Web 1.0 and 2.0 this week

So I have been off and about the world for a few weeks. I am finally back in the bay area and trying to recover from the nasty cold that I caught while at Accelerating Change. I had a great week at Web of Change except I was fighting the cold. I had more great meetings about the forthcoming global launch of i-names services this week in Palo Alto.

Next week will be a big week. I am going to be at Web 2.0 and just found out about the ‘alternative summit’ Web 1.0 happening simultaneously.

On Wednesday at the House of Shields and sponsored by 43 Folders and the year 1998, with generous contributions from Adaptive Path, Mule Design, WordPress, Blogger, and Flickr.

We will meet to discuss line breaks, spacer gifs, and the ability to launch links in a new browser window.

There will be beer.

Let’s make this summit more successful than the last one, please.

This is an interesting trend the creation of grass roots summits occurring as a counter point (FOO and BAR Camp) and open source alternative to giant corporate walled gardens talking about the future.

HIghlights from Accelerating Change:7 (Gamers will Save the Planet)

This was a great talk by Cory from Second Life.

Games will Save the Planet!!! How? Playing games improves the capacity to critically filter the increasing volumes of information we are exposed to. Games give you a place to practice performance before competence. As you learn new skills you can also maintain an appropriate level of challenge. Games are full of disinformation and information asymmetry and coping with these challenges is a skill that they develop. Laziness is not tolerated in game play because they are hard. Games get harder and harder.

Education researchers are studying how game players are organizing and educating themselves in MMOG (massive multi online games) guilds. They are hoping that this research can be applied to traditional education. Games develop critical thinking goal oriented thinking. Those researching this include – Anne Gever, Joshua Fouts and Douglas Thomas. and UW – Madison Paul Gee, Kurt Squire.

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Highlights from Accelerating Change:6 (Brains, Spirit, Sex, Knowledge)

From Dr. Amen: Brain protection is essential. The Brain is very soft like tofu and the skull is really hard. Brain injuries matter and we need to take care of young brains (like not let kids play football).

The conference took a spiritual theme at the end with the presentation by the chair of the leading private university in Taiwan with a major focus on Future Studies. Their conference coming up is Global Soul, Global Mind, Global Action.

Spiritual Technology is essential to support us slowing down enough to absorb and process the accelerating change of technical technology. Janardhan Chodagam presented about the Brahmin Kumari World Spiritual Organization and highlighted how meditation can transform deep rooted personality we don’t like.

Ray thinks we are going to have sex in new ways with nanotechnology and sensations evoked with direct nerve inputs over riding our regular sensory inputs. I really can’t imagine real sexual activity between real people being replaced by nanobots.

Ray highlighted some key elements of what makes human is how knowledge it transfered from generation to generation. It is this transfer of knowledge that is expanding exponentially and why computers and other tools are needed to cope.

HIghlights from Accelerating Change:5 (Joi Ito)

Highlights from Joi Ito at Accelerating Change:

The open Network means that bottom up and edge stuff can happen. He is on the board of ICANN – ‘it is broken system but fixable’ you can go there and participate (I plan to do just that this year in December in Vancouver). He asserted that “if we suck at what we do the internet will die” because it will become a cross between the cable company and the phone company.

Connecting the Culture – Creative Commons
Connecting the Content – HTML
Connecting the Network – TCP/IP
Connecting Computers – Ethernet

The killer app is people – and communication between them.

Creative Class has more similarities between itself around the world. The class differences within countries are more extreme.

Looking at file sharing as a new behavior. Instead of trying to kill it they should try to innovate new business. You don’t try to force behavior change – you create new businesses after behavior change.

Highlights from Accelerating Chnage:4 (Organizations in the Stack)

The presentation by Tom M Malone asserted that the technology stack includes organizational forms was refreshing. He mentioned BioTeams.com

This is the stack
* Organizations
* Application Software
* System Software
* Hardware

Early stages of an increase in human freedom in business that may in the long run may be as an important change for business as democracy was for government.

This change will mean that the economic benefits of large organization economies of scale and knowledge with human benefits of small organization.

This change is enabled with new technology that has lowered the communication costs dramatically and it is driven by human values.

There are new communication tools that change how we can organize ourselves and how corporations will organize themselves.

Highlights from Accelerating Change: 3 (Finnern)

Mark Finnern is the leader of the Bay Area Future Salon and runs the SAP Developer Network.

He talked about the enigma of modern compulsory schooling.

