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All posts by Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Founder and editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy

OpenID ID Selector promises to make OpenID less geeky

This week, Portland-based JanRain will be unveiling their latest contribution to the OpenID community: a compelling means of simplifying OpenID logins for the everyday user called ID Selector. With ID Selector, JanRain has managed to reduce the complexity—and, well, geekiness—of the OpenID login process in the same way that products like AddThis have simplified the social-media-submission process.

JanRain OpenID ID Selector

Long story short, the ID Selector reduces your OpenID login to clicking an icon and providing a username. It’s a shrewd move, given that every OpenID provider has a standard structure for its URLs, a structure that allows JanRain to reduce the amount of user input to a traditional “username.”

JanRain has always done a great deal of the heavy lifting when it comes to working on OpenID and being open with the libraries they’ve developed. So they understand how to work for the greater good when implementing OpenID solutions.

Their take on the OpenID ID Selector is no different. It allows the folks who implement it to customize the providers that show and the order in which they are listed—even if that means JanRain’s MyOpenID doesn’t make the list.

This is yet another step forward for OpenID and its burgeoning user base. And, truly, one of the first ways I’ve seen that highlights to everyday Web users—millions of people who use services like AOL, Yahoo!, and Blogger—that they already have live OpenIDs which they could be using to manage services.

It’s great for users, but it could also mean some exciting developments for the companies who choose to become OpenID providers. Rafe Needleman of WebWare, for example, sees a simplified OpenID moving into the realm of loyalty programs:

Major sites, like portals, could still do a much better job pushing the OpenID concept. That would be good for them, not just because it’d make OpenID more accessible to users, but because there’s a lot of brand affinity that sites can win by having users authenticate against their sites even when they’re using some other company’s service. Think of OpenID branding as the affinity credit card of the Web: Every time a user logs on to a service they’d get the authenticator’s brand popped up in front of them — just like Harley-Davidson does when its Visa affinity card users make purchases.

JanRain, not surprisingly, gets this, and will provide a complete white-label OpenID technology infrastructure for companies or brands that want to become authenticators. So if you want to log on to Web sites with an ID from your alma mater or local Rotary club, JanRain will make that possible.

But we still have a ways to go, before we get there. Allen Stern of CenterNetworks is wondering if part of the problem might be the marketing of the “OpenID” name itself:

From my side, I am starting to believe that we don’t need to market the term ‘OpenID’ to consumers. No one cares about the technology, they only want to login to their favorite service using their AOL or Google id. It’s like TCP/IP, no one cares how it works, just that our email shows up in the inbox and Twitter loads when we want to tell our friends we just saw Britney at CVS.

Clearly, we’re not out of the geek forest yet. But JanRain is making significant strides to see that we’re on our way.

For more information, visit JanRain.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 21

Unix Rockstar Job, CD Baby

CD Baby writes “Small department specializing in digital distribution for independent musicians seeks one laid-back, self-motivated geek to join our growing content delivery team.”

Who Are The Top Tech Bloggers?

Congratulations to Portland’s own Marshall Kirkpatrick, lead blogger for ReadWriteWeb, on being named the fifth most powerful tech blogger on the planet in TechCrunch’s analysis of the Techmeme leader board.

Portland’s GetRichSlowly.org on Money Magazine’s 100 Best List

Via Around the Sun “GetRichSlowly.org, a personal finance blog written by Portland-area resident J.D. Roth, has been named “Most Inspiring” blog in the May 2008 issue of Money Magazine. GRS is one of three blogs included in the magazine’s annual list of the top 100 ‘people, places, things and strategies worth knowing right this minute.'”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 20

Want a BarCampPortland T-Shirt? Act Now!

Dawn Foster writes “This year we’re asking Portland BarCampers for a small donation if they want an event t-shirt. For a donation of $20, before April 26th, you help support the event (things like the space, food, and supplies) and get an awesome shirt designed by local design group Brash Creative.”

VC investment turns down, especially in Oregon

Mike Rogoway writes “By no means does one quarter constitute a trend — especially in Oregon, where the small sample size makes for high quarter-to-quarter volatility. And Dow Jones VentureSource says it’s too soon to attribute the dip to the national economic slowdown”

It’s official: Venture investment declined in Q1

Venture investment fell 8.5 percent during the first three months of 2008 compared to the final quarter of 2007, according to the new MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The report is a big, comprehensive study that reinforces what everyone already kind-of knew, or at least suspected. It tracked a total of 922 venture deals worth $7.1 billion — in terms of dollars, that’s an 8.5 percent drop.

Unix Rockstar Job, CD Baby

CD Baby writes “Small department specializing in digital distribution for independent musicians seeks one laid-back, self-motivated geek to join our growing content delivery team.”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 18

Five Wrong Ways to Pitch RWW and One Great Way

This is great advice from Marshall Kirkpatrick for any startup looking for coverage from the major tech blogs. And here’s the thing… it works for exceedingly micro blogs like Silicon Florist, too. The first question out of my mouth is usually “Do you have a blog or an RSS feed I can follow?”

Design resources for everyone

Michael Sigler writes “In preparation for my presentation at Beer and Blog I hastily put together this list of useful design resources. I hope people find them helpful. I’m also quite positive I’ve left off quite a few things that are obvious. Please feel free to leave suggestions.”

TannerVision: Updates from the field on EeePC pilots

Via TannerVision “For those keeping up with the status of the ASUS EeePC pilot project, here is some feedback from the teachers actually implementing it. I have included the schools, grades, and subject areas, but not names.”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Interesting gigs from the Silicon Florist Gig board

Okay, okay. These are the only gigs on the Gig board, but that makes them interesting, doesn’t it? Sure it does.

