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                    Archive for Nov 2004


                    Blogs vs. Reporting

                    I mentioned KSL Radio's blog yesterday. This afternoon, there was a brawl during the trial of some white supremacists in Salt Lake. Read this blogs entry by the KSL reporter, Ben Winslow, and then read and listen to his story as filed. In the blog, Ben is an eyewitness, but in the radio report Ben is a reporter. The blog entry is much more personal and real. Which one captures your interest more?
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                    JotSpot First Impressions

                    Playing with JotSpot was once of the things I'd put off until the book was done. Tonight, I grabbed the intro email (almost 2 months old) and signed in. One of the first things I wanted to do, naturally enough, was change the machine generated password to something I thought I could remember, so I went searching for the usual "preferences" link and sure enough found it. What happened next, however, surprised me. When I clicked on it, I got just another wiki page with an edit button. When I edited the wiki page, I got a form instead
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                    Done Writing

                    Yesterday, I turned in the final chapters for my upcoming O'Reilly book on digital identity. There's still plenty of work left with editing and what not, but its good to have the writing done. The book has three sections. Part I is about digital identity concepts. Part II is about digital identity technology, and Part III is about building an identity management architecture, or IMA. An IMA is aimed at creating flexible, interoperable identity infrastructure in loosely coupled organizations. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
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                    Principle of Least Privilege

                    Yesterday and Orem, Utah man was arrested for stealing names, addresses, and account numbers off of the checks that he processed at his job as a clerk at a convinience store and then selling them to would-be identity thieves. This case is not about digital identity, but its a good example of why the principle of least privilege is important. In general, whether online of off, we're asked to give up more identifying information than is strictly necessary. This clerk had access to more information than he needed, strickly speaking, to do his job. This is true when you
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                    Rural Utah: Split Personalities

                    Utah's Office of Rural Development has launched a new website: rural.utah.gov. I think its great to see these kinds of sites come up. One thing that struck me, however, is that this is very much a single agency site (just DCED). I think it would be more powerful if the Dept. of Agriculture were involved as well. This ought to be a joint site between at least those two agencies, maybe others as well. Getting a single online focus from multiple agencies is one of the hardest things for government to do. The primary reason this is hard is
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                    Using RSS for Service Announcements

                    Why don't Comcast and other ISPs use locality specific RSS feeds to notify customers of upcoming schedule maintenance windows, customer service alerts, and so on? For that matter, why can't I subscribe to an RSS feed for any product I buy that alerts me to upgrades, and so on? As far as I know not even "in the RSS groove" companies do this. Create product specific RSS feeds and display them prominently in the "About" box, the product page on your Web site, and anytime the software is downloaded.
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                    Blox for Your Blog

                    Laszlo's got a collection of blog boxes of "blox" that allow you to put pictures, sound, links, clocks, and the weather on your blog. I've done similar things on the right hand side of this blog, but they're all one-offs. Having a collection of standard blox will be nice.
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                    KSL Has a Blog

                    Last week, I wrote about KSL Radio's RSS feeds. Today I was surprised to see some referrals from KSL's blog. I didn't know they had one. The blog is reporters posting their thoughts about stories, context, and even information about their preparation for a story. Very interesting. Subscribed.
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                    What's an i-name? Why Do You Care?

                    While, I was at Doc's blog, I noticed that he has an article at Linux Journal on i-names. Very good explanation of what an i-name is and why you care. Read it.
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                    Put Your News Online!

                    Doc Searls quotes a formula from Jeff Jarvis where Jeff says in part: Cut up your shows into stories and put them all online. After you air a story, it's fishwrap. Nobody can see it. If they missed it, well, that's tough for them. Is that any way to treat your public? Well, you don't have to anymore. You should put up every story you do -- and not just as a stream but as files that the people can distribute on their own. You can still make money on this -- in fact, you'll make new money: Put
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                    More Library Software: Delicious Library

                    Delicious Library screenshot in "woodgrained shelving" mode After writing about Booxter, several people wrote to me to tell me about Delicious Library from Delicious Monster (no connection to Del.icio.us). When multiple people respond to a post about a product, its a good sign that they are passionate about it, so I downloaded Delicious Library and gave it a try. First, like Booxter, Delicious Library can use an iSight camera to scan bar codes and looks up information online to fill in the blanks. Here are some differences I noted: Delicious has a nicely designed, iTunes-like GUI. The Booxter UI
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                    Blogs are the Selves in the Public Space We Call the Web

