Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mobile LiveCasting

I've always been pretty interested in the idea of LiveCasting (if that's a real word) since happening upon Video Blogging some years back. However, i think you need to get over the part where you feel like a self-concious idiot who has to say something interesting all the time to a more blog like approach. Drop in, drop out - if you like it watch it, if not move on. That's pretty much how blogs work.

So, sitting in from of my PC or laptop it can be hard to think of something to say. However, when out and about it's much easier. In fact, when it comes to LiveCasting, it probably works better with stuff that happens fairly spontaneously - rather than a tutorial or chat which can be done at any point (although with http://vidyo.TV , i do believe there is a market for that too!!).

So today i tried livecasting with ComVu over my mobile device (catch - i used activesync, but will be using GPRS in an hour or so as another test). It works really well - the video isn't very interesting (unless you have a keyboard fetish) but the software installed easy, i started the casting easily and went to a web page and hey presto, "mum , i'm on TV!!".

In the coming days and weeks i'm going to play around with this a bit. I'm putting a "live" icon on this page somewhere - this links to archives as well. Very cool :)

You can see my "live" page here and my archive there too. I'll be adding as something interesting appears.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I just lost a big post on the iPhone so in short (just got a HTTP 500), i wish browsers saved any post to a temporary internet file just in case you want to recover it.

The main point was whether the iPhone works with our finger for anything other than applications with larger "zones". I use a stylus on my PDA and tap for some things, but most things are just too small to be able to use your finger. I can see how the iPhone can play music or a video, but how it can edit contacts or select a word in a text document to modify sounds bery tricky.

Trust me, it was a great post that may have changed your life. But now it's confined to my sub-concioius.

- http://steven.openid.org/

Saturday, June 23, 2007

hCard and XFN in OpenID

hCard and XFN support is now available in OpenID.org

e.g. http://steven.openid.org

Developer Conferencing still needs work

This morning we have a two and a half hour conference on Skype with text, audio and video (we actually met on Windows Live). Seeing me first thing in the morning isn't pleasant and on the weekend too, but we gave it a go anyway.

The idea was to hack together some ideas for a mobile app we're working on. We all have 8 MB (actually around 6MB) broadband and are based around the UK (three of us).

It went... ok. As a start, SharedView is alpha, not beta. 200 year old NetMeeting worked great, but SharedView didn't work so well, cutting out and leaving large grey blocks on the screen (we couldn't use NetMeeting due to some Vista sharing issue for one of the guys).

I want a true, developer hackable platform that i can share and collaborate on, with audio and video built in - without paying a fortune or requiring anything more than an 8MB line (i remember doing Netmeeting app sharing on a 56k line).

Still, i'm an optimist and the experience was not too bad - it's certainly hard being the POC for some of these ideas, but in truth the only part which was a bit of a let-down was a SharedView product that is in "beta". If they can improve that then our experience will be a LOT better.

Now for some breakfast and to bring together some graphical ideas we had!

Oh, it did occur to me that it would be neat to do all this stuff in Second Life ;)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pulling my wires out

Yep. That should be entitled "Pulling my hair out", but tonight i decided to get rid of the wires in the new house and set up a new DLink wireless router/modem. A quick installation and a short click to pop up the wizard later and hey presto, i am wireless. Well, that was 5 hours ago.

Seriously, i wonder whether the people at Apple aren't actually visionaries at all. They were all brought up as hardware and software testers. They banged their head so much trying to get stuff that should work for laymen never mind experienced pro's that they just learned that the user experience is key.

It's entirely fictional, but as i see it, as the hand of Jonathan Ive started falling off after clicking down 8 zillion songs, he never thought "hell, they want the song, they'll happily spend the best part of a Friday night clicking through each song". No, he just made something that made doing that easy. Don't write solutions around things that are inherently tricky - just change the rules ( i'm off to get my bandana, shades and tie-die shirt).

