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Showing posts from February, 2007

The Door Whisperer

I'm playing around a bit more with our Journals mobile upload feature.  It not only lets you blog photos, but also short videos.  Here's my son learning how to command doors:

I've got it set up to drop the results into a draft blog first, then previewing and copying the results over to a public blog later.  It'd be nice to automate that step a bit more.  Sometimes you really don't want to liveblog your mobile life.

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OpenID podcast (

John Mills just put up the podcast for the first idCast discussion from yesterday.  I really enjoyed talking with Jon, Gabe, Drummond, Scott, Mike, and Dmitry about OpenID.  I think the discussion around XFN, microformats, and OpenID is just getting started.  (And I apologize to everyone for my flaky mike or network or whatever the problem was -- Jon did a great job of cleaning things up.)

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The value of open identity

This seems to be turning into OpenID Month, but Fred Stutzman just posted a great explanatory article about OpenID at  OpenID and the Value of Connected Identity.  It does an especially nice job going beyond the single-signon aspect and talking about the value of connecting all your the various relationship networks together, with you in control over how they're used.

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Your blog is your OpenID

As of this morning's Journals update, you now have a couple of new choices to use for your OpenID:
- or -
When would you want to use one of these instead of  It depends on what you're doing.  If you're leaving a comment over on a LiveJournal, you may want to point back at your blog so they can come and comment on yours.  This lets you do that in a verified way.  If you have more than one blog, the first URL gives a synopsis of all your blogs, and you may want to hand that out instead.  These are for experimentation only at this point and may change, so please don't use one of these for a permanent identity quite yet.  They both delegate to so all three are effectively transparent aliases of each other.  Which one you use is up to you.

Another subtle change:  When someone comments on your blog, their screen name now links to a sea…

Digg += OpenID!

I'm about to run out the door, but just had to blog (flog?) this:  Digg will support OpenID!  This is obviously huge, and particularly cool for us considering the features we're about to put into production for AOL Journals tonight.

(There are so many OpenID announcements that I feel the need for shorthand.  Thus, "X += OpenID", plus ! for a particularly good move.)

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AOL and 63 Million OpenIDs (from

I'm following up on the OpenID discussion over at, I blogged about AOL's work-in-progress on OpenID. It generated a lot of positive commentary.I realized after reading the reactions that I buried the lead: Thereare now 63 million AOL/AIM OpenIDs. Anyone can get one by signing upfor a free AIM account. This is cool.(full article)

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AOL and OpenID: Where we are

It's not really a secretthatAOL has been experimenting with OpenID.  As I've said, I think that user-centric, interoperable identity is hugely important to enable the social experiences we're trying to provide.  This is a work in progress, but things are coming along thanks to our authentication team's diligent effort.  Here's where we are today: Every AOL/AIM user now has at least one OpenID URI,<sn>.
This experimental OpenID 1.1 Provider service is available now and we are conducting compatibility tests. We're working with OpenID relying parties to resolve compatibility issues. Our blogging platform has enabled basic OpenID 1.1 in beta, so every beta blog URI is also a basic OpenID identifier.  (No Yadis yet.) We don't yet accept OpenID identities within our products as a relying party, but we're actively working on it.  That roll-out is likely to be gradual.
We are tracking the OpenID 2.0 standardization effort and plan t…

How many different identities can one person sanely manage?

...asks John Udell, in Critical mass and social network fatigue.  I'd argue that the answer is about one and a half, in the long run.  (The Shockwave Rider pushed it a lot further, but then he was founding cyberpunk.  Also, he was fictional.)

When "identity" was just basically a system-local nickname used between you and a service, having multiple names for yourself was a minor inconvenience at worst, and sometimes mildly useful for privacy.  Now that the services are more and more intermediaries between people, nicknames are a problem.  Jon notes:
Years ago at BYTE Magazine my friend Ben Smith, who was a Unixgreybeard even then (now he’s a Unix whitebeard), made a memorablecomment that’s always stuck with me. We were in the midst of evaluatinga batch of LAN email products. “One of these days,” Ben said in, Ithink, 1991, “everyone’s going to look up from their little islands ofLAN email and see this giant mothership hovering overhead called theInternet.”
Yep.  Email is stil…

Jangl, community, Internets

I'm hanging out at the Community Next conference at Stanford this afternoon.  A couple of quick takes:

Jangl provides control over who can call you; put a widget on your web page and people can call you but not get your real phone number.  And Jangl lets you control who actually gets through.  Really a feature that the cell phone companies should provide but don't -- so if Jangl is successful, will the telecoms just copy it?

Also, from skinnyCorp:

(Don't you just ask people to roll coins through the tubes?)

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The Essential Hardness of Programming

Software engineering's preoccupation is the arrangement of bits,as opposed to atoms. One of the properties of bit arrangements is that their marginalmanufacturing cost is zero; once you have an arrangement of bits, youcan make as many exact copies of that arrangement as necessary,whenever and wherever they're needed.  By contrast, an arrangement ofatoms such as a bridge has a large marginal manufacturing cost, even ifyou just want an exact copy.  Further, there are few physical limits tobits, while there are sharp physical limits to atoms.  The only reallimit to bit arrangement is the human brain, and economics (how badlypeople want bits arranged in particular ways). 

These are the fundamental reasons why nearly every software engineering project is attempting new design, and is thus hard. This is because, in the world of software, design equals bitarrangements and copying a prior bit arrangement has zero cost. Finding an appropriate bit arrangement used to have substantial co…