I had a nice productive week in San Jose / San Francisco last week, where I attended the Semantic Technologies Conference 2008 (SemTech 2008) and some other nearby events. SemTech 2008 had a record attendance of over 1000 people, and it was great to meet up with old friends and new (some of whom I had often conversed with online but not in real life).
- Arriving on Sunday afternoon, Uldis, Stefan and I prepared for our SemTech 2008 tutorial. On Monday, we gave the tutorial entitled “The Future of Social Networks on the Internet: The Need for Semantics“, inspired by our IEEE Internet Computing article from last year. You can get the slides here. We talked about how a combination of FOAF and SIOC could be used to represent and interlink people and social objects within and across social websites. The tutorial was well received and we had some interesting questions afterwards…
- On Tuesday morning, I chaired a late-breaking DataPortability interest group session, where I quizzed Chris Saad on the initiative and we had a good discussion with Daniela Barbosa, Danny Ayers, Ian Davis, Henry Story, Uldis and others. Afterwards, I attended the keynote talks by Nova Spivack and Eric Miller. You may already have seen my reports here and here respectively.
- On Tuesday afternoon, I met with Sanjay Sabnani, CEO of CrowdGather and friend Chris. CrowdGather is a big network of medium to large message board sites that includes the huge General Mayhem community. (Disclaimer: I am on the CrowdGather Inc. board of advisors.) That evening, we met Ashely and went along to the SF Beta event (“The San Francisco Web 2.0 Mixer”), where I saw some interesting demos including Hitchsters (share taxi trips to the airport). After dinner, we had drinks with TouristR‘s Conor Wade, LeFora co-founder Vinnie Lauria and friend David. Unfortunately, I was pretty much “wiped” with jet lag by then.
- On Wednesday, I took it easy. From the lovely Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, I wandered up Fillmore to see what old breakfast haunt Galette had become (it’s now La Boulange). I skipped on to another breakfast favourite, Ella’s, and had something of a mammoth breakfast (yes, those three plates of food in the picture!) that kept me going for the day. After a spot in Kinokuniya, where I picked up the latest in the Alita: Last Order manga series, I walked on and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, and then headed back south again for an evening spent with family in the locality.
- On Thursday, I attended some more SemTech 2008 talks in the morning including Steven Forth et al. from Monitor presenting about Team Learning on Semantic Mediawiki and also part of the FISHBOWL SemTech Reflections discussion session. In the afternoon, a team of us DERI researchers headed up to Radar Networks in San Francisco where we presented some of our work and brainstormed on things we could do together.
And I flew back on Friday, arriving back in Galway on Saturday. San Francisco is still a very special place to me, and I look forward to a proper family holiday there in the next year or three. Funnily enough, on Sunday I was driving behind a car with a California license plate on a Galway road – it was a long way from home!
Now, it’s catch-up time again. We’ve had a busy few weeks here in DERI what with our major funding review (which was held on-site a fortnight ago), so a lot of stuff went by the wayside (if I haven’t replied to you yet, please accept my apologies as I have a backlog of e-mail to get through and also my phone SIM card died this morning).
So what else is happening? I had an interview with Maryrose Lyons yesterday for the latest Brightspark Consulting newsletter, and today I’m correcting some exam papers that were put on a very long finger. I also got a copy of Jonathan Zittrain’s “The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It” in the post which I’m looking forward to reading soon…