Would it BE so hard for the modem or rounter manufactures to AGREE with ISP's etc on some format for this stuff (Xml is good for me). You get an ISP specific URL and a secret password and you point your router at that and it configures itself. I mean that saves the majority of home users and would take all of 60 seconds. It's controlled by the ISP so the data is right, but it's integrated to all modems.

It matters not a jot how cool your technology is if no-one can use it. If it took me this long then how do other non-IT people do it? Well, they pay for someone i suppose - or put it in the cupboard. Or, in my family, call me. In your family, probably call you. Coz anything even indirectly related to computers (soon to extend to smart fridges, microwaves and intelligent hair curling tongs) must be something you know about heh!?

It's almost 2AM and i have wireless broadband. Now i'm too darn tired to use it.

Mobile Maps API

Update: Well I can get the mapping part working great now. Unfortunately you seem to have to handle the device part by yourself. Would be nice not to have to do this and have the service work out an optimimal map size based on the device, but i'm happy for now.

Search has a long way to go if the last hour is anything to go by. It's more frustrating when you know exactly what you want, but you still can't find it.

In my case i want a an API to get maps that can be overlayed and are optimized for mobile devices. So i don't want AJAX or a 800 x 600 PNG map. I want a basic small jpg that does the work of making sure it will fit my device (sure i may have to pass it some contextual info about the device, but that's cool).

Now i'm wondering whether i need to access the call the Web Service API's in the normal way and just hack the image to work for my mobile phone, but then i need to know what to do for different models and so on.

I can see an example of exactly what i want, but can i find a sample? Nope. It's a Friday so maybe I'm just getting tired. Anyone have a pointer?

Scaling Twitter

Interesting post by al3x at Twitter on how the hit scaling problems and had to re-thing their architecture.

From personal observation, there seems to be (at least) two related issues that affect how a startup progresses. The first is interest and the second is scale.

As was pointed out by Evan Williams, he believes he has reached his threashold on LinkedIn and Linked-In is a pretty content rich environment and so probably takes longer than most applications to reach that peak. Most startups likely go through a explosive phase where there is a lot of interest (everyone Twittering) and the question is that once that peaks off, is it maintained. On Twitter it seems to be (EBay was another i have read a lot about), but i've heard of many companies who find it hard to maintain that peak. Yahoo seems to have that problem right now.

The other, more personally familiar peak, is the application architecture. The reality, especially (but certainly not exclusively) in Web 2.0 is the time it takes to produce. It's typically very short and it's unlikely your initial "beta" (==live, but with some clauses) is designed to scale. Writing scalable architectures is pretty tricky and typically a lot more queuing and asychronous services are brought into play - and that stuff throws up a host of questions (timing, caching, performace, intelligent processing, background work and so on). In short you need to re-architecture your entire application... it's not changing a few methods or adding some hardware.

Twitter took off so very quickly, but al3x talks about the fact they had to re-architect. The real trick with this IMHO is that it's a game with the users. You need to look as though nothing is really changing, not piss off you majority user base (and the twitter IM stuff certainly tried hard in that respect), yet evolve into a platform that can grow. THEN you have to hope that your users never lost momentum and continue to use the system - and not only that - you want them to really TEST your new architecture. You built it for exactly this reason.

After all, anyone who has architected software systems and also likes to get into the code knows how brilliantly cool small things you do can have a huge impact on the application. You know, *the* code or architectural change you make which almost single-handedly takes the application to another level.

There must be some stories of companies who peak (either usage or performance) and never quite regained that momentum (this is where coming second often pays dividends!).

- http://steven.openid.org/

Thursday, June 21, 2007

First SL Event

Just out of my first Second Life event - Jeff Barr from AWS doing a chat.

It was actually very, very cool. It has its rough edges but it was something i'm really glad it tried now and was also infromative. I even picked up something that was very worthwhile indeed around AWS.

We need some audio and even video in there, but that will all come. It is also quite hard to navigate TO the event and when you are at it. I think the surl will make it easier to find places (although the search can be tricky to use), but the camera etc is just practice. I'd also like to see it be more real world like... some things to discuss beforehand, a chat/presentation and something informal at the end - again that will come with time.

