Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trouble in the OpenDS Community

Neil Wilson, the former project architect of the OpenDS project, just posted this open letter to Sun Microsystems charging them with being "willing to resort to rather hostile tactics to preserve absolute control" over the OpenDS project. From his telling of the story I'd agree with him. It seems that someone at Sun has made a bad decision on how to handle this project once many of the key members of the community were laid off when Sun's Directory Engineering effort moved to France. I haven't seen any type of response from Sun. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Some of the recent halo Sun has is due to it's efforts in open source. A blunder like this could really tarnish what their executives are trying to accomplish.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tripit

I've been using Tripit for a few months and it's made collecting all the details of my business and pleasure trips as simple as forwarding an email message. The problem with booking your own plans is that as you make reservations online, the number of emails you have to collect and keep track of grows linearly with the number of reservations. Of course, using Gmail to tag those emails in one place and get them out of your inbox works great for personal organization but sharing those plans with spouses or travel companions is difficult. That's where Tripit comes in. You forward all of those emails to Tripit and it parses them, collects them, adds data from other sites like Flickr, weather.com, Google Maps, etc., and combines it all into a useful online itinerary that you can share with anyone. As you plans increase in complexity Tripit becomes more useful because it gives you one chronological web page where you can add notes, more plans, and photos. I'm impressed with the service and it's quickly replacing Dopplr as the site I use to track my travel plans. Why because Tripit takes my data and beyond allowing me to share it, Tripit adds value to the data. e.g. I no longer have to lookup the weather for my destination because Tripit automatically adds the forecast data for every day of my trip right there with my travel plans. It seems trivial but with this approach they could pull data from any web service for my location and give me city guides, photos, travel hints, news, etc. This is the kind of added value I want from a service. Granted I have more friends on Dopplr but considering the personal utility that I get out of Tripit. I think more people might see there way over to Tripit. One downside to Tripit is that unlike Dopplr, they don't have a Facebook app. I don't share trips with just anyone but my Facebook friends might want to see where I'm headed. So for now I'm doing a bit of double entry. So while Dopplr might help me find friends when traveling to certain destinations, Tripit has some features that travelers can leverage to make travel easier and over time will replace Dopplr if the folks there don't play a bit of catch up. I for one am interested to see how competition shapes this space.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Does Facebook Scale?

Does Facebook scale? If it does why do so many people tend to declare FB invite bankruptcy? The latest is Tim Bray who in a Twitter message just relayed that he'd batch deleting the volume of invites he's getting every day. I really think that social network sites really need to fix this problem. There has to be a higher bar set for invites getting through to you. Just like I don't accept all solicitations for interaction as I walk down a busy city street, social networking sites have to make it easier for me to filter such invites. Not that I have the same problem as Mr. Bray but it could start to happen to anyone. Maybe some manner of sorting solicited and unsolicited invites or somehow making the system automatically prioritize symmetric invite requests is really more appropriate. If I invite you and you invite me the odds are we are really trying to make contact. Shouldn't that interaction receive priority? I think it should. I think the bar for social network linking should be higher than say sending email. Anyone can send me an email as long as they know my address. I'm not sure I want to link in someone into my social network just because they know how to find me. There has to be some inherent value to the link or it really means nothing. Maybe fan is the lowest value of the edge connecting two people in the social graph?

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