Profile Linker – is the time right for open standards…?

Tech Crunch has a review of Profile Linker.

They have one partnership sealed already, with Photobucket, and hope to do more. But for sites where they are unable to get a partnership they’ll have to gather information using the user’s credentials. There’s a risk that networks will simply cut them off.
They have portable profiles:
Portable Profiles allow you to take your content with you anywhere on the web. Mobilize your bio, share your photos.

Best of all, you only need to make updates in ONE place and all your portable profiles will be automatically updated all over the web.

one way they do this is...Don’t feel like entering ALL your profile content again?Well we can do all the work for you. Just tell us your Facebook login or MySpace URL and we’ll get your photo and more . .

All this proves the time is really right for open standards to do this.

Our songs….

I found this on Paul Madson’s blog today while looking up Yadis history. I didn’t really realize we had a ‘song’ in the community. Maybe for the next IIW we will have a few more.

Y.M.C.A (without the overt sexuality)

Johannes calls for contributions to the YADIS song.

Note: for optimum enjoyment, this should be sung while wearing motorcycle leathers. Your call of course.

Ya-URL*, there’s no need to feel down.
I said, ya-URL, cause your future is sound.
I said, ya-URL, your metadata can now be found
Your issues need not go un-resolv-ed.

Ya-URL, there’s a place you can rest.
I said, ya-URL, for your capabilities we can test.
They can start there, and providers can find
Others of a sim-ilar-URI-kind.

It’s fun to rest with y-a-d-i-s.
It’s fun to rest with y-a-d-i-s.

(Repeat till nauseus)

* – the ‘earl’ pronunciation, not the spelled-out acronym. This will be key for ‘getting it’.

The Network of Me in 2007?

Marc’s Blog post on the decentralized network.

Because there is no benefit to human beings for clustering with 1,000,000’s of other human beings. Yes – having lots of people helps bands promote themselves or marketeers reach these folks, but it doesn’t directly help end-users any.

Humans cluster between 15-25 – and 150 or thereabouts. That’s why military units are organized as companies and squadrons and businesses have departments and middle level managers. No one can remember more than 150 people’s names.

So the logic follows that social networks should be MUCH smaller – certainly under 10,000 – and more likely under 1,000.

He picks up on this article – Network Once, Socialize Anywhere article:

The question I’ve always asked is: how many of these networks can a single user remain faithful to? In this coming world where everything will include some form of social networking, I have to scratch my head and wonder if I’ll be able to remain current on anything more than two or three of them. Who has the time for more, if even that many? (Though part of the new ubiquity, I’m guessing, will be the idea that social networking tools will in many ways become more transparent, there will still need to be some maintenance required for most.)

If You Network Someone, Set them Free
This fretting about the overhead of social networks seems especially important if, as some suggest, the path to success for these networks will be exclusivity, the idea that “these networks are only as strong as their members” and that the gatekeepers would do well to “keep the riff-faff out.” It seems like a small leap though from strategically exclusive to enduringly proprietary; if you’re looking to keep unwanted users out, it follows that you’ll also want to lock ‘good’ users in.

Which just fills me with greater discouragement about the prospects for a decentralized social networking framework that can ensure a moderate level of inter-operability. I call the idea, “Network Once, Socialize Anywhere.” Why should I have to connect to my best friend, say, once on Flickr, once on LinkedIn, once on Twitter and again for as many new cool networks as will arise in 2007?

Speaking only for myself, though: what I want out of the Web, as in most things, is simplicity. And the current mode of continually reflecting my personal information and buddy lists across multiple networks ad infinitum seems sadly complex, frustrating even. Here, at the onset of the new year, I have to take a slightly broader view and ask myself, how many more social networks will I join in 2007 alone? At least a dozen, I imagine, and unless something changes, each time it’ll be like starting over from scratch.

Eric Rice has a great comment on Marc’s blog post.

Aren’t ‘decentralized distributed social networks’ the thing that it has always been? Our shit is in a million places and no site will ever gather it in one place. And then, there’s so much emphasis on the public transparency of it— until you get into that stick place of humans, who might actually want to quietly and discretely nudge someone out of the picture.

