In his talk, Raven will provide a basic overview of the process of developing and distributing software for the iPhone and iPod touch, and share some key findings and metrics gathered in the two weeks since the launch of the App Store. What does the App Store mean for third party mobile developers?
The McCain campaign web site recently published a link to a Versionista comparison that shows changes to Obama’s web page about the Iraq war. The link, which is captioned “Obama Refines His Iraq Page”, is posted alongside other links which point to off-site articles written by various political commentators who are critical of Obama. The aim is obviously to generate the perception that Obama’s position on the war is inconsistent.
While the technology was exceptionally cool—much like change trackers I used to use back in the dotcom days—there was one thing that piqued my interest even more than the technology. Versionista is from Portland, Oregon.
Versionista was inspired by the highlighting that occurs when wiki pages are edited:
A side-by-side comparison and multiple other views let you see “before and after” versions of every monitored page. We highlight what text has been added, deleted, or moved. Versionista will keep up to 25 versions per page. You can “rollback” in time to see older versions.
The Versionista service allows you to test drive the system with two URLs. Or you can subscribe to begin tracking multiple URLs.
The pricing is aggressive for hobbyists—the lowest-level subscription runs about $200 a year for 30 URLs—but for professionals who desperately need this type of “what changed when” functionality on a limited basis, the pricing shouldn’t be too terribly oppressive. Power users can track up to 2,500 URLs for $6,000 a year.
So what about exploiting the service? I knew you’d think about that, because you’re a smart cookie.
YOU MAY NOT USE SOFTWARE PRODUCT TO STEAL OTHERS’ COPYRIGHTS OR TRADEMARKS…. YOU MAY NOT USE SOFTWARE PRODUCT TO SPIDER OR CRAWL GOOGLE ADWORDS, OVERTURE LISTINGS, OR OTHER PAY-PER-CLICK OR SIMILAR SERVICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DEFRAUDING THEIR SYSTEM.
I know a number of breaking-news bloggers who have been begging for a service like this. You may be in the same boat. Given that you’re allowed to track two URLs for free, I’d suggest you try it out. And when you do, I’d love to hear how it works for you.
Last Friday was podcast day for me. And for as nervous as I was, I think they turned out pretty well. No doubt thanks to the talented people actually managing the whole podcast thing and me just having to spout off every now and again.
So, I thought I’d share the links, in case you were interested in listening.
Jim Zemlin, Raven Zachary, Audrey Eschright, and I had the opportunity to chat about open source and the open source scene in Portland. Topics include OSCON, how we all use open source software and may not even know it, corporate adoption of open source, Portland’s culture as a complement to the open source community, open-source rockets, and NTEN.
Suffice it to say, this was a trial by fire for me and audio. So I’d love to hear feedback as to a) whether I was intelligible at all and b) if I was intelligible, if you’d be interested in more podcasts from yours truly.
Robert Scoble writes “What is the disease? That you must make bucketloads of money (or at least have a shot at doing that) in the first two years of business. If you have a plan to make just a reasonable amount of money, or if it will take decades to make a big amount of money, don’t come to Silicon Valley. Walmart would NEVER have gotten funded by Sand Hill Road. It took decades to make bucketloads of money. That kind of business plan would never fit in here.”
Via the Attensa blog “Wikipedia is theoretically about respect for expertise, openness and integrity.Who knows more about the company, its technology, associated products and applications than the people who live and breathe it every day. The irony is that Attensa has its listings removed through the actions of one individual because we were transparent and telling the truth about the process.”
Via the fifth+main blog “The Internet is in the process of giving rise to a new breed of journalist thanks to all these layoffs in mainstream media. This is an important shift, because it centers on the people who report the news, not the ego-bloggers and serial editorialists.”
Micah Elliott writes “So you’re finally ready to leave corporate life. Before you walk out the door, here are some things you should make sure to consider during your last couple months of employment.”
Gia Lyons writes “Our software engineers have been diligently working on Jive Clearspace 2.5 (formerly known as 2.1) over the past several weeks, and we’ve been putting it through its paces inside Jive. Many have blogged and videoed (?) about it:”
Via Louis Gray’s blog “Federation is the real answer. What does federation do and why is it different from Twitter creating a distributed architecture? A distributed architecture means you have various pieces of the application sitting on different servers…. Federation is different from distributed in one simple sense. Federation requires a full copy of the entire system. Federation is the cooperation between various systems to act as one.”
Seed Oregon is a unique competition for Oregon and Southwest Washington seed-stage companies who are seeking capital within the range of $100,000 to $2,000,000. One winner from each preliminary round will move on to a championship round, where a finalist will earn a coveted presenting opportunity at OEN’s Angel Oregon 2009, the premier angel investing event in the Northwest. The 2009 conference will be held at the Governor Hotel in Portland on March 12th.
