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                    Archive for Mar 2004


                    Bluetooth Vulnerabilities

                    Ever wondered about Bluetooth vulnerabilities, how they work, whether your phone is vulnerable, and even wanted to know about the cracking tools? Then, take a look at this page on Bluetooth flaws. The page isn't pretty, but its got a lot of information. According to the Bluestumbler, there are two potential vulnerabilities: Confidential data can be obtained, anonymously, and without the owner's knowledge or consent, from some bluetooth enabled mobile phones. This data includes, at least, the entire phonebook and calendar, and the phone's IMEI. The complete memory contents of some mobile phones can be accessed by a previously
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                    Document Management for the Small Business

                    A friend of mine called and asked for document management solution recommendations for a small high-tech business with about 30-40 employees. They've been using a source code control for the purpose of managing versioning and control of Word documents. That works fine for the engineers, but the marketing people aren't really happy with the interface. I know there are some solutions in Zope to do this, and of course a Google search returns all kinds of commercial products that may or may not be appropriate. What do you recommend? I'm going to start a discussion in the Ask Phil
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                    I Wish...

                    I wish iTunes understood RSS feeds with MP3 enclosures.
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                    Expose' and Windows

                    I use OS X on a TiBook as my primary machine. When I review software, however, I frequently use Windows. Today, while on a Windows machine I was frantically moving the mouse into the lower left-hand corner to expose my running windows so I could find the one I wanted. Didn't work. :-) That's when you know a feature has taken hold of you.
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                    Four Approaches to Enterprise Identity Management

                    Andre Durand talks of four ways that an enterprise can consolidate islands of identity information. They can "centralize authentication and policy management (the EIM vendor approach), create a meta directory and manage id's through that, create a virtual directory (virtually centralized view of distributed data), or tether together (federate) distributed ID's." I'm trying to think of the implications of each approach to the enterprise and when one or the other might be appropriate.
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                    Federation Use Cases and Checklists

                    Ping Identity just released some slides giving use cases for federated identity and a checklist of business, legal and technology issues in federated identity projects. The use cases cover integrating hosted services, linking redundant internal accounts, secure collaboration, and attribute exchange. The pros and cons of Liberty and SAML in each instance are presented. There are even pictures. Very helpful in sorting this whole federation thing out.
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                    Grassroots Political Blogging

                    Last week I was elected chair of my precinct so I put together a blog to keep precinct members informed and for precinct officers and delegates to use for exchanging information and keeping up to date. We also set up a Yahoo! group. I used Movable Type since I already have an installation, but it would be trivial to do on Blogspot. Here's the blog Dave Fletcher put together for the American Fork 3rd Precinct using Blogspot. Blogs are a perfect vehicle for coordinating precinct activities because they're easy to keep up to date and the barriers to entry
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                    Digital Identity Management Summit in London

                    IIR will be hosting Europe's first first conference on Digital Identity management in July in London. There's a great list of topics and speakers including Simon Grice, Doc Searls, Jamie Lewis, and Phil Becker. Looks like a lot of fun.
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                    Brainshare 2004 Notes

                    Scott Lemon blogged all five days of Brainshare. Lots of good stuff in there to digest. Some highlights: The Future Direction of Netware on Linux The Future of the Linux Desktop Mono for Developers Thanks Scott!
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                    Removing Limitations of Time, Locale, and Scale

                    I lived in Japan for two years during the 70's and that was my first experience with ATM machines. I'd never seen them before that. Later, I had a chance to visit again in 1996 and found something strange. There were still plenty of ATM machines, but while they'd been used to extend service for US banks, they were largely still just automated tellers in Japan. The most telling hint: they only operated when the bank was open. You had to get money out of them during banking hours. I was reminded of this story listening to Tom Parenty's
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                    Setting Up a SAMBA Server

                    CompUSA recently had 160Mb disks on sale for $79 each, so I bought a few. My intent was to repurpose one of the old Pentium II machines I've got lying around as Samba server for my wife, who takes lots of digital pictures (she has a Nikon D100). The first step was to set up a RedHat 9 machine with a RAID 1 set-up on the drives so that they're mirrored. I've never played much SAMBA, so I was looking for a good reference. I'm fortunate to know John Terpstra, one of the founders of the SAMBA project and
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                    iTunes Music Store RSS Feeds

