Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Scratching an itch

As is evidenced by my lack of blog posts and tweets, I've been busy. But I had some time off during the holidays. So what does one do? I built something just because I wanted it (yeah, I'm weird like that).

For quite some time now, I've wanted to be able to publish my contact details online but only have it exposed to the right people. But this has proven to be rather difficult (impossible, even). You either publish it, or you don't because you can't really tell who's viewing the information.

As an extension to this, I'm not a web designer by trade. If I want to have a web presence, I'm stuck with paying a web designer (which an average Jane/Joe is definitely not going to do unless they have a commercial reason or are obsessed with "personal branding") or using the many free templates out there. Unfortunately, free means "ugly" 99% of the time.

Finally, to actually get myself a web presence, I have to spend time filling in the relevant information and then work out how to host it somewhere or use one of the many online website building tools (many of which are free and will also host the site - but use the same ugly free templates available all over the web). Why can't I leverage the bits of information I have online instead of having to do more data entry? I don't mind sharing the info (as most services agree that "I own my data") as long as I have control over who can see it.

In short, here's what I wanted:
  1. Identity-aware, access controlled sharing of my information.
  2. An impressive, web-designer-quality profile page that would elicit a "wow, that's nice" response.
  3. Minimal data entry.
That's it (for now).

Here's the result.

If you want to see what my new profile page looks like, here it is.

If you want your own profile page, please sign up for the free private beta here. In fact, even if you wouldn't normally want a profile page, you would be helping by participating. Feedback is all I'm really after right now so you'd be helping me out.

For those of you that want the geeky details about how it works, you'll have to wait for my follow up blog post :-)

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