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                          Archive for Jun 2006


                          The Conversation Keeps Evolving

                          Doug Kaye's announced a new, hybrid business model (PDF) for the Conversations Network. Doug's vision has been that the Conversations Network would be non-profit, but that has proven to place limitations on the network that limit its ability to scale, build tools, and grow channels like IT Conversations. As a result, Doug is moving to a hybrid business model. The Conversations Network will continue as a non-profit. It will own audio and preserve it, have a license to the tools that make it work, and serve as a home for many new channels. Doug and Michael Geoghehan have formed
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                          Abandoning SCode CAPTCHAs

                          The CAPTCHA experiment was a failure. I didn't get any blog spam, but I heard from a few people who tried to post comments and failed (other's succeeded). In the end, I didn't feel like debugging it, or worse driving people away, so I determined to abandon it. Still, I need a way to combat comment spam, so I went to a simpler, text-based CAPTCHA. This isn't as flexible as I'd like, but it's likely to do the trick. The main problem with it is having to edit code. When I update MT, I'll have to reinstall it. Of
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                          Crying Out for a RESTful Service Interface Description Language

                          Dave Rosenberg is frustrated with Web 2.0 apps that don't play well together: If you haven't seen any of the 37 Signals stuff, it's great. Easy to use, well-designed etc. But even they don't offer a completely integrated suite of all of their own apps. I need Basecamp integrated with MyYahoo and Salesforce.com to really be productive. I want all my stuff on one page at one URL, in sync across multiple computers and visible on my handheld. This was the promise of portals but it remains unfulfilled. ... To me the big opportunity of Web 2.0 development is
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                          Will Vonage Die?

                          This analysis from Art Reisman says that Vonage is going to die. Art's claim is that once the incumbent players decide that VoIP is a real challenge there's nothing to keep them from offering the service more efficiently at the same price-points. I don't disagree with this view to a degree. I've looked at VoIP as a business in some depth on some prior business deals I was considering and there's nothing about what Vonage is doing from a technology or business standpoint that offers significant competitive advantage. What's more, this is a business where margins are thin and
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                          Using Web Analytics Tools

                          Paul Allen says that this article on using Web analytics well is one of the best he's seen. I use analytics everyday on my own blog to see what keywords people are using to find things I've written, which stories are capturing people's attention, and where readers are coming from.
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                          Identity Commons Sessions

                          Eugene Kim has posted a summary of Identity Commons sessions from last week's Berkman Identity Mashup. He says: There are a number of grassroots community projects that involve multiple stakeholders and that are happening independently of any centralized direction. These decentralized efforts could all benefit from some shared infrastructure, which could be as simple as a shared, neutral brand (i.e. "IdentityCommons") or as complicated as a set of rules that help ensure fair participation and governance among multiple parties. Our strategy is to build an organization organically that addresses the needs of these different community projects. From eekim.com: EEK
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                          Blog CAPTCHA

                          The last week or so I've been getting slammed by "Nice site" blog comment spam that just wants a link to some dubious Web site. I'd turned on "approval for everyone" but that just means that it doesn't show up on the site--I still have to delete it and it got to be a pain. In an effort to fight spam while keeping my site as open to feedback as possible, I've added a CAPTCHA to the comment page. The package I'm using is SCode (Movable Type). It's not too sophisticated, but it works and I imagine it will
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                          Prepare to Be Aggregated People!

                          Marc Cantor introduced the alpha of his PeopleAggregator. I spent a little time on it and built a profile, etc. The interesting part from an identity perspective is built-in support for SXIP 2.0, OpenID 1.0, and Flickr ID in the system, in addition to the native authentication service. As Marc said in a note to me: We'll be introducing the notion of using any or either or these ID systems within our system, so they'll be a lot of 'explaining' to do. But instead of hiding all that away (as I've been told I should) we're going to proudly
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                          ClaimID Launches

                          ClaimID has launched. ClaimID is a service that allows you to aggregate and contextualize URLs that are about you. So, if you've got a common name or there's material about you that's hard to find, you can make sure it's findable. If you've got a blog and are good about linking to things about yourself, it probably won't offer much benefit, but for people who don't blog, this could be a valuable service. There's a link to reputation here.
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                          Identity 2.0 Talk