And then if you COULD get all the networks together, you have to worry about the people in the social networks bitching at each other. My blog network don’t care about my Second Life network, but does care about my Warcraft network, which some of my blog network doesn’t care about, but my iPod/Apple network does. My Apple network is also my XBOX network for some reason. And what if we need to hide part of our network from the other?

I need the platforms to talk to each other and because we all want our stuff to be THE thing, it won’t happen.

To me, ‘decentralized distributed social networks’ = what we’ve always had: chaos, anarchy, rationality and irrationality, emotion, and tech, with a focus on self.

My social network is me, all about me. Nothing is serving the ‘me’ market. Why?

I sure hope this market gets served in 2007. I believe this is what Higgins, Social Physics and Parity are supposed to be about. I hope that Paul can explain it all soon. I remember the diagram that was a semi-circle with wedges with me in the middle and all the different social networks I was connected to visible to me through some interface. This is a great idea.

I am thinking a lot these days about how we can really support individuals having profiles that move between a few social networks that agree to do this (there are some potential ones in the wings).

The notion of Entity Based Social Networks is complementary to how the individual networks together. How can members of one organization be validated as such and then take that membership ‘assertion’ with them to other social network contexts where they can interact with other members of the organization and others.

The future of VRM – serving community not profits

This incident went by on a few mailing lists I am on. The CEO of Craigslist talking to “Wall Street types ” who were “Confused capitalists wondering how a company can exist without the urge to maximize profits.” (ZDNet)

From the NYTimes:
Mr. Buckmaster took questions from the bemused audience, which apparently could not get its collective mind around the notion that Craigslist exists to help Web users find jobs, cars, apartments and dates and not so much to make money.

Wendy Davis of MediaPost describes the presentation as a “a culture clash of near-epic proportions.” She recounts how UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn’t, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). “That definitely is not part of the equation,” he said, according to MediaPost. “It’s not part of the goal.”

“I think a lot of people are catching their breath right now,” Mr. Schachter said in response.

From ZDNet:
On text ads: Buckmaster, who says he’s only taken one economic course in his life, reiterated that the company “is not trying to maximize revenue.” Although Craigslist has been approached by the likes of Google and Yahoo about deploying text ads the decision comes back to what’s best for users, says Buckmaster.

“No users have been requesting we run text ads so that’s the end of the story,” says Buckmaster.

From NYTimes:
Following the meeting, Mr. Schachter wrote a research note, flagged by Tech Trader Daily, which suggests that he still doesn’t quite get the concept of serving customers first, and worrying about revenues later, if at all (and nevermind profits). Craigslist, the analyst wrote, “does not fully monetize its traffic or services.”

Holiday Humor from the Militant Geek

Twas the Geek Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the shop,
The computers were whirring; they never did stop.
The power was on and the temperature right,
In hopes that AI would surface that night.

The system was ready, the program was coded,
The backups and files had been carefully loaded;
An inadvertent Christmasy glow to the scene,
The lights on the console, flashed red, white and green.

Geek vs Nerds vs Dorks
It covers among other things Dream Job(s), Starter Apartment Furniture and Favorite Sports….

How Many Game geeks does it take to change a light bulb?

Q: How many game designers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: No, no. Players change light bulbs. We just create incentives for them to do so.

It goes on from there….

Outing DotCom 1.0 legal docs at the Library of congress?

Michael got the title of this blog post right: Somebody needs to stop this: It is so egregious I am just going to post it all. Hopefully some of the lawyers in identity land have some thoughts.

Brobeck, Pleger & Harrison LLP was a well known law firm in silicon valley during the first Internet boom. They had thousands of startup and public company clients and handled all aspects of their legal needs. Their client list included Cisco. None of that mattered in the end though – the law firm dissolved in 2003 due to financial mismanagement after the downturn.

But now the nightmare could be beginning for Brobeck’s former clients. In a bizarre story, the bankruptcy court handling the Brobeck case, citing the historical value of the records, has given permission to turn over all confidential client documents to the Library of Congress and put on display in a new public archive. The project even has its own website and will have advertisements published in the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The court is sending out notices to former clients, asking them to Opt-In or Out of the process (copy of notice is here). If the client is unreachable, the documents will be included in the new archive. Documents relating to clients who do not opt in will be available in a closed archived only, and the public will have only limited access (see more here).

