Archive for the ‘blogtools’ Category
My first blogging platform was Dave Winer’s Radio UserLand. One of Dave’s mantras was: “Own your words.” As the blogosophere became a conversational medium, I saw what that could mean. Radio UserLand did not, at first, support comments. That turned out to be a constraint well worth embracing. When conversation emerged, as it inevitably will in any system of communication, it was a cross-blog affair. I’d quote something from your blog on mine, and discuss it. You’d notice, and perhaps write something on your blog referring back to mine.
I would love to be able to comment on an article or a blog entry by passing a link to a blog entry within my own WordPress instance on WordPress.com. However rendering that ‘feed’ back into the comments section on the originating article/blog page doesn’t seem to be common. At best I think I could drop a permalink into the comments section so people might be tempted to follow the link to my blog. But it’s kind of unfair to an unsuspecting reader to force them to jump and in a sense re-direct to another website just to follow a commentary. So I fully agree there needs to be a pub/sub style way of passing my blog entry by reference back into the comments section of the originating article/blog. Better yet that gives me some ability to amend and edit my poor choice of words the first time I publish a response. Too often silly mistakes get preserved in the ‘amber’ of the comments fields in the back-end MySQL databases of those content management systems housing many online web magazines. So there’s plenty of room for improvement and RSS could easily embrace and extend this style of commenting I think if someone were driven to develop it.
Now, you’re probably thinking, isn’t Xeon the exact opposite of the kind of extreme low-power computing envisioned by HP with Project Moonshot? Surely this is just crazy talk from Intel? Maybe, but Walcyzk raised some valid points that are worth airing.via Cloudline | Blog | Intel Responds to Calxeda/HP ARM Server News: Xeon Still Wins for Big Data.
So Intel gets an interview with a Conde-Nast writer for a sub-blog of Wired.com. I doubt too many purchasers or data center architects consult Cloudline@Wired.com. But all the same, I saw through many thinly veiled bits of handwaving and old saws from Intel saying, “Yes, this exists but we’re already addressing it with our exiting product lines,. . .” So, I wrote in a comment to this very article. Especially regarding a throw-away line mentioning the ‘future’ of the data center and the direction the Data Center and Cloud Computing market was headed. However the moderator never published the comment. In effect, I raised the Question: Whither Tilera? And the Quanta SM-2 server based on the Tilera Chip?
Aren’t they exactly what is described by the author John Stokes as a network of cores on a chip? And given the scale of Tilera’s own product plans going into the future and the fact they are not just concentrating on Network gear but actual Compute Clouds too, I’d say both Stokes and Walcyzk are asking the wrong questions and directing our attention in the wrong direction. This is not a PR battle but a flat out technology battle. You cannot win this with words and white papers but in fact it requires benchmarks and deployments and Case Histories. Technical merit and superior technology will differentiate the players in the Cloud in a Box race. And this hasn’t been the case in the past as Intel has battled AMD in the desktop consumer market. In the data center Intel Fear Uncertainty and Doubt is the only weapon they have.
And I’ll quote directly from John Stokes’s article here describing EXACTLY the kind of product that Tilera has been shipping already:
“Instead of Xeon with virtualization, I could easily see a many-core Atom or ARM cluster-on-a-chip emerging as the best way to tackle batch-oriented Big Data workloads. Until then, though, it’s clear that Intel isn’t going to roll over and let ARM just take over one of the hottest emerging markets for compute power.”
