Archive for Dec 2003


Announcing Cowster

No, its not a dating service for cowboys. Cowster is the nickname I've given to the notion of using Web services and XML to build a cattle tracking system. As Dave Fletcher points out The USDA is moving full speed ahead on a plan to implement a tracking system. Under the plan, now in draft form, individual animals would be tagged with a unique number allowing officials to more quickly determine where it came from, where it has been and herds that it may have come in contact with. It took U.S. investigators at least a few days to
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Steve Gillmor on 2003

Tis the season of best and worst lists and Steve Gillmor has one that I pretty much agree with on both sides. One thing he bring up that I don't think has gotten enough attention is Sun's news licensing model: Sun licensing model¸You may argue whether Sun has a chance against Office with its Java Desktop System (JDS), but there's no doubt McNealy and software chief Jonathan Schwartz have altered the enterprise licensing landscape with their $100-a-seat licensing model. The real game-changer: that's per employee, not user, internal and external. A hundred or a million¸same price. It's a marriage
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SOAP Interface to Danish Reference Profile

John Gotze has written a SOAP interface to the search function for Denmark's reference profile (often called an interoperability framework). Here's the WSDL file, here's the code for a SOAP::Lite example client, and here's the client in action. If you don't speak Danish, this won't be so useful as a reference profile, but its a great example of how you can do some simple things in a few days that provide some interesting possibilities for interoperability. Web services aren't about the big thing, they're about lots of little things, arranged correctly.
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The Economics of SOA

John McDowall, CTO of Grand Central Communications, is writing about the economics of service oriented architectures: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is changing how enterprise software is being designed and deployed. Part of the success of SOA is in the technology and is due to the convergence of web services standards creating a common interoperable set of technologies to build SOAs on. The other part of the success of SOA arises from its superior economic model for enterprises. SOA is evolving to the point where new applications will not be deployed as monolithic instances but will become a collection of
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The 100 Megabit Les Paul

Gibson is set to release a digital guitar. The pick-ups will go right into a D/A convertor and from there travel over ethernet. Kind of interesting that no one's done it yet. A Wired Magazine article has the usual quotes from people saying "this is a solution looking for a problem." There's some cool things you can do once you've got digital signals coming out of guitars. In a concert hall, this means a bulky analog snake of cables could be replaced by a single Cat-5. It also means real-time collaboration. Stanford staged a concert last fall that linked
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The Social Life of XML

If you've got an interest in XML and Web services, pop over to Jon Udell's article in XML.com on the Social Life of XML. I've liked Jon's ideas in this area and this is a pretty good compilation. While you're at it, read his hilarious post about getting questioned by the local cop while sitting outside the local junior high downloading email through their unsecured Wi-Fi. I've been there, although fortunately I've never been stopped. If I had, I'd probably have been thrown in jail knowing my luck. If you're in Salt Lake and need broadband access, the Salt
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Clark Going Open Source

Clarks' campaign is going open source with the launch of Clark TechCorps. Taking a page from Dean's book, Clark is looking for some volunteer programmers to build software to build an online Clark community. The software will be distributed under a BSD license. From a Wired news article: Dean technology staffers said they welcomed Clark's open-source initiative. "We both have the same exact problem: We need to mobilize our grass-roots base. There are vendors who have tools that help, but the complete toolkit doesn't exist. The pieces are out there, but there's no solution," said Zack Rosen, a Dean
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Top Ten Utah Tech Stories

Dave Politis and Dave Fletch both have their own top ten tech stories for 2003. Fletcher focuses on tech in state government while Politis is general and give SCO top billing.
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VoIP Growing Pains

I'm a big proponent of VoIP, partly because I've always liked the idea of getting rid of the additional burden inside the enterprise of maintaining the traditional phone network. I also have to admit that I like the idea that it challenges the way we think about communications regulation. But as this
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Making Spammer Pay