I wonder whether we can create a mini-conference in there soon. Say 3-5 top speakers, some schedule and so on, audio/video and a warmup/warmdown "party". Anyone up for it?

I feel addicted already.

More Second Life thoughts

Just back from lunch and had a bit of a discussion with a colleague who plays games a lot (say "hello" Joe) - shoot-em ups - erm, do "kids" even call it that these days ;)

I passed the ideas of meetings/conferences and so on in Second Life past him and he figured how could that be better than real life experiences. However, consider this:

- you can have any persona you wish
- you could peek at a conversation
- you could peek at what someone is writing
- you can get an immediate interests/history list

These are just some of the things that you can't do very well in the real world (other than the fact you also can't physically be in two distant places one right after the other). I suspect that even in a virual world people will forms crowds and the like, so the first point is less convincing. However, the idea that you could get involved in social converations in a room, along with the immediately available info on people in a room is pretty cool. Being able to see who has attended past events gives us talking points, being able to see what someone may be working on gives us a shared interest and so on.

I can imagine such events attracting real sponsorships for these virtual events, so perhaps the comments earlier about buying/selling are a bit off.

We also discussed the difference between SL and video conferencing software and so on. Firsly, i just liked the enviroment - i liked the idea of viewing objects when there is a break in the conference (or during one) and the possiblility of shared discussions through that alone. I also like the continuity and history that a SL environment could give you - video conferences start and stop - end of story. I judged some awards in the US two years back and it was all done online - SL awards could be very cool indeed.

I basically see an extension of real world conferences/meetings/chats, but adding all the cool JIT stuff you can get because you are actually online. As people use it - and as it becomes more usable - it will become very normal. After using it, I feel the SL experience offers real context rather than traditional 2D conversations.

I wonder how it compares to popular SIMS and the like. Also interested in what has been happening in this area in the last few years....... please mail me if you have any info - weblivz at hotmail dot com.

The drugs don't work

Arghh - missed a meeting i wanted to be at this morning. To get over this viral thing i seemed to have got i have been taking my fair share of pills. I'm sure the pills have made my mind slow to a whirrrrr.......

It hasn't helped a lot with my head, ear or sleeping. Today there has been some letup, but hopefully it's drawing to a complete end. My wife is just happy she has energy again and was up early this morning (as i was) cleaning the place up.

I'm sure nursery school is the source of all this! We were fit human beings until nursery school - now i feel like i catch anything, even if my son only says other kids have it!

Why Second Life may be more important than you (I) think

I think i have just got it. My calling in my other life.

After closing down Second Life and doing some other things - I had time to mull over what i had seen. Often when i see people using tools like Second Life i picture teens meeting and chatting about music, where they live and so on.

In fact, i actually met my wife on MSN in 2000 and we've just celebrated our fifth year of marriage, so i DO get how social enviroments such as that can be incredibly valuable! But often it is just down to chance chat and meeting and in a social (entertainment) sense i'm already pretty maxed out - i have a wife, two kids and friends i have few chances of seeing.

In a business sense though i like to network. For me, blogging, twitter and so on is a form of loosely coupled networking and although those blogs i read may not always know me, they are part of my network.

However, one frustration for me for a loooonnnnggg time has been lack of access to the various social/business networking events that happen - mostly in the US. They are too many to name, but it was that much of a frustration that i had passed the idea of amatuer meetings/conferences pass people like Howard Rheingold a few years back.

The problem is really that even though a video broadcast offers you more, you are still very isolated from the networking and community that is going on. This can be frustrating when in the hi-tech you want to be part of the epicentres of activity, but don't have a big company or a squillion dollars to travel and see these things.

So why have i suddenly got so excited. Well, if something like Second Life can become truly interactive and make you almost feel like you're there - or even better, if Second Life IS there (i.e. "Second Life Silicon Valley Mobile Monday" conference centre) then i can be part of all this. Add in some voice and maybe video and some real commitment and we're there.