It starts with a simple seed. But from that seed grows strong, vibrant and sustainable companies that are ripe for investment. Venture Northwest (formerly Venture Oregon) is the premier forum for new and emerging investment opportunities in exciting companies from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Jason Glaspey writes “I’ve always been pretty outspoken about the fact that I think DRM is from the devil, so when I saw a Prius with this license plate, I had to take a picture. It was outside of my favorite coffee joint Albina Press, and I was able to ask the owner of the car if this was a true vanity plate, or a chance coincidence… Turns out it was just the license the state gave him. He laughed as he watched me snap the photo though.”
Josh Maherstarted a chapter in Seattle a little over a year ago, and they’ve been very active at both large and small hosts. I contacted Josh early this year for any tips and advice he could share before starting a chapter.
If you travel up to Seattle a lot, or are headed there soon, check out their wiki and for details.
Josh and I spoke recently about our the Portland chapter, which apparently is one of the few that hosts regular events, along with the Silicon Valley/Bay Area orignial chapter and the Seattle one. He also invited any Portlanders/Vancouverites up to enjoy the Seattle flavor of Lunch 2.0. So, if you’re going to be up in the Emerald City, check out their take on Lunch 2.0 and report back with your thoughts.
Otherwise, it’s a roadtrip. I guess if anyone’s up for that, you could carpool up there on a diplomatic mission. Of course, as Rick pointed out, the beauty of Lunch 2.0 is that it’s local and convenient, neither of which fits a trip up to Seattle.
Anyway, it’s an open invitation, and obviously, Josh is welcome to come down to do Portland Lunch 2.0, assuming I can convince someone to host one.
And sure enough, they talked to those folks. And I know that most of them—if not all of them—will be appearing on Think Out Loud live, this morning at 9 AM.
Do you buy the argument that if you want to make a living as a programmer in Portland, open source software is both a blessing and a curse?
Are you a part of the movement more broadly? What’s your take on where it came from, where it is now, and where it’s going? What lessons does the open source philosophy have for life outside the digital world—for research, or business, or democracy?
Great! Should be a really interesting show, right?
Well, yes. But with one slight hitch.
“We want you on there, too,” they said.
Um. People get to read me thinking out loud practically everyday. Do they really need to hear me thinking out loud, too?
Via the Vidoop blog “Over the coming months, Vidoop will be delivering new services that not only take advantage of these new specifications but also make them easy for users and companies to use. The reality is users shouldn’t need to know about these technologies but they will be the underpinnings of the Open Web.”
Bram Pitoyo writes “I always thought that ‘Creative’ and ‘Tech’ were two different worlds: two landmasses that somehow needs to be bridged. I wrote about it. I talked about it to friends and people I met at various events: about how I wanted to ‘make creatives more open by introducing them to the vibrant, local tech community.’ It’s all good. But I was completely wrong.”
OPB Think Out Loud will be broadcasting live from OSCON. The premise? “Portland isn’t necessarily the capital of this revolution — one of the hallmarks of such a decentralized system is that the whole concept of a capital is anathema — but it’s certainly one of the most prominent nodes of community. Some people have argued that the aspects of Portland’s culture that make it such an ideal location for open source activity (i.e. a creative, collaborative, non-commercial mindset, speaking in broad generalizations) have also meant that fewer local OSS (Open Source Software) projects become commercially viable.”
Doug Coleman writes “I am excited to announce that iPhone DevCamp 2 PDX has an new venue! Thanks to Jim Goings and the wonderful people at Jive Software, iPhone DevCamp 2 PDX will be held August 2nd and 3rd at Jive’s Stark St. offices in Downtown Portland.”
Chris Messina writes “During this morning’s keynote at OSCON, David Recordon announced the formation of the Open Web Foundation (his slides), an initiative with which I am involved, aimed at becoming something akin to a ‘Creative Commons for patents’, with the intention of lowering the costs and barriers to the development and adoption of open and free specifications like OpenID and OAuth.”
Jay Lyman writes “Now OSCON is at the Portland Convention Center, and while the conference has a different feel, it is still the most unique tech conference with its developer focus, sandals and lack of ties. So while I still enjoy being able to wear shorts to a show and briefings, there have been some significant changes to OSCON in addition to the location move.”
Justin Kistner writes “Welcome OSCON attendees to the land of beer and honey known around the world as Portland. We’d like to invite all of you to enjoy a pint of delicious beer with us on Friday from 4-6 pm. Beer and Blog is Portland’s tech scene happy hour of choice and we usually help each other with our blogs. At least that’s what I keep repeating.”
The Open Web Foundation is an interesting step in the ever evolving world of technology “openness.” What started with open source code and moved to open data has now evolved to the open Web.
And that’s an important step.
What is the Open Web Foundation?
According to the Open Web Foundation site:
The Open Web Foundation is an attempt to create a home for community-driven specifications. Following the open source model similar to the Apache Software Foundation, the foundation is aimed at building a lightweight framework to help communities deal with the legal requirements necessary to create successful and widely adopted specification.
