Archive for Oct 2004


Dvorak is Clueless

John Dvorak completely misses the point on podcasting. He thinks its about streaming from a Web site. Someone needs to fill him in.
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Standards-Based Slide Shows

If you've been looking for a way to create slides in XHTML and CSS, Eric Meyer has just the thing for you. S5 is a slide show system constructed from CSS, XHTML, and Javascript which runs in most browsers. Run through the introductory slide show to get a feel for its features (including slide advance when the space bar is pressed and a disappearing navigation menu). All the slide content is in a single file, so once its loaded it's loaded. What's more, since its based on CSS, printable slides are constructed from the same source file automatically. I
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Graduate Level Middleware Course

I'll be teaching a graduate course on middleware (CS601R) at BYU this next semester. If you're in the area, and would like to participate, drop me a line (=windley). For more information about the class, see the about page on the class wiki.
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DIDW 2004 Wrap-up

I'm back at home and feeling great about the trip. As usual, Phil, Andre, Eric, and Kathi did a bang-up job of putting together a conference that was well run and fun to be at. Overall the talks were good and I found plenty there to get me thinking. I'd love to see the conference expanded along one crucial axis, however. There's not much of a developer presence there and I think that they miss a big part of the identity puzzle without it. They also risk becoming a collection of vendors, which will pay the bills, but not
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DIDW 2004: Doc Searls on The Dawn of Independent Identity

Doc gives the closing keynote. Doc Searls gave the traditional closing keynote to DIDW. As usual it was excellent. Listening to Doc's thoughts is worth the entire trip. Its impossible to capture the full gist of the talk, but here are some thoughts I had. I hope DIDW gets the MP3 of the talk on the net soon. When we look at markets, we usually think of the transaction, but the exchange is only the bottom level of a market. Above that are conversations (ala Cluetrain) and above that are relationships. Federation is the relationship level of a market.
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DIDW 2004: Federated identity Provisioning Panel

Federated identity provisioning panel: Archie Reed, Howard Ting, Chris Ceppi, Ranjeet Vidwans, and Justin Taylor (l to r) In this morning's panel on federated identity provisioning, the subject of privacy and federation came up. Archie Reed, of HP, talked about the current state of affairs wherein the attributes that make up your digital identity are stored in thousands of databases all over the net. Think about how many places your birthday, address, and even credit card number are stored. These databases are maintained by people who are competent, incompetent, or even malicious. Chris Ceppi of Ping ID made a
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DIDW 2004: Justin Taylor on Identity Driven Computing

There were three sessions I wanted to attend this morning. I knew that Linda Elliot's session on compliance would be a good one and probably have some information I could use, but in the end I opted to go to Justin Taylor's session on identity driven computing. Justin opens with the usual schtick that you hear opening talks at DIDW (including mine) about how today's ID systems are siloed with different protocols, standards, tools, and management styles. There's no common paradigm among the various vendor products and trying to get them to work together is an exercise in frustration.
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DIDW 2004: A Few Technologies that Interested Me

You already know that I liked the Identity Commons and i-names. There were a few other technologies I ran across at the show that I liked as well. Briefly, here they are: Core Street makes technology for controlling physical access, among other things. What I thought was cool is that they use smart cards (their vendor agnostic) as a form of sneaker net to carry revocation lists, access changes, new certificates and so on from lock to lock. This allows them to put smart card access-controlled locks on places that can't be networked (like the door of an airplane
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Doc's Got an I-Name

Doc Searls has an i-name, =searls. Doc hopes this will "finally give us what I call The Fully Empowered Customer."
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DIDW 2004: Trusted Computing

I'm in Dan Gillmor's session on "trusted computing." Dan is a great choice to moderate this discussion. His blog is Dan Gillmor's eJournal. The panel is Geoffrey Strongin (AMD), Lark Allen (Wave Systems), and Denise Howell (Reed Smith). I met Lark when I was CIO for Utah. I've known Denise for a few years too. She does the excellent Bag and Baggage blog. Strongin speaks first saying that addressing the problems of privacy, security, and third party trust requires changing the PC platform. He's on the Trusted Computing Group's board of directors. The point in his slide that's sure
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My i-Name

While here, I've had a chance to learn about the Identity Commons, a move to create a third party identity service. Identity Commons is committed to individual ownership of identity information and relationships. They manage something called i-names, unique names that you can sign up for and keep for 50 years (one-time fee). I signed up for one this morning. I'm =windley. The equal sign is used before an i-name to identity it as an i-name. So far, about the only thing you can do with an i-name is to create a contact page. Here's mine. Eventually, the i-name
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DIDW 2004: Art Coviello on RSA