A BBC article describes a scheme to make Spammers pay, computationally. The idea is simple, attach a cryptographic token to each email that is expensive to compute, say on the order of 10 seconds. Since I typically send less than 100 emails per day, that little bit of computation would be inconsequential to me. When you receive my email, your email client sees the token and knows that I spent something to create it and thus deem my email worthy of reading. This scheme leaves spammers with two choices: send emails without the token or spend money on many
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UTOPIA Picks First Service Provider

UTOPIA announced yesterday that AT&T has signed a contract to be the "anchor tenant" service provider. This is the kind of support UTOPIA needs to get bonds issued. I think its funny how the world works. AT&T, who recently spun off AT&T Broadband (now Comcast), is now back in the local telephone market and competing with Comcast throught this deal. Mike Armstrong correctly predicted market forces years ago, but nothing turned out exactly like he'd dreamt it.
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Login.Utah.gov: An Identity Case Study

Utah has announced a new enterprise web authentication system called Login.Utah.gov. The system is built on top of the Utah Master Directory. The system is designed so that it is usable from multiple applications and will provide a interoperable authentication infrastructure for multiple applications. In addition to State employees, the UMD can contain user information for non-State employees who are users of State applications. Several public-facing applications are being developed to use UMD and Login.Utah.gov. The eREP project, a major social services system, will be using Login.Utah.gov for authentication on future application releases. All eREP users will have accounts
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Announcing the Emergent Democracy Workshop

O'Reilly will hold an Emergent Democracy Workshop in conjunction with their Emerging Technology conference this year. The goal of the conference is to create a forum for discussing the intersection technology and democracy. There are some interesting developments in this area this year, what with the stuff the Dean campaign has been doing and the issues surrounding eVoting. The Workshop will be held the 9th of February (Monday) on the same day as the tutorials for ETech. The venue is the Westin Horton Plaza in San Diego. There will be speakers or panels on: Open Source Government Advocacy as
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SCO vs Linux Developments

A few interesting stories on the continuing SCO vs. Linux battle: Novell Registers Unix Copyrights (NY Times, free registration required) Creator of Linux Defends its Originiality (NY Times, free registration required) The first article has a quote which I think sums the whole thing up: Mark Radcliffe, an intellectual property lawyer with Gray Cary in Palo Alto, Calif., said the development suggested that the dispute over Linux's origins would probably drag on even longer until the courts sorted out who owned what. "What you have,'' he said, "is two companies that say they own the same copyright." From Novell
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IT's Coal Mining Jobs

I had the opportunity to speak for an hour or so yesterday with Bruce Daley, editor of the The Siebel Observer. Bruce asked the question "Where are the white spaces in enterprise software?", a topic at the upcoming Enterprise Software Summit which Bruce hosts. We had a great conversation; I wished I'd recorded it. The conversation centered around the IT hierarchy of needs and the problems facing most corporations. The IT Hierarchy of Needs (click to enlarge) If you haven't seen the IT hierarchy of needs before, the idea is pretty simply. There are some problems you have to
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IT Bloggers

I'm proud to say that this blog was recognized as "essential reading" for people looking for IT understanding by Network Fusion magazine. In their annual review, Network World listed 10 weblogs. Here's what they said about this weblog: Windley, the former CIO for the state of Utah, knows IT. His Weblog covers the breadth of stuff today's IS and networking pros need to keep up with - from security to network architecture to management (of devices and staff). As you might expect, he often discusses government networking issues, but also has a strong interest in identity management and network
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Last Mile Broadband Deployment Creates Jobs

A new study by Citizens for a Sound Economy says that widespread broadband deployment will create jobs and benefit state economies. The introduction of broadband holds great economic promise, not just for the companies providing broadband services, but for the businesses and consumers who rely on the service. Two recent studies suggest that full broadband deployment would generate roughly 1.2 million jobs throughout the nation--or more than twice the number of jobs lost in the telecommunications sector. These are estimates of net new job creation. From State Economies Can Benefit from Broadband DeploymentReferenced Mon Dec 22 2003 09:27:36 GMT-0700
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RESTful Tuple Spaces

