Thursday Dec 24, 2009

Hyper-Connected Christmas Eve

A great tradition of our family is to gather at the kitchen table after Christmas Eve festivities, drink hot chocolate and talk with each other. As we did so this year, we suddenly realized that we were all connected to the Internet, interacting on Facebook, Twitter and blogs using a variety of devices – extending our Christmas Eve chatter to people far removed from our physical home. Not shown in this photo are my iPhone and the desktop computer on the kitchen desk behind me as I was taking the photo.  Just another example of how technology has changed and enriched our lives. 

With sincere apologies to Holly for a very unflattering photo!

Hyper-connected Christmas Eve

Wednesday Dec 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Dixon Family

A Christmas Card from our family to yours. May you have a happy holiday season and wonderful new year!

Christmas2009

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Sunday Mar 29, 2009

My Birthday Kindle!

My dear wife give me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday today! What an enjoyable little device! I am looking forward to loading it up with books and reducing the weight of my briefcase a bit. Plus, I'm experimenting with the basic wireless web access it provides and have some interesting ideas on how it will help me in more ways than just being a cool reading device.

my birthday Kindle

Thanks again, Claudia!


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Wednesday Mar 18, 2009

Meet Baby Olivia

Please let me introduce Olivia, the newest member of the Mark and Claudia Dixon clan. She is our eighth wonderful grandchild, but is clearly number one in the eyes of her proud sister Chloe.

Chloe and Olivia


Chloe and Olivia


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Tuesday Mar 03, 2009

links for 2009-03-04

Wednesday Dec 17, 2008

Identity Deserves our Best

In his NetworkWorld Identity column today, Dave Kearns quotes Ping Identity CEO Andre Durand speaking about the Golden Guardian comic strip. I particularly like Andre's comments about "life, energy and passion":

"I believe we're at an important juncture in our industry, one that will require everyone do their part. If we fail, we could become like so many other industries where life, energy and passion have left, and all that is left is apathy. Identity is so important, it deserves our best.
Yes, Identity is important.  It does deserve our best.  This industry impacts so many facets of our professional and personal lives.  The threats to privacy and security are real.  But the benefits for successful Identity management implementation are also real.  It is a great time to be involved.

Thanks, Andre, for your profound words.  Thanks, Dave, for sharing these thoughts with us.


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Saturday Sep 13, 2008

Managing My Identity on chi.mp

I recently received an alpha test invitation from chi.mp to try out their new service: "The dashboard for your digital life," which offers "The simple way to manage your online life, on a domain of your very own." 

So, I established my own domain, "markdixon.mp," populated my profile with links to the social networking sites I frequent (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), my blogs and websites, and the instant messaging services I use.  This site allows me to provide some measure of integration among the different facets of my Internet presence, and gives me quite a bit of flexibility in exposing which details of my Identity I believe to be appropriate.

By coincidence, I met Tony Haile, the chi.mp Chief Strategy Officer, at Digital ID World earlier this week.  He has interesting perspectives to share in the DIDW session, "How Social Web will change Identity Management."  It appears that Tony and the DIDW crew are making an important contribution to this change by offering steps forward in Identity integration and personal control.

Please take a look at my chi.mp profile and let me know what you think.  I'll keep you updated as this experiment proceeds.

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Thursday Sep 11, 2008

OpenSSO on Weblogic on Mac

OpenSSO Master Shesh Kondi blogged earlier this week about how he successfully built an OpenSSO demo using WebLogic 10 on his Mac. He gives the disclaimer "THIS IS FOR DEMO PURPOSES ONLY !", but offers a complete list of instructions in his post.

This illustrates both Shesh's technical prowess and the flexibility of OpenSSO to run in many environments.

Thanks, Shesh for sharing what you learned!


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Wednesday Sep 10, 2008

May We Always Remember

As I listen to an ongoing television report recounting the events of September 11, 2001, the vivid memories from seven years ago come flooding back. May we always remember those whose lives were taken away that day. May we always remember the honor of living in this great nation of the United States of America.




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Tuesday Sep 09, 2008

Linux and Macintosh Mashup

When my colleague Brad Diggs gave an excellent presentation today about server and desktop virtualization, I got a kick out of his Macbook background, honoring the fact that he was running Linux on his Mac. This photo is an excerpt from the background he downloaded from the Tux'n'Tosh website, which itself is an entertaining little piece of work. Tux'n'Tosh was created "as a small gift to all Linux and Mac users."

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Thursday Sep 04, 2008

Accommodating Murphy's Law

A recent blog comment exchange with Sun colleague Melanie Gao on The Value of Integration Testing reminded me that not all encounters with Murphy's Law must turn out badly in the long run. Sometimes, a worst-case scenario can become the best case ...

Many years ago when we lived in American Fork, Utah, we ordered a custom sectional sofa for our basement family room. Only when it arrived did we find that it was too big to fit down the stairs and turn the corner into the room!

So, we tore out the offending wall ... and liked the look so much we retained the open area we had created to get the couch into the room!

American Fork Couch

This photo of the couch was taken from the place where we removed the wall. I couldn't find a photo of the cut-out wall itself.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since this old photo. Three of the kids whose Christmas stockings are shown now celebrate Christmas with little kids of their own!