Art Coviello gave the second talk this morning. I didn't bother to blog much of what he said because you can get most of it by reading the marketing speak on RSAs Web site. It was like listening to an infomercial. He even went so far as bringing an AOL exec on stage with him at one point in a little interview setting during one part of the talk to discuss "why AOL thinks RSA is great." One thing that they talked about was AOL's plans to offer RSA security tokens to their members. If you're not familiar with
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Digital ID World Photos

I have more photos from Digital ID World online if you're interested in seeing more of the conference.
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DIDW: Gordon Eubanks on Identity Management Strategies

Gordon Eubanks discusses siloed organizations in his morning keynote. Gordon Eubanks, CEO of Oblix is giving this morning's keynote. I've known Gordon for several years. I first met him when I was in the Governor's office and have had several occasions to talk to him over the years. Gordon spoke to the issue of centralized management of identity in a decentralized infrastructure. What Gordon means by centralized management, it seems, is governance, oversight, and monitoring. In response to a question from the audience, he clarifies that he's not looking for go back to the days of the mainframe, but
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DIDW 2004: Identity for Us

The Identity for Us Panel I'm in the "Identity for Us" panel which is one of the few sessions that's not about identity in and between large organizations. The moderator is Doc Searls and the panel is Kim Cameron (Microsoft), Marc Canter (Broadband Mechanics), Simon Grice (Midentity), Dick Hardt (SXIP), and Owen Davis (Identity Commons). The discussion is about grassroots digitial identity, social software, identity from the standpoint of the person (what Doc calls "Mydentity"). Its a shame really that there's not more of these here. This is where the really innovative stuff is happening. I sympathize with Phil's
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DIDW 2004: Tony Scott on GM's Next Generation Outsourcing Model and its Affect on Identity

GM, through its first two generations of outsourcing, has achieved over $1 billion annual savings through consolidation and systems reduction. We are now crafting our third generation outsourcing model. $15 billion. Tony Scott of GM discusses GM's outsourcing and digital identity strategies. GM has a "legacy of many." We were the poster child for slow, inefficient, and costly. All that has changed. The evolution of IT in a company like GM is reminiscent of the Winchester Mystery House. The problem wasn't lack of architects and craftsmen, the problem was that Sarah Winchester lacked a plan. GM's identity infrastructure used to
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DIDW 2004: Enterprise Identity Management 101

I was asked to speak by Phil Becker and Eric Nolin in the first session after the keynotes and to give a tutorial on digital identity management. I promised the attendees that I'd post my identity management slides and a link to a tutorial I wrote on digital identity standards.
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DIDW 2004: Phil Becker on Management by Identity

Phil Becker opens Digital ID World 2004 In keeping with tradition, Phil Becker opened the conference and did a great job. He's honed these ideas over the last few years. Everytime I talk to him, I catch glimpses of new isights and this talk is a culmination of that. What follows are my notes of his talk. You don't have to manage things until they're spread out. You don't have to worry about security until things are connected. Traditionally, we've been defensive about security, but defense can't win. Only offense can win. Digital identity is the common organizing paradigm
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Podcasting in the Academy

Last week I attended a workshop on team-based learning that was sponsored by BYU. Someone brought up the idea of the instructor creating audio commentaries of books and papers assigned used in course. This naturally caught my attention because of my recent interest in podcasting. The conversation turned to practical issues and somebody said they burned them on CDs and handed them out to the class. The very idea of burning 30-40 CDs by hand every couple of weeks was enough to give me the chills, so I asked "why not just load them on Blackboard?" (Blackboard is a
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Off to Digital ID World

I'll be jumping on a plane and heading to Denver for Digital ID World in a few hours. Last year I flew over myself, but the weather isn't cooperating this year, so I'll go commercial. Phil Becker and crew did a great job on the first DIDW and lived up to their reputation on the second, so I'm sure it will be a fun and informative conference. If you're going to be there, be sure to say "hi." I'll be blogging the conference, as I'm sure others will as well, so follow along if you want.
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CTO Breakfast Report

Ward Spangenberg, one of the regulars at the CTO breakfast each month summarizes some of the main things we talked about last week. We always have a great discussion and I look forward to them. If you're interested in coming, you're invited. Just show up. You don't have to be a CTO to attend, just interested in technology and business. Sign up for the CTO breakfast mailing list, if you'd like me to send you a reminder.
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More LAMP Stacks

After see my post about SpikeSource yesterday, Andy Grolnick of OpenLogic wrote to tell me about their BlueGlue project, which is a similar idea.
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iChat and PDF

