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                          Archive for Mar 2006


                          Tom Adelstein and Government IT

                          This brings back some very unpleasant memories: I would characterize the people involved in these type of organizations as nasty bureaucrats. I have never met one of them who cared about the people they serve. The ones I have met only care about their careers. They would cut the heart out of the person in the next office in a minute. From LXer: Why I Stopped Promoting Linux in GovernmentReferenced Fri Mar 31 2006 19:56:26 GMT-0700 (MST) Read the whole thing, especially the comments. He talks about the only way to survive in government IT being to lower your
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                          Apple at 30 Years

                          This weekend marks the 30 year anniversary of Apple. By way of celebration, Larry Magid, of the the series Larry's World on IT Conversations interviewed Lee Felsenstein, an early pioneer in the personal computer space who conducted the Homebrew Computer Club meeting where the Apple I debuted. He not only reviews the history of those early days, but also has strongly held opinions about what makes a personal computer "personal" and is critical of plans for the $100 laptop.
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                          March CTO Breakfast Report

                          This morning's CTO breakfast had around 30 people in attendance. As always, the conversations was geeky and varied. Here are a few things I took notes on. We had a discussion of Ruby and how it's always at the bottom of the lisp. The facts of the matter, however that in most Web applications (where Ruby seems to have found it's sweet spot) the CPU and language aren't the bottleneck. What is? Database communication. Someone mentioned that this podcast with Jamis Buck that discusses the scalability of Ruby Web apps. We had lots of discussion on virtualization. I brought
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                          A MovableType PlugIn for MicroIDs

                          Yesterday's entry on MicroID got me thinking that to be truly useful, blogs and other sites are going to have to including MIDs (as I call them) in every entry and comment as a matter of course. For that, you need a plugin. I've been wanting to learn to write plugins for MovableType for sometime, so I set out to do so this morning. The result is microid, a MovableType plugin that can be used inside MT's template system to add MicroIDs to entries and comments. If you look at the source for this entry, for example, you'll see
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                          Federated Identity Feature

                          SAML Federated ID (InfoWorld)(click to enlarge) My feature on Federated Identity Governance came out today in InfoWorld. There are three pieces: The hidden challenges of federated identity - Federation is the logical goal of identity infrastructures, but achieving it takes more than just technology User-centric identity brings federation close to home- Agreements between peers can add up to an effective federation Scaling a federated identity infrastructure - Most identity federations start small, but as they grow in size you may need to rethink your approach If you read them and want to know more, buy the book!
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                          MicroID - A Microformat for Claiming Ownership

                          This morning I learned about MicroIDs from Doc Searls. Jeremy Miller has proposed MicroIDs as a microformat that "allows anyone to simply claim verifiable ownership over their own pages and content hosted anywhere." A MicroID is a hash of two hashed values. The first is a verified communication ID (like an email address that you can prove belongs to you). The second is the URI of the site that the content will be published on. You end up with a unique, long string of gibberish that can be put in the header of a Web page or even wrapped
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                          March's CTO Breakfast

                          Just a reminder that the CTO Breakfast for March will be held this Thursday at 8am in the food court of the Canyon Park Technology Center (Building L of the former Word Perfect campus). Come a little early, grab some food at Gandolfo's, and enjoy the conversation. Please bring ideas, interesting Web discoveries, and other technology related issues to discuss. The past few months have had a large attendance and the discussion has been great. I'm looking forward to this Thursday. Here are the dates for the next four meetings. Mark you calendars now. March 30 (Thursday) April 28
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                          Meanwhile, the Real Attention Economy Chugs Along

                          This morning, I was thinking about people who read this blog and what I offer them that keeps them coming back. That led me into what I like to think of as the "real" attention economy--the one that's already monetized. Over the past few years, blogging has really taken off. A few days ago Doc Searls was pondering that he used to be in the Technorati Top 100 and now he's not. Why? There's all kinds of other stuff people are blogging about: "celebrities, politics, sex and other topics that float atop the polular mainstream media charts." I'm at
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                          Turn Off Your Cell Phone

