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                    Archive for Jan 2005


                    Digital Identity Nightmare

                    Via Kim Cameron comes this ACLU produced video of your worst digital identity nightmare. What keeps this from happening? I'm not sure. If you watch the video, you'll see that almost all the information that is revealed comes from two-party transactions where both sides have an ownership stake in the information from the transaction. By what right can I claim ownership of the data in a two-party transaction? I don't think that the mere fact that one party is an individual and one is a corporate entity is enough.
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                    More on One-Click RSS Subscriptions

                    Dave Winer has proposed a solution to the problem of proliferating "click-here-to-subscribe" buttons for every aggregator in existence. In a comment to an entry I wrote a while back on Dave's proposal, Boris Mann asks why the Syndication Subscription Service isn't the solution. In another entry Tim Bray points to the Atom solution to this problem. These three all solve the problem, but in different ways. Here's my analysis of how they work: A Big OPML Repository in the Sky We might call Dave's proposal the "big OPML repository in the sky." Dave proposes a server, based on code
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                    Lexus Infections

                    It had to happen: Now your car can get a virus from your Bluetooth phone. I was just talking to someone yesterday about how they love their LS430 and the Bluetooth integration to the built-in handsfree. Now, SC Magazine is reporting that some Lexus and Landcruiser models are susceptible to a virus they pick up from mobile phones serving as the vector. Lexus cars may be vulnerable to viruses that infect them via mobile phones. Landcruiser 100 models LX470 and LS430 have been discovered with infected operating systems that transfer within a range of 15 feet. From SC MagazineReferenced
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                    GotzeTagged

                    John Gotze has improved his GotzeLink service and rechristened it "GotzeTagged." He says that it has some new features: Gotze Suggest, that suggests resources as you type. Choose between titles, categories/tags, or search log words. More holistic user interface. Increased and much improved system of relations between resources. Integration of social technologies and various web services. Del.icio.us etc. Improvements in the XML-feeds. Good work John!
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                    Textbook for Middleware and Distributed Systems Course

                    I think that next fall, I will use Web Services: Concepts, Architectures, and Applications by Gustavo Alonso, Fabio Casati, Harumi Kuno, Vijay Machiraju as the text in my large-scale Internet systems course. The book is talking of Web services in the broadest sense of the term and has a nice coverage of middleware as well. I like it.
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                    Parsing XML Into Scheme

                    At Patrick Logan's suggestion I put together a Web page for my CS330 class that gives step-by-step instructions on parsing XML into Scheme using SSAX in DrScheme.
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                    The Dos and Don'ts of Accelerating Your Funding Success

                    This morning, UITA held a breakfast meeting in Utah County with David Bradford and Fraser Bullock. David is the former General Counsel at Novell and does venture capital funding now. Fraser was the COO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now the CEO of Sorenson Capital. The topic was "The Dos and Don'ts of Accelerating Your Funding Success." David says that the initial impression that you have on an potential investor is the most important meeting you'll have. That meeting may be in person, or it may be the business plan, an executive
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                    The Human Element

                    Sean Nolan wrote to tell me a story that illustrates the weak link in many customer interaction systems: So I'm waiting in line at Safeway to buy groceries. Like most supermarkets these days, they've got a loyalty card program and offer reasonable discounts at checkout for cardholders. An older man in front of me wants to purchase items that are on a card special, but doesn't have his card and can't remember his phone number. The clerk says, "hmm, wait a minute." He starts punching in phone numbers at random, and after a few tries gets a "hit" and
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                    XML and Scheme

                    I put together a small demonstration of how knowing programming language concepts and Scheme can help you understand XML. My point isn't to show how to do XML inside Scheme or to say Scheme is better than XML. My point is simply to demonstrate that the things my students have been learning in class, which can seem pretty disconnected from things they read about in the trade press, are actually on point. In this case, they see that what they've been doing with BNF, s-expressions, and data-driven programming can help them understand XML and how it is processed.
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                    BTL: Customer Interaction Points

                    I've posted an article on building customer interaction hubs at Between the Lines.
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                    GovTech News RSS Feed

