Jeremy Smith's blog

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Personal Portals

One of the new trends on the Internet is to aggregate personal data all together in one space. To stretch out one's programmatic fingers to pull together all of my (or your) information in one place with the vehicle being RSS. This is described in Introducing Adactio Elsewhere where Jeremy Keith is talking about pulling all of his data – "my photos are on Flickr, my wishlist is on Amazon, my links are on and my events are on Upcoming" – and displaying it in one spot, namely, Adactio Elsewhere: Small pieces of me, loosely joined.

This idea, the idea of a "digital identity repository," has been gaining some traction here. Well, I should say, "vaguely talked about." Everything seems to go well until the following are mentioned:

Then, the waters muddy, and the talk becomes more about "how to leverage our existing Oracle infrastructure to deliver higher levels of personalized service to our customers via innovative collaborative personal work spaces based on industry wide standards."

I need a t-shirt that says:

Powerpoint presentations and whitepapers have one pupose and one purpose-only: to sell you a product. A working design and some running code solves problems; it's the only thing that ever has.

But, I am digressing into a little rant, here. Let me continue on. As a person associated with a University, you leave a lot of digital remnants here and elsewhere on the Internet. Publications. Blog entries. Bookmarks. To do lists. Events. Wiki nodes. Areas of interests. Activities. Club membership. Resumes. Forum postings. Etc. What I would be likened to call "contextual personal content." It would be useful to aggregate all of that data into one "digital space" — a personal portal, if you will.

That's a discrete definition of function. A central online space which aggregates "contextual personal content" over RSS (and maybe some file system hooks) and displays it in one area. Throw in a plugin architecture to make it easily extensible (like Movable Type plugins or Firefox plugins (plugin architectures are all the rage)), and what you have is a hybrid online-directory/personal-portal on steriods.

Buzzwords and marketing-speak aside, I believe I mock-up of such a page would give the idea more direction.


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    I like that idea of a personal portal. Perhaps I could leverage my available resources to implement this solution to maximize my Internet visibility :-)