Feet up! : Foaf

Will blog for clothing

SWAD teeshirt A parcel arrived on Friday from Brizzle, contained within was a SWAD-Europe tee-shirt!

SWAD parcel I'm well chuffed, it's a nice looking tee-shirt and the only one I own with RDF/XML printed on it! I can only assume Libby was clearing out the cupboards and looking for appropriate loonies to wear this sort of thing in public. I guess by having asked too many stupid question in #foaf and also by having such a bizarre Foaf document that was probably a good stress test for Rosco, I've demonstrated some use to the RDF/FOAF cause.

The most amusing bit is that my name is mispelt on the parcel, you'd think they of all people could have checked my Foaf file, then again it wouldn't surprise me if that was wrong...

[Sat, 23 Oct 2004 23:03] | [] | #

Foaf updates

I've updated my Foaf document a little, nothing too major and the Foaf lint tool complains rather less, although it's still not entirely jolly.

Main additions are some support for Jen Golbeck's Trust and Reputation project, courtesy of the Trust-O-Matic. I suppose I really ought to add to my Foaf some of the folks I've been involved with in creating IRC Hacks...

I'd register for the FriendSpace demo if it was working, FriendSpace is one of the papers being presented at the FOAF Workshop in Galway this week.

[Wed, 01 Sep 2004 10:32] | [] | #

foaf:maker in xhtml

Great tip from Phil Wilson about using foaf:maker in the meta tags of a web page to indicate who created the document. As he says, combine this with FOAF autodiscovery and foaf:weblog in a Foaf file and this really completes the circle, nice stuff.

Phil's observation that Outlook feels like holding a turd rings pretty true here, maybe it's a mindset thing but Outlook just doesn't work out for me either. Then again I know of an internet security firm who insist on using it internally, which just strikes me as wrong, after all would you trust a bank who didn't use locks on their doors?

[Thu, 15 Apr 2004 19:02] | [] | #

How crufty is your FOAF?

If it's anything like a lot of the FOAF documents I've seen, it's probably pretty nasty! Even if it's valid RDF and Rosco gives it the thumbs up, there's still plenty of opportunities for stupid mistakes.

Enter Perry Lorier's FOAF Lint tool, this currently has 13 tests to help encourage best practises in FOAF documents, and I'm sure that Perry will be adding more tests as best practises evolve and he gets more feedback.

[Thu, 25 Mar 2004 14:57] | [] | #

FOAF Relationship Schema Updated

Cool news from Ian Davis, Eric Vitiello's relationship schema has a new home at http://purl.org/vocab/relationship/

This is great way to expand on foaf:knows and there are examples of this usage shown using FOAF. Something new is that there are also (X)HTML examples showing relationships between authors of pages using rel and rev attributes on links. Much like the infamous XFN system, but using the same vocabulary as in FOAF. Looks like it's time to update my FOAF file...

[Mon, 15 Mar 2004 23:01] | [] | #

FOAF Etiquette

A thoughtful post by Paul Hammond on FOAF etiquette, covers the things you should and shouldn't say about people in your FOAF files.

I think these are pretty similar to the unspoken rules that appear to have evolved into being, I'd add another rule of thumb, keep it simple. If someone's got a FOAF file of their own, they can say as much as they want about themselves, and you only need to keep minimal information about them in your FOAF file and point at their file (rdfs:seeAlso to the rescue).

FOAF how-to's seem to be appearing in a few places, maybe it's indicative of the increasing spread of FOAF.

[Wed, 21 Jan 2004 13:01] | [] | #


Useful stuff time: SchemaWeb a site collecting RDF schemas, particularly useful schemas for FOAF, both serious stuff like Eric Vitiello's relationship schema that extends foaf:knows and fun stuff like the Beer and Pub ontologies.

No sign of LOAF there yet, looks like the LOAF project team are slackers... :-)

[Wed, 03 Dec 2003 00:07] | [] | #

Clay Shirky - genius or troll?

I suppose kicking a man when he's down isn't quite fair, but I've always wondered why Clay Shirky gets treated quite differently to say Andrew Orlowski.

Maybe it's a clash of cultures, the different nuances in British and American English. As Danny has pointed out what Andrew writes is frequently satire, the basic premise is invariably spot on, but maybe his piss taking and irony is not understood in the same way by an American audience.

Likewise for Shirky, maybe he's understood by Americans, perhaps in his social and technological circles his essays ring true. But the essays that intersect most directly with my interests have been littered with errors and false premises; Mobitopia destroyed Clay's assumptions that WiFi would obliterate 3G, and Danny Ayers decontructs the straw men (with Dan Brickley's comments) in Clay's latest essay The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview.

I agree with Marc Canter about rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck into building a semantic web; maybe we are only digging the foundations right now, but you need those for anything but a house of straw. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some photos to codepict...

[Mon, 10 Nov 2003 12:48] | [] | #

BlueJacking and FOAF

Bluejacking seems to be the meme du jour, what with the BBC covering it and even a dedicated site called bluejackQ giving a brief background and how-to.

