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posted by martyb on Saturday April 23 2016, @10:12AM   Printer-friendly

Emacs org-mode is very powerful tool for personal knowledge management, but can be hard to learn, makes it hard to have the same content (notes) referenced in more than one place, and can be awkward for the hands. Finding other tools inadequate for various reasons, I wrote OneModel to meet my own needs, and made it available. If you touch-type, it is extremely fast for to-do lists and notes of all kinds, and I generate the project web site from part of its data. It is much easier to learn and faster to navigate than emacs, and you can have the same content in as many places as desired, without duplication.

But it wants to be more: It uses an internal structure that has big future ideas for knowledge management, like embedding code within groups of entities, or linking across OneModel instances, so you can choose to share data from your personal organizer, or subscribe to (or copy) data from other instances: like a wikipedia but where the internal knowledge is structured so can be used for computation, rich queries etc. Imagine asking a system: what villages in history had economic improvements in a 4-year period, all external conditions being equal, and what do those cases all have in common?--that is the long-term vision of the system. The vision and internal structure are intended as be a prototype of a platform to manage all mankind's knowledge as a usefully computable whole.

The web site has a few screen shots (remember it's an ugly prototype but works well! -- I have my calendar/life notes/todos/contacts etc in it now) and a demo system to play with without installing anything.

(It is written in scala, using a simple/approachable coding style that should be readable by most programmers with just minutes of scala knowledge--I hope--and uses postgresql for the data.)

I frankly don't mind if someone else takes the ideas and does a better job with them: we can do better than managing mankind's knowledge in the form of huge sophisticated piles of words: words are not the real knowledge but a superstrate over it, and they are hard to compute well. Feedback welcome.


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  • (Score: 1) by lcall on Monday April 25 2016, @05:41PM

    by lcall (4611) on Monday April 25 2016, @05:41PM (#337015)

    Thanks for the conversation.

    About allowing competing world-views: yes, because central control is usually bad (I had a whole semester class on Stalin; sigh). But also because a different community will care more about different things and should be allowed to. Like wikipedia disallows some content as not noteworthy enough (I forget their exact wording), but you can make your own wiki with its own focus. OM is Free software so ... people can use it for their purposes, though I personally strongly prefer they be honest and follow the Golden Rule in doing so, though I know that's more than you asked.

    "Are you attempting only to build a layer for sharing models of things, or do you also intend to prescribe...": Wow, I think you really get it. I love it when that happens. It's rare enough still to be a thrill. Everything in that paragraph that you said, I agree with. I'd like to share my units, attribute types, relation types etc, if they help anyone, but haven't got around to it and don't consider them more than an example usage. Being able to share or copy such things could tip the scale for some users though.

    I'd love to have your participation in discussions (like priorities and designs; I think the next main priority after I properly respond to feedback should be sharing/distributed stuff, but funding might be an issue really really soon and I need to think about how to find the right philanthropsts, along with other developers. I'd like to sell hosting, because I think it could be done right without undue initial expense, but things haven't clicked enough there yet). Or code contributions from anyone who "gets it" like you seem to.

    I'm not familiar with CCO, sounds like creative commons something, but I like the AGPL generally over BSD for non-protocol works because I've put so much into this that I do want to get some $ benefit for project sustainability if possible (per things like RMS' writings on business models etc), and if someone else really does just run with it, I want to be able to use their improvements at my discretion, not theirs. I hope that makes sense. I don't pretend to know the final answers on everything but that much seems good enough to work with for now.

    You mentioned focus. I'd like to focus on whatever does the most good & helps support my family with a clear conscience. This really seems like a worthwhile thing if I can sustain it. Your tone makes me think I can say, I hope without offending: I believe in God and that he gives us opportunities but lets us choose, have hard experiences, & work hard, all for our own growth (and that the problems can all be resolved at some point). My experience is that if I know what He wants I'd better do it, because when I disagree and do it my way I really make a mess of things. So I'll keep trying.

    This could be written better but has my criteria on an acceptable system (I probably linked it somewhere before):
    http://onemodel.org/1/e-9223372036854614279.html [onemodel.org]

    I look forward to our future collaboration, if/when that is in your interest.

    I don't know what the "community" thinks, but this page has probably reached the point where it doesn't matter, and I don't mind, if you repost this anything like this level of your quality comment at the bottom for visibility, & quote me if/as you see fit.

    BTW, if you have ideas: what could I explain better, specifically for the demo, to make it so people know how to use it beyond creating one entity and looking at it blankly?

  • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Monday April 25 2016, @11:40PM

    by JNCF (4317) on Monday April 25 2016, @11:40PM (#337190) Journal

    Let me throw a suggestion at you. I think users should be able to distribute a group of one or more objects in a package, and that they should be able to have packages rely on other packages that they are trusting. They should obviously be able to fork those packages if necessary, but they should also be able to add, remove, and change data before redistributing the latest upstream version. This might allow for a large amount of collaboration on general data that most people agree about while still allowing divergence when different interpretations of the universe (or whatever it is you're modeling) would result in different data. Wikipedia allows a new wiki to fork their information, but it doesn't allow them to redistribute the latest upstream information with changes. And this would be difficult for Wikipedia, because Wikipedia is far less organized than the thing you're building. Redistributing a sentence that can be edited for clarity is way more of a maintenance nightmare than redistributing a set of values that should change rarely and within predictable parameters.

    You mentioned focus. I'd like to focus on whatever does the most good & helps support my family with a clear conscience. This really seems like a worthwhile thing if I can sustain it. Your tone makes me think I can say, I hope without offending: I believe in God and that he gives us opportunities but lets us choose, have hard experiences, & work hard, all for our own growth (and that the problems can all be resolved at some point). My experience is that if I know what He wants I'd better do it, because when I disagree and do it my way I really make a mess of things. So I'll keep trying.

    We're definitely modeling the universe differently right here, but It's really difficult to offend me with civil behavior. I'm open to the potential that we're living in a simulated reality, but would see human beings as a totally meaningless emergent phenomenon regardless. That's about as close to theism as I can get. You seem like a well-intentioned, intelligent human being. I really hope you can make a living off of this somehow, but I don't how that would work. Wikimedia seems to meet their fundraising goals.

    I'm drawn on whether or not you should bother making a demo that's accessible from a browser at this point. On the one hand, it would lower the barrier of entry. On the other hand, I'm not sure that anybody who doesn't have a telnet client will properly understand this at it's current stage of development, so it might not matter. I might make one at some point, but I can't promise that. I'm currently busy with other projects, but it would actually be pretty simple to just expose a remote terminal in a browser that's trapped in a telnet connection with your existing demo.

    As for improving the actual demo, I'm not sure how it should be presented. Differently, definitely. I'm still trying to think up something more constructive than that.

    • (Score: 1) by lcall on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:27AM

      by lcall (4611) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:27AM (#337210)

      All sounds good. We have the same thoughts on browser vs. telnet. I read that there is a telnet:// [telnet] like there is http://, [,] but there didn't seem to be much support.

      Suggestion noted. I'm going to (hopefully later this week) refine & prioritize my known use cases for distributed use, and present them on the discussion email list for feedback, then move to design; welcome to join in there.

      About the demo: In another thread in this page I said something about "some architecture", which maybe combined with a couple of others here ("elevator pitch" #2 or #3 and "a better explanation, maybe" and "OK: just what it does" could be incorporated as paragraphs on the onemodel.org "About" and/or "getting started" pages, and linked into the demo page. Or such. But within the demo, assuming they've read the "some architecture" content, it could simply suggest creating attributes and nested entities a little (which someone did, most not), and see what that does. Those are my ideas so far, in case they spur more in you. Or, it might simply matter more, later.

      Thanks! (Same, frankly, to all who've said stuff here. It's good to have feedback, especially at this stage.)

      • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:39AM

        by JNCF (4317) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:39AM (#337260) Journal

        And thank you for making this cool open source project! I think I vaguely realized that we needed an open source Wolfram Alpha before, but I wasn't thinking about it in anything that resembled your terms until I started reading your posts. This is a glorious plan; I'm excited to see where you take it.

        • (Score: 1) by lcall on Tuesday April 26 2016, @04:58PM

          by lcall (4611) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @04:58PM (#337554)

          Thanks. I'm kind of wondering where it can lead, myself. I'm going to need more outside participation, so if you see things I'm doing that could help/hurt the hosting idea (it's on the "download" web page now), or in welcoming developers, speak up. Or if you meet a philanthropist (you know, PBS says "sponsored by the ..." people who want to change the world), you could mention OM as something that could take us all to the next level in knowledge management. :) Or if someone wants to make an app, I'd license the code. Etc. Might sell better installers later on. I have some other things planned, but probably for after some minimum features are in place for distributed use.

          For the demo, i added some text in the first sandbox: "IN THIS DEMO: After you create press 1 to create an entity, note that it has a letter. Those are yours. Now press "a" to see more of what you can do." But, it could be cut off for those with, say, 80- or 120- column terminal windows, and so maybe I should duplicate it in a good place in the demo page of the web site, and/or see if I can make the demo work well with instructions in = 80 columns.

          Anyway those are a few current ideas to trade.