Remember, if you’ve got a gig or 12 you’d like to post, feel free. Literally. Use the discount code freebie to post job openings, contract gigs, gigs you wish you had, internships, or whatever else.

Reminder: Meet OpenID developer David Recordon

If you’re like me, you’re a huge fan of the potential of OpenID. (Even though my current implementation continues to malfunction here on Silicon Florist. And that’s my fault, not OpenID.)

And while we get to chat with Scott Kveton, the Vidoop (and now ConfIdent) guys, and the JanRain folks on a regular basis, sometimes it’s nice to get to hear from some of the other leading voices in OpenID development.

That’s why I’m really excited for lunch on Monday with one of the original OpenID developers, David Recordon.

David currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation and works as the Open Platforms Tech Lead at SixApart. You may also remember him as a collaborator and editor of Brad Fitzpatrick’s “Thoughts on the Social Graph.”

And to keep this all on the up-and-up as far as Silicon Florist goes, Recordon has Portland ties, as well, having graduated from Catlin Gabel.

If you’ve got time on Monday, come on down to Huber’s for lunch to meet David, Kveton, and a number of other OpenID-o-philes. RSVPs are appreciated so that Huber’s has an idea of how many to expect.

For more information or to RSVP, see A Great Portland Geek Lunch on Upcoming.

Beer and Blog: Michael Sigler will make you pretty

[Editor: Due to a slight hiccup with ma.gnolia‘s autopublisher last night, some of the links meant for the “daily arrangement” didn’t quite make it through to you. This one was time sensitive, so I’m posting it manually.]

Just a reminder that today’s Beer and Blog will feature Michael Sigler, lead designer for Jive Software.

Everyone knows that a blog with no images is hell to read. We also know that many times a picture is worth a 1,000 words. As nice as all of that is, most of us are not designers. Well, Michael Sigler is going to show you some tips from the pros about how they make kick-ass images to make posts more inviting.

Rest assured, the irony is not lost on me that there is no image associated with this blog post. So I’ll be trying to make it.

As an added bonus, word is that Justin Kistner, Beer and Blog’s creator, and Sigler will be unveiling the new look and feel for Beer and Blog.

Beer and Blog begins around 4 PM at the Green Dragon. If you’re planning to attend, please RSVP for Beer and Blog on Upcoming.

Vidoop is ConfIdent, Portland gets two for one

I’ll have to admit that this one completely slid past me. But luckily I took the opportunity to swing by the Vidoop booth at InnoTech. At which point Kevin Fox and Michael Richardson brought me up to speed.

I blame myself.

When Scott Kveton announced he was joining Vidoop and opening a Portland office, I was pretty excited. Exciting young company. Cool technology. OpenID focus. All good things.

But I never imagined that Portland would be getting two companies out of the deal.

Meet one of Portland’s newest startups: ConfIdent Technologies, the Athena bursting from the head of Zeus spinoff, from Vidoop.

ConfIdent Technologies, a Portland, Oregon-based software technology company, has unveiled a revolutionary secure login authentication technology. RecognitionAUTH™ promises to change the face of Internet security with a new secure login solution that eliminates passwords, adding a layer of security that is more secure yet intuitive for users to understand, without requiring additional hardware.

But, just so you don’t completely hate me for missing the breaking news, I’ve got something else. I found it buried at the bottom of the Vidoop post, announcing the launch:

Both Vidoop and ConfIdent Technologies LLC will be based in Portland, Oregon.

Obviously, given my myopic view, this could easily be the most exciting part of the announcement. Portland getting a Vidoop office was great news. Portland getting to be Vidoop and ConfIdent Technologies headquarters? That’s a huge step forward for the town and the Portland startup community.

I’ll continue to track and report on this development as more information becomes available.

For more information on Vidoop’s spinoff and the technologies that fall under its purview, visit ConfIdent Technologies. For more on the parent company, visit Vidoop.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 18

Transmit 3.6.5 released

Steven Frank of Panic writes “Transmit 3.6.5 has been posted to our web site. The main changes are a fixed crasher and numerous S3 improvements, including the ability to create buckets on the European S3 servers.”

Intrigo is Sponsoring Barcamp Portland 2

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have the Intrigo folks up here. Yet another example of why? Okay. Here you go. “The Intrigo Team is proud to sponsor BarCamp Portland. Starting Saturday, May 3, Portland’s tech community will be gathering at CubeSpace for an open forum where we can get together to share and learn. All of us at Intrigo are excited about the opportunity to meet all of the interesting folks, and being a part of the amazing tech community in Portland.”

Portland Neighborhood

A new Ning-based social network for Portland types. “Meet other Portlanders, view Portland pictures, read what’s going on in the blog, and more!”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Now on tap: Portland Startup Drinks

Portland Startup Drinks: Not that they are going to be drinking beer out of a can mind youJust saw that Portland has launched its own chapter of Startup Drinks.

What’s Startup Drinks, you ask? Well, it’s another startup idea from the same folks who brought us—or more accurately will be bringing usStartup Weekend.

A simple concept: startup culture in cities around the world gathers around a bar to have a pint and discuss what they are working on, what they need help with and what they can do for each other.

Pints and startups? I, honestly, can’t think of anything more Portland than that. Well, okay, maybe Beer and Blog.

Here’s hoping that Portland Startup Drinks will add their get-togethers to Upcoming so we can track them in the Silicon Florist Upcoming group.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes.