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Could bit.ly Grow Into Social Bookmarking?

I have to admit, when bit.ly raised $2 million two months ago I didn't get it and a few others were scratching their heads as well. A month later, I signed up and started using bit.ly and have been addicted ever since! I love games and bit.ly lets me turn my tweets into a game; trying to see how many people I can get to click on something. It's so bad that I tweet less from my iPhone and wait until I can get in front of a web browser to construct a bit.ly URL from my bookmarklet which I can track.

I was never big into social bookmarking, I never really used delicious and only used ma.gnolia mainly to track things which I found interesting. When I log into bit.ly, I now see largely the same thing.

It wouldn't take much for bit.ly to give me a public profile listing recent URLs I've shortened. Ideally they'd show the tweet I used the link in and who else linked to it or wrote about it (which they also already show me). Sounds to me like the main functionality I got out of my ma.gnolia profile.

Might bit.ly go from URL shortening and stats to social bookmarking? Throw in chartbeat too and betaworks has some pretty interesting data.


Why can't the TSA be consistent?

I travel a decent amount which means that I encounter the TSA at a lot of different airports around the country. This morning I'm flying out of Ronald Reagan airport in DC at 5am where once again I saw a lack of consistency in how the TSA chooses to enforce their rules.

The person in front of me was a flight attendant for American Airlines. As Starbucks is located before security, she had a half drunk frappuccino with her and an obvious intent to take it through security. If you haven't flown in the past few years, the TSA has gone to great lengths to ban people from bringing liquids and gels through a security checkpoint.

TSA Officer Pittman who was standing behind the metal detector asked the flight attendant, "is that a caramel frappuccino?"

The flight attendant somewhat casually replies, "no, of course not" and then walked through the metal detector with it in her hand. Officer Pittman clearly saw that she was violating the TSA's liquids rule but did nothing to stop her.

Quite honestly, I could care less if people are allowed to bring coffee through the security checkpoint, but I expect my government to hold themselves to a consistent and higher bar. It isn't about this one flight attendant "sneaking" a frappuccino through security, but rather that the rules and laws the TSA has created should be enforced uniformly and not ignored when it is convenient. I'd obviously love to see the prohibition of liquids changed, but until then we've all got 3-1-1 to live with.


Books, Games and Wine

It's been awhile since I've posted about stuff not related to OpenID, so I figured it would be good to share some things from the past few weeks I've really enjoyed!

World of Goo - I first played this game on a Wii at my friend's house a few months ago and it's incredibly awesome. Such a simple idea of building structures out of "Goo Balls" with a bit of physics included so if you're structure sucks then your Goo Balls will topple over. The Mac Heist Bundle includes it for OS X, so now I'm addicted again on my laptop.

Amazon Kindle - I bought a new Kindle (I didn't have one of the original ones) a few days before I went on vacation in Belize about a month ago. It's really easy to read and being able to make the font small to fit more on a page during the day and then a few sizes larger at night is a huge help. Made it through The Shadow Factory while in Belize which is about the NSA directly leading up to and then after 9/11. Right now I'm working my way through Freakonomics. Most books for the Kindle seem to cost about $10.

Custom Google Maps - FedEx was supposed to deliver 180 Moleskin notebooks to me via next day air this week and blew it. So I played with custom maps on Google for the first time and came up with a way to visually show why FedEx sucks! Wouldn't a live Google Map showing the plane in flight or truck carrying your package be a much better way to track packages than the normal tracking pages?

Airport Mania - I twittered about this iPhone game last week, but it's been a huge time suck! On each level you control planes landing, dropping off passengers, being repaired, refueling, waiting, picking up passengers and taking off. All of this with bonus point optimizations for using the same runway for multiple landings in the row or the same gate for a few planes of the same color in a row.

Doña Paula Malbec 2007 - Picked up this wine randomly from Whole Foods for $14.99 ($11.99 at K&L) and really enjoyed it. Great flavor, not expensive and whitaker, mart and deflatermouse liked it too!


O'Reilly Radar: Facebook in 2010

I just posted Facebook in 2010: no longer a walled garden over on the Radar blog:

A lot of what I've been working on the past two years has been built on the assumption that the model that social networks use today will fundamentally change. Social networks have largely been built on the premise of being walled gardens in such a way that users can't communicate or share content or friends across networks; put simply this is what keeps a Facebook user from being able to send a message to a MySpace user. This is the same model that destroyed AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy's ISP businesses when normal people chose the Internet itself versus their thoughtfully curated walled gardens.