                          My presentation on Identity 2.0 (PDF) went well this morning. I was first up (8:45), so the crowd was a little smaller than I'd have hoped for, but I got some good questions and lots of interesting discussion afterwards. Rod Boothby spent some time going over his talk from yesterday with me since there was some good agreement on key points.
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                          Freelance Courier

                          I'm not sure what to make of this: a freelance courier match-up service. There are so many problems on so many levels. First, things on the site don't work (try clicking the FAQ), but more importantly, reading the list of suggestions (warning it's a MS Word document) made me queasy. Am I just too much of a geek to think carrying packages on airplane for other people, having to meet them, develop some bond of trust, exchange driver's license data, and so on is too creepy to even contemplate? Maybe a "people person" would think this sounds fun. Do
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                          Yahoo! Local Adopts Microformats

                          Dan Farber has some great coverage of Supernova at Between the Lines. We'll have talks from Supernova at IT Conversations later--I'm looking forward to it. This post on microformats talk about Yahoo! Local announcing that they are supporting microformats to give structure to their listings. Very good.
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                          Getting People to Use Collaborative Tools

                          The Web 2.0 session was postponed until tomorrow, so I went to a session called "Collaborative Workspaces: Making the Transition." The panel was moderated by Jessica Lipnack, CEO & Co-founder, NetAge Inc. Other panel members were Tor Eneroth, Culture Manager, Volvo IT; Mike Wing, VP, Strategic Communications, IBM; and David Wires, Partner, Wires Jolley LLP. Tor Enerath led out talking about helping people change. He described the problem as being a disconnect between people's objective and subjective thinking. We spend 80% of our time focused on the objective side, but 80% of our problems are subjective. Before you see
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                          More Less Is More

                          If you think Jason Fried was just some geek who doesn't know what he's talking about when he says Less is More, be sure to listen to Moira Gunn's interview with Cheskin CEO Darrel Rhea where he specifically talks about how compulsively adding features to products doesn't lead to customer satisfaction. You may not be able to please everyone--get over it.
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                          Collaboration Technologies and Timezones

                          I've switched venues to the Collaborative Technologies Conference, also in Boston this week. I'll be giving a talk in Identity 2.0 tomorrow morning at 8:45. The conference is at the Seaport, a very nice hotel near the Boston World Trade Center. I was able to take the T from MIT, where we were this morning, right to the WTC for $1.25. What a bargain. The silver line, is this weird underground bus thingie; first time I've ever seen that. CTC is about collaboration and the tracks look quite interesting. I'm hoping to take in a session on the Web
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                          Unifying Internet Identity Systems

                          I put a post about today's OSIS announcement, a project to unify addressable identifier systems (LID, OpenID, XRI) and token based identifier systems (Higgins, CardSpace, SXIP), at Between the Lines. This is a historic development.
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                          Principles of Reputation

                          Building the open space agenda for day three(click to enlarge) Today was an open space day. The more I participate in open space, the more I'm convinced that it's the right way to do workshops. I wish we'd had two days of open space because the agenda for today was so packed with things I wanted to hear about. The first session I attended was labeled "The Laws of Reputation." I also wanted to go to Marty Schleiff's meeting on XRI, but I felt like I had to do the reputation thing. I don't know that we got to "laws"
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                          IT Conversations is the Site of the Week

                          06212006(click to enlarge) David Fuhrer was kind enough to forward a report (with pictures) from Bangkok Thailand that IT Conversations was the "Site of the Week" in the Bangkok Post. That was a surprise from an unexpected quarter. David was kind enough to send along a picture of the page as well. Here's a shoutout to listeners in Thailand!
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                          ID Mashup Photos

                          John Clippinger(click to enlarge) I've got photos from the Berkman ID Mashup on my gallery. There are also photos at Flickr, including this prize from David Berlind. At some point, I may need to start using Flickr instead of my own system. I really with that Flickr could see and use my photos in a decentralized manner so I didn't have to choose.
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                          Towards and Open Identity Layer

                          The first afternoon session was on Towards and Open Identity Layer and Trusted Exchange: What Might it Look Like? The panelists were Paul Trevithick, Parity Communications; Dale Olds, Novell; Tony Nadalin, IBM; Kim Cameron, Microsoft; and Marc Rotenberg, EPIC. John Clippinger, Berkman Center was the moderator. One of the topics that was discussed was security. Kim Cameron made the point that CardSpace doesn't build all the walls that might need to be built, but it changes the paradigm so that the walls can be built. Marc Rotenberg brought up the issue of electronic voting systems. He says that there
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                          Long Tail Markets, Social Commerce and Open Business Models