                    Government Technology News has RSS feeds. Recently the Web site for Utah's CIO started using those feeds to display Gov Tech News. A story at Gov Tech News tells how they did it. Basically it's a JavaScript connected to John Gotze's feed parser at his Slashdemocracy site. I don't know that having Gov Tech News on the CIO Web site is all that important, but this shows how other agencies and groups can use RSS on their Web sites and that example is important.
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                    Performance Monitoring on VMWare ESX

                    I met with a Systems Engineer from VMWare this afternoon. Some of my students are working on a performance study of VMWare and so I took the opportunity to pick his brain on how to get performance data from the server. There are two levels that you need to gather data: the virtual machine and the host machine. Here's what I found out: perfmon gives good data for everything but the CPU on the virtual machines. Because the host machine is running ESX (a modified Linux kernel) you can't directly run perfmon. For the host machine itself, there are
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                    Becoming an IEEE Author

                    A humorous look at becoming an IEEE author.
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                    Choosing a Host That Isn't Toast

                    A recent Baseline Magazine article, Choosing a Host That Isn't Toast, talks up AT&T Web Hosting. The name confused me--they're not just talking about Web hosting, they're talking about data centers. If you read the article without any background, you'll wonder if it isn't part of some special advertising section since it can't say enough about AT&T's hosting products. I don't have any experience with AT&T's hosting in the last 2-3 years, but I can vouch for their excellence before that. At iMall and Excite@Home I had many opportunities to work with these people and understand their processes. As
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                    Building a Better Relationship, One Customer at a Time

                    Doc Searls quotes me on his latest Suitwatch: Building a Better Relationship, One Conversation at a Time.
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                    How Other's Podcast

                    Steve Holden catalogues the technology and techniques that a dozen or so sites use to create their podcasts. I wrote up my own podcasting HOWTO a while back.
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                    BTL: Don't Look for Innovation in Laptops

                    And on the topic of innovation, I wrote a piece over at Between the Lines on why we shouldn't cry too much about the outsourcing of laptop design to Chinese vendors.
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                    Innovation in Utah

                    One of newly elected Governor Jon Huntsman's first moves on economic development was to get the University of Utah to appoint an "innovation czar." Jack Brittain, Dean of the Business School is now taking on this task as well. Brittain said his job is to create as many jobs as possible in Utah by commercializing innovations that come out of the U. "It is also my job to make sure that current Utah businesses have access to the scientific might that is at the University of Utah, to help them develop competitive advantages and expand employment in Utah." He
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                    A Blizzard of Unhappy Customers

                    On any other day I might have just blown past this Wired article on the problems that Blizzard Entertainment's having with subscribers to its World of Warcraft game. I'm not personally all that interested in computer games, online or otherwise. What made it stand out for me is that my sixteen year-old son is one of their unhappy customers. [N]o one knew how quickly World of Warcraft would take off, and the downside to such instant success was that the game's servers rapidly got overwhelmed, leading to server shutdowns and delays. "The success we've been experiencing since launch has
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                    The Bush Doctrine

                    David Gergen on CNN, commenting on Bush's inaugural, says that its a surprise that Bush's strategy is "far more ambitious than we ever imagined. His strategy is not simply going after Iraq and going after Sadam. Nor is it simply going after Al Queda. It is rather to expand liberty across much of the world." This is not news to me. I've understood that that was Bush's strategy for a long time. What's sad is that it probably is news to many. This is the Bush Doctrine and if he can pull it off will define his Presidency. That's
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                    GovTech Picks Up My Story

                    GovTech picked up my story on shaking IT up in Utah and syndicated it on their site. I've had other, less public, interest in it as well.
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                    OOP Is Better In Theory Than Practice

                    In a DevX, Richard Mansfield argues that OOP is better in theory than practice. Here's the intro to the article: Think object-orient programming (OOP) is the only way to go? You poor, misguided soul. Richard Mansfield contends that OOP is just the latest in a history of ideas that sound good in theory but are clumsy in practice.? Like many ideas that sound good in theory but are clumsy in practice, object-oriented programming (OOP) offers benefits only in a specialized context--namely, group programming. And even in that circumstance the benefits are dubious, though the proponents of OOP would have
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                    FBI's Virtual Case File May Be Unusable