                    Via Brian Sweeting (who was in attendence at this morning's CTO Breakfast) I learned that iTMS is now offering RSS feeds. Like Brian, I wish you could fine tune the feed a little more, but then, that raises its own set of problems. Here's the problem I'm thinking of. Imagine a world where there's RSS everywhere and there's a lot of knobs on each feed that you can twiddle to fine tune what you see. Now imagine that you've spent a lot of time on the iTMS RSS Generator and got an RSS feed for iTMS that suits you,
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                    Apple's DRM Dilemma

                    Anyone contemplating a business that depends on using DRM to control their customers ought to read Cory Doctorow's story at BoingBoing. Cory says: So, the "FairPlay" system [Apple's DRM system] was punishing me for: Buying so much iTMS music that burning it to CD and ripping it back as MP3 (and re-entering all the metadata) was too big a chore to contemplate Buying a new Powerbook at full retail every 10 months Buying new Powerbooks as soon as they are announced, before all the manufacturing bugs have been shaken out Apple tells us that its DRM "keeps honest users
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                    CTO Breakfast

                    We had another CTO Breakfast this morning. There were about a dozen people there and we had some good discussions about broadband, cluster computer, project portfolios and when to sell your company. If you're interested in attending, follow the link above for future dates or to sign up for the mailing list and then I'll just send you a note to remind you.
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                    The Trouble with Mark and Trace

                    Ed Felton takes on "mark-and-trace" DRM schemes in response to Light Weight Digital Rights Management.
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                    Visual Programming in SOA

                    Sean McGrath has a tough time seeing the case for visual programming languages in a predominantly imperative programming model. I think he's on the mark. But Sean thinks SOA will change this. This is already true, to some extent. Several of the Web services intermediary products I've reviewed recently use visual prgramming tools, notably Grand Central Communications and CommerceOne's Conductor.
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                    Valuable Data Walking Out the Door

                    Ed Felten points to a fascinating article by Simon Garfinkel in CSO magazine about what can be found on old hard drives. If you're responsible for scrapping old PCs in your enterprise, you may want to consider this article and ask yourself what your policy is for making sure valuable or confidential data isn't leaving with your old computers.
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                    Its a Good Time to Be An Entrepreneur

                    Bambi Francisco's commentary at CBS MarketWatch (free registration required) lists some reasons its a good time to be an entrepreneur: The most conservative estimation of the excess venture capital from the heyday is $13.5 billion. If venture capitalists don't invest the overhang of funds they were entrusted with five years ago and paid to manage, they risk having to give back management fees to their investors. A total of 31 IPOs have raised $8.1 billion in proceeds so far in 2004, well ahead of the five IPOs that raised $645 million in the year-ago period. The number of start-ups
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                    Blogs as Vehicles of Scholarly Influence

                    Crooked Timber has a great discussion of why academics do or don't blog. Brian Weatherson made some points that I think echo my feelings on the subject to some degree: First, having to get my thoughts into a state where it's not embarrassing to have other people read them is a real spur to clarify what I'm doing and sort out bugs. Second, when I go to write the paper, I've got first drafts of some of the trickier sections already written, so I can cut-and-paste them in and start editing. Third, whenever I have an idea that isn't going
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                    Step Forward and Be Identified!

                    "A name is now no longer a simple identifier; it is the key to a vast, cross-referenced system of public and private databases, which lay bare the most intimate features of an individual's life." Are you required to identify yourself?
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                    Passport to Nowhere

                    A c|net news article gives Passport's eulogy.
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                    Investing in Underserved Markets

                    If you are going to launch a new venture outside the technology hotbeds of Silicon Valley or Boston, you have to be an overacheiver...or at least, believe you are capable of beating the odds. What do you have against you? Well, all the things that the Valley has in its favor in multiples: a large and extremely educated and experienced workforce, a deep capital base, experienced service providers (attorneys, accountants, bankers, PR firms, and so on), a history of innovation and success (local heroes like Cisco, Sun, Seibel, Oracle, Google, Yahoo, and others), and the passion to create. From
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                    The Need for Identity Management

                    Information Week has a good article on identity management. The article talks about the benefits and barriers to achieving those benefits. Identity management promises to "improve security, boost worker productivity, cut costs, and reduce the integration friction usually connected with giving employees, business partners, customers, and suppliers access to internal systems." ID-management vendors such as BMC Software, Computer Associates, IBM Tivoli, Netegrity, Novell, Oblix, and RSA Security have promised for years that their software would deliver those benefits. However, there are few industry-wide standards and most applications are proprietary. This forces companies to install a hodgepodge of software and devote
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                    Got Randomness?