1. Great person
2. Great citizen
3. Somethings special

There is a fourth today to bring them up to be good consumers.

What do we learn in modern compulsory education

1. Stay in class.
2. Turn your light switch on and off.
3. Surrender your will to predestined chain of command.
4. Only the teacher will determine what is studied.
5. Your self respect comes from an observers worth of you.
6. Kid you are being watched.

Paul Graham says that in today’s world that school is kids day job. NYLF – Good to know Blog.
Looking back at the US history and factors that made it successful. One of was the end of compulsory education at the age of 13 after which they were given responsibility and came into own as citizen.

Looking ahead the Fabrication Labs with Neil Gershehnfeld you can produce anything you can think of.

Accelerating Change Highlights: 2 (Esther)

Esther Dyson did a great thing opening her talk “I am going to lead this time like the internet – If you don’t like it go somewhere else. Do your own thing. This is what the net allows you to do.”

Governance on the Net – The best way to regulate systems is for the people loosing control someone else is loosing it. (This is the current theme of the Release 1.0) Accountable peer-to-peer as opposed to some authority that can be corrupted.

The rulesets you create matter a huge amount. You can’t just have an idea precision matters. You can’t just allow users to design the rules you may end up with the wrong set of rules. There is an evolution of competing models.

An organization that Esther is working on advising is safecount.org that is addressing cookie issues – if the decide they all should be disclosed she will continue to work with them.

Concentrated power gets abused. Power is so corrupting. Give people power to do things not power over people. Give more power to individuals and not the power of institutions.

The articulation of accountability and identity and identification.
Reliable accountability – the fact that what you did as X you are accountable today for what you did yesterday as X.

Peer to peer accountability. The less power anyone has the less it matters when they make a mistake. The mistakes that one makes matters less.

An illustrative example that was given about how market based mechanisms don’t necessarily work. This day care was having a problem with kids being picked up late. It wasn’t working for anyone -the kids would get stressed out, the daycare staff would have to stay late etc. So they decided to deal with in a market based way – $10 for every 5min you were late. This totally backfired because then it was no longer immoral to be late it was just expensive.

Accelerating Change Highlights: 1 (Jon Udell)

I really enjoyed this conference – the people were GREAT! and I learned some new stuff.

Accelerating Change is put on by the Acceleration Studies Foundation. They are working on Awareness, Education, Research (Technological Road-mapping in particular) and Advocacy.

They are going to start doing Future Salon’s ‘in-world’ in Second Life. With this and other references and exposure to Second Life I think I will actually go exploring. Perhaps some day we can have Planetworks happen there and maybe even an identity gang meeting.

Jon Udell did a great presentations about google mapping and annotating the world. ChicagoCrime.org and Google maps pedomiters to tag good bicycle routes. He talked about how when biking and listening to podcasting the place and audio get mingled and linked.

Dodgeball and plazes currently broadcast location. Someone might do it for you – someone who spots you and takes a picture and tags you. [This resonated with Jamais’ talk on the participatory panopticon.] We leave crumbs around all the time – credit cards, EZ passes. In the transparent society how can we apply others when not applying it to us. Selective transparency and accountability always favors the powerful. Everyone will be naked all the time.

Technology is changing the meaning and experience of public places. Who gets what level of access.

Human brains do not deal well with large matrices of permissions. Who can know where I am when in control of data. Who can know my whereabouts determined by degrees in social situations.

Collaborative annotation of the planet is coming. The birdwatchers of central park use a bird register it sits in a house anyone can log an observation in the notebook – it is effectively a wiki. With the coming world you could assign and address to a tree and link a story to the address. These birders will not likely want to adopt the new technology but likely if the won’t. If the book disappears they will likely wish they had an off site backup.

We will scavenge across the dataweb to find information about upcoming events in our towns. Today in his town one walks up and down the mainstreet to view all the posters.

He mentioned an awesome site DavidRumsey.com I first saw him present at the Long Now Foundation. His map collection is amazing along with the powerful viewers that have been built to view maps of the same place over time. We will oventually be able to connect these historic maps to our locations in real time.

Live from Accelerating Change – DataTao, i-name Cell phone

I am blogging from the soon to be open Accelerating Change Conference.

Andy gave me a ride down here and we talked about the announcement last week of DataTao.

DataTao is going to be an interoperable data hub for user controlled data. DataTao is primarily about programmatic access to an individual’s data and only has as much UI as is needed to richly support its base functionality.

