Friday, June 28, 2013

Your Glasses Are Prime Real Estate for a Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

I'm closely following the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) world lately, in an attempt to understand the role APIs will play in this expanding tech sector. One product that is of particular interest is Google Glasses, which I think is one of the most exciting and scariest technologies to emerge in recent times.

As I look across the landscape of emerging HCI technology and other more known and adopted technologies such as smart phones, GPS, etc, I can't help but think about how Google is genius for targeting the most ideal real estate in our physical world.

Think about the other pieces of tech in our lives:

  • Smart Phone - A smart phone is a pretty desirable piece of virtual real estate. It has our GPS location, identity and contains a lot of info about our every day lives. But it tends to live in our pocket, purse or other location and is only engaged when we decide
  • Watches - I'm not a big watch person, but I know people who are. It is a pretty good location to place a piece of tech in our worlds. The limitations of a watch is very similar to the limitations of a smart phone in our pocket
  • Health Devices - Devices like Fitbit and Nike+ Fuelband are emerging providing another slice of our lives, with location, pedometer and other tracking mechanisms with a focus on our health and activity, but can be limited to lesser areas of our bodies
  • Automobiles - Our dashboards are becoming valuable real estate in the online world, but this real estate is still limited to your time in the car which will vary widely
  • Wearable Tech - Our clothes are beginning to get equipped with digital goods from lights and eye candy, to headphones, sensors and tracking that will be used as part of our online world

Alll of these areas of evolution in the technology space offer some pretty interesting opportunities for digital integration into our physical worlds, but none of them have the potential of glasses. We would wear our glasses everywhere (potentially) and they sit on our heads, giving them the primest body real estate, and are responsive to what we see, and where we are at at any moment.

This prime real estate is no doubt why Google is putting all this money into Google Glasses. HCI through glasses offers the most possibilities for innovation, but also posses the highest probably for abuse. Think about it, its on your head, sees everything you see, and sits next to your ears, eyes and brain. There will be abuse!

Although I'm following this space with enthusiasm, as with any other tech, I'm extremeley skeptical about how it will be used, and constantly pondering the negative potential, while trying to showcase the positive use of this powerful technology.



from /2013/04/17/your-glasses-are-prime-real-estate-for-a-human-computer-interaction-hci

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Don't See Things As Black or White

Hey everyone. I'm heading out to the Dallas-Fort Worth area the week after next, Tuesday, May 14, to kick off the DFW API Professionals Meetup.

TheRightAPI team were so kind to invite me out to speak, hang out and talk APIs, to help kick-off the area API group. Both TheRightAPI and backend as a service (BaaS) provider Proxomo are sponsoring the shindig.

The group will be meeting at the Microsoft Campus, 7000 Texas 161, Irving, TX. We are thinking we'll kick it off with food and drinks from 6:00 - 6:45 PM, and I'll start talking around 7:00 PM.

After that we can just hang out and talk about APIs and see what all y'all are doing with APIs in Texas. Ping me if your in the DFW area, so that I know you will be there.

Look forward to seeing you there and connecting.



from /2013/06/27/i-dont-see-things-as-black-or-white

I Am Speaking At The Dallas-Forth Worth API Professionals Meetup May 14th

Hey everyone. I'm heading out to the Dallas-Fort Worth area the week after next, Tuesday, May 14, to kick off the DFW API Professionals Meetup.

TheRightAPI team were so kind to invite me out to speak, hang out and talk APIs, to help kick-off the area API group. Both TheRightAPI and backend as a service (BaaS) provider Proxomo are sponsoring the shindig.

The group will be meeting at the Microsoft Campus, 7000 Texas 161, Irving, TX. We are thinking we'll kick it off with food and drinks from 6:00 - 6:45 PM, and I'll start talking around 7:00 PM.

After that we can just hang out and talk about APIs and see what all y'all are doing with APIs in Texas. Ping me if your in the DFW area, so that I know you will be there.

Look forward to seeing you there and connecting.



from /2013/05/02/i-am-speaking-at-the-dallasforth-worth-api-professionals-meetup-may-14th

An Author Walk-Through of a Story in Audio

I was finally catching up on all my podcasts this week, which includes Traffic and Weather, which is an always informative source of news and commentary podcast about APIs and the cloud hosted by @smarx and @johnsheehan

While listening to Episode 8: I'm going to withdraw my objection, John Sheehan discusses his March story in NextWeb called APIs are Dead, Long Live APIs. It was very interesting to hear him describe his intent behind the post and walk us through his points.

