General / Security/identity · 2007-02-26

Northern mooses

I only felt the tiniest bit like an interloper at the Northern Voice/Moose Camp event in Vancouver last week, being based a whole 200km to the south. I always wonder what the customs agents at the border think of my little jaunts up there for interesting technical events. I explained that I was going to a bloggers’ conference, which I thought for sure would provoke a lot of questioning, but nothing. (I’ve had to explain XML in “agentese” at least a dozen times in recent years.) Maybe the agent had actually heard of blogs before. The times, they are a-changing.

Lauren and Tim, once again, were kind enough to let me stay with them. I was unable to stay for the more “citizen-oriented” Northern Voice day as originally planned, but had a blast at the more-technical Moose Camp day, as well as the previous evening’s dinner, at which Boris Mann and the other organizers knocked themselves out putting together and cooking a spectacular menu.

The dinner speaker was Lee LeFever of The World Is Not Flat. He and his wife Sachi blogged a travel diary of their year-long trek around the world, and he shared some of his favorite photos and stories (while Sachi video’d his whole presentation!). It was an utterly charming and inspiring talk. I loved his story about trying to ship a heavy marble cheese slicer while in Italy, as well as the story about his Mongolian friend with the Bluetooth-enabled phone who wanted to see photos of verdant places.

Lee LeFever - Nababarm!
Lee LeFever silhouetted against the Nababarm! guy

I had run into Michael Stewart at last year’s Open Source CMS Summit and started having flashbacks – he’s an old SoftQuad guy! He and I were in the SGML crowd in the 90’s (along with Lauren and Tim, of course…). He’s very smart and very funny, and to hang out with him in modern times is just a delight.

Lauren and Michael
Lauren and Michael

Michael, Boris, Johnny Bufu and Wes Triemstra of SXIP, and I bandied about some ideas ahead of time for a Moose Camp Identity and Privacy session, and so ultimately we put together a panel-like thingie. Lauren tells me I should have pitched my discussion at a higher level, since “IdP” and “RP” and “authentication” and “authorization” can cause a MEGO problem; I added some notes to the session page, which I hope will be helpful after the fact.

I got to spend some quality time chatting with Johnny and Michael about a “signed assertion” spec proposal [UPDATED to fix link] from SXIP that leverages SAML assertions pretty deeply, and I think I’m starting to understand it.

All in all, a very enjoyable and productive 24-hour period!