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                          Archive for Nov 2005


                          Geek Dinner Tonight

                          I'll be speaking on microformats at the geek dinner tonight. See you there.
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                          URLs as Identity

                          Johannes Ernst thinks that's URLs should be used to identify people. That's the basis of his LID identity system. Open ID is based on the same concept. Johannes notes that OPML has joined the party and talks about an emerging consensus on how it should work.
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                          How Newspapers Can Use the Internet

                          Robin Miller writes an interesting essay at Slashdot on "why [newspapers have] failed to adapt, and what they must do if they want to survive in a world where the Internet dominates the news business." The lessons are helful for anyone trying to build content-based Web sites.
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                          CTO Breakfast for November and December

                          This Friday is the CTO breakfast for November and December. We'll meet in the conference room near the food court at Canyon Park Technology Center (Building L). See the CTO Breakfast page for more information and directions. Also on that page are dates for future meetings, so mark your calendar. Our next meeting will be on January 26, 2006. Come prepared with a few new things you've seen over the last month that other's might enjoy.
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                          Barnett Interview Up

                          My interview with Thomas Barnett is live on IT Conversations. In the interview we talked about the concepts in his new book, his use of technology-base analogies to explain his ideas, blogging, and outsourcing. Doing the interview was a lot of fun--I hope it's as interesting to listen to. Tom has great appeal to the IT Conversations crowd (65,000 downloads of his last interview). Part of the reason is that he uses technology-based analogies to describe world events. But more than that, he also sheds lights on non-technical issues that techies care about. A sampling of two recent entries
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                          Utah.gov a Model

                          Utah's State Web portal was mentioned as a model for other states in this Indianapolis Star story on plans for Indiana's Web portal: One model many are watching is Utah, which is recognized as an Internet pioneer among states and has configured its Web site by questions and services rather than by agency. It also offers breaking news, traffic reports and weather forecasts, information not typically found on a government site. From State has big plans for www.in.gov | IndyStar.comReferenced Mon Nov 28 2005 07:55:15 GMT-0700 (MST)
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                          Geek Dinner Wednesday

                          Paul Allen, Phil Burns, Aaron Zupancic, and Jamis Buck are hosting a geek dinner Wednesday Nov 30th from 6 - 8 pm at Los Hermanos Restaurant (395 N State St in Lindon UT). I'm going to take 20 minutes or so to talk about microformats. If you're interested in going, drop by the Web site and RSVP.
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                          Free Sheet Music by Sally DeFord

                          I sing in the choir at church. This morning as we were practicing, I noticed this at the bottom of the music: Copyright 2005 by Sally DeFord Making copies for non-commercial use is permitted. This and other DeFord sheet music may be downloaded free at: http://www.defordmusic.com I was curious, so I visited the site when I got home. What I found were dozens of pieces of music, all nicely typeset, some with sample MP3s, free for downloading. Some are original compositions and some are arrangements of familiar hymns. Some are specific to the LDS church, but most would be
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                          Keep Science Off the Web

                          If you thought record companies and movie studios were the only organizations capable of harmful anachronism in order to perserve outdated business models, then you'll need to read this story from the Guardian about the Royal Society's stand on publishing academic reseach on the web: A spokesman for the Royal Society said: "We think it conceivable that the journals in some disciplines might suffer. Why would you pay to subscribe to a journal if the papers appear free of charge?" From Keep science off web, says Royal SocietyReferenced Sat Nov 26 2005 13:30:12 GMT-0700 (MST)
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                          XDI Workshop

                          I'm going to the XRI Workshop that Andy Dale is teaching Dec 5th in Alameda. The timing worked out perfect and I've wanted to dig deep into XRI for a while. This seems like the perfect opportunity.
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                          DRM, TiVo, and the iPod

