Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Month: June, 2006

Google as Identity Silo

Dick Hardt and Eric Norlin have both commented on the new Account Authentication Proxy from Google. Dick and Eric both clearly see Google as creating a ever growing silo. Eric provides a comparison of Google’s Service to Microsoft’s Passport efforts. Eric points out that Microsoft has moved to make their service interoperable after learning from their earlier mistakes.

I agree completely with the deepening silo perspective. I really think though Google understands that it must have an reliable and ubiquitous identity service, if they are going to take advantage of the Cognitive economy.

So I ask myself, Does Google want to maintain its lead in delivering on the cognitive economy and should it wait for the community to deliver a proper identity solution? I think the answer is yes they want to maintain their lead and no they shouldn’t wait. As a business they are obligated to make progress but they must understand without the support of the community they will fail.

I think Google will continue to make progress in developing their identity and reputation platforms and services , while contributing to and inter-operating with the rest of the community. So, Google will deepen their silo then increase their openness and interoperability over time as their customer base and the cognitive economy demands. So as Google Customers we need to demand they increase their openness and interoperability. Just my two cents

Go and check out the posts by Dick Hardt and Eric Norlin, both are worth reading.

Links:
Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 RSS Feed
Google Account Authentication: two steps forward, one step back

Eric Norlin’s Digital ID World RSS Feed
Google’s authentication vs. Microsoft’s Live ID

Check out Dabble DB from Smallthought

I was reading a post from Tim Bray about Dabble DB by Smallthough. So I went and watched the screen cast demo they have up on the site. Wow, very cool. Dabble is a collaborative data management, authoring, and publishing web application (I know that description doesn’t do Dabble DB justice). The application lets you copy and past spreadsheet data into the app. It lets you create associations not explicitly present in the original data. It lets you save views of the data. It publishes data in RSS and a lot more.

Just go and check it out, you will be impressed.

Links:

Tim Bray ongoing RSS Atom Feed
Dabble DB, Check It Out

Smallthough RSS Feed
Dabble DB

Account Authentication Proxy by Google

Google today announced the availability of Account Authentication Proxy for web applications. This is an authentication and authorization service for Google services. It allows third party applications to use Google services on behalf of a Google customer. Google by allowing 3rd parties to create businesses that use their services as a composite part, this only make their company more valuable. Creating opportunity for third parties to add value and profit is similar to the way Amazon has benefited from 3rd party retailers using Amazon services to sell products.

It appears to me Google is going to build a ecosystem around its services and customer data. This announcement just strengthens my belief that Google understands the coming cognitive economy and its requirements for ubiquitous identity and reputation.

Garett Rogers referred to Google’s Account Authentication Proxy as being similar to Passport from Microsoft. I can’t say that I have seen a feature by feature comparison, but I think the way Google has released the service is by far more insightful and politically astute. Google has just added another tool to the innovators tool box, without appearing coercive like Microsoft did when Passport first launched.

Most importantly with this announcment, we as Google customers need to encourage Google to explicitly recognize the right of the customer to own, control, transport and manage their cognitive data (including attention, perception, action, problem solving and memory).

I would be interested to hear what Dick Hardt has to say about google’s new service.

Links:

Google’s Account Authentication Proxy for web applications

Garett Rogers RSS Feed
Google releases answer to Passport

My adventures with Ubuntu

I recently moved from Fedora Core 5 to Ubuntu Desktop for my laptop. This was due to the fact that Fedora Core 5 would freeze every now and then. So after having to do my development work on my desktop, I figured it was time to try a new Distribution. So as some background I have previously run Suse 9.x and Fedora Core 3 and 4 and Redhat. So I had read and heard that Ubuntu was polished and just worked.

So my mind was made up, I did the back-up dance and began to load Ubuntu 5.x loaded fine and everything worked, NICE! I did find a few issues, like the fact that the packaged version of FireFox was ancient (Similar to Suse 9.x) and the package manager used to add new software was passable at best. So I began setting up everything and just before I began using the laptop for current work, Ubuntu 6.x was released. So I did the online upgrade, and it went well, though it took a few hours.

So after the reboot everything looked great except no Wifi. Ugh… Now the funny thing is my wireless card is old, a Lucent Orinoco Gold only supports WEP, just plain old. It has been the only card that I could count on working with any Distribution, but not on Dapper Drake. So, I checked to see if the device was being identified, checked the driver etc…. No luck. So I fashioned myself an aluminum foil hat and dove into the forums. Plenty of ideas and support, I just haven’t had time to try all of them.

Recently people like Tim Bray and Nicholas Carr have recently written about how Linux popularity, as Nicholas puts it, with the “PC elite” is growing. Now Tim Bray cites the fact that Apple uses proprietary formats to store his data and is less open to community innovation / bug fixing. Now, I agree with Tim Bray, increased openness would benefit Apple and help to sustain its more advanced users. The reality is until it just works, the cost of my attention to fix something that should just work, is just to high.

