Archive for April, 2008

Archive for April, 2008

Scaling Communications (or, the Right Tool for the job)

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I’ve been interested in different forms of communication for some time.  It’s part of what makes social networking so interesting to me.  I’ve been reading about others’ experiences too.  Of course there’s Tantek’s CommunicationProtocols page, which inspired my own Communication Protocols section on my main page (and, probably, @seanbonner’s PreferedMeansOfContact).  Trevor Creech recently challenged me on my Twitter usage, calling it “Twitterfail” (in reference to efail).  I would like to discuss some of they ways I’ve started thinking about communication.

First, a tip from my own main page: If you find a solution, from me or elsewhere, blog it. Someone else may benefit.  I have come to think of my Twitter and Ma.gnolia accounts as blogs (especially since they began to manifest their updates in the actionstream on my main page).  If I find an interesting tidbit, or have a potentially interesting thought, I tweet it.  This lead, one day, to >20 tweets in 24 hours, the condition which Trevor complained about.  In response, I have tried to consider first if something is really useful at all before I tweet (I don’t want to be the cause of a signal/noise problem) – but I have also started including better context in my tweets.  Interesting links go to Ma.gnolia.

Searchability has become key for me. This is one of the reasons I love my IM setup – everything anyone says to me, whether I’m online or off, at my computer or not, is archived in Gmail for easy search.  My tweets and blog posts are also searchable – in fact, if you just say “singpolyma” or link to me in a blog post, there’s a huge chance that I’ll see it.

When it comes to factors like immediacy, lifespan,  audience, bandwidth, and sychronity they are all important, but are different for different messages.  If I’m setting up a meeting or working on a project, immediacy and bandwidth are hugely important (thus, face to face or IM are best).  If I’m discussing something of interest to me, asychronity, lifespan, and audience are the most important factors (thus, mailing lists, forums, Pibb, and IRC are best).  There is no “perfect” communication form – all have their place.

I have requested that people use post/page comments for debugging/feature requests on my projects.  This is because a comment is almost as good as blogging something (it can be used by others who may benefit) and is searchable.  It also reduces the chances that I get asked for the same thing a bunch of times – others can see what is being discussed (which, incidentally, in the same reason I love GetSatisfaction).  Pages + comments are almost as good as (in fact, in many cases, I feel are better than) a wiki.

ActionStream 0.40 and DiSo Profile 0.25

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I have updated two of my DiSo plugins: Profile and ActionStream.

The profile updates mostly involve some code cleanup, a page here documenting it, and a new API to add permissions options to the permissions page.

The ActionStream update is a bit more extensive:

  • Support for coComment
  • Code cleanup, of course
  • RSS2 output option, linked from the stream output (add &full for a different view)
  • Reportedly working in WP2.5 with a patch I accepted
  • Better Safari support
  • If you disable showing your service usernames they are also hidden in the collapsed items
  • Abitily to set permissions on updates from each service (if wp-diso-profile0.25 is installed)

OAuth and XRDS-Simple in WordPress

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I’m publishing two plugins today.  The first is pretty simple in what it can do for users directly – the XRDS-Simple plugin allows users to delegate their OpenID to their WordPress blog – basically letting you log in on OpenID enabled sites using your blog address, but without needing to run your own provider.

On a far geekier level, the plugin allows other plugins to add XRDS-Simple services and other information (such as OAuth Discovery) using a progammatic API.  A brief example of this API is on the plugin’s page.

I am also releasing a more DiSo related plugin – WP-OAuth.  This plugin enables interacting with WordPress authentication using the open OAuth protocol.  This could be exciting if combined with AtomPub or another protocol / format supported by WordPress or another plugin.

OAuth Discovery

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Take 2! Now enhanced with XRDSs! Eran has blogged about the changes and the initial vendor support.  This plays right into my dream of infinite interop.  I’m quite happy about how small the spec is now that it just rides on XRDSs.  There’s some weirdness (need two XRDs, can have one XRDSs reference another).  Eran has explained his reasoning to me and it makes sense, but I’m still not convinced that it’s necessary.

Anyway, I should roll out a new XRDSs and OAuth DiSo plugin soon with support for draft 2.  And new examples.  There is an alternate PHP class that Eran says will be including support. I will probably use that when it comes out, but I’ll bootstrap with JanRain Yadis and the standard OAuth PHP class for now.

AWriterz Relaunched!

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I have re-written and re-launched AWriterz – my service for hosting creative works.  Basically, I took my Web 1.0 service and brought it to the new web.  Logins are now powered by OpenID and it tries to get some data automatically through SREG, SGAPI, and hCard.  There is a karma-like system to prevent spam (and eventually reward active users), and users can tag and rate every work (and upload there own).  I’m trying to emphasize CreativeCommons on the site, but I’m not enforcing it.

I’m really hoping to build more DiSo-like functionality in as the site progresses and I get more user feedback 🙂