Sunday, 13. November 2005

ISWC2005 trip: Friday, 11. November 2005

going home. just relaxing day in galway, making writeups of some ideas, photos, etc. At shannon âirport we had wireless, which explains this post. and this photo:

Three hackers found wifi at shannon airport

During the flight I had an idea for a nice paper, perhaps this will be on ESWC, we'll see.

Arrived savely in Frankfurt Hahn Airport, Bertin joined me in my car and we had a nice drive going home. I think not a single semantic topic was raised during this car drive. relaxing. At about 00:19 I came to the train station where Ingrid arrived at 00:17, so our love is worldwide and brings us together timely, she just arrived from Vienna.

after all: got to see all these people from the community, love them all, many topics to do research and many places to keep on hacking the semantic web together. All these new foaf:knows triples should help me to include more projects to gnowsis and replace some of my work with work by others. Hope the semantic web goes alive soon. At least these blog entries have urls.

special greetings to stefan decker and his family.
greetings to captsolo for showing us town, Ina, danbri, libby, kao, chrisb, kim, jack, sibel, christine, york, danc, peter, alistair, sergio, stefano, haibo yu, alfredo, emmanuel, malte, ansgar, bertin, michael, dfki, and everybody else out there.
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ISWC2005 trip: Thursday, 10. November 2005

Finally, had to give my talk about the gnowsis adapter framework. Ansgar reviewed my slides in the morning. He was content with them (luckily he didn't see the version of wednesday 6pm). We went to the Radisson, came late, missed a part of the keynote which was about UIMA, the IBM NLP framework that has been buzzing around for a longer time anyway.

ok, the final version of the slides is here.

10:30 - my talk started. I knew I had 20 minutes before our Aperture release, so everything decent. Only problem was that my Acer laptop fucked up and couldn't display on the beamer anymore. Damn these laptops, the always brake when you need them most. Pressing fn+screen didn't do anything, the laptop just refused to work. It was 10:28 and I knew there was no time for reboot now. I experienced this behaviour before and knew a hack-remedy: pressing the fn+screen combination hysterically often, like in a weird C64 game. After 10 seconds of hammering, it did the trick, the slides were on the beamer. But I couldn't switch to presentation modus. I planed to use the powerpoint presentation modus to know what slides is next and read my notes. Without my notes, I was pretty blind then, so I decided to go in attack mode and switched to my "presenting by walking around and big gestures" mode, where I try to fill my memory gaps by walking and speaking freely. Again, it was my luck that I trained the talk two times before with my notes visible and I knew most of the information already by heart. Only problem was that I had to read the slides too much, which caused me to face away from the audience. Whatever, I think the talk was much better, informative and funnier than most of the other talks I have seen. Seriously, some other people were filling their slides with info-junk to an unreadable level. Slides were good, Science was good, hacking was good. As usual, questions were answered with information and a Mozartkugel. Some pretty good questions by the audience. Intersting question about "entailment", where I would rather use the term inference. Hm, which fits here more? We published Aperture this day and that is important. The virtual graph approach was nice in the first place, but didn't scale so good anyhow. Chris Bizer suggested later, to collect implementations of virtual graphs, aperture adapters and other adapters somewhere. He insisted to do this collection language-independent, which is probably the way to go.

Patrick Stickler and his napkin idea
All in all, nice talk, and I had a light heart again, relieved by the weight of having something important to do now. During the rest of the day, people walked up to me and I had many interesting conversations about the topic. Later on, Patrick Stickler came (who wasn't in the talk but liked the idea of aperture anyhow) and presented an architecture about distributed URIQA, looked very well-though. Also the presentation media, a paper napkin scribbled with architecture is the medium of choice when you want to start something like Compaq or bigger.

Single most nice event of the day was the TimBl keynote. Some people around me said that timbl sounds somewhat fuzzy in his talking style. May be, but he is one of the guys that had this idea on his mind since 1980 and he is a coder, so I trust his ideas because he has a faint knowledge how to code this on a global level. In his talk, he dissed the foaf community a little that they don't use URIs to identify people. Hm, thats one of these things thats still open. TimBl now has a foaf file and luckily, he has a uri for himself, so we can identify him now using this uri. If this is good or bad, we will see. He also focused on people that don't put rdf files at the place where their uris point. Yes, its 2005 and we have year ~five~ of Semantic Web and people are still too dumb to know what a URL is. Its a locator, and when you use http in your namespace, you have to put a document there. And when you use these URIs in your documents, expect people to download something from there. I nearly laughed my head of during this part of his talk, as it shows how blue-eyed some people are stepping towards the semantic web. Luckily, all my ontologies are at which I hope to host rather statically the next years. In the questions of the talk I asked if the uri crisis is solved, but I should have asked "what does a URI identify and what is the uri of Love?" but was too dumb to to it. So timbl answered, but I meant something else. Argh, leobard, you nincompoop. Whatever, we will find out how to identify abstract concepts sooner or later, its just a 3000 year old philosophical problem that will be solved by informatics in the 21st century. hm. Timbl also discouraged us to use arbitrary XYZ identifiers, namely lifescience identifiers, which sounds a good idea, we'll have to see how we cope with it. During the talk, I suddenly realised that I miss all the good stuff by not being online, so I went online and found a lot of people sitting in the room being online and chatting about the talk.
multimedia experience at the timbl keynote

Augmented reality.

So things to do for myself are: change my foaf file so that my URI points to the URI where I am. perhaps I should also move my foaf file to a saver place, where I can withstand the years. argh, uri crisis. Use a seperate domain, use a subfolder, use a file extension? hm. Timbl didn't use a file extension in his uri, so this may be a good indicator.

In the evening, I was really tired. really. Having sat, sun, mon, tue, wed each day discussions and exchange of info wholeday until 3am in the morning, I was zombie mode. We went to dinner in the place where we were lunching on monday (the hotel next to the tourist office, nice food there). Just the DFKI members, nice talking. Later, we went to wrapup the week in the King's Crown. Chris joined us and I started to have an uri crisis discussion with Sören. Bad idea, I was tired and emotional and pragmatic about this. During all years of uri crisis discussion, I never found a solution to it, so also not on this evening. Whatever, no one can give an answer on what a uri identifies, so we remain at the beginning there. I still wonder what is the right uri for concepts like "love", "Leo Sauermann", "Microsoft" or "ISWC2005". Hope to find a solution for this age-old problem soon. Hope that god stops me discussing this one. We went sleeping early.
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ISWC2005 trip: Wednesday, 9. November 2005

Second conference day. I still had to work on my slides and I was a little over-ambitious with this idea. Well, this day I saw one or the other interesting talk, but the main business remains offline the talks. People coming together, decent fireplace talks in the lobby, etc. Every time I saw Stefan Decker somewhere he was preaching the Semantic Desktop to someone. I wanted to show my slides to Ansgar before the dinner, but he wasn't available, so I asked Malte. We sat in the fireplace-lobby and I showed my status to him. This fireplace lobby was an awesome place, cosy, warm, enough power outlets, bar personal don't bug you if you don't order anything. Luckily, Gerald Reif stumbled by and sat with his suisse friends. I asked him if he could help me with the slides and listen to my test presentation. Luckily, he agreed. Geri was my Diploma Thesis mentor and he already checked my first gnowsis slides in 2003, so he knows the topic and I both trust and like him. Ok, during the first presentation I felt: what is this shit I wrote. It was still very different from the presentation I would give tomorrow. There were much too many much too dull jokes in it and the message was missing. I slightly panicked but both Malte and Geri just said, its ok, and if you do A,B,C then it will work. Thanks to Malte and Geri, they saved my sanity. Geri also measured the time it took me to give the talk using his stopwatch. Later, Malte reviewed the slides and corrected most typos and semantic bugs. Ok, I all this took from 6pm to 8pm and it was time for gala dinner now.

Knowing that at a conference there is no time, I already came wearing my nice jacket in the morning, so that I didn't have to change clothing now. We went to gala dinner and it was beautiful. The hotel staff removed all of the walls in the conference avenue, even some walls we didn't think were removable. Result was a huge room filled with many tables, every table nicely decorated and with candles burning. I flocked with a few hacking-oriented people and ended on a table together with Malte, Uldis Bojars, Peter Mika, John Breslin and others (hm, will remember this). Food was great, and my sorrows about my slides fainted away after the first glass of white wine.

