Friday, November 16

Ignite!

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Five minutes each. That’s all they got. Yet these presenters were able to fill my head with swirling images of two-man pogo sticks and robots taking over the world. Not to mention the career advice, a computer-aided cure for autism, and an awkward yet somewhat interesting take on the world of messenger bags.

This was Ignite Seattle, a geekfest with a surprising number of women in the audience.

Tech highlights:

* Ever wondered what it would be like to not have to type in your password at every site you go to? OpenID solves that problem for you. Instead of typing in your password, you type in your “open ID” (which is just a website). Then you are taken to your own website, where you authenticate (maybe with a password) and then you are taken back to the calling website, this time with your credentials. Now the site has access to whatever data you want it to have access to.

I’m thinking this concept could be expanded. The privacy policy of the site you’re going to could be automatically checked against what data you are willing to give … i.e., if the site has a policy that it never sells your data, then you let them have your email, but if they don’t say so, then you don’t — automatically. This would be a start at giving users control over their data without the headaches of actually keeping track of the control. And your OpenID server keeps track of all the sites you’ve logged into and when, and what data you gave to each of them, so you know where you’re data is going.

* Matt Maclaurin from Microsoft talked about programming languages for eensy weensy children. Interesting … how do you get a 5 year old to program? Make it into a game.

* A program that provides therapy for autismThat could be awesome.

* Finally Mike Arcuri from Ontela.com talked about how to leave a big company. There are a lot of reasons to stay – money, “prestige”, work with smart people, make a big difference, etc. But there are often more reasons to go. And he pointed out the reasons to stay, and encouraged us all to go out and start that new chapter in our lives. Well, he didn’t say it as such, but he meant it. It made me wonder if maybe he didn’t get a payoff from all the other teams there tonight – many of them were hiring, and he probably helped them recruit more than anything else.

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