Sharing Activity Streams on the Social Web

Chris Messina and I have been jumping around the country over the past week speaking at FOWA in Miami, TransparencyCamp this weekend in DC and then I spoke at Webstock in New Zealand the week before. All three are absolutely wonderful events and I really want to personally thank the Webstock team and FOWA team for making me feel so welcome! Anyways, Activity Streams is a project started late last year designed to add context to "social feeds" in a very simple way. Martin Atkins has been leading the effort of writing the specifications (Atom Activity Extensions and Atom Activity Base Schema) and we're finally getting to a point where it can be deployed like a beta.

I was using FriendFeed a few days ago and came across an excellent example of why this project is so important. Today, FriendFeed writes custom parsing code for about sixty different services across the social web in order to understand the feeds that each service produces. This means that if I'm using a service that FriendFeed knows about – like Disqus – it works really well. Then again, for services they haven't taken the time to write parsing code for – like TypePad Connect – it doesn't work so well. While I'm certain that FriendFeed could easily write additional code to understand TypePad's feeds, as more social web sites are created it will become increasingly difficult for FriendFeed to keep up with every new service, let alone blogger.

While FriendFeed can certainly keep coding support for new services, it isn't a sustainable proposition for the decentralized nature of the social web. If TypePad published my commenting feeds using Activity Streams markup (which the TypePad team plans to do) and then if FriendFeed parsed the Activity Streams markup, this would have automatically worked! No custom code from FriendFeed and a little bit of extra code for TypePad. Now that's a decentralized social web!
Tuesday night, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dave Morin, Josh Elman and I were hanging out pretty late in the Mondrian Miami hotel where we were staying along with about ten other people. The hotel ended up deciding that Tuesday nights were "quiet nights" and kept pushing us from inside to outside to inside to outside again which got pretty frustrating.

The four of us ended up shooting a quick video telling the story and how a few Tweets caused someone else to choose a different hotel for their upcoming trip. Gary also posted about this as How your brand can be affected in 2009 and its impact and it ties directly into a presentation by Alex Hunter of Virgin earlier in the day at FOWA about managing your brand online.

Update: Four hours later and this post is now fourth on the second page of Google results for "Mondrian Miami".


Two New OpenID Working Groups?

Votes have just opened up to OpenID Foundation members around the creation of an OpenID and OAuth Hybrid extension working group and a Contract Exchange extension working group. The OpenID and OAuth stuff is really interesting to me (see what Google and Plaxo did) and the Contract Exchange bit seems crazy out of scope for OpenID. Thus you can guess how I voted! :)

Also, welcome Don Thibeau as the new Executive Director of the Foundation!

While you need to be an OpenID Foundation member to vote ($25 per year), the working groups themselves are open to anyone for participation!


O'Reilly Radar: Anatomy of "Connect"

I just posted Anatomy of "Connect" over on the Radar blog:

I'm here at Webstock in New Zealand working on my talk for tomorrow (Open, Social Web) and one of the things I've been thinking about is all of the different "Connect" applications and products that have recently sprung into existence. I mean, we have Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, MySpace (thankfully not "Connect") ID, TypePad Connect, RPX and I'm sure the list goes on. I'm trying to break down all of these products - ignoring the underlying open or proprietary technologies that make them tick - toward a straw man definition of a "Connect" application:

New Zealand: KiwiFoo and Webstock

All sorts of things I should write about from previous trips (still planning a long post on Smithsonian 2.0), but I've been in New Zealand for about five days now for KiwiFoo and Webstock and have been having a great time meeting amazingly passionate and smart people! Tomorrow I'm participating in a New Zealand government workshop around the web which Nat is putting together and then I'm speaking at Webstock on Thursday (Wednesday back home). And thanks to Tom I'm fretting a bit about my talk.
A few weeks ago Plaxo and Google released an experiment of using OpenID and OAuth together to create a "two-click" signup experience. This was targeted at Gmail users receiving invites from existing Plaxo users.

Today at the OpenID Design Summit at Facebook, Joseph Smarr presented the results and they were pretty mind boggling; 92% clickthrough rate from the invite email all the way through logging into Plaxo with their Google Account (via OpenID) and importing their address book (via OAuth).

ReadWriteWeb sums it up nicely:
This experimental method refers to big, known brands where users were already logged in, it requires zero typing - just two clicks - and it takes advantage of the OpenID authentication opportunity to get quick permission to leverage the well established OAuth data swap to facilitate immediate personalization - at the same time.