The key phrase here is cluster on a chip, in essence exactly what Tilera has strived to achieve with its Tilera64 based architecture. To review from previous blog entries of this website following the announcements and timelines published by Tilera:
- Tilera throws gauntlet at Intel’s feet (go.theregister.com)
- Tilera routs Intel, AMD in Facebook bakeoff (go.theregister.com)
- The ARM v. Intel fight just got good (gigaom.com)
- ARM daddy simulates human brain with million-chip super – The Register (carpetbomberz.com)
- Diving into Big Data (blogs.cisco.com)
- Jason Gerard DeRose: Calxeda is more disruptive than you might think (jderose.blogspot.com)
Cisco killed off the much-beloved Flip video camera Tuesday. It was an unglamorous end for a cool device that just few years earlier shocked us all by coming to dominate the video-camera market, utterly routing established players like Sony and Canon
I don’t usually write about Consumer Electronics per se. This particular product category got my attention due to it’s long gestation and overwhelming domination of a category in the market that didn’t exist until it was created. It was the pocket video camera with a built-in flip out USB connector. Like a USB flash drive with a LCD screen, a lens and one big red button, the Flip pared down everything to the absolute essentials, including the absolute immediacy of online video sharing via YouTube and Facebook. Now the revolution has ended, devices have converged and many are telling the story of explaining Why(?) this has happened. In the case of Wired.com’s Robert Capps he claims Flip lost its way after Cisco lost its way doing the Flip 2 revision, trying to get a WiFi connected camera out there for people to record their ‘Lifestream’.
Prior to Robert Capps, different writers for different pubs all spouted the conclusion of Cisco’s own Media Relations folks. Cisco’s Flip camera was the victim of inevitable convergence, pure and simple. Smartphones, in particular Apple’s iPhone kept adding features all once available only on the Flip. Easy recording, easy sharing, larger resolution, bigger LCD screen, and it could play Angry Birds too! I don’t cotton to that conclusion as fed to us by Cisco. It’s too convenient and the convergence myth does not account for the one thing Flip has the iPhone doesn’t have, has never had WILL never have. And that is a simple, industry standard connector. Yes folks convergence is not simply displacing cherry-picked features from one device and incorporating into yours, no. True convergence is picking up all that is BEST about one device and incorporating it, so that fewer and fewer compromises must be made. Which brings me to the issue of the Apple multi-pin connector that has been with us since the first iPod hit the market in 2002.
See the Flip didn’t have a proprietary connector, it just had a big old ugly USB connector. Just as big and ugly as the one your mouse and keyboard use to connect to your desktop computer. The beauty of that choice was Flip could connect to just about any computer manufactured after 1998 (when USB was first hitting the market). The second thing was all the apps for making the Flip play back the videos you shot or to cut them down and edit them were sitting on the Flip, just like hard drive, waiting for you to install them on whichever random computer you wanted to use. Didn’t matter whether or not it had the software installed, it COULD be installed directly from the Flip itself. Isn’t that slick?! You didn’t have to first search for the software online, download and install, it was right there, just double-click and go.
Compare this to the Apple iOS cul-de-sac we all know as iTunes. Your iPhone, iTouch, iPad, iPod all know your computer not through simply by communicating through it’s USB connector. You must first have iTunes installed AND have your proprietary Apple to USB connector to link-up. Then and only then can your device ‘see’ your computer and the Internet. This gated community provided through iTunes allows Apple to see what you are doing, market directly to you and watch as you connect to YouTube to upload your video. All with the intention of one day acting on that information, maintaining full control at each step along the path way from shooting to sharing your video. If this is convergence, I’ll keep my old Flip mino (non-HD) thankyou very much. Freedom (as in choice) is a wonderful thing and compromising that in the name of convergence (mis-recognized as convenience) is no compromise. It is a racket and everyone wants to sell you on the ‘good’ points of the racket. I am not buying it.
- RIP Flip cameras.. You will be missed! (chatootsboots.wordpress.com)
- Alternatives to the dearly departed Flip camera (trafcom.typepad.com)
- Farewell, Flip Camera (www.readwriteweb.com)
- Cisco fades out Flip camera (www.consumerreports.com)
- Why Cisco’s Flip Flopped in the Camera Business (www.wired.com/gadgetlab)
First 37Signals announced it would drop support for OpenID. Then Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo called OpenID a failure (along with XML and AtomPub). Former Facebooker Yishan Wong’s scathing (and sometimes wrong) rant calling OpenID a failure is one of the more popular answers on Quora.
