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                    Archive for Feb 2004


                    An Eclipse Plug-In Gives jBoss an IDE

                    I've used jBoss, the open source application server for several years now. jBoss supports security, clustering, load balancing, and transactions. Its CMP (container-managed persistence) works and while it can be a little trouble to configure, the price is right. One of the things jBoss has lacked however, that costlier alternatives from BEA and IBM had, was an IDE. That's changed now with the release of a jBoss plug-in for Eclipse. If you've never used Eclipse, its a very nice, open source IDE that has gotten a lot of plug-in support from open source projects and commercial vendors alike. For example,
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                    CTO Breakfast

                    This morning was the first ever CTO Breakfast. I was originally calling it a CTO Forum, but there was already something run UITA with that name and, besides, it was just too formal for what we wanted to achieve. There are plenty of forums in Utah for entrepreneurs, people seeking funding, and so on, but no place where you can just get together and talk geek. That's what the CTO Breakfast is. The folks at Canyon View Technology Park were kind enough to give me the use of one of the conference rooms just off the food court; we grab
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                    Why Keep Blogging?

                    Robert Scoble asks why anyone keeps blogging. He replies: Because I have found no other way to meet as many geeks, see as much technology, have as many interesting conversations with interesting people, and make things happen for so many people, as my blog. From Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger Referenced Thu Feb 26 2004 10:46:47 GMT-0700 Amen.
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                    Object-Level Security Through Accountability

                    Doug Kaye reports from the RSA conference on a talk by Dan Geer on the disappearing perimeter. I wish I'd been there. Dan, who's now Chief Scientist of Verdasys, has written a paper on the topic (you'll have to squirt your identity information at them before they give up the goods). In the paper, Dan makes an interesting proposition: "Information security is what distinguishes information that has economic value from information that does not." He goes on: Security is an economic issue just as quality and reliability are economic issues. While the means to accomplish any of them are technical,
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                    Using User Mode Linux

                    I've taught a course in large-scale distributed computing for five years now at BYU. The course requires that students, working in groups, manage their own Linux machine, including server installation and configuration. One of my goals in the lab portion of the class is to give students a feel for how much effort is required to get a server set up right and how fickle configuration can be. Along the way, they learn a little system administration and lose any fear they might have had about setting up Linux. Traditionally, the lab has consisted of a few rooms packed with
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                    Interplanetary Roadside Assistance

                    Last month, I wrote briefly about Spirit's file management problems. A recent article in EE Times gives the details. The Spirit rover runs a hardened R6000 CPU from Lockheed Martin and has 120Mb of RAM and 256 Mb of flash. The OS is Wind River System's Vx-Works version 5.3.1, with its flash file system extension. After the problem was fixed, JPL engineers found a detailed log file which gave them a detailed look at the problem and that's the basis for the sequence of events in the article.
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                    Crucial Committee Meeting on SB66 Tomorrow!

                    The House Public Utilities and Technology Committee ( Committee Schedule) will be holding a hearing on SB66, the UTOPIA killer, Wednesday at 4pm in Room 225. If you've never attended a legislative committee meeting before, you'll enjoy this little exposure to sausage making. Its vital that the committee see a room full of UTOPIA supporters, not a room full of Qwest employees and US West retirees. Please go and support UTOPIA. If this bill passes, UTOPIA will be dead and so will Utah's chance to be a broadband leader instead of the broadband backwater that Qwest and Comcast are offering
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                    Large Scale SOA Deployment Dramtically Increases Complexity

                    Independent applications before SOA is put in place Service oriented architectures (SOAs) are about reuse. The goal of a service-oriented architecture is to build applications using modules that (1) look like network services, (2) are potentially very far away and (3) perhaps owned by someone else. There are some significant benefits to be had including reduced hardware expenses, fewer systems to operate and maintain, and better software reuse. All of these benefits come at the expense of significantly increased complexity. Let's see why. The two figures to the right show schematically what can happen to add this complexity. The
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                    Creating XHTML Blog Entries with Emacs and HTMLTidy

                    Jon Udell has been experimenting with XHTML content in his blog and RSS feeds for some time now and gotten some interesting results. This line of inquiry is interesting to me as well, but I haven't had time to play too much with the actual processing. What I have started doing, however, was ensuring, as much as possible, that the content of my posts is in proper XHTML form. Here's how I do that. First, I write all my posts in Emacs before I post them using Radio. I'd given up on Radio's built-in browser-based editor long ago and have
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                    The FTC ID Theft Clearinghouse

