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                          Archive for Jul 2005


                          BlackDog Linux Server

                          These USB-powered, deck-of-card-sized Linux servers from BlackDog look pretty cool. I'm not sure what I'd do with one, but I want it anyway. The Web site's down until Aug 8th, but they had an ad in Make magazine.
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                          System Administrator Day

                          Wade Billings wrote to remind me that today (last Friday in July) is System Administrator Appreciation Day. So, if you employ a system administrator, take them to lunch or buy them a new XBox (no need for flowers). If you're a system administrator, find some way to subtly remind your boss that this is your day, unlike the other 364 days of the year, when you merely control their most important and valuable information. :-)
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                          New ListGarden

                          Dan Bricklin has released a beta of the new version of ListGarden, his small tool for creating RSS feeds. Dan's old version didn't support enclosures, a problem in this podcasting world. I had written a patch to add enclosures for the old version, but this was far from ideal, judging from the number of questions I got from people asking how a patch worked. Some even tried to apply the patch by hand--not a fun way to spend an evening.
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                          Hollywood Sock Puppets

                          The Register picked up the Beating Hatch with an article called Hollywood sock-puppet senator faces tech insurgency. In an e-mail conversation with The Register, Windley added: "This is an interesting race, because Hatch has a national profile as an anti-technologist and the Internet gives people outside of a state [the ability] to have considerable influence on elections within the state, even though they can't vote, through donations to the candidates who can defeat Hatch." And what a track record Hatch, a 28-year Senate veteran, has. Although he was for a time disillusioned by the inequities of the recording industry
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                          Making Technology Decisions in a Democracy

                          I put a piece up at Between the Lines this morning called When society makes technical decisions. British ID cards and eVoting...
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                          Dave Fletcher's Moved!

                          Dave Fletcher, one of the authorities on eGovernment, has moved his blog from Radio to Blogger. Unfortunately, that makes him hard to find. Google doesn't even have the new blog on the first page.
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                          Playing Games

                          The LA Times has a response to Sen Clinton over her call for a study of the effect of playing video games on children. TechNation has a great interview with Henry Jenkins on this very subject at IT Conversations. I'll admit to having worried about the amount of time that my kids seem to spend on video games, but Jenkins makes a good case.
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                          Google's Expanding Homepage

                          Google's personalized homepage with RSS feeds If you haven't been paying attention, you might have not have noticed Google's personalized homepage and you'd have to really be paying attention to have noticed that yesterday, they added the ability to put RSS feeds on it. If you click the picture on the left, you'll see my personalized search page with Technometria and UtahPolitics.org on the left. These can be repositioned by merely dragging them around when you're in edit mode.
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                          Internet Identity BOF at OSCON

                          We'll be doing a BOF on Internet Identity (or grassroots identity, if you prefer) at OSCON Wednesday evening from 7:30-8:30. Feel free to attend.
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                          Dave's New OPML Editor

                          Dave Winer, founder of Userland and creator of Radio (not to mention Manila and Frontier), struck out on his own a while back. Now he's got a new tool that edits OPML. You're saying "What the heck is OPML?" Its an XML format for outlines (Dave's always been fond of outlines). What can you do with it? Blog for one thing. Zannen, it only works on Windows. Here's a dynamic list of things people are creating with it.
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                          The Language of Privacy

                          Tim Grayson, who I met years ago at the very first Digital ID World, has written a well thought-out post on the language barriers we have in discussing privacy. He says: "some of the intractable challenges of identity (especially the non-technical notions of information "ownership," privacy, and so forth) are the direct result of having the wrong language for dealing with digital identity." His post is a response to the recent finding by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner that ads stuffed in with bank statements constituted an invasion of privacy. That's the problem with things like Privacy Commissioners (and other
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                          Leaking Knowledge

                          Ann All of IT Business Edge interviewed me on why companies leak knowledge. I wrote about this subject in Connect Magazine as well: Your Company's Leaking Knowledge.
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                          Personal Digital Identity Summit in London

                          Simon Grice has announced the Personal Digital Identity Summit in London on November 17 and 18th. These are the precise dates of Jaco Aizenman's virtual rights summit in Costa Rica. Ah, I'd like to go to both. From Simon's email announceing the summit: We are hoping to bring together most of the key parties in the space in London for a 2 day event exclusively focused on PDiD. The event has already attracted significant interest from speakers, attendees and possible sponsors so with a following wind it will be an enjoyable and productive couple of days. EEMA (www.eema.org) are
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                          Pro MySQL