                          N9472C in the air(click to enlarge) Every time you fly, you hear it: "You may not use your cell phone and other portable electronic devices in flight because they may interfere with the navigational equipment on this aircraft." Like me, you've probably wondered "is that really true?" An article in IEEE Spectrum by researchers at the Naval Air Warfare Center and Carnegie Mellon University delivers some surprising results. Bill Strauss, M. Granger Morgan, Jay Apt, and Daniel D. Stancil measured the RF spectrum inside commercial aircraft cabins during 37 real flights over the course of three months in late 2003.
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                          Using the Law to Stop Electronic Voting

                          A group called Vote Action is suing California to stop the use of touch screen voting systems citing security and integrity concerns. The suit, put together by the voting rights group Voter Action, asks a San Francisco Superior Court to nullify February's conditional certification of Diebold Election System's AccuVote-TSx electronic voting system and ban the purchase or use of the system for the November statewide election. "We can't have trustworthy elections with Diebold's voting machines,'' said Lowell Finley, co-director of Voter Action who is an attorney in the case. "They are insecure and easily hacked." The suit also names
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                          It's Not the Fight We Wanted, But It's the Fight We Got

                          If you've never been in the military, you may not appreciate the level of professionalism and training represented in both the officer and enlisted ranks. Julian Barnes has a great piece in US News and World Report on how the Army is shifting it's training in response to things they're encountering in Iraq. This is important because we're more likely to see things that look like Iraq in the future than we are "near-peer" kinds of encounters.
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                          Trusting Google Authentication

                          In an earlier entry, I said With no fanfare at all, Google has created a universal login for anyone who wants to use it. From Phil Windley's Technometria | Using Google's Universal Authentication EngineReferenced Tue Mar 21 2006 08:22:50 GMT-0700 (MST) Well, not quite. I had a couple of my students, Devlin Daley and Harsh Nagaonkar spend a little time playing with it. As presently constituted, the token you get back is long lived and replayable. It's better than giving a third party site your password, but not much. Anyone with your token can use it to log in
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                          DRM Costs

                          A c|net test shows that DRM is computationally expensive and results in a measurable drain on battery life. For Microsoft's WMA 10 DRM on a Creative Zen Vision:M, DRM resulted in 25% less battery life. The iPod and Fairplay only accounted for 8%. Whether it's 8% or 25%, the shortened play time is a feature cost that puts the burden square on the user. You pay for the music and then you get less functionality than you would with uncrippled tracks. Ugh!
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                          LDS Church Has RSS

                          The LDS Church (BYU's sponsoring organization) has added RSS feeds to their Web site.
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                          Effective Scheming

                          I received an email from a former student who's caught the Scheme bug. He says: I took 330 from you last year and I really enjoy coding in Scheme. I do any class project I can in Scheme -- even my Python code is riddled with lambda statements. I have two questions I was hoping you could help me with What are the prospects for kids who like coding in Scheme/Lisp, and how does one locate/maximize those prospects? What are some key things I could do to become a really great Scheme/Lisp coder? That is, what are some concepts
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                          Document Engineering

                          At the InfoWorld SOA Executive Forum last week I met Bob Glushko who's on the faculty at Berkeley's School of Information, what they're calling the "i-school" (with no royalties to Apple, apparently). Bob's the director of the Center for Document Engineering. The mission of the CDE is to "invent, evaluate, and promote model-based technologies and methods that enable the automation of document-centric business processes and the implementation of business relationships as a network of document exchanges." As XML technologies have made documents machine-readable and automatically processed, the notion of engineering these documents has become more important. Bob's also the
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                          Blogging 101 Panel

                          The Utah Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators & Public Relations Society of America is having their spring conference May 9 at the Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake. I've been asked to lead a panel called "Blogging 101." I'm looking for three other people to fill out the panel. If you'd like to be on the panel contact me. If I don't know you, please give me some idea of your blogging experience and what you'd like to contribute to the panel (i.e. what needs to be said). Even if you don't want to be on the
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                          IIW2006 Registration

                          The registration page for the Internet Identity Workshop is now live. Please register as soon as you can: we have early deposit requirements at the Computer History Museum that we're hoping registration fees will cover.
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                          Using HTTP Authentication

                          HTTP authentication has been pigeonholed into protecting back-end systems and whole sites. In fact, it's much more versatile, as this tutorial shows. Ever wanted to use HTTP authentication from a Web form or allow HTTP authenticated users to logout? This shows you how using standard server-side techniques and very little code hacking.
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                          Bret Dixon on SOA

