VRM Update and Overview, May 2008

VRM Overview, May 2008
Headed down to Mountain View for the Internet Identity Workshop, which starts today.  Looking forward to both catching up with a number of old friends, as well as having some great conversation with a number of new ones.

I’ll be doing a quick overview of VRM this afternoon.  Click either on the thumbnail over on the right or the embedded slides below to see my slides.

Seeya soon.

The Cuckoo

I have a strong positive predisposition to rational contrarians, and generally like those who use a combination of fact and story to challenge the current status quo.  So, I was very much taken with Alec Muffet’s most recent post regarding how we handle the concept of "identity" as is spans both the offline and online worlds.  Alec self-describes his work thusly:

"This is not a white paper. This is an opinion-piece, possibly a
polemic. In it I expound what I believe rather than making an argument
for you to believe it too

I’ll do the 100-word version here, but you really, really need to read the original source piece, entitled "Hankering for a World Without ‘Identity’ or ‘Federation.’"

Alec makes the following key points:

  • We need to be able to control our own identity and related authority, and not be compelled through legal or market means to outsource those tasks to a third party
  • There may be other means than the "certificate authorized by a higher power" (e.g. a driver’s license) to verify one’s ability to do something — we may be able to prove our capabilities at "time of need" (think about CAPTCHAs or field-sobriety tests)
  • One alternative to "credentialling" is relationship-building.  If you have a trusted relationship over time, you don’t need any "credentials" issued by a third party…the relationship itself is the credential
  • If someone has the tools to manage his or her relationships and those tools are under an individual’s control, we may have the basis for what is a new and, perhaps, better way to solve this problem

While there is quite a bit of valid side-bar conversation regarding whether Alec perhaps erroneously lumps some current technical identity efforts with historical lead zeppelins such as Microsoft Passport, the whole piece is worth a thoughtful read, as it challenges some very fundamental human/Western processes on how, and perhaps more importantly when, we prove someone has the credentials they require.

Go check it out.

photo credit: CaptPiper

Red:Green Cards: Instant Conference Speaker Feedback for iPhone

  Red:Green Cards 
  Originally uploaded by christophercarfi.

A couple of years ago, Jerry Michalski introduced a number of people to the concept of "Red:Green Cards," which are described thusly:

Ever wish you could talk back
to the speaker at a conference?
To offer approval
or register dismay?

Use RedGreen feedback cards.

I found the concept to be absolutely fantastic.  It was a clear, yet unobtrusive, way to bring the audience into a conversation, without having to disrupt the flow of a thought and without having to deal with those little voting clicker boxes or microphones.  It was possible to achieve this goal without any kind of intrusive hardware at all, actually.

Red:Green cards are a wonderfully elegant way for an audience to give respectful feedback in real time.

At the iPhoneDevCamp last year, Biggu built a prototype of the Red:Green voting concept for iPhone.  However, it appears that their implementation has been taken down or is no longer working.  (The site was throwing errors the last I checked.)

So, we (re)built the Red:Green iPhone app from scratch.  You can find it here:


uses the Mobile Safari orientation hacks from the Apple code samples,
so it only works on the iPhone.  If you go there from a desktop
browser, it’ll just show a blank page.

Of course…

– Concept inspiration from Jerry Michalski.
– Code inspiration from Nicole Lazzaro and the TILT iPhone game.
– Implementation adapted from the Apple iPhoneOrientation sample.
– Address bar hiding hack from Christopher Allen.


By the way…the other fun iPhone-related thing we just did was to create an
iPhone-friendly network/directory of female political bloggers.  Currently,
there are over 100 bloggers listed from all sides of the aisle.  Here
are the coordinates if you are so inclined:

iPhone-based directory of political bloggers: http://blogher.com/politics/
Back story: http://tinyurl.com/5hob7wHer

Red:Green iPhone App

Here’s a link to a video of the Red:Green iPhone app in action