Wednesday, 03 September 2008
As is the case with more and more technology in the modern age, it's when you start to combine the power of two or more technologies that you realize the full potential of each. Such is the case with Microsoft's Unified Communications products. Sure, Exchange and Office Communication Server are both great on their own, but when you use them together (and potentially integrate with your VoIP phone system), you realize the greater value of your investments.

Jeff Goodwin works at The VIA Group, where he specializes in Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Unified Communications in his position as Senior Technologist and Microsoft Practice Lead. He's executed a large number of UC projects for businesses, so we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Jeff recently on RunAs Radio. He does a fine job of explaining what unified communications is all about.
Jeff Goodwin Rings Us Into Unified Communications
RunAs Radio Show #73 - 9/3/2008 (35 minutes)

Richard and I talked to Jeff Goodwin about Microsoft Unified Communications in this week's RunAs Radio show. Jeff lays out the relationship between Exchange, Office Communicator and Unified Messaging Server to combine email, telephone and instant messaging. Check out Jeff's TechNet articles at and

RunAs Radio is a weekly Internet-audio talk show for IT Professionals presented in a high-quality podcast format. Since April 2007 RunAs Radio has brought experts in the field of IT to its 10,000+ listeners, to inform and entertain. Professionally produced interviews are about 30 minutes in length and pack a substantial amount of information for maximum benefit. For more information about RunAs Radio, visit RunAs Radio is available on iTunes and the Zune Marketplace, as well as directly from the RunAs Radio web site.

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RunAs Radio | Tech
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 16:32:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 02 September 2008
Chrome has been available for about 12 hours. What's your point of view and experience with Google's new browser?

A bit of a simplistic poll, I know - But covers the bases as far as hot-to-cold opinions. Choose the one that's closest to yours, and feel free to comment as always.

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Tuesday, 02 September 2008 20:57:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 01 September 2008

UPDATED: Chrome is now out and available for Windows, other platforms coming in the future - Check out

As mentioned earlier here and everywhere else on the 'net, Google's Chrome web browser is coming. Today Google put an official release notice on its Official Google Blog, and they tell us it will be made available for you and me to download and try on Tuesday.

Over at Google Blogoscoped there's a whole bunch of screen shots you can check out if you can't wait until tomorrow. Screen shots are a bit hard to come by today, but tomorrow it'll be in-person for everyone, and you can probably imagine how many people will be posting pictures and writing about the new browser.

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Monday, 01 September 2008 17:29:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Google seeded a paper comic book to some people recently, to present and describe their future web browser (or you might just think of it as the web browser of the future), which is called Google Browser or Chrome.

So, what's the story? Making the browser more stable, more usable, more secure. At first glance, it looks like a strong starting point for the future of Internet browsers. Written from the ground-up from scratch and with the experience of several years of past browser platforms to learn from, Google has addressed many of the main concerns in today's browsers.

Now the only question is: When will we get it? I will be watching here to see if something shows up. Hopefully it's soon!

UPDATE: The release date is tomorrow (Tuesday, September 2, 2008) - More info and link to screenshots here.

A variety of technologies are incorporated into the Chrome design that improve on common browser weaknesses. The key improvements fall into the areas of stability (memory allocation and management, process management), some incredibly cool javascript environment enhancements (in the form of a new, open-source javascript engine), a bunch of user experience improvements and significant security changes.

And, it's all open source. That's right - Anyone (including other browser makers) can leverage the work done in the Chrome project and can contribute or modify to meet their own needs. Good move, Google.

Pretty exciting stuff. It will be fun to see what comes next, and when.

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Monday, 01 September 2008 10:57:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 29 August 2008

As mentioned the other day, LinkedIn today released their new Groups features. Groups are one of the most popular features on LinkedIn, despite the limited feature-functionality provided for groups on the web site in the past.

The new features include a searchable contacts roster (search by name, company, or other keywords such as specific areas of expertise), which is accessible to all members; and discussions with email-digest notifications (which are configurable by individual group members). A few screen clips of the new functionality are shown below, and LinkedIn has published an informational page describing the new functionality.

Notification when you sign in that your managed group now has new features:

The new tabs available reflect the new functionality:

Choose your notification email delivery preferences for discussions:

Write a new discussion topic for the group:

Recent discussions list:

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Friday, 29 August 2008 01:08:33 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Vidoop Labs has a dream:

The dream is to see Identity baked into all browsers. Just imagine opening your web browser and then selecting your Identity Provider (IDP) the way you select your default search provider. The benefits are numerous; never type in a username, never look for a login button/page (you are authenticated when you land on a domain), no phishing/MITM (the browser can do domain and SSL cert validation). You fire up your browser and authenticate (or login) similar to the way you log in to your computer every time you turn it on. The difference is you get to choose your provider and can take control of the data you safeguard, store and share on the Internet.

I could get into that.

Vidoop is a Portland, Oregon company that has built some interesting technology around OpenID. I really like the idea of OpenID, and I have a couple OpenIDs of my own that I use on various sites. But OpenID is not exactly perfect. It's still relatively young, and from the usability standpoint it needs improvement. The identity and authentication requirements of the modern Internet demand some additional features and capabilities that OpenID doesn't deliver (and you can argue that it shouldn't). By combining openID with other technologies (such as Information Cards and other strong-auth offerings) and improving usability for end-users, it could become a widely-adopted, used and trusted standard, or part of a broader one covering strong authentication and identity protection/assertion in a commonly-accepted and deployed package.

Vidoop's Luke Sontag today posted an announcement that the company's newly-formed Vidoop Labs has fired up a community project called IDIB (pronounced "Eye-Dib"), which aims to improve on the OpenID usability model and make it stronger at the same time. They've released a developer preview of IDIB in hopes of involving people and getting your input and feedback.

From the Vidoop announcement:

Over the past few years we’ve seen the adoption of OpenID continue to increase but the work that we’ve done as a community to develop this technology has only just begun. Looking at the landscape of OpenID adoption, its clear that there are several key factors inhibiting adoption, but two that we want to focus on today, namely usability and security in the browser.

It was almost two years ago when the Firefox 3.0 roadmap was
announced and OpenID was mentioned as a new component to the platform. The Mozilla Firefox team looked to members of the OpenID community to step up and provide guidance on what exactly we imagined identity in the browser looking like, but we failed to mobilize and answer their call.

In light of that missed opportunity,
Vidoop Labs has been working hard over the last several weeks to produce a prototype that we intend to use to initiate a wider discussion about OpenID in the browser and what it might look like.

And the current developer preview (which is open-source) is just a beginning. Imagine leveraging Information Cards (such as one would use with Microsoft's CardSpace, or the similar open-source offerings for Mac and Linux) in the cloud, and being able to use OpenID - one logon for all your web sites - confidently, securely and with proper security protection.

The Internet needs a good, strong, reliable, usable and secure standard technology to solve the issues related to user names, passwords, single sign on and identity protection. IDIB looks like a serious and positive attempt to start the journey directly down that path.

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IT Security | Tech
Thursday, 28 August 2008 23:18:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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