March 15th, 2008

alt.gothic.special-forces

Who needs a social life anyway?

We had been planning to attend the Inkubbus Sukkubus gig tonight at Electrowerkz but it now looks like I'll have to pass: I'd forgotten the deadline for submitting a RailsConf Europe proposal was looming so guess who'll be working all weekend on that? If goth_twiglet is still in the mood to go then I may skive for a few hours, but a late night is definitely not on the cards!

Still, just spent two hours discussing possibilities with spikyblackcat and we now have a firm idea for an interesting talk - possibly even a tutorial given that it pulls together a lot of our research work in recent years. Last year we presented a cool Hybrid Key Crypto system based on OpenSSL and the various Ruby network protocol objects so this time around we fancy building a realworld application with a bit more emphasis on Rails or Merb. It's not that OpenSSL in Ruby isn't an interesting topic in its own right (and I'm assured that Hybrid Key Infrastructures are über-sexy in the security world) but we'd really like to connect that work more directly to the day-to-day interests of Rails developers.

Hopefully what we have in mind will catch the imagination of the conference committee and we'll be making a return trip to Berlin in September (as usual there's little chance of our being able to pay for tickets, so singing for our supper is our only hope). The theme's a bit hush-hush but let's just say it's a somewhat atypical use of Rails that nicely builds on the latest stuff we're playing with.

Later in the month I've got the UK ENUM Consortium meeting, which will be a good excuse to catch up with a few faces I've not seen in a while. Unfortunately there'll also be a lot of homework involved beforehand as ENUM is really spikyblackcat's territory. My interest is limited to the DNS implementation details and possible applications that can be built to take advantage of the published NAPTR trees, the latter being something of an acquired taste :) Mind you, last year's meeting of the UK ENUM Group was interesting and filled in a lot of the gaps in my knowledge.

There's also a fair chance that this summer I'll be attending my first ever IETF meeting. A lot of the work I've been involved with in recent years has cut across various RFCs and drafts, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all works up close and personal without being affiliated with any of the major groupings. We were expecting that at some point our work would bring us into opposition with the main players in our particular area, but earlier this year a couple of drafts circulated that have made our lives easier and should allow us to do revolutionary stuff whilst still staying inside the current DNS framework. I'm really pleased about this as I'd rather be focusing on technology than politics.

Oh, and of course somewhere in all this I have to find time for job-hunting :)
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alt.gothic.special-forces

Telnic launching .tel this summer?

Well that's the latest according to the grapevine, and a little birdie pointed me to visual designs for the new service. It's much prettier than the unthemed demos I prepared during my time there (I'm definitely no graphic designer) and should be a good starting point for registrars, although the real fun will be when they start writing their own custom provisioning systems.

Even though we've not always shared the same vision of how to achieve it, I still believe dotTel has an opportunity to revolutionise online identity management and lay to rest the many flaws in systems like OpenID. Critics slate them for the time they've spent getting the service ready, but having worked on all of the major technical challenges involved and seen how difficult some of them are to solve I have one thing to say to them: if you can do better, do it!
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