But if OpenID is a failure, it’s one of the web’s most successful failures.
I was always of the mind that said Single Sign-on is a good thing, not bad. And any service whether it be for work or outside of work that can re-use an identifier and authentication, or whatnot should make things easier to manage and possibly be more secure in the long run. There are proponents for and against anything that looks or acts like a single sign-on. Detractors always argue that if one of the services gets hacked they somehow can gain access to your password and identity and hack in to your accounts on all the other systems out there. In reality with a typical single sign-on service you don’t ever send a password to the place your logging into (unless it’s the source of record like the website that hosts your OpenID). Instead you send something more like a scrambled message that only you could have originated and which the website you’re logging into will be able to descramble. And the message it is sending is based on your OpenID provider, the source of record for your identity online. So nobody is storing your password, nobody is able to hack into all your other accounts when they hijack your favorite web service.
Where I work I was a strong advocate for centralized identity management like OpenID. Some people thought the only use for this was as a single sign-on service. But real centralize identity management also encompasses the authorizations you have once you have declared and authenticated your identity. And it’s the authorization that is key to what is really useful for a Single Sign-on service.
I may be given a ‘role’ within someone’s website or page on a social networking website that either adds or takes away levels off privacy to the person who has declared me as a ‘friend’. And if they wanted to ‘redefine’ my level of privilege, all they would have to do is change privileges for that ‘role’ not for me personally and all my levels of access would change accordingly. Why? Because a role is kind off like a rank or group membership. Just like everyone in the army who is an officer can enjoy benefits like attending an officers club because they have the role, officer. I can see more of a person’s profile or personal details because I have been declared a friend. Nowhere in this is it absolutely necessary to define specific restrictions, levels of privilege to me Individually! It’s all based on my membership in a group. And if someone wants to eliminate that group or change the permissions to all members of the group, they do it once, and only once to the definition of that role, and it rolls out, cascades out to all the members after that point. So OpenID can be authentication (which is what most people stop at) and it can additionally be authorization (what am I allowed and not allowed to do once I prove who I am). It’s a very powerful and poorly understood capability.
The widest application I’ve seen so far using something like OpenID is the Facebook ‘sign-on’ service that allows you to make comments to articles on news websites and weblogs. Disqus is a third party provider that acts as a hub to anyone that wants to re-use someone’s Facebook or OpenID credentials to prove that they are real and not a rogue spambot. That chain of identity is maintained by Disqus providing the plumbing back to whichever of the many services someone might be subscribed to or participate in. I already have an OpenID but I also have a Facebook account. Disqus will allow me to use either one. Given how much information might be passed along by Facebook through a third party (something they are notorious for allowing Applications to do) I chose to use my OpenID which more or less says I am X user at X website and I am the owner of that website as well. A chain of authentications just good enough to allow me to make comments on an article is what OpenID provides. Not too much information, just enough information travels back and forth. And because of this absolute precision, abolishing all the unneeded private detail or having to create an account on the website hosting the article, I can just freely come and go as I please.
That is the lightweight joy of OpenID.
Winer wants to demystify the server. “Engineers sometimes mystify what they do, as a form of job security,” writes Winer, “I prefer to make light of it… it was easy for me, why shouldn’t it be easy for everyone?”
Dave Winer believes Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is the path towards a more self reliant, self actualizing future for anyone who keeps any of their data on the Internet. So he proposes a project entitled EC2 for Poets. Having been a user of Dave’s blogging software in the past, Radio Userland, I’m very curious as to what the new project looks like.
Back in the old days I paid $40 to Frontier for the privilege of reading and publishing my opinions on articles I subscribed to through the Radio Userland client. It was a great RSS reader at the time and I loved being able to clip and snip out bits of articles and embed my comments around them. I then subsequently moved on to Bloglines and now Google Reader exactly in that order. Now I use WordPress to keep my comments and article snippets organized and published on the Web.