Will is catch up to offline networking? Will all the top speaks that go to these offline meetings go online into Second Life? Why not? If it becomes a true social networking centre, with no barriers then why can't we have the meeting and go for a coffee in Second Life afterwards?

Is anyone doing anything on this yet? Now, this is exciting (although potentially embarrasing if this is what people have been talking about on SL for ages!).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Second Life

Like most of you I usually have a millions things to do, so although i like trying out new ideas, unless they are actually useful to me i will often register and come back every so often but not much more.

This has been the case with Second Life. I get the whole idea, but i wasn't entirely sure how useful it was to me. However, after really playing around with it for a while this morning i has got me hooked (other than the shady snake sounds in the background!). I'm not entirely sure where it will take me, but i joined based on a post over at the AWS blog.

Unfortunately i think i missed the event (still figuring out how my timezone maps!), but i did manage to pretend it was me giving the talk - or rather my alter ego Llavi Saenz!

Now, i'm not sure whether i picture myself hanging out in SL (buying, selling etc) but i'll never say never yet. But i DO find the conference stuff very exciting! For a number of years now i've mentioned the idea of VideoBlogging real conferences - so we can at least get amatuer coverage of the many events round the world i wish i was at. But with SecondLife you can get a real experience. I'd love to see a few real talks and such on it - it's way cooler than just listening to a video or watching on youtube. In fact, on a mobile device, this may well be a killer application. I can't (yet) imagine watching a film on my iPod, but i can imagine participating in online conferenes, chats etc when on the move (e.g. when travelling or out of the office and such).

It had occurred to me that i'd like to be able to write my blog in SL. Somewhere where i could sit with fellow bloggers (some context around that would be very neat so i could see who else is blogging stuff i may be interested in).

I also thought that with an SL OpenID it would be easy to link my real world with my SL world (maybe this isn't the point, but for many of the stuff i'd like to to it would be neat). So now i'm thinking of a million things that SL could be used for.

I'm probably pretty late to the game with this stuff (i did used VRML back in the early 90's - Cosmos etc - but was too early for it then really). I'm not really a game player type, but i can actually see why something like SL is more than that. It's a little tricky to understand at first, but so are most things.

Anyway, back to the real world - i got a load to do!

Best Word Processors out there?

In the last two days i've be pointed at and discovered some of the emerging online word processors that are coming of age. I wish i had time to sign up to and check out them all, but i don't - and some are closed anyway.

I've had a quick look at the following - any thoughts on what offers the best option ... coming from an MS Office suite?


Also, does anyone genuinely see these replacing the desktop versions? Or will MS Office continue, but perhaps by adopting a more SaaS approach?

They must surely all be looking at offline/collaborative features.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

3rd Tuesday meeting

Attended the 2rd Tuesday meeting tonight in Glasgow. Very interesting presentations on Social Networking, Rich Internet Applications and sclabale computing, by XCalibre.

Been a long day and i have had terrible head/ear-aches all day so i'm off to bed - hopefully back to normal tomorrow morning.

Attention Crash

Just read Steve Rubel's article The Attention Crash: A new Kind ogf Dot-Com Bust.

I gotta agree. There a LOT of people spending HUGE amounts of time basically filtering the web. Filtering it in terms of content as well as how to discover and find content.

This generation - which i include myself in - try to stay as far up with the technology as is feasible, but the problem is that some of it is moving so fast and so dramatically that it's starting to effect the general Internet population.

Most are just getting used to some of the benefits of networks such as Linked-In never mind the idea of an facebook mashups and always connected devices! Yes, mashups done correctly can make the integration of services seamless, but most times it's something else to learn. More reading, more time.

There will always be those at the leading edge and there will always be those who are connected (almost) all the time but there are also a huge number who will stand by and cream the best that comes out.... probably using techniques learned from those who never quite got it right in this generation.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Launched Source for anyone in Scotland (focusing on Glasgow) who is interested in coming to the hackups we have.