                          Mike Kruckenberg, a friend with Utah connections, has just finished the book Pro MySQL and its shipping now. Congratulations Mike!
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                          Name Your Children: A Critique of UDDI

                          Rohit Khare wrote to point me at a relatively old, but still timely, critique of UDDI by Paul Prescod. Worth reading again...
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                          Announcing Planet Utah

                          I'm pleased to announce Planet Utah, an aggregation of blogs about Utah Politics. You can subscribe to its RSS feed, import its OPML into your favorite feed reader, or just come by and read. If you would like your feed included, please send an email to editor at utahpolitics.org that includes the name of your blog and the URL of your RSS feed. I prefer to keep this mostly about politics, for now, so if your Web site contains other items as well, please consider creating a category for politics and submitting the URL for just that category.
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                          Building Customer Interaction Hubs

                          My latest piece at Betweeen the Lines is about an interview that eGain did with Gartner analyst Esteban Kolsky on customer interaction hubs. The goal of the CIH is improved interaction with customers at reduced cost by providing an end-to-end customer experience across all channels. You might have experienced the frustration of losing the context of a customer support interaction when we moved from email to phone. A CIH makes sure that doesn't happen. What's more, the CIH should seamlessly transition a customer from a self-service interaction to an assisted interaction. From Building customer interaction hubs | Between the
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                          July CTO Breakfast

                          July's CTO Breakfast will be at 8am this Friday. We'll be meeting in the usual place. The discussion is always interesting, so come join us.
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                          Speaking Politician's Language

                          Joe Kraus spent two years as a lobbyist in DC on technology issues. Joe recently spoke to the Always Online 2005 Summit and said we need to talk to DC in terms they can understand. Not copyrights, but economics. That's an important distinction to make in the fight against Hatch as well. Hatch's supporters will try to turn his support for DCMA and INDUCE into a fight against "lawbreakers" instead of what they really are: attacks on the new economy, innovation, and small companies. I do not, under any circumstances support the theft of anyone else's property--intellectual or real--but
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                          Tantek on Microformats

                          Doc Searls' latest SuitWatch features on interview with Tantek Celik on microformats.
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                          Using XML Namespaces

                          Jon Udell's column in this week's InfoWorld is about XML's quirky namespaces. Jon points out that recent moves by Microsoft and Apple have brought namespaces to the fore and people will have to deal with them sooner or later. I'll second Jon's statement that namespaces can be a pain. As he says, every tool seems to treat them differently. And not in a trivial way--tool author frequently have deep-seated philosophies about how namespace should work and build that into the tool. Just when you think you know what's what, you start up another tool and are forced to revisit
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                          Turning Off Trackbacks

                          A few days ago, I logged into my server and typed chmod 644 mt-tb.cgi. Yup, I turned off trackbacks. I found that even with a trackback Spam filter like MT-Blacklist, it was just getting to be too much. Dealing with it took time, I worried about missing some of the offensive crap, and, frankly, I just don't want to look at it. This is an example of a great idea dealt a series of, perhaps fatal, body blows by the lack of a credible identity infrastructure on the Web. Now, before you leave a comment saying "did you try
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                          Beating Hatch

                          It's no secret to most techies that Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is no friend to the Internet. Some have described him, tongue-in-cheek, as the Senator from Disney--not because he's Mickey Mouse, but because he seems to represent Anaheim's interests much more keenly than he does Utah's. Hatch has been a supporter of the INDUCE Act, DMCA, and even suggested that he'd like to see technology developed to destroy the computers of people who download music illegally. Hatch will be up for re-election in 2006 and I'd like to see that he doesn't get six more years to wreak
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                          Firefox Growing Pains

                          Less than a week after being told to update to 1.0.4 to patcha security hole in Firefox, the Mozilla Foundation released 1.0.5 to fix a bunch of security problems caused by 1.0.4. I hate upgrading Firefox because I always have to reinstall the Spell Checker extension because extensions are stored in the application directoy (at least on OS X). Ugh!
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                          SXIP's Identity Appliance

                          Last week SXIP announced an appliance that supports the SXIP protocol. Kim Cameron is highlighting a debate between Craig Burton (who calls the idea "insane") and Marc Canter (who calls the idea "brilliant"). Quite a spectrum. I have a lot of respect for both Craig and Marc. My personal view is that appliances work best when your target market is operations folks and your configuration looks similar to a router or firewall. Also, as Craig points out, I think that people have to perceive what you're doing to be sufficiently complex that they don't want to deal with installing
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                          Podcast: Frank Martinez on Web Services Protocols

