Tag: OpenID

Peat Bakke joins OpenID proponent JanRain

JanRain and I have been flirting for a while, said Peat Bakke in an email. They have a great team here in Portland, and their products lend themselves to the kind of integration and custom development work that I enjoy.

While there was big national news for Portland-based JanRain and OpenID that broke yesterday—with Sears stepping up to adopt OpenID by using JanRain’s RPX—today marks some big JanRain news for us here locally.

You see, Peat Bakke has joined the JanRain team.

“JanRain and I have been flirting for a while,” said Peat in an email. “They have a great team here in Portland, and their products lend themselves to the kind of integration and custom development work that I enjoy. We’ve worked together on some big projects, the business is growing, and the timing was right… so on July 1st we sealed the deal, and I’m heading up the professional services group.” Read More

Not using OpenID? Sears and Kmart are more Web 2.0 than you, thanks to JanRain

thanks to the efforts of Portland-based JanRain, even the good old brick and mortar companies like KMart and Sears are jumping on the OpenID bandwagon.

[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.”

That’s big news for JanRain and for OpenID in general. And as the de facto hub for OpenID, it’s big news for Portland, as well. Read More

Portland’s JanRain instrumental in latest Google OpenID API rollout

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

Burgeoning Bac’n business coerces Kveton into consulting

[Editor: Let me preface this by saying that I know, full well, that Kveton hates it when I do this. But I think it’s newsworthy. And I thought I should let you know. For that, I’m willing to incur his wrath.]

Scott KvetonMany of you know Portland’s Scott Kveton as one of the new board members for Software Association of Oregon (SAO), founder of the OSU Open Source Lab, the former chair of the OpenID Foundation, a Portvangelist, someone who spends more than his fair share of time at PDX, and the guy who helped bring Vidoop to Portland.

But it’s likely that far more of you know Kveton for one thing: bacon. Or perhaps more appropriately Bac’n.

And now, what began as side project—albeit a passionate one—has drawn Kveton into the world of consulting as a full-time gig.

But it’s more than just his passion for that wonderful magical meat animal. It’s truly a desire to help organizations understand how to better use technology and community to achieve business worthy ends—regardless of their particular focus.

It’s really hard to explain but selling bacon is honestly one of the most interesting/fun things I’ve ever done. Its not just technology-for-the-sake-of-technology. Jason, Michael and I created something out of nothing using off-the-shelf tools to make a solution that delivers real things to real people. And we did it all in less than a month.

Long story short, Kveton is taking the opportunity to do something he loves—and to make it a viable business. And given that that is something with which many of us struggle, I personally couldn’t be happier seeing him take this chance.

I know Portland will gain from this move. And I’m already seeing some local startups beginning to take advantage of his talent and guidance.

For more, see Kveton’s post on his new pursuit or follow Kveton on Twitter.

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VidoopCAPTCHA: Avoiding a more craptastic CAPTCHA by changing the game

VidoopEver tried to do something on a site that uses CAPTCHA? You know, the Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart?

Oh. Well, how about the technology designed to prevent bots from submitting forms that requires us to enter a “human readable” element before submitting?

Um. Okay. The squiggly letters? You know the squiggly letters? The ones you can never read? The ones that force you through three or four attempts at submitting a form? The ones that make you wonder if you are, in fact, a bot?

There you go. That’s CAPTCHA.

The concept and CAPTCHA started simply enough, according to Wikipedia:

Moni Naor was the first person to theorize a list of ways to verify that a request comes from a human and not a bot. Primitive CAPTCHAs seem to have been developed in 1997 by Andrei Broder, Martin Abadi, Krishna Bharat, and Mark Lillibridge to prevent bots from adding URLs to their search engine. In order to make the images resistant to OCR (Optical Character Recognition), the team simulated situations that scanner manuals claimed resulted in bad OCR. In 2000, Luis von Ahn and Manuel Blum coined the term ‘CAPTCHA’, improved and publicized the notion, which included any program that can distinguish humans from computers. They invented multiple examples of CAPTCHAs, including the first CAPTCHAs to be widely used, which were those adopted by Yahoo!.

But as optical character recognition has improved and bots have become smarter, it’s been going downhill—faster and faster—ever since.

They latest iteration of CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHAs have taken a variety of forms: more and more obscured text, increasingly wiggly text with multiple “words,” unintelligible audio, increasingly complicated math problems… but none of them seems to get to the crux of the issue: allowing an average human to do what they came to do.