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Thursday Aug 28, 2008

WebSynergy

I met Sun colleague James Falkner for the first time on the phone yesterday and had a good chat about his work with Project WebSynergy, an initiative within the OpenPortal project. Coincidentally, it was just announced Wednesday that Project WebSynergy Stable Build 2 is now available for download:

"In May of this year, Sun and Liferay announced a partnership to jointly develop next generation enterprise portal technology. The Sun portal team has since begun the rollout of "Project WebSynergy," codename for the initiative to release a product based on this common technology.

"The Project WebSynergy team is now proud to make its Stable Build 2 available for download! This release represents a significant milestone for the project, incorporating a number of new features, improvements, and a general enhancements over the last stable build."


It is encouraging to see the innovation occurring as bright Sun people team with bright folks at Liferay to build a remarkable solution. I look forward to some more exciting stuff coming down the pike.



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Tuesday Aug 19, 2008

Identity Driving the Future

I participated in a fascinating meeting this afternoon held at the MIT Media Lab under the direction of Dazza Greenwood, who saw my Twitter post on Facebook this morning at 2am when I touched down in Boston and immediately sent me an invitation to join an Identity-focused design session while I was in town.

We in the computer industry tend to think of Digital Identity as purely related to computer systems and software. But the folks I met with at MIT are exploring how Identity can determine how vehicles designed within MIT's Smart Cities project will be personally configured and securely authorized for use. These compact, folding CityCar vehicles are designed for use within a shared-use concept similar to the shared bicycle system in Paris.


Just imagine approaching one of these little beauties. The car immediate knows who you are and whether you are authorized to use it. Then, the car is automatically configured specifically for you - seat position, driving characteristics, handling modes and even color!


You might enjoy, as I did, taking a look at a couple of videos about the vehicles being developed under this program by MIT:


As you wrap your mind around these stimulating concepts, consider a challenge from one of the meeting participants regarding Digital Identity (paraphrased): "We must think about Identity beyond the desktop, about how it applies tol other things we have in our personal and business lives."

It's going to be a great ride!

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Thursday Aug 14, 2008

Tim Russert: Wisdom at Starbucks

I noticed the following statement by Tim Russert on my colleague's Starbucks cup this morning:

"You can shower a child with presents or money, but what do they really mean, compared to the most valuable gift of all - your time? Vacations and special events are nice, but so often the best moments are spontaneous ones. Being there. Every moment you spend with your child could be the one that really matters."

-- Tim Russert, former host of NBC's Meet the Press and author of Wisdom of our Fathers.

The great irony of this thoughtful perspective is that Tim Russert didn't realize when he penned such sage advice that his time would run out early. His untimely death at the age of 58 should remind us all that time with our children is precious - really precious - and that life is ever so fragile.

I find this particularly poignant as I pen this post from a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, over 1,800 miles from home. I did talk to my 14-year old daughter on the phone today and exchanged some text messages with her. But it's not quite like being there.

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Wednesday Aug 13, 2008

Cell Phone Towers and Manure Piles

How do you measure progress? "By counting cell phone towers and manure piles," my Dad suggested.

A little background is in order ...

I grew up on a small dairy farm in southern Idaho. The largest herd we every had was about 75 cows, which seemed like a big bunch of black and white Holsteins to me - especially when I had to milk them all.

Back in those days, we hadn't even heard of cell phones. Our telephone was a black dial phone that hung on the kitchen wall. Each local call was limited to only 7 minutes, much to the chagrin of my sisters. Long distance calls were far too expensive to use except in dire emergencies.

But in the last 20 years, some interesting changes have come to the Snake River area of southern Idaho. Many enterprising dairy farmers sold their operations in the Los Angeles area to land developers, reaping huge profits. Swimming in newly-found money, many of these folks relocated to Idaho, building large, modern dairy operations and nice homes near Jerome, Idaho, where my parents still live.

These big dairies, with thousands of milk cows, dwarf the little dairy operation Dad ran when I was a kid. This influx of money and cows has brought a new level of prosperity to Jerome. Huge milk processing plants have been constructed to make cheese and other products from all the milk produced by those Holstein cows. Big trucking operations have emerged to transport both the raw milk and finished products. Lot's of folks (mostly Spanish speaking for some reason) are employed to milk the cows.

But alas, with all the milk and prosperity came the inevitable manure piles. Huge, smelly manure piles. It seems that all the hay the cows eat is not converted completely to milk.

During this same period, all dairymen (and everyone else) began using cell phones, with all the great benefits we enjoy. But, just like milk cows produce manure, the telecommuncations industry produces cell phone towers - an absolutely necessary, but somewhat unsightly byproduct of progress. My Dad once remarked that southern Idaho had as many cell towers as manure piles - and the numbers of both were growing rapidly!

Well, Dad has a tendency toward the superlative, but he has a point. Southern Idaho got both the benefit of the growing dairly industry (more cows, more milk, better economy) but also picked up the challenge of dealing with all that manure.

With mobile phones, we get the convenience of personal communications, but have to put up with cell phone towers.

As a mentor once told me, "When you pick up one end of the stick, you always pick up the other end as well." Consequences, like manure, just happen.

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About

Discovering Identity was founded on blogs.sun.com in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at DiscoveringIdentity.com. In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

Thanks for stopping by.

Please connect with me in cyberspace at LinkedIn or Twitter.


The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Oracle Corporation, or any other person or organization.

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