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                          Archive for Sept 2008


                          Did Pelosi Screw Up or Is She Crazy Like a Fox?

                          Legislatures don't run like electing a student body president. Leadership counts votes and generally knows what's going to happen before the bill comes up for a vote. So, what happened with the failure of the Bail Out Bill is a really a failure of House leadership. I see three possible scenarios: Pelosi didn't know if she had the votes and gambled that the pressure of a vote would push people into a "yes" decision. Pelosi thought she had the votes, but got snowballed. If that's true there's going to be some payback from her. Pelosi knew it would lose
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                          Geolocation and eCommerce

                          This Wall Street Journal article talks about how geolocation data can aid online commerce. I find it interesting because Kynetx takes this data and layers other services on top of it and then makes the whole thing incredibly easy to integrate with any Web site. This story about ACE Hardware is exactly what Kynetx does today: Consider Ace Hardware, a cooperative of more than 4,600 dealer-owned hardware stores that overhauled its Web site in February 2007. Using geolocation software from Digital Element, a unit of Norcross, Va.-based Digital Envoy Inc., Ace now gives Web-site visitors a list of stores
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                          Yammering Away About Work

                          A few weeks ago Yammer walked away with top honors at TechCrunch 50. I'd been hearing about it, so last week I went over and signed up. I'm really liking it. Yammer is Twitter for work. The first person to sign up using an email from a particular domain establishes a sandbox for yammers from people in that domain. Since I signed up using my kynetx.com email, Yammer automatically created a domain for Kynetx and made me an administrator. Very low friction. I sent out invites and soon had the whole Kynetx gang yammering away about work. Only people
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                          Hack the Debate

                          How many times have you been watching a political debate on TV and wanted to get your two cents in? With the rise or things like Twitter, of course, you can at least tell your friends what you're thinking. But for the September 26th debate, you'll be able to have your comments on screen with the debate itself. Current TV and Twitter have teamed up to sponsor something called "Hack the Debate." Just tune into the debate on Current TV (channel 366 on DirecTV, 196 on Dish, 107 on Comcast, and 87 on MStar) and tweet away. Be sure
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                          CTO Breakfast on Friday

                          We will be holding the CTO breakfast this Friday at 8am in the Novell Cafeteria (Building G). You don't have to be a CTO to come, just interested in technology and building high-tech products. The format is open discussion, so bring your ideas for topics to discuss and throw them out. Please mark the following dates for future CTO breakfasts. Sept 26 (Friday) Oct 30 (Thursday) Dec 5 (Friday) - Combined Nov and Dec breakfast Jan 30, 2009 (Friday) I've created a Google Calendar with dates for the CTO breakfast that you can subscribe to if you'd rather do
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                          Russia Gets a Spanking

                          One of the great things about the global economy is that markets serve as great limiters on regimes that don't play by the rules. No where is this more clear than Russia as this piece from the WSJ makes clear.
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                          Getting Ready for IIW2008B (Nov 10-12)

                          We'll be holding the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) again on November 10-12 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View CA. The Internet Identity Workshop focuses on what has been called user-centric identity; basically asking the question how can people manage their own identity across the range of websites, services, companies and organizations that they belong to, purchase from and participate with. IIW is a working meeting for a range of groups focused on the technical, social and legal issues arising with the emergence identity, relationship and social layer of the web. Providing identity services between people, websites, and
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                          Lovin' Genius

                          The latest version of iTunes has something called Genius which automatically creates playlists from a single song. When I downloaded the new version, I turned off the genius sidebar and figured it was something I'd just ignore. I was turned off by the need to genius to upload information about my songs to Apple and the idea that it has such strong tie-ins to iTMS. But yesterday Steve Fulling was raving about it, so I decided to give it a try. In less than 12 hours, I'm a convert. I still hide the sidebar because that's where all the
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                          Larry Lessig on Changing Congress

                          This past week, I published Larry Lessig's talk from ETech on Changing Congress. This is a very good talk on what's wrong with Congress and how it can be changed. The talk is not partisan--it's about the ways that the system, more so than the politicians, is corrupt and needs reform. I highly recommend it. After you listened (or before), head over to Change Congress and fill out this petition on earmarks. Update: To see earmarks more clearly, check out the earmark visualization tool from the Sunlight Foundation.
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                          Top Ten IT Conversations Shows for August 2008

