An Introduction to Fictionism

2. February 2012 10:16 by Eric in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Hi there,

Welcome to Fictionism.

Before you put on your best Jeopardy effort and ask "What isFictionism?", how about we tell you.

Fictionism is a place where the world writes a story.

You will know where the pen starts, but never where it will end.

To be part of the penning, it's all pretty simple.

"The Stories" panel on the left hand side contains links to all the stories that are available. Clicking on one of these links will open up a self contained story that you can participate in. Within each page, the post itself will hold all the details, which we like to call "Setting the Scene". Here you will find things like a background plot for the story that's unfolding, or a listing of the cast of main characters.

Some stories might have lots of information to set the scene. Some none. But they will all contain, without fail, the first sentence to get the story started.

The comments part for the post is where it all happens. Based on a "first-in-first-served" basis, the first person to comment on a new story, writes a sentence or 2 to follow on from the first sentence given. The next person to comment builds on from the first comment posted, and so on and so forth.

There aren't many rules.

Please feel free to be as creative, entertaining, or as serious as you want to be, as long as what you write:

  • (1) is not something distasteful or illegal; and
  • (2) the length is limited to a handful of sentences; and
  • (3) these sentences follow on from the comment posted right before the one you're writing.

That's it.

Nothing more to it.

So let's get started.

Technical Information Release For Bridger 1.0

15. January 2012 17:18 by Eric in Development, General, iOS, jQuery, Linked Open Data, Mobile App, Semantic Analysis, Text Summarization  //  Tags:   //   Comments (1)

Bridger is an App that intelligently evaluates, summarizes, profiles and links your documents to trusted web sources.

This is a new sort of service and it is important because despite the phenomenal growth of the internet, 80% of the new information created each year is still unstructured – in other words it is text, graphics and video contained in things like documents, emails, Facebook shares, web pages and tweets, etc. This unstructured information is poorly integrated with the World Wide Web. Even if they are published to a web site, they have remained isolated islands of information – until now.

Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has more than tripled, and the number of external objects has more than doubled. The average web page is now 1 MB and growing at over 20% each year. Today the average web page has about 10 links and 600 words. So it is reasonable to say that less than 2% of the content is hyperlinked to something else.

The documents you deal with each day often contain only a single link (or less) and many more words than a web page.

Documents are information islands.

If you are lucky, there is a single bridge (hyperlink) from the web to your document. Think of your documents as information that is connected to the web superhighway only via an off-ramp. You can find published documents easily enough because published documents are indexed by the likes of Google, Baidu and Bing. But what you can’t do is start from your document and get easily back onto the web in an intelligent way.

That’s why we see the current web-document world as a one-way off-ramp.

Welcome to Bridger, the Internet on-ramp

Bridger works for many of your documents – whether they are published on the web or not. This is how we can release the untapped value of the 80% of unstructured text. How do we do this? The good news is that you really don’t have to know about this if you don’t want to.

For the rest of us, all you need to understand is that Bridger takes your isolated documents, emails, etc. and automatically links them to over 50 billion trusted additional sources of information on the world wide web.

Drop a document on to the Bridger mobile app and it will instantly tell you what the document is about and give you web profiles of all the relevant people, organizations, places, technologies and ideas.

Your document is transformed into a fully integrated web body of knowledge.

How we use the principle of six degrees of data in Bridger

Degree 1 Determine internal document structure

Machine reads the full text of the document and discards everything but the main text. For example, an article from The Times of May 02, 2013 entitled:

"President Barack Obama says its time to slam the door on Guantanamo Bay"

Degree 2 Detect subjects

Determine the subjects (topics, people, organizations, places, technologies, etc.) talked about in the text. In our example might contain:

David Taylor, Alexandra Frean, Washington, Barack Obama, President, Guantanamo Bay, Hunger strike

Degree 3 Analyze semantic relationships

Get the computer to identify relationships between subjects that in our example include:

David Taylor works for The Times of London newspaper
Barack Obama is President of the United States
US Congress is constitutionally related to the office of the President of the United States
Hunger strike is happening at Guantanamo Bay

Degree 4 Rank subject in-context importance

Work out how important each subject is in the context of the overall document. In our example:

Subject Rank
Barack Obama 0.803
David Taylor 0.515
Hunger strike 0.511
The Times of London newspaper 0.287
US Congress 0.201
Guantanamo Bay 0.174

Degree 5 Create subject profiles

Use linked open data to dynamically compose profiles of topics, people, organizations, places and technologies. Such as the example here on the right ->

Degree 6 Build and embed links

All subjects are then given embedded links in the original text of your document and the text summary. Profiles are also enhanced with a relevant link to further information available on the web.

Why do you need Bridger ?

Google now claims to index over 25 billion pages. The average amount of text in a web pages is around 10,000 words. This means that, for most searches, there will be a huge number of pages matching the words in your search phrase. That’s why you get 104,000,000 Google hits when searching for ‘Ethiopian age statistics’. That’s a massive ‘haystack’ where your ‘needle’ can be found somewhere.