So why do I call it an ‘interoperable’ data hub? That’s because DataTao is designed to act as a bridge between many of the current identity protocols. While DataTao will provide storage for people that don’t have their data stored and available from elsewhere, its main purpose is to consume and forward data from its authoritative source(s).

It is my opinion that DataTao is a necessary and required next step in the evolution of the DataWeb. While DataTao by itself is NOT a compelling application it is a needed piece of infrastructure. It will hopefully encourage and enable people to build internet 2.0 applications and maximize the leverage of those already built.

In order to drive adoption DataTao will provide some Apps that use the DataWeb for persistence in conjunction with the DataTao launch. These apps have not been finalized yet but will likely include Exchange and Mac Mail integration (Self updating address books) as well as a rich interface for person to person profile information sharing (i-share).

I got to meet Ajay of AmSoft for the first time and see the i-names being used on the a cell phone. This is push to communicate asserting preferred mode of communication.

* Choice
* Privacy
* Control

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Emerging Understanding Swarms & other cool stuff at DorkBot SF

On Wednesday Night I attended my first DorkBotSan Francisco. It was great to be in a room full of cool geeks.

Mark Pesce also spoke about evolutions happening in swarming.

Informational Swarms are the most efficient way to get the most information to the most people.

Knowledge Swarms [ Information + Context] Wikipedia is the example where everyone contributes a little bit. It is the ‘black hole of human knowledge’ and as we all contribute a little be we all are invested in it.

Understanding Swarms [Knowledge + Experience] What we can tell each other. Looking ahead being able to google your friends (ahh here is where persistent identity shows up!)

Spot Draves presented the lastest with Electric Sheep.
Jon Philips presented on how to build an online community. The key was having three things:

• 1 mailing list
• 1 wiki and
• 1 IRC channel

Eric Davis (a founder of Planetwork)
Spoke a bit about the network power to interlink machines and amplify human knowledge. He introduced Make Magazine and spoke to the form of magazine – the inter linking of word and image.
The folks from from Make Magazine were fantastic too. I love that magazine. I read it cover to cover when it comes out. Sitting there listening to me I reflected back…emembering my days in electronics class back in grade 9…and realizing that I have been inclined towards technology for a while. Perhaps I will get up the courage to build something from it soon.

Interestingly enough it is breaking all the rules for that business – with a sell through rate of 50-75% (normally 20% or less) and having back issues in the book section. They thought of it as a Mook (a book / magazine format invented in Japan). They also have only 12 pages of ads in 160 pages of space. Their circulation is 3.5 times larger then they expected it would be by this time at 35,000.

Then there was some ‘open-dorking’. I will go back but overall it was a bit frustrating because the evening felt over programmed. Once the room broke for drinks and sociallizing it would have been good energetically to let it continue. It is one of those process things that all communities encounter as they bring people together.

Digital Identity ‘performance’ by college kids

Danah Boyde has a great post about Face Book – (an online social network only for those how are in college.) This paragraph really stood out for me because it highlights the social phenomena that those of us who typically work in digitial identity do not really ‘do’ – DIGITAL IDENTITY PERFORMANCE…

The Facebook is situated in a culture with a set of known practices and needs, helping students make sense of their universe and constantly changing social networks. Even the issues around performative profiles are dampened because college students are so engrossed in digital identity performance as a process of figuring out who they are. Between MySpace and The Facebook, teens are now growing up assuming social network tools and building the value into them but most adults have no interest; herein lies another age division that will certainly affect the future of technology use.

She also wonders about how the practices emerging in these educational facebooks can perhaps be picked up by corporate ones to make them more effective.

Unfortunately, in the corporate culture, tools are being built to only reflect a fraction of the networking practices – they are poorly aligned and dreadfully unflexible. It’s funny though – every big company tends to have a facebook of sorts – reporting charts, roles, seat assignments. What if those could grow to indicate projects and past cooperations between colleagues? What if non-salesman could articulate their relationships to people in other companies rather than having them uncomfortably sussed out via email? What if social networking tools were built into the already existing corporate framework? What would it mean to make the corporate facebooks more useful?

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IAA – TIA continues and PATRIOT expanded?

Surveillance society quietly moves in

It’s a well-known dirty trick in the halls of government: If you want to pass unpopular legislation that you know won’t stand up to scrutiny, just wait until the public isn’t looking. That’s precisely what the Bush administration did Dec. 13, 2003, the day American troops captured Saddam Hussein.

