It took me reading through a couple of the posted articles for me to wrap my head around microformats. I’ll be honest, I had to go to Wikipedia to make sure I had a firm grasp on what “microformat” actually meant. The terminology that finally made me get it was the discussion of syntax and semantics.
As I recall syntax is the grammar of schemas and semantics is the meaning. Just as I could never quite get my head around English grammar until I learned Latin sentence construction taking a step back often helps me put new formats into perspective. Microformats tell computers what various bits of XHTML or HTML code mean in a human context by giving them handles. This bit of information is a nominative, nominative means the subject of the sentence and so forth and so on. Once I could wrap my head around it I can understand why people are as interested in the possibilities as they are. Formats which help make computer data relevant and immediately understandable and useful to the human part of the equation is always exciting.