Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thank you, twitter

Another reason to like twitter ... or the guys behind twitter: in their announcement/warning of the upcoming downtime, they linked the time to timeanddate.com, so everyone can see it in their own timezone.

Since I receive a lot of event invitations from the US I know that his is quite unusual... totally the exception.
So, thank you, twitter.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dezentralized Twitter

A couple of recent Gillmor Gang episodes were dedicated to the concept (and necessity) of a decentralized twitter, and/or opening up twitter...

At one point, Marc Canter says:
"But there could be technically 100 Twitters, each controlled by different vendors, and we could have a backend kind of DNS thing to federate users. So if I registered with Pownce or Jaiku, my handle would work on Twitter, or vice-versa. And that’s what I’ve been saying."
More of Marc's reasoning on his blog here.
I don't think this can ever happen - as a DNS like infrastructure.

DNS might be a nice model of decentralization (in probably most ways), but to me it is a very one-way model of propagating data ...
You don't have to push data through DNS... it get's pulled by a host lookup... that's why I say "propagate".

But you have to push tweets. You cannot have every possible Twitter-Clone instance (and there would be hundreds, if you really open it up) pull data from every other clone... no way. And DNS is not a model for pushing data...

To make one thing clear: I agree with Marc that twitter needs to be decentralized in some way... I just don't feel that DNS can be the model for it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Restore Natural Order

I just noticed that Thunderbird saves the world.

If you click on the column selection button in one of the table views, e.g. Inbox, or the Lighning event list
you get a "Restore Natural Order" action.


If only we had that in the real world.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

X.500 ?

Today I saw (quite an expensive) a car with the vanity license plate "X 500" on it.

The owner is most definitely not from IT or any tech business, since no one here in their right mind would choose to associate themselves with "X.500"...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Skype, Google and YouTube for fun and profit

Just noticed that I had some dust on the sensor of my DSLR (Nikon D70). And while I was IM'ing with a friend (Max) on how to get rid of it, I googled for "nikon d70 sensor clean" and the first hit I got was this video on YouTube, showing how to clean the sensor of your D70 from dust.

I then only needed Max to tell me that I could use any straw instead of that blower thingy (provided that I don't spit through it)...

e voila: I followed the instructions, did not spit, and the sensor now is clean again.

Thanks, Skype, Google and YouTube.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stupid UIs

Another addition to the collection of stupid user interfaces.

This week's award goes to Nokia for replacing a YES/NO dialog with two buttons (green checkbox for YES, red crossy thingy for NO).
Well, it is intuitive, but keyboard shortcuts (Y, N) no longer work.

Well done.
Thank you.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Why OpenID should have relevance for the enterprise

As with federated identities, I thought that OpenID had no space in the enterprise.

The main thought was, that OpenID make me the owner of my identity, and lets me choose where to use it. This is usually not what the enterprise wants. My enterprise identity, i.e. my accounts and profiles with the IT systems of my employer, belongs to my employer, not to me.
So, why should an enterprise care ?
Well, there are people who use their corporate account names and passwords on external sites as well.
They might use it for their email account, or eBay, ... Or they use their corporate email address to register with amazon and others who base an account on a email address. And usually, people tend to use the same password as well.

Bad idea.

But this (mis)concept exists, since there are "external" account, CompuServe, AOL, fidonet, whatever... and of course all those fancy sites on the web. And this behavior could never be eradicated. Because people (and therefore users) are lazy bastards.

Well - you can write and publish policies that forbid this (and all enterprises have those), but frankly, who cares. Who even reads them.

So why not turn 180° and actually allow this... even more: encourage it.

Become an OpenID provider and let users use their corporate account to login at your openid provider site. That way, the can stay lazy, but never give a password to other sites... They only enter it at your site(s).

The only drawback right now is, that there are still not enough openid enabled sites... but they are growing... rapidly actually.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New StarOffice/OOo language feature

Just noticed that OpenOffice 2.4 and (therefore) StarOffice 8 Update 10, have a new faster way to select/change the language for the spell-checker - right down in the status bar (where you actually expect it).

A click on it, and you can change the language.
Fast. Intiutive.


Friday, May 02, 2008

A case for Identity Federation for the Enterprise

When it comes to identity management enterprises today tend to only care about user provisioning, compliance and (worst of all) single-sign-on.

Identity Federation - like Liberty - is usually not really considered. And I neglected it, too, since customers were not really interested in it, or asking for it.

However, there is a good use-case for federated identities across within enterprises... I choose to say "within" because the case I'm about to make is when the user should not see enterprise borders:

Consider an outsourced process - like HR in our case at Sun - where your employees have to access an application that is outsourced as well. People then have to sign on to computers that are not being operated by you (your IT).

Big deal... those application can easily access my directory (LDAP or AD)... so why should I need identity federation there?
And you might even trust those external application to securely access your directory this way.

But you don't want your users to enter their corporate userid and password at any remote site - even if you trust that company.

If you do, you open up big potential for fishing... By using federation you keep the input mask for your userids and password within your IT, operated by your staff, transported only over your network. There is no chance that the password can get intercepted... or at least the risk is not higher than within your own network.
That's the point.