Thursday, May 31, 2007

Distributed LJ

Necessary to create a distributed blogging sturcture with different levels of access to posts:

  • Blogging software on a host
    • that can serve as OpenID validation (the 'home account')
    • that can authenticate readers with their OpenID identity (friends)
      • using cookies stored in the browser so friends don't have to log in every 20 minutes
    • that allows comments based on these identities
    • that allows posts based on these identities as moderated by the journal owner (communities)
    • that understands different authenticated OpenID readers have different access to posts based on groups (filters, friends groups)
    • that will show a different RSS feed to RSS readers that authenticate based on OpenID
    • that has an RSS reader page that can be pointed to other feeds and will authenticate itself when asked (friends page)

  • A central page that lists
    • how to download and install this blogging software on your own domain
    • which hosters will host this blogging software for you, and a brief overview of what their access, bandwidth, acceptable use, and suspension polices are -- preferably with one-click selection and install (choose name of your blog, accept TOS, blog is now hosted on provider of your choice)
      • fee-based or ad-supported hosters available for different users

Pleasant to also have: a protocol for user-icons in this distributed blogging network so that leaving a comment with my OpenID will also point to the icon hosted on my blog / site with the right mood. Polls. Voice posts. Good integration with picture hosting, or its own.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Please Hold

The house-guest we had some years ago for some years was an Old-School Telephone-Network Enthousiast, the kind that mourns the technological repercussions of the break-up of Ma Bell for aesthetic reasons. If you are into networking, find yourself one and talk to them. They'll teach you why, for example, as I paraphrase, "5 nines [99.999%] availability is a disgrace; if a switch is down for more than ten minutes a year a district manager would have been fired. That's 911 availability you're talking about here." And much other tidbits about the astounding engineering effort the enduring old telephone network is.

It was because I lived with one that I will never get Voice Over IP, also known Phone Service From My Cable Company, as my home line, and why, even though I work in the mobile industry, I always have land-line. Well, I also have to have a land-line in this building: the doorbell rings it when some comes calling. But mobile services are flaky, and cable phone depends on the cable company -- and the cable company has never been solid wherever I lived. How are you gonna use your cable phone to call the cable company when your cable is out? That's 911 availability you're talking about here.

As happened last night. I lost cable around midnight, and since I do not get paper bills, I couldn't quickly get online to find the tech support number instead. I pick up the phone and decide to give The Former Shell Of AT&T a workout, dialing 411.
The recording asks: "What cities please?"
-- "Los Angeles, California"
A new voice: "What number?"
-- "Time Warner Cable"
And instead of being switched to the mechanical voice to read me the number, a human moment occurs with a single sentence that catches me by surprise: first the operator says something useful only she could know. "I have had a lot of people asking for that one, so be prepared to hold. Here it is..." And then she switches me to the number read-out.

Indeed, by the time I navigated the tech support phone tree to the option of "Yes my cable-modem is on, I have restarted, your modem connection light is blinking, I am not an idiot", a recording tells me call volumes are so high they can't handle my call, they won't even put me in the wait-queue, please try again later. I guess there is critical mass of cable-modem users on a Saturday early morning in downtown L.A. now. I went to sleep. And also, you can find the old service-oriented attitudes of the fierce telephone network of old still peeking through.