Please sign up if you're interested and want to follow on. We're really just looking at getting a bunch of folks together who are interested in hacking code or other hi-tech ideas. I secretly always admired the Homebrew Computer Club, and wanted to have something like it after reading iWoz.

A facebook catch

Sam Sethi twittered that Facebook have prevented FSBSoftware from releasing a Facebook sychronization application. Last week i blogged on why facebook needs OpenID.

Of course, this is based on the argument that facebook wants to be open - if not why on earth would they adopt it. This is probably the biggest issue with OpenID at the moment - that most of these sites want to create data silos and you don't control any of your information.

It is in a sense maddening, but in another entirely logical. It's the same with Google maps - and it's a catch 22. If you invest in creating the technology platform then why allow others to use it for free - especially for commercial reasons?!

The problem is that theese companies put "open" API's on their products and then promote the hell out of them in meetings, conferences and online. So loads of "free" neat applications get written for them without any REAL consideration of what the undercurrent is - that there is ALWAYS a commercial reason. More people will use these apps, more (duplicated) data will flow to these central systems and ultimately they will have a hold over any commercial companies wanting to write anything that can even attempt to compete with them.

Imagine anyone writing anything reasonable to compete with Google Maps (with the exception of course of Microsoft). My worry is that in 5 years all the data - and any useful applications (oh, once something gets moderately popular it needs to get commercial to survive) - will be in very few places if this trend continues.

Now, of course your data needs to sit somewhere, but with user centric open systems and your data sitting in the places that need it at your request, sites could still do cool things with yout data (such as Facebook) but they wouldn't actually control your data. Is there a good reason why I can't relate my Facebook account and Linked In account directly? I'd still love them both for what they do, but wouldn't feel trapped in them.

I'd like to see a simple start. Allow relating accounts via your OpenID.

Moving forward, the idea of unlimited social networking just needs a big player with some cash to implement something revolutionary. The reason I like Linked In isn't because it contains a load of data that is closed - it's features are neat and i can contact people i want to know easily.

Let's move the battle from "we got the data" to "we got the features".

Friday, June 15, 2007

A business idea

Want to make some cash? Do this....

When you rent a flat or buy a house, you use an agent (well serveral of them in the latter case). They do quite close to nothing for you - i now have this from personal experience and friends experience in selling.

Furthermore, one you have settled in it takes you 2 weeks to get a phone, another 2 to get broadband, you need utilities transferred, TV license transferred and so on and so on. Not to mention it can cost you up to £200 plus all the other contracts you are breaking when you move inside the contract (transferring is MUCH cheaper).

Now, there is a market in there for an agent that does it end to end. I know, because myself and my friend thought so independently and chanced upon the discussion, only to add that everyone else we had talked to thought it would be useful.

A kind of property "super broker", an agent of the new millenium, agento fantastico. And, http://www.agentofantastico.com is available!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Amazon Visit

Many of you have asked me about Jeff Barr's visit to Glasgow.

Here is what I have thus far:

Date : 23 July 2007
Location : Glasgow
Venue : TBD
Time : TBD (late afternoon so we can go after work!)
Audience: Mainly coders/geeks/hackers. I think he'll have something for everyone tho' !

Any ideas, ping me at weblivz AT hotmail DOT com

So, it's erm, in early planning stages ( a sick wife and having to look after two very young kids meant i've had no time this week).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jeff Barr to come to Glasgow

Well, barring any last minute hitches, it looks like Jeff who is Senior Manager of Web Services Evangelism at Amazon has kindly agreed to come to Glasgow.

The amazing thing is it was all very new technologies (bar some email to and fro-ing) that brought us together. He put a message on Twitter. About 1 minute later i mailed him via his blog. He sent me to WetPaint where i edited his schedule wiki and we were done.

Now i need to sort things out this end - that shouldn't be too hard!

Help - we're lost! Technology is useful.

