Archive for November, 2004

XHTML Friends Network

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Recently at a Technorati party I discovered a poster hanging on the wall for the XHTML Friends Network. I must say I was impressed how an entire specification could fit on a little poster. And, since I have been excited about FOAF lately, I was eager to see what another social networking technology could bring to the table.

It turns out XFN takes a good stab at filling the relationship-type gap left by FOAF. With XFN, you can say this person is a friend, a colleague, family, etc. In fact, that is basically all XFN does, perhaps benefiting from the ease-of-uptake enjoyed by elemental technologies. FOAF, while much more robust in specifying personal profile information, has no provision for ontology (semantic relationship descriptions).

One of the creators of XFN, Tantek Çelik, was there to point out that there is already a spider/aggregator for the XFN network over at rubhub, as well as a collection of other tools to help you create and browse XFN information. And then while I enjoyed plenty of delicious curry chicken skewers, Marc Canter told me that since FOAF and XFN are both existing technologies, there will probably soon be some über technology that will be able to combine both networks.

I’ve gone ahead and tried out XFN here on my blog, both in the blogroll and in the entries. Here is how its done:

  1. Add the attribute profile="" to the the <head> element of the page to identify it to robots as part of the XFN network.
  2. Put XFN information in rel attributes of <a href> links that refer to actual people.

And for good karma, you could also add the chiclet:

New Version of P2P Sockets Released

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

My buddy Brad Neuberg has put out a major new release of P2P Sockets to include improvements in reliability, performance, and documentation.

P2P Sockets is an open source framework that makes it much easier to create peer-to-peer applications. The basic goal of the project is to return the end-to-end principle to the internet. Users stuck behind a Network Address Translator will delight in P2P Sockets’ ability to transparently traverse NAT. In addition, P2P Sockets uses a domain name space that is completely decentralized and not controlled by VeriSign or ICANN (Keep in mind this experimental domain name space is not secure and still relies upon “nice” clients to avoid collisions).

Are you eager to serve into a peer-to-peer network? It even comes with versions of a webserver (Jetty) and a wiki (JSPWiki) that have been hacked to run on the P2P network. See Brad’s release post for more information.

Happy Birthday Benoît!

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Today is Benoît Mandelbrot’s 80th birthday. From an interview with New Scientist:

Few people would recognise Benoit Mandelbrot in the street, but the intricate pattern of blobs, swirls and spikes that bears his name – the Mandelbrot set – is an icon of science. It has come to symbolise the geometry of fractals, patterns whose shape stays the same whatever scale you view them on. His life has followed a path as jagged as any fractal. Next week he turns 80. He tells Valerie Jamieson that he still has plenty of work to do

The occasion made me want to learn more about Benoît and computing the Mandelbrot Set.