                    Growth in ID theft complaints to the FTC, 1999-2003 I came across a report from the FTC identity theft clearinghouse that shows ID theft growth over the last few years, or at least the growth in the complaints to the FTC. In 2000, there were 31,117 complaints to the FTC. In 2003, there were 210,000 (projected). The FTC site for identity theft has a lot of information. Unfortunately, much of it is in PDF, so its hard to link to or use other than just downloading and reading the document. The consumer side is pretty well fleshed out, but
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                    SB66 Passes the Utah Senate

                    SB66, the UTOPIA killer bill, passed the Utah Senate yesterday. The bill would make the tax restrictions on the project so onerous that the project will never happen. This is too bad, since I believe UTOPIA to be a significant step forward for Utah. With UTOPIA, we're broadband leaders. Without UTOPIA, we're broadband also-rans. Several Senators tried to substitute other bills, or amend the bill, so that it more of a compromise and didn't outright kill UTOPIA, but in the end, QWEST won this fight. I'm very disappointed, but the fight isn't over yet---there's still the house. I urge
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                    Free Amazon Web Services Workshop

                    Jeff Barr, the Chief Evangelist for Amazon's Web Services (AWS) wrote to let me know about another Amazon Web Services day. They did the original at last year's ETCon in Santa Clara. This one's in San Francisco on March 17th, and like last time, its free. I blogged last year's event. If you want to understand more about how AWS works and see some great examples of it in use, then this is a great event to attend.
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                    Digital Rights Management Slides

                    I gave a talk today to about 200 people on digital rights management. I asked for pointers last month and got some good advice. Here are my slides (PDF).
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                    Object-Based Storage Devices

                    When I first heard about Object-Based Storage devices, I thought this was an object-oriented database idea. I've had some bad experiences with OODBs, so I wasn't all that interested, but as it turns out, OSDs are not at all about OODBs. The idea behind OSDs is pretty straightforward. A traditional file server consists of a file server, running a high level operating system, and one or more disks. Regardless of the speed of the disks, the file server ultimately limits the bandwidth between clients and the disks. An OSD moves some of the processing power of the server onto the
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                    Sleepycat's DB XML

                    I just finished installing Sleepycat's XML database product on my TiBook. I had a few issues, but finally got it to where I can consistently build it. John Merrell's FAQ was helpful. I was having problems, so I made sure I was updated to GCC 3.3 (install the latest developer tools), fixed a problem with the location of jni.h in the latest Java distribution from Apple, wiped out all the directories, did a fresh install of all the sources (DB XML requires three other packages as prerequisites) and then ran the script John provides, changing only the version numbers
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                    Bluetooth and CDMA

                    PhoneScoop has word of a new Motorola CDMA phone with bluetooth. Word is that Verizon would carry it. Maybe Sprint will as well? One can only hope.
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                    Enjoy the Politics of Difference

                    John Gotze talked to Mr. Safe recently. The conversation is about whether to use RSS 2.0 or RSS 1.0 since they're both part of the Danish Government's Reference Profile (which I had a hand in creating). John's advice to Mr. Safe was to publish both formats. Here's the most important part of the conversation: Mr Safe: When will things settle a bit more? Me: When pigs fly. Enjoy the politics of difference. From Gotzeblogged: Talking to Mr SafeReferenced Tue Feb 17 2004 14:48:10 GMT-0700 In general that's good advice for anyone using any part of Web services. Just do
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                    Dornfest on RSS

                    Technology Review has an interview with Rael Dorfest. The primary topic of the interview is "alpha geeks," a term Tim O'Reilly coined to refer to the people shaping technology trends. At one point Rael talks about RSS as a Web services technology that's gaining traction. TR: What makes RSS so important? DORNFEST: It's one of the most widely deployed Web services around. It's easily decentralized. Blogging, because of RSS, has gone from a popularity contest--how many times has my site been pinged?--to discovery of information. The browse metaphor for search has gone by the wayside. I think that RSS
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                    Its Joe Albertson's Supermarket, But the IT Department is Mine