Nice parts that happened now was that we were neighboured near to the buffet and got to eat fast and we were also next to some very animating people, I remember especially one great dancer, I think his name was Jerome. Part of the entertainment at this night was an Irish band, that were accompanied by Irish dancers ("riverdance style") that gave a dancing show. On the second show, they gathered people from the audience to join in riverdancing. They caught me and Jerome, but we both got hold of Stefan and dragged him also to the dancefloor. Poor Stefan, afterwards I felt that this wasn't so nice, but during our performance with the irish dancers it was funny. All well documented, expect some flickr pics with us.

Later on, I got lucky to dance with Kim, which was real fun. We were one of the early adoperts on stage. The evening transmogrified when they shut down the gala dinner around midnight. We grabbed one remaining wine bottle and accomodated us at one of the remaining tables. Conversation there has already switched to the level of "if you could choose between having children, money, or good health, what would you pick?". I quickly evaded, based on my belief that such discussions can only be made in a theological mindset and not just based on ethics and moral - just too theoretic. Moved to the other side of the table where the usual crowd of hackers already opened their laptops. I had to refine my slides anyhow. Around 1am we finally made an exodus and went to the lobby, where a few geeks flocked. Talked to some people there, interesting topics but I forgot the details. Went home then.

Hm, not wise to stay up until 3am when you have to give a talk tomorrow, but I only live once and every convesation with peers is worth a billion.
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ISWC2005 trip: Tuesday, 8. November 2005

First real conference day. During the day I attended one or the other session. Lunch in the Radisson was ok this time. In the afternoon, I chatted with Christiaan De Fluit, our co-conspirant in the sourceforge project aperture. I forgot to tell him that we had to release aperture in thursday, I somehow mixed up the conference timetable and thought I had my talk on friday. So we had to make the distro for Aperture and had some discussions on version numbers and about howto providing the download. Chris adapted to the changed deadline and said he will do the work. Good cooperation, gave me more time to think about the slides. We planed to make the first release of Aperture during my talk at the ISWC, will give aperture a good start in publicity.

Most interesting part of this day was the poster session in the big room. I made some photos there. And I met many new people during this poster session. Especially Patrick Stickler and Alistair Miles are people I first met there.

Afterwards, we flocked together and went to O'Neaghtaens ,Quaye street(hm, probably wrong spellt anyway). Patrick was there, a few Americans, later the Hannover group suddenly appeared for a few minutes. When this pub shut down, a flock of five headed for the appartment of someone and we got great liquor there. And had nice conversations. Thankfully, a good fairy drove us home and I had a nice sleep in the DFKI appartment. Topics this evening were about the censorship around the world, for example in Iran and China and how the semantic web relates.
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ISWC2005 trip: Monday, 7. November 2005

Morning waking up motivated. Today we had an internal meeting in the morning. I went with some people with whom I am going to work together to a nearby restaurant. We did not have the lunch vouchers for this day and therefore headed to lunch outside. Again interesting talks, this time about real use cases in biology science. Afternoon I sneaked into the Semantic End User Applications Workshop. Hm, interesting discussion, but a little too high for me. I had to do my slides for thursday, anyway, so I started with them. I now really had the plan to completely change my presentation style, inspired by Dick Hardts talk I saw two days ago with Stefan really changed the way I saw powerpoint now. Powerpoint can be art. Don't narcotise your audience with bad slides.

So, the scientific day was a great inspiration for me hacking on my slides.

In the evening, we went out together. What I remember is that we went to an indian restaurant. Michael is an expert on indian restaurants and was informed beforehand. We met the Rudiversum later on in a pub. One short beer there, but I knew that the big crowd should be at Mac Swiggans. So I asked Malte if he wants to join and we decided to reduce it to one beer with the Rudiverse and later move on. So, a couple of people went on to Mac Swiggans, where we found - nobody. We looked around, had a peek the stairs up, but didn't find nobody. Hm, whatever, it was a 10minute walk from the other pubs away and this motivated us to stay and go for a few beers. Later we went home. I sold one gnowsis t-shirt to Francisco and gave him a demo of gnowsis.