                          I put a little piece at Between the Lines on TiVo's announcement that they future versions of TiVoToGo will have support for creating iPod ready video. While you're there, check out David Berlind's article on Sony and DRM. Apparently Sony is rethinking DRM as a strategy. In related news, the rootkit and other CD DRM techniques can be defeated by scotch tape. Cool.
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                          Micron and Intel in Lehi

                          John Dougall notes that Intel and Micron will manufacture some of the flash memory in their new joint venture at Micron's Lehi, Utah plant. That plant was built eight or nine years ago and has never really been at full capacity. It would be nice to see more happening there. John also mentions the new Apple retail store in Salt Lake--just in time for the holidays.
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                          My Gmail Account Has an Atom Feed

                          I was looking at the page source on GMail a minute ago and saw a link tag that gave a URL for an Atom feed. Sure enough, go to https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom and there's XML staring you in the face: <feed version="0.3"> <title>Gmail - Inbox for windley</title> <tagline>New messages in your Gmail Inbox</tagline> <fullcount>1</fullcount> <link rel="alternate" type="text/html"/> <modified>2005-11-21T03:18:30Z</modified> <entry> <title>testing</title> <summary/> <link rel="alternate" type="text/html"/> <modified>2005-11-21T03:18:10Z</modified> <issued>2005-11-21T03:18:10Z</issued> <id>tag:gmail.google.com,2004:1187557503841339412</id> <author> <name>Phillip J. Windley</name> <email>me@my.org</email> </author> </entry> </feed> It's apparently been there for quite a while. I just never knew about it.
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                          Digital Identity Reviewed

                          Ben Rothke reviewed Digital Identity at UnixReview.com. Overall Ben's comments were favorable, saying: Overall, Digital Identity provides the reader with a good introduction to the various areas necessary to develop a productive identity management infrastructure. Anyone planning to deploy an IMA or any sort of federated identity solution in a corporate environment will find Digital Identity a valuable reference. From Book Review: Digital IdentityReferenced Sat Nov 19 2005 16:03:58 GMT-0700 (MST) Ben especially liked the chapter on Identity Policies. He complained about editing mistakes and the number of first-person anecdotes I used. On the issue of typos, I sincerely
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                          Podcasting Barnett

                          Tom Barnett mentioned my interviewing him on his blog. He said: Then 1-2pm EST I taped an hour with Phil Windley of IT Conversations. He and Doug Kaye said my recorded presentation at Pop!Tech last year was downloaded about 65,000 times from their site, so both were excited to have me back at their plate. Windley's questions were great: simple, direct, and with good steering. It was the kind of skillful interview that lets you walk away feeling better about your work. From Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog: Two interviews bankedReferenced Sat Nov 19 2005 07:54:47 GMT-0700 (MST) 65,000
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                          Cringely on Sony and Grokster

                          Robert X. Cringely on the Sony rootkit capper and Groksters last days: The rootkit of all evil: As if foisting Mariah Carey on us wasn't bad enough; Sony (Profile, Products, Articles) BMG Music Entertainment has been caught installing a rootkit -- a tool typically used by malware. If you play a copy-protected Sony CD on your PC, it installs a digital rights management scheme you can neither detect nor remove. After security wonks revealed the rootkit could be used to compromise systems merely by appending the prefix "$sys$" to the name of any rogue program, Sony and software partner
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                          CanyonBridge Focus Group

                          CanyonBridge Technologies is holding a brief focus group around a C++ Middleware technology that will allow the quick deployment of AJAX enabled applications for the web. They'll give you lunch and pay you $30! Unfortunately, I'm late off the dime--it's today at 11am, 12:30pm, and 2pm at the CanyonBridge offices in Orem (625 E Technology Ave). Register or give them a call at 801.225.1003 if you're interested.
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                          Interviewing Tom Barnett