                          I'm attending the session on Longtail Markets, Social Commerce, and Open Business Models. The panelists are Philip Evans, Boston Consulting Group (moderator) Greg Steltenphol, adina, Glenn Fogel, Priceline.com, Mark Greene, IBM, Karim Lakhani, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Jean-Francois St. Arnaud, My Virtual Model, Inc. The discussion quickly moved to whether users will be interested in open identity or not. Glenn Fogel says that his customers just want to get tickets and reservations and move on. Priceline has 17 million customers. They've collected data on these, but most of them didn't volunteer it by filling in preference forms.
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                          What Signals Are You Sending Out?

                          David Berlind's write-up of Judith Donath's presentation yesterday at the ID Mashup on signaling is well worth reading. Signalling is important for reputation. We don't have the infrastructure, at present, to easily pick up on signals and use them. Should I trust some one with an "edu" TLD in their email address more than a Hotmail account? Probably. Universities, as a rule, vet the people they give email addresses to. Hotmail, obviously, doesn't. Part of the problem is that the signals that are there aren't easy to see. For example, why doesn't my email client (Mail.app) show the URL
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                          Interoperability, Open Identity and Identity Brokers

                          These are some notes from my session. I didn't capture it all and may have mischaracterized things. I didn't try to record who said what. If I've missed something or misstated something, feel free to leave a comment. There's a problem with interop, namely the huge anthropological problem around identity that wasn't there with internetworking. There are too many deep, philosophical discussions that can happen when you start talking about identity. We need language and social interop--conceptual interop--to get technical interop. Identity brokers provide the role of interchange between protocols. Common user experience is important in identity because people
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                          Reputation and Wi-Fi

                          I'm sitting in the Ames Courtroom at Harvard Law School right now waiting for day two of the Berkman identity Mashup to begin. I missed yesterday because I wasn't willing to fly out on Father's Day. My panel in identity brokers will be at 9am. As I got here and opened up my laptop, I signed into the Harvard wi-fi network. They allow temporary guest logins; you have to provide an email and telephone number. I don't know what keeps people from just giving them dummy data. Probably nothing. I was thinking, however, that you could use a reputation
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                          MeshForum Presents Manual Lima

                          This week IT Conversations published the first show from the MeshForum conference held in May. The show was Manuel Lima of VisualComplexity.com speaking on Mapping Complex Networks. In this keynote address Lima identifies key characteristics of a good network map and highlights some of his favorite projects. The whole line-up of shows from MeshForum looks outstanding and I look forward to listening to them.
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                          Identity Brokers and Business Models

                          Next week, I'm moderating a discussion at the Berkman Identity Mashup in Boston. Our panel is at 9am on Tuesday if you're coming. The title of the panel is "Interoperability, Open Identity, and Identity Brokers." Here's the description: Very likely there will be a new industry of identity brokers, identity providers, and relying parties using those digital identities. Will it become subject to power laws and vendor concentration? What forces will play a role in shaping this new industry? The Higgins open source software framework is one emerging implementation for identity systems that allows for interoperability and integration, utilizing
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                          Yelling at Moira

                          Dr. Moira Gunn is the host of TechNation, a popular show on public radio and one of IT Conversation's most popular series. This morning I was yelling at her in my car. Of course, she wasn't there and didn't hear my rant. I was yelling because her interview with Dr. Katrina Firlik had just ended and way too soon from my perspective. Dr. Firlik is a neurosurgeon and author of the book Another Day in the Frontal Lobe : A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside. The interview was great and the stories fascinating. I could have listened
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                          Parallels and Virtualization

                          I just posted a review of my experiences with Parallels on Between the Lines. Parallels is the virtualization technology that runs on OS X. It's been in beta, but today it's available as a final release.
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                          You Don't Need Your Government Today

                          Speaking of Utah.gov, it's offline and returning a 503 (Service Temporarily Unavailable) error. Anyone know what's up? In the meantime, you don't need your government today--go away and come back tomorrow. And as long as we're talking about eGovernment, Google launched a specialized search engine for US Government information. The page can be personalized, if you log in. The personalization includes feeds from various government and non-government news sources as well as the ability to add random RSS feeds.
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                          Testing as an SOA Management Strategy