Bush celebrated the occasion by privately signing into law the Intelligence Authorization Act – a controversial expansion of the PATRIOT Act that included items culled from the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” a draft proposal that had been shelved due to public outcry after being leaked.

Specifically, the IAA allows the government to obtain an individual’s financial records without a court order. The law also makes it illegal for institutions to inform anyone that the government has requested those records, or that information has been shared with the authorities.

“The law also broadens the definition of ‘financial institution’ to include insurance companies, travel and real-estate agencies, stockbrokers, the US Postal Service, jewelry stores, casinos, airlines, car dealerships, and any other business ‘whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters’ “ warned Nikki Swartz in the Information Management Journal. According to Swartz, the definition is now so broad that it could plausibly be used to access even school transcripts or medical records.

“In one fell swoop, this act has decimated our rights to privacy, due process, and freedom of speech,” Anna Samson Miranda wrote in an article for LiP magazine titled “Grave New World” that documented the ways in which the government already employs high-tech, private industry, and everyday citizens as part of a vast web of surveillance.

Miranda warned, “If we are too busy, distracted, or apathetic to fight government and corporate surveillance and data collection, we will find ourselves unable to go anywhere – whether down the street for a cup of coffee or across the country for a protest – without being watched.”

Sources: “PATRIOT Act’s Reach Expanded Despite Part Being Struck Down,” Nikki Swartz, Information Management Journal, March/April 2004; “Grave New World,” Anna Samson Miranda, LiP, Winter 2004; “Where Big Brother Snoops on Americans 24/7,” Teresa Hampton and Doug Thompson, Capitol Hill Blue June 7, 2004.

Censored – or bogus? (see below) was a caveat to caveat offered to the above story. I would like to know what others in our network/community know about this and see if the identity community can uncover what information is actually is being shared with government about our day to day personal transactions without our awareness.

Some stories get ignored by the mainstream media because they’re too controversial, or too much of a challenge to the rich and powerful, or just too hot to handle.

But some stories get dismissed because they’re just not credible – and unfortunately, one of the pieces Project Censored cites this year appears to fall into that category.

Almost everything on the Project Censored list is well sourced and, at the very least, plausible. But one of the stories listed under “Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In” is a piece titled “Where Big Brother Snoops on Americans 24/7.” Written by Teresa Hampton and Doug Thompson, the piece was published on www.capitolhillblue.com, a Virginia Web site that’s been around since 1994.

The piece makes some pretty spectacular allegations. Hampton and Thompson claim not only that the Pentagon is defying Congress and covertly operating the notorious Total Information Awareness program (TIA) (which Congress explicitly killed), but also that the feds now monitor “virtually every financial transaction of every American,” in real time (that is, as it’s happening). They also maintain that the Pentagon uses the information to launch investigations of “persons of interest” and as a basis for adding names to the Transportation Security Administration’s “no fly” lists.
It’s pretty far-fetched to think that the Pentagon could run an operation so vast as to review almost every financial transaction in the country as it happens. But beyond that, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed two suits against the feds trying to pinpoint just how it collates TSA’s “no fly” lists and still hasn’t been able to figure it out.

The principal sources Hampton and Thompson base their story on seem to be an anonymous “security consultant who worked on the … project” and an “Allen Banks” – someone identified simply as a “security expert,” without any detail as to who he is or how he would be privy to such information.

Thompson, who is the site’s publisher, defended the accuracy of the story, saying that he’d spoken with “over 30 sources” – police, banks, credit card agencies – and that he reached his conclusions based on those sources as well as on the fact that there were “too many coincidences.” (None of that is explained in the story.)

“To some extent,” he added, “it was a conclusion by me, looking at the links.” Banks and other private industries had been instructed to e-mail data to the feds under TIA, and they continued sending data to the same places after TIA was killed, because they never received orders to stop, Thompson said. His caveat: “If I had to go into court and prove this, there’s no way I could prove it.”

We’re still dubious.


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Marc, EndUsers CARE!

Marc Canter’s Law #1 has been published.

Canter’s Law #1:
– It is not a bad thing to make everyone happy. It sometimes requires compromises, but at the end of the day – by getting around the format Wars – we all benefit.

– So though we understand that having too many formats may confuse or muddy the waters – it won’t be muddy to the constituents of each format. Most developers will adhere to ONE philosophy and the others – will appreciate support for all.