Technology is useful. I can prove it.

Was walking down the street today when a car pulled up and an older lady and an even older lady - her mother i guessed (hope she doesn't read this blog) - asked me for directions. "Sorry" i said. Never heard of the place.

Then it occurred to me, i had the power in my pocket. In my PocketPC to be exact.

So i said hang on and whipped out my mobile (which would have got me a slap in the face and a criminal record here in Glasgow). They thought i was mad, but with the flick of Windows Live Search for Mobile and typing in the location, i had the directions and even a map.

They looked a little amazed as i gave them directions to where they were going. Maybe they were wondering if i was going to beam up and go back into my tardis.

Helping that old lady cross the road is never going to be the same now.

Position 8 on Google

Yeah, we're back. We're at position 8 on Google now for OpenID.

I maybe jumped the gun - the reindexing process seemed to have wiped us out for a bit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PHP OpenID Forum

This is a nice idea. Owen suggested this would be a good idea and on checking Google I found it.

I added a test post via my openid.


Let's hope people roll out OpenID's with these forums. It would make participation in them a LOT easier.

Back to web basics

I have joined Facebook. I felt I had to as everyone is talking about it.

I thought i was missing something incredible. So I joined. I'm a little confused now as it's like most social networks i am on. In fact i'd say Linked In is the best option for me. That's not to say Facebook isn't cool, but sites such as Ecademy are more dynamic. Facebook is like Orkut to me - well the groups part. A lot of people in the group and no-one saying very much.

It then started to occur to me that I see these shifts in application trends every so often - many non-tech people i speak to have yet to hear of the last wave, never mind the current or next one.

What are people using Facebook for? Say relative to Linked In? Or Zero Degrees? Note, i'm not asking what Facebook offers (such as simple integration of Twitter, which i can't see a use case for) but rather what do you really USE it for that is new? Is it worth ALL the upheaval of your data?

I love innovation, but there is a startling realization within me that we are shifting the goalposts a lot, but the core framework of things (e.g. openid) remains unresolved - or rather unimplemented by some sites - and just gets re-done over and over.

I'd love to see a collective effort to make the base framework of the web easier for my family (identity is just one aspect), and continue to build the cool stuff on top. Most apps on the web don't ask for anything other than my name and an email, so we could make 75% of sites more accessible! The technology is there right now to do this.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Facebook needs OpenID

I registered with the very cool Facebook about 10 minutes ago. I use Twitter a lot so i decided to "initialize" the Twitter app on facebook.

In facebook i was asked to provide my Twitter username and password, so i assume it could impersonate me to get my Twitter data. It had unrestricted access at that point.

Now Facebook is COOL. Twitter is COOL. Integration through impersonation in this way is NOT. I have no idea what the facebook twitter client does with my username/password or what data it retrieves. It just clicked with me that every app that is developed will do this, each with the same issues.

OpenID integration would allow the app to request my data, point me to the OpenID authentication site, where i can choose what data to share. This way i control my credentials and also my data. It's also very, very easy.

What do you think?

An OpenID Facebook application

Uno de Waal suggests an OpenID application for Facebook.

Anyone else think this would be useful? I haven't used Facebook much recently (I am on Linked In most times).

So what could we do to make this useful?

The coolest flat panel monitor and keyboard


variations on openid


.... i got tired checking - one for every extension is seems...

... and my site, the only one removed from Google and causing all the bother...


Google removes my index. Where is the problem?

Update: It seems enough of you have emailed me privately to suggest the index perhaps does this every so often. So maybe that's what it is doing. I wouldn't have expected to disappear, but perhaps that's just what happens. We'll see how it goes.

OK, so now Google have removed OpenID.org from their index. I'm trying to contact them to ask why. It's like "The Net" where whatsherface gets all her details removed from all the computers in the world. It's opening my eyes a little to be honest to how scary it is when someone can make a judgement without speaking to you.