                          in his keynote presentaiton, Bret Dixon of BEA made an interesting comparison. One viewpoint is that of the single technology stack that has these characteristics: invest to reach homogeneity get everything you need from one vendor replace what you have periodic releases will give you enhancements The other view point is a single service nertwork that has these characteristics: heterogenous products make up a network commitment to open standards uses different products to get needed functionality incremental increase in capacity and functionality SOA means that the software the links applications become more important and are among the most improtant
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                          Jeff Gleason on Achieving Reusability with SOA

                          I'm at InfoWorld's SOA Executive Forum this morning in San Francisco. I'll be conducting a panel on SOA governance later this afternoon. There's a sellout crowd. InfoWorld really knows how to put these things together. I also know from working with Eric Knorr, Steve Fox, and other editors at InfoWorld that they try really hard to make sense of this, create good ways to explain it, and develop sound advice. The opening keynote is by Jeff Gleason, Director IT Strategies, Transamerica Life Insurance Company. He's speaking, from experience, on achieving reusability using SOA. Transamerica provides life insurance, pensions, and
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                          Tag Cloud For My Blog

                          This morning's entry on categories got me thinking and I decided to try generating a tag cloud based on the keywords I put on entries. Here is the result. I like it because it gives an immediate feel for which topics I spend the most time on. The cloud doesn't show tags I used just once. To create the page, I followed Al-Muhajabah's instructions with a few modifications. I'm careful to separate my tags by commas or whitespace, so I replaced $wordlist = preg_split( '/\\s*[\\s+\\.|\\?|,|(|)|\\-+|\\'|\\"|=|;|×|\\$|\\/|:|{|}]\\s*/i', $string); with $wordlist = preg_split('/\\s+|,/i',$string); The longer regexp was breaking things up more than
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                          Speeding Up MovableType

                          Movabletype can be slow. One reason for that is categories. Movabletype's default templates create one big huge index with all of the entries from the category. I've got one category with almost 1000 posts. I found this bit of wisdom from Tom Sherman on optimizing your templates. The basic idea is to annotate the MTEntries tag with a lastn="10" attribute and then add another MTEntries block that just puts the title and permalink for the rest. I decided to test a few options. The first option was to do nothing. Use the default templates. The second option was Tom's
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                          Firefox Upgrades Still Painful

                          I've been putting off upgrading to version 1.5 of Firefox on OSX for a while now because it's always a bigger pain than it ought to be. Last week I was forced to for reasons that I won't go into. Like past upgrades, l had to play games to get SpellBound (the spell checker plugin) to work and enable Emacs keybindings to work. At version 0.9, I could understand and put up with this, but I'm growing tired of it at version 1.5.
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                          Internet Identity Workshop 2006

                          Kaliya Hamlin, Doc Searls and I will be holding another installment of the Internet Identity Workshop at the Computer History Museum in Mountainview, CA on May 2 and 3. We're also holding a half day "intro for newbies" on the afternoon of May 1st for people who want to join the conversation on Tuesday and Wednesday. I've put up an announcement with details. Look for a registration page later this week, but I wanted people to be able to get it on their calendars now. Please link to the announcement and help spread the word.
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                          Kinetic Energy and the Web

                          Just finished a nice little article at A List Apart on Flywheels, Kinetic Energy, and Friction by Nick Usborne. The premise of the piece is pretty simple: when you make a call to action on the Web (ask someone to do something) you're transferring kinetic energy to them that carries them through the friction of doing whatever you want them to do: fill out a form, check out a shopping cart, etc. Here are some key points: Maximize the transfer of energy with words and design The bigger the task, the more energy you need Reduce friction where ever
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                          ETech 2006 Photos

                          Dave Sifry(click to enlarge) I finally was able to unload my camera and post my pictures from ETech. Enjoy. On a related note, I recently discovered that something I'm doing in my template for Gallery is making it so that photos don't show up in Safari. I'll have to look at that.
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                          Answers About Identity

                          James McGovern asked me some questions about identity. Here are some answers: James: If I work for a premier outsourcing firm and I have been asked to develop a software architecture document describing how identity should work and be consumed within an enterprise application I am thinking about, what should this document look like? That's a question with a long answer. The short answer is "read chapters 13-20 of my book. There are multiple parts, including a data model, a process model, an interoperability framework, a policy set, and multiple reference architectures. Taking the above question, one step further
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                          Mark Hurst on Email Productivity (ETech 2006)

