Posts from 2010-03-17

MindTouch Announces the Most Powerful Voices in Open Source

One of the announcements at the Open Source Business Conference happening now in San Francisco, California, is that of the "Most Powerful Voices in Open Source."Let's take a stroll through the who's who of open source MVPs.

What Is the Most Powerful Voices List?

According to MindTouch (site), the company behind the list, the Most Powerful Voices are the top 50 "most vocal, followed and repeated/re-posted open source commentators, representing several spheres of influence, including media, vendors, OSS projects, standards bodies, community management and more."

The ranking apparently draws from "the wide array of metrics available through Web and Enterprise 2.0 channels, including Twitter, Google News alerts, unique online visitor counts and analysis of the related 'buzz' of vendor/project affiliations."

The data itself was compiled using the MindTouch platform, according to the company "federating these data sources, applying varied weighting, and processing it for delivery of the ranking."

Who's on the List?

The top five MPVs are:

  • Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media
  • Linus Torvalds, founder of Linux, open source advocate
  • Chris Messina, open web advocate, Google (news, site)
  • Miguel de Icaza, founder, Mono and GNOME projects
  • Jonathan Schwartz, former CEO of Sun Microsystems (news, site)

Open Source CMS Notables

Familiar names from the open source CMS world include Dries Buytaert of Drupal (site) and Cheryl McKinnon with Nuxeo (site). Also making the list is MindTouch's own Aaron Roe Fulkerson (should they get to put someone on their own list?) and a number of well-known consultants who serve the open source CMS community.

Of course, the question has to be asked whether frequencies on social media really represent one's level of influence, but for those who like quantifiable processes, the list is interesting. How would your own list be different?

For more on the Most Powerful Voices in Open Source list, see the official announcement here and the blog post here.

Managing Online Payment Security, Compliance with Cloud-Based Tool

PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance standards protect personal information and ensure security when transactions are processed using a payment card. Thanks to ClearPoint Metrics new PCI compliance management solution, organizations can manage PCI compliance risk more effectively, and reduce the cost of auditing and reporting.

The new metrics-based PCI assessment application will be delivered as Software-as-a-Service (Saas) on the Amazon cloud.

Automating the PCI Compliance Process

The new solution was announced at the RSA Conference a few weeks ago and features controls designed to automate assessment, attestation and reporting for all 12 PCI requirements and operate independently of any particular security product.

These 12 requirements are as follows (as outlined by PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) that was developed to help help organizations proactively protect customer account data):

  • Build and Maintain a Secure Network

Requirement 1: Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
Requirement 2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters

  • Protect Cardholder Data

Requirement 3: Protect stored cardholder data
Requirement 4: Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks

  • Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program

Requirement 5: Use and regularly update antivirus software
Requirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications

  • Implement Strong Access Control Measures

Requirement 7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
Requirement 8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
Requirement 9: Restrict physical access to cardholder data

  • Regularly Monitor and Test Networks

Requirement 10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
Requirement 11: Regularly test security systems and processes

  • Maintain an Information Security Policy

Requirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security.

Gathering Data, Managing Assets

Components of the ClearPoint PCI Compliance Management solution include:

  • Requirement Manager, Control Mapping and Evidence Manager allowing organizations to document their controls and manage evidence required for attestations and reporting.
  • Evidence Manager for all forms of policy documents to be gathered and monitored, including links to log files and shared documents, surveys and textual commentary as well as fact based metrics.
  • Data Gathering: Hard facts and data are collected through direct access to all qualified vulnerability scanners as well as the full complement of security applications including, firewalls, intrusion detection, antivirus, log management, event managers, encryption managers and data security products
  • Asset Manager and Profiling: takes feeds from internal asset systems and enables organizations to classify, sort and group assets by compliance scopes and risk profiles.

As well, the solution provides a complete library of scorecards, companion metrics, data connectors and control monitoring alerts. All these tools allow for organizations to continuously monitor and keep team members abreast of alerts about performance, goals and deployment.

For 30 days, PCI Compliance management solution is free of charge at After that, ClearPoint's PCI Service will be available in monthly and annually renewable subscriptions. It is licensed on a per-user basis with introductory 12-user subscription sold at US$ 500 per month.

