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Posts tagged with: smesher

Semantics @ SIMsKultur Online

SIMsKultur Online is adding semantics
Exciting times, it really looks like we are about to witness RDF's tipping point. Every other week we see another service adding semantic web support. I didn't even find time to play with O'Reilly's RDF data yet, and yesterday I already came across the next site: SIMsKultur not only added RDF export for all events (more info at evo42), but also put up a hacked smesher instance to enrich and filter their Tweets (work in progress). I've been told that even SPARQL support is on their list.

smesher @ SIMsKultur

This is exactly the stuff I was dreaming of when I started with RDF development: Web agencies enhancing their customers' experience with easy-to-deploy solutions. I didn't expect it to become such a marathon, and we're still not fully there yet, but it feels a lot like we're finally hitting the home stretch :-)

DevX article about Semantifying and SPARQLing Twitter Streams

DevX article: Turn Twitter Into Your Personal Assistant
An article about smesher, the semantic microblogging system I've been working on during the last few weeks, is now online at DevX.

The article explains the technical side of the MBC09 talk, a code bundle is included. The latter still lacks the just added posting functionality, I'll try to make another release available once the code is a little more stable.

smesher working hours

Semantic microblogging talk @ MBC09

Quick report and slides from my session
Last week I've been at MBC09, a conference about all things microblogging. It was organized by Cem Basman, who not only managed to get very interesting speakers on stage, but also a report into Germany's main TV news.

The conference started slowly, with a little underwhelming sponsored keynotes, but then quickly turned into a great source for inspiration, thanks to barcamp-style tracks during the rest of the conference. I particularly enjoyed the session about Communote (a microblogging system for corporate use), a talk by Marco Kaiser about near-client XMPP at seesmic, and a panel about "Twitter and Journalism" (really entertaining panel speakers).

As usual, I pulled a near-all-nighter to hack on a funky demo, only to get on stage and have a projector that didn't like MacBooks. Luckily, I was co-speaking with Sebastian Kurt who had slides for using Twitter as an interface to remote apps (todo list management and similar things), so I didn't have to fill the whole 30 mins stuttering about demos that no one could see. Anyway, given the circumstances, the session didn't go too badly. Interestingly, the Zemanta and Calais APIs triggered most of the questions.

I've now uploaded my slides (and added some screenshots of the demo prototypes), in case you're interested in this stuff or wonder what I would have talked about, or if you didn't see the demos after the session.

Quick thoughts on semantic microblogging

Motivation and wish list for a personal semantic microblogging system
This week, the first "Microblogging Conference Europe" will take place in Hamburg. I was lucky to get a late ticket (thanks to Dirk Olbertz, who won't be able to make it). The conference will have barcamp-style tracks, and (narrow-minded as I am) I started thinking about adding SemWeb power to microblogging.

The more I use Twitter and advanced clients like TweetDeck, the more I think that (slightly enhanced) microblogs could become great interfaces to the (personalized) Semantic Web. I'm already noticing that I don't use a feed reader or delicious to discover relevant content any more. I'm effectively saving time. But simultaneously it becomes obvious that Twitter can be a distracting productivity killer. So, here is the idea: Take all the good things from microblogging and add enough semantics to increase productivity again. And while at it, utilize this semantic microblog as a work/life/idea log.

A semantic microblog would simplify the creation of structured, machine-readable information, in part for personal use, and generally to let the computer take care of certain tasks or do things that I didn't think of yet.

I have only two days left to prepare a demo and a talk, so I better start developing. I'll keep the rest of this post short and log my progress on Twitter instead. The app will be called "smesher". I'm starting now (or rather tomorrow morning, have to leave in 15 mins).

Use cases

  • How much time did I spend doing support this month?
  • Who are my real contacts (evidence-driven, please, why do I have to manually add followees)?
  • Show me a complete history of activities related to project A
  • How much can I bill client B? (or even better: Generate an invoice for client B)
  • What was that great Tapas Bar we went to last summer again?
  • Where did I first meet C?
  • Bookmarks ranked by number of occurrences in other tweets
  • Show me all my blog posts about topic D
  • ...

Microblogs: Strengths

  • Microblogs are web-based
  • Microblogs are very easy to use ("less is more")
  • Microblogs offer a great communication channel (asynchronous, but almost instant)
  • Microblog clients are getting ubiquitous
  • Microblogs can be used as life logs
  • Microblogs can be used for note taking
  • Microblogs can be used for bookmarking
  • Microblogs can be used for announcements
  • Microblogs can accelerate software development (near-real-time feedback loop)
  • Microblog search (and the associated feeds) can be used to track interests
  • hashtags are a simple way to annotate posts
  • A Microblog can be used as an interface to bots

Some Requirements and Nice-to-haves for semantic microblogging

  • access to a post's default information (author, title, date, source)
  • support for evolving patterns (@-recipients, people mentioned, URLs mentioned, hashtags, Re-Tweets)
  • groups, or at least private notes (some posts just don't need to be on the public timeline ;)
  • complete archives
  • perhaps semantic auto-tagging
  • post-publication tags (I'll surely forget a necessary tag every now and then)
  • private tags?
  • keep the simple UI (no checkbox overload etc.)
  • support for machine tags or a similar grassroots extensibility mechanism to increase granularity without losing usability/simplicity
  • an API that supports user-defined and evolving structures
  • URL expander for etc.
  • rules to create/infer/extract information from (machine) tags and existing data, maybe recursively
  • Twitter/ tracking/relaying


  • Getting Real (UI first etc., worked great last time)
  • RDF 'n' SPARQL FTW: I don't know what the final data model is going to be, and I want an API but don't have time to code it.

Related Work


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