Unstealthing Radar

18 October 2007

day-job events social web-30

Radar Networks, my former employer, is finally going public with what they're up to. To be honest, at this point even I have no clue what they're launching. I've been gone for a while, and they seem to have been massively busy and hiring the past 9 months. I'll be watching intently, to see what they've done.

At the Web2.0 Summit on October 19th, Radar Networks will announce a revolutionary new service that uses the power of the emerging Semantic Web to enable a smarter way of sharing, organizing and finding information. Founder and CEO Nova Spivack will also give the first public preview of Radar’s application, which is one of the first examples of “Web 3.0” – the next-generation of the Web, in which the Web begins to function more like a database, and software grows more intelligent and helpful.

Update #1:

Read/Write Web has done up their review of Twine, Radar's product. So did VentureBeat.

Update #2:

More reviews from...

Smasheville

24 June 2007

culture music social technology

To be honest, I'm not that much of a Smashing Pumpkins fan, but I think it's cool that they're breaking out of the normal box, and doing a rather odd tour this year. They've picked 2 cities to have a "residency" at. One of them is my town, Asheville, North Carolina.

9 shows between 23-June and 5-July at The Orange Peel.

They aren't just rolling into town, playing a show, and retreating to the next stop under the cover of darkness.

It's a freakin' 13 day event.

Of course, events mean people. And people mean social networks. I guess.

Nonetheless, once again Ning pops up as the implementation behind Smasheville.com. Go Ning go!

Identity and OpenID

30 May 2007

identity social technology web-20

Picture 15.pngIn a thread on TheServerSide, commentors are discussing how much trust you can put into an OpenID identity. Even the OpenID literature speaks of a server that returns true to all queries. The argument seems to be that since you don't control the OpenID server, you can't trust the identity returned, making it useless.

In the grand scheme of things, does your average app ever truly identify the user? About the best we do is identify an email address that can be used to reach the user today. There is virtually no positive identification going on. On the internet, your identity is simple who you claim to be.

Unless you're a bank or someone with an out-of-band real-world tie to your customer, really, what are your use-cases for "identity?"

For things I've worked with, they seem to be primarily the following

  1. Keeping "my" stuff separate from "your" stuff. Identity isn't overly important here. Knowing who "you" are isn't as important as knowing that "you" simply are different than "me" and "you" should keep the heck away from my things.
  2. Being able to contact users who don't necessarily visit the site or use the app often. This normally means a verified email address. Once again, identity isn't as important as simply being able to contact the owner of some bundle of stuff, whoever he may be.

From my point of view, OpenID satisfies the first case easily enough, assuming the OpenID server is implemented honestly. And if it isn't, then that's ultimately the user's problem for selecting a crappy identity provider.

OpenID does have a conduit for delivering a user's email address, using the Simple Registration extension. I would not trust that address, so OpenID does not solve my 2nd use-case. But then again, neither does simply collecting an email address at sign-up on my own site. People change jobs, ISPs, universities and spouses. An email address isn't a permanent definite thing. Even if I collect email addresses, I need to periodically verify they are still valid, and have a strategy for dealing with those that aren't. If out-of-band communication is even honestly necessary.

Taking this view of email addresses, it would appear they make poor identities for users, since they could so easily be stripped of it. I like the LinkedIn method of managing user accounts and email addresses, though. I can associate multiple email addresses for my account. And I can login with any of them. I can remove them. My account does not have to be tied to a single non-changing email address.

Given all of this, I think OpenID helps with use-case #1, and no centralized standard will help with use-case #2.

Trip Report: JavaOne 2007

15 May 2007

community day-job events java jboss jbossorg social

I got back from my first ever JavaOne, and I'd have to say it was a success.

First the obligatory "look how cool I am" section...