                          Mark Hurst, the creator of GoodExperience.com and ThisIsBroken is speaking on Bit Literacy: A Strategy for Productivity in Your Bit-Drenched Life. Here's what bit literacy means. Mark goes specifically to email to bring the conversation down to nuts and bolts. Mark recommends a rule of getting your inbox count to zero at least once every business day. Here's the method: Find the very most important email in the inbox. Mark believes these are personal emails from family and friends. Spend time reading them and processing them (reply, print, file) and then delete them. Go to the least important messages
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                          reBlog (ETech 2006)

                          Michael Frumin and Michal Migurski, the development team behind reBlog are showing it off. At first glance, reBlog looks like an online feedreader (with a nice interface). The difference is that reBlog is aimed at using the information in feeds rather than just reading it. You can easily republish information, archive it, tag it, add comments, and so on. In addition, a plugin architecture let's programmers and developers add new features to the RSS processing chain and customize it to specific uses. For example, you could subscribe to a feed that contains items from eBay and then use the
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                          Peter Norvig at BYU

                          With the reams of stuff I spewing out at ETech, there's a real danger this will get lost in the middle, but I persist. Peter Novig, Director of Search Quality at Google will be speaking at this week's CS Dept. Colloquium. If you're in the area and interested, you ought to try to go. I think it will be very good. I'm genuinely sorry I'm going to be in CA and miss it. Here's Peter's abstract: The system of publishing the written word has made more knowledge available to more people than any other technology. No other system comes
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                          Alex Russell on Comet: Beyond AJAX (ETech 2006)

                          Alex Russell, who works at JotSpot and did the DOJO Toolkit for JavaScript is talking about Comet and low latency data to and from browsers (slides). The subtitle is "after AJAX." The goal is responsiveness. AJAX gives you half the answer. AJAX is about me. Social applications are driven by others--the multiuser web. How do we send the datagrams that users make to each other. To any one user, the server represents the other users. Because the Web is a multiuser experience, single interaction updates aren't enough. Users in the same "space" need live updates of their own changes
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                          Mary Hodder on iTags (ETech 2006)

                          Mary Hodder is talking about itags. An itag is a tag + author identity + CC license + media object. Media objects can be text, photo, video, or audio. Trusing tags means trusting the maker of the tag. By uniquely identityfy the object, the tag, the author, and the licensing; the itag can live anywhere. The goal of all this is to put tags and objects together so that they can be included in places like feeds. "I-tagging would remove the requirement for a tag to be coupled with the originating URL (blog post URL) because identity would be
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                          Christopher Payne on Windows Live (ETech 2006)

                          Christopher Payne from Microsoft is giving a demo of Microsoft's new live.com services. He's standing on stage in a suit. The visual discontinuity of that is jarring. His assistant, Frederick, is adding new widgets to a page, very AJAXy. The visuals are pretty slick. Live search let's you search within the results. There's a smart scroll bar that dynamically grabs information as needed so that you don't have to click "next" and "prev" to get other results. Image search has been completely rebuilt. Nice slider bars allow you to reduce or expand the size of thumbnails in image search.
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                          George Dyson on Turing's Cathederal (ETech 2005)

                          Ester Dyson introduces her brother George. She says that his job as a historian is to determine what is worthy of our attention. George talks about the "prophets" of the computer age. People who saw things long before their time. George recounts some of the early 20th century thinking about artificial intelligence. In contrast to some of these earlier ideas are ideas about collective intelligence. Alfred Smee defined ideas about bit-mapping and search engines in the mid 19th century. Thomas Hobbes, in 1651 posited automata and the question of whether they have a life of their own (in addition
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                          Michael Goldhaber on the Real Nature of the Attention Economy (ETech 2006)

                          Michael Goldhaber is speaking on the real nature of the attention economy. Michael's been working on a book about attention on this subject since the 1990's. He thinks that this conference has its feet in two paradigms: the attention economy and the old economy. "You all don't know what world you're in. You're like butterflies that think your caterpillars." Attention is a different way of being. Michael sees attention as a new level in the massively multiplayer game known as western culture. The economy is a single level game, but economic history is a multilevel game. The first level
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                          Hans Peter Brondmo on Plum (ETech 2006)

                          Hans Peter Brondmo is speaking on "First You Google, But Then What?" When you have a question, you direct it to the great oracle: the search engines. The problem is that you can't make those results personal, collect them, rearrange them, and share them. Plum is a system for building collections of things that you find on the 'Net and share them. You can also collect from applications on your machine, including email, photos, music, etc. Has Peter demos how the tool (called a plummer) can automatically build a playlist of songs you're listening to. Plum also creates a
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                          Joel Spolsky's Report Card (ETech 2006)

                          Joel Spolsky is speaking on creating blue-chip products. His formula: Make people happy (control) Think about emotions Obsess over aesthetics AJAX is an example of something that can make people happy by giving them instantaneous feedback. He points to the Ambercrombie Web site as an example. He gave the example of cars for emotion and the iPod for aesthetics. How are people living up to the formula? He brings up reddit. It uses AJAX, has a cute alien as a mascot (large eyes and bald--looks like a human baby). The alien creates cartoon stories that create an emotional bond.
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                          Brian Dear on Eventful and EVDB (ETech 2006)

                          Brian Dear from EVDB and Eventful is speaking on calendar as platform. His talk is title "When Do We Get the Events We Want?" He gives a quick overview of the company. EVDB stands for the Events and Venues Database. The goal is to maximize event discovery. The Web has done a pretty bad job of getting people to the events they're interested in. Making data for events open and portable is important, so is having the right tools to manage that data. The company has a platform called EVDB and a portal called Eventful. Anyone can use EVDB.
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                          Clay Shirky on Moderation Strategies (ETech 2006)

                          Clay Shirky is speaking about pattern languages for moderation strategies. A pattern is a combination of a goal and strategy combination that's detailed enough that you can see how to build it, but not so detailed that you can't repurpose it to a different domain. This has come into vogue in the object oriented world. Clay suggests a pattern strategy for moderating discussion. He shows a graph that has "freedom to create group communications" vs. "Annoyingness". The problem is there's a steep knee in the curve, meaning that there's a point where as soon as you get a certain
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                          Jon Udell on Seeking Attention (ETech 2006)

                          Jon Udell is the morning's opening keynote. We are all seekers of attention. We all have ideas we'd like to promote and agendas we'd like to publicize. So, we all make claims on other people's attention. The focus of his talk is how to reward those who give us attention. Jon sees for patterns. First patterns is what Jon calls "Heads, Decks, and Leads." An idea from the world of "dead trees" these give users information about context switches because they're hard and time consuming. Writing good titles, naming things, is hard because there's a cognitive dissonance in trying
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                          Microformats (ETech 2006)

                          Tantek Celik or Technorati and crew are doing a microformats talk. He says that microformats are more than just good class names. There are principles that keep things "micro," process that emphasized getting real, and community that minimizes duplicates. Here's the process: Pick a specific, simple problem and define it Research and document current web publishing behavior document existing formats in the problem area brainstorm with implied schema and reuse names iterate within the community Rohit Khare takes the mic to talk about work he's doing on microsearch for microformats. One is called miffy. I didn't get the name
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                          Tim Bray on Atom (ETech 2006)

                          Tim Bray is speaking on Atom as a case study. RSS is the most successful use of XML in existence. If it's that successful, why replace it? Tim outlines some problems with RSS as specified: The RSS specification says "one only", but many podcasts use multiple enclosures. Clients vary unpredictably in how they support them. There is silent data loss. In a title element doing AT&T or AT&amp;T or fails silently. The only predictable way to do it is AT&amp;amp;T and that just sucks. Links sometimes don't work. In an RSS <description>, putting a link to an image doesn't
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                          Derek Powazek on Community

                          Derek Powazek is talking about new communities on the Web. He says that the Web is less about companies createing "company" towns and more about people creating their own spaces. He uses the Technorati Top 100 bloggers as examples of people who have enormous reach and create their own community. Company town are communities, but they're extrememly authoritative. If you step out of line, you can find yourself out of the community. When you create your own community, that's no longer true. Derek mentions MeasureMap as an example of a site that helps manage community--showing visitors and posts. I've
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                          Heuristicrats (ETech 2006)