Once upon a time, I thought David Gelertner's ideas around Linda and tuple spaces were pretty cool. I never decided they weren't just lost track. I even had a Master's student working on a formalization once, but he didn't finish. Today I came across a thoughtful article by Vanessa Williams on a RESTful implementation of tuple spaces that I don't want to lose track of.
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Lydon Interviews Morris and Trippi on Politics and the Internet

Christopher Lydon has several interesting interviews on his site. If you're interested in the intersection of technology and politics, you should really listen to his interview with Dick Morris and his interview with Joe Trippi. "I'm a Cortez guy," Joe Trippi╩roared at the end of╩our conversation in the corner office of Howard Dean's headquarters in Burlington, Vt.╩ As in: Hernando Cortez, the Conquistador who faced the Aztec hordes five centuries ago with╩just 400 Spanish troops at his side, and burned his own boats on the beach in case╩his compatriots thought of leaving prematurely.╩ Horses, gunpowder and steel made all
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Court Rejects RIAA Subpoenas

A US Appeals court ruled (short CNN story) that the recording industry's methods for tracking down those accused of illegally downloading music are themselves not legal. A lower court had ruled in the RIAA's favor. "In sum, we agree with Verizon that (the law) does not by its terms authorize the subpoenas issued here," Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote. You can read the the full pinion (PDF) if you're interested.
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Instant Messaging InfoFest

If you've got any kind of interest in instant messaging, you owe it to yourself to read the many interesting articles in ACM Queue. Here are a few highlights: A Conversation with Peter Ford talks to the man behind MSN Messenger and a SIP advocate. On Helicopters and Submarines does a good job of making the case for Jabber as the common protocol. Beyond Instant Messaging discusses three projects that extend presence in ways that make it more useful. One of the projects discussed in the last article talks about a system called Awarenex which puts activity indicators in
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Political Machine in a Box

Last Sunday, Everett Ehrlich asked "What will happen when a national political machine can fit on a laptop?" The piece echos some of the information I've posted recently on connected democracy. The article plays off an interesting theory by economist Ronald Coase: "The cost of gathering information determines the size of organizations." Of course in the Internet age, the cost of gathering information has shrunk dramatically. For all Dean's talk about wanting to represent the truly "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," the paradox is that he is essentially a third-party candidate using modern technology to achieve a takeover
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Fake Property

I had dinner last night with Phil Zimmermann. We got to lamenting the "intellectual property" (known as ideas, code, and other thoughts to those who are not lawyers) that we'd both created that now lay buried in some dead corporation's filing cabinet's somewhere. When I think about all the ideas that have been lost to this common occurrence, it makes me want to cry. This is one of the uncounted costs of "intellectual property." Congress hears all sorts of testimony about the money that will be lost to estates and others if the copyright period isn't extended, but there's
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The Dark Side of Digital Identity

Steven Levy has an article in Newsweek about the dark side of digital identity. Levy ponders a world, very much in the offing, where the Internet becomes a tool for corporate and government interests by locking down every bit of data with strong identifying information and the authorizations to go with it. The upside, of course, is a world free of SPAM and viruses. The downside is that you might have to pay for every link you make in an HTML document. Sort of a virtual Singapore. This is a topic not enough people are paying attention to. A
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Atom and the Power of the Human Voice

Sam Ruby has posted slides for Atom (hint: the slide are the link at the very top). Atom is a new syndication specification that competes with RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0. Yikes! Still, I think Sam makes a good case why Atom is better. Robert Scoble asks I still wonder what would happen if Microsoft wrote those same slides? Imagine we take Atom's spec and then demonstrate 20 places we could improve Atom as justification for coming up with a new spec? Where does it end? I don't know. But, how is this not "embrace and extend" only this
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Most Overlooked Burning Issue of the Year

John Gotze says that digital identity should have won the award for "Most Overlooked Burning Issue of the Year" in 2003. Denmark is very progressive in eGovernment and facing issues that most governments won't see for a few years, so its a good idea for any government CIO to follow what Denmark does closely and anticipate the problems Denmark faces as they blaze the way. One of Denmark's initiatives for 2003 was a nationwide digital signature program. Says John: The certificates (OCES) are politically mandated for future online public services, but the banks and other players already have own
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Some Weird Happenings at Utah.gov

Last Saturday I was trying to renew the registration on my truck at Utah.gov and lo and behold it was down. I thought that was funny, but it came back up about 3 hours later and I finished what I had to do. I don't know how long it was down before I noticed. In poking around, however to determine if it was them or me, I noticed that the IP address for Utah.gov isn't inside the State network anymore. Its on a network owned by ViaWest, a company out of Denver. So, I've got some questions: Why, when
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Utah.gov: A Directory Tale

When I was CIO of Utah directory issues seemed to take up a lot of our time and effort. When I became CIO, the state had been using the domain name state.ut.us. The domain name was not particularly easy to remember and when you tacked on one or two subdomains to identify a department or agency, the affect was almost comical. For example, my email address was pwindley@gov.state.ut.us. The Governor remarked that he could almost feel people start to dance to the rhythm when he told them his email address. In addition to the official domain name, agencies in
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BPEL Resources

If you've been wanting to explore BPEL, Grand Central Communications has added BPEL support to their network and put together a collection of resources on their developer site. The site include some sample scripts. You can sign up for developer accounts at Grand Central for free, so you should be able to learn about BPEL without buying or installing any software---a pretty good deal. Also, Doug Kaye points to a BPEL tour by Paul Brown that is worth spending 10 minutes on.
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Groupware Toolkits and the Benefits of Being Open

I attended a colloquium at BYU's CS department today by Saul Greenberg from the University of Calgary on "Enhancing Interactivity with Groupware Toolkits." Saul starts off talking about the foresight of Doug Englebart who in 1968 started thinking about how to use computers to augment human intellect. He came up with three ideas that will seem obvious to anyone in the 21st century: Desktop productivity tools Hypertext Groupware Saul points out that Desktop tools and hypertext have become mainstream, but groupware tools are unimaginative and unreliable. Groupware has had little impact: poor deployment, risky venture, little effect beyond IM,
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Utah Legislature Adds RSS

The Utah Legislature has added an RSS feed (v2). The feed is described (in the RSS) as "The Official Newsfeed for the Utah Legislature." The feed contains links to PDF reports about interim day activities, audit releases, and some news. Its not clear how its being produced--I hope that its linked into what ever other systems they use for tracking news releases or it will probably fall into disuse. I'd like to see each piece in the Interim report listed separately and links to HTML rather than PDF, but that's a nit. This is a great first step and
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SSO on LAMP using SourceID

Nick Chalko has a write-up on his work on intergrating SourceID (which has now been officially certified as "Liberty interoperable," by the way) with a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Python) based Web site called the People Aggregator.
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An SOA Case Study: The Student Registration System

I needed an SOA case study for my Large-Scale Distributed Systems class today. I wanted something that would be familiar to them so I created an SOA for the n-tier (J2EE) project they'd just completed. The project was to build a student registration system that allowed students to register and pay for classes and also had course, student and payment management interfaces. The goal of this exercise is to re-architect the EJB-based system into an SOA where the module functions are oriented to business context. The scenario I painted to envision why we might take a perfectly serviceable J2EE-based,
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The Case for UTOPIA

An editorial in Sunday's Deseret News entitled Leave UTOPIA to the Dreamers took on Utah's UTOPIA project. The editorial basically says: Technology changes too fast. Private industry should build this. The first is a pretty easy argument to knock down in my opinion. Infrastructural technology doesn't actually change that quickly. Pointing to things like the VCR and its imminent obsolescence by the DVD is apples and oranges. The second argument bears careful consideration. The easy answer is that private industry isn't actually building it and they're not willing to either, although they talk a good game. Utah is a
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SCO vs. IBM: Notes from Yesterday's Hearing