There are so many OpenID.XYZ sites around the world all doing their own thing, so why is there such a big problem with mine? So i got the .org domain name. What about the .com. What about the other variations? It seems my mistake is that i am doing something with it.

I am doing something useful with the site. I am encouraging people to use OpenID - i have been contacted by people who hadn't heard of it, but are now interested in putting it in their products.

Is this not a good thing? It is an open system - i'm hoping i'm doing something to encourage people to use it. Just as well I have a 6 month old and a 4 year old or this would cause me stress!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Enable Fleck on IE

When you install the Fleck extension in IE, you won't see it right away (well, i didn't).

You need to right click on the toolbar and select "Customize Command Bar" and "Add/Remove Commands". You can then add the "Annotate this page" button which will appear and you can start using.

It's neat and worth trying (click the link on the right of this page to try).

Open ID fixes from the past

It's amazing how reminders from the past come from nowhere.

I saw a post by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten , co-founder of Fleck on issues he had with Open ID. Well, i replied to his blog and by email and he suggested that i add the number of days the site has been in production for - so i have done this.

It's in very early days, so i don't want people to be put off by the fact it is in alpha - but I am fixing some issues just now, so it's important that people know that. However, things are progressing pretty quickly now :)

Well, Boris actually founded V3, those redirects you see - i remember creating come.to/glasgow (or jump.to/glasgow) which was a WAP site about Glasgow - i think this was done circa 1998/1999. I even remember the structure of the site, which is very simple to fit on WAP phones.

5 year anniversary and West End Festival

Today is the 5th year i have been married to Loreto. It is "wood" apparently, show i chopped down a tree - hellish to wrap! Ok, so i got some flowers. It's been a fantsatic 5 years so far and with 2 kids, the next 5 are going to be amazing! Happy Anniversary (i dunno if loreto reads my blog - there's a commitment question!).
We also went to the West End Festival today. An excellent day and an incredible number of people turned up - must have been tens of thousands. With a pram is can be tricky, but we got up early and went to the source, where is all started. There was so many photographers that i thought they were actually part of the parade. Some pics below.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

SpringWatch and Hunterian Museum

Today was a family day. First was out early to the BBC Springwatch festival which is trying to "Do one thing" for wildlife in Glasgow. Basically teaching people how they can help improve the environment - and that can only be a good thing.

Xavier saw Nina and the Neurons on stage which lefyt him wandering where the Neurons where... he also did beach cleaning, played some music and generally looked around.

We then went to the Glasgow University Science Festival which was much cooler (based on the intended age which i thought was higher) than i expected. Xavier spent a good couple of hours playing with various puzzles, creating silly putty and so on. Even Francisca played some musical instruments - well, i helped out a bit there :)

Finally, we moved next door to the Hunterian Museum which has also just re-opened.

That was cool as well, although by that time it was a long day, so looking at things was getting testing for the kids. We then hung around in the University gardens whilst Loreto fed Francisca and now kids are sleeping and i have a Tiger beer. What a day!

Lessons from the past

This whole OpenID malarky beings back memories of the past for me.

A few years back i had written a LOT of books and articles from Wrox Press. Finally, in one last 6 month spell i wrote three books, devoting all my time to write the books. It was at around that time my first son, Xavier was being born. I figured i couldn't lose and things would be rosy at the end.

Then Wrox went bust and parts of the company got sold to other book companies. I lost all royalties (which would have been significant given the effort i put in, which was 7AM to 10PM for 6 months). Whatmore, i (and many other authors) lost all rights to what i had written - which was still being sold in the stores (in fact, a friend even bought one last week!). So i had given all my time and work for free (expecting a return at some point) and got zilch in return. In fact I lost 6 months cash on top of that as i stopped consulting. It took me a long time to get back on my feet, especially with the expenses of a new baby.

So I have learned to be a little more guarded over what i have. I want to avoid the pattern of me having something valuable, giving it away for nothing and getting nothing tangeable or intengeable out of it. I'm still an entrepreneur and have visions of doing and being involved in innovative stuff - that will always override the financial aspect. But when you're based in Scotland, being part of that crowd means thinking outside the box.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Open ID saga?