                    Zoe I took our dog on a walk this afternoon. While I was out, I listened to Dave Weinberger's distinguished lecture at the Library of Congress on blogging and knowledge. Several thoughts occurred to me as I listened. First I wish the iPod had Bluetooth so that when my phone rang, it would automatically pause. I got called three times and each time I had to pull the iPod out the zippered pocket I had it in, pause it, and then answer the phone. Moreover, since the recording was MP3, it lost its place each time as well and
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                    Booxter Keeps Track of Your Library

                    I just ran across a cool little program called Booxter. Booxter is an OS X program for keeping track of books. Of course, there have been book databases for almost as long as there have been recipe programs (the killer app for computers in the home, if you believed the 1980's hype). There are several things that made this program stand out for me: Most impressive is its use of an iSight or other camera for scanning ISBN bar codes from books. I scanned half a dozen books in under a minute. Once it has the ISBN, it fills
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                    Vintela Scores Microsoft Investment

                    Lindon Utah (yeah, that's where I live) based Vintela scored an investment from Microsoft yesterday rumored to be around $10 million. Vintela makes a product that allows Linux hosts to use Microsoft's Active Directory for authentication tasks. This is a product was found on the dustbin of SCO a year or so ago. When SCO started their rantings against Linux, they couldn't be working on a Linux product, so this got put aside. Some enterprising folks picked it up at fire sale prices and started a company with it. I know a few of the folks over at Vintela;
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                    Paul Allen, Blogger

                    Paul Allen, one of Utah's entrepreneurial lights and a friend, has a blog that's one year old yesterday. He takes the opportunity to talk about the power of blogging and makes a great reference to Benjamin Franklin. Ben signed his name B. Franklin, Printer, in spite of all his other accomplishments. Paul says: I think I know why. Words are powerful. According to scripture, they are more powerful than the sword. Through the power of the press, Benjamin Franklin helped rally a nation to fight for independence from the British crown. He had helped Thomas Paine emigrate from England
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                    Using ListGarden for Podcasts

                    As I contemplated creating some audio posts for my class next semester, I realized that I'd like to have an independent tool to create and manage the RSS feeds. Dan Bricklin's ListGarden seemed like the perfect solution but for one problem: When I looked, I realized it didn't do enclosures. I actually finished the first draft of my last chapter (for my Digital Identity book) yesterday and so, as a reward before I started editing, I decided that a little recreational hacking would be fun. I grabbed the latest source for ListGarden (1.02) and modified it to use enclosures.
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                    Axioms and Laws of Identity

                    Kim Cameron and Scott Lemon are thinking about identity in terms of laws and axioms. Kim's first law is "The Owner Decides. There are some follow-ups to that thought as well. Scott's First Axiom of Identity is that "Humans do not have any inherent identity." He makes some interesting arguments. These are good discussions to have.
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                    ACM Uses DOI

                    Friday I mentioned that academic articles need permanent URLs and that DOI might be the answer. Today, while looking at a column at the ACM portal, I noticed that they assign a DOI number to articles. Cool. IEEE is apparently also using them (as this link would seem to indicate), but they're not as up front about it, so its hard to tell. The next step would be to promote the use of those in articles that the ACM publishes. Rather than a PDF, I'd rather have an HTML document with the references linked (via their DOI) directly to
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                    Weird Referrals on Warchalking

                    I've been getting some weird referrals the last week or so. About a month after I started this blog, I wrote a little post about warchalking and how we might want to use the symbols to tell people how to connect to Wi-Fi in conference rooms and other hot-spots that Utah was putting up. Because of that article, my blog got a link in a Guardian story on warchalking. Over the last week, I've had almost 1000 referrals from an article that's over two years old. Why? Is there a renewed interest in warchalking? Some robot stuck? I don't
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                    KnowNow's Agile LiveServer

                    My review of KnowNow's LiveServer is online at InfoWorld this week. KnowNow 3 Enterprise Edition will be a breath of fresh air to IT shops stuck in large, monolithic integration projects. The simplicity and ease with which small integrations can be started and subsequently grown to encompass more and more of the back office should put KnowNow on every CIO's list of products to evaluate. From InfoWorld: KnowNow shows off integration agility: November 19, 2004: By Phillip J. WindleyReferenced Mon Nov 22 2004 08:09:23 GMT-0700 The article is pretty tough on KnowNow for their enterprise pricing. I don't really
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                    Trackbacks and Identity

                    This morning's CTO Breakfast seemed to keep coming back to the same idea expressed in different ways. We started off talking about pornography filters and the possibility of using something like real-time blacklisting for SPAM to identify URLs and IP numbers that publish pornography to make it easier for filters to pick it out. At another point we talked about using information from logfilter to create blacklists for portscanning script kiddies and their zombies. Yet another conversation dealt with a Microsoft project for attaching comments to products based on their barcode. What do all these conversations have in common?
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                    GigaDial: Build Custom Feeds from Podcasts