This is one off the stupidest things I’ve seen in a while. First of all, these documents remain the property of the clients, not the law firm or anyone else. Those rights are being completely ignored by the court. Many of these documents will also contain extremely confidential information of third parties that were not clients to Brobeck and will therefore not be getting notice.

If you were the subject of a personal dispute with a startup represented by Brobeck, you may want to hire an attorney now to protect your rights. Documents relating to employment relationships are supposed to be purged, but given the huge volume of material that has to be sorted through, it is very likely that things will slip through. And I guarantee that journalists will be waiting eagerly to dig through these documents as soon as they possibly can.

India is working on a National ID Card

Here are some excerpts from the Indian Express about the proposed scheme and pilot project.

From the IndianExpress:

National Identity Number to each citizen, and also features finger biometrics and a photograph of the individual. In other words, this is the definitive dossier on that particular citizen.

The objectives of the scheme are said to be enhancing internal security, and addressing illegal migration. The Citizenship Act, 1955, was amended and notified in 2003 to include a section on registration of citizens and issuing of identity cards.

The cards also involve the creation of a National Register of Indian Citizens, which will incorporate all the details and updates whenever crucial variables changed, eg when people got married, migrated or changed their name.

The actual implementation seems like it has been quite complex.
This was also at the bottom of the article
In Spain, Italy and Germany, it is compulsory for citizens over 16 years to carry I-cards.

In France, I-cards are voluntary.

In the UK, from 2010, all those over the age of 16 applying for a passport will have to have an I-card. Eye, facial scans and fingerprints will be added onto a National Register from 2008.

At present, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania are the only EU countries to have no I-card schemes.

ID-Entity Bogey:

have encountered serious procedural and implementation problems, such as at Murshidabad, which failed to verify some 90 per cent of the population. Among them are some Iranian families living in Murshidabad for 70 years. The Indian authorities think they are Iranians and they should go back to Iran and the Iranian government believes them to be Indian.

For a nation that boasts of a population of more than a billion, not all them literate, not all of them possessing primary documents, and not all them settled in one location for generations, it doesn’t require a genius to guess that the survey, if it goes for a national roll-out, will encounter many Murshidabads.

Blogs beginning this Christmas

Two friends started blogging

Anslem Hook with praxis makes perfect has begun talking about his idea of a map centered conversational interface.

Laurie Rae a fellow woman in the identity space and Canadian has started – MyWhat? talking about Giving 2.0 and the best conceptual christmas present ever.
I am very glad that there are these new blogs in the community. They will add more depth to the conversation.

Tracking content online

Attributor Corp is launching a product that combs the entire web for ‘unauthorized uses.’ From the WSJ:

They claim to have cracked the thorny computer-science problem of scouring the entire Web by using undisclosed technology to efficiently process and comb through chunks of content. The company says it will have over 10 billion Web pages in its index before the end of this month.

Attributor analyzes the content of clients, who could range from individuals to big media companies, using a technique known as “digital fingerprinting,” which determines unique and identifying characteristics of content. It uses these digital fingerprints to search its index of the Web for the content. The company claims to be able to spot a customer’s content based on the appearance of as little as a few sentences of text or a few seconds of audio or video. It will provide customers with alerts and a dashboard of identified uses of their content on the Web and the context in which it is used.

(if the link to the WSJ goes ‘unfree’ follow the ‘read more’ at the bottom of this post to read the full text)
[Read more...]

Polar Rose soon to search photos for faces on the web

This story comes from Slashdot. A startup Polar Rose is about to launch a face search tool.

Polar Rose relies on a combination of our unique face recognition algorithms and the collective intelligence of our users….we don’t and can’t rely exclusively on face recognition, but also harness the collective intelligence of our users who help train our software and tag names on people we haven’t seen before.

We will open up for a royalty-free use of our API’s, which will allow for partners to integrate the Polar Rose functionality into existing sites or create stand-alone applications of Polar Rose, for example:

* A news site that wants to let users help tag photos, and link stories together based on who appears in photos.
* A photo-sharing site that wants to let users automatically tag new uploads, and search and sort archives based on the people in a photo.
* A social networking or dating site that wants to wants to help users find more pictures of a person, elsewhere on the net or just in the photos of the person’s friends.

