Category: OpenID

CallVerifID: Hi, it’s your OpenID account calling

CallVerifIDPortland-based JanRain, arguably the leading developer for OpenID solutions, is on a roll. It seems like they just released ID Selector, and now they’ve come forward with another OpenID solution: CallVerfID.

CallVerfID allows OpenID users who login with an *.myopenid.com identity to take an extra security precaution with their login: getting a phone call.

And here’s the best part: it’s on any phone. Well, okay, any phone with buttons.

Instantly receive a call when signing into myOpenID. Simply answer and press # to authenticate. No certificates or text messages. Use any phone.

My point was: it’s not SMS messaging. It’s an actual phone call.

I even tried it with Skype and it worked flawlessly.

Since I’m always one to try to shoehorn an analogy into any situation, I’d say that CallVerifID is akin to your credit card company calling you when a strange charge request is made. It’s simply an added precaution to ensure that your credentials are being used by you, and only you.

So, why the added precaution? Do I really want to get called every time I post a blog comment?

No, of course not. But as OpenID begins to take hold, and more and more personal and business applications become available, this type of multi-factor authentication is going to become necessary. Because, at some point, there’s going to be some fairly sensitive information and access rights tied to that OpenID. Banking, travel, and shopping just to name a few.

JanRain’s solution is quite simple and elegant. And it’s easy to adopt, no matter what your technical expertise. I, for one, think this is a step in the right direction.

For more, visit JanRain’s myOpenID to learn about CallVerifID.

One OpenID gets you 30+ different Silicon Forest sites

Last week, after reading Aaron Hockley’s call to implement OpenID, it got me to thinking: How many sites in Portland—arguably the de facto leader in OpenID development—and the Silicon Forest have actually implemented OpenID?

Well, thanks to Kevin Fox at Vidoop/ConfIdent and a number of other folks chiming in, we were able to gather the following list of 23 30+ velvet ropes behind which your OpenID will let you.

(NOTE: The list is by no means exhaustive. So if your site is missing, please comment, and I’ll add it.)

AboutUs
“We connect businesses and websites with each other and their customers using a wiki-based resource of millions of editable pages of information.”

GreenRenter
“Find a green place to live or work. Discover green buildings in your neighborhood. Get recognized for your sustainability efforts.”

ICANNWiki
“ICANNWiki is a wiki whose goal is to create a free, valuable and ‘community’ neutral, global Internet resource containing information for all aspects of the ICANN ‘community.'”

Jyte
“Claim anything! Yes, anything. If you have something to say, then make a claim and let the community vote on it. Make claims about yourself, friends, and family. Put your stake in the ground and see where the votes go.”

Kumquat
“It’s your career. You need to take responsibility for it. That’s why we built Kumquat. To help make it easier to get the feedback you deserve. Whenever and however often you want it.”

Pibb
“Pibb combines the best features of instant messenger, chat, email, and bulletin boards.”

Portland Small Business
“PortlandSmallBusiness.com is a collaborative website, where members of the Portland small business community can go for peer advice and networking.”

Portland Web Innovators
“Portland Web Innovators is a technology-agnostic group where you can meet like-minded web people without the excuse of a networking-only event.”

Treasurelicious
“WTF is Treasurelicious? It’s a widget to show off what you treasure.”

Tweetpeek
“Using Twitter followers, Tweetpeek is designed to help anyone build a pulse-of-anything widget in a few easy steps.”

twurl
“So what is twurl designed to do? Well, at the very most basic level, twurl is a URL shortener that allows you to track clicks.”

Velog
“Velog is a simple place to log your bicycle rides and connect with others in the cycling community.”

Blogs supporting OpenID for comments

Need an OpenID?

If you haven’t had a chance to use your OpenID (it’s highly likely that you already have one) or aren’t quite sure how to get started, you might want to visit Portland’s own myVidoop or MyOpenID to get going. A few short steps and you’ll have access to all of the sites above.

Just like that.

OpenID: Aaron Hockley takes a stand and you benefit

Vancouver’s Aaron Hockley is fed up.

I’m going to take a bit of a stand. Effective immediately, I will no longer comment on tech blogs that don’t support OpenID for comment authentication.

And I, for one, really respect his taking this stance. I think it’s these small, self-admittedly “mostly insignificant” kinds of actions that make things happen. The journey of 1000 miles and whatnot.

Aaron makes a strong argument for every blog pursuing its own OpenID login for comments:

OpenID is a win-win for blog comments. It’s a win for the comment author, since it means less info to type. It’s a win for the blog owner, since it means the comments have a “real” identity behind them.

I mean, if you really want to be part of the conversation, shouldn’t you make it as easy as possible for others to join in the conversation?

Of course you should. And OpenID can help you do that.