                    Andrew Grumet and Martijn Venrooy have put together a very cool server-based application called GigaDial that let's you create your own custom Podcast feed from other feeds. Here's one I did that has a podcast from Adam Curry and one from the Gillmor Gang. As I find other things that are interesting to me, I can add them. I could create a custom feed for students to listen to or for my employees. I think there will be lots of applications for this.
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                    CTO Breakfast Reminder

                    We'll hold November's CTO breakfast tomorrow morning. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood.
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                    Starting a Business With No Money

                    Joel Spolsky points to several articles on starting a business without involving VCs. Peter Ireland on 10 reasons to shy away from venture capital Seth Godin's manifesto starting a business with no money. Joel's own VCs do not have goals that are aligned with the goals of the company founders I would add on piece of unsolicited advice: never, ever use a reverse merger to raise money. Reverse mergers are the crack cocaine of the money raising arena and they set your company up for failure from the very start. The problem is that you're public long before your
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                    KSL Radio has RSS

                    I've been trying to get news outlets in Utah to put up RSS feeds for a while. Russ Hill, News Director for KSL Radio wrote today to tell me that KSL Radio has an RSS feed. That's cool. They ought to put an "Add to MyYahoo!" button on the page as well for people who won't know what the XML button means. This is a good development. Of course, having a radio station with an RSS feed immediately makes me think they ought to be using enclosures to send along the audio of the story. One feed with audio
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                    Google's Acadmic Search Tool

                    Google launched a search service aimed at academic literature. The services allows "you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web." The ranking is apparently by citation with is pretty cool since that's how most people would measure a paper's influence. Clicking on the "cited by" link gives you back the citing papers. Now, it they just
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                    Wal-Mart Suppliers Do the Slap and Ship

                    Last year Wal-Mart asked their suppliers to start using RFID tags on pallets and other large containers. Wal-Mart set a date of Jan 1, 2005 to get it working. Now, it looks like Wal-Mart's suppliers won't make the deadline. There are apparently technical hurdles, and the cost of the RFID devices is always an issue, but more daunting are the business case hurdles that many companies can't get over. Rather than going for an expensive integration of RFID technology into their entire operation, about 70% of the suppliers are doing what's called "slap and ship." Essentially, what these suppliers
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                    How to Podcast

                    Here's my del.icio.us page of information on how to podcast. I'm thinking about creating audio files of commentary on papers I'm using in my grad class next semester. Hence the interest.
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                    Its All About Integration

                    Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls from the bike path (click to enlarge) I spent 90 minutes this afternoon speaking to a vendor of VoIP solutions. I won't give the name to protect the guilty. :-) They had an excellent solution for what I was looking for and a number of features that were really innovative. There was just one problem--a fatal problem if it can't be fixed. I was looking for way to closely integrate a multi-party chat tool with their product. "Oh, we've got a chat agent!" was the reply. Unfortunately, it was woefully inadequate for the
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                    Network Bandwidth Cost by State

                    Anyone know where I can find a map that shows the cost of network bandwidth by state or region? Contact me if you do.
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                    Kim Cameron is Blogging

                    Kim Cameron, one of the architects of Microsoft's digital identity ideas, has started a blog. Subscribed. Among the interesting posts was a scenario from Eric Nolin involving Bluetooth, a Polycom phone, federated MP3 player, and a conferencing service that all combine together to play your favorite music to you while you're on hold.
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                    RSS Edges Into the Bureaucracy

                    Wired has an article on RSS in government that features Utah's very own Ray Matthews and his RSS in Government weblog. Ray is quoted several times in the article. He's clearly one of the driving forces behind the use of RSS in government inside and outside of the state. He organized last week's Utah Syndication Summit that I blogged.
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                    Web Services and International Travel

                    Writing in CIO Magazine, Merritt Maxim makes a useful analogy between Web services and international travel. Immigration and Customs are about authentication, authorization, and content control. These problems only show themselves at scale. In simple point-to-point Web service models, scale is manageable because the tight coupling between partners restricts the number of authorized identities to a very small number. However, as companies expose more Web services and allow more users access, bulk identities are not sufficient. Companies will require better visibility into who is accessing exposed Web services. Compounding the problem is that these new identities are not all
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                    On eVoting and Stolen Elections