The genius of Google is the way it ranks the importance to you of the pages that fit the search criteria.

We have turned the haystack into the needle by starting at a different place: your document. Bridger gives you the technology to use the web from the point-of-view of your document. This is done by combining some very smart semantic analysis software with linked open data, the semantic web and data visualization1. These concepts are explained in the following sections.

Semantic Analysis

Semantic analysis relates syntactic structures, (such as phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs) to their meanings. Six Degrees Of Data (6DD) uses a semantic analysis ranking solution that is built into Bridger. We then us this structural knowledge to infer relationships between subjects and then their relative importance.

Semantic Web

The Semantic Web is a collaborative movement led by the international standards body, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standard promotes common data formats on the World Wide Web. By encouraging the inclusion of semantic content in web pages, the Semantic Web aims at converting the current web dominated by unstructured and semi-structured documents into a "web of data". The Semantic Web stack builds on the W3C'sResource Description Framework (RDF).

Linked Open Data (LOD)

“A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.”

Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium, coined the term in a design note discussing issues around the Semantic Web project.

The Open Data Movement aims at making data freely available to everyone. Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other "Open" movements such as open source, open hardware, open content, and open access.

Linked Open Data is best thought of as a powerful way to ‘break out’ of the data silos created by the millions of databases that currently make up the World Wide Web.

Linked data describes a method of publishing structured data so that it can be interlinked and so become more useful. It extends standard Web technologies such as HTTP, RDF and URIs, but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried.

Before all this can happen the unstructured data needs to be structured. The good news is that there are a number of high-profile areas of the web that have already done this. It is one of the best-kept secrets of today’s web that linked open data is available from:

Wikipedia – contains about 3,500,000 concepts described by 1 billion relationships, including abstracts in 11 different languages

GeoNames – provides descriptions of more than 7,500,000 geographical features worldwide.

Freebase – with 40,000,000 topics about people, places and things and 1.3 billion facts.

Publishers – such as the New York Times, the BBC, and others

Governments – from around the world are embracing open data.

In total there are estimated to be over 50 billion linked open data ‘things’ distributed across hundreds of data sets on the web. Subject areas range from across many different domains like geography, media, biology, chemistry, economics, energy, etc.

6DD have created Bridger as a new category of product where documents realize Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the next generation web and the Linked Open Data movement.


Why Linked Open Data Matters

LOD makes it possible for computers to understand context in the same way that you and I know that ‘totally sick’ is our teenage child’s way of saying that they like something and not that they are feeling unwell. Easy for us, but up until LOD a real challenge for computers.

This matters because with LOD it makes it possible for computers to interpret our unstructured text and give meaningful and relevant responses. Bridger’s Profiles are an example of this.

A Work In-Progress

A ‘cloud’ of 50 billion LOD things sounds – and is – vast, but it still only represents a fraction of the web today. So not everything is in the LOD cloud and not everything in the LOD cloud is

The good news is that the LOD cloud is growing daily. Bridger is positioned to bring to you each advance in LOD, but it will never be perfect and will regularly get things wrong. Bridger has been extensively tested and on average is correct 8 times out of 10 – and we are working hard to improve these results by developing new and smarter software components to build into Bridger. This is easy to do as Bridger is 100% browser based for our users and all of the ‘smart stuff’ lives on the cloud.


1. Bridger relies on a wide range of technologies and partners to function. These include Adobe Acrobat SDK, Alchemy API, Apache License 2.0, Apache Solr, Crunchbase, DBPedia, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, EDGAR, Facebook, FOAF, Freebase, GeoNames, GNU Lesser General Public License, Google Custom Search API, Leximancer, LinkedMDB, New York Times, MusicBrainz, OpenCorporates, OpenCalais, OpenCyc, The OpenCyc Knowledge Base, The OpenCyc Java API and Other Non-CycL Open Source Code, The OpenCyc Knowledge Server, The OpenCyc OWL Ontologies,, Twitter, Wikipedia, WordNet, YAGO.

2. ’Semanticness’ of the web diagram courtesy of blog ‘About the social semantic web’ at

Robert and Joe Cocker

13. January 2012 19:27 by Eric in Development, General, Linked Open Data, Mobile App, Semantic Analysis, Text Summarization  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

From: [] 
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:51 PM
To: Eric Xue
Subject: Robert and Joe Cocker

Hi I'm Robert,


Somewhere, connected through the ether, a friend of yours knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows me. You've heard of six degrees of separation? A few colleagues and I are out to change the world or at least a small part of it. We call ourselves 6 Degrees of Data.


I'm Robert. I'm a real person, I'm not a Nigerian scammer, or a web porn star. Although I'm told you can make good money that way (allegedly). You can email me if you like I have two kids. I ride a Harley to work. I like a good meal and a bottle of decent wine. I'm a bit overweight. Anyway, you have my email ...


If you are a student,  a knowledge worker or anyone who wants to get to the nitty gritty quickly in documents, articles etc., "Bridger" that will change forever the way you look at documents.

