Frank's Blog

Still alive 

Yes, it's time for me to give a ping that I'm still alive. In addition to my job transition to inubit AG, I also moved to a new apartment. To get a bit out of the theoretical thoughts, I assembled the IKEA kitchen together with my brother---85 flat boxes and more than 600 kilogram in weight. That took quite some time and should be a good excuse.

But now I'm back into business---semantics this time. While semantic (web) has been claimed to be the next big thing(tm) for some time now, the excitement has settled. While some might claim that it's dead at all, I think some important preconditions have matured in the meantime. Most of it can be found at the Semantic Web Activity Homepage of the W3C.

In particular, the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and its variants such as RDFS (schema) and RDFA (annotations), SPARQL as a query language for RDF, and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) provide a number of interesting technologies to really integrate semantics into products. I'm not talking about the blue from the sky, but rather about simple, pragmatic things like data mappings or business rules that are connected to business processes and organigrams via ontologies.

An important step is the integration of an RDF database into Oracle 11g. It's not that I personally like to spend sooo much money, but it means that there's a professional, performance optimized RDF store available.

Last but not least, I'm still working on bringing you an updated introduction to the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). It will be based on a chapter of a technical report that I wrote some years ago, but covers BPMN 1.1. In the meantime you can take a look at the old report here.
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Statistics 

Today is time for statistics. Rule number one: don't trust any that you didn't manipulated yourself. Rule number two: show only what you want to show.

Here is the web browser and OS statistics for February 2008 of my whole website. The left hand diagram shows you the different browsers. It's quite interesting to see that 38 percent of my visitors are Internet Explorer users. This is noteable, since only the blog has a stylesheet for IE, all other pages are rendered in plain (but readable) text. Safari is not refined further by my web statistics (provided by 1und1).

The right hand diagram shows the distribution of different operating systems, where others include different versions of Windows and SunOS. Windows XP and Vista power the computers of 59 percent of my visitors. Not surprisingly, almost a quarter uses MacOS (again not further refined).



I removed the Google, Yahoo, etc. bots. And yes, I let you guess the number of visitors :-)
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BPMN 1.1 stencils available 

I recently updated the BPMN stencils for OmniGraffle according to version 1.1 of the OMG specification: BPMN 1.1 stencils.

The major difference to the previous release is the differentiation between catching and throwing events. All start events "catch" something, whereas all end events "throw" something. The intermediate events have been split into catching and throwing ones. Hence, some kinds of events, such as send, are now delivered in four different flavours. Throwing events are visually distinguished via black/white contrasts.

Another interesting addition is the introduction of a signal event. On page 46 of the specification, it is promoted as: "A BPMN Signal is similar to a signal flare that shot into the sky for anyone who might be interested to notice and then react. Thus, there is a source of the Signal, but no specific intended target.". It would be very interesting to see possible implementations of this kind of event. As usual, the specification leaves a lot of questions for research papers. Consider for instance this BPMN 1.1 BDP:



Can you intuitively understand its semantics?

UPDATE (Feb 23, 2008): I couldn't stop Alexander from creating BPMN 1.1 stencils for Visio 2003. They can also be found here: BPMN 1.1 stencils. Thanks for providing the stencils!
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inubit AG 

Today I removed my "Search for: Job" entry at xing.com. After years of study, I finally start working fulltime in the industry, beginning in April 2008. My new employer will be the inubit AG, a Berlin-based BPM software company. The title of my job position will be "Research Engineer" and according to this, I'm joining inubit AG in further advancing the success of their product. I will also be responsible for supporting Master and Diploma theses. If you are looking forward to one in the area of BPM, we should definitely get in contact.
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Legal Hackintosh(tm) 

When I got my copy of MacOS X Leopard, I wondered why there have been Apple stickers included. As far as I remember, these stickers have only been distributed with new hardware. Still, the answer is provided in the license agreement:

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.
A. Single Use. This License allows you to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so.


So, if you want to build a Hackintosh(tm), that is an ordinary PC running MacOS X, you first need to place one of the supplied Apple stickers on the front of your PC. Afterwards, you fulfill (this part of) the license requirements. That's quite similar to the Windows license stickers (but without the installation code). I still wonder if this was planned by Apple or is just a mistake.
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