Jon Udell is an author, information architect, software developer, and new media innovator. His 1999 book, Practical Internet Groupware, helped lay the foundation for what we now call social software. Udell was formerly a software developer at Lotus, BYTE Magazine's executive editor and Web maven, and an independent consultant.
From 2002 to 2006 he was InfoWorld's lead analyst, author of the weekly Strategic Developer column, and blogger-in-chief. During his InfoWorld tenure he also produced a series of screencasts and an audio show that continues as Interviews with Innovators on the Conversations Network. In 2007 Udell joined Microsoft as a writer, interviewer, speaker, and experimental software developer. Currently he is building and documenting a community information hub that's based on open standards and runs in the Azure cloud.
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November 15 2013The first MP3 player I ever used was some version of the Creative MUVO shown at right. I’ve probably owned a half-dozen of them and I just bought two more on eBay. For me it’s the perfect gadget for listening to podcasts, or songs I’m learning to play and sing,… read more
November 14 2013For me the most productive programming environments have always exhibited the same pattern. There’s something I think of as kernel space, something else I think of as user space, and most importantly a fluid boundary between them. For example, my first programming job was writing application software for CD-ROM-based information… read more
November 12 2013A recent Twitter exchange reminded me of a 2005 blog post that included this Ray Ozzie quote: Each fall, as I manually enter the entire Celtics season schedule, my company’s holidays and my childrens’ school calendars into my own personal calendar, I am again reminded how ridiculous it is that… read more
November 01 2013In 1995 I attended Novell’s BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City. It was an interesting moment for a local-area-networking company on the cusp of the Internet era. Then-CEO Bob Frankenburg rose to the occasion. His keynote was my first introduction to the now-fashionable Internet of Things. Frankenburg talked up the… read more
October 11 2013Next week I’ll be speaking at a conference on technology in higher education. The new online course platforms will, of course, be a central topic. I’m not an educator and I haven’t spent serious time using any of the MOOCs so how can I add value to a discussion of… read more
October 04 2013Once upon I time I’d go down to the kitchen in the morning, turn on the radio, and listen to NHPR while making breakfast. Now I turn on a Logitech Squeezebox to do the same thing. But this morning it failed. The list of things that could have gone wrong… read more
September 09 2013In Schneier as a technology leader Dave Winer reacts to this comment about SOAP made by Bruce Schneier at the 2002 Emerging Technology conference: “SOAP is a firewall-friendly protocol like a bullet is skull-friendly.” I’m pretty sure that was the quote because I jotted it down in the notes I… read more
September 04 2013It’s been 3 months since I began rehab for the injury I wrote about in Learning to walk again. Six weeks ago I began working with a team of excellent physical therapists, and I’m making good progress. I’ve started to do a bit of running and biking, but only in… read more
July 28 2011Think about the records that describe the status of your health, finances, insurance policies, vehicles, and computers. If the systems that manage these records could produce timestamped JSON snapshots when indicators change, it would be much easier to find out what changed, and when. read more
June 09 2011Organizations should strive to own and control their online identities (and associated data) to the extent they can. read more
April 20 2011What if blogs had come of age in an era when a uniform kind of API was expected? We could then ask questions of blogs in the same way we could ask questions of event services. read more
December 22 2010A blog feed is just a special kind of web page. Anybody can create a blog and publish its feed at some URL. Why not calendars too? read more
November 12 2010If you're a school or a business or a band or a club whose website sports an Events tab that doesn't offer a companion iCalendar feed, I hope you'll ask your CMS vendor why not. read more
November 04 2010Headlines matter. They're always visible to a scan or a search, while other information -- like decks and leads -- are active in far fewer contexts. read more
October 26 2010An efficient model of collective information management relies on principles like pub/sub, indirection and syndication. Translating these principles beyond computational thinkers is the tricky part. To pull it off we need to educate the kids we assume to be digital natives. read more
October 07 2010Some kinds of computer files have different properties than others, and thus serve different purposes. Structured representation of data is one such property. If we are trying to put data onto the web, and if we want others to have the use of that data, and if we hope it… read more
September 30 2010Networks of people and data are governed by principles as basic as the commutative law of addition and multiplication. Indirection is one of those principles. read more
September 22 2010Most people and organizations think of the calendar information they push as text for people to read. Few realize it's also data networks can syndicate. When that mindset changes, a river of data will be unleashed. read more
September 10 2010It's good to see Twitter driving a stake into the heart of the password anti-pattern. But the Twitter ecosystem wouldn't exist if it hadn't been possible to sketch ideas, and to explore the unanticipated uses that can emerge from the soup of active ingredients that the web has become. read more
August 18 2010Everybody learns that things in the physical world are structured in ways that govern how they can or cannot interact. The right shape will open the door, the wrong one won't. But unless you're on an IT track, you'll likely graduate from college without ever learning this corollary: The right… read more
August 11 2010In a world full of services like delicious, FriendFeed, and Twitter -- services that can route feeds of data based on user-defined vocabularies -- you don't have to be a programmer to create useful mashups. You just have to understand, and find ways to apply, something Jon Udell calls the… read more
August 03 2010What happens when you mix open source goals, styles, and attitudes with Microsoft tools, languages, and frameworks? You get a cultural mashup. That's what the elmcity project is, and what this series will explore. read more
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