I'm sure everyone's done this and I'm just slow, but I dropped a PDF doc into an iChat session today and it displays! Complete with scroll bar and everything. On the other end, you just grab it and drag it out of the window onto your desktop or wherever. Its really pretty slick. Pure Apple.
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Academic Research and CS Innovation

Today the faculty received a note from the library which began: There are 2 journals that are very expensive that I would like cancel if your department agrees. They are: Theoretical Computer Science QA 267 .T46 Science of Computer Programming QA 76.6 .S427 They are a package from Elsevier and cost us $6,028 per year. This note epitomizes, for me, the problem with the whole academic publishing business. It seems ludicrous to me that we continue to use this distribution model when it is (a) so expensive and (b) so restrictive in its distribution. We've created an entire ecosystem
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Relative Merits of Email and Blogs

From Scoble, a link to a blog by a Microsoft researcher chronicling a discussion on the relative merits of email and blogs. Some good thoughts there, like this one: My conversion occurred when a grad student in the midwest who I didn't really know invited me to look at her blog a year ago and I came in early one morning and did so, spending about two hours going down her blog, reading comments, leaping from those to examine the blogs of the commenters, looking at the comments on their blogs, looking at the use of graphics on the
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SpikeSource: Certified LAMP and LAMJ Stacks

From Doc Searls I learned about an interesting company called SpikeSource. SpikeSource offers something that lots of companies thinking about using open source could use some help with: certified stacks of components tested and certified for interoperability. This SpikeSource web infrastructure stack is composed of over 50 open source components, including 6 language runtimes, to form a complete development and deployment environment for dynamic web sites programmed in Java, C, C++, PHP, Perl, or Python. The complete package is tested for interoperability and performance on 4 major Linux platforms in a fully automated and repeatable validation process. It installs
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Simon Phipps Tonight

Simon Phipps, Chief Technology Evangelist at Sun Microsystems will be speaking at the Java User's Group in Salt Lake tonight. Simon's a marvelous speaker and has some very interesting views on technology. Make the time to go see him. You won't be disappointed. Here's the RSVP.
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TiVo Failed Me

My TiVo failed me last night. I got last season's final episode of The West Wing, but not the premiere! The problem is that my local NBC affiliate (KSL) start some programs a minute early. So I have TiVo set to start recording one minute early. Since last night's episodes were back-to-back, it recorded the first one, but didn't record the second because of the conflict caused by the one minute overlap. Why isn't TiVo smart enough to deal with scheduling conflicts on a "best effort" basis and at least record what it can? In this case, since they
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SQL-Server / FRX Report Developer

I know a company in Utah looking for a SQL-Server / FRX report developer. If you're interested let me know
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Testimony to the Government Operations Committee

I testified this afternoon before the Joint Committee on Government Operations in the Utah Legislature on voting equipment selection. Here is a written copy of my testimony. I felt comfortable with my testimony and the committee seems favorably inclined toward voter verified, unalterable audit trails. What happens next, however, is anyone's guess. There's apparently going to be a public bake-off of voting equipment from vendors who responded to the RFP at the South Town Expo center on December 10th.
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Neal Stephenson Interview

If you're a Neal Stephenson fan, which I am, then you'll enjoy his interview on Slashdot. If you read Slashdot, you'll enjoy it even more, or at least spend less time getting yourself oriented. I was especially interested in Stephenson's take on the bifurcation of writers because I think there's a similar parallel between people who write code for a patron (i.e. university professors) and those who write code for popular attention (which is a form of compensation and includes people who create open source code, etc.). These two worlds rarely meet and consequently have usually not heard of
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Some New Mac Utilities

I've run across a few neat little utilities for OS X that I've used for a while and like and one that didn't work out as well. GMailStatus is a little utility that puts a count of messages in your GMail inbox on the status bar. If you use GMail, its nice to be able to see new mail without popping out to the Web. One thing I've noticed is that it tends to use a lot of memory, which I don't understand. There may be a memory leak in the thing somewhere. From time to time, I'll plug
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Extending Bluetooth's Range

My first introduction to computers was in the pages of Popular Electronics magazine. In 1975 there was an article about the MITS Altair computer with a whopping 256 bytes of memory (and no, I didn't forget the K or M) that I must have read 1000 times trying to decipher the details. A year later, I had the opportunity to build a MITS Altair computer for the College of Mines at the University of Idaho. I loved that computer--front panel switches and all. I don't think Popular Electronics is still published, but its sister publication, Popular Science is still
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An Idea for Spam