                          In a talk on the Hunch Engine at ETech, Eric Bonabeau used the term "heuristicrat" to describe professionals who use years of professional experience in a black box decision process to limit choice. His example was an architect who says "no" to almost every question the client asks in an effort to channel the client into a small set of designs the architect is comfortable with. Heuristocrats don't think outside the box, as it were.
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                          Linda Stone on Attention

                          Linda Stone, speaking on Attention as the Real Aphrodisiac asks the audience these questions: I always pay attention I pay partial attention The way I use technology improves my quality of life Technology compromises the way I live my life Technology sets me free Technology enslves me Continuous partial attention (CPA) is a phrase Linda coined to describe the way people live in the world of high-tech. It's an adaptive behavior. We're on our way toa dapting beyond it. CPA has been a way of life for many. It's a post multi-tasking approach. In multi-tasking, we give the same
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                          Sifry on the Attention Economy

                          Dave Sifry of Technorati is speaking on The Economy of Attention. What are the rules that guide the attention economy and how are they different than the rules we're used to in the real economy. Attention is about time directed to a purpose by people. Most economic models focus on what is scarce in the system. Economic systems aren't only defined by what is scarce, but it's a pretty good tool to find the seams in the fabric of the economy. In the attention economy, computing power, storage, network bandwidth, and even money aren't scarce. Time is what even
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                          Cory Ondrejka on Web 3.0

                          Cory Ondrejka from Second Life is speaking about what he things is one of the most interesting aspects of Second Life: the departure from the usual pain vs. participation graph. Even though making things in Second Life isn't easy, there's an unusually high participation rate. People who use spaces like Second Life tend to look at them as real space. These are garnering a lot of the attention that people spend. The economic scale of Second Life is impressive: over the last 30 days, 240,000 distinct items were bought an sold. The conventional wisdom is that user created content
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                          Multitouch Interaction (ETech 2006)

                          Jeff Han, from NYU's Computer Science department is giving a demo of something called Multitouch, a new computer interface. he has a rear projection graphing table with a multitouch sensor, something not normal on a touch screen. You can do chording, for example. He shows a fluid simulation (lava lamp) that responds to multiple touch. You can easily see how you can do things to the interface that you can't do with a single point of touch (like a mouse). He demos a photographers light box application. Picking up pictures, rotating them, etc. is exactly the same as doing
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                          Seth Goldstien: Attention Broker (ETech 2006)

                          Seth Goldstein is talking about Root Markets: Applications for the New Attention Economy. Root is an attention exchange. Is attention about money or time? Seth jokes that he's from New York and so he focuses on the money aspect of attention, leaving the time aspect to folks from San Francisco. Is attention a privacy challenge or publicity opportunity. Sharing your attention (ala last.fm, for example). The best guarantee for attention is living your life as open as possible, as public as possible. Receiving attention makes you influential. This can occur even when you're not there (even dead). Web services
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                          Dick Hardt on Identity 2.0 (ETech 2006)

                          Dick Hardt's company has a big sponsorship presence at ETech, the badge lanyards and even the room keys bear the SXIP badge. This morning he's doing the sequel to his Identity 2.0 talk, made famous by his style and humor. This morning's talks is titled "Who's the Dick on My Site?" How do I prove I am who I say I am? How do Web sites know the things I want them to know without them to know with minimal disclosure? The content was new, but the message was very much the same, but the presentation is more tutorial
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                          Bruce Sterling on the Internet of Things (ETech 2006)

                          The evening keynote (last night) was by Bruce Sterling on the Internet of Things. This was one of those talks that is impossible to blog. Even a word-for-word transcript wouldn't do it justice because Bruce's delivery is as much a part of the content as what he says. I'm sure it will be on IT Conversations soon and I encourage you to listen to it there. Bruce's message was about language and the power of naming. He said, that when it comes to remote technology, you don't want to freeze your language too early. It limits the ability of
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                          Ray Ozzie's Clipboard for the Web (ETech 2006)

                          Ray Ozzie is the first keynote of the first day. He's talking about building composite applications (what he's calling mashups) on the Web. The real power is bringing composite apps to the user level. A reference to shell commands and pipes in UNIX bring a good image to mind for anyone who's done that. GUIs bring big apps that user weave together using the clipboard to accomplish work. The Web has a lot of standalone apps. Where is the clipboard for the Web? Ray launches into a demo of "live clipboard." This simulates a button control inside the browser
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                          Opening Session (ETech 2006)

