Web1- Internet with GUI, Web2 – App Web, Web3 – Context Web


The central concern for DARPA was decentralization, the basis of today’s P2P.  Real-time, ease of use, viral, network effect, self-service – all the pillars of what make Web ubiquitous, so large and pervasive beyond measurement, and so central to our lives, and continue to grow – came with the birth of the internet. TBL and others gave that internet a GUI, the rest is history.

We are living in a Web 2.0 world where not just message and emails, not just communities and contents, but applications are self-served, and virally networked, growing exponentially in real-time, with increasing ease of use closer and closer to natural languages and social and cultural norms. The self-serve applications, which is what distinguishes Web2 from Web1 is becoming the most important contextual medium for us human, and humanly contextualizing the web is the future of it – Web3.

Our heroes, who invented and evolved the Web, believe too much into the power of engineering. Think of how much the Chinese believe in stir frying things, or the French believing the power of their source, fresh ingredient, simplicity, original flavor, beauty in small nuances are left to Japanese Sushi, Tampura, or Italian cuisine. (OK, if you sufferred this far, I thought I’ll appeal to something little less tormented and pretentious. Now back to something completely different…) The promised of Semantic Web where many, if not all, human processes are automated by the Web, are still far in the distant. But the aggregate of massive individual small contributions combined with self-serve apps, network effects and other powers of the Web is releasing an awesome power. This is THE zen moment of the Web, less is infinitely more. Forget about communism, collectivism as we use to know, the key of the AppWeb turning into ContextWeb is its intrinsically human relevance, not the alienation of an abstract omnipotent collectivity as in 1984’s Big Brother, or Brazil’s Department of Information Retrieval. This emergence of  apparent “collectivist” Web3 is not collectivist at all, it starts with real individuals, and ends with real individual, and circling around with real individuals, mutually contextualizing between the WEb virtual world and the human world.


The Future Is All About Context: The Pragmatic Web

The semantic Web has long been heralded as the future of the Web. Proponents have said that Web experiences will some day become more meaningful and relevant based on the AI-esque computational power of natural-language processing (NLP) and structured data that is understandable by machines for interpretation.

However, with the rise of the social Web, we see that what truly makes our online experiences meaningful is not necessarily the Web’s ability to approximate human language or to return search results with syntactical exactness. The value of the semantic Web will take time because the intelligent personal agents that are able to process this structured data still have a long way to go before becoming fully actualized.

This guest post was written by Alisa Leonard-Hansen.

Rather, meaningful and relevant experiences now are born out of the context of our identities and social graph: the pragmatics, or contextual meaning, of our online identities. My Web experience becomes more meaningful and relevant to me when it is layered with contextual social data based on my identity. This is the pragmatic Web.

We need to better understand our identity as it begins to define our experience of the Web and the network-enabled world we inhabit. Our online identity will increasingly be defined by three “pillars”: who I say I am, what I do and say, and who I connect to (and who connects to me).

To clarify, our online identities are comprised primarily of three specific kinds of data:

  • Explicit or prescriptive data (i.e. the data that I input about myself: name, age, occupation, etc.);
  • Activity or behavioral data (i.e. what I do and say online);
  • Relationship data (i.e. my social graph and what my connections say about me).

If we consider the power of this pragmatic Web (a highly relevant and individualized Web experience based on the ubiquity of our identity data), we find that it not only impacts individual user experience, but that it opens up entirely new opportunities for business online. The future is not “business as usual.” Business models will be based on what Elias Bizannes of the Data Portability Project calls the “information value network-economic value,” derived from services that focus on activities with comparative advantage and that leverage free access to data.

Consider this: as media companies scramble to identify new and innovative ways to advertise to the sea of nameless, pixeled users who graze through their content each day, a rich supply of highly valuable identity data lies just beneath the surface, left unmeasured and unmonetized.

Facebook is nothing more than perhaps the largest single database of this kind of online identity data: explicit, activity and relationship data. With the development of Facebook Connect, which allows for the “open” exchange of Facebook user data between Facebook and third parties, Facebook could conceivably (and will) create an Facebook Connect ad network (read: data exchange), supplied by the valuable and highly targetable user identity data that is currently siloed on Facebook’s servers. This identity data within Facebook is what makes the activity in “social media” so valuable.

But the centralization of identity data on one or two major networks (such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace) won’t realize the vision of the pragmatic Web. So, how will the pragmatic Web come to be? How do we realize the power of a dynamic Web that is based on our identities? We do so by empowering individuals to access and control their identity across any site or service, through standards that enable data portability and open Web inter-operability. The resulting vision is that of a highly personalized, dynamic, relevant and remixable Web experience, yielding greater access to information through discovery, communication and collaboration. For enterprise, this could mean the rise of innovative new business models, based on data-driven value exchange.

One final note on identity data as it relates to enterprise. As Bizannes points out, the value of this kind of identity data rests on the key factors of time and timeliness. Essentially, identity data is valuable only if it is recent. Facebook wouldn’t be able to sell your (permissions-enabled) data to advertisers if it used your explicit data from a year ago rather than from today. So, Bizannes argues that real-time “access” to someone’s identity matters most, and it’s no longer about data “capture.” Thus, as new business models arise out of monetizing permissions-enabled identity data, the value of the business models will depend on these entities having real-time access to the data.

Contextualize movie making – crowd sourcing: Rotterdam Film Festival turns to audiences for film funding


To follow-up on the post last week, here is one latest development to tie film financing with crowd sourcing, to online aggregation of meaningful peer-to-peer connections. This is a limited attempt. The same approach can extend to the whole creative and commercial processes surrounding multi-media story telling.

All efforts like this shall be applauded for its very effort of harnessing the power of the Web and new forms of technology and social and cultural formation into renewing the life of the great human tradition of story telling.

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is stepping up it move into the digital future with a new scheme that will encourage audiences to help finance new films

Cinema Reloaded, which launched today (December 3), will begin by seeking funds for new movies by three directors: Alexis Dos Santos (UK/Argentina), Ho Yohang (Malaysia) and Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland). These film-makers – who all have close relationships with Rotterdam – have agreed to make short movies costing between $45,274 (€30,000) and $75,413 (€55,000).

The first part of the project will including raising finance for the film through the festival’s supporters and from film lovers around the world through a dedicated web site.(www.cinemareloaded.com). The idea is that patrons invest through the website in “coins,” which will be used to pay for the three movies. Each coin is worth $7.5 (€5).

Once production has begun, backers will be able to track their chosen project, talk to other investors and to interact with the film-maker. The films will be premiered at the 2011 festival.

“[Cinema Reloaded] is very much based on the belief that digital technologies will not replace cinema but that they will renew it,” IFFR Director Rutger Wolfson said. “It’s very much an experiment to investigate the potential of new forms of financing and distribution. Obviously, the existing models are very much under pressure and we as a festival care very much about films finding an audience. This just seems like a very obvious thing to do.”

Wolfson added that the scheme is designed to increase “interaction” between film-makers and their audiences and to make the filmmaking process more “transparent.”

IFFR will retain the Benelux DVD and theatrical rights to the film. If the experiment is a success, it will look to finance features as well as shorts through Cinema Reloaded.

The 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam runs from 27 January to 7 February 2010.

Movie review – The Messenger


The Good

* The lessons are all cliches, but true. It’s great to be able to deliver the rather conventional meanings through the drama of a movie
* The director was able to pull it off due to the great acting by Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Steve Buscemi
* Along with Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker”, this Moverman’s directorial debut is much needed for the thinking and reflective public (small as it is, certainly noticeable in New York City)

The Bad

Several key scenes that had my hope build-up but failed to delivery

* The kitchen scene with Olivia
* The post fist fight, drunken road trip, singing Home on the Range
* The “morning after” scene in the woods after the Wedding party crusher
* The “coming out” scene on the coach watching Tornado on TV with Will’s War story told to Tony. Though the scene was saved by Tony’s cry with a good camera angle and Will’s controlled respect. Kind of late in the story to bond for friendship sake, don’t you think? The shock of the horror of the war, and irony of being a decorated hero…  Didn’t we just have half dozen episodes of those?

The Ugly

* A warm ending with hope in Oklahoma?
* As controlled as the movie tries, too much were going on which strangely make one feels not enough is there.  It’s so understandable that you want to do so much with your first feature film; or the marketing company got the final say, etc. etc. But a steady hand in the editor and/or director could turn these materials into a better film.

25 All Time Favorite Movies


  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989)
  • Annie Hall (1977)
  • As Good as It Gets (1997)
  • The Big Lebowski (1998)
  • Born Into Brothels (2004)
  • Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  • City of God (2002)Cidade de Deus
  • The City of Lost Children (1995) La cité des enfants perdus
  • The Crying Game: Collector’s Edition (1992)
  • Delicatessen (1991)
  • The Doors (1991)
  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
  • The Fifth Element (1997)
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
  • Gandhi (1982)
  • Heavy Metal (1981)
  • Indie Sex (2-Disc Series) (2007)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • The Lives of Others (2007) Das Leben der Anderen
  • Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • Spirited Away (2001) Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi
  • Talk to Her (2002)Hable Con Ella
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being: SE (1988)

“Faceless” Terror


Last week, watching 2012 for all the money Hollywood throws at a big blockbuster, the “parts are bigger than the whole” type of production that Hollywood can be counted on.

Something funny happened after watching that movie. It made me watch Funny Games again. Guess the connection is an obvious one though not short of a twist. A fantastic disaster such as 2012 is completely unconnected to human emotions, it’s overwhelming and faceless.

The pain and violence in Funny Games have two young and pretty faces but little if any human ethics informed emotions except the strange “politeness” which only make them more surreal.  Hard Candy girl at least had a “reason”.

Netizen’s taste making: shaking up American movie rating system


Yet another evidence that the Web is attacking established commercial system and accompanied cultural elite. In this case, citizen activism forces the rating system MPAA, instead of negociating to change, and studios, theaters chains along with it.

The eventuality should be clear to anyone who cares to think about the future of media – it will be end user driven. That’s where the future will be. Even Yogi Berra said so

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”

The Web Is Pouncing on Hollywood’s Ratings


ARE the ratings that Hollywood gives its movies becoming irrelevant?

The Motion Picture Association of America started rating films in 1968 to indicate suitability for children. Ever since, some group or another — whether of parents or politicians or filmmakers — has complained: Too broad. Too easily manipulated. Too arbitrary.

The association, financed by the movie studios, has occasionally bowed to public pressure and tinkered with its evaluation process. In 2007, for instance, it started considering smoking alongside sex, violence and profanity when assessing films.

But the ratings system is coming under fresh attack via the Web, and that may make bigger changes inevitable, some Hollywood veterans fret. Studios count a movie’s rating as one of their primary marketing tools, and they worry that any recalibration would cut into their attendance — and profits.

The standard Hollywood ratings — G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 — must now compete with all manner of Internet-based ratings alternatives, some of which are gaining new traction through social networking tools.

SceneSmoking.org, which monitors tobacco use in movies, issues pink, light gray, dark gray or black lungs to films, depending on how smoking is depicted. Kids-in-Mind.comranks movies on a scale of 1 to 10 in categories like “sex and nudity” and “violence and gore.”

Movieguide.org issues ratings from a Christian perspective. A “+4,” or “exemplary,” means “no questionable elements whatsoever.” A “-4,” or “abhorrent,” means “intentional blasphemy, evil, gross immorality.”

Easily disseminated on the Web, these alternative services are becoming scrappy competitors to the Hollywood voice of authority.

Jack Valenti, who ran the M.P.A.A. for 38 years and created the ratings system, used to call people who complained about the system “C. W.’s,” or constant whiners. Joan Graves, chairwoman of the organization’s Classification and Ratings Administration, listens more patiently to complaints, but is no less emphatic in her stance: the ratings system is not broken.

