OpenSim, OpenID and Open Microblogging

My second day in Leeds for the ALT Conference 2008 and I’m really excited about three open source applications that I’d like us to evaluate when I return to Lincoln.

Yesterday’s OpenSim – A pre Second Life taster workshop demonstrated the potential of having our own OpenSim virtual environment, either as a way to orientate new users to Second Life or actually develop a Virtual World, confined to the university network.

Today’s Hood 2.0, it’s a Web 2 world out there, introduced Laconica to me. This is an open source microblogging service, that would allow us to effectively reproduce a Twitter-like service, but within the confines of the university. I think for us, this has an advantage over Twitter because of the privacy issues surrounding the use of public microblogging services. It does also have the ability to hook into Twitter (and soon, Facebook), if desired.

During the F-ALT08 Edublogger session this evening, I met David, who works on identity systems as Eduserv. We talked about OpenID and how it can easily be set up to serve as an identity provider for one person or an entire organisation.  I’ve taken his advice and now run an OpenID server on my personal website (it took less than 30 minutes to install and test). I’ve also been looking at OpenID plugins for WordPress and indeed the Learning Lab blogs could act as OpenID providers for anyone with a blog. I need to speak to ICT Services about the issues surrounding this on an institutional scale, but for me personally, I’m really impressed with how simple the process was to regain more control over my own identity online.

Finally, on a different note, the Keynote this morning was by Hans Rosling of Gapminder. He gave a very similar presentation to the one on TED, which I encourage you to watch for beautiful visualisations of statistical data relating to social, economic and environmental development.