Gartner: Mobile User Experience to Drive Design of Web Apps

One day the mobile interface will influence everything from the way we collaborate, communicate and design. According to Gartner’s five social software predictions for 2010 and beyond, the mobile web will change the way we think about user engagement, work spaces and the PC-based web.

Going Beyond the Web

Number four on the list focuses on the design of PC-based collaborative applications. More specifically, the prediction says:

Within five years, 70% of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.

In other words, the mobile web will influence the user interface of the future. While at first glance, this may seem unusual, we are reminded that soon there will be more than 300 billion phones in use worldwide. Mobile devices, by design, are for communicating and collaborating at anytime, from anywhere.

As smartphones become more sophisticated and user-friendly, Gartner expects “more end users to spend significant time experiencing the collaborative tools” on these devices. If Gartner’s predictions are accurate, the implications on design and usability will be significant. We examine a few of them.

Design and Accessibility

At present, the way a website looks on a mobile device is secondary to the larger screen they interact with on the desktop. Soon, however, (if not already) designers and developers will have to build sites separately or primarily for the mobile web. This means, that technology departments will have to actively testing on all advanced smartphones as well as established platforms for consistency and accessibility.


The mobile interface may change the way people work. As more applications are designed for mobile users to actively engage and collaborate, organizations may need to design tools that employees and customers can access more readily than a landline phone and with more features.


Gartner points out that “for some of the world, [mobile apps] will be the first or the only applications they use.” It used to be that a website was an organization’s window to the world, and thus the most important part of a user’s interaction.

It may be that a user’s first interaction with an organization or product is through a mobile device or application, making it essential that companies start simplifying interfaces so that they are consistent across platforms or build multiple entry points to guarantee they are accurately represented.

Of course, a lot can happen in five years. The Gartner predictions serve as a reminder to think ahead. To remind oneself of the evolutionary nature of user behaviors can help organizations, designers and developers anticipate changes and build for the future, not the present.

Internet Explorer 9: A Platform Preview, Not a Beta

With Microsoft (site) rebounding like Dennis Rodman in his prime, can the company pull another Windows 7 or Windows 7 Phone out of its hat with IE9?

Exploring New Frontiers

Internet Explorer has had a rough ride since, well, forever. Most versions have been considered an assault on Internet standards, or derided as under-featured or security nightmares. The recent versions have improved on those areas but added features that few actually use.

With existing IE now lagging behind Firefox which is the most popular browser, where can Microsoft go with IE9? The news from Microsoft's  MIX10 developer conference in Las Vegas is that Internet Explorer won't just be a browser, but a whole platform.

There's a test drive site, where you can download a preview mini-browser for Windows Vista or Windows 7 users (nothing like a proper beta or test version) that allows you to take a look at some of the features in action.

According to Microsoft, the intent of the platform preview is to provide developers an opportunity to start planning when and how they will start supporting HTML5; this is definitely not suited for your everyday browsing needs.

A Platform to Where?

The primary addition is the implementation of DirectX hardware acceleration, something that really should have been in place for many years. Now, the horsepower of the typical PC's video card can finally be used to hoof along your graphical output and improve quality, allowing accelerated video, faster and smoother text effects and other essentials of the Web 2.0 environment.

One of the demos showing off IE9's features

HTML 5 support will be the next big arms race as browsers throw it to the top of their features lists and Microsoft has it as a big tick in IE9. With support including CSS3, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) which has been around for ages, XHTML parsing and H.264/MPEG4 and MP3/AAC tags and  codec support, all video standards will be supported.

If you can't wait for IE9 to get a little HTML 5 love, take a look at Christian Adams video tag for IE.

Additional news includes a boost for JavaScript processing speeds. With all its rivals crowing about their Java performance, it is only fair that Microsoft gets in on the act and brings its browser up to speed.

In the Background

Behind the web page, Microsoft also announced that it will contribute to the development of new features and enhancements in the jQuery JavaScript Library. It has shared the release of new SDKs for the Open Data Protocol that will make it easier for developers to access cloud-based data from to create cross-platform Web applications.

Developers are encouraged to use the Platform Preview Version on their own code, HTML, CSS, scripts and feedback on how it works. There are more details on the ieblog.

Microsoft has stated that a new version of the IE9 Platform Preview should come out about every 8 weeks, and there are no dates set for the beta release.