And you—as a Portlander or Silicon Forester—should be more than embracing OpenID. You should be singing its praises from the rooftops, if only to support great companies like Vidoop, ConfIdent, and JanRain who are the forefront of OpenID development.

OpenID is like the Portland Trail Blazers of technology around here. Only better. Like the ’76-’77 Blazers. That’s right. You know what I’m talking about. The plucky young upstarts who win despite all odds.

And OpenID has more than a fighting chance. But it still needs the support of each and every one of us.

But what if it’s a technical issue that’s preventing your adoption? (Like me, for instance. I wrangled my OpenID WordPress implementation for hours before Chris O’Rourke was able to pinpoint the issue and help me resolve the problem.)

Well, you don’t have that excuse anymore. Because Aaron has offered to help:

And I’ll put my time where my mouth is: I’ll help you. If you follow those links above, and can’t figure it out, or you try it and it doesn’t work. I’ll help. Send me an e-mail. I want you to have OpenID.

I’m looking forward to using my OpenID to comment on your blog the next time I swing by.

So where’s that benefit for you? Right here, tiger

In fact, how about this? Let’s round up a list of all the Silicon Forest based blogs and services that support OpenID.

If you’re one of them, use your OpenID to comment below.

I’ll work on gathering a comprehensive list for posting. And then we’ll work on promoting your blog or service for being one of the ones who’s supporting OpenID.

Just as a way—albeit minor—of saying “Thank you for using OpenID.”

ConfIdent people are attractive, especially when it comes to OpenID

And more OpenID news is rolling off the presses here in the Rose City. Portland-based ConfIdent Technologies, the new spinoff from recent Portland-transplant Vidoop, has announced partnership deals with ClaimID, Clickpass, and ooTao for its RecognitionAUTH™ technology, a patented system that does away with traditional passwords in favor of managing security credentials with images.

In related news, Vidoop has announced that the new JanRain OpenID ID Selector will be incorporated into the Vidoop affiliate program.

The ConfIdent announcements are important for a number of reasons.

First, partnerships of this nature continue to introduce concepts and technologies that hold the promise of moving OpenID from the realm of “cutting-edge technology types” to “everyday Web surfer.”

Second—and perhaps more importantly—it is a major step forward in security that is both more rigorous and yet, at the same time, easier to manage for both users and adopters. With ConfIdent’s system protecting the identity of the OpenID holder, stealing OpenID identities just became a great deal more arduous—if not nearly impossible.

And third, this kind of news is just another reminder that Portland is well on its way to becoming an OpenID powerhouse—if not a full-fledged tech hub. Lest we forget that, today, as two major OpenID announcements dropped, the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation was in town for a lunch at Huber’s with the Chair of the OpenID Foundation and a variety of other folks from the community.

That’s a lot of OpenID activity for one day.

And other Portlanders, like Marshall Kirkpatrick (who also happens to be the fifth most influential tech blogger around), are beginning to make note of the trend:

Already the home of the inventor of the wiki (Ward Cunningham), the initiator of the Linux kernel (Linus Torvalds), a boatload of RSS and OpenSource-heads, Portland Oregon is also becoming a hotbed of OpenID work.

Here’s hoping that trend continues. (I’ve already done my part, by finally repairing the OpenID login for Silicon Florist comments.)

For more information on the partnership announcement, read the ConfIdent Technologies release. For more on the technology behind ConfIdent, read up on RecognitionAUTH.

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.

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.

Beyond the Forest: OpenID and the bigs, all hat and no cattle

It’s no surprise that Portland is rapidly becoming one of the de facto hubs for OpenID evangelism and development.

Scott Kveton, the chairman of the OpenID Foundation now calls Portland home. Portland-based JanRain is a leading force in the OpenID development effort and new Portland-transplant Vidoop is also coming on strong. If Beer and Blog is any indication, we’re all interested in getting more use out of OpenID on our blogs. And having the opportunity to sit down with David Recordon, the vice chair of the OpenID Foundation, is something that’s appealing to quite a number of us.

And while the big companies that we often encounter one way or another—Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL—have all claimed to jump into the OpenID pool, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch is beginning to wonder if this isn’t all a bunch of OpenID lip service. Or to put it bluntly: Are the bigs all hat and no cattle?

The problem, though, is that the Big Four Internet companies that I mentioned above have made big press announcements about their support for OpenID, but haven’t done enough to actually implement it. Microsoft has done absolutely nothing, even though Bill Gates announced their support over a year ago. Google has limited its support to Blogger, where it is both an Issuing and Relying party. Yahoo and AOL are Issuing parties only.

This is a tenuous position at best. For as much ground as we can cover from a grassroots perspective, it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to get anyone—beyond early adopters—to take on OpenID without the support of some of these bigger entities.