                          I interviewed Tom Barnett today for an upcoming podcast from IT Conversations. Tom is the author of Blueprint for Action : A Future Worth Creating and The Pentagon's New Map. Tom was delightful to interview--you can tell he does it a lot. We talked about the concepts in his new book, his use of technology-base analogies to explain his ideas, blogging, and outsourcing. I could have spoken to him for hours. Hopefully Doug will have it up at IT Conversations soon. I'll point to it when it's up.
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                          Flushing the 'Net Down the Tubes

                          Doc Searls has written a brilliant piece framing the battle for the 'Net at Linux Journal. The piece is long, but if you take the time to read just one essay on the 'Net and the politics surrounding it this year, read this one. We haven't framed the conversation correctly If you're involved in public policy, it's especially important that you take the time to understand what's at stake here. One of Doc's main points: we haven't framed the conversation correctly and our poor choice of words makes the argument seem overly technical and arcane when it's really about
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                          Writable Web: Annotating Manual Pages

                          I'm doing a project in Perl where I needed to tidy the HTML in some pages. There's a nifty little Perl package called, appropriately enough, HTML::Tidy. I used CPAN to grab it and got it working, but I'll be darned if I could figure out how to actually get the tidied text back from the package. If you read the man page, I'll bet you can't figure it out either. No useful examples with the code and searching the Web turned up very little. Turns out the clean method returns the cleaned text, although the man page doesn't say
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                          Google Base Portends a Structured Web

                          I wrote a piece at Between the Lines today about the newly launched Google Base. Google Base has been described variously as an online database, competition for CraigsList, or Google's first crack at eBay. And of course, Base is being judged in that light: Google Base can be used to store information of any sort--the company seems to like using recipes as an example. Already, there's commercial stuff like classified ads and job listings in there; the service has been described as an eBay killer or a Craigslist killer. At the moment, it's clearly very far from being either.
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                          DRM Day

                          Today was DRM Day at Between the Lines. David Berlind posted three excellent stories that all had something to do with DRM: The DRM grinch who stole Christmas The day the broadcast died How to stop Hollywood and Congress from trampling on your constitutional rights In addition, I posted a personal story about DRM that claims that the DMCA (yes, I got it wrong at BTL and wrote DCMA) is more about protecting TiVo's (and other company's) business model than it is about protecting the rights of copyright holders. I was especially intrigued by the post on broadcast. What
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                          The Writable Web

                          Several interesting pieces on writable Web in the last few days: Tim Bray: Why would anyone want a word processor any more? Dan Bricklin releases WikiCalc Add these to things like hCards in Kwiki and Jot. That only scratches the surface, of course. The whole "writable web" thing includes wikis of all sorts and even blogs.
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                          Urquhart Out

                          If you've been paying attention to the newspapers, you've heard by now that Steve Urquhart has dropped out of the race. When we talked about him running last spring, we knew that November would be the first gate. If there was enough financial support, then the race would be possible and the next gate was caucuses in March. Well the financial support hasn't been good enough and Steve has decided that ensuring his business survives so that he can keep his family fed takes priority. I can't blame him. Steve has learned a lot from this effort and, as
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                          IIW2005 Talks

                          If you missed IIW2005, or were there and wanted to hear something over again, the audio from the conference is now online. A big thanks to Scott Mace for recording the workshop and post processing the audio. You can link to the audio individually below or subscribe to this podcast. Opening remarks by Phil Windley, podcast from the Internet Identity Workshop, Oct. 26, 2005. (13:58) Identity in the Marketplace: The Rise of the Fully Empowered Customer, featuring Doc Searls, podcast from the Internet Identity Workshop, Oct. 26, 2005. (1:19:31) [Notes from my blog] Use Cases for the Social Web,
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                          Remote Vehicle Diagnostics and Personal Portals

                          What OnStart sends you for diagnostics. (Click to enlarge) I subscribe to the OnStar Safe and Sound plan (things like remote door unlocking, vehicle recovery, etc.). I was just notified that OnStar has begin a new service (included in the Safe and Sound plan) that give remote vehicle diagnostics. I think it's pretty cool that I can got to a Web page and be told about the health of significant systems in my car. My car is not online in the sense that it has an IP number, but can anyone doubt that that is somewhere in the future?
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                          Ben Galbraith at UVLUG