                    Baseline has a feature on Albertson's this month. I have to admit that Albertson's is one of the companies I've always wanted to work for. There's a few reasons: (a) I grew up in Idaho and wouldn't mind a chance to have a challenging job in Boise and (b) I grew up in the grocery business--my Dad owned a grocery store for years and I spent a lot of my time there. The article talks about Albertson's technology challenges and its fight for market share with Wal-Mart. Most retailers pull in sales data from their "point-of-sale system"--once known as
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                    Commerce One Conductor Takes on Integration

                    Business processes typically cut across system boundaries and require the interoperability and choreography of multiple systems. Yet, most enterprise-level support systems focus instead on one task without thinking about working with other systems. Web services promise to solve the problems of integrating these enterprise systems and most vendors already support basic Web services protocols -- but the real problem is that tricky integration process. There are basically three choices to integrate systems with Web services: (1) write a custom application in Java or some other programming language that interfaces with enterprise systems and creates the integrated functionality; (2) buy
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                    How to Own the Box

                    While I was at ETCon, I picked up a copy of Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box. A friend of mine, John Elsey, recommended the book to me at dinner last week and so I was looking for it. From the title, you'd think this is an instruction book, and it is in a way, but with a twist. How to Own the Box is written as a series of vignettes into the activities of ten fictional white-hat and black-hat hackers. While the stories are fictional, the commands are real. The book contains detailed information on tricks,
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                    Speed Reading Eastern Standard Tribe

                    Danny Ayers pointed me at Trevor Smith's speed reader applet loaded with Cory's new book, Eastern Standard Tribe. I tried it out for 5 minutes and got through 3% of the book. Not bad. I've got the hardcover and this is actually something, I'd rather savor than rush through since Cory is thought provoking, so I'll read it the old fashion way, but I think the idea has promise. The applet shows you the words one at a time and let you control how fast they come. You can move pretty fast. This would be ideal on a Palm
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                    ETCon 2004: Danny O'Brien on Life Hacks

                    Danny O'Brien talks on Life Hacks Danny O'Brien gave a great talk on how alpha geeks manage their life. I was enjoying the talk and didn't take notes, but Cory Doctorow did. Some highlights: Alpha geeks use shells Alpha geeks use text-editors like BBEdit, vi, and emacs Alpha geeks try every application, but usually end up back with editors and email. They don't trust complicated apps. Private, secret blogs and RSS are taking the place of todo.txt files and email alerts. Alpha geeks write scripts to take apart dull, repetitive tasks All alpha geeks back up. They've all learned
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                    ETCon 2004: Eat Me and I'll Kill You

                    Marc Smith delivers Wednesday's keynote Every product has a story to tell and some of them say "If you eat me, I'll kill you." So says Marc Smith, Microsoft's resident sociologists. Marc is describing a research project called AURA. Combine a PocketPC, a barcode reader, and Wi-Fi or mobile wireless and you've got the ability to find out lots of information about any product with a barcode. The project maps barcodes to names. Once that's done, all kinds of things are possible: Google the result for news, images, and other information. Annotate the product packaging Offer alternatives Show how
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                    RSS Use at Disney

                    I had to choose between Robert Kaye's file sharing talk and the talk on Disney use of RSS, but Ross Mayfield went to that one and did a nice write-up.
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                    ETCon 2004 and DDTI Photos

                    I've posted some photos from the Digital Democracy Teach-In and the Emerging Technology Conference to my photo gallery. This was the first time I used Zach Wily's iPhoto2Gallery plug-in for iPhoto and my first real use of iPhoto 4.0. The plug-in worked great and made uploading pictures a breeze. iPhoto 4.0 is much faster and didn't hang at all as I used it. All in all, a much improved experience.
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                    Kill Apps for Your Cell Phone

                    Rael Dornfest and others are talking mobile hacks. There was lots of fun things, but here's a few killer cell phone apps I didn't want to lose track of: Opera - a real browser for your phone. Agile Messenger - a better IM client for your phone. miniGPS - location-based alerts and messeging for your phone. For more info, you might try MobileWhack or Howard Forums.
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                    ETCon 2004: Robert Kaye on Social Networking-Based File Sharing Networks