Without the bigs, there is no OpenID tipping point.

But the funny thing—not funny “ha ha,” but funny “sad”—is that all of these gigantic companies are struggling with one very similar issue that would be partially—if not completely—solved by an effective implementation of OpenID: bringing acquisitions under a common login credential.

Yahoo! throws its acquirees’ respective user bases into turmoil every time it asks them to move over to a Yahoo! ID. Google takes years in its struggles to get everyone on the Google credential system. Microsoft and AOL are no different.

To me, it seems obvious that OpenID could solve this issue, now and for the foreseeable future. And I can’t be the only one seeing that.

As hard as it may be for them to accept it, the bigs need to move away from their proprietary credentialing structures. They need to embrace concepts like OpenID and OAuth for what they can do to solve their problems, today.

In short, they need to let go and let OpenID.

For now, the jury is still out on when and how the big company momentum will fall behind OpenID in terms of something more than spin and lip service. But let’s hope that day is soon approaching. For all of our sakes.

I can tell you one thing: from a grassroots level, Portland is sure to be leading the charge. And we’re not going to slowing our OpenID fandom anytime soon.

Geek Lunch with David Recordon, OpenID evangelist

OpenIDOpenID aficionados rejoice. I just got word that David Recordon, one of the leading forces behind OpenID development and vice-chair of the OpenID Foundation, will be making a trip to Portland in April.

That’s great news.

Even better news? He’s extending his trip to make time for a Great Portland Geek Lunch on Monday, April 21.

Details are still slim until we get an idea of the number of folks interested in attending. So, if you’d like the chance to meet Recordon and some of the other OpenID-oriented folks in Portland, please RSVP for the Geek Lunch on Upcoming.

I’ll make sure to keep everyone posted as things solidify.

Beyond the Forest: OpenID adds Microsoft, Google, Verisign and IBM

With the wealth of OpenID thought here in the Silicon Forest—thanks to folks like JanRain and, soon, Vidoop—any efforts surrounding OpenID are likely to have a significant impact on our tech scene.

When you add names like Microsoft, Google, Verisign, and IBM, [Update: And Yahoo! says Scott Kveton] (I linked all of those, in case you haven’t heard of these folks) that purported impact becomes a foregone conclusion. With today’s announcement, you can rest assured that if you’re in tech, OpenID will affect you. No question.

Scott Kveton, Chair of the OpenID Foundation, has a great roundup post on all of the folks covering this announcement.

Some of the highlights?

Portland’s own Marshall Kirkpatrick advises that the news, while momentous, should be taken with a grain of salt:

All of that said, big vendors have a lot of short term interest in controlling identity silos. It won’t be easy to get their long term interests in openness to prevail. Fortunately, they are participating but are in the minority on the OpenID Foundation board.

Allen Stern of CenterNetworks (Who, as luck would have it, recently featured a brilliant and insightful article on the Silicon Forest… Um. Ahem. Where was I?) maintains that, despite these heavy hitters, the problem for OpenID to solve remains less technical and more educational:

I continue to stand firm that what OpenID needs is marketing more than technology. Yahoo’s implementation of YahooID last week is a good move towards adoption of OpenID across the Web.

And Michael Arrington of TechCrunch offers that for all the excitement, how “openly” the solution is implemented will be the true test of the commitment of these tech giants:

But it’s not clear that any of them are in a hurry to become a “relying party” (allowing users with third party OpenIDs to log in to their sites). OpenID looks like it’s going to be a winner, so big companies making their user accounts OpenID compatible is a good hedge. Everyone, of course, wants to be an ID issuer, since they get to “own” the user. Less attractive is allowing users from other sites to log into your services, so don’t expect that functionality to come for some time.

From the vantage point here in Portland—especially with our wealth of OpenID expertise here—I maintain that this could herald the start of a very important upswing for our community. One in which Portland and its OpenID providers have the opportunity take a leading role on an international stage.

I, for one, am anxious to watch this story develop.

JanRain heralds the release of OpenID 2.0

Portland-based JanRain, arguably the most active proponent of the OpenID standard, has announced the release of, and support for, OpenID 2.0.

The latest version of OpenID assures its position as the dominant standard for next-generation digital identity. With new features that improve security and usability of OpenID, the user-centric single sign-on and online user-authentication standard is primed for mass adoption and widespread disruption across the Internet.

[Editor: For those of you who use the OpenID login for Silicon Florist comments, please do let me know if anything breaks, given these latest changes.]

JanRain is the driving force behind the adoption of OpenID services. Based in Portland, OR, the company has delivered the first comprehensive communications and reputation platform, Pibb, leveraging OpenID’s decentralized and user-centric identity. For more information, visit JanRain.

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