                          My interview with Frank Martinez, CTO of Blue Titan software is now available at IT conversations. I had some good conversations with Frank in NY in May about Web Services protocols and thought others might enjoy hearing his thoughts about them as well. I was particularly intrigued that Blue Titan was actually using things like WS-Policy inside its software, not just talking about how they might be used, or enabling their use by others. Frank maintains that the architecture of his middleware platform eats its own dog food and is built using the same technologies it enables. As Doug
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                          WikiD: Structured Data and Wikis

                          One of the things that JotSpot opened my eyes to was the possibilities of backing wikis with a structured data repositories. Jeff Young wrote to point me at a project he's working on called WikiD, a "project (originally called MetaWiki) [that] leverages open standards, open source software, and existing resources to extend the Wiki model to support the creation and maintenance of structured data." There's a demo site if you'd like to play around with it.
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                          The Death of Podcasting

                          Steve Gillmor has a tongue-in-cheek story on the death of podcasting.
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                          Domain Names and Phone Numbers

                          I was helping a friend with a DNS issues today and logged into NameTech, the place where he bought his name. At the top of their page is a quote from Prof. Juan Gonzales at the Univ. of Delaware that says "By 2010, your personal domain name will be more important than your phone number." My reaction was "why will it take that long?" I don't know about you, but my domain name is already more important than my phone number.
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                          Apple 30" Cinema Display Problems

                          Every once in a while, my Apple 30" Cinema Display freaks out and it takes me an hour or so to fix it. I've got it attached to a 15" Powerbook with 128 Mb of VRAM, so the set up is OK, and it mostly works, so there's nothing structurally wrong as far as I can tell. The problem exhibits itself in one of two ways: The display is only recognized as having a maximum resolution of 1280x800 (see see picture) The display creates two 1280x800 bands top and bottom that are duplicates of each other. (see picture) Putting
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                          Identity Problems Hurt Online Commerce

                          Yesterday, we talked about how identity theft, phishing, and other identity-related problems are hurting online commerce. Kim Cameron has posted some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal story that gives some surprising details about how identity problems affect people's behavior online. In short, the lack of a credible identity infrastructure for the Internet, threatens to arrest progress in electronic transactions and could very well ruin the net for anything of any sophistication. Even blogging is under attack. I've been getting hammered today with comment and trackback spam. Ugh!
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                          Smart Self-Service With Adaptive Web Platforms

                          Why is it that most corporate Web sites are so hard to navigate? It might be because they're trying to be all things to all people. If you've got more than a few products helping customers buy or service those products means more than adding another layer to your hierarchy of menus. The best companies are creating adaptive, rule-based Web platforms that show the customer a Web flow specific to them. This article at Optimize Magazine discusses smart self service models. It's worth reading.
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                          Sun's Open Source SSO Solution

                          Sun announced today that they're open sourcing their single sign-on solution. The code provides authentication, single domain SSO, with Web and J2EE agents. The web site is up and code will be available Q4, 2005.
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                          The Cost of Not Deprovisioning

                          Jarrod Jasper of GM just told the story about an employee phone that was not deprovision when the employee left. The former employee decided to run a 900 number service through the phone. That one phone cost GM $50,000 per month--for 18 months--before it was shut down. Whoa!
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                          Giving Out Cows

                          Scott Blackmer, speaking at Catalyst, just referred to something he saw on the Net about how it's amazing that we can track the calves of a cow born in Canada right to their pens in Washington state, but we can't track 11 million illegal aliens. The suggestion is that we give each illegal alien a cow.
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                          Seven Flaws of Identity

                          I'm at Burton Group's Catalyst conference today. I'll be blogging some things here and some over at Between the Lines. I just put Jamie Lewis' keynote up there. I've also got some pictures online. Mike Neuenschwander, an associate research director at Burton Group introduced what he called the "seven flaws of identity," a take on Kim Cameron's Seven Laws of Identity. Here they are: Failure of the weakest link mustn't lead to catastrophe. For example, smart card deployments are sufficient protection against social engineering and inside attacks. Encrypting the channel doesn't stop dumpster diving. Don't put the role before
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                          Big Government IT Projects

                          This sort of thing is very scary: Oregon Awards $73 Million Medicaid IT Contract
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                          Identity Gang at Catalyst

                          I spent yesterday afternoon in an identity BOF meeting in San Diego. (See pictures at Kaliya's Flickr site.) As you might expect, there's plenty of people with an interest in identity systems at Burton Group's Catalyst conference and so we took the opportunity to have a face-to-face discussion with about a dozen people who care about identity metasystems. The topics today were far ranging and difficult to summarize, but there were some interesting issues. There seems to be big disagreement (surprise) around whether HTTP, SMTP, and the like are completely broken from an identity standpoint or whether they can
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                          More Microformats: hCalendar

