Friday, March 23, 2012

Privacy and Authentication (cont.)

The W3C report mentioned in the previous post says that, "Privacy means giving people control over their data, empowering people so they can communicate the way they want."
The Diaspora Project, described in the New York Times, is one response to the issue of privacy.
There also is an interesting post by skyfire on hubpages that goes into privacy on Diaspora. You are allowed to do things such as deleting or downloading your data, controlling who comments on your posts, and preventing yourself from showing up in search results, amongst other things. Unlike other social networks, Diaspora does not have advertising. This means data is not harvested for advertising (nor is it harvested for any purpose). Interestingly, Diaspora is also decentralized, which provides a means, perhaps fundamental, to preserving privacy. Yes, it seems so. Please see Eben Moglen's Freedom in the Cloud talk, which inspired Diaspora.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Privacy and Authentication

The W3C Incubator report titled, "A Standards-based, Open and Privacy-aware Social Web" provides and excellent overview of this. Learning about the Diaspora project may also be useful.

Knowledge Discovery with the Semantic Web

Awareness seems like an essential part of a distributed economy. Computers seem to be able to help, at least with the data side.

Consider two RDF graphs:

Now link these two graphs together, with A linking to A',
B linking to B', C linking to C', and D linking to D'. That is, let them be the same URI.

Now consider the case where all the links are preserved, but I remove all parts of the connected RDF graphs except for those that have one degree of separation from the connected nodes. From this I can see relations between the graphs to one degree of separation. This may make more sense later with an application.

In addition, if I only want the parts of the RDF graphs that are connected to each other, I can also do that.

Now consider the case where I let one RDF graph be some reflection of what connections I see between what I know (Brent's Domain), and another graph be the connections between things relating to a project (Project Domain).

Does this seem useful? Now if I draw connections between URIs that are common to both Brent's Domain and the Project Domain I can see the things I know that apply to the project. Moreover, if I allow a few degrees of separation I can relate what I know to any URI describing the project. In this way, I may be able to come up with a plan of what I need to learn to understand a particular part of the project.

I could take this idea further. What if I replaced the Project Domain graph with an RDF graph describing another person?

This really is nothing new. Liyang Yu describes A Smart Data Integration Agent in the first chapter of his book, A Developer's Guide to the Semantic Web. His description mirrors the presented idea in form. Moreover, Liyang Yu describes the linking of URIs as distributed information aggregation.

There is one issue that must be considered of course. The URIs we choose must be describing the same thing. Perhaps something like regular expressions are in order would help people do this. Could the paper, "Processing SPARQL queries with regular expressions in RDF databases" by Lee et. al be useful?


RDF, or Resource Description Framework, was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium as the fundamental building block of the semantic web. It takes the form subject – predicate – object. This form is called a RDF triple. A graphical example would be:

where John is the subject, likes is the predicate, and Cake is the object. The subject, predicate, and object are all URIs (uniform resource identifiers). A URI is like a URL, except that it does not have to be retrivable from the web. Liyang Yu, in his book, “A Developer's Guide to the Semantic Web” goes into this further.

A collection of these RDF triples will form an RDF graph, which can be used to model the Network Visualization examples.

Distributed Funding

Funding could be distributed amongst nodes. For example, given a specified amount of money, a portion could go to project A, and a percentage could go to all of the projects that project A immediately depends on. That is, projects H, J, B, C, and E. Let's call this first degree distributed funding.

Alternatively, we could also have second degree distributed funding. That is, Project A would be funded, and projects H, J, B, C, and E would be funded, but projects K, I, F, D, and L which collectively depend on projects H, J, B, C, and E would also be funded. Again a specified percentage would go to each node.

Of course we could also have third degree distributed funding, or any nth degree distributed funding.

This sort of funding is like social micropayments, of which Flattr is a good example. I also found Leyla's Cause + Effect blog which used the term Distributed Funding. Perhaps a new name is needed? Perhaps the presented idea is just a form of distributed funding?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Distributed Manufacturing

Products could be produced by technologies such as 3D printing, laser sintering, laser cutting, CNC machines, plasma cutting, etcetra, using a variety of materials. In fact, this sort of idea, rapid prototyping, is mentioned in association with Fab Labs in the Wikipedia article titled Distributed Economy. This rapid prototype could be the final product.

