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Archive for Jan 2004


P2P Swarming

This Thursday Dan Zappala from the University of Oregon will be speaking at the BYU CS Dept. Colloquium (11am, 1170 TMCB) on his research on Swarming: Scalable Content Delivery for the Masses (PDF). I wish I was going to be there since this is an area that interests me, but I'm going to be in the mountains, in the snow with 350, 14-18 year old kids.
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IT Strategies for DRM

I need a little help. Suppose you'd been asked to address the CTO organization of a major (over 125,000 employees) company on digital rights management. What would you tell them? There's the usual, technical talk stuff: What is DRM, why are we talking about it? The current state of DRM from a technical standpoint Issues and challenges for IT organizations Challenges or consequences of public policy issues surrounding DRM How and what should we do as best practice with respect to DRM Challenges and opportunities for information management But that hardly seems to capture the boiling controversy surrounding this
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Martian Storage Management

The problem affecting the Spirit rover on Mars is one that would be familiar to any earth-bound CIO: storage management. The space required in the rover's Ram memory to manage the data files stored in its flash memory was more than anticipated due to the build-up of files, Ms Trosper told a news conference. "We have lots and lots of files on the spacecraft," she said. "We've been all the way through cruise [the journey through space], we've been using flash for that whole time. We have some cruise files on the file system. From BBC NEWS | Science/Nature
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egrips

A company called egrips sent me a sample of their product, a non-slide surface you stick on your cell phone or PDA. They come in various sizes and styles to fit various phone and PDA models. They also come in some outrageous colors and designs. Most of them are a little too outrageous for a middle-aged, conservative guy like me, so I was glad they sent black. I frequently set my phone on the center console in my truck, so these will come in handy. All in all, not a big thing, but I'm happy to not have my
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The Power of the Penguin

Netcraft is an online tool that lets you determine what Web server/OS combination a Web site is running. Doc Searls used it to compile a list of the Web server/OS combinations of the Presidential candidates. Not surprisingly, Republicans are taking a beating because the Bush/Cheney campaign runs IIS on Windows 2000. How embarrassing! :-) Well, just to show that not all Republicans run Windows, here's the Netcraft data for www.hard2u.cn. On a more serious note, Netcraft is a good little tool to have hanging on your toolbelt. There's all kinds of interesting data there. For example, you can see
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Identity Management Architecture

We've all seen cities that don't just quite seem to have a sense of place, where the zoning didn't yield a coherent set of uses or designs and things just seemed thrown together. This results from a lack of planning. Imagine the difficulty and danger of living in a place where there were few standards for building, multiple electrical voltages and phone systems, and roads were put in place willy-nilly. This is a situation that most enterprises find themselves in with their digital identity infrastructure. The systems are thrown into place with little thought to standards or interoperability. Solving the
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RSS on My Yahoo!

My Yahoo! RSS Display My Yahoo! now supports the display of RSS from any valid source. This means that any site with RSS can participate with other content providers on the My Yahoo! homepage. The figure at the right shows my personal My Yahoo! page with this blog and UtahPolitics.org displayed. Here's how to do it: Go to add.my.yahoo.com/rss and click the "Add It" button. Select which page on your My Yahoo! site add it to. For now,I just suggest clicking "Add It". You can always change the page and position later. Under "Add New Sources" enter the following
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Connected Computing Research Topics

I gave a talk to the BYU CS Department yesterday on research topics in connected computing. The slides are available as a PDF. If you work at a government agency (Federal, State, or Local) and find any of these topics interesting, I'd love to talk to you about a possible partnership to make a proposal to the National Science Foundation's eGovernment program.
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dg.o - NSF's Digital Government Research

The Digital Government Research Center at the University of Southern California maintains an informational Web site for the National Science Foundation Digital Government Research Program. The site includes: Case Studies System Demos Research Communities I wish they had an RSS feed (or several), but I can't find one. Sad experience tells me that no matter how much I promise I'll go look at a Web site regularly, I don't without a note in my aggregator about new things. The center funds dozens of projects. An example is a project by the National Institute of Statistical Science to build a
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SERVE eVoting System Lambasted

The panel of expert reviewing SERVE, the US Dept. of Defense eVoting system for overseas military members has released their report. The conclusions are not encouraging. (see NY Times article). Some interesting conclusions, but the most telling to me is the following: Like the proponents of SERVE, we believe that there should be better support for voting for our military overseas. Still, we regret that we are forced to conclude that the best course is not to field the SERVE system at all. Because the danger of successful, large-scale attacks is so great, we reluctantly recommend shutting down the
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RSS For President