                    Robert Key advocates Bluetooth this year Robert Kaye (slides) is describing social network file sharing systems. The primary purpose of the social group is to share, discover, and protect network. He proposes a hierarchy or tribes, chiefdoms, and states with leaders at each level and "tribal elders" who set the policies about who gets in. This sets the trust network. Strict policies limit search horizons, large search horizons limit security. Social networks can grow quickly. The trick is to balance growth and security. Weak ties from social networks are stronger that random P2P connections. The networks lets you explore
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                    ETCon 2004: Fluid Time: Scheduling Washing Macines

                    I went to a talk on the Fluid Time Project by Molly Steenson and Michael Keislinger (slides [PDF]) . Some interesting social findings on how time works in groups, but the most interesting part to me was the discussion of instrumenting washing machines in a student housing project and then providing scheduling for them. The system negotiates schedule changes, sends alerts when the laundry's done that depend on how busy the machines are and how prompt the person usually is, and lets users check the status of the machine using their phone. A long time ago, out of frustration,
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                    ETCon 2004: Dave Sifry on Technorati

                    Dave Sifry talks up Technorati I'm at the session being done by Dave Sifry, creator of Technorati.com Over 1.6 million sources tracked 11,000 new weblogs created everyday, up from 4-5K per day in March 2003. About 35% of weblogs are abandoned (no posts in 3 months) Over 100,000 updates per day. Median time from weblog post to live index (on Technorati) is 7 minutes. This makes the engine usable for tracking weblog conversations. The nice thing about Technorati is that it tracks deep links. Almost no one links to www.amazon.com. They link to some specific page on Amazon (which,
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                    ETCon 2004: Tim O'Reilly Keynote

                    What's on Tim's Radar: The net is the platform. The new killer apps of the Internet, eBay, Yahoo!, Amazon.com, PayPal, Mapquest, and others are on the O'Reilly best seller list, but moreover, are running on a new platform called the Internet. The software lives somewhere other than your local machine. These apps run on open source, but themselves are not open source. Tim compares Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Amazon has harnessed the user community, but B&N has not. Amazon outsells B&N. Mapquest has not offered any social services. GeoURL and GeoAnnotation are some interesting projects in this area. Microsoft's
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                    DDTI: Emergent Democracy Worldwide

                    Joi Ito and Ethan Zuckerman are doing a session on Emergent Democracy Worldwide. Joi mentions that much of what we're talking about today is America and white and not generalizable to the rest of the world. Ethan says he's the token African today to show how much we're fighting for diversity. How does this play once we get out of the highly wired, rich United States? While blogs have done a good job of giving alternative views of alternative stories, we haven't done a good job of covering news. In response to a plea for Japanese to have more influence
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                    DDTI: Advocacy as Application

                    Jon Lebkowsky leads the Advocacy as Application panel Jon Lebkowsky is moderating a panel on Advocacy as an Application. The other panelists are Bill Greene, from RightMarch.com, Adina Levin, from EFF-Austin, Jonah Seiger, from the Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet, and Cory Doctorow, from EFF. Jonah leads out talking about how tools can facilitate advocacy. These are evolutions of things that started long ago. The essence of MeetUp is online organizing for offline action. The business world is about making something bigger than what you started with. Applications are useless without users. The tools are only half
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                    DDTI: eVoting Panel

                    The eVoting panel went well (at least I thought so). While I couldn't blog it, several other people did. Here is Ross Mayfield's entry. I think the summary of the panel would be: The current systems and process leave a lot to be desired. But, they're not going away. So techies need to be involved to solve the problem. Here's some ideas about how to get involved: Start with your county clerk and find out what election system your county uses and how it is certified. What issues do they face? Is there a way you can help them?
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                    DDTI: Wes Boyd on MoveOn.org

                    Wes Boyd, of MoveOn is talking about "Bringing Ordinary People Back into Politics." Broadcast is about story telling and story telling is about conflict. Attack and defend leads to cynicism. Everyone backs away and watches on TV. MoveOn started as online petition during the Clinton impeachment. In four days, 23,276 people signed the petition. They realized that these were people who were looking to be heard and they could be reached cheaply. In 2001 MoveOn asked people what they cared about. The answers were Campaign Finance Reform, Energy, and the Environment. MoveOn has been effective in raising money around specific
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                    DDTI: Traditional Media and Digital Democracy

