Archive for December, 2008


Web 4.0, Another Definition.

   Posted by: wkossen    in Uncategorized

Lessig_CCOk, I know, Many have gone before me and came up with a definition of Web 4.0. I could add a ton of links, but won’t. This link will do:http://www.google.nl/search?q=”web+4.0″. Check that out, but read on first…

Let’s start the counting. Web 1.0 was the original web. It’s still alive and kicking today, don’t worry. This is the web where those with either money or a geeky mind could put content online for you to read. Read-only, unidirectional web. If you wanted interaction, you would have to use other protocols than HTTP on which the web is build. Use ICQ (still alive!) or e-mail or IRC (Yup, I’m that old…). There are the egroups (now Yahoo) and some bulletin-boards (that’s what BB stands for remember?) but that was it. It would take Web2.0 to get to a Read-Write web. Thanks to Ted Lessig for letting us know that! How about youtube.com where you, yes you, can create and publish your content. How about blogs, how about social websites where you create your content on your profile. How about flickr.com and picasa.com. That’s Web2.0.

Web 3.0 is also called the Semantic web. What’s that all about? Well, semantic means meaning. A word is just a couple of characters until you give it meaning. Semantic web is all about letting applications and service understand what the content means. This in turn allows for real data-portability and interoperability since different websites could understand the content coming from other sites. You could ‘take your content with you’ when you go to another site. Would be nice ay? I sign up to ’socialnet2.com’ and my friends and profile information from ’socialnet1.com’ are already there… A simple example of semantics is tagging. The problem here is we have to manually attach the meaning to the words and different people may give different meaning to the same word. A good example of this would be the word Cock. It’s an animal right?.

Semantics is important to allow for better searching, or if you will, better finding. Semantics are important for exchanging information and tying services together. To create better services like mash-ups, but without the need for specific knowledge about specific APIs and a lot of proprietary programming. In fact, to really make Web 2.0 come to life, we would need web 3.0 first. And the same dependence is applicable to what I call web 4.0.

And remember, Different people mean different things when they say Web 4.0. So I repeat that this is only My Personal View and not necessarily the truth. It could well be that other people give other numbering to the same concepts. (are you still here? ready for the secrets?)

Web 4.0 is the web that extends to the real world. It’s the web of things. where your house becomes part of the web, and your car. Where your body becomes part of the Internet. Where you DM your Thermostat using twitter.com to turn the heat up because you are home early. Where the refrigerator orders milk when it notices it’s running out. Where your car checks the Google-Calendar of you and your garage to make a service appointment and where your general practitioner is notified of changes in your glucose-levels in your blood automatically and remotely. It’s the web where a seat in a plane is automatically registered when the location in your google calendar is remote and a taxi is already waiting to pick you up, without you even thinking about it.
You can easily see that almost all technologies are already available You can easily book airplane seats online, you can remote control your house-alarm system, you can order a taxi at the airport without using your phone and you can read what products are sitting in your fridge with a simple bar-code-reader. We have web-cams, arduino boards, ip-based thermostats and light-switches, we have health monitors that ip-connect and we have lots of web applications. In fact, we have lots of open standards to use. The only thing missing is the interoperability of all these services and standards. It doesn’t happen yet or happens on a very small scale with a lot of – alas – proprietary API and Programming stuff…..

There is one more thing the web 4.0 would definitely need. Since all this web 4.0 stuff is running on electricity, we would need greener alternatives to oil (with which we make plastics and electricity and heat and transportation) and lithium (which is running out quickly and needed for batteries) and gas (which we burn up like crazy) and lots of other pollutants… We would need energy efficient appliances and gadgets and we would need to harness the free and clean(er) energy from wind and sun and waves. We would need cleaner fabrication and a more equal sharing of wealth, we would need eco-awareness and local production to limit transportation needs. We would need an ‘Economy of Less’ rather than an ‘Economy of More’. But that’s a different post I’ll write someday…

So what’s your view on the Web 4.0, Would you like to live in such a world? Can you come up with more examples? I hope you like this post and don’t hesitate to comment on it!


Standardize by exclusion or selection?

   Posted by: wkossen    in Uncategorized

Standardization for interoperability is a good thing. Standards make interoperability possible, make governance easier and cost lower. But how should you go about choosing your favorite standards? In this post I want to tell you the way the Dutch Goverenment chooses and I’ll tell you why I don’t agree. (and note that this is my personal opinion!)

Standards in this sense are choices. Choices to use certain methods and technologies, and also the choice not to use certain others. It’s a way to limit the variation therefor making it easier to exchange date or interact between organisations and between applications. There is however a problem with limiting the possibilities. What happens when certain organisations or applications can’t support your standards of choice? Do you force them to change or do you make an exception? How do you accomodate the diversity that you are confronted with?

When you look at a government, made up of many organisations, and many times more applications, you will easily see that there will be exceptions, there will be diversity. The question is whether allowing diversity, and accomodating for it is a bad thing. I don’t think so. I think that diversity isn’t necessarily bad. However, you will need to be able to deal with it. That’s where ‘Decoupling’ or Loose Coupling comes into play. An intermediate system that ’speaks multiple languages’ will help you translate between different technologies and methods. These systems exist and are called Enterprise Application Integration or Enterprise Service Bus. Using one of those allows you to accept multiple standards and still create integration and interaction between organisations and applications.

The Dutch government has chosen a very specific standard for interoperability: EBMS with SOAP (and WUS if you want an exception). These are pretty nice protocols, but not necessarily the right choice for all sorts of traffic. If you want to exchange large badges of data, you’ld rather choose something less complicated. If you want to have really high performance exchanging lots of small messages, the overhead of these protocols may be unacceptable. How about dealing with applications and systems that do not support these protocols? Should all organisations build (or buy) their own gateway to create EBMS over SOAP from their favorite protocols? I doubt that would be an efficient and effective solution.