– See Flickr

No human cares about what format is supported. Only us. Flickr proved that they could be completely format agnostic and provide a compelling experience to all.

Phil’s take on it...

– To make someone happy, you’ve got to support their format. To make everyone happy, you’ve got to support everyone’s formats.

– There are always going to be more formats than you want. Get over it.

All of this is very conciliatory to ‘technologist’s and their preferred file schema’s and file formats. I have no idea what the difference is between ATOM and RSS and RDF and I don’t really care they all work in my Aggreagator in basically the same way.

I am not sure if Marc is referring to ‘making everyone happy’ in the identity space but I believe that he is based on past comments and the assertion that GoingOn will use all the protocols. (DataTao also says they will support them all too)

In Identity land are not just dealing with file formats. We are dealing with user-centric identity. Let me spell it out for you E N D U S E R S and user experience.

You may support in your identity hub all the formats… XRI – i-names | SXIP – guppies | LID – Personal URL | OpenID URL | {how these two fathom that end users will start to login using a URL after inserting some ‘key’ in the back of their blog/site is beyond me}Passel e-mail of choice and on and on…….

Do you not think all this choice confuses END USERS to the point they will not adopt anything until there is one simple easy to understand way this user centric interop identity system works? Remember some of the folks using this system in the not to distant future will be functionally illiterate.

I basically agree with bob’s point.

But, if you focus too much on making some geek happy, the result will NOT be the “Right Thing” from the users’ point of view. Making one or two geeks happy is not the Right Thing if it means compromising on how well users’ needs are addressed. There are many more users than there are geeks. We need to be driven by a drive to service our users’ needs — not by the egos of geeks and coders.

Mary Hodder had this to say about the identity standards discernment and why it was SO key we figure it out inside our community before ‘going live’ and asking sites and users to adopt.

When I tell people about the identity systems being built, they look at me (sort of horrified) like they have absolutely no intention of ever using such a thing, and so i explain the benefits: single sign on, user control over how far the info goes, not having to give an email address in order to sign up for one or another services, which may reveal more info than you want to, and trust and reputation. At that point they are skeptical, but they usually say that if the single sign-on thing were fixed, and if they had total control over where their information went and how far, they ‘might’ use it.

So I mentioned this to the developer of the system I was testing, and he said that he was using his own protocol.. because ‘everyone else was doing it.’ When I asked why, he said ‘because I want to win’ which i really found very disturbing. He said the other protocol makers were all doing the same thing: ‘wanting to win’ and creating systems based upon their own protocols, so that users would not be able to take their identities from one place to the next.

To me this entirely defeats the purpose of the identity gang, and will be incredibly frustrating to users. More so that email, a personal digital identity representation will be a very personal and emotional thing for users, if it is usable all over and they see it as something that represents themselves because they use it to represent themselves. If not, users will say, what is the difference? Why change to an ID based system (insert ID protocol here: sxip, openID, iName, lid, etc) when it can only be used at one company, or with one set of services. It’s the same thing we have now as far as user’s experiences are concerned, with multiple sign ons.

I think competing based on different protocols is ridiculous and will not help anyone, least of all users. And with users frustrated, you will not get adoption that will really make ID service based businesses take off.

I think people will blog about these multiple proprietary protocols, saying that people should hold off or not play, until this gets worked out and the people developing systems create a single protocol that is open and freely movable.

I’m concerned about using our time constructively in the identity gang to create this single protocol so that we are then competing over services and interesting systems. Are we all on the same page here.. or is this developer right that we are all making different protocols (sort of in secret) to compete at that level?

New protocols … New Terms

Eric Hall just pointed me to a great post by dizzyd of Passel about the challenges of doing a new from the ground up protocol/technology and how you communicate to the rest of the world what it does. Some learnings in there for all of us in this identity space. Hopefully during the Internet Identity Workshop we can have a big list of terms and their definitions posted on the walls for us to collectively discern with greater clarity their meaning so we can all communicate with one another better.

Condi Caught by Emerging Participatory Panopticon

Condi Returns to D.C. After Bloggers and ‘Post’ Expose Vacation

This story is an interesting one because it shows what a citizenry empowered with almost omni-present communication tools can do to share information and build a coherent picture of one person’s movement over time creating the participatory panopticon. I wonder how much citizen surveillance of government officials and their actions will become the norm. Here is the original Gawker page – where all the intelligence was gathered.