Steve Gillmor has an intriguing piece that talks about the DeanChannel and its use by the Dean campaign to create a montage of news stories about the candidate on election day in Iowa: Take Dave Winer's Channel Dean as an example. For the Blogerati crowd, this is no big deal?an RSS aggregation feed compiled by one campaign's editorial board. For those who've mastered the non-trivial task of choosing and downloading an RSS newsreader, the feed was a quick way of absorbing one campaign's take on the confusing, fast-moving messages of the caucus denouement. For the RSS-oblivious, it may be
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Open Source eVoting

Scott Ritchie, a California college student has proposed bringing open source eVoting software from Austrailia and modifying it to meet the demands of the California Secretary of State. Ritchie, a 19-year-old political science and math student at the University of California at Davis, told the panel that he was launching the nonprofit Open Vote Foundation, which plans to modify the Australian code to meet California election standards and offer it free to any voting vendors that want to implement it in their systems. From Wired News: Open-Source E-Voting Heads WestReferenced Wed Jan 21 2004 14:59:22 GMT-0700 California Secretary of
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iProvo Approved

The Provo City Council approved the bonding package for iProvo, an ambitious fiber to the home project. There's an article by Arthur Brady on UtahPolitics.org about the council meeting. To me, the choice is as important and momentous as the decision to create and interstate highway system in the 1950's. The railroads were monopolies and were only too happy to carry people's goods, but on the railroad's terms. The interstate highway system changed that. Before the 1950's, long haul transportation was solely the domain of the railroads. Now anyone with a little capital can start a transportation company (just
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RSS Winterfest

A free RSS Winterfest is being held tomorrow and Thursday at Harvard. You can attend in person, or register for the Webcast. Day 1 will focus on technology and applications for RSS. The Webcast will start with Dave and be followed by sessions that will look at RSS, Atom and the future of Internet content syndication. A case study from Traction Software will explore how the Justice Department is using enterprise content syndication for communicating with law enforcement agencies. Day?2 will look at the business applications and cover topics such as enterprise content syndication, RSS and advertising, and what
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New Technorati Infrastrcture

Dave has announced the new Technorati beta infrastructure. Here's the Technorati page for www.hard2u.cn on the new infrastructure. According to Dave: We focused 100% of our time on completely refurbishing our underlying event engine - essentially taking a volkswagen engine out and putting a Ferrari engine in. This new engine sports: Much faster indexing - the median amount of time it takes from when someone posts something on their weblog to when it is captured and searchable via our live database is 7 minutes. Much faster querying - our goal is to have every search query take less than
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Dan Gillmor on eVoting

Dan Gillmor is the latest installment in Doug Kayes IT Conversations. If you haven't been over there to listen to some of the interviews he's done, you really ought to. Now he's got transcripts as well, which makes referring to the conversations from a blog a little more meaningful. What caught my eye about Dan's interview, was his take on eVoting: The electronic voting machines, the touch-screen voting machines, are a huge scandal and a really shocking scandal because the lack of interest in this until recently in the major media in the press is unbelievable to me. And
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Wanted: IIS Expert

I'm looking for a Windows IIS expert whose willing to consult. The job is tuning a group of servers running IIS. If you're such an expert, or know one, I'd like to talk to you. Contact me by email.
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US Senate Rolling Out RSS

Ray Matthews is reporting on the RSS in Government Site that the US Senate is rolling out RSS: Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) is the first senator with a RSS news feed for press releases on his official site. Feeds for other senators will soon follow according to Jason Blum in Enterprise Systems Support of the office of the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. Plans call for what Blum refers to as "RSS relay agents." These are local customized feeds for hometown constituents for NOAA weather alerts and state news. At least one other, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), had a
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Open Source in Government: Newport News, Va.

