[HTML2]If you haven’t started to implement OpenID yet, you may be falling a bit behind the curve. You see, thanks to the efforts of Portland-based JanRain, even the good old—and I do mean old—brick and mortar companies like KMart and Sears are jumping on the OpenID bandwagon. Or, as Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian’s Silicon Forest blog put it, “Old economy stalwart Sears announced this morning that it’s adopting OpenID.”
Urban Airship wasn’t the only exciting Portland-based iPhone news, today. Local iPhone development agency Small Society—with whom I apparently have a bit of a fanboi obsession—made it to the big stage at the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) when Zipcar was asked to demo their upcoming iPhone app.
And apparently, so does everyone else. Take a look at some of the highlights from today’s coverage of the WWDC mentioning Zipcar. Read More
As last week drew to a close, the Portland tech community was rallying to help the de facto hub of our community, CubeSpace.
The fervent out-welling of emotion and support continued throughout the weekend—even resulting in coverage from traditional mainstream media.
While there isn’t a great to deal more to report at this point—and Eva and David are understandably choosing to remain silent until a decision has been made—I’ve been getting a number of emails, IMs, and tweets about the issue. So I thought I’d round up what I could. Read More
Well, this is the last thing I expected on this Frenetic Friday. But it seems that arguably the de facto hub of the Portland startup tech scene, CubeSpace, is unfortunately in dire straits.
I’m quite fond of saying that Portland is the de facto hub of OpenID development. And it’s days like today that make me sound like I actually know what I’m talking about.
Google (maybe you’ve heard of them?) has just announced two new enhancements to the Google OpenID API. And it just so happens that Portland-based JanRain and their RPX solution have come to play a critical role in the announcement: they’re one of the first examples of the new features in use. Read More
[Full disclosure: I am on the volunteer committee helping to organize Open Source Bridge.]
As many of you know, OSCON will be held in San Jose, this year. And RailsConf will be in Las Vegas. That left Portland—arguably the de facto hub of all things open source-y—strangely devoid of a major open source conference until Linux Plumbers Conference in September.
And that just didn’t seem right. So Audrey Eschright and Selena Deckelmann decided to do something about it. And they got a bunch of other volunteers together who wanted to help. That became Open Source Bridge.
You see, if there’s one thing I love about Portland, it’s our entrepreneurial spirit. We weren’t just going to sit around and cry in our microbrewed beers about it. We Portlanders are going to figure out how to do something else. We’ll show them.
And true to form, here’s Open Source Bridge, a new grassroots-organized open-source-developer-oriented conference that’s slated to be held in Portland, next summer.
Fast forward to today and that dream has officially become a reality. Registration is now open for Open Source Bridge.
Costs? You can attend the three-day conference—June 17-19—for $175. But you have to act quickly. That early bird rate expires on April 1. And if you’re coming from out of town—heck if you’re coming from Beaverton—you can get a room at the Hilton for $139/night.
Why would you stay at the Hilton? Four words my friend. Well, actually one number and three words: 24-hour hacker lounge.
Personally, it’s been an incredible experience, thus far, working with the amazing people volunteering to pull this off. Open Source Bridge is a different kind of conference. And it’s yet another incredible event that’s going to put Portland on the map.
Different how? It’s about open source culture for developers. It’s about being open source citizens:
We’re planning a conference that will connect developers across projects, across languages, across backgrounds to learn from each other. We want people to experience something beyond “how to use tool X” or “why databases keel over when you do Y” (even though those topics are important, making up our tools and trade, and will be a central part of the conference content). We’d like to share what open source means to us, what it offers, where we struggle, and why we do this day in and day out, even when we’re not paid for it.
Hopefully, you’ll put up with me continuing to blather on about it. Because I think it’s yet another example of the Portland community doing things in a very Portland-y way and—as usual—wildly succeeding.
I’m hoping to see you there.
Many of you know that in addition to serving as an OpenID proponent, a critical part of the Vidoop team, and a devout bacon—and bacn—geek, Scott Kveton has also served as the chair of the OpenID Foundation.
Today, the Foundation announced its new officers. And while Kveton has moved into the role of vice-chair, I’m happy to report that Brian Kissell of Portland-based JanRain has been elected chair of the organization.
