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    The Bungee Line was an audio podcast for web developers, covering web API's, software development, and the creation of richly interactive web applications.

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Launching code.mozy.com


Since my start at Mozy in September, 2009, one of the internal programs in which I quickly took interest was Mozy Labs. Labs’ main champion was a former Google intern named JT Olds, who had witnessed directly the power of allowing engineers free time for innovation and wanted that for Mozy. After several months, Labs had spawned numerous projects, some of which are now on their way to becoming features for Mozy customers. But a few of the projects addressed lower-level needs in the Mozy service–such as helping Mozy handle massive storage (currently 50 petabytes) scale and data transfer demands. The Labs’ projects in this domain end up help us to serve our customers better, but are entirely the domain of deep-think developers. Nevertheless, the developers driving such projects want to share with others who would appreciate their innovations.

After several months of quiet preparations and effort,  we now have a way for those developers to do exactly that. Today, Mozy launched code.mozy.com, a site on which we can host free and open source software projects.

Related Resources

[updated 10/26]

Microsoft: Still Breathtakingly Evil (a rant)


Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.
— A. Guthrie

With the age of the netbook upon us, I can finally retire Heidi’s decrepit Dell laptop and get her a system that works perfectly for her needs. I found a sweet little Lenovo S10-2 that met her top requirements perfectly: It’s pink, and it has cute little flowers on it.

Knowing that I will be the person to support it, I read the spec carefully. Everything looks to be in order, but it comes with Windows 7 “Starter” thing. Uh oh. I’ve seen ominous naming like this before.

But how bad could Microsoft be? Surely in this age of increasing Linux love (Ubuntu Netbook Remix!) and Apple’s rapidly approaching eclipse of Microsoft’s market cap, pressure from above and below has squeezed the folks in Redmond enough to understand that how they do business has its costs, right? Nope.

SindowsOn Amazon, reviewers of this netbook reveal that some evil genius at Microsoft crippled this “Starter” edition. You can’t even change the wallpaper. Further research revealed Starter to have a numerous other You-Can’ts. They apparently changed the original idiotic 3-app-limit, an idea for which its originator should be publicly cannibalized.

Surely, they limited the OS to economize on disk space, right? Nope. They have this “Windows Anytime Upgrade” thing that allows you to instantly unlock all the capabilities that don’t work in starter. The bits are all there on your disk…you just can’t use them! Microsoft’s entire fat ass operating system is using up disk space so that they can sell you stuff, and that stuff is standard capabilities we expect from a computer operating system.

Where have we seen such temerity before? Credit card companies, who bury their terms and conditions deep in multiple pages of fine print, knowing that most people won’t read the fine print, and have little hope of understanding it. Mobile carrier, that refused to provide us with a simple display to show you how many minutes remaining each month. Or, Internet providers re-defining “unlimited” bandwidth as, well, limited.

Is comparing Microsoft to industries that have instilled self doubt in Satan himself (“Maybe I’m just not that good at this Prince of Darkness stuff,” he says, sweeping one of his scarlet hooves across the floor) perhaps going to far? Nope.

The Truth about Innovation Patterns


In “The Truth about Mobile Application Stores,” ReadWriteWeb’s Sarah Perez calls out several slides from Distimo’s MWC presentation about app stores. The short of it: Apple/iPhone leads by far; Google Android comes in a distant second (but growing fast); Blackberry and the others lag at the edge of irrelevancy.

It’s fascinating to compare and contrast Apple and Google in this context. Their approaches are both so different.

Apple has a first-up innovator’s edge over all the other players. They are vehemently proprietary, fanatical about UX, and notorious about privacy. Re-order the adverbs however you see fit, people still love what they produce.

Google pushes an open, webby agenda. It’s chock full of good will, freedom of information, and the gift economy ethos. Real or ruse, people still love what they produce.

In the post-Microsoft reality, only the absolute best of the proprietary can lead, as Apple demonstrates. The “the wisdom of crowds” crowd follows, quickly gobbling up the Good Enough gap so that everyone else scrambles to stay in place.

So, aspiring tech companies, what fits you best? Do you have the guts to be radically open? Or, do you have the intensity to be fanatically dedicated to quality of user experience to the point that your CEO lives outside of the boardroom and executive bathroom? Or, would you prefer the third option, mediocrity?

Nat Friedman & the Personal Cloud: “Personal data warehouse”


Ximian co-founder and intrepid technologist with SUSE Linux, Nat Friedman recently blogged about a “Personal data warehouse,” stating:

What I want is a giant elastic bit bucket in the cloud, with a powerful search engine on top of it.

He goes on to describe several capabilities that he wants the search capabilities to have, essentially bringing together several disparate services available on the web today–such as face recognition (Polar Rose) and Optical Character Recognition¬† (OCR, the simplest form right now may be Evernote‘s)–in order to make his data imminently accessible and usable.