                    Dan Gillmor, San Jose Mercury News, Jeff Jarvis, Advance.net, and Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism Professor are doing a panel called "Gatekeepers No More? The Grassroots Challenges the Journalist Priesthood." Jay asks the question: what makes the moment different? Public opinion grew up hundreds of years ago as a balance to the power of the crown. The idea applied to a small percentage of the people, but the organization was egalitarian. Overtime, the small group grew to include almost everyone, that is, we consider "the public" to be everyone. As it grew large, however, the ability participate declined. People have perennially
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                    DDTI: Effective Political Blogging

                    Effective Political Blogging panel Doc Searls, Halley Suitt, Mitch Radcliffe, Cameron Barrett, and Dave Weinberger are doing a panel on effective political blogging. Cam is talking about his efforts to help the Clark campaign. Clark's blog has the ability to support group forming around specific events and issues. Dave talks about how unexpected and emergent what has been happening in the blogosphere surrounding politics is. There a surprising attachment between supporters and bloggers. Halley talks about how blogging and reading political blogs got her interested in politics. She quotes ten trends of political blogging from her blog: Political blogs
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                    DDTI: The Influentials

                    Jonas Seiger, Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet at GWU is presenting some interesting statistics on the nature of people accessing political web sites. The survey was done using pop-ups and telephone surveys. The people had to have visited a political web site and done two of a large list of other activities that would indicate political activity. About 7% of the US qualifies as an "online political citizen" (OPC). In general they are male (62%), well-educated (59% college degrees), have good incomes (42% over $75,000), and 36% are between 18 and 30. Mic of old and new--44% are
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                    DDTI: Trippi Keynote

                    Trippi delivers his keynote address to several standing ovations Its a mistake for anyone to buy into the spin that's coming out the broadcast media. They didn't understand what was happening before, why should they understand now? Broadcast democracy has failed us. DMCA and Patriot Act aren't being discussed by the mainstream media--they're being discussed on the net. The current system is rotten and broken. If took 5-6 years to understand that the Kennedy-Nixon debate was a defining point in history. No one understood that it would come down to buying one-way media messages using $2 million contributions. The
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                    O'Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-In

                    The Digital Democracy Teach-In is about to start and Joe Trippi will be the keynote speaker. If you're interested in following along, I'll be blogging the event, but you can also listen in live courtesy of IT Conversations who wil be streaming the audio of the event live.
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                    Call to Action: Senate Bill 66, the UTOPIA Killer

                    Friday, the Legislature passed Senate BIll 66 (SB66) out of committee, bringing it one step closer to reality. If you're not aware, SB66 would gut UTOPIA, making it impossible for the project to go forward. Eighteen city councils have voted on the project and decided to move forward after years of study. Six of those, so far, have even voted to guarantee the project---that's how strongly they feel about it. And yet, the legislature, believes that they are smarter and more enlightened than all these city councils. They essentially are going to take away the autonomy of cities in
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                    Additional Questions for eVoting Panel

                    The Digital Democracy Teach-In is Monday and I think its going to be great. There's over 170 people registered and that's not counting speakers. Here are a few additional questions for my eVoting panel. Jim Flowers, who has been involved in Georgia state government in a number of posts says "For Georgia going back [to paper ballots or voting machines] is simply not an option. The panel needs to understand that the paper ballot systems Georgia used, and the old mechanical machines (from the 1930's),which did not have a paper trail, yielded a higher undercount than Florida in 2000. Plus,
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                    Answering the Build or Buy Question

                    One of the questions that CIOs frequently face is termed "build or buy." Should we build this system or function ourselves, or should we just buy something even though it may not meet our needs exactly? For example, often the business side will argue for building something because the systems that can be bought don't quite align with how the business runs. Other times, the techies will want to build something and the reason comes down to having fun. So, what criteria should you use to decide whether to build or by your next system? I think there's one simple
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                    At Last, Someone to Talk To!

