Archive for January 2008

OpenID for OUCUs

I’ve just updated our OpenID server so that you can use your OUCU (OU Computer Username) to log in to OpenID enabled sites and you don’t need to have registered with the OpenID server first.

How to use it… whenever you see an OpenID enabled site, enter the following as your OpenID identity URL:

openid.open.ac.uk/oucu/abc123 (where abc123 is your OUCU)

You’ll then use your normal OUCU and password to log in if you aren’t already logged in. It should work for both staff and student OUCUs and effectively turns any OUCU into an OpenID identity url.

If you’ve previously (manually) registered on our OpenID server, but happened to use your OUCU as your username, then these are 2 seperate accounts.

This is still an experimental service, so I’d welcome any feedback 🙂

(Update 29/1/08) have discovered some problems with this server but not related to the OUCU part, just that some websites fail when verifying the OpenID ID url, I’ve posted to the openid4java dev group about this.

OpenID server updates

I’ve added a few new bits to our OpenID server

  • Ability to set OpenID Simple Registration fields
  • Allowed sites function so when you sign in to a particular site you can opt to always allow that site
  • Remember me function when logging in

Probably nothing fantastically exciting there, but should make it a bit easier to use. I’m still concious of the fact I don’t spend too much time developing the OpenID server, since the important thing is that there are services you can use your OpenID with rather than yet-another-OpenID-server, plus the main reason I developed the server was out of personal interest.

I’d also like to get the Cohere tool OpenID enabled and hope to be working on that soon 🙂

MSG Installation screencasts

I’ve just posted up some installation screencasts for MSG server to help out anyone trying to install it… more info.

Has also made me think that maybe I should go back and create one for using MSG within OpenLearn – specifically with a scenario for why you would want to use MSG within OpenLearn.

MSG & FlashMeeting integration

I’ve finally got the MSG and FlashMeeting integration launched live on the OpenLearn website (more info).

Currently, when you click to go through to FlashMeeting you need to log in again using you OpenLearn login details, but we’re working on getting that resolved.

Good news from Yahoo about OpenID

OpenID Discussion

Yesterday some of us in KMi had a bit of a get together to figure out what we can do, want to do, don’t want to do etc with OpenID. It also gave me chance to give a little overview of how OpenID works to those who didn’t already know. We recorded the discussion using FlashMeeting and you can view the replay. The picture isn’t great, but the sound seems to be ok which is the important bit, so at least you can hear what everyone is saying 🙂

Debugging the online_users_map block


I’ve just updated the online_user_map block to try and make it easier to debug. I know some people have a little trouble getting it to work, probably because they have trouble connecting to the external service which does the geocoding.

Now if you go to the block settings and turn debugging on, when you run the cron script it will report which users it is trying to update the locations for, and for which users it has successfully updated their location.

Hope you find it useful 🙂

Reviewing the OpenLearn tools

Firstly, a slightly belated Happy New Year!

Yesterday we had an interesting discussion about how we could evaluate and review the social tools included in OpenLearn, namely, the Knowledge Mapping (with Compendium & Cohere), MSG and Flashmeeting. Our feeling is that they’ve not been as successful as we first hoped, and there maybe lots of different reasons for this. For MSG I’ve detailed some of the possible reasons in a JIME paper that will be published soon.

It’s quite interesting to compare how OpenLearn is viewed externally to the OU vs how it’s seen internally (and within the OpenLearn team). The feedback we have from external users is that, to paraphrase, “OpenLearn is great, I can get free OU content”, whereas I’m slightly dissappointed that MSG isn’t used more than it is. I guess the difference is due to the fact that users may see the site as a way of getting content, and not necessarily somewhere they can come to to gain access to tools, such as IM, video-conferencing etc.

New personal site…

Hi, this is my personal blog site where I’ll be posting my photos etc – as an alternative to using my work site.