OpenID and mobile apps? Anyone? Bueller?

I first found out about OpenID through Basecamp as it accepts this relatively new authentication method, as do all of 37signals other properties (Backpack, Highrise, Campfire, etc.). Now, this is a fantastic system if you are working on a variety of computers, across different platforms, and/or if you just don’t want to keep track of every single user/pass combo you have. Of course, one of the greatest benefits of the OpenID method is the security aspect: no longer will you need to deliver a litany of account details just to sign up for a new service or site.

So, for months I flew along in love with this new system. And with Basecamp, Backpack, and Highrise, there’s a handy little 37signals bar (aptly dubbed the “Open Bar“) at the top of each of those respective pages if you’re logged into them all with OpenID.

And then a couple of weeks ago, everything came to a screeching halt. I have been working very hard to find mobile tools for all of the various applications I use on a regular basis, allowing me to work on planes, trains and automobiles, or wherever I might be without my computer. Lots of traveling lately, and also lots of time out of the office handling baby appointments, doctors’ visits, etc. But here’s the dilemma: none of these mobile applications support OpenID. And, if you have OpenID turned on as your authentication method, you no longer have a traditional user/pass combo with the site in question.

So, because I use Backpack Mobile edition, I can’t use OpenID. I hate having to choose, but there’s really no debate. If it’s mobile vs. OpenID, mobile wins every time. Unfortunately. I’m not sure whether it’s out of laziness that developers are neglecting to allow OpenID authentication on their mobile apps, or if there is an inherent hurdle in the mobile framework making it difficult/impossible to use OpenID.

As we move forward in developing our latest application over at Real Pie, I’m sure that we’ll run across this issue; in fact, I’ll make sure we do so that I have a more complete understanding of the system. As more people move away from their computers and onto Kinda SmartPhones and Truly SmartPhones (err, umm, there’s only one: the iPhone), we need to start paying much closer attention to seamless integration.

Here are some OpenID resources for you to make up your own mind:

Introducing the newest Huntoon

I’d like to introduce you all to my new daughter: Zurhi Tolani Azizat Pelumi Emmanuella Alake Omolade Huntoon. There are a bunch of meanings to those names, but I’m not going to bore you with all the details. Basically, some are from us, some are from parents, and per Yoruba (my wife’s) culture, certain names come based on which day of the week a child is born. In any case, we went off the reservation and chose a first name outside both of our cultures; the root of “Zurhi” is from the Arabic zurh meaning “prayer”. However, we originally picked the Swahili version of the name, Zuri, meaning beautiful. But over the duration of the pregnancy, with all of the struggles, we determined that “prayer” was much more befitting.

She is the joy of my life, and I can’t wait for you all to meet her. That day may be awhile off for many, so let’s just get started by posting up some photos for y’all: It’s so easy to see divine power and intelligence when your newborn is in your arms. Life rules.

She joined us in this world on Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 10:18pm. She weighed 6 lbs, 8 oz and was 22 inches long. Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings for how beautiful she is; she absolutely takes my breath away.The family was all there to welcome her into the world, and another part of the community welcomed her in this Sunday. She is protected and guarded on all sides by proud parents, older brother, grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, godparents and friends. Thank you for your patience and space while we recover from a pretty intense and long couple of weeks.

In such a good way…
Greg

Mini-apps, mobile plugins, and Mac-switching

As my life is getting more and more hectic with a brand new baby girl, a new wife, and a new job, I’m finding that my free time is becoming more and more precious (as expected, really). My personal time online happens on the go, a majority of the time.

My Motorola Q, except for a horrible battery life, has become my trusted phone, browser, text messenger, and email app. I rely very heavily on our managed exchange service through Rackspace, the mobile version of my favorite mini-app Backpack, Windows Live Search (mobile edition) and consume web content voraciously using Google Reader. I’m not necessarily tied to Windows Mobile, as I think there are distinct disadvantages, but I’ve adapted to the OS and its constraints and am pretty happy overall.

For those of you tired of checking mail on your smartphone and then on multiple systems, Exchange mail is really the only way to go. If you read your mail on your phone, by the time you make it to your other computers, it is already marked as read. And having the ability to add contacts, appointments and tasks from any location without having to manually sync to the other locations is so key.

Some of the other programs and plugins that I benefit from:

  • Jott – for a great way to make notes on the go
  • GrandCentral – once there are a few bugs fixed this will be the way of the future of phone utilities
  • Basecamp – essential for project management
  • Backpack – I know I’ve mentioned it already, but I use both the standard and mobile version of the site to keep notes, tasks, ideas, and budding projects all organized
  • Facebook Mobile – I hate MySpace. I’m not a big fan of the addiction level which comes with these sites, but ALL of my friends and family use Facebook. It’s fun to be able to stay in touch, and the mobile interface is pretty nice and streamlined.

As I work to strengthen the brand and recognition at my new place of employ, I find my interest in the web picking back up again. After years of being very involved in and around the design community, I took a long and much needed break to hole up and pursue other things in life. And in the span of 12-18 months, there are so many great sites, apps, and new budding communities (and thriving ones, too). I’ll start posting my favorite finds, and who knows, maybe it will be a fresh perspective; a look through the eyes of someone who is seeing the web in a completely new light.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time learning about new resources as I embrace a new platform; Real Pie made the mac-switch at the beginning of this year, and I have jumped in deep with both feet and holding my nose. Quicksilver, Paparazzi, and Growl are incredible for shaving seconds off everyday and commonly used functions, which over the course of the day save me a few minutes time. Other great programs exclusively for the Mac that I’m using on the daily: Textmate (coding), Transmit (FTP), and Adium (IM).

I can’t stand being restricted to iTunes, because I find it to be an inferior application. But other than that, I’m pretty excited about being on a Mac. Any suggestions or tips for this new recruit would be greatly appreciated.