Semantic meaning with Ubiquity

When I would talk or write about the semantic web, microformats, RDF and all that, people would often ask, "Why? Who cares?" or shudder with a "That's creepy!" Images of Big Brother tracking every move, to be indexed, measured and evaluated for Ungood behavior, or something like that. At best, people could see a kind of abstract benefit from making information more digestable by machines, you know, in the interest of having a sense of general order in the Interwebs or something.

But what about when the semantic web yields dividends back to the human experience?

It's just a little thing out of what's possible – a mere smidge of cobbled together APIs – but Mozilla Labs Ubiquity (a Firefox plug-in) is really something to see, for it gives you a peek into the kinds of things that will be possible (and now already area) with an Internet that has semantic meaning.

Check out this video, that's very much to the point:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Oh my!

Without even finishing the video, I used it to Twitter about it.

It's like having the entire web available one click away.

Firefox 2.0 not the website breaker like IE7 [updated]

[Update: I removed the direct link to the ftp site because, as small as rare pattern is, every little bit counts, and I don't want to hurt Mozilla.]

Get Firefox
As I write this, it's still not "officially" released yet, but I've just installed Firefox 2.0 after downloading it from the Mozilla FTP site (Mac versions here), and I'm loving it. I've not yet explored the preferences and all that, but so far nearly all of my extensions still work, including the web developer tools, Performancing and weather.

And so far no websites are breaking. Aren't web standards wonderful? I'm good to go. I can keep working (or writing this blog post), and not have to fret about mysterious problems.

Too bad the same cannot be said for users of Internet Explorer 7, which, with its new Microsoft-only quirks, is creating all sorts of new headaches for website owners and challenges for web developers. Some websites won't work at all in IE7.

Why Microsoft has such issues with worldwide web standards, I don't know. At least we have Firefox. Maybe, with these simultaneous releases of new browsers, more people will get fed up with IE and try Firefox. After all, if a browser is breaking websites, why use it?


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