I read the original article back in March, jotted down some notes, but really didn't trigger much beyond that. After listening to him talk about the post, it renewed some very interesting points for me--which I'm working through an dyou will see in future blog posts.

It is a lot of work to craft a good quality blog posts that conveys difficult and often abstract API concepts to a wide audience. I struggle with getting my ideas across, as well as coherency in much of my writing. This got me thinking, maybe as part of my storytelling process I can try to work in an audio version, of me walking my readers (listeners) through it.

I'm not talking about something that reads the post to you. I'm talking about, me, actually walking you through the subject matter and post. We'll see. It is something I likely won't have time for with each post, but it would fun to try.

I really have been trying to incorporate more audio and video into more of my content creation, but seem to be falling short. I will keep trying until something sticks!



from /2013/04/30/an-author-walkthrough-of-a-story-in-audio

Cloud Computing Public Vs Private Infographic

There are as many definitions of cloud as there are technology bloggers. However, the major theme is that a Public Cloud provides IT resources that are provisioned remotely from the consumer and operated by a third party.

In a Private Cloud, the infrastructure policies are governed by a single organization where workloads and data can be moved to and from internal and external data centers. Private Clouds provide an organization a single point of control for security, manageability, privacy, audit, compliance and governance.However the business case for engaging in a public or private cloud strategy involves several factors, the most important being business revenue and/or budget.
Public
Via: Public Versus Private Cloud Computing


from /2011/01/02/cloud-computing-public-vs-private-infographic

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Google Severely Underestimated the Reader Audience

I really think Google underestimated the Google Reader audience when they decided to shut down the popular RSS feed reader.

Sure, Google Reader didn't have a growing audience. Sure, RSS is never going to be something the masses adopt. But Google Reader was the favorite tool of the very vocal, alpha geeks.

Us power geeks used Google Reader to manage our feeds, curate information and data and used its index as a valuable story archive. We wrte stories from this process and built massive mainstream audiences over the last 6 years. We are the curators, bloggers and geeks that deliver messages to the masses.

This summer we aren't just looking for replacements for our Google Reader. We are looking for replacements for our Google Docs, Feedburner, Analytics and even Gmail and Calendar.

We emailed stories via gmail, wrote stories in gDocs, we make appointments and meetings from RSS triggered events in gCal, we quantify our reach with Feedburner, we measure our success with gAnalytics.

Many of us have heavily invested in Google platform. We are the word of mouth that made Google Apps a viable platform for companies to adopt, and got the word out about Google products when they were new and exciting. We are the early adopters and the channel to a mainstream audience.

With losing Google Reader, we didn't lose faith in a single product. We lost faith in the Google approach. We will never drink the free Google kool-aid again.

We Google Reader users, may have looked like a small budget line item on a spreadsheet somewhere, one that didn't warrant keeping the lights on. But Google has severely underestimated the amplification power of this audience and its value to the overall Google marketing vehicle.

There is no way to recover from this, and it is something you will feel the painful effects of for a while to come.



from /2013/06/15/google-severely-underestimated-reader-audience

Friday, June 7, 2013

I Am Speaking At The Dallas-Forth Worth API Professionals Meetup May 14th

Hey everyone. I'm heading out to the Dallas-Fort Worth area the week after next, Tuesday, May 14, to kick off the DFW API Professionals Meetup.

TheRightAPI team were so kind to invite me out to speak, hang out and talk APIs, to help kick-off the area API group. Both TheRightAPI and backend as a service (BaaS) provider Proxomo are sponsoring the shindig.

The group will be meeting at the Microsoft Campus, 7000 Texas 161, Irving, TX. We are thinking we'll kick it off with food and drinks from 6:00 - 6:45 PM, and I'll start talking around 7:00 PM.

After that we can just hang out and talk about APIs and see what all y'all are doing with APIs in Texas. Ping me if your in the DFW area, so that I know you will be there.

Look forward to seeing you there and connecting.



from /2013/05/02/i-am-speaking-at-the-dallas-forth-worth-api-professionals-meetup-may-14th

Reminder Of Why Data Portability Should Be Default Bye Bye Posterous

I was a Posterous user. I didn't rely on the platform for anything.  It was just, yet another endpoint in my world of content production. So I was not that upset when they announced they were shutting down(I would link to post, but its gone).  But I was just checking the blog feed of an API that I monitor.  It came up in my alert dashboard as a feed that wasn't pulling.  I clicked on the link to test, and:

Just a reminder that in ALL platforms, data portability needs to be default.  Either an API or at least an archive download as HTML, JSON, CSV or other common, open format.  Pretty simple stuff that users need to always look for when signing up for a new platform.



from /2013/05/01/reminder-of-why-data-portability-should-be-default-bye-bye-posterous

Hacking Your Automobile Dashboard

In the tech space we use the term dashboard a lot. Think about how overused that term is when delivering web applications, portals, home page, start page and any other bullshit incarnation on the Internet where you heard the term dashboard applied to!