The only significant requirements we put for the use of the APIs, is that the Polar Rose signature rose is used, and data that users generate is passed back to us on a non-exclusive basis. The reason being that every piece of data helps train our engine.

Some have privacy concerns. I certainly do – when Riya was pitching similar face recongintion for a flickr like tool I was creeped out. They are now doing a visual search engine so you can put in a purse or boot that you like and it searches for purses and boots like that.

Privacy concerns from New Scientist:

Polar Rose and future developments that make facial recognition available to the masses risk encroaching on people’s privacy, warns Yaman Akdeniz, director of the UK non-profit group Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties.

“Although this sounds like a great idea, I would not like to be searchable in this way, or so easily tracked without my consent,” says Akdeniz. The database compiled by Polar Rose is similar to the kind of biometric database some governments wish to use, he points out.

“I wonder whether they have a right to build such a database,” says Akdeniz, he suggests people think twice before embracing such potentially intrusive tools, and consider which photos of themselves they allow online.

Others agree. Simon Davies, director of the campaign group Privacy International and a specialist in technology and privacy at the London School of Economics, UK, says face-searching technology is valuable but must be used responsibly.

He fears Polar Rose could help identity thieves or stalkers, or even be used by the police to monitor protesters. “They could use the service to find where people have been, what their activities are, or who they associate with,” he says.

Search engines should allow users to prevent their photos being searched, says Davies. “There should be a way to put code in a webpage that signals you want to opt out,” he told New Scientist.

You starts blogging!

Brad Topliff is sort of like me. A non-techie guy into user-centric identity, i-names, XDI and how cool they could be. He works at ooTao with Andy Dale. He has started blogging in part because he was named person of the year. The blog is called – “Who Are You?.” His second post is about how cool i-names are and where they fit into things.

i-names work in OpenID logins too

It should be noted to all of you coming from O’Reilly’s radar. That OpenID (the latest version) does accept i-names and identityprovider URL’s (this is the Sxip way of identity provision).

One of the reasons that i-names are cool is that they have persistence in a way that URLs have some challenges with in the long run. The names can be transfered to a new person but the i-number underneath is not. If you have domain name you are using as your identifier and you don’t renew it. The new owner of the URL can use it to sign-in to places you have had accounts.

i-names also have a nicer syntax and hopefully work for the internet users who may never get they can use URL’s to login.

Just what I was afraid of.

From Slashdot: Federal prosecutors say they don’t need a search warrant to read your e-mail messages if those messages happen to be stored in someone else’s computer.
We’re looking at a future in which almost all of our private papers are in the hands of third parties and not protected by the Fourth Amendment,” said Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation
I hope the EFF, ACLU, EPIC and everyone else who can possibly pile on to this one.

From the Star Tribue:

The government needs a search warrant if it wants to read the U.S. mail that arrives at your home. But federal prosecutors say they don’t need a search warrant to read your e-mail messages if those messages happen to be stored in someone else’s computer.

That would include all of the Big Four e-mail providers — Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and Google — that together hold e-mail accounts for 135 million Americans.

Twenty years ago, when only a relative handful of scientists and scholars had e-mail, Congress passed a law giving state and federal officials broad access to messages stored on the computers of e-mail providers.

Now that law, the Stored Communications Act of 1986, is being challenged in federal court in Ohio by Steven Warshak, a seller of “natural male enhancement” products who was indicted for mail fraud and money laundering after federal investigators sifted through thousands of his e-mails.

I would like the language in the i-broker agreements for XDI.org to have language that basically says they will treat personal data held as if it were in someone’s house and therefore protected under the 4th amendment.

I did it! SSO is really here and some cool identity links

I of all people should have done this before but I was waiting for OpenID 2.0 to be out there and working so I could use my i-name. I went to Ma.gnolia today and it just worked. They have a great way to integrate an OpenID with an existing account. I hope that I can pull over my delicious bookmarks. I joined the Identity 2.0 bookmark group.

I found some interesting sites

Wikidentity is a Flash client that shows you any hCards in a page you are browsing, and allows you to search for hCards that other users have helped index. You can also export hCards that you’ve discovered to use in a variety of applications, such as Address Book.

hCards are nice but I am not about to post mine on the web for anyone to scrape.

