OpenID For Idiots

openid logo open idThe social Web is interesting. One of the new themes, memes, dreams, whatever you want to call it, that is prevailing at present is that of OpenID. The funny thing is, if you’re anything like me, it takes moment or two (and some serious Wikipedia time) to grasp these new concepts, and yet I’m the only bugger who’s willing to admit I’m clueless :)

My first port of call in my quest to understand was the OpenID website. They say:

OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity.

Geeks. When will they learn to speak human? Wait! Hold on! They do a better job in the next paragraph…

OpenID starts with the concept that anyone can identify themselves on the Internet the same way websites do – with a URI (also called a URL or web address). Since URIs are at the very core of Web architecture, they provide a solid foundation for user-centric identity.

Ah, so the gist is that I can be identified by my Web address – www.mikestopforth.com – online (provided I own that Web address). But why would I want to be identified?

According to the site, OpenID is attempting to solve the challenge of signing on to multiple Web sites and services with one username:

With OpenID Authentication, your username is your URI, and your password (or other credentials) stay safely stored on your OpenID Provider (which you can run yourself, or use a third-party identity provider).

To login to an OpenID-enabled website (even one you’ve never been to before), just type your OpenID URI. The website will then redirect you to your OpenID Provider to login using whatever credentials it requires.

Ok, so as I understand it all my details, including passwords, would be stored safely by a third party – an ‘OpenID provider’ so that I can save time, energy and brain space by simply having to authenticate a new site or service with www.mikestopfoth.com. Fair enough, I can see the benefit. Immediately there are some concerns about trusting a third party provider with my most intimate details though. Hindi Blogzine Nirantar describes OpenID as ‘one key to many locks’.

I dug a little further and found this helpful post by Sam Ruby, who explains how to get a free OpenID (at MyOpenID.com) and how to activate it. I went through the process and it all seems fairly intuitive. Give it a go!

  • http://www.chilibean.co.za Paul

    If you use ClaimID you will have OpenID credentials as well. ClaimID is OpenID enabled.

  • Rafiq Phillips

    We’re actually tinkering in the OpenID space, looks like it will make all our lives much easier.

  • Pingback: Vinny Lingham’s Blog » Blog Archive » links for 2007-02-26

  • http://www.whiteafrican.com hash

    OpenID has some good upside, except for when you want to be anonymous…

  • http://doodeesthailand.blogspot.com/ Doodee

    Thanks for sharing

What Clients Say...

I have had the privilege of listening to Mike speak on two occassions in the last two years. He was by far one of the best speakers at both events. Mike has the full package – he is intelligent, witty, insightful, energetic and colloquial – a rare combination. I look forward to hearing Mike speak again in the near future.

I saw Mike speak at Workshop @ IMC CPT 2012 & Ecommerce Conference JHB 2013.

Mike’s participation at Tribe Thursday made the event! If you’re looking for a razor-sharp intellect who is not shy to mix it up and really get people thinking then Mike’s the man! Unconventional, outspoken, lateral, and thoroughly entertaining Mike’s speaker debate at Tribe Thursday ensured we had the jagged edge to keep people talking!

I saw Mike speak at Tribe Thursday http://www.tribe-x.co.za/.

I’ve known Mike Stopforth for the past decade and on a dozen occasions or more he’s addressed various events my company hosts in the media and brand communications space. In a sea of mediocre speakers, Mike is one of a kind. His subject knowledge is encyclopaedic relevant and cutting edge, he adds huge value to the digital and social media debate.

I saw Mike speak at Future of Media conferences.