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Virtual networked bits

Everybody knows what a bit is, but what is it really, and what do we really mean when we talk about a bit?

I would distinguish between physical bits and virtual bits.

A physical bit is the actual 0/1, on/off condition in a physical media, whether it be in RAM, on a hard-drive, a signal level in a wire, or even photons in a fiber-optic cable.

Obviously physical bits are important since we couldn't do any computing without them, but what interests me is the virtual bits which comprise the information that we are processing.

For example, I have a word processing document. The virtual bits that are used to represent the totality of my Word document are what really matter to me. If I load the document and save it, a completely distinct set of physical bits will be stored, possibly at a completely different location on the hard-drive. And if I post the document on the Web or email it to somebody, the virtual bits are still the same even though they are stored in replicated physical bits in multiple locations, possibly even around the world.

And I don't even think about the physical bits in RAM where my document is temporarily stored while I'm working on it, unless of course something "happens" and I lose my changes, then I care very much about those physical bits that, unfortunately, are gone.

The point is that unfortunately, given today's technology, we do have to care, and care too much, about all of those physical bits, when it is really only the virtual bits that we should care about.

So, I'm thinking about what I call virtual networked bits, which basically means storing virtual bits redundantly around the global network, and doing it automatically (in the same spirit with which parity or ECC bits are handled automatically), so that we, the users, never again need worry about physical bits when all we really care about is our virtual bits.

Obviously there are lots of details to be dealt with, but that's the concept of in a nutshell.

Please feel free to encourage your favorite technologists to pursue support for virtual networked bits as widely as possible.

Friday, February 10, 2006

2006 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference: The Attention Economy

I'm starting to look around for some conferences to attend. I want something different, that has the prospect of allowing me to learn something that I can't learn by reading web sites and online PDFs. And I certainly want to do a lot of networking. One possibility is the 2006 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference to be held March 6-9, 2006 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California, which is focusing on what is called the .

Here's O'Reilly's summary description:

Today's consumer technology breaks focus rather than facilitating it, peppering us with pleas and offerings by dozens of applications competing for our attention. Not to mention the overwhelming amount of data we produce and consume every day. No longer constrained by any virtual limits, we're feeling the effects of this flood of digital assets . It's in our inboxes and news aggregators, on our hard drives and iPods, overloading our very capacity for managing it all. As organic creatures with fallible and finite perception systems, complex desires, and an ever-decreasing amount of time, how do we attenuate the flow to allow for synthesis and reflection?

This year's edition of the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference explores the applications and services, interface overhauls and algorithmic underpinnings, technological hacks and etiquette tweaks of what we call the Attention Economy.

You'll find these themes reflected in ETech's roll-up-your-sleeves tutorials, meaty and to-the-point plenary presentations, and real world focused breakout sessions, spilling out into the hallway conversations of hackers and luminaries.

ETech shines a light on the innovations coming from non-traditional sources in an effort to get them on to everybody's radar. While the initial impact of these innovations may seem small, their ripple effects can have a huge impact in the larger computing arena. What you touch at ETech, you'll be using in the products, applications, and services of tomorrow.

In short, to build the future you have to be there.

Sounds quite interesting, but here's the catch: The conference registration fee is now $1,645, which is far, far beyond my budget and my financial ability. Maybe next year, probably never.

Query for my readers: Do you know anybody who will be attending the conference? And, how do so many people manage to afford such an expensive conference in these days of ultra-tight budgets?

C-KOW: Consumer Knowledge Ontology Web vs. COW: Consumer Ontology Web vs. CCKW: Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web

I've come up with yet another possible mnemonic name to associate with my white paper entitled "The Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web - A Vision of Consumer Applications of Software Agent Technology - Enabling Consumer-Centric Knowledge-Based Computing":


C-KOW (pronounced "see cow") is an alternative to which is a bit wordy and not very memorable, , or even .

For now, I'm sticking with () as my prime candidate since it's so simple to write and say. It's starting to grow on me. If I go with it, next I'll have to decide what would stand for. Obviously one of the "O"s would be . I think it should relate to a much simpler approach or method to constructing ontologies. More Obvious Ontologies?

Yes, it is Friday evening.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, February 06, 2006

COW: Consumer Ontology Web vs. CCKW: Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web

As I continue to work on my white paper entitled "The Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web - A Vision of Consumer Applications of Software Agent Technology - Enabling Consumer-Centric Knowledge-Based Computing", I also continue to struggle with how to crisply refer to it. is a bit wordy and not very memorable. Even still isn't "there".

My latest rendition is to call it the . That has the disadvantage that nobody knows what an ontology really is (including most of the people working with the W3C and the Semantic Web, unfortunately), but at least is memorable and might inspire a sense of curiosity and get people to ask "Well, so what does the 'O' in 'COW' really mean?"

Hey, it least it might be a great conversation starter... "I'm working on a COW." Or, "My goal is that some day everybody will have a COW, and be happy about it."

I'm thinking that maybe the COW could be the underlying infrastructure, the real ontology on which the higher-level, consumer-oriented knowledge management and user interface layers operate.

Or, maybe the COW is the sum total of all of the interacting software agents that are needed to really make a distributed ontology fly.

I have mixed feelings about this new name for my vision... any thoughts?