I spent three very hot weeks in Newport News, VA in August of 1983. I was doing some training at Newport News Naval Shipyard which forever changed my perception of the term "complex engineering project." Tim Adelstein has an interview at O'Reilly with Andy Stein, the CIO of Newport News (the town, not the shipyard) on his use of open source software in local government and the Open Government Interoperability Project. Leading up to the interview, Tom says: A recent study by a city of 200,000 residents concluded that a computer upgrade would cost $30 million over a three-year
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Eric Knorr: Web Services Reach Critical Mass in 2004

Eric Knorr, InfoWorld's Executive Editor, has an article in CIO magazine where he predicts that Web services will reach critical mass in 2004. A happy confluence of technology and politics has convinced me that this year will be the year when Web services begins to reach critical mass as a low-cost alternative to proprietary middleware. From The Year of Web Services - Pundit Web Services - CIO Magazine Dec 15,2003Referenced Thu Jan 15 2004 10:22:57 GMT-0700 Eric believes that security and performance have been holding Web services back and two recent developments make those issues tractable: MIPs are always
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A Terabyte for $1200

Wow! LaCie has introduced an external, Fireware/USB2.0 drive the size of a 5.25 inch disk that holds a terabyte and costs $1200.
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Toysight

ToySight in Action (no, that's not me) I've used my iSight for some coast-to-coast video conferences and even over my wireless Internet link, it performs well. The only drawback is not enough people have these things. Well, some haven't been deaf to the pleas of iSight owners. If you've got an iSight camera attached to your Mac and have been wondering what to do with it, Toysight might be what you're looking for. Toysight is a collection of games that you play by standing in front of your iSight camera and using your hands to control virtual sliders, buttons,
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Web Services Wish List

Bob Sutor over at c|net has a Web services wish list: Widespread adherence to the Web Services Interoperability Organization's Basic Profile for Web services More customers using Web services specifically to improve their operational efficiency Expanded use of Web services for better information, better order taking and faster delivery To hear about a merger or acquisition that took place largely because the parties concerned felt that Web services would help them rapidly integrate the businesses I agree that adhering to the basic profile is an important step to more widespread interoperability, but that's also one of the benefits of
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Bluetooth as Magic

Chad Dickerson has a great story in InfoWorld about using his laptop and Bluetooth connected phone to rescue a damsel in distress. Everything was in place for my finest CTO moment ever. In my most authoritative and reassuring voice, I said, "Don't worry, ma'am, we'll get to that e-mail." From InfoWorld: Bluetooth to the rescue: January 09, 2004: By Chad DickersonReferenced Wed Jan 14 2004 08:22:09 GMT-0700 The article concludes with a passenger next to the woman being totally amazed that she was online onboard: The military guy turned around to everyone around him and announced, "Hey everybody, this
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Insyte Conference

Brigham Young University's Rollins eBusiness Center is hosting the insyte Conference on Feb 6th. The agenda includes a keynote address by John Parady, CTO Kelley Blue Book and panels on "IT Strategies: Managing Your IT Investment as Technology Evolves" and "IT Security: What You Don?t Know Can Hurt You." The conference is relatively inexpensive and a great way to meet and talk to other IT executives from around the area.
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State CIO Hurdles

Tom Davies column in Governing magazine discusses the things that new public sector CIOs struggle with when they've been used to working in the private sector. Reading the issues was a trip down memory lane. I think they all must be reading my blog. :-) Here's some of the issues that they mentioned: Process is more important than results Bottom-line focused individuals hit the wall pretty quickly Management tools are different Stovepipes and a lack of enterprise vision A lack of transparency in the budgeting and rate process Politics The slow pace of change Not surprisingly, no one mentioned
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Amazon as Platform

According to a story in Roll Call, Amazon will provide a means, starting Thursday, for you to make a direct donation to your favorite presidential candidate using your Amazon account. Amazon apparently worked out a deal with each campaign over the last month. The cost of developing the program and the processing fees are being paid by the presidential campaigns. Many will see the benefit to the presidential campaigns, but there's an upside for Amazon as well. This is an interesting example of Amazon exerting its transaction processing muscle in ways that go beyond books and other merchandise. Clearly,
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Wi-Fi and Wardriving Still Draw Interest

I was interviewed last week for a spot that aired today on KSL radio. I didn't hear it, but I've had a few people comment on it. The topic was Wi-Fi security and wardriving. Those are still topics that hold a lot of interest for a lot of people. Two of the most heavily trafficked pages on my web site talk about Wi-Fi antennae. Even more than a year after they were written they still show up in the top pages visited almost every single day. Most of that from Google. The message I tried to get across was
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Build Your Own Web Services Value Added Network

My latest InfoWorld article is about Flamenco Network's Web Services Manager (WSM): A cursory review of WSM's features and architecture wouldn't distinguish it greatly from a number of other WSI products. But WSM's heritage as a VAN means it's got flexibility in its blood. This will come in especially handy for enterprises that expect significant future growth and want their Web services to expand with demand. National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), for example, used WSM to create a Web services interface to its system for verifying student records. NSC currently services thousands of higher education institutions, but envisions selling verification
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Tim's Digital Democracy Teach-In