                          I've long had a travel calendar on the right-hand side of this blog to show people what conferences I'm attending. I've had lots of great experiences with folks seeing I'm coming to something near them and linking up with me for a meal. After I wrote about microformats yesterday, I decided I'd change the program that generates it (a hacked version of phpiCalendar) to generate hCalendar mark-up to the XHTML. You can see that human readable content hasn't changed. What's different, however, is that it's now machine readable as well. For example, you can see the iCalendar format of
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                          i-Names and SSO

                          i-Names can now be used for single sign-on. There's even a WordPress module to allow i-name authenticated posting and commenting. Movabletype anyone? Then we'd have a cross-blog commenter authentication system.
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                          Identity and Repression

                          Kaliya Hamlin (aka Identity Woman) worries that emerging identity systems might be used by repressive regimes.
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                          hCards: Trying Out Microformats

                          Yesterday, I wrote about microformats here on my blog and also decided to do a piece about them for my September column in Connect magazine. As part of that effort, I created my own hCard. Click on the vCard link to see the information embedded in the HTML dynamically turned into vCard data.
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                          Microformats: Paving the Cowpaths

                          Long ago, Jon Udell introduced me to the idea of using class attributes in HTML tags to add semantic information to Web content. The goal is a simpler way to make searching better without the overhead of hiring a team of librarians to create an ontology for every new effort. I've long used a bookmarklet to create quotes for my blog so that the date they were referenced and their URI were captured in the HTML for eventual searching. I've done the same thing with code snippets, putting class="code" as an attribute to the <pre> tag that surrounds the
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                          Palo Alto Trip

                          iPod set up with the "Muse" I flew to Palo Alto this morning with Steve Fulling for some talks with Rohit Khare, Frank Martinez, and others on directory services. We left Spanish Fork this morning at about 6am. It took 3.5 hours to fly to Palo Alto with a little bit of a tail wind. (See pictures.) Palo Alto has a great little airport, but very busy. You can get in and out of Palo Alto without entering the SFO class B or the San Jose (SJC) class C airspaces. We contacted the Palo Alto tower over the east
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                          Book Cover

                          Cover for Digital Identity. (click to enlarge) The cover for my book on Digital Identity is done. At first, I was lukewarm on the deisng, but it's really grown on me. The black mask is a good touch. I especially like the tagline, "Unmasking Identity Management Architecture," in connection with the picture. The book is available now for pre-orders on Amazon. Buy a couple!
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                          London Bombings on the Net

                          Donovan Smoke's Flickr site has pictures of London after the subway bombings. You can also follow the Flickr tags for blasts and bombs to see more. Technorati is also showing ongoing activity on the Net surrounding the news of the London explosions.
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                          Kim Cameron on Channel 9

                          Kim Cameron, architect of InfoCard and author of the Laws of Digital Identity was interviewed by Channel 9.
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                          GovTracker: Getting Rhode Island Data

                          If you live in Rhode Island and want information on Board/Commission Memberships, Corporations, Elections, Lobbyist Registration, Rules and Regulations, or State Directories, you're in luck. The Rhode Island Secretary of State's office has just released GovTracker, a tool for getting any or all of this data as an RSS feed. The project is the brainchild of Jim Willis. I wrote a longer piece about GovTracker at Between the Lines.
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                          Florida Man Charged with Wi-Fi Theft

                          A St. Petersburg Florida man has been charged with unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony after he was caught using the Wi-Fi connection outside a 28-year old veterinarian's home.
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                          James Governor's Thoughts on UDDI

                          James Governor has collected some thoughts on UDDI, including a quote I liked from John Sowa: What if John Sowa is right, that "whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some simpler system as a de facto standard for X"? From James Governor's MonkChips: Any viable service registry should have UDDI as its foundation.Referenced Tue Jul 05 2005 20:04:23 GMT-0600 (MDT)
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                          Digital Identity Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

                          My book, Digital Identity, is available for pre-order on Amazon. There's no cover art up yet (although it's been selected). Amazon shows the release date as August 1, 2005.
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                          Curious Browser Rendering

                          Firefox and Safari seem to treat <em></em> and <em/> differently. The first does just what you'd expect, but Firefox and Safari treat the second the same as <em>. The tag is never closed and the rest of the page is emphasized. Is this expected behavior for a browser? Not by me...
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