Category Archives: Links

Seesmic for Facebook desktop client

Here at SxSW we’ve just launched a glimpse into some future product direction we’re working on at Seesmic. During the Facebook panel, we announced Seesmic for Facebook.

Seesmic for Facebook screengrab

Seesmic for Facebook lets you keep track of your friend’s Facebook status and easily update your own. It is based on the technology behind Twhirl, our popular desktop client for twitter, seesmic and indenti.ca.

This is very much a beta release from us (for those who remember the old skool definition of beta). We wanted to get something out soon, to gauge people’s reactions and product requirements. We’re not sure (/not saying!) where this is all heading but rest assured we’ll be bolting on a lot more functionality onto the Facebook client as we further develop it and the Facebook API matures further.

You can try out Seesmic for Facebook by checking out the application on Facebook. It’s based on Adobe AIR, so you will need to have that installed already (don’t worry, it’s free and painless).

“hey! 23/Female. Come chat with me on my webcam thingy” attack on Twitter

Can’t believe this hasn’t been picked up by the major blogs yet, but I’m seeing a lot of friends having their twitter account compromised with this unauthorized tweet:

hey! 23/Female. Come chat with me on my webcam thingy here www.chatweb*********.com

(redacted by me).

A quick search on Twitter Search shows this is happening to a very large amount of people. (If you do visit the site, be aware it’s NSFW).

How is this happening?

The most likely vector of this attack is probably via one of the numerous 3rd party Twitter services that ask for your username and password in order to provide additional functionality (statistics, alerts, etc).

It’s unlikely that any reputable service would have done this intentionally, but very likely someone was able to maliciously gain access to their database and steal all of the twitter username/passwords. Because these services must authenticate with Twitter directly it’s not possible for them to store the passwords hashed.

The answer to this is oAuth, which Twitter is in the process of launching.

A most recent check of Twitter search shows that the last message was posted 2 hours ago of the time of writing, which probably means Twitter put a stop to this – presumably by blocking any posting of the specific string of text. That doesn’t mean the attackers won’t try again with a different message

My advice is:

  • Change your password, especially if you have been attacked by this.
  • Never use the same password you keep for Twitter anywhere else
  • Limit the number of sites you put your Twitter username/password into.
  • Change your password often to stop old sites you don’t use still having access to your account

ClickPass launches, brings OpenID to everyday people

Congratulations to Peter Nixey and Immad Akhund – two friends and fellow Brits – who’ve just publicly launched their Y-Combinator backed startup ClickPass (TechCrunch coverage here).

Sofia and I have been following their progress for some month, including sneak peeks and early uses of the product. And I have to say it really brings the benefits of OpenID to the mainstream – opening up all sorts of new possibilities.

Click pass is essentially made up of two constituent parts.

Firstly, the company offers a simple-yet-slick design patten for the federated authentication of the user. What I like about the design is that not only do ClickPass help their users login to a given site with OpenID, but they have also baked in simple support for a number of other popular OpenID providers too – such as AOL, WordPress and LiveJournal (where it all began).

Rather than having to remember their full OpenID URL at either ClickPass or any of these other providers, the user simply has to enter their username and the ClickPass login widget automatically constructs the correct login url and sends the user on their way to authenticate at their chosen provider’s authentication home page.

Great stuff.

As a proponent of OpenID I really want to give props to Peter and Immad for taking the opportunity to make it easy for everyone regardless of whether they use ClickPass to authenticate or not.

The second aspect of the service is a dashboard style interface that reflects the various sites the user holds an OpenID relationship with. This creates an ideal home page opportunity as it’s so easy to dive straight into the sites you use.

There’s also a great monetization opportunity of using the interface to take advertising on this page to the next level. Rather than simply promoting the front page of their site, with the permission of the user an advertiser could create an account for their site upon the initial click through from the advert – using the OpenID credentials already authenticated on ClickPass.

This allows the site to immediately offer full utility to the user rather than having to encourage them to ‘cross the chasm’ and create an account (having already had to encourage them just to click on the advert).

I may be a little biased, as Peter and Immad are friends, but I really do think this is the best implementation of OpenID out there right now for ‘regular users’. I do think they need to bake in more anti-phishing mechanisms – such as displaying photos, key phrases or some other ‘secret’ upon authentication. But these are easily done and I’m sure this is something they are both looking at.

Well done boys, good work!

On LobbyConning

This week is shaping up to be the highlight of the San Francisco conference calendar. It’s not worth going paying to go to all those gatherings and so many of us end up LobbyConning instead.

I was interviewed for a piece published in tomorrow’s San Francisco Chronical on the very subject:

(BTW I’m hoping I’m not going to regret this glib comment:)

“The sessions at technology conferences are often like plots in porn films,” said Ben Metcalfe, a technology consultant from San Francisco who said he lobbycons about four conferences annually. “It’s required for the context, but it’s not really what you paid for.”

While staking out the lobby, he said, he’s gotten business leads, engaged in interesting discussions about new products and met a number of people he wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.