We place a lot of demands on these digital dashboards. They should only display exactly the information we need. We need to be able to hide, show and reorder all the elements of the dashboard as we see fit. We need skins and other ways to customize the way our dashboard looks. Our dashboards should be personalized to our everyday lives.

Now think about the dashboard in your car. How much control over this dashboard do you have?  Just wait until Ford, GM, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota and other carmakers get their footing with APIs. It will be a different game!



from /2013/05/01/hacking-your-automobile-dashboard

A Lifetime of Experience with 'Government Workers'

I grew up in rural Oregon. One concept I was raised on and given healthy portions of, was a distrust of "government workers". Government workers were lazy, predatory, beauracratic and definitely not working for the interests of anyone I encountered in the small town I grew up in.

In contrast, during the last year of monitoring the White House Digital Strategy I've learned a lot about how government operates, the mission of a handful of the 200+ federal agencies, and opened up conversations with multiple "government workers", from a wide variety of government agencies.

One thing that stands out, is how all of them are working in a state of "public service". Many of them acknowledge the beauracratic environment, uphill battles, massive problem and challenges, and slowness to adopt new technologies and practices. But most of the 'government workers' I have talked with mentioned doing their jobs for public service during my conversations.

I just can't help think, that if more of our citizens from around the country were truly educated about how our government operates and exposed to people actually on the ground doing this work, they might see things differently and begin rolling up their sleeves and getting shit done vs. sitting back, judging and bitching.



from /2013/05/01/a-lifetime-of-experience-with-government-workers

A Civic Hacker Corp

I've always been told, "If You Don't Vote, You Can't Bitch". This is a statement I've heard from hundreds of American citizens that I've encountered throughout my life, across every region of this great country. While I agree with the intent of this statement, I have to declare that it isn't enough!

Its obvious that being a couch political pundit and voting for your favorite, corporate owned politician isn't enough anymore. In the age of the Internet, open data and open APIs we need politicking to be a group sport.  Something everyone lends a hand in.

So how do we do this?

As I'm working through my thoughts on this subject, I would like propose an idea for a Civic Hacker Corp. It would be an NGO, that has government support, but provide a framework to hang meaningful government actions and expertise on.

In its simplest form, I envision the Civic Hacker Corp to be about:

  • Tasks - Available tasks that need to be accomplished. Tasks would always be bite site chunks that wouldn't take weeks or months to accomplish, but could be done within 5-40 hours of work. Examples might be processing data, cleaning it up, normalizing, verification, pulling data from PDFs, OCR work, etc.  Tasks would be submitted by government organizations, in hopes of soliciting civic execution
  • Hackers - Citizens, not necessarily developers, that could step up for Civic Hacker Corp duty. They could donate as little, or as much time as they like to accomplish tasks that match their skills.  Citizen hackers would bring necessary private sector talent to the table in an approach that is similar to Amazon Web Services, Mechanical Turk
  • Certification & Badging - Using a system like Mozilla Open Badges, the Civic Hacker Corp could certify the execution of tasks by hackers and issue badges for the successful that reflect work done for different sectors of government, types of work, scopes of work or any other benchmarks deemed suitable.  Each certification would links to resulting data, content or code

The objective the Civic iHacker Corp would be to get government organizations from all levels to formulate and publish tasks, then incentivize citizen hackers to accomplish these tasks, and potentially move our country forward in new, and collaborative ways.

I think we currently see some of this in action, with programs like Code for America, Challenge.gov and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. These are all an excellent start, but I think we need a single organization that can coordinate the tasks, hackers and certification in a permanent, widespread way. A group that can represent city, state or federal government appropriately, and provide a credible system for empowering citizen hackers to tackle meaningful open government tasks, then certify and reward hackers.

All work accomplished via the Civic Hacker Corp would be published to common platforms like Github, Dropbox, AWS, etc., while requiring the usage of open formats, common standards and require open licensing--making sure every aspect is reusable beyond the single task.