Hopefully as CatherineAustinFitts has said again and again..

Our democracy depends on honest leaders who promote transparency and accountability in the management of our resources. How do we protect such leaders from being terrorized by corrupt special interests that play dirty?

The only way is with real accountability of the action of government officials and transparency of where money and rescues flow.

Just in case Condi was wondering if her help would be needed. This disaster is WAS NOT UNPREDICTABLE – in-fact it was anticipated and she would likely be needed in her role as secretary of state to get help from other countries.

On Thursday, September 1 on Good Morning America George W. Bush said, “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.” This is a flat, baldfaced lie. In early 2001 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified the three most likely megadisasters that would strain the country’s ability to respond: a terrorist attack in New York City, an earthquake in Southern California, and a hurricane hitting New Orleans. The levees in New Orleans have been breached before. The Mississippi River flood of 1927 did so. Every disaster planning exercise involving New Orleans has assumed that part of the tragedy would be breached levees, a flooded city, and human beings trapped with no food, water, or sanitary facilities. A few minutes of searching the Internet will turn up literally dozens of studies showing that a hurricane of category 3 or more hitting the lower Mississippi would breach the flood protection levees. Breached levees were no surprise and to say that they were is a lie

Ms. Rice should have been on the phone to countries who’s help we could well use not to cope with the situation faced by the south. This references the letter from my last post.

The Mississippi Delta region is the natural ecological home of a long list of infectious microbial diseases. It is America’s tropical region, more akin ecologically to Haiti or parts of Africa than to Boston or Los Angeles. The most massive Yellow Fever epidemics in the Americas all swept, in the 19th Century, up the Mississippi from the delta region.

It is perhaps ironic that the only real experience with this scale of insect control for the last two decades has been in developing countries: the CDC and State health folks should be reaching out to PAHO and the insect control expertises of Africa and the Caribbean right now. If we cannot manage to get ahead of the insects, there could very well be a disease crisis ahead.

Can open sourceintelligence and societal information sharing help us as a society get around the need to have ‘government officials’ who are responsible but instead give us the power collectively organize ourselves.

Information and Governance – Disaster and Disease

If government cannot inform, there is no government.”Burce Sterling highlights this as the pull quote from the below. I would tend to agree and wonder how it informs our work in considering governance for the next layer of the internet.
This is from Laurie Garrett “the emergent-disease guru” who’s comments in an e-mail titled Hurricane Katrina Analysis – CFR Global Health Program.
To read the full text hop over here.

6) Mental Health issues AND lack of information increasing them.

The mental health of hundreds of thousands of people must now be a priority. Uprooted, homeless, jobless, rootless and in many cases grieving for lost loved ones: These people will all suffer for a very long time. A key to their recovery is, again, a lesson from 9/11: information…Knowing what is going on ‘back home’ is essential to mental health recovery. We have been in disasters in poor countries where wild rumors flowed among the poor for months, each one sparking a fresh round of anxiety and fear. If government cannot inform, there is no government.

-) Establishing Trust between Government and People to abate public health crises in the aftermath.

I found myself recalling the way the Chinese people responded to the SARS
epidemic. Because they knew that their government had lied to them many
times in the past and had covered up cases in the capital, people turned
away from official government sources of information. Rumors spread like
wildfire via cell phone text messaging, spawning a mass exodus from Beijing
of tens of thousands of people. The medical system in China is notoriously
corrupt and the peasants stay away from hospitals unless it is a matter of
life and death. When government told the masses to go to the hospitals if
they had fevers, the Chinese refused. The SARS situation spiraled out of
control in large part because the people had long-standing, sound reasons
for distrusting their government. Public health collapses if the bond of
trust between government and its people breaks, or never exists. I saw the
same thing with plague in India in ’94.

7) Poliitcal Backlash

America, and this government, is going to witness an enormous political backlash from these events, stemming primarily from the African American community, if steps are not boldly taken to demonstrate less judgment, and greater assistance, for the black poor of the region. Cries of racism will be heard. In every disaster we have been engaged in we have witnessed a similar sense by the victims of disasters that they were being singled out, and ignored by their government, because of their ethnicity, religion or race. The onus is on government to prove them wrong.

5) Debrise – where to put it all?