Unit Structures latest recommendation to Social Network Designers:

In the past, I’ve done a good deal of writing explaining how to design better and more relevant SNS. Today I offer designers of social network sites my single most valuable piece of advice: Adopt OpenID.

The walled gardens will stay with us, but walled gardens in social network sites need to be a thing of the past. Imagine the pitch – you can add friends from any OpenID network to your SNS. This has huge, democratic possibilities. This feels natural for SNS – walled gardens don’t. If you’d like to find out more about OpenID, you can refer to this primer I wrote about it on the ClaimID blog, or you can email me and I can help put you in touch with folks who will be able to help you. Once you grasp OpenID, and see how naturally it works with SNS, you’ll see what a valuable direction it is to take your product.

OpenID is coming – the tipping point grows closer each day. This is a tremendous opportunity – and I do hope you’ll consider it seriously. This is the way of the future.

The thing I don’t like so far is that it doesn’t make recommendations the way Delicious does. Maybe this is a forthcoming feature.

I found this article by David Kerns on reputation and trust that points to Clippinger’s blog. He has not posted since 2005. According to the social physics site he has a book coming out next year. Interesting. I wonder if Doc can convince him that blogging ideas and parts of the book and sharing with them the community might be a good idea. It seems that if markets are conversations books certainly are. As Kim learned with the Laws of Identity getting community input was a good idea for everyone.

The importance of Annonymity being baked into our systems is highlighted by Ben Laurie:

Firstly, when I say anonymity should be the substrate I am not just talking about the behaviour of identity management systems, I also mean that the network itself must support anonymity. For example, currently, wherever you go you reveal your IP address. Any information you give away can be correlated via that address. People sometimes argue that this isn’t true where you have a dynamic address, but in practice that isn’t the case: most dynamic addresses change rarely, if ever – certainly they tend not to change unless you go offline, and the rise of always-on broadband makes this increasingly unusual. Even if the address does change occasionally, you only need to reveal enough information in the two sessions to link them together and then you are back to being correlated again.

Secondly, people seem to think that privacy is an adeqaute substitute for anonymity. I don’t believe this: privacy is all about voluntarily not linking stuff you could link. Anonymity is about making such linking impossible. Microsoft’s Cardspace claims to provide anonymity where, in fact, it is providing privacy. Stefan Brands comes close with his selective disclosure certificates, but they are still linkable, sadly. These systems only provide privacy if people agree to not make the links they could make. Anonymity provides privacy regardless of people’s attempts to undermine it. That’s why you need to have anonymity as your bottom layer, on which you build whatever level of privacy you can sustain; remember that until physical onion routing becomes commonplace you give the game away as soon as you order physical goods online, and there are many other ways to make yourself linkable.

I do sense that this is not being thought about enough. I hope that Stefan can participate more actively in the community so that we will address it more fully.

I found this post by Bokardo a social web designer. He has a post on Domain as Identity and the services behind it. I totally agree and I can’t wait for him and others to discover the cool things they can do with XRI and XRDS. The TOTH (Thrill of the Hack) experimentation has just begun :)

I would encourage you guys to join Ma.gnonlia – for two reasons one it is OpenID2 enabled AND it has cool group bookmark sharing features.

Looking ahead to eTel – What do you think I should talk about?

In the coming year I am speaking at O’Reilly’s emerging Telephony conference identity.

I attended the show last year and learned a bit about how that whole space.

  • How traditional telco’s think
  • The latest on VOIP beyond Skype and
  • I had never heard of Astrerix before (it is open source PBX software for office phone networks that are jacked into the web).

This month I will be discerning what I might want to talk about. I am open to unsolicited suggestions from the community. This is my talk description.

I think my best angle is as a consumer advocate because when I end up in ‘telco land’ that is most often how I feel. They just don’t get me, my communication needs nor do they want to have a real conversation. There is a reason that I have my ‘gheto’ MetroPC 3+ year old phone (it is so old that my provider recently turned outgoing text messaging turned off). I want a little computer that works but I have a Mac so I can’t get a windows phone (I just wouldn’t on principle). You walk into a celphone store and ask if any of the handsets they have work on Linux they look at you like you are from outerspace.

This post was inspired by Open Gardens ranting about why there are so few cool data applications. Because handset makers and carriers have decided that my data is not my data….