Tim O'Reilly writes about the Digital Democracy Teach-In that we're putting together for the first day the Emerging Technology conference. There are sessions on the following topics: MoveOn: Bringing Ordinary People Back into Politics Internet Campaign Magic Advocacy as Application Effective Political Blogging Electoral Democracy Meetup and "On the Ground" Organizing Electronic Voting and Transparency Emergent Democracy Worldwide
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Navy Testing Blogs for Team Communication

The Navy is testing the use of blogs in team communications. The blog is one of 12 pilot programs, selected for funding from a field of 120, for demonstration through the DoD Rapid Acquisition Incentive-Net Centricity (RAI-NC) initiative. The RAI-NC, managed by the office of the Pentagon's chief information officer, aims to demonstrate processes to speed up the development of net-centric, "transformational" approaches to defense technology development and acquisition. From ScienceDaily News Release: Blog, Blog, Blog: The Navy Tests Web Logging For Team CommunicationsReferenced Fri Jan 09 2004 13:44:19 GMT-0700
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Xquery, Meet the Web

Mark Baker wonders if XQuery shouldn't be able to work using GET. Mark is responding, at least in part to a post by Dave Orchard about XQuery and the Web. Dave says at one point: The ability to compare URIs is crucial for caching., hence why so much work went into specifying how they are absolutized and canonically compared. But clearly XQuery inputs are not going to be sent in URIs, so how do we have cachable XQueries gven that the query will be in a soap header? From Dave Orchard's Blog: Xquery: Meet the WebReferenced Fri Jan 09
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SCO Shunned at OSBC

I heard an interesting story today. Seems that the organizers of the Open Source Business Conference had originally invited Darl McBride of SCO to speak in the interest of fairness, but then when the antics got going, uninvited Darl to avoid the circus that that would surely entail. That was a while back and all has been quite---until today. This afternoon, SCO called up an OSBC organizer and offered a $40K sponsorship. That's $10K above the Platinum sponsorship which is going for $30K. SCO wants to speak in a bad way. Actually, I think more than a chance to
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Your Personal Tivo

If you like TiVo, but really want more freedom to tinker than TiVo gives you, head on over to MythTV, a homebrew personal video recorder (PVR) project. I have a friend who has MythTV server (running on Gentoo Linux) in his attic with 1Tb of storage and diskless front end systems based on VIA EPIA-M motherboards. He can store almost a year of TV or 1000 movies and watch them anywhere in the house. After all, its just data.
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Letting DNS Loose

Paul Mockapetris, the inventor of DNS has written an article at CircleID called Letting DNS Loose about extending DNS to handle the same tasks ENUM -- mapping names to phone numbers. Of course, thats just the start, why not extend it to do RFID mapping and so on. Paul's point is that we don't really need to build a whole new infrastructure to do most of what needs doing and re-using the existing infrastructure isn't just cheaper, its proven. As Paul points out, the issue is political, not technical.
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IT Governance

When I became CIO for the State of Utah, one of the things for which I had very little appreciation was how much time and effort went into governance issues in a large organization. Before my stint as CIO I'd been CTO of a company I helped create and had hired nearly everyone who worked for me. As we built the organization, we also built and shaped the vision. People naturally understood the business because they'd seen it develop and had crucial roles in making it work. Further, while we'd had our share of culture problems, we'd handled these
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Tom Adelstein on The Open Source Dilemma for Governments

In an essay on the failure of governments to use Open Source Software (OSS) and open standards, Tom Adelstein bemoans a situation that I understand only too well: Recently, I received two requests to assist a local government and a university in the same area of deploying justice databases. The requests involved implementing a new, comprehensive application to provide services and a tracking system using a web-enabled database-driven application. The requirements of the applications seemed simple and with the use of the Global Justice Data Model, I estimated delivery within 90 days. In both instances, the people controlling those
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Holiday Reading: Three Looks at Today's Technology

I spent a fair amount of time over the holidays reading. Some, like The Da Vinci Code and Teeth of the Tiger were just for entertainment. But others, while fun, were more for education. Three of the books I read in the latter category were Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold, ME++ by William Mitchell, and Natural-Born Cyborgs by Andy Clark. In some ways these are all the same book, just with a slightly different perspective. They even contain some of the same stories. Even so, the perspective that each author gave the topic held my interest. Howard Rheingold's been
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