                    AOL has released AIM 5.5 which includes iChat compatible streaming video. At last there will be someone to talk to. I've used iChat's video feature several times and it really works. Jon Udell and I had a real conversation a few weeks ago that was much more than an IM exchange or even a phone conversation because of the presence of video. Now, if Apple would reciprocate and incorporate digital certificates in iChat, I'd be happy (for a few minutes at least).
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                    Wayne Perry: The Future of Wireless Communications

                    Wayne Perry, CEO of EDGE Wireless and a member of the board of ATT Wireless (not to mention part owner of the Seattle Mariners and private pilot), is giving the keynote address at eBusiness Day at the Rollins eBusiness Center at BYU. The cellular concept was invented in 1948 by Bell Labs. Cells allow reuse of the frequency. Previously, there could only be 500 mobile phone uses per frequency. In New York City there was a 25 year waiting list for a mobile phone. The FCC didn't allocate spectrum until 1982. Another major development was the DSP chip. ATT expected
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                    Friendster is Just the Beginning, Friends

                    Privacy is over-rated, at least as a topic that concerns most people. Sure, if you ask people "do you care about your privacy?" almost everyone will say they do. But, if you offer them $0.25 off a 6-pack of Coke at Albertson's if they give up details about their purchasing patterns, they'll stand in line to give you the information (literally). When it comes to government held databases, its even worse. If I ask "should we combine government databases to make them more effective?" there will be a number of people who will cry foul. However, if I ask "would
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                    New Enterprise Software Business Models

                    Bruce Daley is moderating a discussion on new enterprise software business models. The following is a summary of a lot of comments from many people. Subscription software model has significant benefits for software vendors: they don't have to spend large amounts of money in maintaining old releases, ensuring backward compatibility, and so on. Another advantage is that ongoing revenues are easier to predict. In the traditional perpetual license model, customers wait for the last two weeks of the quarter and beat you up on price. You never know going into the last two weeks what your sales will be. The
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                    CRM and Social Software Discussion

                    The discussion that followed Ad's talk wasn't supposed to be about the link between CRM and social software, but that's how it turned out. Some good out-takes from the discussion: Mark Sunday (CIO, Siebel): 95% of all the issues that a CIO faces are either governance or legacy. Companies are running at less than 30% efficiency and its largely an IT problem. Yet, because of governance and legacy issues, they can't solve those problems. Ad Nededof (Chairman, Genesys): We present ourselves (in our marketing) as perfect and then customers call and we're not. There's a perception gap between how we
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                    Ad Nederof on Customer Service

                    Ad Nederlof, Chairman of Genesys and author of Customer Obsession: Your Roadmap to Profitable CRM kicked off this morning talking about customer service. He spent considerable time on the results of a survey they did. The bottom line: good customer service is the surest step to customer loyalty and the surest way to differentiate yourself. he talks about what customers want: No waiting. Why don't more companies let you enter your phone number and then call you back? First call resolution -- no transfers. Know who's calling and know their history with the product. Personalized service. Refer to past experience.
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                    Enterprise Software Summit

                    I'm at the Enterprise Software Summit today. I arrived last night in time for dinner and had some great conversation. Ross Mayfield is here as well and blogged yesterday's events.
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                    Jim Flowers on eVoting

                    Jim Flowers has responded to my post about the eVoting panel with some good, from the trenches, perspectives. Jim has been involved in Georgia state government in a number of posts for some time. He says "For Georgia going back (a question proposed for the panel) is simply not an option." s the new system perfect? No. Will printing ballots solve the problem - perceived or otherwise? No. Once your copy leaves the station - the integrity is broken. And, auditing a paper trail takes tremendous resources - a cost not yet counted in the writings I have seen.
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                    eVoting Panel Format and Questions

                    At next Monday's Digital Democracy Teach-In, I'm moderating the panel on eVoting. The panel is at 2:15 in California Ballroom C. The participants are Gary Chapman, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas David R. Jefferson, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Bill Stotesbury, Vice President of Marketing, Hart InterCivic This is a good, balanced panel and I think the discussion will be good. Here's how I like to do panels: Each panelist gets five minutes to introduce themselves and their positions. I discourage powerpoint slides, but if they must be used, the panelist is limited to 2 slides max.
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                    RSS Winterfest Transcripts

                    If you missed the RSS Winterfest, transcripts are available on the web (see the right hand side). The transcripts are a little rough, but useful. The format looks like a series of weblog posts and was a little confusing at first--just read up from the bottom of the page. You might be particularly interested in The Future of RSS discussion, the use of blogs by the DOJ, and applications of blogs and content syndication. fixed these links to sort entries in ascending so you can just read from the top down.
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