- RSS keeps me alive kickin’ (andrewspittle.net)
- EZTV Introduces BitTorrent RSS Standard, With Magnets (torrentfreak.com)
- Blogfather Accuses Twitter of Payola Scheme He Pioneered (gawker.com)
Now social streams have largely eclipsed RSS readers, and the feed reading service I’ve used for years — Bloglines — will soon go dark. Dave Winer thinks the RSS ecosystem could be rebooted, and argues for centralized subscription handling on the next turn of the crank. Of course definitions tend to blur when we talk about centralized versus decentralized services.
Here now, more Uncertainty and Doubt surrounding RSS readers as the future of consuming web pages. I wouldn’t expect this from the one guy I most respect when it comes to future developments in computer technology. I have followed Jon Udell’s shining example each step of the way from Radio Userland to Bloglines. And I breathed deeply the religion of loosely coupled services tied together with ‘services’ like pub/sub or RSS feeds. The flexibility and robustness of not letting a single vendor or purveyor of a free services to me was obvious. However I have fallen prey to the siren song of social media, starting with Digg, Flickr, Google Reader, LinkedIn. Each one claiming some amount of market share, but none of them anticipating the wild popularity of Friendster, MySpace and now Facebook. I actively participate in Facebook to help keep everyone energized and to let them know someone is reading the stuff they post. I want this service to succeed. And by all accounts it’s succeeding beyond its wildest dreams, through advertising revenue.
But who wants to be marketed to? Doc Searles argued rightly our personal information is ours, our ‘attention’ is ours. He wants something like a Vendor Relationship Management service where we keep our ‘profile’ information and dole out the absolute minimum necessary to participate online or do commerce. And Jon in this article uses the elmcity project as a sterling example of how many stovepipe social networks in which we participate. Jon’s work with elmcity is an ongoing attempt to have events be ‘subscribe-enabled’ the way blogs or online news websites are already. Each online calendar program has a web presence, but usually does not have a comparable publication/subscription service like RSS or iCalendar formats associated with them. To ‘really’ know what is going requires a network of event curators who can manage the data feeds that then get plugged into an information hub that aggregates all the events in a geographical region. It’s all loosely coupled and more robust than trying to get everyone to adopt a single calendar.
Which brings us back to the online personal data store, why can’t we have a ‘hub’ that aggregates these ‘services’ we participate in but contain the single source of profile information that we manage and dole out? In that way I’m not hostage to End User Licenses and the attendant risks of letting someone else be my profile steward. Instead I can manage it and let the services subscribe to my hub, and all my ‘data stores’ can exist across all the social networks that exist or may exist. No Lock In. Think about this, I cannot export all the little write-ups and comments on made on headlines I posted in Bloglines. I could export my Blogroll though, using OPML (thanks Dave Winer!) Similarly I won’t ever be able export any of my numerous status updates in Facebook. In fact as near as I can tell there is no Export Button anywhere for anything. It’s like AOL, an internet cul-de-sac that we all willingly participate in, never considering consequences.
- No, RSS Is Not Dead, and Neither Are RSS Readers (gigaom.com)
As Steve Gillmor pointed out in TechCrunch last year , being locked in an RSS reader makes less and less sense to people as Twitter and Facebook dominate real-time information flow. Today RSS is the enabling technology – the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact.. The writing is on the wall.
I don’t know if I agree with the conclusion RSS readers are a form of lock-in. I consider Facebook participation as a form of lock-in as all my quips, photos and posts in that social networking cul-de-sac will never be exported back out again. There’s no way to do it, never ever. With an RSS reader at least my blogroll can easily be exported and imported again using OPML formatted ASCII text. How cool is that in the era of proprietary binary formats (mp4, pdf, doc). No I would say RSS is kind of innately good in and of itself. Enabling technologies are like that and while RSS readers are not the only way to consume or create feeds I haven’t found one of them that couldn’t import my blogroll. Try doing that with Twitter or Facebook (click the don’t like button).