                          Ben Galbraith will be speaking at the Utah Valley Linux Users Gpoup meeting next Saturday at 2pm. Ben's a good speaker and I'm sure this will be a great presentation. He's competing with the BYU/Utah game for audience though.
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                          Amazon's Mechanical Turk

                          I ran into Jeff Barr today and he asked what I thought about Mechanical Turk. 'Huh?" I said. Don't know where I've been for the last week. Amazon launched a service that brings together people with small jobs and people willing to perform them. The jobs pay pennies and take a few seconds. Micropayments for microwork. Very cool idea. Most of the examples on the site now are picture identification tasks. The payments are around $0.03. Not a lot of money, but the jobs don't take long. Right now the requesters all seem to be Amazon. I signed up
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                          Approaching Omniscience

                          I attended Paul Allen's keynote at eBusiness Day. He spoke on "Approaching Omniscience." Paul gave an amazing talk and I wrote it all up in a blog post but then a errant click killed the page where I was writing. Argh! Paul started with a quote from Robert Browning: "Grow old with me; The best is yet to be." This aptly reflects Paul's natural optimism. He ended by saying that we are empowered like no other generation to lift the poor and help people and giving suggestions about how people can change their lives and do that.
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                          InfoWorld Articles

                          I've recently had a couple of articles in InfoWorld. The first was an analysis piece a few weeks ago regarding IBM's acquisition of Datapower. The second is a review of Systinet Registry 6.0. I found Registry to be a full-featured and mature registry offering. The review is in the same issue that contains Eric Knorr and Oliiver Rist's 10 Steps to SOA. Registries are step five. I agree with the assessment that registries of some kind are essential to production-level SOA deployments, even if I'm not sold on UDDI.
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                          Orrin's Got a New Gig

                          I think Orrin must be the CTO for Sony BMG.
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                          BYU Ruby User's Group Report

                          I went to the BYU Ruby User's Group meeting tonight. Devlin Daley (one of my grad students) gave a demonstration of Rails by building a movie database application. He did a good job. There were about a dozen people there. Again, I was impressed by the power of convention in contrast to configuration. We don't, in general, do a good enough job of thinking out defaults for our programs so that they work without configuration for what most people want to do.
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                          Monads in Ruby: Yum!

                          Just ran across an introduction to using monads in Ruby. If you're more of a Schemer, you might enjoy this introduction more.
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                          Micropayments for Big Ideas

                          You may have noticed a new banner on the right hand side of my blog. I'm trying an experiment to see if I can use my blog to help support student research at BYU (where I teach). I've never been much for exploiting my blog commercially, but I do think supporting student research is a good cause. I'm appealing mostly to corporations (although individual donations would be more than welcome) who want to support interesting and innovative research in digital identity, Web services, and virtualization.
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                          Grad Student Uptick

                          If you travel abroad, you find that many of the government and business leaders you meet, particularly in developing countries, were educated in the US. Moreover, many of the best executives in our most innovative companies are foreign born. Since 9/11 the number of foreign grad students has declined and that's worried me. The US benefits handsomely from foreign-born grad students who come and stay as well as those who return home. Thomas Barnett reports that last year, for the first time since 9/11, the number of foreign-born grad students increased. Good news. If it were up to me,
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                          Stanford Buys the Old Excite@Home Campus

                          Stanford University has purchased the old Excite@Home campus in Redwood City. I'm glad to see it being used. They say a biotech center is in the works.
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                          BYU Ruby User's Group Meeting

                          The BYU Ruby User's Group is having a meeting tomorrow (Wed, Nov 9th) in 120 TMCB at 7pm. They're going to walk through implementing an application (can you say "live demo?") in Rails 1.0. Come one, come all.
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                          Business Continuity Planning for Academics