                    If you've ever needed true random numbers and not known where to get them, there's now a web site where you can download some. The underlying technology was developed by the Group of Applied Physics of the University of Geneva in 1998. The device exploits an elementary quantum optical process - namely the reflection or the transmission of a light particle on a semi-transparent mirror - to produce binary random numbers. The quantum random number generator technology was commercialized by id Quantique, a spin-off of the University of Geneva. As far as I can tell, there's no Web services
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                    Twelve Reasons for the Growth of Open Source

                    I was sorry to have missed the Open Source in eGovernment conference last week. Unfortunately that and OSBC were both scheduled the same week and I had to choose. Marc Adreessen was there and gave 12 reasons for the growth of open source: The Internet is powered by open source. The Internet is the carrier for open source. The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed. It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software. Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments. Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers. Open source means
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                    New Technorati Launches

                    Dave Sifry's been working hard on the new release of Technorati. Dave lists a number of improvements. I think the new look is cleaner and hopefully the new terminology will make it more accessible to non-techies. I use Technorati multiple times per day so I'm happy to see it improving.
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                    IT Portfolio Management

                    Charles Betz is talking about IT portfolio management, both top-down and bottom-up. As Charles points out, don't confuse application portfolio management with project portfolio management. The former is closely aligned with an enterprise architecture and probably changes only a little year over year, while the latter is about resource allocation and probably changes month over month.
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                    Aradyme

                    I've been engaged by Aradyme Development to consult on short and long-term product strategies, create the processes for effectively realizing those strategies and provide technical evangelism services. In short, I'll be acting as the CTO and helping them mature their products. Aradyme has some interesting database technologies that are especially useful in doing data extraction and cleansing. I'm excited to be involved in product development again. It should be fun.
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                    Powerbook as a Stratocaster

                    In a LinuxJournal article called "Driving to Laptopia," Doc Searls says "The difference between a Dell desktop and an Apple PowerBook is like that between a Kenmore washer and a Fender Stratocaster." I couldn't agree more. The article also has a great discussion of Linux on the Laptop (LOTL) that calls it like it is, in typical Doc fashion.
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                    Superbloggers and the Future of Big Media

                    Rob Enderie has an interesting article on Superbloggers and the Future of Big Media. The article essentially predicts the end of the news media as we know it and says that "firms got so involved in thinking about other things, like cutting costs, that they lost track of their customers while the bloggers moved in...to fill the gap." Enderie continues: Where the bloggers shouldn't be able to compete is on "perspective" and experienced talent. Perspective, or what the news means to me, is the sustainable advantage. But to provide it, you need to know your customers very well; you need
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                    Why's Interior Offline?

                    Dave Fletcher in Judicial System Strikes Again: BLM Shut Down makes an interesting point: The BLM has vanished from cyberspace. It seems ridiculous, but court orders have shut down not only the BLM Internet presence, but the entire Department of the Interior. Although the sites were also shut down for several months in 2001, this latest action by Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington has huge ramifications, particularly in a state like Utah where the majority of the land is owned by BLM. This is like saying we're going to shut down all government facilities around the country because one of
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                    OSBC2004 Wrap-Up

                    With OSBC2004 drawing to a close, I've got a few thoughts: First, Matt Asay and crew did a great job, especially considering this is the first of its kind. There were a few minor things that could be improved in overall conference organization, but the conference was great and so was the location. I found most of the presentations by company reps to be just that. They were, for the most part unimaginative descriptions of why that company was so great. The exceptions were Steve Korn from EDS (since he wasn't there to talk about EDS, but rather their clients)
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                    OSBC2004: Tim O'Reilly on Rethinking the Boundaries of Open Source