It’s great to see Portland—the de facto hub of OpenID development—continuing to have a noted presence in the Foundation and its efforts.
In other news, a little company called PayPal—which is owned by another little company called eBay—became a sustaining member of the OpenID Foundation. But neither of them are from the Silicon Forest, so that’s secondary news.
So where better to launch the latest version of the leading OpenID plugin for WordPress—wp-openid—than Portland?
Will Norris, the lead developer of the wp-openid plugin, happens to be in town this week. And, as such, he has just announced that he will be launching wp-openid 3.0 this Wednesday at Portland Web Innovators “Demolicious!“, the new hip spot to unveil cool new tools here in town.
What does wp-openid do?
This plugin allows verified OpenIDs to be linked to existing user accounts for use as an alternative means of authentication. Additionally, commenters may use their OpenID to assure their identity as the author of the comment and provide a framework for future OpenID-based services (reputation and trust, for example).
So, if you’re a WordPress type who’s been using OpenID or who is interested in deploying OpenID on your blog, make sure to attend Demolicious! on Wednesday night at NEMO Design. Even if you’re just OpenID curious, I’d highly encourage you to attend.
Plus, as always, there will be some other cool stuff being demoed there, as well.
For more information on the event or to RSVP, visit Portland Web Innovators Demolicious! on Upcoming. For more information on the current version of the plugin, see wp-openid in the WordPress plugins directory.
And, that’s not all. We’ve got the OpenID contingent with Vidoop and JanRain, too. What’s more, Portland is home to a bunch of cool open source shops and developers. Oh, and don’t forget, we used to host RailsConf, too.
But there’s one little get-together that causes our collective open source head to swell ever so slightly. And that event is just around the corner.
OSCON 2008, the premiere open source conference, will be again gracing Portland with its presence, beginning July 21. And with it, thousands of open source types will be descending upon town. No doubt, many of them will be wondering, “What the heck am I supposed to do when I’m not in sessions?”
Have no fear, open source aficionado! There are a few activities with which you can keep yourself entertained, a handful of establishments where you can slake your thirst, and a joint or two where you can get your fill of vittles.
As you’re planning your trip to Portland, here are some links that might help:
- Hacking PDX: A geek’s guide to Portland International Airport
“We have a great airport with plenty of features that just about any traveler could need. But, despite all its ease-of-use, there are always a few tips-and-tricks that make the experience that much better.”
- Falling in love with Portland, again and again
“This is the beginning of a fantastic renaissance period for Portland. It’s such a vibrant, eclectic, talented and diverse city with so many things going on, that it inspires the mind and spirit around every corner you turn.”
- Amy Winkelman says “Hi Vidoop, Welcome to Portland!” (An extensive primer on the Rose City)
“As a native Oregonian and fanatic Portlander, I love recommending things to new folks visiting the city.”
- What to do in Portland while you’re at RailsConf (or OSCON)
“If you’re attending RailsConf this year and are from out of town, you might be like me when you’re in another city: I don’t really find much outside of the touristy areas, or what’s immediately around where I’m staying. But you’re in luck! I live here in Portland, Oregon and I have a list of places to go and things to do that I think are quintessential Portland.”
- Portland’s top 30 tech Twitter-ers
“And that got me thinking. I began to wonder: Who is at the top of the Twitter heap when it comes to Portland startup and tech types? Who has the most ‘influence’? Who is the holder of the mythical ‘Twitter juice’?”
Still feel like you need some help? Drop a comment here, or feel free to ping me on Twitter. Or look for me at OSCON. I’d be happy to answer any Portland questions for you.
Whatever your question, rest assured that Portvangelists are standing by.
Photo courtesy Matt McGee used under Creative Commons.
Oh boy. He’s on that OpenID soapbox again.
Look. You’re in Portland. Arguably the de facto hub of OpenID. So it happens. The OpenID soapbox is literally right here. I can jump on it at practically any time.
So yes, I’m talking about OpenID, again.
But this time, I think even the staunchest critics will find the discussion interesting. Because it solves a very common complaint.