I mean, this is the CAPTCHA from arguably the most powerful company in the world, that little search company down in Mountain View.

Google CAPTCHA

Right. I can’t read it either.

There has to be a better way.

Enter Portland-based Vidoop and their image grid technology.

To date, Vidoop’s recognizable image grid technology has been used to obfuscate passwords for an OpenID login, enabling users to use OpenID without having to remember other credentials.

But what dawned on the folks at Vidoop is that the image grid also made a pretty darn simple CAPTCHA device. What’s more, it was actually intelligible to a human.

Introducing VidoopCAPTCHA, a CAPTCHA that stops the craptastic slide of increasingly horrible CAPTCHAs by taking the concept in an entirely new direction.

The image grid password concept allowed users to select a few favorite things that they were to remember instead of a password—like rainbows, unicorns, and teddy bears. Then when they logged into a site using their myVidoop name, they simply selected the letters from those images as their password.

VidoopCAPTCHA takes the same tact, telling users to look for specific images and then asking them to type in the letters from those images. Simple, easy to use, and just as effective protection as the image grid for passwords.

VidoopCAPTCHA

And like the previous implementations of image grid technology, VidoopCAPTCHA has the potential to allow users of the service to insert their own images into the grid. Which, in most cases, results in an advertisement.

According to ReadWriteWeb’s coverage of VidoopCAPTCHA:

There’s a business model here, too. Vidoop says that if this system catches on, site owners will be able to sell spots in their image boxes to advertisers. The concentration required in order to identify these images would be a huge gift to advertisers placed there. There’s something a little troubling about that prospect, but the company says that in a survey so large they believe it’s nationally representative and most other people don’t mind.

Verdict: VidoopCAPTCHA is humane CAPTCHA

As a user, I found the image grid approach much easier to use than the prevailing text-based concepts. Were I a current CAPTCHA user, I’d implement VidoopCAPTCHA, today.

But is VidoopCAPTCHA enough to motivate folks to implement a CAPTCHA solution? I don’t know about that. But I do know that if you’re interested in deploying CAPTCHA, the imagery is far more legible and usable than the current squiggly text—at least to my eye. (And I’d say that even if Vidoop weren’t a Portland company.)

And I also know that if you’re a current CAPTCHA user, it would be well worth your time to take a look at VidoopCAPTCHA. Your users will thank you for it. Or at the very least, be able to communicate with you without screaming expletives at the screen.

For more information or to test drive the product, visit VidoopCAPTCHA.

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OpenID Foundation: Portland people remain in leadership roles

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.

Portland OpenID looking healthy: Vidoop authentication for Microsoft HealthVault

VidoopPortland-based Vidoop—the OpenID provider that allows users to login more securely without using a password—has just announced that their authentication will be used by Microsoft HealthVault, the online health information storage and Personal Health Record product from our neighbors to the north.

“Our objective is to give our customers choice and make their Web experience easier, while helping them safeguard their privacy,” said George Scriban, senior product manager, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft. “We’re happy to be working with Vidoop to give HealthVault users the option of using their log-in and authentication solutions with their HealthVault account.”

Not only is this good news for Vidoop, it’s good news for OpenID. What’s more (and near and dear to our hearts), it’s good for Portland, as Vidoop joins Portland’s other OpenID juggernaut, JanRain, as an option for HealthVault logins.

Microsoft HealthVault allows individuals to store health information from many sources in one location, so that it’s always organized and available. HealthVault is working with doctors, hospitals, employers, pharmacies, insurance providers and manufacturers of health devices—blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors and more—to make it easy for consumers to add information electronically to HealthVault records.

Vidoop’s ImageShield—which allows users to login based on information contained in a series of images—will ensure that individuals have secure access to these records without the issues generally associated with password-based security.

“The weakest point in Internet security is the front line – where users log-in – but with strong authentication the front line can become the strongest point,” said Scott Kveton, Vidoop’s vice president of Engineering.

For more on Microsoft’s consumer health solution, visit Microsoft HealthVault. For details on OpenID and ImageShield, visit Vidoop.

OpenID curious? Portland contingent on RWW Live can help

OpenIDI like to proffer that Portland, Oregon, is the hub of OpenID (whether it’s true or not). That’s why I love days like today that only add credence to my assertion.

Today, RWW Live—the podcast for ReadWriteWeb—will be focused on OpenID. As such, it will be pulling in a whole bunch of Portland connections to participate.

