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Who am I?

Technorati Profile

I'm currently a tech lead/manager at Google, working on Blogger engineering.

I'm formerly a system architect and technical manager for web based products at AOL. I last managed development for Journals and Favorites Plus.  I've helped launch Public & Private Groups, Polls, and Journals for AOL.

History:

Around 1991, before the whole Web thing, I began mycareer at a startup which intended to compete with Intuit's Quickensoftware on the then-new Windows 3.0 platform.  This was greatexperience, especially in terms of what not to do[*]. In 1993 Itook a semi-break from the software industry to go to graduate school at UCSanta Cruz.  About this time Usenet, ftp, and email started to beaugmented by the Web.  I was primarily interested in machinelearning, software engineering, and user interfaces rather thanhypertext, though, so I ended up writing a thesis on the use of UI usabilityanalysis in software engineering.

Subsequently, I worked for a startup that essentially attempted to doFlash before the Web really took hold, along with a few other things. We had plugins for Netscape and IE in '97.  I played a variety of roles-- API designer, technical documentation manager, information designer,project manager, and development manager.  In '98 the company was acquired by CAand Imoved shortly thereafter to the combination of AtWeb/Netscape/AOL. (While I was talking to a startup called AtWeb, they were acquired byNetscape and Netscape was in turn acquired by AOL -- an employmenttrifecta.)

At AtWeb Itransitioned to HTML UIs and web servers, working on web and emaillistserver management software before joining the AOL Communitydevelopment group.  I worked as a principal software engineer andthenengineering manager.  I've managed the engineering team for theAOLJournals product from its inception in 2003 until the present time;I've also managed the Groups@AOL, Polls, Rostering, and IM Botsprojects.

What else have I been doing? I've followed and promoted the C++ standardization process andcontributed a tiny amount to the Boost library effort.  On a sidenote, I've taught courses inobject oriented programming, C++, Java,and template metaprogramming for UCSC Extension, and published two articles in the C++ Users Journal.

I'm interested in software engineering, process and agile methods, Webstandards, language standards, generic programming, informationarchitectures, user interface design, machine learning, evolution, anddisruptive innovation,

Popular posts from this blog

Personal Web Discovery (aka Webfinger)

There's a particular discovery problem for open and distributed protocols such as OpenID, OAuth, Portable Contacts, Activity Streams, and OpenSocial.  It seems like a trivial problem, but it's one of the stumbling blocks that slows mass adoption.  We need to fix it.  So first, I'm going to name it:

The Personal Web Discovery Problem:  Given a person, how do I find out what services that person uses?
This does sound trivial, doesn't it?  And it is easy as long as you're service-centric; if you're building on top of social network X, there is no discovery problem, or at least only a trivial one that can be solved with proprietary APIs.  But what if you want to build on top of X,Y, and Z?  Well, you write code to make the user log in to each one so you can call those proprietary APIs... which means the user has to tell you their identity (and probably password) on each one... and the user has already clicked the Back button because this is complicated and annoying.

XAuth is a Lot Like Democracy

XAuth is a lot like democracy:  The worst form of user identity prefs, except for all those others that have been tried (apologies to Churchill).  I've just read Eran's rather overblown "XAuth - a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea", and I see that the same objections are being tossed around; I'm going to rebut them here to save time in the future.

Let's take this from the top.  XAuth is a proposal to let browsers remember that sites have registered themselves as a user's identity provider and let other sites know if the user has a session at that site.  In other words, it has the same information as proprietary solutions that already exist, except that it works across multiple identity providers.  It means that when you go to a new website, it doesn't have to ask you what your preferred services are, it can just look them up.  Note that this only tells the site that you have an account with Google or Yahoo or Facebook or Twitter, not what the…
Twister is interesting.  It's a decentralized "microblogging" system based on putting together existing protocols:  Bitcoin, distributed hash tables, and Bittorrent.  The most interesting part for me is using Bitcoin for user registration and spam control.  Federated systems handle this with federated trust, which is at least conceptually simple.  The Twister/Bitcoin mechanism looks intriguing though I don't know enough about Bitcoin to really comment.  Need to read further.