Leadership Change: Jeffrey Jaffe Takes the Helm at W3C

There's a change of the guard at the W3C (site) this month. Jeffrey Jaffe has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer. His extensive business and technical experience make him the perfect match to support the W3C's role as the leading forum for the technical development of the Web.

 An Background in Enterprise Solutions

Jaffe has a pretty impressive background:

  • Executive Vice President, products, and Chief Technology Officer at Novell
  • President of Bell Labs Research and Advanced Technologies at Lucent Technologies
  • Vice President of Technology for IBM

And that list is only a subset of the interesting roles he has played. In everything that Jaffe has done, he has shown commitment to open standards and open source, which makes him a perfect match for the W3C. 

"Web technologies continue to be the vehicle for every industry to incorporate the rapid pace of change into their way of doing business," said Dr. Jaffe. "I'm excited to join W3C at this time of increased innovation, since W3C is the place where the industry comes together to set standards for the Web in an open and collaborative fashion."

Leading the Web to Its Fullest Potential

As part of Jaffe's role, he will work with W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee, along with the rest of the W3C — staff and membership, and the great community to communicate the organization's vision and evolve it.

In his first blog post as CEO, Jaffe says his immediate priority is to "preserve and enhance the W3C culture of having an open consensus-based process."

He also says that he will blog often on the issues and encourage comments and/or direct emails to discuss issues of importance to the organization.

A long road ahead of him, Jaffe does seem excited to play such an important role in the evolution of the Web. We look forward to hearing more from him on initiatives such as HTML 5, the Semantic Web and the Mobile Web.

#SXSW: Twitter Copies Facebook Connect with @Anywhere

Twitter announced a tool called @anywhere at this year’s SXSQ event. The new feature enables users to enjoy the Twitter experience (almost) anywhere and anytime, without signing into their actual account.

Are you reminded of Facebook Connect? Yeah. Us too.


Just like Facebook Connect, Twitter’s @anywhere enables users to plug their Twitter credentials into popular sites and share information across platforms. For example, if you see a video you like on YouTube (an @anywhere launch partner), you’d be able to tweet about it from within YouTube’s site, rather than redirecting to or your Twitter application of choice.

"When we're ready to launch, imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo home page — and that's just the beginning," explained Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone on the company’s official blog.

We initially caught wind of the possibility of a Connect-like tool for Twitter back in January. Like we said then, considering the number of Facebook Connect fans (today more than 80,000 sites have integrated the tool), it makes a lot of sense to see Twitter following suit. After all, the microblogging superstar has made it quite clear that they’re aiming for a very successful 2010, and this new release proves that.

However, the tool isn’t exactly like Connect. "For example, while both permit easy sharing of content to one's networks, Twitter @anywhere seems poised to do more distribution of content across the Web,” said Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray. "The idea of allowing people to access relevant, real-time information from the Twitter network wherever they surf is a bit different than I've seen done with Facebook Connect, and it promises to open up the Twitter experience to people who as of yet may not have seen a reason to visit, register and participate."


We can’t help but wonder what this means for third-party developers. We talked a couple weeks back about a cryptic tweet sent out by Twitter engineer Alex Payne:

If you had some of the nifty site features that we Twitter employees have, you might not want to use a desktop client. (You will soon.)

Back then developers worried that Twitter would soon lose the need for them. Payne has since removed the Tweet and told developers not to worry, but now that @anywhere is upon us, it might be worth it to worry just a little.

Mobile Entrée Now Supports SharePoint 2010, BCS

H3 Solutions, creator of Mobile Entrée (site), a mobile application framework for SharePoint, has announced some new capabilities which include support for the upcoming SharePoint 2010 and its new Business Connectivity Services.

Building Mobile Apps for SharePoint

We introduced you to Mobile Entree in June of last year. It's a server side plug-in for SharePoint that will let you access your SharePoint data from a number of smartphones.

Mobile Application Framework

Version 1.3 Updates

The latest release of the framework — version 1.3 — brings even better enterprise application integration capabilities when SharePoint 2010 arrives at your door. Actually, it supports the current release candidate for SharePoint 2010, so you can start developing now.

What's new in 1.3 other than support for SharePoint 2010:

  • List paging — The mobile device now uses the list setting defined in the view
  • Enhanced search results — More detailed information is now displayed so you don't just see a list of Titles
  • Full Site Toggle — A cookie-based system allows a user/device to be ignored by the HTTP  Module and you can

Supporting Mobile with SharePoint 2010

The primary reason for version 1.3 was to provide early support for SharePoint 2010. Support for SharePoint 2010's new Business Connectivity Services is a welcome addition to the functionality list that will enable true enterprise applications reaching out via mobile devices.

At the SharePoint Conference in Vegas last year, Microsoft did announce support for mobile devices in SharePoint 2010, and not just for their own smartphone. In addition, SharePoint is supposed to play an important role in the new Windows Phone 7 series' OfficeHub. OfficeHub will let you sync documents between your PC and your phone and includes SharePoint for collaboration.

So it looks like SharePoint and mobile are getting friendlier by the day. Something we are definitely looking into to provide you more details.

Google Analytics Now Tracks Silverlight Content

How would you all—including non-techies—like to be able to track how users interact with your Silverlight content? Well, now you can. Google Analytics has officially integrated into the Microsoft Silverlight Analytics Framework.  

Drag and Drop

It sounds fairly simple. Using the Google Analytics component, designers will be able to drag and drop icons for tracking the number of interactions on a design element. Then, within Google Analytics, they can segment and compare the difference in behavior between users who interacted and those who didn’t.

Tracking features supported include event tracking, pageview tracking and custom variables.

Why Google Analytics?

“One of the core principles of Google Analytics has been to democratize the utility of the web analytics tool, and to open up the platform with an API,” wrote Nick Mihailovski of the Google Analytics API Ttam on their official blog page. “This enables developers to innovate new uses of Google Analytics to help analysts, marketers, and executives make better data-driven decisions. Since we launched Google Analytics, developers have extended the product to track Flash/Flex and recently Android and iPhone Devices.”

The announcement was made at this year’s MIX10 conference, which saw a lot of focus on the new Analytics Framework for Microsoft's RIA technology in general. Designed to support data collection modules online or off, the framework parties with more than just Google, too.

"We also wanted to support multiple analytics services simultaneously," said Michael Scherotter, principal architect of the framework. “Multiple analytics vendors hooking into an application using different mechanisms can interfere with performance and appear as glitches to end users,” he explained.

We're not surprised to see Google at the front of the line for a next-generation solution such as this, and we expect similar announcement from companies like Webtrends and Omniture in the near future.

How Media Companies Can Generate Revenue

It’s safe to say that many media publishers are focused on creating new streams of revenue. But how many media revenue models can there be and how do you identify the one that works best?

Ross Dawson, author and blogger, has been working to create a Media Revenue Models framework in an effort to give companies a sample of what is available.

Media Revenue Models

At the core of the framework is the concept that the more value added the more revenue that can be generated. While most newspapers offer the same types of revenue-generating formats from classifieds to subscriptions, in order to successfully benefit from them, it’s important to know which are valuable to users.

In his article, Media Revenue Models Framework: 12 categories of income sources for media companies, Dawson outlines a draft of the values publishers and content creators can seek to incorporate, as well as the different ways from which revenue can be generated. Dawson says the lists aims to “help executives to think in new ways about their own business.”


Roadmaps for the Future of Media

His article, Creating the Future of Media: 4 Driving Forces, 4 Strategic Issues, 4 Essential Capabilities Dawson goes into much further detail, examining the most central driving forces, strategic issues and capabilities in the evolving media landscape.

He provides yet another framework outline social media strategies:


Dawson’s mission is to create models that articulate not only the directive but the course of action as well. With the challenges being faced by magazines, newspapers and online media, sometimes we are quick to judge, suggesting obvious options and changes, that may not be as obvious as we think.

Media is valuable purely because it’s information. But in a global economy and with web that encompasses a mass of information, greater than any media organization can appropriately aggregate and synthesize, some media is more valuable than others.

Evolving at the Right Pace

As many others and we have pointed out before, it’s about experimentation. Finding a new niche audience or investing in a new technology doesn’t happen overnight. In an era of rapid technological advancements, it often seems unnecessary to work so hard and wait so long for the payoff.