Name dropping

Misc

Drank too much with Hani of the BileBlog. Congratulated Cameron John Purdy at the Tangosol party. Finally met Phil Dodds and Brett Porter, from DevZuz. Dan Diephouse and Paul R. Brown ("Yes, we're the XFire guys") had candy at their booth. Jason Hunter handed me an invite to the Google party, where I finally met Crazy Bob Lee (one of the damn nicest people ever). There I chatted with Ola Bini who is a man who makes me feel short. Re-met Jon Tirsen after a 3-year hiatus (the first hausparty in Amsterdam). Paul Hammant expounded on Mingle and other things over bowls of curry. Chatted with Matt Quail and Pete Moore of Cenqua a bit while absconding with Google t-shirts. Chatted with Matthew Porter of Contegix, the hosting providers of the Codehaus. Stood around (in my JBoss shirt) in front of the IBM booth chatting with Lauren Cooney. Met Guillaume LaForge and Graeme Rocher finally. Put some faces with the Exadel guys I'd worked with during the opensourcing of their products. Greg Wilkins reminded me the Codehaus SSL cert was expired (fixed now). Geert Bevin was as enthusiastic as ever at the TerraCotta booth. Ran into Jeremy Boynes in the lobby of the W on my way out of town. Jason van Zyl wandered the streets of San Francisco with me in search of a 7-11 and an ATM. Alex Vasseur dropped by the JBoss party to discuss event stream processing. James Strachan and Rob Davis were everywhere, of course.

JBoss

Did some podcast recording with Tom Baeyens, Emmanuel Bernard, Bill Burke and Gavin King. Chatted with Thomas Diesler, Michael Yuan, Matt Quinlan, and Sacha Labourey. Enjoyed dinner with James Cobb, Mark Newton and Bela Ban. Damon Sicore, my predecessor, dropped by the JBoss party. Met innumerable coworkers whos names all fail me during my stints in or near the JBoss booth.

The fabulous Cindy Scheneck, Rebecca Goldstein and Chantal Yang arranged the booth, the party, the printing of the t-shirts and everything else that made it all awesome. Mad props to that trio, Burr Sutter, and the gaggle of sales-engineers who did an awesome job with the attendees.

Observations

With the large investment announced by Interface21, a lot of side-line analysis of business models was happening. Exactly where is the sweet spot of professional opensource? Is it training? Certifying a stack that you control? Supporting a stack that you don't? Purely professional services?

At the booth, technical demos seemed well received. A large screen and a good sound-system were definitely a wise investment. Every demo drew a large crowd around the booth. A lucky few got to see Gavin debug a demo live on stage. Seam is definitely hot this year.

Luckier still are those who "received" a "free" copy of Michael Yuan's book about Seam. Did I mention Seam is apparently hot?

We all need to realize that parties can occur on nights other than Wednesday. Luckily the JBoss->Eclipse->Google triathlon worked out, but many parties were concurrently scheduled.

I heard a lot of positive feedback from people I met about liking what we're doing at JBoss.org. They like the new look and layout. When it's common for people to throw around criticism and negativity, it's really nice to hear kind words. Sure, we've still got a long way to go, I'll readily admit, but I think we're doing a-okay.

In general, conferences like these are somewhat educational, definition inspirational, and help cement human-to-human relationships. While we all might be competitors, we're not enemies. In the world of opensource, we share the same community, so we all might as well get along and order another round of beers. Conferences demonstrate these cross-cutting commonalities that crosses P statements.

Ignorance of Crowds

19 March 2007

behavior family google social

This weekend, the wife suggested we go as a family to see the movie Bridge to Terabithia .

I'd never heard of it, so I googled using the searchbox in Firefox. I wasn't thinking very clearly, and just typed "road to ter" and up popped some suggestions:

Picture 9.png

Of course, the movie is named Bridge to Terabithia, not Road to Terabithia.

Enough folks have gotten this wrong that Google has decided to suggest leading me down the wrong path. If I actually pick one of the suggestions, perhaps I'll be encouraging Google to lead others astray. Plus, Google has provided positive reinforcement towards me thinking the movie is actually named Road to Terabithia, ensuring that my own ignorance is further cemented.

Thanks Google!

Of course, I spent 98% of the movie wondering why it wasn't called The Rope-swing to Terabithia.

Stupid Friday Fun

16 March 2007

codehaus community humour java jbossorg social

Picture 27.png It's Friday, and we all like having friends, so...

And don't act like you don't have a MySpace account. You know you do.