3. Unlock the user’s data. Many operators (especially in the US) make it very difficult for an application to access the user’s data stored on the device, such as the address book, the dialer, and the user’s current location. But many of the most interesting new mobile applications need to be able to work with this information. The operators are afraid to give access to this data, but they’ll need to adopt the same security model used on the Web — let the user do what they want, and defend the device via security software. It’s ugly, but it worked in the fixed line world.

The other reason I am on my current phone that has unlimited and local calling and long distance for a flat fee that only works in the bay area. To travel I end up with a pay by reasonably priced minute from t-mobile. The reason is in part to manage costs. I can’t afford the crazy bills that I have heard people getting for “going over their minutes.” This is especially true for me because I have no land line. When I have brought this concern up like I did at SuperNova last year it is sort of dismissed saying well we can’t do things for free. I was like. I don’t want things for FREE I want reasonably priced good services and not hidden ways you gouge me. Some how this concept is hard to understand. He continues.

5. Get ready to go to a flat rate for everything. The logical outcome of putting the open web on a mobile device is that voice and data merge under a single flat fee. If a Skype call is free, then eventually all calls need to be free, or the users will just switch everything to Skype. Same thing for SMS messages once they’re directly in conflict with instant messaging. The operators’ old financial model won’t evaporate overnight, but I believe it’s now officially dying. I think the race is now on for full flat-rate mobile pricing. The operator that moves to the new model fastest stands to gain the most customers.

I will be one of them. As long as I have decent pricing in Canada. All the celphone stores I went into recently said that it was like 60 or 80 cents a min for canada. That is like saying you don’t have coverage there. I would like to see 10 cents a min and would even be willing to pay up to 25. I don’t mind paying for things. I just don’t like getting ripped off.

Scott Says: Data is the New Software

I like the sound of that could it be Data 2.0?

Scott Keveton has a great post on why the big guys should adopt OpenID and hopefully Open Standards for Data too. He has three more reasons besides these two great ones:

Data is the new software: People may laugh at me on this, but its not the software. Software is effectively free now. Content management systems, wikis, blogs and even operating systems are commodities now. Its what you do with the software that is interesting. Its the sets of data that you can create and correlate together that are really, really interesting. Just look at Google. They arguably use more open source (aka free software) than anybody around. Its how they hook that software together and correlate the data from their users that’s the interesting stuff. Now, when you have lots of data, identifying who did what becomes the key. We haven’t had a thin layer of identity to do this in the past. OpenID gives us that layer of identity and more importantly a way for users and sites to correlate and better represent data that the users are creating.

Data + Identity == GoodStuff: As per my last item, data coupled to identity is really interesting. What’s even more interesting than that are the things you can do with identity and data coupled together. Now that I am this one identity for all of the places that I’m going on the Internet, I can really start to provide some services for that OpenID that I couldn’t before. Attributes, reputation, trust and social networking are some of the interesting areas to look at when it comes to OpenID in 2007

Liberty 2.0

Well this should be a fun day in January Liberty 2.0. It is the week of Doc’s workshop on VRM at CNET.

It features Identity Gang favorites like Eve Maler, Conor Cahill, Paul Madson and Mary Rudy from Higgins.

If done well it should be a great opportunity to support the Web 2.0 social network crowd to wrap their heads around the Liberty People Service Spec that as far as I can tell is the only good way to move social graphs around that respect privacy. I think they should put an advertisement on TechCrunch for a week to spread the word.

Tricorder information

So we thought we had problems with RFID chips floating around. Well just wait until these little gadgets can start scanning us. This is coming up now I am going through my notes from the past 6 months in my little black book and finding out about all sorts of little things. I took this note down while at OSCON talking to people about the cool things from the prior year’s FooCamp. This was what Susan Crawford had to say about it.

Scott Gray (ex-LearningLab) has a couple of things to talk about. (I’m sure he has many things to talk about — he’s irrepressible and superlative by nature.) First, he wants to tell us about what he thinks is the BEST TECHNOLOGY EVER.