So the bottom line is, my next laptop is going to be a Mac, because as the Angry Penguin put it “It just works”. I will worry about open later, that’s why I have Google.

Links:

Tim Bray’s RSS Feed
Time to Switch

Nicholas Carr’s RSS Feed

The Angry Penguin’s RSS Feed
The Lab Adds A Mac

The Attention lease and The Attention Investment Trust

The idea is similar to an infrastructure lease (Cities use it to create revenue from roads and such. Think the Chicago sky way). We as individuals formalize the capture of our attention data with a lease. We exclusively lease our attention to a Attention Investment Trust (AIT similar to a REIT) in return for shares. The trust then invests our attention on our behalf and then returns payment in the form of dividends or appreciated value of our shares. This would allow people to formalize control over their attention data in a efficient way. It would require only limited amounts of time researching the reputation, goals, and track record of the AIT. If the trust does not perform the person can sell their shares and revoke their authorization to use their attention.

I’m no finance guy, but I have met a few and I know that they could throw something together in a heart beat. Imagine if Google, yahoo and Amazon had to buy your attention on the Chicago mercantile Exchange (offered by AITs), like Southwest buys fuel. That would change the game, good or bad it’s just an example of the many opportunities around attention.

Cognitive Economy: The role of Attention

In the cognitive economy the role of attention is primarily that of an abstract currency. Attention (in all of its forms) like Dollars, Euros and Pounds will have a value that is ubiquitous and easily measured by all parties. Markets can be created (think something like Root Markets) to speculate upon and trade attention. In the early stages of the cognitive economy attention exchange will be the primary source of revenue for all parties.

An interesting thing about attention is, as a currency it requires more collaborative valuation and regulation processes. Traditionally currency is created, regulated, and valued by a centralized authority and its designated markets. The fact that attention is created and valued in a distributed system by individuals, means there will be no one regulatory body to control it. This in my opinion is both a strength and weakness of attention.

Some strengths of attention are:

  • it allows for a very customizable valuation model, depending on the parties involved and the context.
  • flexible transaction structures and terms.
  • it retains value over time.
  • it can be traded multiple times.
  • it is highly portable.
  • is independant of borders and governments (this is not completely true, think China and the middle east).
  • its supply is only limited by our imaginations and our time on this earth.

Some weaknesses of attention are:

  • an individual can have control of their attention co-opted by third parties.
  • value models can poisoned and manipulated by monopolies and governments.
  • it can be shared without authorization.
  • one can be overwhelmed with the amount created and its complexity.

Some day we will have to claim on our tax returns the value received from exchanging our attention since most of the value will be in a non-traditional form (not dollars).

We as individuals must work to assert control over our attention, it’s our currency. The Attention Trust is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help the individual own and benefit from their attention. So, if you want understand more about attention and your rights go to www.attentiontrust.org and look around. (disclosure: I am member of the Attention Trust)

Links:

Root Markets

The Attention Trust:
Mission
The Blog and RSS feed

Sunday Favorite: Day Trees

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Day Trees, originally uploaded by Automatt.

I like this HDR picture because it reminds me of Muir Woods north of San Francisco. Enjoy.

Links:
Muir Woods National Monument

The Cognitive Economy: What it’s not

The Cognitive economy is not

  • mass marketing
  • Information asymmetry
  • proprietary
  • a monologue
  • silos
  • about monopoly
  • less information
  • small, simple or easy
  • a short term thing

The Cognitive Economy

I have been thinking real hard about the Attention economy and then about the Intention economy. In the past I have written about the Situational Awareness economy and online cognitive models, well I think I was in the right neighborhood. I think the economic revolution before us is the Cognitive Economy. The Cognitive economy revolves around memory, attention, perception, action, problem solving. It will be the businesses, organizations, services and people that build value around those key components that will be sucessful in the long term. Now in some ways this is a No Duh moment.

Read the rest of this entry »

The change in corporate technology ecosystems

I again was listening to the Grand Central Gang from the Gillmor gang. My only comment on the whole podcast is simply the choice in changing software platforms is not solely based on the technology. In my experience significant change in corporate technology ecosystems is heavily influenced by its IRR and if it is significantly greater than the IRR of current solution. There are many innovative technologies that get adopted slowly because no one is able to produce a cash flow analysis that can move the company into action.

As geeks we sometimes see the potential in technology but the realization of that potential usually trails significantly. This is due in some part to the inability of us geeky folk to relate the technology to the business. In addition to our geekyness corporations (read large) like to have projects that have high batting averages (read no failures). Even more limiting is the corporate desire for not only high batting averages but high power numbers (read no failures and big returns). Short term thinking of many middle managers adds to the ideas of no failures and big returns.

This is why we see time and time again small upstarts using technology to redefine a market and beat established companies.

Links:

Gillmor Gang RSS Feed
Grand Central Gang