Tag Archives: Internet

OpenID

I have been trying to understand the thoughts behind OpenID again, and had a hard time doing so. I used it a few times in 2007 and then forgot all about it. What is again the benefit of using a third party identity provider to log into sites?

Of course it gives site owners and readers a good proof of identity, it is supposed to be convenient as you can log into many sites with the same identity (so no need for different passwords), and since it doesn’t hand over passwords it can be considered to lower the risk of identity-theft on those sites.

One can use an own domain (should be easy to remember!) as an username to OpenID, if you add two lines of code to your sites template, redirecting it to an OpenID provider -such as Google, Yahoo, Flickr, WordPress.com etc.

Besides that there are services helping to maintain your OpenID, like myopenid.com or myid.net.

There are some though that argue that it is too much work to support OpenID on there sites.

I personally use a password manager, like for example Keepass, and can thus use a lot of different passwords and, if I want, usernames. If a site gets hacked, I will loose just one password to one site.

OpenID gives me the benefit of one username for many sites – it is my userID, so I can always have my own username – but I am not sure if I always want that. I could have different profiles with OpenID, or even different OpenID’s, but that, in the end, beats its purpose.

I don’t like though, that I am sometimes required to log into a site to comment or even to join, using a third party. Without a Facebook account I can’t join Spotify, or comment on TechCrunch. (though I can log in there with Yahoo!, AOL or hotmail – neither of which I use). I would prefer an open ID.

See also: http://twit.tv/twig47

Wikipedia thoughts

I looked up the word Lucifer on Wikipedia and read a Danish page that explained me that it is the name of a roman god and that it later was used in, for example, the Bibel to describe the planet Venus. In the late middle-ages it became a synonym for the devil.
The link to the Dutch version of that page leads to “Lucifer (Satan)” with no mention of the roman predecessor or a planet. In the overview-page of all articles in Dutch containing Lucifer there were many options (popband, novel, satan etc.) but non about the roman god. There was a one sentence mention (not a page) about Lucifer being “an old Latin name for the planet Venus”.

It irritates me that a general article in Danish about the name Lucifer is linked to a Dutch article about the devil, without mentioning any roman predecessors. This is in my opinion another small sign about the Dutch society still being so entangled in christianty that it misforms history. There are many prechristian traditions, names and stories that were transformed at one point in history to fit into christianity, and I think that it is our duty to at least inform each other that there actually was life before that.

The English Wikipedia page refers briefly to the name being a latin word given to the planet Venus and at the bottom of the page it links to an article about the ancient Greek god Eosphoros. They also mention the use of the name Lucifer or the interpretation of it in other beliefs than Christianity.

I do not know how to make a remark about this on the Dutch Wikipedia pages – I might have to read the Wikipedia introduction first.

Are we really getting more stupid?

Some people argue that there are too many easy distractions in our time. That we are seduced by an bombardment of entertainment on television, the internet and even in books and newspapers. Because of our acceptance of this mostly shallow entertainment we get less interested in more complicated issues, we don’t take the time to indulge into matters that take more than a minute to get into terms with.
The internet is to blaim, and commercialisation of just about everything around us.

I think that there is a great deal of truth in the argument, and yet I am unsure.

People have always looked for easy entertainment, from listening to the gossiping neighbour to reading cheap love- or supermanstories. The majority of people have always been oblivious to the more profound thoughts of their time.
The biggest change over the last decennia has been the growing accessibility of both the producing and receiving means of public information for a much larger age group. This means that we moved from a intellectual culture that was made by and aimed at persons of at least 25 years of age, to a culture where the participants are between 1 and 101 years old. It was for example not possible some 10 to 20 years ago to read thousands of articles, blogposts, comments and opinions by 12 to 20 year old people from all over the world.