What is it? It’s using spectrum that we have trouble generating (terahertz gap spectrum, between microwave and infra red) that can bounce through materials safely and tell us what’s inside. He’s telling us that organic materials resonate at these frequencies. So you can point a reader (a tricorder) at yourself and see whether you have cancer, or a virus, or you can point at a road and see whether there’s a bomb buried there. The detector technology for this spectrum is very advanced, but it’s expensive and difficult (right now) to generate the waves. There’s a company that is working hard on this, and Scott thinks there’s a huge future here.

He notes that Star Trek gave us the communicator, and Get Smart the slamming doors — this will be a Star Trek device that we’ll carry around.

Then he switches gears and talks about online education. He’s into training people how to program by putting a lot of effort into technology (so they have a live terminal view of their environment) and not that much into teachers. Teachers can be coaches, answering queued-up questions. Students can be exploring, education can be cheap, and it can all be constructive. No simulations, no self-grading, and lots of interaction between teacher and student. No one-sided lectures (he got some reaction here from people who pointed out that we got interested in his first topic because he told us about the Star Trek link; context and scaffolding helps). He’s working hard on how to educate asynchronously.

The Trustable Web(log) begins

I met Mike for the first time at IIW2006a in May. I am not totally sure how he got there (I am sure that is a subject of a few blog posts) but some how it was through the Imergence project.

He is a non-engineer and relative “newbie” in the community. In discerning what identity is all about he has come to the conclusion that it is about the “trustable” web….“the continued evolution of the Internet to the point that it can deliver what I want, how I want it, in a way that I can control…and trust.”

The third great evolutionary phase will be a “full service” phase. This will be characterized by letting “others” do the work or provide the service, without an undue amount of work on the part of the individual receiving the benefit. This is the “set it and forget it” model where we get what we want, when we want it. This phase will be enabled by technology, but it will rely more on how people come to “trust” those with whom they interact. This is the “trustable” web.

The trustable web will come about as the result of three fundamental changes: one technical, one structural, and one relational. The combination will result in a new user-experience, where an individual can “empower” or “trust” the “network” to do things that simplify, enrich, and improve everyday life. The trustable web will be: (1) user-centric, (2) user-controlled, and (3) user-empowered.

I have had a few conversations with him about the intellectual and market framework outlined. It is quite exciting and I can’t wait to keep reading in the new year.

Getting better Virtual Worlds

I found the belo description of and IBMers experience of a meeting in Second Life and it highlighted the big challenges that virtual world. I personally have given up on Second Life and await a new virtual world that is actually usable. I had high hopes and even founded the Identity Gang. I am by no means techno-illiterate. I can handle new interfaces but SL’s is just so un-intuative. Then on top of that basically every time I went to login in the past several months I was asked to download a new Client. WHY! I have no idea but nothing was apparently better (usually for software programs or browsers the new version actually does something apparently new and better). Then a few months back they had a ‘break in’ and some how I couldn’t get to mine and I was going to have to call them to get a login.

Franz Dill had this to say about SL:

Not all of the participants (including me) were highly skilled at controlling their character, so there was lots of bumping, colliding and fidgeting before getting people in their seats.

Like most SL presentations this consists of words typed in a chat box and supporting visuals. The visuals, though, require some adeptness with zooming in to a screen, also something more of an advanced technique. As a result the visuals were mostly just repetitions of the chat text. While the presentation goes on, you can IM other people in the crowd to create a back conversation, but that too can become confusing, and if you type in the wrong box, your acid comment becomes part of the public presentation!

Once the short presentation was over, we were invited to group teleport to a number of venues that IBM and their clients had developed. Teleporting groups is also something that the interface does not do well, so with each teleport some folks were left behind. You could also fly there, if you knew the way.

UX and OpenID the hickups are beginning

The weather that Tom brings us on OpenID is mixed but good in the long run. He says that community is what counts :)

Here’s what I learned enabling the sites with OpenID:The Good: OpenID registration is a beautiful thing. The legacy registration page on Stuffopolis can be scrapped. Once that happens, validating email addresses, requiring passwords and lost password security questions for new members will be forever outsourced to the OpenID providers (those that your website trusts).