                    Tim O'Reilly is speaking on "Rethinking the Boundaries of Open Source." Tim starts out talking about the "PC paradigm shift" when IBM created commodity computing and did away with proprietary advantage. Perhaps the most important result of this shift was that power was transfered from hardware to software. This birthed Microsoft. We're in a similar paradigm shift today. Tim illustrates this with his now classic question "how many of you use Linux/how many of you use Google? The point being the everyone who uses Google uses Linux. The desktop is no longer the center of the universe. LAMP is a
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                    OSBC2004: Jason Matusow on Shared Source at Microsoft

                    Jason Matusow, Microsoft's manager of its shared source initiative, is speaking on shared software (his term) and Microsoft. He breaks the topic into "community," "competition," "functionality," and "intellectual property." There's commercial and non-commercial software and open source software fits into both camps Companies have business goals and when those goals can be met with open source projects, open source projects will be applied. He cites Eclipse as an example. IBM gave it away to reduce expenses and gain mind share for a Websphere development environment. He notes that and eclipse is a total blocking out of the Sun. How can
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                    OSBC2004: Ray Lane on the Macro-Economic Impact of Open Source Software

                    Ray Lane, a general partner at Kleiner-Perkins is discussing the macro-economic impact of open source software. He talks about the parade of people who come into his office everyday who talk about proprietary software because its (their words) higher quality and better able to differentiate. Ray believes that we need to change how we do things and become more modular and open. He thinks that recovery in the software market requires a sea change in development methodologies. Software is still a buyer's marketplace. Customers all line up at the end of the quarter and beat the vendors up on price.
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                    OSBC2004: Chris Stone

                    I missed Chris Stone's keynote yesterday, but c|net News has a report of what he said.
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                    OSBC2004: Clayton Christensen on Disruptive Technologies and Open Source

                    Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor and author of the The Innovator's Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution is talking about innovation and open source. He contends that startups fail for knowable reasons. He lists some questions every startup must answer. How do we beat the competition? Which customers should we target? What products will our customer want to buy? How should we distribute to and communicate with our customers? Which things should our company do and what can our suppliers do? How can we avoid commoditization? Who should be on our management team? What is the best organizational structure? How
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                    OSBC2004: When to Not Use Open Source Methods

                    Martin Fink, CTO of HP's Linux group and author of the book The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source gave some reasons not to use open source in your business. This was not the bulk of Martin's message, but I thought this idea was good given what I'd just posted about Jim Grey. Product is a control point for the company Product should go obsolete Cost does not justify benefit Misdirection and defocusing of resources Intellectual property risk cannot be justified To compete against open source community Just because its cool technology Technology direction doesn't match strategic
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                    Jim Grey Says Open Source Software a Threat to Entire Software Industry

                    Interesting juxtaposed to what I'm listening to at OBSC: For-profit software companies will struggle for a business model against free software, said the official, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jim Gray. He served on a panel pertaining to software trends, XML, Web services and grids at the Software Development Conference & Expo West 2004 show here on Monday evening. "The thing I'm puzzled by is how there will be a software industry if there's open source," Gray said, disagreeing with a fellow panelist over the impacts of open source. From InfoWorld: Microsoft exec: Open source model endangers software economy: March 16,
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                    OSBC2004: Larry Lessig on the Creator's Dilemma

                    The first general session of the afternoon (which in the tradition of modern conferences is called a keynote, along with every other general session) is Prof. Larry Lessig of Stanford. Larry needs no introduction to many people as a champion of the commons and author of The Future of Ideas : The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World and Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. Larry is a great speaker and this talk is no exception. Larry starts off with a brief history of photography and the
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                    OSBC2004: Open Source and Outsourcing

                    I'm at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco. I'm in Steve Korn's talk on Outsourcing and Open Source. Steve works for EDS and has some context on how outsourced IT services vendors are using open source. One interesting note from his introduction: they use Jabber internally and apparently with great success. Steve talks about the stages he's seen outsourcing go through. In the past, firms outsourced under duress. They totally outsourced their IT services to a firm such as EDS. Next came leverage, function outsourcing. Firms now optimize their internal operations first and then outsource. Steve is starting
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                    KTVX and Apple

                    Apple's PR service has a piece about Salt Lake TV station KTVX using Macs and Final Cut Pro to put together their news program.
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                    Microsoft, RSS, and BitTorrent

