In keeping with my theme of the day...
DNS is a useful abstraction of IP address, because servers and services shouldn't be tied to a specific network location.
I'll be having an on-stage conversation with Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems at Syndicate tomorrow morning. So I'm looking for some help with questions. Especially as they relate to the theme of the show, which is syndication.
Blogging chief executives are a rare breed, and Jonathan is among the best of them. He's also a very bright guy with original takes on a lot of subjects.
For a sample, here's an excellent podcast of an interview of Jonathan several months back, by Quentin Hardy of Forbes. And here's Jonathan's blog post about it. And here's a nice piece by Jim Grisanzio about one point Jonathan makes in it.
The Syndicate conference starts at 8am here in San Francisco. I'm giving the opening remarks. In the spirit of syndication itself, I decided I'd rather blog what I'm going to say, rather than prepare slides about it.
After the opening wisecracks which will probably include something about what it really means to be the conference "chair" (Please move your ass off my lap. Thank you.) I'll tell the story of how Dave Winer got me started blogging more than six years ago, and how without his help I might just be another tech writer making money on the side telling clueless companies how to market stuff.
I'll talk about Dave's original vision of the writeable Web, and how there never has been a more empowering concept than his original "Edit This Page".
Except, of course, syndication. Dave drove that too. He was the guy who turned RSS from "Rich Site Summary" to "Really Simple Syndication".
Blogging and syndication are on one side of a split in the Web, as it grows outward and upward like a tree, that is revealed by the difference between "site summary" and "simple syndication".
On one side is the Static Web of sites that we architect and build and construct, at locations with addresses. On the other is the Live Web of pages that we write or author and publish and syndicate, and which can be browsed or subscribed to.
Tim Berners-Lee conceived the Web in the first place as a set of documents, linked to each other. But for a half-decade or more after the browser became popular, we thought of the Web primarily in real estate terms, as a set of sites. Because that's what the tools supported, and that's how we thought about what we did on the Web.
That's also what search engines supported as well. Everything in a URL east of the domain name is a haystack. It has no directory and barely any structure, besides a series of slashes between words. Each slash is a file folder. The static Web is essentially a vast mess of files inside file folders inside file folders. The miracles we call Google and Yahoo are how we find needles in the Web's haystack.
The live Web, however, has a kind of organization. As a living thing, written by human beings in the dimension of time, it goes domain/year/day/date/post. That's how it's organized, even if each URL doesn't exactly conform to that layout.
It also has categories, called tags. This is a new thing we'll be talking about over the next couple days. What matters is that, like blogging and RSS, it's driven by individuals and independent developers. Not by the big guys.
Here's the biggest fact about the live Web: individuals are in charge. The group we used to call consumers are now producers. The demand side is supplying itself. Dealing with that fact, and taking advantage of it, is the biggest challenge and opportunity for everybody who wants to succeed in the live Web.
Think about photography for a minute. Used to be we consumed film and processing and showed prints to a few friends and family members before they went in drawers or albums on shelves in our homes. Now we produce our own photography, publish it on Flickr or BuzzNet, tag it and share it with thousands or millions of people, in a form where it is interesting and useful and completely drives the whole photography business, far more, in the long run, than any brand, even Kodak, ever did.
So there is a new balance of power in the world, that we're seeing first in the live Web. Now individuals are in charge of their own lives, their own livings, and the things they do in the world, many of which involve production of goods like we've never seen before.
That's the new context.
When one asks a lot of bloggers how they blog, one must be prepared for the results. Naturally, I was not. Prepared for the results, I mean. Answers to the question came in via email, via comments, via trackbacks, via posts on other sites. Gathering this material into a few posts won't be easy. Acknowledging with kind regards the work of everyone who participates will result in someone being overlooked. Yet I soldier on, creating content from other people's work, the consummate editor, hobbled by tools like a spell checker that wants to change "Google" to "Go ogle," facing deadlines, and ultimately responsible for discovering an organizational principle that will make sense of the mountain of information before me.
I blog as if there are readers, listeners, viewers... people with whom I am communicating. I blog as a member of a community.
I use a few simple tools to create my blog posts. I have blogged in four different environments, using Blogger, Radio Userland, TypePad, and WordPress. Inexpertly, I use several packages to prepare post content. I use
- SnagIt, to grab images from the screen.
I recently helped launch a new VoIP community online at www.realtime-voip.com. I won't post the whole announcement and description here, but it's online at Digital Common Sense (here) if you're interested in VoIP or curious.
I have a question for all the other DIYers around here. Are you doing DIY VoIP? I'm trying to determine whether a DIY VoIP forum and discussion area makes sense over there. How many of you all are doing things you'd classify asa DIY-VoIP?
With a little help from our friends...
Michelle Goodrich put the logo together at Mandarin Design in a table layout. Chris Locke captured it as a graphic image using one of the tools he'll talk about next week. Frank Paynter stole it because it looks cool and posted it right here on this blog!
Next week, I'll assemble responses to this question and I'll serialize them here and at Sandhill Trek.
If you're a developer, and interested in finding out more (or contributing to) about what's happening with Identity right now or if you're headed to town for the Syndicate conference and want to spend a productive morning before the Syndicate tutorials start, consider joining us for... (here's the email that's already gone out)...
The Internet Identity Workshop presents an Informational Morning for Developers
Monday, December 12, 2005 9-12 noon, with lunch from 12-1
Canton Dim Sum 655 Folsom, San Francisco (close to Moscone)
Cost $20 for lunch (PLEASE RSVP HERE)
Canton Restaurant has been kind enough to give us the space if we all have lunch there, but we need an accurate count by Sunday at noon.
If you are a developer working on a application that has folks login - this is a morning for you.
Doc will open with an overview of the identity landscape, including larger topics like the Identity Metasystem. He and others will address the question:
Why do identity systems matter when building new systems and tools?
We are bringing together a spectrum of folks who have been working on developing identity systems and tools. Identity Developers will share their work, basics and best practices to date to get started exploring integrating identity into these applications. These should include (but not be limited to) YADIS, LID, OpenID, i-names/XRI and Sxip and InfoCard, among others.
Developers of applications who have included identity into their services and tools will share briefly how they've done it. Application developers will hear from and meet with identity developers to ask questions.
This is about user-centered identity, which those of us in the conversation variously call "independent identity", "Identity 2.0", the "Identity MetaSystem" and so on. This isn't about big companies sharing data about customers held captive in CRMs. It's about building applications and services around independent users and companies in a networked marketplace.
Hope to see ya there.
When we were driving back from Thanksgiving up North, I gave my wife the rundown on What's Up With Identity. She's not a techie, and she doesn't care much about the topic. But she does care about her anonymity. So, when she hears about more, or better, "identity services", she guards her purse. "I don't want more identity," she says. "I want less."
Specifically, she likes her anonymity, and prefers to keep that as a default as she makes her way through the world both online and off.
I think we're all like that. Sure, we can't help being unique. And it's clear that "identity services," whatever they end up being, will respect what makes each of us a sovereign, independent and unique individual. But they also need to protect our wish to remain Joe or Jane Blow, until the need to idenify ourselves becomes necessary.
All this comes to mind as I read Ross Mayfield's Freedom of Anonymous Speech, which was provoked by potential unintended consequences of changes to Wikipedia (following the Siegenthaler Affair), new anti-libel legislation and the consolidation of telecom (which I wrote about in Saving the Net). Ross fears a loss of anonymity, increased government interference with the Net (and our lives), and worse.