The Bad: When introducing OpenID, it is a breeze for new members coming to the site, but it can be a little confusing for existing members who registered with the legacy credentials. When those existing members find out about the OpenID option, instead of logging in with the legacy credentials to add the OpenID to their account, they often log in with their new OpenID instead. This log-in will attempt to create a new account by fetching simple registration data from their identity provider. If their email address (sent by their identity provider) matches the one already registered with their legacy account, they can be given some instructions, but sometimes it doesn’t match and now we have a problem because if they go back and log in with the legacy credentials, they can’t associate their new OpenID to it because another account (the one they accidentally created) now has that OpenID.

Update 12/17: What I need to do is when a member goes to his profile page and attempts to modify his OpenID, after a successful OpenID authentication, if the site detects that there is another account with the same OpenID, then the site will ask the member to confirm that he wants the other account deleted, making sure there is only one account with that OpenID.

The Ugly: Now that some popular open source packages (wordpress, mediawiki, phpBB) support OpenID, the software should honor each other’s OpenID sessions so that someone who logs into mediawiki with his OpenID doesn’t get presented with an OpenID login form when he visits phpBB, for instance. Although this isn’t a huge problem, it is a little ugly and it seems it will require a standard way of registering OpenID apps on a system so that an OpenID session state change in one app will inform the others.

In a nutshell: OpenID is still immature, but it has an extraordinarily committed community behind it and when it comes to software, that’s what counts.

2006 Predictions: How good were they?

Last year’s predictions included this:

4. Collaboration applications will get in the identity game.
One of the areas that will suddenly find itself in the middle of the identity conversation will be collaboration applications — by that we mean blogs, feedreaders, wikis, etc. The new “social networking” applications will start to seriously go after the identity game in 2006.

Grade: 1.
Reasoning: I could argue that this prediction should be graded higher in light of the blogosphere’s adoption of identity protocols, but alas, my general sense is that collaboration applications (and those in the “web 2.0″ world) are still largely seeing identity as somebody else’s problem.

I think that this year will see collaboration tools begin to adopt. It took a while for this to happen because OpenID was not there yet and none of the collaboration tool folks want to worry about which protocol will win they just want it to work. With my position on the ground in the Web2.0 market I have had conversations with small ecologies of companies who ‘get’ that their users are shared with other companies. The Office 2.0 crowd was very enthusiastic about the potential for OpenID to offer SSO to their ecology.

5. URL-based identity will gain some traction.
Yes, we’re following the URL-based identity work. Yes, we think its important. Yes, we think it will accomplish some interoperability tests in 2006. Yes, we think it will gain some traction with the alpha geek community — and stop just short of a critical mass. Watch for URL-based identity to create a deeper understanding of identity for a larger community.

Grade: 5.
Reasoning: OpenID, OSIS, Higgins, Cardspace, Sxip — the list goes on and on. The work happening in the URL-based identity space is now not only driven by the smaller players, but the larger ones (like Verisign) as well. URL-based identity made an *awful* lot of progress in 2006, but didn’t reach critical mass.

Yep. Lot so of good stuff happened this year. Congratulations to everyone on working hard together to make all this good stuff happen.

6. Identity comes to Search.
Call this one something that happens in an alpha state in 2006. Either Yahoo!, Microsoft or Google will either announce or release an early version of a search product that brings identity profiles to bear. Somebody get me Vint Cerf on the phone! ;-)

Grade: 1.
Reasoning: Another one that I *wished* would’ve happened, but didn’t. While Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google all made some pushes into personalized search (close), no one truly launched identity-based search based on profiles (but no cigar).

Yes this certainly didn’t happen this year. I think that all will happen is market setting so it can maybe happen in 2008. With Doc’s work on VRM and the coming of several identity across the web aggregation tools (ones that you do like ClaimID and ones that happen to you like Wink, and Spock). The ground work is being laid for this to become more real.

10. The Divide between User-centric and Enterprise Identity management is the number one conversation in 2006.
Its something we’ve identified and focused on for some time — the two different conversations that are “user-centric” identity and “enterprise identity.” The historical gap between these two areas is now being addressed by serious folks in the identity game — and 2006 will see this be the most powerful conversation in the land.

Grade: 5.
Reasoning: I’d give us a “10” on this one if I could. User-centric identity dominated the discussion in nearly all identity circles in 2006.

We were the talk of the town this year. It was fun to have so many great conversations at so many event. Next year hopefully more of the legal folks will join in so we can get some of the governance right. Code 2.0 goes on and on about the coming identity layer and governance.