Saturday, March 08, 2008

OpenID: an antidote to multiple online identities

How many different web services/ sites do you use regularly?

Lets start with the popular ones - Gmail, Yahoo, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Orkut, ebay, Amazon, Blogger, livejournal, Wordpress plus tons of other "one time signups".
How many times have you had to click that 'Forgot password?' link while logging onto your favourite site? As the web expands and more and more popular apps are being created each day, it is becoming difficult to manage multiple online identities. This is where OpenID steps in.

OpenID eliminates the need of multiple usernames and passwords across different websites, thus simplifying your online experience. You have to choose an 'OpenID Provider' from among a fairly large list that also includes Verisign among others. You get to choose a unique username and password that will enable logging on to ALL OpenID supported sites(about ten thousand in number and growing....). If you have an account at any of yahoo/wordpress/technorati/livejournal etc., you can use that username and password as your OpenID login. Now any site which supports OpenID will have an option of logging in via this username. Its simple yet powerful. You can also turn your own personal weblog into your openID.

OpenID is as secure as any of the other authentication channels available. For a detailed insight into security and other issues, do check out their forum and wiki.

The success of the OpenID project started by Brad Fitzpatrick depends to a great extent on how widely it is adopted by the major internet players like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft as well as emerging popular social applications. The end user benefit will only be obvious when it achieves a 'standards' status, which is still far away. Nevertheless, if you are an internet addict, this should (hopefully) convince you to make the switch.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Keep track of your time

A computer opens up so many possibilities, that it's easy to lose track of time. Proves to be especially expensive for students and freelancers.

RescueTime is a desktop activities tracking application. It tracks and times all your activities including internet activities. Using the data it collected it can makes graphs and help you analyze how you spend your time.
It doesn't track activities of windows minimized or running in the background, but only ones focused on. You can tag your similar applications to track your work, amount of time spent on reading, movies, etc. You can also rate the productivities of the applications important to you ranging from -2 to +2.

You can also set targets to be reached, like ' Spend less than 1 hour every day on news'. The dampener is, when you do not comply with your target the warning comes as an email or rss alert. Wouldn't work with me, because I'm not really checking my email frantically. A better alert system would have been better, especially when they have a desktop application.

But nevertheless a really good application. If you are looking for something to track your browsing activites only, you could look at 8aweek's browser addon. it's good for setting browsing targets, because it has a popup, which immediately disables viewing the site.

If you are aware of similar products, add a comment.

active meter