In the shower after my walk tonight, I was thinking about Google's page rank and that Spam is actually the opposite problem. The more people "paying attention" to a particular email message, the more likely it is Spam. So, here's the idea: strip off the headers and create an MD5 hash of the body. Put that in an associative array associated with a count. Everytime someone sees the email, increment the count. Any message with a count over 1000 is likely Spam (or a big mailing list). You could build this as a module in SpamAssassin and have a
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Calendaring Standards and Tools

Say you wanted to do calendaring on campus and between campuses of a multicampus university. Suppose that each of these organizations had their own technology stacks and standards. How would you do it? At the simplest level, just saying "everyone publish all relevant campus calendars in the iCalendar format" would allow anyone with an iCalendar compatible browser to subscribe to the calendars. Of course, by publish, I mean "make available via an HTTP GET." As a Mac user, I can see immediate value in this. What about Outlook users? Does Outlook have the ability to subscribe to iCalendar formated
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Chapters are Done and I'm Thinking About Lettuce

I sent off the chapters of my book that were due today just a few minutes ago and in the aftermath picked up last week's InfoWorld to decompress. I enjoyed Ephriam Schwartz's column on managing massive repositories of product data. He uses an example of a shipment of lettuce having 476 attributes and says: If you recognize the importance of tracking all of this data, then you probably also realize that, on a good day, a company might only have 15 of those 476 attributes for a shipment of lettuce in its ERP system. The question is, where are
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Under Deadline

I may not be posting much this week, twelve chapters of my book are due Friday. I'm going to make it, but there are still some things I want to finish.
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Ocassionally Connected Computing

Last week, I called podcasting the poster child for occasionally connected computing. Boy, was I blind! Steve Fulling and I were at lunch today and realized the email is the elephant in the occasionally connected computing room. Back in the good old days, email was a P2P thing with MTAs (usually sendmail) sending mail to each other. Then along came the Internet explosion and millions of people who had, of all things, dial-up connections. The POP protocol became the dominant way clients got email almost overnight. POP enables occasionally connected email and email clients are engineered with occasional connectedness
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Active Whitelisting

Does anyone have any experience with Active Spam Killer or other active whitelist software or service? I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to try a more active approach to combatting Spam. Spamassassin seems to need a lot of babysitting, at least how I have it set up, and is usually only blocking 80% of Spam for me. I prefer software to a service simply because I'm prone to managing my own server. I'm open to suggestions.
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Greg Benson: Flashmob Supercomputing

This is a little late, since it happened in April, but I just read about it in, of all places, the UC Davis College of Engineering Alumni Magazine. The idea begind Flashmob Supercomputing is simple: pick a time and place, have lots of people bring whatever computer they own, hook them all up, and make a supercomputer. The thing that caught my eye was that the guy behind this is Greg Benson who was in the first CS class I ever taught. The class was an honors introduction to programming class that I taught using Sussman and Abelson's Structure
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PODCasting on My Mind

I just turned in my November column for Connect Magazine. I wrote about PODCasting. I thought I'd share it with you early.
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PODCasting is the Poster Child for Occasionally Connected Computing

I had an opportunity to meet with Chris Thomas, Intel‚s Chief Strategist, when he was in Utah not long ago. Chris is very big on what he calls „occasionally connected computing.š We don't pay enough attention to this problem. Thousands of jobs are performed with only an occasional connection to the network. When I was Utah's CIO, we struggled with this a lot because many jobs get done away from the network. A good example is a State Trooper in a rural area. They've come to rely on networked resources to do their job, but connectivity in many places
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Jot Demo

Jon Udell has posted a WebEx that he had with Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer demoing JotSpot. If you missedWeb 2.0, this is the next best thing. The demo really helps in understanding the structured data/forms idea.
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Meeting Bill at a Urinal

Joe Kraus (mentioned yesterday as the principal of JotSpot) has a blog. Joe was one founders of Excite and that's how I know him. The last story is about meeting Bill Gates at a urinal. Very funny.
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iPodder: The Last Mile Solution for PODCasting

The other day, in a discussion of PODCasting, I mentioned iPodder, an application for downloading RSS feeds with enclosures. Today version 1.0 of iPodder was released and after a little initial testing, I'm very pleased. Getting the MP3 from the Web site to your iPod is the last mile problem of PODCasting. Previously, I've subscribed to RSS feeds that told me about new content and then manually downloaded it and placed it in iTunes, which then syncs to my iPod. iPodder solves that problem. Its a simple application that checks a list of URLs on a scheduled basis and
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RSS in Kwiki