Nat describes several other aspects, all of which in my view comprise not a single service, but a data platform. This Personal Cloud concept really cannot be delivered well by a single service provider–you don’t want it to be. Once you have your personal data in the cloud, the next step is to have a selection of relevant applications to choose from for helping you to manage your Personal Cloud. That means APIs that allow developers to offer best-of-breed services, such as face recognition, as applications that you can use with your cloud-hosted personal data.

All of that reminds me that I really need to write up a post about the necessity for data owners (you and me as individuals) having ultimate control over who can access our data (and what data they can access).

The Coolness of Clipperz


clipperz logoAnd now…a short recommendation for an under-appreciated service called Clipperz. I use it every day.

Clipperz is an online password manager. It can help you do the following:

  • use different passwords for each site on which you have a login account (if you use the same username/password combo on some new user forum that you use for your online banking, you’re asking to get robbed)
  • generate complex, secure passwords for each account you use
  • sign on to sites quickly with one-click “Direct Logon”

And a lot more…

Even though I am these days mostly using a Mac, and therefore I can use 1Password, Clipperz remains my primary tool for password management. It’s both free of charge, and Free Software. Please check it out.

That’s the main point of this post. Unless you’re interested in Free Software licenses…

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Note Clipperz did not solicit me to post this. I chose to do so after seeing their upcoming “gamma” release. That same preview prompted me to send them $20 as an appreciation for the service they have provided me for the past year.

Free, as in GNU Affero General Public License

I came across Clipperz while I was still at Bungee Labs. I was doing some research on open source licenses, especially the Affero GPL (AGPLv3). I spoke about AGPLv3 in several posts around that time.

Clipperz is a perfect example of a product that should be licensed under AGPLv3. First, open source has big advantages for security-related software so that flaws can be identified and fixed quickly. Second, since Clipperz is essentially Software-as-a-Service, AGPLv3 provides the creators with protection against the SaaS Loophole (that is, someone taking their source code, replicating their service, making improvements, and choosing to keep the source code closed). Third, it means that if you’re the deeply paranoid type who doesn’t trust having someone else host your passwords, you can use the software to host the your own service. And if you have the technical chops for it, you can examine the code and determine whether it meets your standards for security.

Jono Bacon: The Art of Community


If you were great at [online community management], I’d imagine you’d never ever have trouble finding good work.

–Seth Godin
Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer

Consider a few types of communities for which managers are needed:

In my past three roles as a “community guy” of some form or another, I have had a lot of inquiries. “How did you get started doing that?” I’ve always been stuck for an answer better than, “Well, you know, there’s not really any book about it…” (Godin again: “Since there’s no rule book…”)

Until now, you just had to start doing the community thing and learning as you go: from what seems to have worked elsewhere, from peers that you meet along the way, and from trial and many, many errors.

Enter the latest opus of Jono Bacon: The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice).

Jono is the illustrious community manager for Ubuntu, a founder of the late, great podcast LugRadio, and one of my favorite people. Although I may be a veteran community manager myself, Jono’s immense natural talent and passion is something I can only aspire to. I know of no person who puts as much deep thought, positive action, and general blood, sweat and tears into the practice of Community Management.

There is still no paint by numbers guide: every community and every community manager is different. But if you aspire to build a career in community management–are a community manager already–I encourage you to dive in and learn some of the fundamentals.

Open Source for America


Open Source for America logo

If you have not yet looked into Open Source for America (OSA), the advocacy organization recently announced at OSCON, I recommend checking it out.

The recent increased focus on governmental transparency is long overdue. In the 1990’s, we saw a trend in the US toward putting public records online. The trend reversed drastically over the last decade, as new justifications for government secrecy arose. Coinciding with the new US administration, the public is expressing a renewed interest in transparency, with increased attention to Lobby Reform. (In a representative democracy, should it be permissible that elected officials should be able to make secretive backroom policy deals with lobbyists from the tobacco, health insurance or energy industries?)

In the context of open government, the transparency of government technology must also be considered. Free and Open Source Software gets used by government. But when software can be acquired and deployed at no charge, is it going through the same security and other reviews as proprietary software? Conversely, are there times when proprietary software is unacceptable? Consider electronic voting machines. If “We The People” fund the creation of the software ran on these machines, is there any way a vendor can justify not disclosing the source code? I state these observations as questions not to open a discourse about them, but to point out that there are many issues to consider about the role of Free and Open Source Software in government. The establishment of OSA may help shine light on such issues and provide help and guidance to Federal, state and local governments.

To find out what the organization plans to do, I recommend listening to the series of interviews with various OSA board members recently hosted by my good friend Erin Quill (also my former co-presenter on–and now host of–Novell Open Audio).