Cody Hilton from Guru Labs attended the SCO vs. IBM hearing in Salt Lake yesterday and sent along these notes. This is a summary of the dialog that occurred in the courtroom from a 3rd person perspective. There are some gaps and truncated dialog but the general idea is apparent. December 5, 2003 Federal Court House Judge Wells 15 in the gallery 10:00 am - 11:30 am Plaintiffs Attorneys: Kevin Mcbride (Darl's Brother) Mr Hatch \tAlso: Ryan Tibitts Darl McBride Defendants: Attorneys: David Marriott Todd Shannessy Judge: Intention is to grant IBM's motion to compel delivery (interrogatives 12 and
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The Business Context of Identity

My November column for Connect is about the business context of identity. I recently had the opportunity to sit with a group of CIOs and others involved in managing information technology and discuss digital identity.╩ What struck me was how much of the conversation was about security and liability rather than identity and opportunity. In his book, "The Age of Access," Jeremy Rifkin argues that economic shifts over the last several decades have given rise to a regime where anonymous transactions are nearly impossible.╩ In a service-based economy, digital identity matters; I have to know who you are in
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The Economy Must Be Turning Around

I've had three calls from recruiters in the last two days. Back in the day, that was pretty normal, but over the last three years it has really tailed off. Maybe its picking up again. In every case, they found me through my blog.
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FCC Hearings on VoIP

The FCC is holding hearings on how much it should regulate VoIP telephony providers. This came to a head when a federal court declared that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had no jurisdiction to regulate a VoIP carrier, largely on the basis that it was a data carrier. The problem with this discussion is two fold: Trying to base regulation on the basis of technical differences is always a bad idea. We're trying to maintain the status quo in the face of changing technologies. As Jon Udell points out putting services into buckets is a hopeless exercise. I wish
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Provo Moves Ahead with iProvo Project

I attended the Provo City Council meeting last night where the council approved going forward with a process that will culminate in the issuance of up to $39.5 million in bonds to provide a city-wide municipal broadband network. I've posted a detailed article on the meeting, including my comments to the Council at UtahPolitics.org.
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Super Bluetooth: Apple Tablets and Ultra Wideband PANs

Cringley is arguing that Apple might announce a tablet as early as January. The killer app? Wireless Ultra Wideband (UWB) personal area networks capable of supporting full HDTV quality video streaming. The Apple tablet becomes a true digital hub. Makes me gulp just imagining the possibilities.
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Web Services Intermediaries Evolve

I recently sat down with product managers and engineers from Actional, AmberPoint, Flamenco Networks, Infravio, and Westbridge Technology to get a preview of the new WSI products they are releasing this quarter. I discovered maturing conceptual models, more sophisticated and intuitive user interfaces, and evolutionary changes to product features. The latest offerings from WSI vendors show that the market is continuing to deliver innovative fixes to IT problems. As the number of back-end Web services available for mixing and matching grows, WSI products will give IT shops the opportunity to show real agility in meeting business needs through custom
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Connected Democracy: The Power of a Networked Citizenry

If you've been following the story about Diebold suing people who'd posted information to the Net about flaws in Diebold's electronic voting machines, then you'll be interested to know that Diebold said yesterday that they were not going to pursue legal action. They also said they were retracting demands that ISPs remove the documents from Web sites. Naturally, you won't find any mention of this on Diebold's site. The lawsuits caused a firestorm of protest and led to charges that Diebold was using copyright law to stifle important debate. In October, the Online Policy Group and two Swarthmore students
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Announcing UtahPolitics.org

I've recently been giving a lot of thought to the application of information technology to the political process. I think there's a lot that could be done to foster grassroots democracy as well as make campaigns more effective. The Dean campaign is doing some of that. As I looked around the Utah political landscape, I didn't see a place where Utah politics could be easily reported and discussed by regular folks. To that end, I decided to create a weblog called UtahPolitics.org. For UtahPolitics.org to be successful, it needs not just readers, but writers as well. Ideally the readers
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