                    Dan Gillmor has a thought provoking piece about Microsoft's lack of support for RSS. Here are a few of my favorite quotes: ...automating micro-content routing tends to reinforce the ubiquity of small consumable, searchable XHTML fragments. ...you gotta buy a ticket for enterprise workflow and form routing...Microsoft doesn't want to seed a poor-man's BizTalk server around RSS alerts. [L]et's not forget RSS/BitTorrent enclosures, which offer a DRM-free standard for peer-to-peer content exchange and publishing years before Longhorn locks down those ports. From Your Winnings, SirReferenced Mon Mar 15 2004 10:10:50 GMT-0700 If you haven't heard about that last one
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                    New OpenOffice Column

                    LinuxJournal has a new bimonthly column on Open Office. I used Open Office quite a bit a few years ago and felt it was a good start, but not something I was willing to commit to yet. I've been asking some people I trust lately and gotten roughly the same answer. Anyone care to offer a differing opinion? Post is at Ask Phil.
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                    Tim Bray's New Gig

                    Tim Bray, who posted a great general purpose "Position Wanted" piece on his blog a few months ago will be working for Sun. He will be "next gen tech and standards development at the intersection of RSS, XML and advanced search technologies." Good for Tim, good for Sun, and good for us, I think.
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                    The Castle-and-Moat Era of Information Security is Over

                    CSO Magazine declares that the castle-and-moat era of information security is over. Acknowledging that this trend is not going to reverse itself, the article asks "But what defensive model comes next for information security if the perimeter goes away?" Another part of the shift promoted by several experts involves a complete change in how security organizations view their efforts. "You cannot protect every house in the nation, so you create a border to the country," says Elad Baron, CEO at security provider Whale Communications. "The problem [with information security] is that you need lots of access, not just minimal
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                    Public Sector Identity Management

                    Way last November, I was interviewed on the subject of identity management by Linda Formichelli. The article finally showed up in Public CIO magazine. This paragraph contains a fairly significant mistake, see if you can spot it: In documents created by SAML, which is based on extensible markup language (XML), a user's information comes nested with internal statements about that user's authentication, authorization and attributes. The receiver of that information then automatically determines whether the user should receive the requested information. "CIOs need to be aware of all the work going on in the federal identification space," said Windley.
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                    RSS vs. Atom

                    There have been some interesting questions and discussions on the Ask Phil forum. For example, Nathan Stocks said: It often seems like once I hear about something new it suddenly appears everywhere. RSS is apparently one of these. I read up on RSS today, and it's essentially an agreed-upon XML format to publish web content, especially blogs. Then I run across a feature article about RSS vs. Atom on c|net (news.com). Atom was developed by an IBM Software Engineer and is backed by Google and Six Apart (makers of moveable type), while just about all of the rest of
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                    Orem Joins UTOPIA

                    The city council of Orem UT, a city of 85,000 people just North of Provo, voted unanimously last night to join UTOPIA. That means that they will pledge sales tax revenue to back the bonds needed to build the network. I was at the meeting and spoke in the public hearing portion. What I told them was that all the talk of bandwidth totally missed the mark on why UTOPIA was important. I told them that UTOPIA fundamentally changes everything because it is an open network instead of the closed networks of Qwest and Comcast. At some point I'll
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                    jBoss News: New CMS on jBoss

                    jBoss has received $10M in funding. They also announced the release of Nukes on jBoss by Julien Viet, a content management system written on top of jBoss. They started out with PHP Nukes and didn't like the performance, so they rewrote it. Its what's running the jBoss site.
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                    The Future of News Delivery

                    Rich Gordon, a journalism professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, believes that technology is changing the future of news delivery. (Technorati Cosmos) Interestingly enough, RSS doesn't even seem to be on his radar screen.
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                    The Myths of Open Source

                    An article in CIO Magazine attempts to dispell some of the myths surrounding open source software.
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                    WS Notification

                    WS-Notification is a Publish/Subscribe notification framework for Web services. An article at WebServices.org describes WS-Notification as "a family of related white papers and specifications that define a standard Web services approach to notification using a topic-based publish/subscribe pattern." There are three parts to the specification: WS-BaseNotification defines the basic interfaces for producers and consumers of notifications. WS-BrokeredNotification defines the interface for notification intermediaries. WS-Topics defines how topics, which producers create and send to, and consumers read, are managed. There's a white paper at IBM DeveloperWorks that "introduces the notification pattern, sets the goals and requirements for the WS-Notification family of
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                    Linux Logical Volume Manager

