W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > July 2010

Re: "destabilizing core technologies: was Re: An RDF wishlist

From: Henry Story <henry.story@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 12:26:19 +0200
Message-Id: <0F7E7EDC-CF3F-44C1-A0C7-10533027743C@gmail.com>
To: Dave Caroline <dave.thearchivist@gmail.com>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>

On 2 Jul 2010, at 12:09, Dave Caroline wrote:

> You get no credos calling people Web Monkeys, I as a programmer and
> database person I watch new technologies and this one seems stuffed up
> its own rear with some people thinking they are the experts and others
> are mere monkeys.

If you look carefully, you will see that I quoted "Web Monkey" and was not using it. 

>> Usually there is a layer of "Web Monkeys" in between them and the web.

So I did not call anyone a web monkey. Rather I was talking about in general how back-end 
people (DB/Web app OO people), who think of themselves as dealing with "Serious" stuff, think in a caricatural  way of people doing html stuff. So it is not serious either, but it shows a disconnect.

For example I invited the Berlin people to talk to the Sun database team about
RDF 4 years ago, and the Sun Database people hardly even listened to what Chris Bizer et al had
to say. Their claim was that they were dealing with terrabytes of data as the smallest units, 
and were starting to move to 1000 bigger databases. Semweb stuff for them was nothing, tiny, not manly one gets the feeling. They seemed angry that we had bothered them.

  And indeed the web is very femalish. It is about links, and relationships, connections
and social networks. Oddly listening to the artist/psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger talk on the
Matrix, one has the feeling she is speaking about the web. 


The question was about psychology, in particular why things take so long to develop. So psychological answers will be required, and as such issues of perception of one knowledge group of another, will be
particularly relevant to the discussion.


> Dave Caroline
> On Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Henry Story <henry.story@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 2 Jul 2010, at 11:39, Patrick Durusau wrote:
>>> Good point. But the basic tools to handle data have been around for a long time.
>> The web could only get going in the 90ies when
>>  1) Windows 95 become (A GUI) widely deployed and relatively stable and had support for threads
>>  2) modems were cheap and available
>>  [3 the soviet unions had fallen, so the fear mongers had no security buttons to press]
>> In 1997 the SSL layer (https) gave an extra boost as it made commerce possible.
>>> Why so long to get to the place where users can say: "I want to make one of those." ?
>>   There are many reasons, but most of all is that people don't in fact understand hypertext, as being linked information. Or the people in charge of data don't think of it that way easily.
>>   Engineers have for 50 years been educated in closed world systems, every programming language
>> including Prolog and lisp have local naming conventions that don't scale globally, and database people
>> make a fortune with SQL. The people interact only very lightly with the web. Usually there is a layer of "Web Monkeys" in between them and the web.
>>   So when you ask those engineers to build a global distributed information system, they
>> come up with the closest to what they know - which is remote method calls - and they invent XML/RPC which leads to SOAP.
>>  So it is not easy to get the knowledgeable people on board. The Web Monkeys are not very good at modelling, and the back end engineers don't understand the web. Finally the business people have problems understanding abstract concepts such as network effect.
>>  It just took time then to do a few demos, which the University of Berlin put together, slowly getting other people on board.
>>  It just takes time to rewire the brain of millions of people.
>>        Henry
Received on Friday, 2 July 2010 10:26:56 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 1 March 2016 07:42:21 UTC