                          "Testing isn't an event" says John Michelsen, the Chief Architect and a co-founder of iTKO, Inc. I was the moderator on an InfoWorld Webcast this afternoon where John presented. SOA brings new challenges to testing. Testing individual services is similar to code-level testing in any other development effort, but testing integration points, especially when there are dozens of hundreds of them is more difficult. One issue is that business analysts and QA folks need to be involved in the testing process. To make that more difficult, SOA testing is something that needs to happen continuously. If the business side,
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                          No Hablo Espanol

                          Earlier this month Utah launched, with little fanfare, www.espanol.utah.gov, a Spanish-language companion to the state's Web site at www.utah.gov. The site contained 10 pages of information about taxes, health care, and so on in Spanish. A few days ago they took it down in the face of complaints that it violates Utah's "English as the official language" law. I think I'm going to be sick. Don't get me wrong. I think that we'll all be better off if immigrants are assimilated into mainstream culture, including language, rather than forming a separate sub-culture. But I'm also a realist and realize
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                          CIO Blogging

                          Last week, Michael Fitzgerald published a column in CIO Magazine giving CIOs advice on blogging. We had talked a long time ago--I'd forgotten--and he mentions my blog and experience getting started when I was Utah's CIO. He makes some great points that someone new to blogging, especially someone steeped in the usual rules of business communication, needs to know. Write in first person Refer to other Websites by linking to them Use links as a form of shorthand to avoid stopping to explain things that can be found in the link Blogs are just a tool for communication--don't overthink
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                          Blogger Conference Report

                          Phil Burn's sets up the banner(click to enlarge) The Utah Blogger Conference started out a lot like a blog: informal, slow, and a little disorganized, but once it got going, there was a lot of energy. I noticed a lot of informal conversations happening as the conference organizers were setting up and those are likely to prove as useful as anything else. The conference was organized by Phil Burns and Ryan Money with a lot of help fro their friends. There are about 160-180 people here, so the turnout is great. The main event was a panel with Cydni Tetro,
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                          Practical Common Lisp

                          I just published an interview with Peter Seibel at IT Conversations. I did this interview as part of my Technometria podcast. I saw Peter's book, Practical Common Lisp, in the bookstore a while back and picked it up. Now, I'm a Lisp fan, so he didn't have to sell me on the language. Even so, as someone who sees a lot of programming language books, I was impressed with this one and read it cover to cover. Peter and I talk about his background, how he came to Lisp, some of Lisp's most powerful features (like macros, CLOS, and
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                          Novell's Bandit

                          Novell announced the Bandit project yesterday. Bandit open-sources key identity management technologies and creates projects for extending them. From the press release: The Bandit project is focused on delivering a single, consistent experience of digital identity and includes several common identity services such as authentication, roles, policy and compliance: The Common Authentication Services Adapter (CASA) provides interoperable authentication that enables application and enterprise single sign-on with a secure vault for user and system credentials. The Common Identity service is an implementation of the Higgins framework for representing digital identity. The Role Engine service can be integrated into any application
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                          Utah Blogger Conference

                          The Utah Blogger Conference is tonight at 6:30pm at the Larry H. Miller Innovation Center in Sandy. The conference is free and there's no need to pre-register. Just show up. I'll be there speaking on a panel. See you there.
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                          Hill AFB Air Show 2006

                          Oracle stunt plane getting ready for the show (click to enlarge) Saturday I took my two youngest boys to the air show at Hill Air Force Base. The weather was perfect--about 75 degrees and sunny. The planes were very fun to see, both up close and in the air. There were some stunt planes, including the Oracle stunt team and close formation flying. The highlight of the show, of course, was the Thunderbirds. While the stunt flyers do stunts and the others do formations, the Thunderbirds do stunts in formation. That's cool. I took over 100 shots, and uploaded a
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                          SOA Testing Webcast

                          I'm moderating a webcast for InfoWorld on Wed. The topic is testing in an SOA environment. iTKO is the sponsor and, hence, the presenter. I'm looking forward to it--SOA testing isn't a topic that get's much play, but's its important. The Webcast is free, so if you've got time in Wed (Jun 14) at 11AMPST, tune in. An interesting sidenote: while we were doing the dress rehersal, I dsicovered that the ON24 control console doesn't support anything but IE. Argh! (This isn't true, of the audience app--it works fine cross platform.) But I just updated to my new MacBook
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                          What I Expect from Online Retailers