Geeze, i have the flu and a 4 year old who threw a temper today - so thought a Whisky and Entourage would have settled me, but ....

So i bought openid.org a couple of years back for an idea i sketched when working for Scottish Enterprise - it was to do with credit card transactions and fraud. I wanted to create an open system for managing your transactions.

The OpenID (the authentication protocols) got serious (they bought the .net, but not the .com or .org). There were quite a few initiatives around at the time (liberty and so on) and who was to know what would live and what would die. So, now, i am getting hassles for not giving the domain away.

Who would? It's a hugely useful domain name. I have been asked by a number of people to sell it and there are openid.co.uk, openid.pl and so on, which apparently are unaffiliated with the site. I seem to have made the mistake of attempting to popularise open id by putting a provider in there. Well, a free provider with some of my development ideas.

Now, let's think for a minute. There is no-one involved in Open ID who doesn't expect to make some cash from it (yes, i hear the market speak, but in reality everyone directly involved will do quite well if it is successful). That is fine by me.

So, let me ask this. Type openid."some extension" and you will find a host of sites around the world which are happily runing open id - http://openid.pl/ is but one example. Is this not a GOOD thing?

I'm really interested in hearing back about this from people - and hopefully some who aren't directly involved in OpenID.net :)

So i have a .org site, not charging, keeping it open and actually implementing what one would expect when you get there. Is there something inherently wrong in this?

OpenID Messaging Application

Well, i created a new blog for the OpenID site - it is at http://freeopenid.blogspot.com

I also added a new messaging application which allows you to send a message to an OpenID user via their OpenID rather than their email address. This protects you from publicly exposing your email address as all messages go through your OpenID.

Additionally, if your email address changes, you can simply update your OpenID profile and messages to your OpenID will be relayed to the new email address.

Simple, but useful. I think :)

open id

So OpenId.org has taken quite a few steps forward.... i managed to release a web and mobile version and they work - well with around 30 people registered today, they seem to work well enough!

I want to hear feedback though. What is missing and what would you like to see. I also want to integrate with some sites to make their user experience all the better, so suggestions/links please.

I have some ideas on next steps, but with the flu (see below) it's hard to think without my head hurting.

feeling ill

God i feel terrible today - got some variation on the flu. Actually i got it from my wife who got it from my son. My throat is almost completely closed, so eating is hard.

Lemsip please.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

my programmer personality type

You're a Planner.
You may be slow, but you'll usually find the best solution. If something's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

You like coding at a High level.
The world is made up of objects and components, you should create your programs in the same way.

You work best in a Solo situation.
The best way to program is by yourself. There's no communication problems, you know every part of the code allowing you to write the best programs possible.

You are a liBeral programmer.
Programming is a complex task and you should use white space and comments as freely as possible to help simplify the task. We're not writing on paper anymore so we can take up as much room as we need.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Mobile app to go...

Finally, at around 11pm last night i got a full end to end demo of the Windows Mobile application I'm developing for Conscia. It's very cool and i'm please I put effort into the framework rather than following the standard practice of creating it once the app is half complete and then dumping the whole application. Using Windows Media 6.0, Web Services and C# 2.0 along with a number of design patterns and some idea of my own (dynamic modules) we have a very flexible product.

I'm now down to 2 days a week at Conscia so i can actually get some of MY concepts going. They've all been going ahead (i have a planned chat with the Mobile Lab at Glasgow Calidonian University on my openid stuff), but now i can put even more time into them. The cash will as always run out pretty quickly, but this time there are some ideas that can really fly. So hopefully, my kids eating beans and toast isn't something i need to worry about quite yet :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

How To site ...

Ever wanted short video's on how to do things, have a look *.

Community created video's and human approved aggregation of videos on the web.

Maybe even a reason to get video on the mobile :)

* I have an interest in this site.