You see, once you get past initial objections surrounding OpenID and the “we should push the value, not the technology” discussion—once you get into actually trying to convince people to use OpenID as a form of credential for online services—one criticism tends to pop up time and time again…
Why is OpenID a url? Why can’t OpenID be an email address?
Why does this complaint come up so much? Because email passes the “mom ‘n’ pop” test. As in mom ‘n’ pop are growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of having an email address. They “get it.” And they’re far more comfortable managing that type of address than they are managing a url.
Long story short, email seems easier to grasp.
And we’ve been so conditioned to plug an email address into the “username” box, that it’s almost becoming second nature.
So the conversation always, always, always comes around to “What if logging in with OpenID were as easy as logging in using your email address?”
If only! If only someone, somewhere could put some of the leading minds together with some brilliant developers and get this thing figured out. I mean, maybe like Chris Messina and Will Norris. Maybe get Scott Kveton and Scott Blomquist in there. And that Michael Richardson is a pretty sharp developer.
I mean, if someone could manage to put a team like that together… I’m sorry. What? Really? Really? Vidoop? They all work for Vidoop? Oh. Well. That would probably explain this then….
How does Email to ID work?
The concept is simple. And congruent with current OpenID logins.
One box. One credential to enter. The basic difference being that you’re using an email address instead of url.
So how do you validate that you are who you say you are? Well, there are a couple of ways.
If you don’t
have know that you already have an OpenID, you can just use your email address and Email to ID will create an OpenID association for you.
The first time you sign into a new site, Email to ID will send a validation code to that email account. (Much in the same way CAN-SPAM encourages people to confirm their membership on email lists.) Using the code, you can validate that the email address is, in fact, yours and that you are who you say you are.
If you’re already a typical OpenID user, you can associate your existing OpenID(s) and relying parties with an email address. This allows you to use the inherent security features of your relying party instead of having to check your inbox every time you want log into a new site.
Technically, what’s Email to ID doing?
Okay. I can see you geekily salivating over there. But I’m not going to try to explain it. Instead, I’ll let the people doing the work explain that:
Emailtoid is a simply a mapping service – we take a GET request to our mapper ( eg, http://firstname.lastname@example.org ) and return an HTTP redirect (a 302) to an OpenID. If the email address is not in our system, we create an OpenID account for the user on the fly. The user logs into the OpenID account by verifying his or her email address through a one time URL or confirmation code sent to that email address. The RP (relying party, the site that originally sent the request) then has the user returned to it.
Get it? Good. Explain it to me sometime.
All I care about is that it works. And it does. Quite gracefully. And that is technology as it should be.
So is OpenID “mainstream” now?
I don’t know that making OpenID mainstream should even be a goal. But I do know that making services and technologies more useful to the general populous should.
“Basically, OpenID is great, it’s a wonderful technology, but it can be a bit confusing to the end users,” said Richardson, lead developer for Email to ID. “Users are already trained to use email as an identifier, so this bridges the gap between email and OpenID.
“Ideally, this service will go away as all top level domains will implement their own mapping. But until that time, we provide a way for sites to have people to use OpenID through their email address. The barrier of entry into OpenID is significantly lower.”
Conceptually, this service marks a huge step forward for “bending the OpenID technology to the needs of the common user.” And as such, it could definitely be one avenue for introducing a new way of logging-in to a wider group of people.
But, whether the term or concept “OpenID” needs to travel along with that form of credentialing is still a matter of debate.
To paraphrase something that Kveton, who in addition to efforts at Vidoop happens to chair of the OpenID Foundation, often says, “My mom doesn’t says she’s going to go establish an SMTP connection. She says she’s going to go check her email.” Or to put it another way, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak—or Gardenburger, as the case may be.”
Make no mistake, this is progress for OpenID and its potential. And progress very much in the right direction for a very fledgling technology with a number of benefits.
I, for one, feel that—with Email to ID—one of the major gripes against OpenID is now a thing of the past.
And that means, it’s time to attack the next one. What’s next?
For more information or to set up your own email-based OpenID, visit Email to ID. Interested in implementing this service? See the Email to ID developers area and follow Email to ID on Get Satisfaction. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to be in Portland, today, swing on by Beer and Blog to talk to Email to ID developer Michael Richardson about this new service.