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440. But it wasn’t until the 1500s that the printing press proved successful. And even then, it took centuries for print publishing to be refined and profitable. Those that continue to experiment and challenge current revenue models, will see the media landscape evolve, improve and profit from the value added.

Mobile Web Publishing - The Future is Here

Web content managers now have a wealth of mobile web cms functionality available through WebKit, a layout engine designed to allow web browsers to render web pages. WebKit takes the content of a web page, and lays it out according to how a web page’s source code specifies.

Content Management from the Ninth Hole

Imagine one fine Saturday you find yourself out on the links, excited to finally be playing the first eighteen holes of the season, followed up with a well-deserved pint at the 19th. You’re about to step up and unwind your three-wood on a par four when you feel that telltale vibration coming from your hip. Amongst groans and cries of "Foul!" from your fellow players, and despite the foursome behind you breathing down your neck, you grab your mobile and take the call.

It’s your boss. He’s in a panic. There’s been a personnel change at the executive level and the bio of an exec needs to come off the website NOW! He orders you to go in to the office and make it so. Thoughts of your great day going down in flames are fleeting, though. You can sink this one like that last three-foot putt on hole four. You calmly say, "Will do", hang up the call, turn your mobile on its side.

You flick to your browser, and log in to the company Web CMS. You find the offending article, change its status to "unpublished", and for good measure flush the server cache just to make sure it’s really gone. Mobile re-holstered, you confidently step up to the tee and promptly slice the ball into the woods. Come on, you’re not THAT cool…

Is this some wonderful future world? Are you scooting around the greens with your RoboCaddy Hovercart 9000, playing for Whuffie, and quaffing Romulan Ale at the 19th Hole? Not quite. The only Droid here is the one not so stylishly holstered to your belt clip.

We're Already a Mobile Generation

The iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, App Stores, 3G connectivity, and VPN support are commonplace mobile tools and services now, but where do they stand in terms of managing your web content from the road?

This past February, Automattic (site) released WordPress for Android, an application that’s been around on the iPhone for some time — long enough to be in the version 2 release cycle. It’s now a handy road-warrior tool for Android gadgeteers.

WordPress Mobile provides the ability to create and edit blog posts and pages as well as manage comments on a WordPress blog. Being a Droid user, I eagerly installed the app, painlessly configured it to connect to my blog, and set off to create my first entry.

 Creating a blog post was efficient, with data input fields for title, content, and tags. The application also offers basic markup for adding bold, italics, and links to the entry. However, highlighting text on the Droid requires using the slide-out keyboard and D-Pad.. Including images in a blog post is as simple as clicking a button and choosing one from the phone’s photo gallery.

Category selection is provided through a drop-down list — and that's where I encountered the first glitch. Realizing that I wanted to add a "Tech" category to my blog, I found that I couldn’t add new categories from the app. You can only do that from the web-based WordPress interface itself.

While not exactly an "Aha!" moment, somewhere closer to, "Well, duh," I tried using the Android web browser to log in to the admin interface of my site. Sure enough, the pages rendered and functioned nearly perfectly — more than well enough to add the new category to the blog. I popped back over to the WordPress app, clicked the refresh button and the new category was now available.

But Mobile Browsing Not Yet There

Would I recommend you use the browser-based mobile interface to author your blog posts? Probably not.

The WordPress app is neat and efficient and it easily wins over for day-to-day blogging tasks. Plus, in browser mode, there are a few user interface (UI) quirks as well as the fact that the device disables image uploading.

But the experience got me wondering how the mobile browser would work for other web-based content management systems, so I then decided to navigate over to a Drupal-based site that I manage. The site uses the Drupal Admin Module that provides a clean and intuitive content management interface. Sure enough, the content creation and administrative functionality was nearly flawless. The only issue I encountered was, again, file upload capability is disabled.

When you tie-in all of the features WebKit enables, along with the ability to process and enable JavaScript functionality, it makes for a very capable mobile browser. It should be. It’s the same engine that powers Safari and Google Chrome, now available in portable form. And fret not, BlackBerry users, it looks like it’s soon coming to a device near you.

But is it the mobile content management future yet? With the hot-potato topic of Flash support, and sketchy Java support, it’s not quite 100 percent. But with dedicated applications like mobile WordPress, and capable mobile browsers and devices, the ability to post from the road, and take care of the occasional quick-and-dirty task, that time is here.