After playing with JotSpot, my first thought was that getting RSS feeds in Kwiki wouldn't be that tough. In fact, I envisioned something along the lines of the Kwiki GoogleLink module that uses the following syntax: {google: windley} to create a google search link for google. I figured, I'd take the GoogleLink module, modify it a little and get something that you could type {rss: http://www.windley.com/rss.xml} on your page and get a nicely formatted link of the RSS feed from the URL on your page. I grabbed the source, looked at it, realized it would be pretty easy to
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JotSpot at Web 2.0

Jeremy Zawodny's doing a nice job of summarizing Web 2.0. One talk that interested me was Joe "not your father's company" Kraus demoing JotSpot, a "new generation Wiki that makes it easier to add structured data to the system in addition to pulling in external data via RSS, Web Services, and so on." Check out the advanced tour for a quick intro to what you can do with structured data in a wiki. Looks pretty darn cool.
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Enterprise Computing Laboratory Seminar

I hold a weekly seminar in the Enterprise Computing Laboratory. This semester the seminar is going through several important books (at least I think they're important, and hey, its my seminar!). For the last three weeks we've been going through and discussing selected essays from Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters. Tomorrow we start in on David Brin's Transparant Society. The full list of books I've picked out is available at Amazon. If you're in the area, you're welcome to come and attend the discussions. Let me know and I'll send you directions.
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Grand Central Hosts SOA Developer Contest

Grand Central Communications is sponsoring the Golden Spike Developers contest which offers developers an opportunity to submit entries in three different categories. Multiple prizes will be awarded, and the grand-prize winner will win their "dream workstation" worth up to $10,000. The categories are: Best Business Process Best Use of SOAP APIs Best Use of Rich Client The contest starts October 18th in conjunction with the Early Access Program and continues to December 10, 2004, with the winners to be announced in January 2005. I've been asked to be one of the judges, along with Tim O'Reilly (O' Reilly Media),
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The 100 Hour Board Tackles Single Sign-On

BYUSA (student association) runs a group blog, of sorts, called The 100 Hour Board where students can submit questions on any subject and a group of pseudonymous writers answer them. I wish it had RSS. The question for Oct 5th is "Is there any good reason why we are required to log in with the same account at least two times whenever we want to access the information on Route Y's Blackboard?" Route Y is the intranet and Blackboard is what exactly you'd expect a corporation to produce as courseware. Its bloated, slow, and poorly designed. Still, it gets
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Mount St. Helens Webcam

On my window sill, I have a baby food jar of stuff that looks like grayish talcum powder. Its ash from the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May 1980. I was a student at the University of Idaho in the northern panhandle. We had over six inches of ash dumped on us. Unlike snow, ash doesn't melt. It can be a real delight to drive in and makes keeping your apartment clean difficult. Fortunately, I wasn't too worried about those things then. :-) I found a Mount St. Helen's webcam that gives you static pictures taken every 5
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Lessig: Porn Free

Like anyone with children (especially teenagers), I worry about my kids and pornography. Yes, we do the standard things: install net filters, keep the computer out in the open, and have regular, age-appropriate discussions with our children about the dangers. As an aside, I do believe there are real dangers for kids and adults alike. Porn is as addictive as any drug and destroys healthy relationships. I caution my kids to avoid it as they would drugs. The problem is that filters, the supposed technology solution, are mostly ineffective. There is no filter that Consumer Reports gives a better
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Web 2.0 and Technorati Hackathon

I wish I were going to the O'Reilly Web 2.0 conference this week. I think its going to be good. Unfortunately, I just have too much going on this week (like fulfilling an O'Reilly deadline for my book :-) Dave Sifry's sponsoring a hackathon at the Technorati offices in conjunction with the conference. That sounds like a lot of fun for anyone in SF Wednesday.
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XML Databases and Scheme (or Lisp)

There's plenty of information on the Web about the confluence (or not, depending on your view) of s-expressions and XML. What's harder to find is anyone using an XML database as a persistence engine for s-expressions. I contacted the folks at SleepyCat to see if they knew of any Scheme (or Lisp) connectors to their XML database and they don't. If you're aware of any, let me know.
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Walled Gardens vs. Networked Effects

"Walled garden" is the term that industry uses for online communities that capture users inside a Web that is anything but world-wide. The services inside the walled garden are the ones the service provider chooses and they almost always involve increased revenue for the service provider. When I was at Excite\\@Home, we had a project to build set-top boxes for our cable partners that included a cable modem, but kept users inside a walled garden of for pay services. These walled gardens were for cable subscribers who didn't sign on for broadband services. The idea of walled gardens is
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