But just how much Portland-associated influence will there be on the show? Well, we’re lucky to have some of the heavy hitters from the world of OpenID—and Portland—in attendance. Brian Kissel of Portland-based JanRain, Scott Kveton of Portland-based Vidoop, Chris “@factoryjoe” Messina of Vidoop (who doesn’t live in Portland, but thankfully, travels up here on a regular basis), and David Recordon of Six Apart (who is originally from Portland). And, of course, Marshall Kirkpatrick, who heads up ReadWriteWeb content development, is a Portland resident, as well.

That’s a lot of Portland. And a lot of OpenID knowledge.

Today, the group will be discussing ideas for increasing adoption of OpenID, plans for the OpenID Foundation, and opinions on Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect. If there’s a topic you’d like to propose, visit the RWW Live post to offer it as potential discussion point or throw it out in the chat room during the call.

Speaking of chat rooms… it would probably be wise to tell you how to participate:

The show will be broadcast LIVE at 3.30pm PST Monday (6.30pm EST). We invite you to tune in and interact with us via the chat, by clicking here. You can also use the Calliflower Facebook app to listen and participate.

Can’t make the show? No worries. RWW Live is a podcast, after all. You can always listen to the discussion by heading over to ReadWriteTalk, the archive of all ReadWriteWeb podcasts.

So whether you’re saying “Open wha…?”, a staunch OpenID proponent, or an OpenID opponent, it would be well worth your time to swing by the podcast and hear these knowledgeable folks talk about the future of managing your identity on the Web.

Strange Love Live recaps 2008 and looks toward 2009

Strange Love LiveI had the honor of joining the Cami Kaos and Dr. Normal on Strange Love Live for a recap of 2008 and a look forward to 2009.

Well, not “joining” exactly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to actually attend in person, thanks to the Portland arctic blast, snowpocalypse, and resulting thawnami.

But it’s probably just as well, given that I was all prepared to show up in my “incoming 2009” outfit—a sash and not much else. So thanks to Aaron Hockley for allowing me to appear more respectable.

Cami and Dr. Normal altered the usual format giving us the opportunity to talk for a good 90 minutes—and that led to some pretty interesting discussions including the top events on 2008, Vidoop, Shizzow, Bacon Geek, Beer and Blog, KGW’s The Square with Stephanie Stricklen and Aaron Weiss, Twitter, Rael Dornfest, pdxtst, Our PDX, Neighborhood Notes, OpenID, calling Facebook Connect the Hotmail of this generation… even indulging in some conspiracy theory and what’s to be in 2009.

Here’s us chatting about the 2008 recap:

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And here’s our discussion of the potential future for 2009:

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Or, if you just want to listen to the whole shooting match, have at it:

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Thanks, yet again, to Cami and the good Doctor for allowing me to appear on the show. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Strange Love Live is the best podcast in the Portland. And one prediction for 2009 that’s sure to come true? You ain’t seen nothing yet as far as Strange Love Live goes.

And hopefully, we’ll see the same thing for any number of people in our area. I’m really interested to see what Portland and the Silicon Forest will do in 2009.

And of course, I’m truly looking forward to watching—and covering—that of which you’re capable of in 2009.

JanRain RPX: A login buffet of OpenID, Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, and MySpaceID

JanRainAll of the sudden everybody in Portland is going all Hollywood on us.

First SplashCast announces that they’re partnering with Hulu. And now JanRain has announced that their RPX solution—a product that makes managing the ever-growing variety of distributed login credentials easier for developers and users—is going to be helping Interscope Geffen A&M, a division Universal Music Group, give fans an easier way to connect with their favorite artists.

Using the RPX interface, fans who’d like to connect with say, Lady Gaga, have the option of using their Facebook identity, Google identity, MySpace identity, or any variety of OpenID flavors, like AOL, Yahoo!, or Portland’s MyOpenID or myVidoop.

RPX login box

Where did all of these options come from all of the sudden? Well…

It’s been quite the month for the world of distributed social networking. Both Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect – two services designed to help user manage a single profile across multiple sites – launched on the same day. Then, MySpace followed in close succession with their MySpaceID offering, another distributed social option built on the Open Stack. In a matter of days, the distributed social space went from nascent to completely confusing.

JanRain is hoping to make it a little less confusing, for both developers and users. And if they have to work with big-time music types—like 50 Cent, Fergie, and Guns n’ Roses—to get that done, so be it.

For more information, see JanRain’s RPX specific site or read the release. If you haven’t had your fill of my writing for the day, you can also read my write-up on ReadWriteWeb.