HTML 5 Proposes Integrating Forms with HTTP Auth

One of my earliest blog posts delved into the challenges of http authentication and forms.

The good news this week that there is a new “radical proposal for integrating HTTP authentication with HTML forms.”

The bad news is that “this idea has been kicked around for more than a decade” and that “no browsers currently support this proposal.”

The optimist in me wants to believe this will happen. The realist is happy to no longer be forced to work exclusively with http authentication.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend My Web 2.0 Expo Session

An note to those attending the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC.

I was struck last night at the TechSet networking event at how much I was out of my normal element. The experience made me realize that nearly no one at this conference knows who I am. So why would anyone come to my session?

With that in mind, I want to give you the top ten reasons to attend my talk about Going Fast on the Mobile Web:

  1. 24,000 People Can’t Be Wrong
    Over 24,000 people have viewed or downloaded the slides from the earlier version of my presentation from SlideShare.
  2. Featured on O’Reilly Radar, Ajaxian, and Fast Company
    Previous favorable coverage from O’Reily Radar, Ajaxian, and Fast Company.
  3. Few Bullets. Lots of Images. And a Story to Tell.
    I hate boring presentations where the presenter reads off the slide. I can read that myself thank you very much.
  4. High-level View of the Mobile Landscape
    The mobile opportunity is huge, but most people, particularly Americans, are unaware of what the upcoming mobile wave. You’ll get high-level picture with data to convince your clients, coworkers or management that mobile is something your organization needs to focus on.
  5. But with Details that You Can Act On
    I’m also a developer so for those who want details and code that you can act on, there will be plenty of examples that you can implement.
  6. Hot Topics: iPhone and the App Store
    We’ll talk about the iPhone, the Mobile Web, App Store sales and how what they mean for businesses and web developers.
  7. You Will Be Asked About This in the Next Year
    No matter what business you run, you will be asked to start thinking about your mobile strategy some time in the next year if you haven’t been already. It is the next big thing, and you need to start thinking about how you’re going to prepare for it.
  8. Even Web Developers Who Aren’t Doing Mobile Will Learn Something
    A lot of the information in the presentation is information on how to build faster web sites that many web developers are not aware of. Even if you never build a mobile site, these are things you can incorporate into your current web sites.
  9. Research and Data Unavailable Anywhere Else
    I’ll be presenting the latest data from the mobile browser concurrency test that my company, Cloud Four, developed. This data isn’t available anywhere else. (Nevermind that it isn’t available elsewhere because we’ve been too busy to publish it. :-)
  10. Guarantee that You Will Learn Something New
    And if you don’t, track me down at tomorrow’s party, and I’ll buy you a drink. :-)
  11. So there you have it. Ten great reasons to attend my session. The session details are:

    I also want to assure people that even though it is in the performance and scaling track that it has a wider appeal than just people who specialize in those topics.

    I hope to see you tomorrow.

How to find a Twitter First Post

Want to the find the first post you wrote or that someone else wrote? It’s easy.

  • Go to the Twitter page of the person whose first post you want to see. Take note of their Twitter username.
  • Look for the number of updates in the Stats section in the right column.
  • Take the number of updates and divide it by 20. (There are 20 updates per page).
  • If you have a remainder after the division, add 1 to your result. This is the page number you need.
  • Construct a url using the following syntax:[username]?page=[pagenumber]

  • Load that url in your browser.

That’s it. Enjoy!

Twitter First Posts

I’ve been introducing a lot of people to Twitter lately. The conversation when I introduce it to someone has a very familiar pattern:

Do you use twitter?
No, but I’ve thought about it. But I don’t think I would get much out of it.
I had the same thoughts when I started, but I’ve gotten a few business leads, connections to the community, and speaking engagements through Twitter. So I get tremendous value out of it, and it’s fun.

This reminded me of the way that Scott Kveton talked about Twitter during his intro at Ignite Portland. He said:

By the way, when I tell you about this, you are going to think this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of–because everyone who Twitters thought it was stupid too.

That’s absolutely true. Many of the most prolific people on Twitter had the same thoughts as people who look at Twitter now and think it won’t work for them. I thought it might be interesting to go back in time and see if they tweeted about their impressions.