CAD files that are produced by the community could be used as models to produce these products. Economics could be a factor, as is suggested in some sources, but the potential may only be limited by imagination. Many people are thinking about production in this manner.

I found a number of these technologies mentioned on, as well as Wikipedia.

Grid Computing

Grid Computing software, such as the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, allows computers across a network (such as the internet) to link together to form a virtual supercomputer. Hopefully, engineering software, such as provided by CAELinux, would be able to run on a grid computer. The BOINC logo is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (version 1.2), and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A few license labels

The following licenses are described at:
This is republication is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Attribution CC BY

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon
your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for
the original creation. This is the most accommodating of
licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination
and use of licensed materials.


This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-
commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole,
with credit to you.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-
commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge
you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their
derivative works on the same terms.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your
work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit
you and license their new creations under the identical
terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and
open source software licenses. All new works based on
yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will
also allow commercial use. This is the license used by
Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would
benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and
similarly licensed projects.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work
non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their
new creations under the identical terms.


This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only
allowing others to download your works and share them with
others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them
in any way or use them commercially.

Other Licenses:

The Free Art License

The Free Art License (abbr.: FAL, French: Licence Art Libre) is a
copyleft license that grants the right to freely copy, distribute, and
transform creative works without needing the author's explicit
-Wikipedia (

More Documentation Licenses can be found
on Wikipedia in this article:
Also, please feel free to follow the links. There are a lot of licenses to learn about!

Network Visualization within Diaspora (cont.)

This is a version of the network in the previous slide with license labels. Please click on the image for a closer view. This is just a sampling of what is possible. There are many other such labels. License labels for patents could also be used indicate royalties (if any). A few of these labels are described in the next post.

Network Visualization within Diaspora

This is a modified version of a screenshot of the Diaspora Social Network that was available on Wikipedia. It shows what a network visualization of a semantic search result with people and their authored documents might look like. An annotated view of this network with license labels is in the next post. This image was adapted from Diaspora New Image.png, which was sourced from The URL Source of the image is with the date 2011-11-5. The image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Network Visualization

Network visualization is a means the visualize a network. Wikipedia provides an entry for social network analysis software that gives a part of what is available. Network visualization with Gephi of the Diaspora project file tree (around the middle of 2011) is pictured.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Distributed Social Networks

Distributed social networks are collections of people hosted on a collection of servers interconnected by the internet. Each distributed social network appears to be formed by people using the same application. They have functions similar to Google + and Facebook, except that they allow for any person to host their own server and have it interface with a larger social network. Perhaps this larger social network could encompass people beyond those using the specific application. The inter-connectivity of applications seems to reflect or parallel a move towards open standards to build a federated social web.

According to Wikipedia's description of a distributed social network, there appears to be an exception. That is, plug-ins.


In this distributed economy, distributed social networks such as Diaspora, Friendika, and GNU Social work with the Semantic Web, and are visualized with Network Visualization by means such as topic maps and RDF graphs. Files are shared amongst the network though bittorrent, perhaps in conjunction with complete files stored on and shared from certain servers. The network would allow for privacy, authentication, and display of license terms. Users on the distributed social network would have the ability to use grid computing to form virtual supercomputers and run engineering packages on them. Some projects would be realized and/or tested in the physical world by distributed manufacturing. Funding would be available from and to various nodes in the network.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This blog represents an exploration of how a distributed economy might be developed. It is merely ideas that I have come up with, or have discovered over time.

Edit (3/18/2012): I do not have access to any of Allan Johansson's work, so I could be off in my use of the term "distributed economy".

Edit (3/18/2012): I found on page ix of the book Event Marketing by Leonard H. Hoyle that "According to the management guru Peter Ferdinand Drucker, 'Business has only two basic functions-marketing and innovation'". Aren't we messing with both of of these in some way, right now, in addition to how we handle money? I mean, this distributed economy already seems to be here in some ways, as well as developing rapidly. As I see it, this distributed economy could be huge.