Linked Data – #DevCSI hackdays

After a cracking mobile web event in November, DevCSI followed this up with a couple of Linked Data hackdays at the ILRT in Bristol last week.

As a novice in Linked Data, it was great to learn something from the experts in this field. I leant the basics to SPARQL from Andy Seaborne, and Graham Klyne showed us how to set up a Fuseki server – and how to run Fuseki from the command line.  Thanks, guys for your time and your help.

We worked with datasets published on the wiki by other team members. The wiki has more information on the workshop teams and development ideas.

We also discussed tools and frameworks. Christopher Gutteridge has written a great tool called Grinder which converts CVS and XLS files to RDF (Resource Description Framework). Grinder is of great value to anyone who wishes to get data into RDF ready in a matter of minutes. I got a demo and a copy of Grider up and running too. I hope that Christopher manages to find the time to publish the ins and outs of this great tool.

Team members also suggested Google refine, which is a tool that enables data transformation and can help to get you started on getting data RDF ready. More tools are highlighted on the wiki.

We also heard about notube.tv from Libby Miller – the linked data research project that aims to connect TV content and the Web through Linked Open Data.

Hugh Glaser created the valuable <sameAs> service which helps you to find co-references between different data sets. Hugh’s Consuming Linked Data services lighting talk.

This is only a snapshot of an intense but enjoyable two days with a bunch of geeks that love to share and collaborate.

Special thanks to Mahendra Mahey and Nikki Rogers.

Bathcamp 2010

Huge kudos to @juliancheal who pulled together this year’s Bathcamp. It was a terrific gathering of like-minded individuals in the wonderful city of Bath.

We drank lots of Vitamin Water and the topics under discussion ranged widely from databases to guessing the meaning of Japanese calligraphy!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the ‘family fortunes’ bit but I was pleased to discover later that my new friend @rosiestones‘ team ended as the victors.

Will I go next year? Definitely.

Mobile web with MyMobileBristol

On the 27th October I attended a one day workshop organised by MyMobileBristol and DevCSI. It was a great opportunity to learn something about these two great projects. Good to learn that they have both now received confirmation of funding for another year.

MyMobileBristol has developed a mobile web app which provides students with time and location-based data. I actually got an opportunity to use the Live Bus Departures app on the day of the event. Continue reading

WordPress for businesses

Lately, I have been developing blogs and web sites using the WordPress open source platform. My clients love the easy to use back end admin interface where they can make any updates they wish without having to rely on a technical person to help them.

Most of the projects I have worked on have been carefully customised, and for any clients new to WordPress, I offer a couple of hours training where they can get comfortable with uploading their own graphics, videos, audio and other content.

Mobile web development

The Mobile web is still in its infancy but we are already seeing a huge explosion of mobile web sites taking advantage of  the latest HTML5 and CSS3 technologies. The challenge is to to provide the target audience an enjoyable mobile web experience and not a desktop website on a small scale.

If you are wondering whether to have a mobile app or a mobile web application, please get in touch.

WordPress 3.0 gets my vote

WordPress continues to set the standard for small businesses and sole traders who need a cost-effective website that is relatively easy to maintain.

I’ve just installed WordPress 3.0 for a new business and I’m looking forward to exploring all the new features myself. I’m pleased to see a new default theme – Twenty Ten 1.0 – in the latest release, 3.0. I guess it was about time! Continue reading

Workshop: Get a Google website for FREE

I have enjoyed building websites for the last 13 years and over the years there have been many publishing tools available to people to build a website. Often people need to learn new skills in order to make the most of the software.

Things have moved on since and now there are a number of companies that allow you to create websites with just a few clicks and little experience of web technologies. Continue reading

Social Media Cider Café (non-alcoholic)

North Somerset ApplesI have been working with SME’s for some time, and I’m now chuffed to announce the first Social Media Cider Café – which I am hosting with my good friend Michael Waugaman (@waugaman). Continue reading

My verdict on the HTC Hero

Now that Google’s Nexus One phone is out of the box, I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on the Android platform. It has been three months since I got my HTC Hero – my first exposure to an Android-powered phone.

The HTC Hero is running on a 1.5 Firmware version and I’m hoping that HTC soon provide us with the latest update. (Will it have the capacity to run Android 2.1?) Continue reading

My first impressions of Fennec – Mozilla’s mobile browser

Just like the desktop ‘browser wars’ back in the early 90’s, the mobile browser war is hotting up.

Mozilla has just announced the Beta of its mobile browser Fennec. Judging from the demo video, I can see they have migrated some of the familiar features of the Firefox desktop browser… but I’m yet to be totally convinced that this will become the mobile browser of choice. Continue reading