Whilst this is all jolly amusing stuff it's not that new, most people with a Bluetooth enabled phone will have already received (or even sent!) messages like this in public places. But this technology does have some slightly more interesting uses. One of these is FoafMobile - automagic social networking. Where your phone's Bluetooth id can be linked to your Friend of a Friend (FOAF) file.

Jim Ley, Anil de Mello and myself are tinkering with various concepts based around using Bluetooth with FOAF, and I'm sure others are too. It'll be interesting to see if these ideas take off as quickly as BlueJacking has.

Update: Further proof that it's nothing new, Anil wrote about Bluejacking back in June. I'm far more interested in his current adventures with his Nokia 6600 and JSR 82 though.

[Tue, 04 Nov 2003 13:43] | [] | #

Wheel re-inventing

Spotted on Lockergnome

Kunekt Cards make your contact information available as an RSS or RDF (News) feed. Place a button on your web site so your friends and associates can subscribe to your contact information. Never again send out notifications by email, post or fax! Just make a change to your Kunekt Card and everyone who subscribes to your Kunekt Card will be automatically notified. Import your contact details from vCards and Outlook / Outlook Express.

Maybe I've missed the point somewhere, but what does this give you that you can't already do with Foaf? And if you really have to have this information in a feed, Foaf in RSS 1.0 fits the bill quite nicely does it not? Atom might do this too if and when they stop running around in circles, I wonder if they are regretting throwing out RDF yet...

[Tue, 21 Oct 2003 08:57] | [] | #

FoafMobile some suggestions

One of the main themes with FoafMobile is to use a Bluetooth equipped mobile phone to identify someone, currently the thinking is for a simplistic model to get a prototype into the field and working as soon as possible. Jim Ley has spotted yet another need for FoafMobile.

There's currently a sticking point with how one should represent a Bluetooth device in one's Foaf file from a perspective of both privacy and spoof-a-bility. A Bluetooth device effectively has two id's; one is a user-changeable text field typically "Jims Phone" or more frequently a factory default like "Nokia 3650" and the other id is a 12 digit hex identifier not dissimilar in concept to a network card's MAC address.

Both of these are modifiable (although the hex id is rarely changeable in a mobile phone) so spoofing is always a posibility. One solution that would make spoofing harder would be if the Foaf file was to contain a hash or checksum of both ids, this would be hard to replicate unless one had seen both the ids, but this would make generating the entry in the Foaf file entry more difficult.

Privacy is going to be tricky, although there's always ways of mitigating this:

Another thought - maybe it would be useful to put something easily identifiable in the user modifiable field primarily as an advert for FoafMobile, but maybe also to help FoafMobile apps know that this Bluetooth ID really is worth looking up. I'm proposing a user identifier something like "FoafMob Jims Mobile" actually how about "FoaM"? Short, sweet, and it should be easy to type with T9 text entry.

[Mon, 15 Sep 2003 13:07] | [] | #

Yet more Foaf updates

I did a little bit of tinkering with my Foaf file earlier, fixing a few errors and adding a few more hooligans, and I somehow (through luck rather than planning) ended up with the first Foaf file with foaf:gender in the wild.

Thanks to the #foaf crowd (Libby and JibberJim in particular) for pointing me in the right directions.

Other notable points in the update, I've sorted out some of the confusion with my Ecademy Foaf file by including my foaf:mbox_sha1sum foaf:homepage and rdfs:seeAlso for this file in my foaf:Person rather than having a seperate foaf:Person for that content; that makes sense when you think about it, it's just more data about me, it's not about another person. I had Mobitopia as a foaf:weblog, sure it's a weblog I contribute to, but it's not just mine, so I added a foaf:Group which has a weblog (Mobitopia) and a number of foaf:members, and because of this I've also added most of the Mobitopia contributors to my Foaf.

A few useful pointers from this exercise, Jim's files of bad Foaf helped me spot a few errors, and the W3C's RDF Validator and Libby's Rosco tool helped me fix the worst of my stupidity...

The infamous Foaf Explorer and the RDF Photo codepiction tools were useful for surfing the ever increasing Foaf World, apparantly I'm less than 15 links removed from JFK somehow.

Note: If you're one of the handful of people linking to my Foaf, please check your content, there's a few people out there with the wrong details for various things! There's a simple summary of stuff I'd like you to carry in a comment at the top of my Foaf file.

[Fri, 12 Sep 2003 13:39] | [] | #

Foaf on the move

The Foaf folks have been busy scheming in #mobitopia. Not content with Foaf's emerging World domination as the primary format for relationship description, they are now looking at mobile Foaf. Dan Brickley has a holding page on the Foaf Wiki for FoafMobile resources.

Tying Foaf, Bluetooth, and Smartphones together is a very smart move. Some of the concepts they're talking about are covered here in very broad terms:

Coming to a Symbian phone near you soon!

[Wed, 10 Sep 2003 17:33] | [] | #

Jim Hughes
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