Some Nice Things

Posted on by Chris Warburton

I've not posted for a while, due to a mixture of an increasing workload, the ability to let off a constant barrage of my thoughts to Identi.ca rather than build them up into a blog post, and my constant disdain for Web-based apps.

So what do I want to blog about? Nothing particularly structured, just some stuff that I find interesting. Keep in mind though, that my definition of interesting includes the fact that 12cm optical discs have increased their storage capacity by 2 orders of magnitude in the 27 years from the CD to the BluRay, whilst in the same time frame the capacity of 3 1/2" hard drives has gone up 12 orders of magnitude. (I'm writing an essay on Optical Data Storage for a Physics module :) )

For those of you who may remember Deluxe Paint on AGA capable Amigas I can heartily recommend that you check out Grafx2, which seems to work on pretty much every OS and has recently been added to Debian, so you can install it by ticking "grafx2" in any package manager, it will be downloaded and installed along with everything it depends on :) Doesn't seem to do animation yet, as far as I can tell, which is a shame.

Also recently added to Debian is Closed World Model, cwm. This is pretty special, since it takes cutting edge computer knowledge representation as used by the Semantic Web, and makes it accessible via a tool similar to UNIX's (and of course GNU's) classic sed tool. For example, you can use a command like "cwm --rdf inputfile1.rdf inputfile2.rdf --n3 inputfile3.n --rdf --think --pipe > output.rdf" to take at all of the knowledge from the RDF files inputfile1.rdf, inputfile2.rdf and inputfile3.n (in RDF-XML and Notation3 formats), comparing the knowledge they contain, and dumping all of the new knowledge it can infer into the RDF-XML file output.rdf. For example, inputfile1.rdf could contain statements that Chris Warburton is a student, Chris Warburton has a website http://www.chriswarbo.net and that Chris Warburton has a brother David Warburton. inputfile2.rdf could say that Brothers are related and that Brothers share a Mother. inputfile3.n could say that David Warburton has a blog at http://fun-chips.blogspot.com and David Warburton has a mother Cheryl Warburton. cwd would then combine these and the output file would contain deductions such as David Warburton is related to a student, http://www.chriswarbo.net is run by a student and Chris Warburton has a mother Cheryl Warburton.

This is pretty cool, since it commoditises the previously tricky area of RDF access, allowing it to be scripted, for example in the backend of Web sites, in the same way that Imagemagick has done to images (eg. for thumbnailing).

Pretty cool. Anyway, it's getting late so I should get some sleep now.

I'm going to post some of my programming experiments soon, so look out for them :)