Strong Security for Everyone!

I received some press-release-spam this week that I actually didn’t mind. TrustBearer Labs, a home-town startup has released their new OpenID provider, TrustBearer OpenID. What makes this interesting is that it utilizes their browser-based authentication hardware support to instantly provide strong, token-based security to any OpenID enabled site (application?). Their browser software is interesting in and of itself — cross platform (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux), cross browser (Safari, IE, Firefox), and capable of interfacing with USB smart card readers and authentication tokens. This is a great demonstration of what open standards really allow — innovation that benefits everyone who utilizes the standard.

date:2008-02-15 09:34:49
tags:fort wayne, openid, smart card, Software, standards

This is the best we can do?

Still working on my slides for SCALE, decided to further delay productivity by putting together a brief set of steps on how to use Impress to get really pissed off.

  1. Start up OOo Impress and create a new presentation.
  2. Open up the master slide view and create two new masters; make them somewhat visually distinct so that its easy to experience the pure frustration later.
  3. Return to the slide view and make sure you can see the Master Pages area of the Tasks page; note that both your master slides are listed as “used in this presentation”, but not “available for use”.
  4. Click the first master, which should re-apply the master to the slide you’re looking at.
  5. Click the second master to apply it to the slide.
  6. Note that the first master has now disappeared.
  7. Think to yourself, “well surely it’s not gone and return to the master view.
  8. Realize that no, the slide really has disappeared.

Is it any surprise that you see a proliferation of Macs and Keynote at tech conferences, that people think slide-ware generally sucks, or that people still equate PowerPoint with presentations?

I think this is the same as Issue #43354, reported in February, 2005. Sigh.

date:2008-02-09 14:19:38
category:open source, Software
tags:impress,, Software, suck

Color Me Open

It’s not exactly a secret that and I have a love-hate relationship (nor that it frequently tilts towards the hate side of things). But I’ve yet to find a better free software package for presentations, so like a couple with a mountain of shared assets in a no-fault divorce state, we’re stuck together.

Alex (CC’s crack-graphic-designer) put together a color palette for use when producing CC publications, and Jon Phillips began using it quite effectively (in my opinion) in his presentations. I tried doing something similar for my talk at COMMUNIA last month using one of Jon’s slide decks as a starting point, but OOo Impress kept eating my master slides (and not showing me the actual colors used). So I jumped over to Slidy. The results were mixed: I was able to explicitly specify my color choices in CSS, but when I went to present the fact I had designed the talk on my Eee PC at a wonky resolution (WVGA) caused lots of font weirdness.

So as I prepare for SCALE 6X I’m back with, still wanting to use the CC and Tango color palettes. So I dug in and created a couple of palette files; you can find them on the CC Colors page. Note that I’m still not sure how to make OOo just “find” them and add them to the full palette, but they are usable and hopefully they’ll ease some of the pain.

date:2008-02-09 09:11:16
tags:creative commons,, palette, presentation

This Week

Things that I’ve done in the past seven days:

  • Spent most of the time in Logan, UT. It’s been very snowy.
  • Took Madeline to PetCamp where I agreed to pay $4 for the “Super Bowl Special” — extra play time, a hot dog, a doggie beer, and the game on the television. Not that I was planning to watch myself, but who can say no to doggie beer?
  • Went skiing with Richard at Beaver Mountain; photos coming.
  • Participated in the OER Sprint at COSL. While there I’ve been working on the CC Learn Open Education Search. This entailed learning more about Nutch than I ever planned, but I’m getting the hang of it.
  • Helped (for some definition of “help”) develop — a single location sites can register their feeds at (RSS, Atom, OPML or OAIPMH) so they can be used by other sites building on OER.

Tomorrow I head to Los Angeles for “SCALE”:; I’ll be speaking on Sunday about integrating CC into applications. Woot[1]_.

[1]Yeah, “Woot” is usually followed by an exclamation point. But after 48 hours of J2EE coding, my brain is feeling distinctly mush-like.
date:2008-02-07 19:24:37
category:my life