                          Writing about business continuity planning in light of avian flu scares for Between the Lines made me think about the same subject in the context of what I'm doing now: teaching classes, doing research, and interacting with students. I came to the conclusion that we could actually manage fairly well. My students are already using email and instant messaging to contact me. Naturally, we still meet face to face a good deal as well, using IM mainly for quick discussions, setting up appointments and so on, but in an emergency we could move more to IM and email. My
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                          Learning from the Web

                          I've heard Adam Bosworth talk about the lessons we should have learned from the web about semi structured data, but it didn't really hit home for me until I read his arguments in this article in Queue. I read it in hardcopy 6 weeks ago or so and it's finally online so I can link to it. He lists five "unintuitive" lessons: Simple, relaxed, sloppily extensible text formats and protocols often work better than complex and efficient binary ones. It is worth making things simple enough that one can harness Moore's law in parallel. This means that a system
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                          CiteULike: Del.icio.us for Academics

                          If you are an academic, CiteULike might be a tool you'll enjoy. CiteULike is like Del.icio.us, but oriented to academic papers. In addition to the regular bookmarking and tagging that Del.icio.us does, CiteULike allows you to enter all the relevant reference data (presumable if someone else has already done it for a URL, it will just be there for free), put in the abstract, and enter a note. You can generate EndNote and Bibtex entries for papers and even upload a private PDF of a paper. Like Del.icio.us, there's RSS for accounts. One thing I like is the group
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                          Twelve Reasons Not to Use Microsoft

                          Robert Scoble lists twelve reasons people tell him they don't use Microsoft. The thread has over 100 comments. Interesting reading.
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                          TaskTracer: Gathering Attention Data

                          Today's CS department colloquium featured Thomas Dietterich from Oregon State University. His research area is machine learning. On of the things he talked about is called TaskTracer. The basic idea of Task Tracer is to capturing the coherence of user's desktop activities. As users use windowed desktops, they engage in seemingly random activities involving applications, documents, and events. But these are not really random--they are all associated with tasks of one sort or another. In the user's mind, these activities are all associated with the task that they're working on: users choose resources associated with tasks users work on
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                          Achieving Ubiquity With an Identity Metasystem

                          Brett McDowall, who gave a presentation on Liberty at IIW2005, has started a blog. At IIW2005, he said "the world belongs to those who show up" and his blog is an effort to "show up" in the blogosphere. Brett notes that there's a lot of misunderstanding about Liberty Alliance, even (or maybe especially) among the IIW2005 crowd. Some of that's FUD, but as he notes, there are technological barriers. The primary one he notes is that RESTians aren't likely to jump on board SOAP just for the privilege of using an identity infrastructure. I was interviewed this afternoon by
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                          Rasiej Campaign Post-Mortem

                          Micah Sifry has written a post-mortem about the Andy Rasiej campaign for NYC Public Advocate. Some important lessons there for anyone using the Internet for leverage. Here were a few that hit home for me: We misjudged how much people would care about our initial pledge to not take more than $100 per donors, and we overestimated how much the Internet could compensate for our weaknesses, in terms of spreading our message and assisting with fundraising; Low name recognition plus low voter attention meant that network effects (such as a message spreading virally, or friends of the campaign being
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                          Using VLC to Create iPod Ready Video

                          A few days ago I wrote about using VLC to turn MPEG2 video from the Tivo into something that will work on your iPod. I had some funny problems with the aspect ratio and the GUI-based approach is fine for a single video, but it's time consuming since each conversion takes near real-time (i.e. one our of video takes a little more than one hour to transcode to MPEG4). Well, there's a better way. VLC has a command line interface and it works lovely. Not only can you run the command on multiple files in batch mode, but you
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                                                  Mobile Games

                                                  society

                                                  image

                                                  car

                                                  Technology

                                                  Variety show

                                                  Second-hand housing

                                                  Finance

                                                  Variety show