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Posts tagged with: life

Moving forward back to Self-Employment

I'm self-employed again after an inspiring year at Talis.
My time at Talis Systems officially ended last week. I joined the team during painful times, but I'm glad (and proud) to have been a Talisian at least for one year. I have had a few freelance gigs with Talis before, but being part of the team was a whole different thing. And I could frequently travel to the UK, immprooff my inklish, and discover the nice city of Birmingham. There's a reason why they have that G in GB.

Work-wise, I probably learned more in the last 12 months than during the previous 5 years combined - hat tip to Julian, Leigh and all the other (Ex-)Talis folks. And much of that goes beyond just technical skills. I don't want to bore you, but you can definitely learn a lot about your path through life when you get the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective. Apparently, I first had to become an employee working in a foreign city to see the bigger picture around why I boarded that Semantic Web roller coaster in the first place and where it overlaps with my own ideas and interests.

So I am going back to self-employment. And I am also going to stay in the emerging Data Web market. But I'll approach some things differently this time.

First, change of attitude. To contribute in a personally more healthy way again. I won't argue about technical details and specifications any more. That just turns me into a grumpy person (belated apologies). I doubt that promoting products by advertising their underlying technologies is the best way for establishing and growing a market anyway. That's like trying to heat a room by just burning a lot of matches. Promising, with renewed anticipation after each match, but useless without some larger fire in the end. I would like to help spark off these larger fires. Without constantly burning my fingers (OK, enough fire imagery ;-).

The second change is related, and it is about focus. While I still see many people using the ARC2 toolkit, I have had more encouraging feedback and signs of demand recently around my work for end users (including app developers, in a sense). So my new mission is to improve "information interaction" on the Web, and I'll be offering services in that area.

And it looks like I'm off to a good start. I am already fully booked for the next months.

Semantic web apps to simplify my life

A wish list for the semantic web
Heh, quick update after heated discussions on IRC: I know that there are non-RDF apps as well as RDF apps for each of the items below. What I actually want, however, are solutions that look and feel like modern Web apps (hence "simple and beautiful"), but still provide things such as RDF data exchange and SPARQL access. And these apps don't really exist yet. I admit that it's apparently a real challenge for us RDFers to build them, due to our inner-platform tendencies, but I hope that we'll get there once we realize that we can combine our agile, generic backends with task-optimized front-ends.

Update 2: Have a look at These guys are doing great stuff following a "Simplicity is key" approach.

A short list of apps that I'd love to see for a more streamlined life/workflow:

A simple, beautiful, semwebby, linked data-enabled ...
  • ... feed reader
  • ... issue tracker / todo app (one setup for all my projects)
  • ... wiki (for notes, ideas, structured data)
  • ... address book
  • ... calendar
  • ... email inbox (with a bot that removes junk based on SPARQL rules)
  • ... lifelog (private posts, project posts, status updates, location changes)
  • ... online profile generated from all my data
  • ... browser-based system to explore and display the integrated information from my data apps
  • ... alert tool for selected topics/discussions on Twitter, IRC, and mailing lists
  • ... photo organizer

Some of my development work is probably in line with this roadmap, but until now I was more in the "Breadth-first" camp, often moving to the next interesting exercise once I had an initial proof of concept. Switching to "Depth-first" could already simplify my life a lot. Focusing on a smaller number of projects would not only cut down the amount of low-activity projects and parallel todo items, but should also allow me to release more stable and market-ready products in less time.


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