                          Last week, I wrote about the joys of being on the bleeding edge with the new MacBook Pro. The disk issue is giving me fits. The problem is that in anticipation of putting a 160Mb disk in the machine (before I realized that fast 160Gb SATA drives are impossible to find), the machine was ordered with a 100Gb drive in the interest of being economical. I can't work in 100Gb--at least I'd rather not. My laptop is my only machine and I want everything on it. So, at the moment, that requires a 120Gb drive at the minimum. No
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                          IEEE Spectrum Radio

                          IEEE Spectrum has a podcast that is produced from material in the magazine. The latest show, for example, is about the Spectrum article on UTOPIA, that I commented on last week. I don't like the flash player since it makes it hard to link directly to the specific show I'm interested in, but the content is pretty good and professionally produced. This would be a great addition to IT Conversations.
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                          Social Innovations Conversations Launch

                          The Conversations Network launched a new channel this week: Social Innovations Conversations. Doug has been working hard to redo the IT Conversations code to support multiple channels. This is the first channel to launch under the new system. Peter Durand, who is the series editor for the GlobeShakers series on the the new channel, has a post on the launch. His article talks about some of the shows that have appeared on the new channel. If you subscribe to the IT Conversations RSS feed, you got a sneak peak of some of these shows on your iPod due to
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                          v|100 Luncheon

                          I went to the VSpring Capital v|100 luncheon today. VSpring does a great job with this program and the luncheon is one of my favorite networking events of the year. I see all kinds of people there that I need to catch up with. Dennis Wood, who makes it happen, and the VSpring partners deserve kudos for a job well done. Ellen Levy was the speaker today and she gave an awesome talk. She's the Director of Industry Collaboration & Research for Stanford University's Media X and has a broad background in high-tech and venture funding. She talked about
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                          Evolving Software

                          Jon Udell's latest column at InfoWorld is a scary story that's all too common: fork-lift upgrades of Web-based software that leaves users worse-off than before. I've been consulting with a company that's developing a Web-based product for the last five or six months. The back-end is, realistically, quite complex and involves a fair amount of ontological work. I've suggested a release strategy that gets a timely and useful piece of the product out soon and then adds functionality little-by-little, every week or so, over the coming months. You'd be surprise by the amount of resistance that sort of idea
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                          RedHat's JBoss Acquisition is a Done Deal

                          Marc Fleury sent out a note to the JBoss newsletter mailing list today announcing that the RedHat acquisition of JBoss, announced in April, has closed. From my own experience in being acquired, this is the point where the dreaming stops and the work starts. The period in between the deal and when it closes is kind of like being engaged. There are lots of things you'd like to do and plans you're making, but until the ceremony, it difficult to move forward with many of them. Once the deal closes, however, everything can move forward. I've been a JBoss
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                          Less is More

                          Jason Fried is the CEO of 37 Signals, a company that's garnered attention for delivering great Web-based tools like Basecamp and Writeboard. I've used these in my lab at BYU to great effect. At IT Conversations, however, we found that they just weren't right for the project management tasks we had. Obviously, these tools aren't right for everyone and that's the story. In one of the IT Conversation shows I really liked last week, Jason delivers a short (12 min) talk from Web 2.0 called "Less is More." In the talk, Jason talks about how to win by "under-doing"
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                          Spectrum Talks Up UTOPIA

                          An IEEE Spectrum article discusses Utah's muni-broadband project, UTOPIA. There's a map of UTOPIA cities, but the legend seems to be missing. There's also a page of photos. The piece also contrasts the UTOPIA architecture with Verizon's FiOS service. The peaceful coexistence of multiple service providers is another thing that distinguishes Utopia. Because Utopia sends TV programming as Internet packets, indistinguishable from e-mail, Web pages, and everything else, it puts a huge reservoir of bandwidth at the disposal of its providers. By contrast, Verizon's FiOS, a sort of DSL on steroids, reserves most of an optical fiber's capacity for
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                          Mike Leavitt, Technology Champion

                          Mike Leavitt(click to enlarge) Mike Leavitt, my old boss, has been named NASCIO's National Technology Champion. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) named Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as the association's 2006 National Technology Champion Award recipient in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of information technology (IT) public policy and practice. "Secretary Leavitt's passion for enabling the use of technology has advanced citizen service, information sharing and good government," said Wisconsin CIO and NASCIO President Matthew Miszewski. "We applaud his dedication to implementing widespread deployment of health
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