We have never in history tried to dispose of this much waste. It is hoped that before any officials rush off thinking of how to burn or dump a few hundred thousand boats, houses and buildings, some careful consideration is given to recycling that material for construction of future levees, dams, and foundations. Looking at aerial images of the coastline one sees an entire forest worth of lumber, and the world’s largest cement quarry. No doubt tens of thousands of the now unemployed of the region could be hired for a reclamation effort that would be rational in scale and intent. It would be horrible if all that debris were simply dumped or burned without any thought to its utility.

8) Continued support of medical personal in the region.

Much more thought needs to be given immediately to the needs of medical and psychiatric responders located just outside of the region. The patient flow they are now receiving is minuscule compared to the tidal wave coming their way

1) Mosquitos

2) CDC warning about Vibrio cholerae

3) Sewage

4) Lack of Pharmaceutical supplies

Mama we are coming to get you…NOT

I have been watching the unfolding of the Katrina disaster. It makes my stomach churn to learn about how badly FEMA and other federal agencies bumbled this whole thing. We clearly have major human well being and community well being issues to deal with here. This interview of the head of Jefferson County is just heart wrenching (the blog title comes from this interview).

Here is a first hand account of a man’s son who was contracted by FEMA as a truck driver to get releif supplies to the affected areas.

Reading this I think that self organizing networks who had done some scenario planning exercises and have network tools for sharing real information from on the ground would have been hand to coordinate real relief. Perhaps a case study in the network failures and successes in the aftermath is a topic for MeshForum in May.

Live Blogging from the area.

Tales from a refugee camp

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation
Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were
friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how
many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the
several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able
to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these
questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates
complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told
me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only
information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to
be here at night.”

There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to set up
any sort of transparent and consistent system, for instance a line to get on
buses, a way to register contact information or find family members, special
needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for
possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.

Reading this article I learned that the functional literacy rate New Orleans is about 40%. That means they can read a little but can’t fill out a job application, read a food label or read a simple story to a child. Makes me wonder how are we going to build an identity system that the functionally illiterate can use??

Van Jones a rising leader in the African American Community writes this great article about the responsibility of the Bush Administration for the disaster.

He also wrote this piece about “looting” and “finding” and race. It seems that how one is identified by race and class makes a difference to the media interpretation of actions in a catastrophic situation. Just to be clear I am not a big fan of identity politics in its raw form. Having said that I am also acutely aware that race and class are cultural forces in our society and that there is a role for considering how people with common a common identity – belonging to an ethnic group or making a certain income or having a particular sexual orientation or even gender affects ones experience in the world in systemic way.

Buzz-Phraser 2.0

I just found a great post about Nathan Torkington creator of odio.us the Gateway to Web 2.0 Riches. Just go there and scroll up and down the Web 2.0 elevator pitches. The are really funny. I bet you he gets a lot of them these days as the producer of OSCON.

The original Buzz-Phraser 1.3 has three languages – TechnoLatin, CollaboLain and IdentoLatin. Hopefully it will be helpful for all those coming up with cool talks for us at the Internet Identity Summit.

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While I was out: 2 new blogs… Y!-Flkr eruptions

A day after my computer died, Bob Blakley e-mailed me to let me know he had started blogging (and that it was in part my doing) for blogging his talk at Catalyst.

Here is his first post – Identity is a Story.

my comment: Indeed it is. I wrote a great resume story when I applied to work as a blogger at SpikeSource (I knew they never would hire me if I didn’t tell the story of why they should based on my past experience). Needless to say they hired me and then didn’t let me blog so that gig was over fairly fast.

He is very articulate about the range of issues that aries around identity:

I think identity behaves in consistent and predictable ways in the real world, BUT most contemporary discussions of identity are completely out of touch with what identity really is and how it really works. To understand how identity behaves, it’s necessary to distinguish the different uses people make of identity, and consider each of those uses individually.

I think a set of axioms of identity can be defined which describe what identity can and cannot do, and what it will and will not do in particular circumstances. We can enumerate these axioms by looking at centuries of thought about identity and examining that thought in the light of situations which occur in the real world today.

I think that systems designed with the axioms of identity in mind will be more effective than systems designed without regard for the axioms.

I think that the axioms define how identity and privacy are related, and can help illuminate when we can determine identity, when we can protect privacy, when we must choose, and when we are out of luck on both counts.

He recommends a book that goes in the philosophical direction The Identities of Persons. Just for fun on Amazon I surfed around this book through the “people who bought this book also bought this and similar items. Just two steps away in the Amazon Cloud of related books are Modern Cosmology and Philosphy, Methods of Ethics, Metaphors We Live By. This highlights how closely Identity and its meaning are tied.

