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

Sun Rewrites Java Browser Plugin

I’m not sure that Java applets are even relevant to software development today, but this interview (via Ajaxian) regarding the rewritten Java browser plugin caught my attention:

Java Applets Reborn from Dion Almaer on Vimeo.

So the most interesting things (to me):

  • The plugin itself is mostly written in Java. I love these sort of recursive language exercises (see PyPy), if nothing else for their turtles all the way down effect. But I suppose this actually makes a certain degree of sense: if you have a fixed set of resources and you’re putting lots of them towards improving the JVM/JRE, you can take advantage of those improvements by writing your plugin in Java. They don’t talk about the architecture of the old plugin much, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to find out the native-code “shim” used to communicate between the browser and the JVM is easier to maintain than the old plugin was.
  • Applets run in a completely independent process (not just thread).
  • An applet can demand to run with a particular JRE version. They label this “enterprise support.” I’d call it “sanity support.”

None of this really speaks to whether it’s too little, too late. It seems like a good move on Sun’s part, especially given the recent attention on rich internet applications (RIAs) has focused (not necessarily undeservedly) on Flash, Adobe AIR (the vapor-ware jokes write themselves, don’t they?) and Microsoft Silverlight. The amount of press and attention may indicate this is an area whose time has come. And while I admit having a begrudging soft spot for Java, it seems that companies (especially capital-“E” “enterprise” companies) who already have lots of in house Java expertise could benefit from being able to extend that knowledge down to the desktop. Maybe.

date:2007-10-22 20:37:34
tags:java, plugin, Software