Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-11-02

Nabaztag, a screenless, WiFi-enabled bunny, born again with voice-recognition and RFID-awareness in 2007. Interfacing the node between virtual data and the sensory world, Nabaztag fetches information from the Internet, flashes lights on its nose and tummy, rotates its ears, sniffs RFID chips, speaks 36 languages and understands five.
Nabaztag, a screenless, WiFi-enabled bunny, born again with voice-recognition and RFID-awareness in 2007. Interfacing the node between virtual data and the sensory world, Nabaztag fetches information from the Internet, flashes lights on its nose and tummy, rotates its ears, sniffs RFID chips, speaks 36 languages and understands five.

The Internet of things

Internetting every thing, everywhere, all the time [CNN.com]
It’s called “The Internet of Things” — at least for now. It refers to an imminent world where physical objects and beings (like the Nabaztag above), as well as virtual data and environments, all live and interact with each other in the same space and time. In short, everything is interconnected. [via plasticbagUK]

Some recent developments with the the BBC’s new artist pages [bbc.co.uk/music/artists]

Automatically linking artists and news on the BBC Music Beta [BBC – Radio Labs]
On many of the news stories published on BBC News journalists add related internet links. If a story covers a music artist, it might link out to their home page, their MySpace site or even a Wikipedia article. In MusicBrainz, each artist can have several URLs associated to them. By simply cross-referencing each link on a news story with the URLs in MusicBrainz, when we find a match we can confidently say that the news story relates to the artist associated with that URL.

BBC artist page also available as RDF [bbc.co.uk/music]
Either add .rdf to the URL but also with added conneg.

More good news from the open web

Freebase RDF service
This service generates views of Freebase Topics following the principles of Linked Data. You can obtain an RDF representation of a Topic by sending a simple GET request to http://rdf.freebase.com/ns/thetopicid, where the “thetopicid” is a Freebase identifier with the slashes replaced by dots. For instance to see “/en/blade_runner” represented in RDF request http://rdf.freebase.com/ns/en.blade_runner

Google is now an OpenID provider [Google Code Blog]
…but surprise, surprise, surprise they aren’t going to be a Relying Party. You can have too much of a good thing – I now have more OpenID URLs that email addresses.

…and Windows Live ID
At least in this case I don’t have an account so my OpenID count stays in check, for now.

But come on this is just silly – if you support OpenID but not as a Relying Party it’s just marketing.

OpenID usability is not an oxymoron [factoryjoe.com]
Chris Messina considers the four areas he believes OpenID usability needs to be improved: ease of use for developers and end users, branding and marketing, consistency and leadership.

Why the open strategy is a good idea [Matt McAlister]
Nice write up of why an open strategy is good – uses our recent work on artist pages as a case study.

Oh dear…

Greedy BBC Blocks External Links [blogstorm.co.uk]
“In an outrageous act of selfishness and greed the BBC has decided to stop giving real links to the websites featured in the “Related Internet Links” section on the right hand side of each news story.”

Martin Belam suggests an alternative :

“The recent that re-direct is there is entirely about measuring traffic in order to produce charts to show to the top management, and nothing about the wider web eco-system. You are what you measure – the BBC Trust isn’t interested in the BBC passing on PageRank, just in passing on traffic.”

Interesting stuff for 2008-08-09

"Dawkins and Darwin" by Kaptain Kobold. Used under licence.
"Dawkins and Darwin" by Kaptain Kobold. Used under licence.

Darwin’s theory of evolution was simple, beautiful, majestic and awe-inspiring [Charlie Brooker – The Guardian]
“But because it contradicts the babblings of a bunch of made-up old books, it’s been under attack since day one. Had the Bible claimed gravity is caused by God pulling objects toward the ground with magic threads, we’d still be debating Newton with idiots.”

The Bible and the Quran agree: Insects have four legs [Dwindling In Unbelief]
Why do people belief this stuff?

BioNumbers – The Database of Useful Biological Numbers
If you’re interested in the number of prokaryotes in cattle rumen world-wide. If not this site might not be for you. :)

On a different note some interesting tech stuff

Open Source implementation of Yahoo! Pipes with added semweb goodness [deri.org]
Inspired by Yahoo’s Pipes, DERI Web Data Pipes implement a generalization which can also deal with formats such as RDF (RDFa), Microformats and generic XML.

ActiveRDF – a library for accessing RDF data from Ruby [activerdf.org]
A library for accessing RDF data from Ruby programs. It can be used as a data layer in Ruby-on-Rails, similar to ActiveRecord (which provides an O/R mapping to relational databases).

Load Balancing & QoS with HAProxy [igvita.com]
The worst thing you can do is queue up another request behind an already long running process. To mitigate the problem HAProxy goes beyond a simple round-robin scheduler, and implements a very handy feature: intelligent request queuing!