Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting set up to work on the 4th edition of my Java Artificial Intelligence book

For the 3rd edition, I used Eclipse for both development of the Java examples and to prepare the Latex manuscript (using the Eclipse Latex plugin TeXlipse).

I really prefer using IntelliJ for Java development and TeXShop (Mac OS X only) for editing Latex files so I just converted my writing setup.

I have a fairly good idea of what new topics I want to cover but I am still deciding what material from the 3rd edition I want to remove.

Since I released the 3rd edition over three years ago, I have averaged about 300 downloads of the free PDF version a day with a few sales of the print edition each month. I like making a free version available for people to read and generating traffic for my web site where I advertise my consulting services is great. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years when I see my book in search results it is very often on someone else's web site which violates the conditions of the Creative Commons non-commercial use license for the PDF version of my book.

My Latex setup supports output of PDF, HTML, and HTML with automatically generated embedded Google ads. I might change my mind, but I think that the free version of the 4th edition will be HTML pages on my web site, perhaps with a few Google ads, but probably not. I'll continue to sell print copies of my book on Lulu and also offer a PDF version for a few dollars.

Changing the way we use the Internet

Unless searching for online docs, looking up error codes and error messages, etc., I do relatively little web search and browsing anymore - compared to even a year ago. I usually rely on good links from Twitter and Google+ to find things worth reading, keep up with new tech, and sometimes even read the news.

In the 1980s, I was a "find useful stuff at public FTP sites" resource at SAIC. I spent time maintaining lists of useful FTP sites and what they contained so I could help people quickly find stuff. Gopher was a step up. Good search engines were a huge improvement for finding stuff on the web.

Now I find myself mostly depending on what interesting people recommend. Even though I am a techie and don't represent a typical Web user, I still think that the trend of using social media to find interesting (and even useful!) material is widespread. It will be interesting to see how the major web companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. perform financially in the future because it seems very difficult to predict new disruptive technologies that will capture peoples attention and interest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I have been working on lately

It has been a while since I blogged. Carol and I are leaving soon on a driving trip with our grandkids, daughter and son in law - it was requested that we both leave our laptops at home, a request that we are planning to honor. So, since I will be without a computer for about 10 days, here is a quick catch-up on what I have been doing:

I have been fairly busy lately working for two customers. At a friends company we are writing rich client web applications using SmartGWT and Java EE 6 on the backend. I have also been working for Compass Labs on building a large graph database and also doing some data mining of Freebase data. Google bought Freebase last year and is working on new features and APIs. I am in a private beta for their new Freebase APIs - good stuff!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Second edition of "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist"

First thanks to Morgan Kaufman Publishers for sending me a copy of the second edition. Dean Allenmang and Jim Hendler did a great job of updating the examples and fixing a few small glitches from the first edition.

I have been extremely busy with work so I have only been able to spend about 90 minutes so-far with the second edition but I hope to give it a careful reading when I am on vacation in a few weeks.

This book is an excellent guide for anyone who wants to invest a fair amount of time to learn how to write semantic web enabled applications: a very comprehensive book.

I recently bought a eBook copy of Bob DuCharme's short book Learning SPARQL
Querying and Updating with SPARQL 1.1
that I would also like to recommend as a fairly easy introduction to using SPARQL repositories and generally using SPARQL in applications.

If two good new semantic web books were not enough, I have also had fun recently experimenting with Clark & Parsia's new Stardog RDF datastore that offers fast data loading, fast SPARQL queries, OWL 2 support, and built in search.