“If we tried to respond to the demands of every special interest group, we would shoot ourselves,” she said in an interview. “That doesn’t mean we can’t improve,” she added. “We are always on alert for ways to make tweaks so that ratings are more informative or more realistic.”

Grass-roots ratings sites do not mute the association’s voice, Ms. Graves said. “People complain when they are surprised, so the more information they have, the better,” she said.

But she says the sites are one reason her organization is striving for a more consumer-friendly online presence, noting that a redesigned M.P.A.A. site will appear in coming months. The goal is to be more informative about why movies receive certain ratings. “We want to be more transparent,” Ms. Graves said.

In 2006, the association introduced a service called Red Carpet Ratings, a weekly e-mail blast intended to make it easier for parents to get official ratings information.

Many advocacy groups have complained that the PG-13 rating, which cautions parents but does not restrict entry, is inadequate. In response, Ms. Graves says the association has talked about dividing the R rating into new categories. She also says that “there might be a need to develop a 15 rating,” for movies not appropriate for children under that age.

But financial forces are at work against any changes. If the difference between a PG and a PG-13 rating can be tens of millions of dollars at the box office, the last thing studios want is to slice the pie thinner. Theater owners are reluctant to changes for the same reasons, and would need more employees to enforce, say, an under-15 restriction (with school ID cards, learner’s permits and parents offering proof of age).

Hollywood created ratings to prevent government policing of its content. To determine ratings, the association uses a board of 10 to 12 parents of children ages 5 to 17, with no person staying longer than seven years. Although all the participants live in the Los Angeles area, their geographic backgrounds and ideological views vary, Ms. Graves said. A studio can either accept the rating it is given or ask what editing would be required for a less restrictive one.

The Internet has started to pick away at the M.P.A.A.’s authority in other ways. Consumers can now easily look up the ratings that Hollywood movies receive in other countries, where studios exert much less control. “I Am Legend” and “Cloverfield” were both deemed PG-13 at home, for instance, but Britain slapped both with a 15 rating.

Such disparity was recently brought to the forefront by Universal Pictures’ decision to release multiple versions of “Brüno” in Britain to get around ratings restrictions there.

Bloggers, with a hunger for minutiae, have also started to report when studios try to make minor edits to get a less restrictive rating. The filmmakers behind “Brüno,” the raunchy comedy about a flamboyantly gay fashionista, used this strategy; the pixilation of some penises, among other small cuts, ultimately sneaked “Brüno” under the R wire.

Last week, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood a Harvard group with an e-mail list of more than 30,000 people, started a Web petition against the M.P.A.A.’s PG-13 policies, which it sees as too lax. The group wants the Federal Trade Commission to step in, to ensure that PG-13 movies are marketed only in ways consistent with the rating.

“We think there is a critical mass building against the M.P.A.A. on the Web that will hopefully result in major changes to its ratings practices,” said Susan Linn, the advocacy group’s director.

All content businesses, please take note

This is a known story. Music labels have been in decline for quite a few years. Same has been happening to all media in their traditional forms, linear scheduled television, movie going, newspapers, book publishing, live classical performances.
– U.S. album sales were down 17.8% in May compared to the same period a year ago, and 36.7% lower than sales reported in May 2007, Billboard reported.

For the year so far through the end of May, album sales are down 13.4% from 2008.

Digital album sales were also down 13.1% in May, and are down 7.6% so far this year.

Digital track sales posted only modest gains during the month, showing gains of 5%, 6%, 2% and 5%, respectively, across the four weeks in May, according to Billboard.

“Ultimately we believe that the best way to beat piracy is to create great new licensed services that are easier and more fun to use, whether that’s an unlimited streaming service like Spotify or a service like the one recently announced by Virgin which aims to offer unlimited MP3 downloads as well as unlimited streams,” said Tim Walker, CEO of The Leading Question.
— from Report: File-Sharing Among U.K. Teens Down by One-Third. Related Links:
http://snipurl.com/n5xoz (PDF of announcement)
http://snipurl.com/n5hrz (Billboard)