                    Kathy Dopp has made a splash with her analysis of voting in Florida. Kathy's analysis has led to a number of conspiracy theories about stolen elections. Kathy, who has an MS in Statistics, has been very involved in Utah's eVoting activities and told me before the election that she planned on doing a statistical analysis of the voting results. Wow! Did she ever. I don't believe that the election was stolen. What I do believe, however is that election officials in Utah and elsewhere had better wake up and see that electronic voting is fueling a lack of trust
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                    Case Study in the Problems Caused by Academic Paywalls

                    I've recently been thinking a lot about innovation in IT and specifically how innovation in academic computing research is exchanged (or isn't) with other communities of innovators. Today, while reading Steve Holden's blog, I ran across a perfect example of the problems academic innovators face. Steve says: If you listened to Tech Rag Tear Out Podcast #9 and thought the part about Internet user motivations was interesting,? I got email back from one of the authors - Thomas Stafford - that additional reports have been written by himself/colleagues: Stafford, Thomas F. (2003), "Differentiating between Innovators and Laggards in the
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                    Utah RSS in Government Publisher's Meeting

                    One of the reasons I went to Salt Lake today was to attend the Utah Government RSS Publisher's meeting. This group meet at irregular intervals to talk about how governments can use RSS. Ray Mtthews is the leader of the group and put a splendid program together for today: Jordan Frank from Traction Software and Bill French from Myst Technology Partners. Jordan Frank from Traction Software who makes the TeamPage product. (See Jon Udell review at InfoWorld.) TeamPage uses WebDAV for document management, has pluggalbe LDAP authentication, and has support for mobile devices. Its used by the DOD (CIO's
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                    MyYahoo! Tips for RSS Publishers

                    I had meetings in Salt Lake this morning, so I'm in the Salt Lake Public Library right now catching up on email and some reading. Its one of my favorite spots to hang out downtown. On the drive up, I listened to Scott Gatz's talk from Gnomedex on MyYahoo!. I learned a few things that I didn't know, so I thought I'd pass them on. First, notice the "Add to MyYahoo!" button on the left hand column of this blog. Easy to do and easy for people to use. That's one big advantage that hosted feedreaders have: this is
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                    Scale-Free Networks

                    Today Scoble writes about a conversation he had with Steven Levy about being on the A-List. Robert says he consciously combs through less read bloggers to find things not seen before. This of course, brings to mind Clay Shirky's piece on power laws. That, reminded me that I wanted to post something about Peter Denning's latest column in Communications of the ACM on Network Laws (PDF). Denning, as usual, gives a wonderfully cogent tutorial on power laws and talks about scale-free networks. Scale-free networks are networks that have power-law connection statistics. Scale-free networks have two properties: Growth: new nodes
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                    Messaging Architectures

                    Tim Bray talks about "store and forward" and "post and poll" messaging architectures. "People who are designing message interchange frameworks that might need to become Internet-scale should consider this, and be careful of architectures that don?t fall into one of these two baskets, because nothing else has yet been shown to work."
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                    New Feature: Showing Delicious Activity

                    I've added a new feature on the right hand side column: a box showing the last 5 bookmarks I've made on del.icio.us. I ran across Jeff Veen's tutorial on putting Delicious on your blog. Since I already use Feedsplitter, this only took a few minutes to set up. What I'm doing isn't the most efficient way to do things since every homepage hit results in multiple calls to Feedsplitter (one for forum comments and one for Del.icio.us), but its more loosely coupled than generating a file and then including it. Loose coupling often requires a tradeoff of efficiency. The
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                    VMWare ESX Review

                    Tom Yager reviewed VMWare ESX for InfoWorld this week. This was a review I wanted to do, but he beat me to it. :-) I think virtualization is a tool that not enough IT managers use yet. I've got ESX installed a couple of Dell 6650 4-way SMP boxes with 16Gb of memory connected to a SAN. This set-up is my virtualization testbed and serves as the platform for study we're doing in my lab. At some point in the not too distant future we hope to have some hard data on the performance trade-offs. Power is one big
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                    Lurking Software

                    Chad Dickerson asks
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                    Using Del.icio.us

                    Jon is expounding the virtues of Del.icio.us: What Roland Piquepaille is doing here, like what I'm doing here, begins with self-interested personal information management. We categorize our own items first and foremost for our own benefit, so that we can find things more easily and so that we can better understand how new items relate to our collective works. But del.icio.us is also a social system. The tagging I do is also potentially useful to you. For example, Roland's entry today cited several of my prior items about del.icio.us. A shorthand way to refer to those -- and, in
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                    VoIP Gets a Helping Hand from the FCC

                    The FCC ruled against state regulation of the fledgling VoIP (voice over IP) market today. The specific ruling was against the State of Minnesota regulating Vonage, but the result will likely forestall regulation by other states as well. This will force states to come to grips with the imbalances in their tax policies with respect to telecommunications since I'm sure it won't be long before the RBOCs are crying "foul." I'll be interested to see what the Utah Legislature does this next session in this area. In the meantime, enjoy the savings. I've been a Vonage customer for almost
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                    iPodder Fatal Bug