Take a moment to read that again. Because within that charge lies a very important distinction. A distinction that differentiates the Open Web Foundation from other organizations playing in this space: the Open Web Foundation is focused on the specifications that facilitate the sharing and transmission of data.
Not the data itself, the specifications.
“The Open Web Foundation is not a standards body,” said Scott Kveton. “The W3C, OASIS and others do that fantastically today. This is about helping speed the development and proliferation of open specifications so we can figure out if they make sense or not.”
My take? For the Open Web Foundation, it is more critical to understand and support how the data is being exchanged and how we build open systems that are interoperable. Because without interoperability and the ability to share, all the data in the world is useless.
So what organizations belong to this foundation? Well, you’ve hit upon another important difference. You see, the Open Web Foundation is an organization of individuals. The following folks are currently part of the foundation, but it’s a list that—obviously—is continuing to grow:
And as a foundation of individuals, the Open Web Foundation is open to you, as well. Simply join the Open Web Foundation Google Group to begin discussions with the organization and determine how you would like to participate.
But just because it’s an organization of individuals, that doesn’t mean it lacks community support by major players.
We truly are in an inflection point when it comes to the future of the web. Today I’m wearing my “I support the Open Web” wristband which Mozilla gave away at OSCON last year. So what are you doing to support the Open Web and bring about change?
A long running problem in messaging and consistency from advocates of both open source and standards has been the duplicate and overlapping efforts. The best recent example was the split within the RSS camp that resulted in a new Atom syndication format, which in the long-term did not manage to displace RSS and instead divided evangelism efforts. While a similar split along technology lines does not exist in the case of the new Open Data [sic] Foundation and the Data Portability project, it would seem that a more united and single-branded front would be more appropriate considering the shared agenda of both camps.
Hopefully, today’s announcement and the resulting coverage will help clear up the story and clarify the focus and intent of this new group.
The Open Web Foundation is positioning itself as a complimentary organization. DataPortability.org can handle the evangelism and the Open Web Foundation will do the behind the scenes work to help developers bring code to market. Not completely behind the scenes, but you know what they mean.
The OWF is not trying to compete with existing standards bodies (IETF, W3C, OASIS, etc.). The communities we’re working with are currently coming together in a very ad-hoc fashion, and if we can help them have clean intellectual property, it makes it easier for a community to take their open specification to a standards body.
And that sounds eerily similar to another organization with whom Dawn is deeply involved, Portland’s Legion of Tech.
Is the Open Web Foundation a competitor of the Data Portability project? In terms of mindshare? Absolutely. In terms of technology? Not really. Is that competition a bad thing? Not at all.
I’ve said it time and time again, competition—either real or perceived—defines a market. If you’re in a situation where you have no competition, you’re either so far ahead of the curve that no one can perceive the value you provide (and you may not survive long enough for anyone to catch up to your line of thinking) or you’re doing something in which no one will ever see any value.
Either way, a market without competition isn’t a market.
So as divisive as it seems right now, a little competition is a very good thing. Because it will push people to get things done. It will motivate people to keep things moving. It will force organizations to more tightly define their charters and to more stringently follow their own guidelines.
And—perhaps most importantly—it will give everyone a choice of where to spend their time and energy.
A monopoly doesn’t help anyone.
Okay, so what does the Open Web Foundation mean to me?
First and foremost, the Open Web Foundation will become the facilitator of open specifications. An umbrella resource that helps manage the continuing development of open specs and a means of ensuring consistency and compatibility among the variety of technologies currently in play.
As a developer, this means you gain a trusted resource—a partner in helping develop the open Web.
“We’re trying to create a nonprofit organization that will help these organizations work together,” said Recordon. “We need simplicity in these specifications.”
The thought? Instead of people having to create innumerable organizations to manage and support individual efforts, let’s just create one. One that supports all of the different projects.
The foundation is trying to break the trend of creating separate foundations for each specification, coming out of the realization that we could come together and generalize our efforts. The details regarding membership, governance, sponsorship, and intellectual property rights will be posted for public review and feedback in the following weeks.
No doubt, this foundation will have an effect on many efforts around the Silicon Forest. And with the Portland efforts around OpenID—and locals Dawn Foster and Scott Kveton among the founding individuals—the Open Web Foundation is sure to be part of our existence.
I, for one, am looking forward to the Open Web, and I applaud these folks taking this step forward.
OSCON 2008 will soon be wrapping up. And while there’s still a ton of good content to consume, there’s another important form of consumption that will be taking place on Thursday evening—and you’re encouraged to be there: Beerforge III.
According to Portland-based OpenSourcery’s Thomas King:
We’re coordinating with SourceForge to create a continuous party from immediately after the conference until the wee hours, at the Jupiter Hotel and Bossanova Ballroom, respectively. Transportation is free from the convention center, and it should be a blast.