                    The FBI has spent the last five years and $170 million trying to create and electronic documents management system for its agents. The system is called Virtual Case File and it doesn't work. Only about 10% of the planned capacity has been implemented and an internal report by the DOJ's Inspector General says that it will be outdated before its fully deployed. Work on the Virtual Case File began in 2000. Five years later, the technology world has changed and the way the system was developed makes updating it virtually impossible. For example, the Virtual Case File can't create
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                    Scott Lemon on the Axioms of Identity, An Interview

                    I've wanted to start interviewing some of the players in the digital identity space. I decided to start with Scott Lemon because he's a good friend and so I was sure I could count on him to be sympathetic to the technical problems I was sure I'd encounter. Here's the direct link to the MP3 and its on my podcast RSS feed as well. Scott was one of the leaders of Novell's Digital Me project, an early effort in digital identity. That project shaped Scott's views of what identity is and how digital systems can be built to support
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                    ASCIIMathML

                    Bob Denive wrote to tell me about ASCIIMathML, a system for using ASCII markup to create math formulas. There's a javascript program that does the conversion. I was aware of MathML (although not the ASCIIMathML variant), but like the greater flexibility of TeX. Admittedly that comes at a price.
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                    Tag Consensus

                    One of the problems with free form tags as a social categorizing mechanism is that different people will choose different tags for the same thing. Is the right tag for eGovernment e-government, egovernment, e-gov, egov, edemocracy, or what? The solution is to use blogs to drive consensus around tags. John Gotze is trying to do that with eGovernment. His proposal is
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                    One-Click Subscriptions to RSS

                    Dave Winer is proposing a one-click subscription service for RSS feeds. The problem with the current set-up, as stated by Dave is: Yahoo sends emails to bloggers with RSS feeds saying, hey if you put this icon on your weblog you'll get more subscribers. It's true you will. Then Feedster says the same thing, and Bloglines, etc etc. Hey I did it too, back when Radio was pretty much the only show in town, you can see the icon to the right, if you click on it, it tries to open a page on your machine so you can
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                    Shaking IT Up in Utah

                    Newly elected Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman announced sweeping changes to Utah State government yesterday including a plan to consolidate all 1000 IT workers in the state into a single department. (see stories in the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune). I've heard rumblings of this for the past few weeks and there are more than a few nervous people in the State IT ranks. Huntsman also plans to shake up the information technology operations in state government that are now strewn across all programs and agencies without a centralized line of control. The state's chief information officer, for
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                    Technorati Has Tags

                    Dave Sifry's at it again with another cool way to look at the web. Technorati now features tags. Tags at technorati are the same concept as tags at Del.icio.us--informal categories that you make up on the fly. Technorati will automatically make tagged entries from the categories on your blog, or you can add this to your pages to make your own: <a rel="tag">[tagname]</a> Here are a few well populated tags at Technorati right now: Blog Weblog Politics technology Technorati augments its material with links for the same tag at Del.icio.us and Flickr.
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                    User-Augmented Customer Support

                    Jon Udell's column in this week's InfoWorld is entitled Open Source Documentation. Jon's noticed that you can often find better support information by turning to Google than you can by going to the company's support page. I've heard Dave Weinberger related the same kind of expeerience with respect to finding pre-purchase information on a washer/dryer. Mr. Google almost always has the answer, whereas your typical support page is poorly organized and difficult to use. Even with that, the information you're looking for probably isn't there. As Jon points out: Collectively, we users know a lot more about products than
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                    Identity Reading List

                    While I was over at Kim's blog, I noticed he's posted Stefan Brand's reading list of papers and books on identity and privacy. Most everything on the list can be downloaded. I'm currently reading Digital Person by Daniel J. Solove. Its very focused on privacy. Solove tries to turn our metphor for understanding privacy from Orwell to Kafka--it's an interesting idea.
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                    Aggregating Risk