                    The newest version of iPodder seems to have a fatal bug (at least with respect to manually added feeds). When I add a feed, iPodder tacks an ASCII 00 (^@) onto the feed URL before it stores it in favorites.txt (which is now in ~/.iPodder) and then fails to remove it before it retrieves the RSS file. Since the ^@ encodes to a %00, the feed can't be found. I thought maybe it was a storage problem and deleted the ^@ by hand from favorites.txt, but when iPodder is started up again, it puts it back! Argh!
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                    New Version of iPodder Released

                    Version 1.1.1 of iPodder has been released. It has some nifty new features like a directory of feeds. For some reason when I upgraded it deleted the feeds I was already subscribed to and I had to re-enter them. Not a big deal now since I only have a few.
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                    Xen 2.0 Released

                    The Computer Laboratory at Cambridge just announced the release of Xen 2.0, a virtualization monitor. There's a page on performance and benchmarking. Xen has also been profiled by a group at Clarkson University in a paper entitled Xen and the Art of Repeated Research (PDF), which also includes a performance comparison with an IBM zServer machine.
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                    Staying Involved

                    If you got involved in the election at any level, you might have gotten a feel for the excitement and passion that political discussion and activism brings. If you're candidate lost, you likely a little depressed. Even if your candidate won, you may be feeling down a little right now simply because its over. I want to take a moment to plead with you to stay involved. The problem with presidential elections is that they only come along every four years. Sure, they're big and exciting, and full of complex and important issues, but your chances of having a
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                    Provo's Daily Herald Has RSS

                    Provo's Daily Herald now offers RSS feeds, becoming the first daily in Utah to offer RSS. I wish the Trib and Deseret News would get them as well since those are the papers I follow most closely. I spoke to the CIO for the Deseret News about this some time ago and I'm not sure he really understood why it would be a good idea. Maybe this will help those papers see the benefits and overcome their fears.
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                    Amazon Web Services Moves Beyond Books

                    Amazon has announced a new addition to their Web Services platform: Simple Queue Service (SQS). The Amazon Simple Queue Service offers a reliable, highly scalable hosted queue for buffering messages between distributed application components. The Amazon Simple Queue Service reduces the costs associated with resolving the producer-consumer problem that arises in distributed application development. Such costs include increased application development time, and potentially significant investment in server and network infrastructure to support distributed application messaging. Amazon has already invested in the large-scale computing infrastructure that runs the Queue Service, and since the Service?s interface is exposed via Web services,
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                    National Guard Portal Workshop

                    I spoke to the national Guard portal workshop this morning. There were about 70 technical folks there and I enjoyed myself. I promised them some links to other resources, so here they are: Service Oriented Architecture Slides Service Oriented Architecture Paper Web Services and Data Paper Digital Identity Slides Digital Identity Standards Tutorial RSS Resources If you were at the workshop and have questions please drop me a note.
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                    Identity and Credibility

                    Baseline has a good article on the intersection of identity, security, and corporate credibility. This should be required reading for IT and marketing executives thinking about a new eBusiness initiative. In its typical style, Baseline tells the story through a case study of a marketing executive at an insurance company, AGIA, who struggles to launch a new eBusiness program, including an email campaign, only to find that their Web site was hacked on the critical day. The crucial question: [T]he incident underscores important lessons for companies that handle sensitive customer information, particularly smaller companies like AGIA. They must fiercely
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                    The Election: A Break from Tech

                    I usually try to stick to technology here, but today I'll break with that and talk a little about the election. First, there are some calling Ohio the new Florida. I think I've heard that on CNN ten times in the last hour. That's simply wrong for three key reasons: Ohio has a good process and they're following it. It turns out, I've met Ken Blackwell several times--we both served on an eGovernment committee at the Kennedy School of Government--and he's smart and very competent. I've got faith that anything he's supervising will be done right. There is a
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                    Back to Denver

                    I'm headed to the airport again in a bit to return to Denver. I'm speaking most of the day tomorrow to the National Guard's portal workshop. I'll speak on Web services and digital identity. I'm looking forward to it.
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                    Your Right to a Paper Ballot

                    Via Dan Gillmor, I learned that California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has established 23 rules for counties that insist on using DRE voting machines without a paper audit trail. One of those rules is that voters in those counties have the right to ask for a paper ballot. That's a good rule. If you're in one of those California counties, exercise that right and protest the use of DRE.
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