Skip to content

Knowee, a social address book and more

Knowee logoTwo days ago, Benjamin Nowack announced the re-release of Knowee, a distributed social web address book. Knowee started out as a project supported by the W3C Semantic Web Interest Group and will also available for download soon. This means you can install it on your own server, if you like.

Knowee is somewhat similar to NoseRub as it aggregates many of your profiles from popular social networks and applications like Twitter,, or Delicious. But Knowee adds a lot of semantic wizardry to all the data its bots collect over time. Among the technologies employed are FOAF, RDF, Microformats, OpenID, Google's Social Graph API, and SPARQL. The latter makes it easy to re-use the aggregated information in other applications. Without digging too deep into all these formats and APIs, let me say this seems to evolve into a very powerful tool, far more than a simple address book. For more info, read the introductory blog post, or simply take a shot at it.

Knowee conceptThat being said, I'm a little irritated about how little buzz Knowee has created so far (only 4[!] hits on Technorati?). Is everyone simply fed up with yet another social network aggregator? Or am I just a little bit too impatient? I don't know, but I know that Knowee deserves more attention even if it's still in an early stage. Especially since I'm sure that Benjamin will add more useful features soon, e.g. the integration of MyBlogLog.

My public Knowee profile can be found here.

ufXtract Microformats Parser

First, there was Optimus, now Glenn Jones at lab.backnetwork brings us ufXtract, another online Microformats parser. It was created with a specific goal in mind, namely in order to help explore the real world issues of creating portable social networks. So, for a start, ufXtract's main focus seems to be a set of Microformats related to social networking: hCard and XFN, rel-me, rel-next, and hAtom; but it can detect many others as well, even the quite complex hResume. Output formats comprise plain text, XML, and JSON. ufXtract is written in C# and seems to be pretty fast, although I cannot really compare its performance to that of Optimus.

I think this is great work by Glenn, and I'm curious about the demos he is going to add. Go ahead and check it out yourself, or click on one of the following links to see some demo output of this blog's contents:

Live from BarCamp Berlin 2 Saturday

At last, I have overcome my network problems and can connect to the internet again. Well, kind of, at least, still no wireless connection, but I found a ethernet cable lying around, plugged it in, and it works. So far, the sessions have been interesting, but most of the time I struggled with the network after already having arrived late (the warmup party yesterday was nice, but I overslept because of it *g*). This doesn't sound like a good start, but I met a lot of nice people who made me foget my troubles :-) )

Right now, it's getting noisy in here, but I will try to jot down some of my thoughts about the BarCamp so far. First session was about what social networks and communities can learn from game design. Quite an intersting approach to the topic, has given me a lot to think about. The second session was about blogs and metadata, yet in a different way from what I expected (I missed the session presentations this morning). Patrick concentrated on how to mark up blog posts with metadata so that they can easily be cited by reserachers. The Zotero Firefox extension helps with this. Some very interesting discussion ensued, touching on Microformats, RSS, RDFa, and similar techniques. I might even implement OCoins in Serendipity some day soon ;O)

Oh, and if someone wants to know: I'm planning to hold my Serendipity session tomorrow. I definitely need reliable network access for this, as it will include a live demo of a fresh S9y installation. Alright peeps, gotta change rooms now. Later.

Optimus Microformats Transformations

It's been silent here for too long, but that's because I have a lot of work to do on various projects. Other people are working, too. Two days ago, Dmitry Baranovskiy announced the release of Optimus, an online service that transforms microformatted XHTML pages to nice, clean, easily digestible XML, JSON or JSON-P. This is achieved by the informed and heavy use of XSL Transformations. Optimus currently filters out events (hCalendar), addresses (hCard), blog entries (hAtom), resumes (hResume), reviews (hReview), and many more, so every important Microformat is covered. The great thing is that Dmitry has released all the XSL and XML files required for the transformation (under this Creative Commons license, I figure?). This means that everyone can set up her or his own transformations. I can only start to think of all the good uses we can put this to.

See example Optimus output of the blog entry before this one.

This blog has been hAtomized

I couldn't hardly belive it myself, but after choosing a template for this blog, I had forgotten to attach the hAtom microformat to it. I've just rectified this embarassing situation. Refurbishing my blog has taken me only five minutes this morning. A quick look at the hAtom cheatsheet helped me somewhat. Adding the appropriate classes and rel-bookmark has been a piece of cake. Actually, template designers should catch up on microformats and include hAtom by default.