                    If you've never played with multi-disk volumes on Linux, they're pretty cool. This article at LinuxJournal is about using LVM and removable IDE drives, instead of tapes, for backups.. Not a bad idea. Even if you don't need that kind of back-up solution, the article is a good intro to LVM.
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                    The World Live Web

                    Why is RSS important? Because it says "here's what's changed on the Web." When I started building Web sites in 1993, it was very clear then that people visit sites that get updated frequently. That's still true. Now, however, we have a new tool, RSS, that tells us what's changed. I no longer have to limit my reading to sites I know get updated frequently. Instead, I get pinged whenever sites I'm interested in change. That's a fundamental shift in what the Web is. In fact, its something brand new. Doc Searls' son Allen Searls calls it the World Live
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                    Identity Federation

                    There was some interesting discussions during today's Ping Identity Advisory Board meeting. I've made some notes about things that caught my attention. Identity needs to follow transaction as it cross security domain. Consequently, Ping's goal is to reduce friction in every transaction while maintaining security. There are some pain points that enterprises and consumers feel that provide an opportunity for Ping and other companies in this space: Too many identities, identity not portable. Transactions are increasingly inter-company (the extended enterprise) driven by web services, on-demand computing, outsourced business processes. Salesforce.com is an example of an extended-enterprise operation that manages business
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                    Wired on ATTWS's Phone Downgrade

                    A Wired article on the AT&T phone trade-in I wrote about a few days ago--for anyone who wants more details.
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                    Ping Identity Advisory Board Meeting

                    I flew my plane to Denver this morning to attend an advisory board meeting for Ping Identity. This will be the first time we've all gotten together; previously it just been phone calls. This will be fun: a chance to catch up with some friends and learn about the latest with Ping. The flight was great--perfect winter flying. Blue skies, smooth air, and a good tailwind. I was doing nearly 200MPH on the way here and made it in just a little over 2 hours. I'll write about some of the new developments at Ping when we're done.
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                    Chatting with Doug Kaye

                    Doug Kaye, from IT Conversations called yesterday to talk for a bit. Our conversation, that touched on my recent experience with SpamCop.net and the Ask Phil forum I just started. Our conversation can be heard, along with conversations with Rich Miller and Robert Scoble at IT Conversations.
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                    Stopping Spyware

                    Utah passed a "spyware" bill this latest session. An article at c|net talks about Utah's efforts and those of other states to battle this latest threat to consumers and businesses. I wasn't a big fan of the law, although I lauded its intentions, simply because I'm unsure how effective it can be. I hate legislation that makes people feel good, but is basically useless. Another concern is that legislation regulating a technology is inevitably too broad and nets things that are not its intended target. The Feds have gotten into the act as well although its difficult to imagine
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                    Bluetooth in Your Clothing

                    The Hub snowboarding jacket from O'Neill with intergrated Bluetooth and a fabric keyboard on the arm. Have you ever been listening to music on your iPod while you're snowboarding and had an important call come in? You don't really want to stop to pull out your earbuds, stick in your bluetooth headset, just to see who's calling. Now with this new snowboarding jacket, called The Hub, you don't have to. Just touch the fabric keyboard on the sleeve and your phone call will be routed to your headset via Bluetooth. O'Neill and German's Infineon Technologies collaborated on a wired
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                    Competing, Complemetary Standards to Fight Spam

                    Having reported recently on my own travails with the Anti-Spam infrastructure, such as it is, I found this InfoWorld article on some emerging Anti-Spam standards interesting.
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                    I'll Trade You a T226 for a T68i

                    I got a postcard in the mail over the weekend that ATTWS was sending me a new Sony Ericsson T226 phone to replace my T68i. A quick comparison showed that the 226 doesn't have Bluetooth, a calendar, voice activated dialing, or worldwide bands. The first is the reason I won't switch and the last is the reason ATTWS wants me to. Seems that ATTWS has overlayed their 900/1800 MHz network with 850 MHz and that provides better coverage. There's no doubt they need that and I'd love to have a phone that takes advantage of it, but it will
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                    AtTask Review

                    PM Network magazine has a review three online project management tools: AtTask, eProject Enterprise, and Project.net. AtTask reviews very well in this match-up. I wrote a little about AtTask a year ago. The CTO of AtTask is a good friend and great developer named Nate Bowler. Its good to see they're getting some traction.
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                    Advice to Social Network Designers