The Dutch Goverenment has also chosen to not implement a single central integration platform but to allow the different sectors to create one of those for their own needs. This makes ‘inter-sector-interoperability’ rather difficult. Also, each of these implementations is a rather difficult and expensive project while intra-governement-interoperability still isn’t garanteed. The need for an overarching ESB or EAI to interconnect the sector-based-systems would be the solution, however it isn’t planned.

I believe that the selection of standardization should not be a positive selection for one or a few protocols, it should be a negative selection instead following the next set of rules:

1. Disallow anything really bad (unsecure, unscalable, unstabile etc)

2. Disallow anything proprietary or otherwise non-open

3. Allow everything else, but prioritize by preference

4. Make sure there’s an incentive to choose the preferred standards

5. Accomodate the other allowed standards with a well governed, scalable, secure (etc) interoperability platform.

I hope to here your thoughts on this and I hope you liked this post.


Twittastic or not?

   Posted by: wkossen    in Uncategorized

The day has come that I write a post about twitter.com. I’ve been using this service for a long time and it can’t, nor should be ignored. Many have written before about this microblogging platform that allows you to virtually group-text your followers so it will be a challenge to be anywhere near original in this post. Heck, I’ll try.

Twitter can be considered a large waste of time and bandwidth by some, but many gladly waste there time there as you can measure on tweetwasters.com. As it turns out, it’s a challenge to grow your crowd of followers and than be modest about that. I have just over 530 followers as I’m writing this down. That’s not enough by far, so don’t hesitate to start following me on twitter.com/wkossen. (sorry for the blatent advertisement of myself..)  

But why…. Why should you follow anyone on Twitter, why follow me? Why follow the bigshot tweeple (twittering people) like Guy Kawasaki or Chris Brogan? (sorry for all of you bigshots that I didn’t name (shame?) in this post…) Well, it’s fun. that’s why. It could be educational as well, depending on your interests. It could prevent boredom, and you could discover new things, new people and new sites to visit. You even could discover the ‘hot-stuff’ people are tweeting about on twitscoop.com. And is you want you can actually contribute as well. Twitter has an open API that you can use to create new services or applications around Twitter. So all this has been a nice introduction leading up to the presentation of my first contribution, the Wikipedia Random Article Tweetbot twitter.com/wikipediabot. 

What’s that? Well, it’s a automatic twittering program on my server that sends out tweets to it’s followers. Those tweets are just random http://en.wikipedia.org articles in tinyurl.com form with their titles. It does so once an hour 24/7 and (if the server stays up) 365 days a year. @wikipediabot is at your service!

Note that this is my very first attempt at something like this and I’m not the most experienced developer in the world (I used to code basic one day…) so there will be room for improvement on this. Just comment here what you would like improved or send me a reply on twitter.

I hope you liked this post, don’t hesitate to comment.


Visualization Methods

   Posted by: wkossen    in Uncategorized

There are lots of ways to visualize information, concepts, thoughts and systems. In fact there are probably near endless ways to do so. I use some in my day2day work like mindmaps, tree-diagrams and network-infrastructure-maps. I have been using some UML related diagrams and all sorts of layered architectural maps. however, I’ve not used even 10% of available techniques.

I very recently (today) found a website that gives an overview of a lot of available visualization methods in a visual form that is appealing. In fact, visualization techniques within a periodic table. I found this site as it was added to Twine.com, a site I am a member of since quite some time and that does come up with great stuff from time to time. This was one of those moments. In fact, this is a new site, but I wanted to share it with you anyways…

Let’s give you the URL now: Periodic table of visualization methods. I would certainly give this site a 10 out of 10. You might, too… If you find methods not listed there, let me know!

I hope you like this post.


Dataportability: a Comment I Made…

   Posted by: wkossen    in Uncategorized

I just commented on this article on this site. Since this article is really relevant to my blog I wouldn’t not want you to miss it. I’ll just post my comment here as well, but be sure to read the article and other comments if they come. So here’s my comment:Posted December 7, 2008 at 2:13 pm permalink 

Indeed Facebook Connect is strongly resembling the MS Passport initiative. The difference is that MS Passport was expensive and restrictive to implement, Facebook Connect isn’t. Therefor FC has a much greater chance of actually making it.

In that sense, the big corporations like MS, GoogleYahoo and such are just too late in providing a real open initiative. If they would have started accepting OpenID they would have given much momentum that would greatly reduce the chances of Facebook.


Another problem is that web2.0 integration – albeit without portability and without real point-to-multipoint integration – is getting off the ground and facebook is one of those that actually embrace it. The alternatives seem to have come a little late.

Apart from all this the question remains whether FC really allows true dataportability. I tend to severely doubt that. I can certainly take my facebook data with me on those other sites, but that just makes the other site into a ‘Facebook App’ rather than making true interoperable and portable dataflows between those sites possible…

It will be interesting to see what comes out of all this in the coming time. Even though MS Passport had some initial partners, the success never came. For FC we will have to see what the future brings…


The Blogger’s Challenge

   Posted by: wkossen    in Uncategorized

Blogging isn’t necessarily very easy, in fact, it’s pretty hard, especially if you want to create good content and post . On the Entrecard Blog I created a post (and it was in fact accepted!) about my blogging-strategy. Since I’m getting some nice replies, I really want y’all to read that post. I’m not going to create duplicate content, so here you just get the link. I hope you like the post. Don’t hesitate to comment, either here, or on Entrecard.

And here’s the link: The Blogger’s Challenge