                          Here's the top ten shows on IT Conversations for last month. I'm a little late because I had to modify the program that produces these slightly due to some backend changes that Doug made. All's good again! Dick Hardt - Sxipper (Rating: 4.00)Sxipper is a free Firefox add-on that saves you time by keeping track of an unlimited number of usernames and passwords as well as the personal data you share every day over the web. Dick Hardt, founder of Sxip, joins Phil, Scott, and Ben, to discuss the product, as well as the entire issue of privacy and
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                          Doc Searls on Relationships (DIDW)

                          Doc Searls has taken the stage for todays keynote. He started with a brief review of the history of DIDW and the identity space and how we got where we're at leading up to a discussion of VRM. VRM is all about relationships between people and the entities they want to interact with. One thing he said that stuck with me is that big companies should embrace the networked individual and small companies should enable them. Free customers are more valuable than captive one. Businesses still thing that the opposite is true. That's what we think the free market
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                          Taking DNS Security for Granted

                          One of the hallway conversations I had yesterday was about how DNS is just hanging on by a thread from a security standpoint. The basic idea is that if I can control name resolution for you, I can phish you all day and you'll never know. Systems like OpenID are wholly dependent on the integrity of the DNS system. One method an attacker can use to insert themselves in the DNS resolution process is a Wi-Fi hub. Whether it's a free hub acting as bait, or one someone has broken into, Wi-Fi hubs are a perfect place to subvert
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                          Jamie Lewis on the Importance of Relationships (DIDW 08)

                          Jamie Lewis at DIDW08(click to enlarge) Jamie Lewis gave the opening keynote this morning on the state of digital identity. The first part was pretty straightforward review of where we've been and where we are. Then Jamie started riffing on the relationship idea that Burton has been talking about lately. Digital identity exists to enable human experiences online. In human experience, trust (I'd say reputation) is critical. He references Alan Greenspan's book The Age of Turbulance where Greenspan talks about the global economy being based on trust. With current technology we don't enable trust in the way humans use
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                          The Power of Citizen Media

                          Sorry for the back-to-back political posts. I try to keep politics to a minimum on this blog, but as the election heats up I find myself with more and more to say on the matter. Over the weekend, a blogger asked Palin a hard question and got an evasive answer. The result was a widely circulated blog post detailing how Palin and McCain refused to answer the questions put to them. Recently a blogger in Utah had a run in with Utah Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble and posted the encounter on her blog. I think she was surprised
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                          Why the Democrats Keep Losing Elections

                          The thinking typified in this post is why Democrats keep losing elections. They can't accept the facts, so they make up reasons like dirty tricks, or cheating, the complicit media, or (GASP!) a vast right-wing conspiracy. The real reason, however, is fairly simple. In the last 40 years, Democrats have won when the fielded a centrist candidate and lost when they fielded a liberal candidate. This year, they've got another liberal candidate (although one with lots more appeal than Kerry, for example) and they're behind. So they start making excuses earlier than ever. That may make them feel better
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                          Parsing with Perl

                          The system we're building at Kynetx includes a domain specific language that uses rules to create JavaScript programs that get sent down to the browser. I've documented our decision to use a domain specific langauge and our choice of Perl in other posts. When I started this project, I was reading Mark Dominus' book Higher Order Perl and started using his HOP parser to play around with. One thing led to another an before you know it I had a full blown language parser in HOP without giving much thought as to whether or not I'd made the right
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                          Follow IT Conversations on Twitter

                          Doug has put code in place to post new IT Conversations podcasts on Twitter. You can follow the IT Conversations twitter account and see new podcasts as they're published (about one per day).
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                          Tell IT Conversations What You Listen To

                          Doug has put together a Podtrac survey to help us understand what IT Conversations listeners listen to and who you are. We're really appreciate it if you could take a minute and fill it out. You may find some of the demographic questions a little intrusive, but remember it's anonymous and that information is extremely helpful to us when we try to find underwriters for shows. It will take you 5-10 minutes, but it's very helpful to us, so I hope you'll give us a little of your time.
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                          WARP your WAN for Performance and Reliability

                          My review of Fatpipe WARP has appeared in InfoWorld. I've had a Comcast cable Internet connection for years. Last year I got a shiny new fiber connection from Mstar. But rather than uninstall the cable connection, I asked FatPipe Networks if they'd be willing to let me perform an extended test of the company's flagship route clustering product, WARP. WARP is a 4U, rack-mountable network appliance that allows up to three WAN connections to be aggregated without the need for complicated BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) routing configurations. The unit provides traffic load balancing over these connections, allowing both inbound
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