A death in the family kept me away from this Net thing for a while.
Before that, was at the ORA Emerging Technology conference. The biggest talk of the town this year is the Friend-of-a-Friend (FOAF) collaborative trust network stuff, part of the W3C Semantic Web, but also shown in things like Orkut.
My XML Query-based search engine for my pictures scanned from old books web site is almost ready; I made it four times faster by rewriting the query a bit, and by switching from Galax to Saxon, which does much less type checking. Type checking is a Good Thing, so I hope to switch back again with the next release of Galax.
Next is to try and get the SVG visualisation of query results working better, and it's almost ready to go live.
It's still much slower than I'd like, especially as the machine it's running on is fairly old now. But it's been fun to work with a geographical database (actualy a flat XML file), RDF and a relational database all in the same query. I'm giving a talk on this at XML Europe in Amsterdam in April. At least I'll have nice looking slildes, using the SVG and also the pictures from the old books! The neat thing as that all the data is XML, and is all manipulated in XML Query - there's no extra proprietary middleware glue: once you can get something into XML, you can process it. It's that simple, and a fairly compelling argument for using XML Query and XML.