                    Christopher Allen gives advice to designers of social networks.
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                    Product Operations Engineers Take the Customer Perspective

                    There's a recent article in Computerworld by Robert Wenig entitled How to avoid Web application pitfalls. Robert takes on the issue of customer experience in Web site performance. He says: Questions such as "Is the network up?" and "Are the pages loading quickly?" provide only limited visibility into the success or failure of an application. No one assumes the customer perspective. Does the application deliver the right information? Which users are affected by application failures, who are they, and how much is it costing the business? With so much invested in the success of mission-critical Web applications, why are
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                    Web Services Adoption Patterns

                    I listened to Brent Sleeper's interview on IT Conversations. Brent talks about a recent study he did at the Stencil Group (link--its broken right now argh!) on Web Services adoption patterns. Interesting stuff. As an aside I bought an iPod recently, mostly so I could listen to IT Conversations and other recorded talks while I'm driving and its working great.
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                    Grid Computing and WS Resource Framework

                    WebServices.org had a conversation with Ian Foster on the recent announcement of WS-ResourceFramework and how new specifications linked into Web services will affect the Grid community.
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                    Amazon Support for RSS

                    In other RSS news today, Amazon has started publishing RSS feeds for selected categories, subcategories and search results in Amazon.com stores. Jeremy Zawodny is ecstatic about it but would like to see RSS feeds for wishlists. Amen. Also, Danah Boyd is talking about what she wants in an RSS tool. I think it can be summarized as "more choice about granularity."
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                    RSS vs. Email Newsletters

                    Doug Kaye has a recent IT conversation with Chris Pirillo who has been on a campaign to push the adoption of RSS instead of email for newsletters. If you're not familiar with Chris, he runs the popular LockerGnome web site which supports dozens of email newsletters on a variety of subjects. Chris, who must fight with email problems all the time, given the large number of email newsletters he supports, would like to move more of his readers from email to newsletters. To that end, Lockergnome publishes a channel on RSS that contains postings on interesting feeds, analysis, news, and
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                    A New Feature: Ask Phil

                    One of the things I've liked about Movable Type at UtahPolitics.org is the richer support for comments than I get with Radio. I've had comments enabled for a while on this site and sometimes I see the comments and sometimes I don't. Often I find a comment weeks after someone has posted it. In the spirit of experimentation, I've decided to disable Radio comments and use a more general purpose discussion board called Ask Phil (there's a permanent link on the left as well). I realize that this is much different than comments in either Radio or Movable Type
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                    The Language of Types

                    Jon Udell is talking about types and languages. Having taught undergraduate programming language concept courses and graduate level programming language theory courses, I know that just the terminology can mess a lot of people up. Here's some definitions: Strongly typed: the language checks the types of variables so that things "cannot go wrong" in Milner's words, at least because of type mismatches. This doesn't rule out array bounds overflows and other runtime errors, but it does keep you from assigning a pointer to a character. Weakly typed: in weakly typed languages, types are merely a suggestion--if the programmer wants
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                    Mars Was Wet

                    NASA announced today that evidence gathered by Opportunity, one of two rovers on the Martian surface, leads to the conclusion that Mars was once "soaking wet". Here's the official NASA press release and here's an brief explanation of the science. Very cool.
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                    Blacklisted - Filtering Spam

                    For the last four days or so, my primary email server has been listed in SpamCop.net. The way you find out about such things is your email starts bouncing at some sites. As near as I can tell, getting listed in SpamCop.net is as easy as someone sending in a report. Getting out is a lot harder. SpamCop.net ages the reports and removes addresses after 48 hours of the most recent report, so the standard line is "stop spamming and in 48 hours your email will start working." Of course, that only works if you have any idea at all
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                    RSS for RFPs

                    Utah's Division of Purchasing has an RSS feed of current solicitations. This is an RSS version of the current bids page. Of course, the good news is that if you're interested in following Utah RFPs and know how to use an aggregator, they'll just show up on your desktop without having to remember to go and check the page. I wish they had a "what's this?" link next to the RSS link to tell people about how to use RSS. If more states had RSS feeds of their solicitations, you could do some nice work with a filtering aggregator to
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