                    Jamie Lewis reacts to the recent security breach at George Mason University where intruders made off with information about 30,000 students, faculty, and staff, saying "[A]s identity systems aggregate information, they also aggregate risk." Kim Cameron, on the same subject, says that we need to assume our identity stores will be compromised at some point and plan accordingly: We need to base our?approach to these scenarios?on the idea that one day, the store will be penetrated.? We need then to reduce information in the store to the minimum required.? We need to distribute information so breaking into one system
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                    LaTeXMath, a Kwiki Plugin for Mathematics

                    Yesterday, I was thinking about math and whenever I start thinking about math I want to write it down. I hate writing on paper anymore and like writing on wikis, so I decided to see if anyone had written a LaTeX module for Kwiki, my wiki of choice. Alas, no one had. Now, a fact of life is that I'd rather write code than math. In a former life, I did formal verification in HOL which allowed me to write code and math at the same time. As a consequence, I was easily diverted to a new task and
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                    Lightweight Identity

                    Johannes Ernst contacted me today to tell me about Lightweight Identity (LID). Coincidentally, I'd seen it on Jamie Lewis' blog last week and had it on my list of things to write about (which is essentially equal to my list of things I want to know more about). I first met Johannes in May 2003 at a Jupiter conference on blogging in business. Johannes' company, NetMesh developed LID as a simple, easy-to-use, decentralized way to create identities. LID has a few features which will appeal to many: Identities are URLs (no new namespace) You control the URL and what's
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                    Personal Identity Verification Project

                    The Feds are moving quickly toward a single employee identification system for all government employees and contractors. The system would be based on smart cards and allow the use of biometrics in some applications. The project is called Personal Identity Verification and is being managed by NIST. Federal officials want to replace the existing piecemeal system of agency-level ID cards with "smart cards" that are hard to counterfeit, resistant to tampering and difficult to use by anyone other than the rightful card-holder if lost or stolen. The new generation of ID cards must be able to digitally store biometric
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                    Where is Utah's CIO

                    This Federal Computer Week article puts into print some of the rumors I've been hearing about Gov. Huntsman considering a move of the CIO's office out of the Governor's office and into DAS (dept. of Administrative Services). I assume that that means that the CIO would head ITS (Information Technology Services). That would be a huge mistake. This seems like a logical move a first. Since the CIO is supposed to be in charge of IT, why not place the position over the largest IT shop in the state. The problem is that ITS has had an adversarial relationship
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                    Trying MarsEdit

                    MarsEdit is a blog editor from Ranchero Software. Since I use NetNewsWire as my aggregator feedreader and like it, I thought I'd give it a go. This post is coming to you from MarsEdit. The program is pretty straightforward. It integrates with Movabletype (and many other blogging tools) well and does a good job of saving and uploading posts. On the other hand, there don't seem to be that many advantages over using the Web form, except that you can do it offline. But then, I use Emacs for that. I don't think it will change how I work,
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                    Coaching

                    I have several relationships right now with companies where I'm essentially playing coach to the CIO or CTO. That's a nice role and probably the most fun I've had in any of the consulting I've done. I get pulled into all kinds of things. Sometimes, its a quick question about a product and other times its a multi-week session to develop product strategy. I mentioned this sort of thing in a discussion of CIO resolutions for 2005. Many people are in roles where they could use a coach. Coaches aren't necessarily someone who can do the job better and
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                    What Its Like To...

                    CIO Magazine has a couple dozen stories that all start with What Its Like To... I enjoyed reading through them and hearing about other people's experience in the CIO seat. For example, Richard Clarke's description of what its like to brief the president is something you just don't read about that often.
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                    Bruce Sterling's Open Letter to the Cyberchump

                    Bruce Sterling has written an open letter to the next cyberchumpczar. Given that this will be the fourth one in three years, there's plenty of room for fresh ideas. Sterling gives some straightforward advice about how to succeed: Use Secret Service Electronic Crimes Branch as your police force. Hammer out rational policies. Create systems to give accurate Internet "weather reports" will track anomalous slowdowns, stoppages, and traffic jams. Create a foreign policy. Develop the ability to see around corners by recruiting every graying pundit, unemployed CEO, and retired computer scientist you can find. The problem, as Bruce points out,
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                    Ugly Logos