                          Tim O'Reilly is giving his traditional "O'Reilly Radar" talk. Alternately titles: Following the Alpha Geeks. What to pay attention to: Technology on track with long term trend Technology is disruptive Technology uptake is accelerating Technology is grassroots--bottom up It inspires passion It has deeper social implications Better information makes a difference in it's adoption and use There's also a pattern recognition component to this. The leading Linux applications turned out to be server-side Web applications like Google. Information business are using the Internet as a platform to deliver software as a service harnessing collective intelligence. The key competitive advantage
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                          Rails and Ajax for Page Application Development (ETech 2006 Tutorial)

                          I'm in David Heinemeier Hansson's tutorial on Beneath-the-Page Application Development with Rails. His Rails tutorial from last summer remains one of my most viewed blog entries. He starts out noting that AJAX is the most important innovation for the Web in years. But JavaScripting the DOM still sucks...a lot. JavaScripting the DOM is incompatible with how regular programmers think about programming. Part of the problem is the sorry state of browser. One line of change can lead to hours of regressions because of browser incompatibilities. Then there's the browser underworld (all the old, out of date browsers that are
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                          Introduction to JavaScript (ETech 2006 Tutorial)

                          This morning I'm in the A (Re-)Introduction to JavaScript tutorial taught be Simon Willison. Simon recommends Javascript: The Definative Guide by David Flanagan as one of the few Javascript references that's worthwhile. He hasn't found a good reference on the Web. Brendan Eich invented JavaScript in 1995. The ECMA standard went through only 3 revisions with the last one in 1998. Good news: the language is stable. Bad news: there's lots of codified warts. Javascript avoids I/O, so it's not quite a general purpose language: it has to be embedded in a host environment that supplies this. In the
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                          ETech Tutorials

                          I'm at ETech, just waiting for the the first tutorial to begin. I'm signed up for two today. This morning I'm going to A (Re-)Introduction to JavaScript taught be Simon Willison. This afternoon, I'm going to Beneath-the-Page Application Development with Rails with David Heinemeier Hansson. His Rails tutorial from last summer remains one of my most viewed blog entries. I'll post notes, so follow along.
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                          User-Centric Identity with Liberty

                          Flash demo of Liberty specifications being used in user-centric ID scenario(click to enlarge) Hubert A. Le Van Gong of Sun has a flash demo showing how a user-centric identity system can be built now using existing specifications from the Liberty Alliance. The demo shows some clear, user-centric behavior. You could nit pick about the applet and whether that's the best client, and so on, but that's not the point. The point is that user-centricity doesn't have to be "anti-Liberty" as some suppose. Liberty can be used in a number of ways. The real battle is educating companies in user-centric ideas
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                          SOA Governance Panel

                          I'll be moderating a panel on SOA governance at InfoWorld's SOA Executive Forum March 16 in San Francisco. This will be a follow-on to the feature I did on SOA governance that ran in January. The panelists will be: Todd Biske of AG Edwards. Todd blogs actively about SOA. He had a recent piece about governance with an analogy to voting that I enjoyed. Ed Vazquez of Sprint-Nextel. Ed's the Group Manager of the Web Service Integrations & SOA. David Harrington of MedicAlert? Foundation. David's the CTO at MedicAlert. Mystery Panelist. We're still waiting for confirmation on this guest.
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                          ETech Next Week

                          I'm going to be at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego next week from Monday morning through Thursday afternoon. Look me up.
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                          Getting Real

                          Last year at ETech (see you next week, BTW), I wrote about Jason Fried's talk on lessons learned building Basecamp, the online project management system from 37Signals. The talk was interesting and full of wisdom on how to build Web applications. now the folks at 37Signals have come out with suggestions in bookform, called Getting Real. The book is only available as a PDF. There are some sample chapters online, including one called Meetings Are Toxic (PDF). I've got a copy; there's some good stuff there.
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                          If Microsoft Sold the iPod...

                          This parody of what the iPod packaging would look like if Microsoft sold it is simply too good not to share. Update: The original link apparently isn't working anymore. Here's another, but if that doesn't work for some reason, just go to YouTube and search for ipod repackaging. There's several copies there.
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