This transitions me over to another subject of the week Y!-Flkr eruptions. There was quite a fuss over the Yahoo! ID – Flickr ID linking (or optional linking). Mary Hodder did a great job of articulating the very real human issues of identity surrounding this storm. Truly every time we login with an handle of any kind – that is an identity of ours. It is not just an entry in a database not just bits or just identifiers. These are identifiers of people. Why does this matter? Cause people are not just web resources.

One of the people who works for me showed me a database on Monday, while we were discussing the Flickhoo flap, that she’s been maintaining for the past 10 years of all of her logins all over the internet. She has 249 different logins at that many sites. Solving this problem, so that she could just use one or two or three logins everywhere, makes a lot of sense.

Mary did a great job of articulating a cool way out of the dilemma – give them all i-names and let Yahoo! become an I-broker! Let Flickr give all their folks i-names and let them manage their own Identity and choose if they want to host to i-names together in one broker or keep them separate. [she gets the syntax a bit wrong Yahoo could change them easily into @yahoo*username accounts]

And Yahoo could really take the lead on Identity Management by adopting a system that would create simplicity for users, and simplicity for themselves. And turn down the public relations flap a notch when they acquire companies and have to integrate users and ID’s into the company.

Ryan King (currently of Technorati) made a comment that seemed to come from the very technical utilitarian perspective:

The Yahoo/Flickr changes have nothing to do with identity- its only the login procedure, which is now done with an email address.

Even “if” all it means that you now login to Flickr using a YahooID, then those two identities are linked. Yahoo can go in and look at your flickr picks and the tags and aggregate more information about you in its digital dossier. Yahoo uses the information about you that it observes while you move about it to send you ads you will like and other stuff (I don’t really use Yahoo! day-to-day [I do have a really really old login that is my messenger identity and one e-mail account for emergencies], so I am not up on the full user experience there. But they are becoming a cooler company so maybe I will join in but not likely until they are a member of Identity Commons and Attention Trust so I can better trust their use of my identity and information associated with it). This is what helps them make money off you – selling annoying adds around the real information you want to see.

What if they went to a permission marketing model with i-names as is suggested near the end of Dear Marketers, An Open Letter from your Customers in July 2005 and these use cases articulated by Fen two years ago? Fen also wrote about a service he envisioned and tried to build News Peek that is currently a lot like what the blogosphere offers. I think we are on the cusp of ‘getting identity’ there enough folks involved like Bob, Doc, Drummond, Kim, Paul, Jamie, John, and Owen who are wise enough to understand and lead the industry wrestling with the human social issues that arise.

OK and now for blog number two. It is another gentleman that I encouraged to start blogging in the field – Eric Hall of EDS. His blog WhyID (wide-eyed) has been going along since just after Catalyst when we met. His perspective leading teams of 100’s working on large scale enterprise integration is valuable to consider when we are talking about provisioning the millions of people on the web with identity. I hope you all get a chance to look over his last two months of writing, and add the RSS to your stack of feeds.

External Brain Restored

I am back after a bit of an unintended break. While at BarCamp my external brain went into coma [my computer died] someone asked if it had a death by stickers. I don’t think so but judge for yourself – side 1side 2. I took it all in karmic stride –
I needed a break and hey it is the end of August.

At BarCamp I got to present about XRI/XDI, I-names, Identity Commons etc.

Durring the break using my OS9iMac I tuned into PlanetIdentity with the aggregator down I can still read all the happening stuff. I found a great post by Doc about metaphors again that shape our view of the web. Identity maps differently in the different metaphors. It seems that the highly social nature is left out where it is a coffee shop that we meet and talk with friends in. This is where identity beings it seems and is perhaps the closest neighbor to the theater performance metaphor. I tune in to the coffee shop community perhaps because. Yesterday (at the time of writing) at the Institute for the Future – Future Commons conversation Howard Reingold performed a micro university 5 min lecture with 10 min of questions/discussion. It was on Coffee-houses and the social networks that emerged from them creating the shape of our modern world through the social innovation that occurred in them. The insurance industry (Loydes of London), scientific societies (The Royal Society), stock exchanges (London) all emerged out of coffee houses of the day.

How can we support people in communities knowing their place better and interacting in more meaningful. Doc highlights the two middle metaphors where free speech and free enterprise happen.

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