BarCamp Transparency posters and the cult of openness

July 23, 2009 | Leave a comment

I designed the following poster for BarCamp Transparency, this Sunday, July 26, at the University Club on Mansfield Road, Oxford. (It starts at 10am and tickets are free; visit the website to get yours.)

BarCamp Transparency poster

Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur, saw it and had this to say:

[..] What’s so great about TRANSPARENCY, OPENNESS and ETHICS? I’m in favor of OPAQUENESS, DISHONESTY & AESTHETICS.

We aim to please:

BarCamp Transparency poster 2

You, me, Edinburgh Techmeetup? It’s a date.

July 16, 2009 | Leave a comment

TechMeetup is a set of monthly technology gatherings in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It feels somehow illicit: the Edinburgh meetup takes place at the top of the Appleton Tower, a famous eyesore in the middle of the Edinburgh University campus. Piles of pizza and free beer are placed on tables, and after 7pm the doors are locked to the outside world.

It’s great fun, and interesting, and one of the brilliant ways Scotland has been energizing its technology industries lately. It comes highly recommended.

I’ll be heading up north to speak at the August 12th event about digital identities and the decentralized social web, and will be hanging around for drinks afterwards. If you’re in the area and would like to talk about these ideas, or just to say hello, please come along.

Photo credit: Appleton Tower in all its glory was captured by Patrick2978 and released under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license.

Geolocation in HTML 5 and Javascript

July 13, 2009 | 3 comments

HTML 5 – as-yet unreleased, but shaping up well – contains a specification for finding the current location of the user. The API, if your browser supports it and you grant the web application access, returns your latitude, longitude, elevation, speed and some other details. (If your web-capable device doesn’t have GPS, these details will be estimated using your IP address and other factors.)

A couple of weeks ago, I created a page to test this feature. If your browser is geo capable, this will reveal exactly what data about your location is being sent to web applications that ask for it.

If you’re a developer, here’s how I created the page.

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Microsoft Web Applications 2010 bring the cloud to the enterprise

In advance of the announcement later today, I Started Something have uncovered videos about the new Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft Office turns to the web

As anticipated, Office 2010 includes web-based versions of applications contained in the suite. These don’t have the complete feature set, but are designed so that company employees can create and make changes to documents (including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations) on the road.

Web applications: now running in the enterprise

Centralized cloud applications have a difficult time gaining traction in most enterprise environments, and Microsoft have wisely taken note of this: it appears that the web-based versions are installed as part of Sharepoint. By doing this, they’ve allowed organizations to keep tight control of their data, as well as legitimizing web-based applications in the enterprise and revitalizing Sharepoint as an organizational product. In other words this is big news, with sweeping implications across the entire software industry.

Open standards must work for everyone

This is another reason why all open web standards must be browser agnostic. I always argue hard for a transparent browser: one that contains support for web standards, but doesn’t carry any extra baggage for any specific purpose. As web applications move into the enterprise, it’s important that a standard that works on a souped-up Firefox or Chrome browser also works great in Internet Explorer. By integrating web applications into Sharepoint, Microsoft are actually leading the industry, and have made themselves relevant on the web again. In doing so, they’ve opened up an important market, and that can’t be ignored.

Here’s a video introduction (although it keeps going down for me): See What’s New in Microsoft Web Applications 2010.

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