XML Holland: Thoughts and Slides

It’s been too long time since I’ve been in Amsterdam. I must say, particularly coming from parched California, that my first reaction was wow, where did they get all this water, and why hasn’t Los Angeles tried to divert it? :-)

I had the privilege of speaking at XML Holland 2007 last week and was surprised to find an active semantic web mafia at the conference. Now I don’t speak Dutch (except for “broodje met kaas”) and, frankly, I can barely understand RDF and OWL in English so I wasn’t able to personally benefit from the sessions. But I can say that there was plenty of interest – and expertise to match – in the semantic web.

Being generally skeptical of the semantic web, I’m not sure if the audience appreciated my latest tongue-in-cheek question: What is Web 2.0?

  • A bunch vowel-dropping, duo-syllabic companies (e.g., Scribd, Tumblr, Flickr, and most recently Definr)?
  • What Tim 2.0 (O’Reilly) did to Tim 1.0 (Berners-Lee) while he was waiting for the semantic web to arrive?
  • A venture capital funded hallucination designed to create Bubble 2.0?

By the way, have you seen the Bubble 2.0 prayer? I’ve seen on it on a few bumper stickers in Silicon Valley: “Please God just one more bubble; we’ll know what to do this time.”

On a social / political note I always enjoy Holland for its open-minded culture. In speaking with some Dutch friends, however, I learned that the country is wrestling, of late, with an interesting logic problem: how to handle newcomers who value intolerance in a culture that values tolerance.

You can see the problem – we tolerate everything but intolerance. It reminds me of a Tom Lehrer line from the introduction to his ever-so-cynical classic, National Brotherhood Week:

I’m sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings — and I hate people like that!

I should note that my trip was made more colorful by having to traverse a full-blown demonstration with mounted police, tear gas, water cannons, and smashed car windows as I (ignoring advice from the concierge) walked to the wonderful Van Gogh Museum. Dutch high school students (mistranslated as “schoolers”) were on strike pending new legislation that increases the mandatory hours of education per year to 1,040.

But I digress. Here’s a copy of my presentation slides from the event.

One response to “XML Holland: Thoughts and Slides

  1. fun to read story Dave…..you might wanna add MonetDB to the slide where you mention Vertica as a column-oriented database.MonetDB also has a fine (and fast) Xpath/Xquery implementation.

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