I know, this is a pretty grand vision. But I think it is doable and someday we could say, "if you didn't help crunch the data on White House Budget, and possess a certified badge showing you did…then you can't bitch"!!



from /2013/05/01/a-civic-hacker-corp

An Author Walk-Through of a Story in Audio

I was finally catching up on all my podcasts this week, which includes Traffic and Weather, which is an always informative source of news and commentary podcast about APIs and the cloud hosted by @smarx and @johnsheehan 

While listening to Episode 8: I’m going to withdraw my objection, John Sheehan discusses his March story in NextWeb called APIs are Dead, Long Live APIs.  It was very interesting to hear him describe his intent behind the post and walk us through his points.  

I read the original article back in March, jotted down some notes, but really didn't trigger much beyond that.  After listening to him talk about the post, it renewed some very interesting points for me--which I'm working through an dyou will see in future blog posts.  

It is a lot of work to craft a good quality blog posts that conveys difficult and often abstract API concepts to a wide audience.  I struggle with getting my ideas across, as well as coherency in much of my writing. This got me thinking, maybe as part of my storytelling process I can try to work in an audio version, of me walking my readers (listeners) through it.

I'm not talking about something that reads the post to you. I'm talking about, me, actually walking you through the subject matter and post.  We'll see.  It is something I likely won't have time for with each post, but it would fun to try.  

I really have been trying to incorporate more audio and video into more of my content creation, but seem to be falling short.  I will keep trying until something sticks!



from /2013/04/30/an-author-walk-through-of-a-story-in-audio

Who Are The Customers For Your Startup?

Silicon Valley builds amazing apps!

We need customers to use our apps

Hopefully we get lots of customers who use our apps!

We can also launch an API, and become a platform

Now we have developers as customers

Now we have our developers customers as customers

We need $$ to operate and scale our platform, APIs and apps

Now we add investors as our customers

Our investors want us to give them ROI with a good exit

Now we have other larger companies as potential customers

Who is the customer of your startup?



from /2013/04/26/who-are-the-customers-for-your-startup

Your Glasses Are Prime Real Estate for a Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

I’m closely following the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) world lately, in an attempt to understand the role APIs will play in this expanding tech sector. One product that is of particular interest is Google Glasses, which I think is one of the most exciting and scariest technologies to emerge in recent times.

As I look across the landscape of emerging HCI technology and other more known and adopted technologies such as smart phones, GPS, etc, I can’t help but think about how Google is genius for targeting the most ideal real estate in our physical world.

Think about the other pieces of tech in our lives:

  • Smart Phone - A smart phone is a pretty desirable piece of virtual real estate. It has our GPS location, identity and contains a lot of info about our every day lives. But it tends to live in our pocket, purse or other location and is only engaged when we decide
  • Watches - I’m not a big watch person, but I know people who are. It is a pretty good location to place a piece of tech in our worlds. The limitations of a watch is very similar to the limitations of a smart phone in our pocket
  • Health Devices - Devices like Fitbit and Nike+ Fuelband are emerging providing another slice of our lives, with location, pedometer and other tracking mechanisms with a focus on our health and activity, but can be limited to lesser areas of our bodies
  • Automobiles - Our dashboards are becoming valuable real estate in the online world, but this real estate is still limited to your time in the car which will vary widely
  • Wearable Tech - Our clothes are beginning to get equipped with digital goods from lights and eye candy, to headphones, sensors and tracking that will be used as part of our online world

Alll of these areas of evolution in the technology space offer some pretty interesting opportunities for digital integration into our physical worlds, but none of them have the potential of glasses. We would wear our glasses everywhere (potentially) and they sit on our heads, giving them the primest body real estate, and are responsive to what we see, and where we are at at any moment.

This prime real estate is no doubt why Google is putting all this money into Google Glasses. HCI through glasses offers the most possibilities for innovation, but also posses the highest probably for abuse.  Think about it, its on your head, sees everything you see, and sits next to your ears, eyes and brain. There will be abuse!

Although I’m following this space with enthusiasm, as with any other tech, I’m extremeley skeptical about how it will be used, and constantly pondering the negative potential, while trying to showcase the positive use of this powerful technology.



from /2013/04/17/your-glasses-are-prime-real-estate-for-a-human-compute-interaction

Personal Legal Storage Locker for TOS and NDA

I’m unpacking all my notes from my time spent at the MIT Media Lab this last weekend.  One of the byproducts of hanging out with so many smart people is I end up with all kind of great ideas, and I know better than to think I can do them all myself, so I put my ideas out on the web for anyone to run with.