Today’s technology makes every kind of information easily available to everybody and we can all ventilate our opinion in many ways. We are free to choose whatever tv-channel we want and we can read exactly what we want the truth to be in the many articles on the internet, not just what we are supposed to read or listen to.
The level of genuine interest in the more evolved and intelligent culture might still be the same, but it got company with the explosive growth of other interest groups.
Bookshops truly start selling to the masses, libraries change ideology, newspapers get even more shallow. Yes, but one could also say: The truth is coming out. We are what we are. Some of us read great literature, most of us read detective stories.
Should we worry about this or should we be happy that our real interest is visible now?
We have the choice to be critical, the freedom to make up our own mind, and make decisions about what we want to read, see or listen to.

Because that is what we need to do in our times of information overflow. We have to restrict ourselves to the things that really matter to us. A huge task indeed, as it is very easy to get seduced by unnecessary information, but what truly matters is available too, in large quantities. You just have to want to find it.

(Picture by Flickr user chuckyeager)

Limited Sources

There are texts on the internet that are so stupid that they irritate. Maybe we have too many voices. Many are screaming and trying to sound wise and some, probably to attract readers, abandon good sense or judgement.
I wish there was a method to exclude rubbish from good things. I suppose there is only one way: discipline in judging for yourself what you want to spent your time on .
I’d like to organize my attention in a way that is just like the best way to watch television: Check what programs will be shown before you turn on the television and decide what (if) you want to watch.
For the internet world that might be translated into: Keep your feedreader clean and healthy, limit the number of subscriptions as good as you can and be very aware if you surf outside it.

(Original spark: Peter Englund – Nyårslöfte).

LibraryThing

I spent some time discovering LibraryThing. It was a pleasant surprised to notice how serious the site appears to be. It seems to attract older people who don’t mind some social activity but prefer to do so “without meeting people”.

It basically is a good site to make a list of the books you own and get information about the writer, pictures of book covers, list of other books written by the writer, recommended books that you might like etc. The site links to many large bookshops (including Amazon of course) and many libraries, giving quick access to the details of just about any book in the world. The first 200 books you enter to your collection on the site are for free, after that an annual or a lifetime fee (25 USD) is required.

I started out by adding a few books that I just read, and who knows maybe one day I might pass that 200 books mark. It is fulfilling to think of all the data you can get from your reading habits, probably because it makes you feel that it really represents who you are. When we were teenagers many of us played our music loud to show the world what kind of cool guy/girl we were. That doesn’t really work anymore when you discover that wearing that extra earring doesn’t really make you look smarter, and that to many people it might actually be a sign that “things are not quiet developed up there”. So we middle-aged people try it with books. “I read Socrates” so that makes me smart; “I have more than a thousand books in my library,so don’t you tell me where to buy bread!”

It will take a while for us older people to discover that it is just as silly as writing “Red Hot Chilli Peppers” on your school bag. But until then i’ll fill out the books I read, tag and order them and compare my library with others to see how I am doing. “I’ve got The Poverty of Philosophy by Karl Marx, anyone else who is just as intellectual as me?”.

Welcome to the Internet

I read in the The Writer’s Handbook 2008 the article The Globalisation of Poetry by Chris Hamilton-Emery about the world of poetry but found it confusing as a lot of articles can be these days when dealing with the new situation after the internet got as popular as it is now. The writer seemed to have a very chaotic view of it all, apparently feeling that a lot is lost and going down (tradition, unions, order) and that there on the other hand now are overwhelming possibilities that one should get involved in and deal with in order to get the most out of it. I didn’t read much about a natural flow of wanting to get things out and interact or a simple joy for the possibilities and an eagerness to learn.
On the other hand I don’t know the classical, pre-internet structure of building an audience, publishing or getting published, so I don’t miss it and it therefore doesn’t bother me if it would disappear or diminish.
Personally I don’t think that much has changed, there are more possibilities but that is not per definition entirely positive. It is up to the individual to make the best out of the situation. In the end one just has to write good and interesting stuff and try to get it out somehow. Who knows what can happen from there. Just like in the old days.