  • It summarizes.
  • Shows you who's who and what's what in Word, txt, PDF documents or webpages, in a few moments.
  • It works on your iphone, galaxy, ipads, android tablets - anywhere you have a connection. 
  • Its easy to use, even my least techie friends have said that.

Just go to this website from your mobile device. The application is free.

  • Sign in with your email address
  • A password that you make for yourself

I want people to see something cool that we have done and use it. Its a little piece of magic.

And of course, as you knew there would be, there's a catch, albeit quite a small one.


Please send this on to 5 of your friends. Obviously if you have friends who do jobs who might need this then send it to them, that would be great, but you can send it to anyone or no one.

I'd like you to send it on, but its not the end of the world if you don't - there's no stupid threat of some cataclysmic event that you have brought on yourself by not sending it. No first born children are going to be sacrificed, or any other ridiculous malarkey.  


And the Joe Cocker thing in the subject line? I'm a fan, so I thought I would try to "get by with a little help from my friends," and their friends and their friends..





"A life lived according to the lyrics of rock songs - its the sound track of our lives." 

Recurring Meeting workspace error: g_InstanceID missing & Listview Webpart not finish Loading

25. September 2011 19:41 by Eric in SharePoint  //  Tags:   //   Comments (1)

Just got a client support phone call this morning, in terms of the meeting workspace she just created earlier on. Basically, the left-hand side meeting dates got frozen up, and then her ListView web-part didn't stop loading the items from the Custom List.

Well, obviously those issues seem relating to SharePoint meeting template JavaScript errors at the first look of it. After using SharePoint Designer investigating the cause of it, I quickly found out that she created this meeting workspace by inheriting a custom master page. Therefore, rolling out the following those 2 steps can quickly fix the first issue:

  • Quickly drop the following mark-up on the top of custom MasterPage assembly registration area
    <%@ Register Tagprefix="Meetings" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Meetings" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
  • Add on the following meeting template property tag right after the starting From tag:
    <Meetings:PropertyBag runat="server"/>

After publishing the updated custom MasterPage, the meeting date links seem working right away but the ListView web-part still can't finish the item loading. After a bit poke-around, there are 2 quick solutions which fix the problem, either by clearing out the server-side caching (recycle the app pools, reset the IIS and so on), or removing this particular webpart from the page, and add it back in.

Hope this quick blog entry would benefit other SharePoint consultant/developer on the similar issue ;)

Resolve SharePoint Document Locked for Editing Issue

6. September 2011 16:16 by Eric in SharePoint, SQL Server  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (24)

This morning I got a support request from the client I'm consulting with, basically he's having a "SharePoint Document Locked for Editing" issue while working with SharePoint documents. Most of the time, it's a valid warning message, which notifies that someone else might edit the document during the same period of the time.

Some other time, it turns out that there is no current user having this document open for editing, and just couldn't help wondering how this could be possible?

Under the hood, this issue could be caused by the following scenarios:

  • 1. The Microsoft Office products cashes while you were working on that particular document
  • 2. PC crashes while the document is open
  • 3. Loss of network connection (network issue) while document is open
  • 4. And more

Well, there is a few quick fixes out there to work around this issue by removing the local copy of the file under the local user account CacheFolder. However, the major downside of this approach is to require the access to the user PC, in order to remove the cached copy from there.

Therefore, what if that particular user doesn't show up for work that day, or we couldn't get hold of the user via the phone/email?

The solution hereby is to build a small program to unlock the document/file against SharePoint Content Database. (I'm fully aware of that direct updating SharePoint Content database is not encouraged by Microsoft SharePoint Best Practice Guide), however, if you know how AllDocs table works and make sure that your query will still keep the referential integrity of the data, this approach might work perfectly for you in this case.

The type of the application itself could vary (windows form/console/web applications) based upon your speciality and strength, the magic here is the code snippet below, by which it updates the values from CheckoutExpires Column in order to drop the lock of the file.

private void UpdateItemCheckoutExpiration(SPListItem item)
            SqlConnection contentDatabaseConnection = null;
                contentDatabaseConnection = new SqlConnection(item.Web.Site.ContentDatabase.DatabaseConnectionString);

                string updateCommandText = string.Format("UPDATE dbo.AllDocs SET CheckoutExpires = '{0:yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss:fff}' WHERE Id = '{1}'",
                    DateTime.Now.ToUniversalTime(), item.UniqueId);

                SqlCommand updateCommand = new SqlCommand(updateCommandText, contentDatabaseConnection);
                SqlDataAdapter contentDataAdapter = new SqlDataAdapter();
                contentDataAdapter.UpdateCommand = updateCommand;
            catch (Exception)
                // handle exception here                
                if (contentDatabaseConnection != null && contentDatabaseConnection.State != ConnectionState.Closed)

Once the query has been executed against the SharePoint database, the file itself will be release instantly. Therefore, by having this awesome software, we won't worry about some naughty users open the documents without checking it out and go for lunch, then there's no way force it free if you can't get hold of their PCs.

Happy SharePointing ;)

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