My project from theHackathon this weekend was #ReclaimYourDomain, which I’ll write about in detail separately, but the overall project objective was to educate people about:

  • Owning Their Own Domain
  • Taking Control Of Their Cotent

The project is focused on empowering people in these areas by providing not just tools, but also education. I will begin educating people about these concepts by showing them how to start a blog, and move into other service areas later.

One service area that would be further down on my roadmap, but I would like to put the idea out there today, is the concept of a personal legal storage locker for terms of use(TOS), non-disclosure agreements(NDA) and the other common legal arrangements we all encounter with on a daily basis.

We all click on those checkboxes, agreeing to the terms of use in the growing number of cloud applications we are depending on everyday. In my world, I’m similarly bombarded with numerous non-disclosure agreements that I’m required to sign before most companies will talk to me about their API strategy.

It would be nice to have some sort of application that would help me manage these legal relationships that I enter into every day.  This app would also extend to my browser(s) and record a copy of each TOS that I agree to, as well as record any NDA I receive, sign and send back.

My storage locker for these legal agreements would not just keep track of each legal arrangement, but also track when I signed, the company I entered into the agreement with, help me know about any future changes by pushing me updates, and keep me in tune with when the agreement expires.

This is something I would like to have integrated into our vision of #ReclaimYourDomain, but for now it would be awesome if someone would get to work building a central storage system, complete with API, desktop clients and browser plugins. :-)

If we are going to start empowering people to take control of their worlds, the legal layer to all of this will be essential.



from /2013/04/10/personal-legal-storage-locker-for-tos-and-nda

Add Or Update Your

You have the power to update your own profile on the #ReclaimOpen Github repository, by editing and submitting a pull request. Here are some steps you will need to consider to accomplish this.

Github Repository - https://github.com/1l2p/reclaimopen

  1. Github Account (Skip If You Have One)
    1. https://github.com/
  2. Github Client
    1. Mac - http://mac.github.com/
    2. Windows - http://windows.github.com/
  3. Fork Repository to Your Github
  4. Clone #ReclaimOpen Repository
    1. Clone to local folder on your machine
    2. Edit the people.html page locally
  5. Submit Pull Request
    1. Github Help - https://help.github.com/articles/using-pull-requests

Here is a video walkthrough of the process as I update my own profile on the people.html page.

UPDATE: Edit the hackathon.html page NOT the people.html page!! I messed up!!



from /2013/04/10/add-or-update-your-reclaimopen-profile-at-the-github-site

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Open Data as Defined By the White House

I'm processing my thoughts around the White House Executive Order, and the Open Data Policy released today by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget.  I'm still trying to understand the impact of this order, but as I'm doing this I thought the definition of "what is open data"is worth sharing as a stand alone post. Open Data - For the purposes of this Memorandum, the term "open data" refers to publicly available data structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users. In general, open data will be consistent with the following principles: Public - Consistent with OMB's Open Government Directive, agencies must adopt a presumption in favor of openness to the extent pennitted by law and subject to privacy, confidentiality, security, or other valid restrictions. Accessible - Open data are made available in convenient, modifiable, and open fonnats that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched. Formats should be machine-readable (i.e., data are reasonably structured to allow automated processing). Open data structures do not discriminate against any person or group of persons and should be made available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes, often by providing the data in multiple formats for consumption. To the extent permitted by law, these formats should be non-proprietary, publicly available, and no restrictions should be placed upon their use. Described - Open data are described fully so that consumers of the data have sufficient information to understand their strengths, weaknesses, analytical limitations, security requirements, as well as how to process them. This involves the use of robust, granular metadata (i.e., fields or elements that describe data), thorough documentation of data elements, data dictionaries, and, if applicable, additional descriptions of the purpose of the collection, the population of interest, the characteristics of the sample, and the method of data collection. Reusable - Open data are made available under an open license that places no restrictions on their use. Complete - Open data are published in primary forms (i.e., as collected at the source), with the finest possible level of granularity that is practicable and permitted by law and other requirements. Derived or aggregate open data should also be published but must reference the primary data. Timely - Open data are made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data. Frequency of release should account for key audiences and downstream needs. Managed Post-Release - A point of contact must be designated to assist with data use and to respond to complaints about adherence to these open data requirements. I think these are some pretty solid bullet points for defining open data, whether you are a government agency, enterprise corporation or small startup. There are some pretty basic concepts at play here.  But concepts that can have HUGE impact in how we operate as a society and a global marketplace.  

from API Evangelist http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ApiEvangelist/~3/PF8yBXE6kY0/