The next day I learned from Libby and Uldis the interesting background info: sem-webbing people were upstairs and there were hundreds of them upstairs. argh, these pubs can really be big.
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ISWC2005 trip: Sunday, 6. November 2005

The day of the first Semantic Desktop workshop. My first glance of the community I live and work in.
attendees at the semdesk workshop

For all my pictures of the workshop, click here:

For pictures by me and others (hopefully they use the same tag) click here:

I had an intensive day, Stefan did much of the organizing, Jack Park organized the social event and Brian helped also very much. The day worked and we had an ignition of the community. Especially the social event in the evening and the poster session brought people together.
Here a pic from the poster session
get together at the poster session

here a pic from the social event:
social event semdeskws2005

We had much work preparing this workshop, but in the end every hour was worth it. I first met Jack Park and was surprised what a positive person he is.

In the night, I was last man standing at the bar, together with two other austrians and a german guy, many beers, many good conversations. more about this day in a seperate blog entry.
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ISWC2005: Saturday, 5. November 2005

getting up, having breakfast at great southern. Hm, good tea there. Then to buseireann to get to galway. There, arrived, I headed for our bed&breakfast reception, to get the keys to our appartment.

Some DFKI members decided to take an appartment together, increases sociality. I had the task to get the keys, because the others arrived there at night. So, 11:00 and being at b&b. Greeted there by Christine. She is Austria, as I am and lives now for a year in Ireland, working. At a b&b. And now the final surprise - she blogs. Here is Christine's blog. She also mentions our arrival in her blog. The blogosphere works.

Ok, after chatting I headed for Stefan Decker's office at DERI to prepare the Semantic Desktop Workshop with him. DERI isn't so easy to find, they have recently moved and when I visited them last, they were somewhere else. So when I finally found the building I stumbled through offices until by accident stumbling into some W3C meeting taking place there. Whoops. I found Stefan's office and found him busy as usual. Ok, first I talked long with Eyal Oren about his semperwiki, he gave me a demo and I instantly saw the resemblance to the ideas I already hacked 2003 for gnowsis, but now with a different approach. Funny, that I learned to use wiki technology at

Stefan and I had the whole afternoon to talk about architecture, upcoming projects and other stuff. Nice to get something done, looking forward to next year when we work together more closely. He insisted to show me the identity 2.0 talk by Dick Hardt and I was baffled. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. And do it like Lawrence Lessig said: "Dick Hardt is brilliant. Watch (and copy) the style. Learn tons from the substance. (My pride is tied to the style only)."

So a thought started in me: I have to copy this style.

In the evening, when I came home, Bertin Klein was already there, funny thing. He came before the others. We decided to go eat something and instantly stumbled across Gerald Reif, who was my Diploma Thesis mentor and since 2003 is a very good SemWeb friend of mine. So we headed to get a beer and had our first semdesk discussions great. At the evening, I saw "Dude where is my car" on local telly, never saw this one before but was surprised how funny the movie is.
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ISWC2005 trip report- intro

ISWC!!!! ISWC!!!! my first big conference and my first chance to meet the community I live in. Great. Astonishing. Zoot! Pimp my life at the ISWC. From my arrival on the green island until our departure, it was a good time. Networking, Discussing, bringing the semantic web alive, architecture discussions, planning open source stuff....

so, my pics are on flickr, justr clickr thisr:

there was no cow at the workshop

And most important: I met all those people whom I only knew as CVS commit names or as mailinglist posters. The community is great and 99% percent of the people there were interesting. My biggest feeling after this event: these people think similar to me, have ideas, have plans, great projects, nice lives, are moving around, work here and there, make photos, etc.

In this blog entry, I am going to just writeup my personal notes of the trip and how I felt my being at the ISWC, follow ups will come for the Semantic Desktop Workshop and my talk on thursday and everything else.

I arrived on Friday night, at about 23:00 in shannon airport. There, I met another guy from DFKI who took the same plane as I but whom I never have seen before. Funny thing when you work in a company with over 200 artificial intelligence researchers + hundreds of students. Hotel was great, here is a pic of my room.

bed at greatsouthernshannon

It helped me to have a productive day on saturday.
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November 2005


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