                    KSL is sponsoring an ugly logo content. Go vote for your, ahem, favorite.
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                    Cost Effective Business Continuity

                    David Stephenson writes a blog on Homeland Security. I met him when I was CIO for Utah. H recently published a story on the ten homeland security technologies to watch in 2005. But what caught my eye was his criteria for judging homeland security technologies. Also having day-in-day-out applications so that they will both be familiar in an emergency (i.e., not requiring users to have to learn something new when they're already stressed) and will have economic and/or social benefits so their purchase and deployment are more easily justified. Decentralized, so they are less likely to be rendered inoperative
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                    Full-Duplex Automation

                    Roger McNamee uses some interesting terms in a discussion of service automation. He differentiates "half-duplex" automation from "full-duplex" automation: I think there's more than one thread here: half-duplex automation, which is what you have on Google or eBay (where it will give you information automatically if you give it some kind of interaction), and full-duplex [automation], which is what you have [with] TiVo and in a very small number of cases where you can set up automation ahead of time. To me, that's the thread that hasn't really started yet: I see enormous potential on the systems in place
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                    Checking Back In

                    Qwade's got his blog going again. Welcome back!
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                    Mind Viruses

                    Thomas Barnett frequently uses IT terminology to discuss geopolitics, one of the things I love about him. In a recent post he says: As I said in PNM, the whole goal of enunciating a strategic vision like this, is that you generate reproducible strategic concepts, meaning key ideas that are replicable in mind after mind, once they begin to spread. I think the SysAdmin and the connectivity concepts qualify in this regard, when you can see someone like Ignatius view something like the current tragedy in Asia and relate it back to the book. From Thomas P.M. Barnett ::
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                    The Secret Sauce in eGovernent

                    Most small town Web sites are just what you'd expect, lot of static content, most of it out of date. Take the town I live in, for example, Lindon, UT. Our Web site is better than most. At least its built on some kind of portal software and there are occasional updates. Even so, I have been there a few times to look for things I knew were happening in the City or get information and came away disappointed. The problem is that small towns don't have much of a staff. They rarely have anyone, even on a consulting
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                    More Identity on the Gillmor Gang

                    There were nine of us on last week's Gillmor Gang. Doug called it the "GIllmor Gaggle." The topic was identity. Here's what Doug says about it: This week The Gang digs deeper into digital identity with a panel of experts. It begins as a Kumbaya of identity vendors and technologies, but by the second half the gloves come off. Craig points out that everyone has built silos so far because there have been no alternatives. Is the idea of a Microsoft silo "old fashioned thinking," as Kim suggests, defending the company he joined not all that long ago? He
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                    16-Bit Overflows and Airport Delays

                    "Who'd ever need to make more than 32K worth of crew changes per month?" You can almost hear the thought running through the programmer's mind, can't you? Unfortunately, Delta did in December 2004 and an overflow in some scheduling software created by SBS, a subsidiary of Boeing left Delta trying to figure out what crews were available to fly where and when. Actually, I doubt that the programmer even thought to ask that question. Just selected INT and that was the end of it. Who's fault is it? The programmer is certainly to blame for not understanding and taking
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                    Banner Graphic

                    Design challenged people are always thankful for a helping hand and so I was grateful when Brian Sweeting offered to clean up the banner graphic I was using. I think the result is much improved. The shot, btw, is taken looking east from the soccer fields on 8th East in Orem one misty fall morning.
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                    A New Year and a New Blog

                    Yes, you're in the right place. I've decided to update the look of my blog and give it a name (Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog was too hard to refer to). I choose the name "technometria." Technometry is the "measure of a skill or art" and coined by William Ames in the 17th century. As Ames used it, technometria meant the study of the theory of the interrelation of the arts and sciences. For a fuller discussion of my choice, see Why Technometria. I decided to move to Movabletype from Radio. My reasons for switching from Radio were many. I
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