OpenID and Gravatars

… also known as – please don’t make me fill out those same 6 fields to get into your website!

A few weeks ago I gave an MHVLUG talk on Ruby on Rails.  At the normal dinner outing afterwards one of our members was talking about maybe creating a small rails application where people could share and publish the podcasts they listen to, which I think is a great idea.  (Hopefully they’ll work on it at our web-hack-a-thon.)  But that lead into the inevitable issue of “user accounts”.

Man, I hate having more user accounts.  And if we are going to do this project, I really didn’t want everyone in the LUG to have to have another one.  So I resolved to see what I could do about reusing the MHVLUG accounts in an external way.  It’s actually pretty easy as there is a Mediawiki OpenID extension which lets you go both ways.  You can enable OpenID logins to the wiki, and make people’s user pages OpenID providers.  Rails has a very good openid plugin (plus it’s integrated as part of the restful-authentication-tutorial) so that would make it trivial to write an application that people can log in using their MHVLUG password (the id will be a bit different, but that’s explainable).  While Facebook and Google are still dragging their feet a bit here, Yahoo, AOL, and are all on the bandwagon, so many people already have these ids, they just don’t know it.

That got me following a few threads on OpenID, and looking at WordPress.  It turns out that WordPress also has a good OpenID plugin.  What’s quite interesting about that plugin is that it can make a wordpress instance the OpenID provider for 1 of the WordPress users.  So if you have a personal blog, it means you can now very easily be your own OpenID.  Being able to login in as is quite convenient.

Lastly, I wanted to throw something in about gravatars.  You know how everyone wants you to upload your picture to their website?  Stop the madness!  Gravatars are just keyed off your email address, so if an site has that, they can look you up, and get your profile pic from the gravatar folks.  Newer wordpress templates automatically integrate this.  I did minor adjustment to my template to get this support in there.  I’ve sworn now that is the last people I’m ever uploading a picture for, and that’s just because it’s hard to find complete strangers in a dinner without photos.  Again, there is a good rails plugin for this, so it’s pretty trivial to integrate if you are doing a Ruby on Rails application.

So, if you are a web2.0 hipster, and thinking about making a new service, please don’t make me create a new account, because, honestly, that’s getting close to being a deal breaker for me at this point.  And if you want my picture, the gravatar people have it.  I’m not uploading it for you again. 🙂

Facebook whack-a-mole

I have to admit, some of my more enjoyable time wasting on facebook comes from the “you might know” whack-a-mole.  Because if you decline people there it pops up new suggestions live.  Most of the time these people are in seperate social groups who I happen to have a few friends in, though some times I scratch my head about some of the people it thinks I should know, like people that I had no overlapping years with at college and no shared friends.  And, typically ever time I whack-a-mole long enough it finally pops up someone that I would like to add to my friend list.

OpenSim Planet Updates

I made a couple of updates in the last week on the OpenSim Planet.  First of, I’m more strictly trying to only pull in the “opensim” tag by various blogs.  This helps keep the planet more on topic.  This pruned out some of the posts that were listed on here previously.  I tried to make it a bit more clear how to contact me, and that I really only want “opensim” tags.

We also got a few new blogs up there including most recently the rezzable blog.  Some good stuff there.

I also decided that the previous 60 entries on the front page was getting a bit out of control, so now that there is plenty of content coming in, the planet will only provide the last 14 days worth of items.  That seems a bit more sane.

I’m also going to try inserting the Delicious blog stream for the opensim tag.  Please let me know if you like it or not.  I’m on the fence right now, but it does seem to surface some things that don’t surface otherwise.