I’ll be at the Widget Summit tomorrow and Tuesday (sharing a badge with a colleague), the Business of API’s conference (paid ticket) and probably some of the Web2.0Summit (LobbyConning). See you there.

An introduction to APML

Hot on the tails of my in-depth post addressing Tom Morris’ issues with APML, I’ve been meaning to ‘back up’ and write a higher level “introduction to APML”.

Well Marjolein Hoekstra has written a superb introduction to APML and I guess done the hard work for me. :) Turns out Marshal Kirkpatrick has picked this up and linked to it from his article on recommendation engines over on ReadWrite/Web too.

If you’re still not up to speed on APML and attention profiles in general, please hop on over to her blog

Also the APML.org website has just had a redesign + refresh too! Check it out.

Seth Godin on ‘hard work’, this Labor Day

A personally poignant piece by Seth Goding on the meaning of ‘hard work’ in today’s economy.

He writes:

“…Richard Branson doesn’t work more hours than you do. Neither does Steve Ballmer or Carly Fiorina. Robyn Waters, the woman who revolutionized what Target sells — and helped the company trounce Kmart — probably worked fewer hours than you do in an average week.

None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating cool stuff are doing it just by working more hours than you are. And I hate to say it, but they’re not smarter than you either. They’re succeeding by doing hard work.

As the economy plods along, many of us are choosing to take the easy way out. We’re going to work for the Man, letting him do the hard work while we work the long hours. We’re going back to the future, to a definition of work that embraces the grindstone.

Some people (a precious few, so far) are realizing that this temporary recession is the best opportunity that they’ve ever had. They’re working harder than ever — mentally — and taking all sorts of emotional and personal risks that are bound to pay off.

Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day.

The big insight: The riskier your (smart) coworker’s hard work appears to be, the safer it really is. It’s the people having difficult conversations, inventing remarkable products, and pushing the envelope (and, perhaps, still going home at 5 PM) who are building a recession-proof future for themselves.”

Seth Godin is working today, Labor Day.

So am I.

Get your tickets for GigaOm/NewTeeVee screening

Tickets are now available for a limited time, get ‘em now!

NewTeeVee screenings logo

From the NewTeeVee site:

The inaugural NewTeeVee and Metacafe Pier Screenings is only one week away, next Thursday, May 24 in San Francisco. We have a very limited number of spots available, so please go to http://newteevee.eventbrite.com/ now to reserve your ticket. It is first-come, first-serve, until we run out!

The event will showcase the online video technology and content you read about and watch on NewTeeVee in an outdoor movie screening format.

See you on the 24th!

London Widget Week – 14-22nd May

I guess you’re going to start seeing a lot about widgets on this blog, now. And so, for my old chums back in Blighty, what better way to get acquainted with the latest goings-on in this area than to attend the forthcoming London Widget Week?

The event is actually three evening sessions, organized by my old friends at ChinWag along with MoMo (MobileMonday) and NMK.

The events are:

  • 14th May: Mobile Monday – Mobile Widgets
  • 16th May: Chinwag Live – Media Widgetised
  • 22nd May: Beers & Innovation 10: Widget Nation

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that these three events actually occur over 8 days, and not 7 – thus this is strictly not a widget week. But let’s not hold that against them, as I understand these were originally separate uncoordinated events.

It looks like a great lineup. And given that I’m working with widgets for my current project I’d love to be able to attend each of those sessions. Alas, I’m unable to make it myself, however it looks like I will be back in London a month or so later – so see you then.

Check out the Widget Week site over on ChinWag.

Free exhibit hall tickets to MacWorld Expo (+ some of the parties)

MacWorld Expo is just days away, but if you haven’t got a ticket there’s still hope. :)

There’s a virtual coupon doing the rounds that will bag you a free Expo ticket for the exhibit hall – a $45 value (as we say here in USA)

MacWorld Conference & Expo logo

All you have to do to get yours is:

  1. Hop over to the MacWorld Expo registration page
  2. Scroll down to Exhibit Hall tickets
  3. Click ‘Register Now!’
  4. Enter your details as requested
  5. When requested for your Priority Code, enter PC0619
  6. Upon completion you should find Exhibit Hall pass listed as ‘FREE’
  7. Print your badge!

An Exhibit Hall badge will apparently get you into the ‘Feature Presentations’, although it’s not exactly clear what they are. However, at least you can legitimately network, mingle at the exhibition stands… and attend some of the satellite parties that are happening.

Which is great if you’re an Apple fan…

As those of you who know me personally will testify: I’m not the world’s biggest Apple fan. I don’t own or use Apple equipment at the moment (other than a 1st Gen Mac Mini which currently runs Ubuntu for PowerPC and is rarely used) – although I do hold certification as an Apple WebObjects programmer.

I’ll probably head up to the Moscone Center with my free pass as I don’t live that far away… and if Steve Jobs announced as 12″ MacBookPro then I might be interested. Operative word being might!