This sparked a series of re-tweeting people’s early tweets. Some of my favorites:

@marshallknow if I can just figure this service out quickly :)

@davewinereat ideas flying around

@betsywhimfiguring out how to use this thing

1st tweet from @jowyang: “Surfing the web” 2nd tweet: “sitting at home

@ravenzacharyIs this more than a fad?

@kvetonI’m sitting here trying to figure out why I’m using this … haha … :-)

There are a lot of funny early tweets to look at. But the main reason I wanted to expose this was to say to people who are new that you’re not alone in wondering whether or not Twitter will be worth it to you. The most experienced Twitter users started out with the same questions, wondering if they had anything worthwhile to say, and if anyone would bother to follow them.

So give Twitter a shot and be sure to stick with it for awhile until you find your voice. Sometimes things that are valuable aren’t apparent until you give them a try.

Blurring Lines Between Desktop and Web

I’m enamored with the lines that are blurring between the desktop and the web. Adobe’s AIR application is a great example of this mixture of desktop code and web code. Now both Safari and Firefox are supporting Simple DB as a way to provide offline access to web applications and then later syncing them back to the web.

Another example of this trend is the creation of application specific browsers. This doesn’t mean you have a browser that will only run one web site. Instead, it means that if you use a web site on a regular basis, it may make sense to have that web site running in a browser that isn’t your primary browser so that it is isolated from your other browsing.

Why would it make sense to have it isolated? Say you’re a web developer who spends a lot of time using Basecamp. You have Basecamp in a tab while you’re working in another tab. If the content of one of the other tabs crashes your browser, you lose your work. In addition, you have to dig through the tabs to find the tab that matters to you.

If Basecamp were in a separate application, you could simply switch to that application and have that application isolated from your other web browsing.

Here are two programs designed to allow you to create web site specific applications quickly:

Both beta applications and neither require you to know anything about creating a web site to use them.

Mobile Updates Part II – The iPhone Edition

It’s been only three weeks since I got my iPhone. There are many things that I wish it did better, but despite those items, I couldn’t be happier.

The iPhone is a mobile device in the truest sense of the word. It is a joy to use. The iPhone truly lets you see what is possible with an Internet connection that is available to you 24/7 no matter where you are.

I follow the news about the iPhone not simply because I own one, but also because I believe the usage patterns of the iPhone are much more typical of what we are going to see in the future of the mobile web than if we look at the past usage of mobile devices. Trying to draw conclusions about the future of mobile devices by looking at statistics before the iPhone is like trying to draw conclusions about the future of web browsers by looking at the usage of gopher after Mosiac had been released.

Here are some recent updates on the iPhone that are of interest:

  • iPhone browsing marketshare closes in on .1% — This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is amazing for only being available for five months. In addition, Windows Mobile which has several times the number of devices in the world, but only represents 66% of the browser share of the iPhone. This is the difference between the web done well on a mobile device (iPhone) and done poorly (Windows Mobile). Too often people draw conclusions from the poor implementations that people don’t really use the Internet on their mobile devices. In truth, people don’t use them because they don’t measure up.
  • iPhone Q3 US sales top all Windows Mobile smartphones — More iPhones were sold in Q3 than any other smart phone than the blackberry.
  • iPhone Tops Google’s List of Fastest Growing Search Terms in 2007 — This shows the interest in the iPhone is wide spread. It truly has mass market appeal. People have taken notice.

3.3 billion mobile devices = half the planet

(Cross-posted at

I wrote recently about how the number of mobile devices dwarfs all other media and how this staggering this statistic is. A recent study puts the number of mobile devices at 3.3 billion, up from the previous number of 2.7 billion. That is one mobile device for half of the world’s population.

Tomi T Ahonen provides some context on these new numbers:

  • Growth is accelerating, not slowing down as many predicted
  • 3.3 billion is the number of devices, not the number of people. Many people have more than one phone. Italy has a 140% subscriber rate. The number of people using mobile devices is 2.55 billion which means there is still room to grow.

Much like Tomi’s previous article, the real perspective comes from his comparison of the number of mobile devices (3.3 billion) to things we take for granted. For example. there are only 1.5 billion people in the world who have credit cards.

Mobile Updates Part I

Some significant mobile updates over the past few weeks: