Archive for December, 2005

The Web and Open Source

December 26, 2005

In the very beginning when Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau were shaping the Web, it was always a priority that the technology would remain freely accessible and based on open standards. The CERN server and the NCSA server and browser (Mosaic) were great early examples of open source software. Since then, Web development has led to some of the most successful and well-known open source projects including Apache, Mozilla/Firefox, PHP, Zope, and numerous others. These projects demonstrate that open source isn’t just about a software license, but about human interaction and individual motivation. It’s about sharing ideas and technology implementations. Open standards efforts within the Web research and development community will insure that open source software will continue to play a major role in the evolution of Web-based technologies.

If the role of open source and its impact on the Web interests you, I invite you to join us at a workshop during the WWW2006 conference in Edinburgh, Scotlland in May 2006. Please refer to the conference Web site ( or the workshop Web site ( for details.


Source of My Name

December 19, 2005

One question that I get frequently asked (and it seems so more lately) is the source of my name. My new blog seems like the perfect place to make this global explanation.

 My given name is Howard, a name that I do not dislike, though have never been called it. Only the DMV, IRS, etc. regularly refer to me by that name (as well they should) and it is, appropriately, on my passport. It is rather nice to have two names in that it provides a “name filter” when someone telephones. If they ask for Howard, it’s likely that they don’t know me and are probably a telemarketer. My bank has no problem in that they will readily accept checks made out either to Howard or Bebo. My United Airlines Mileage Plus card has both names lest I lose any frequent flyer miles.

I was born and raised in the South (North Carolina) where having nicknames is pretty much the norm (e.g., Bubba). I have a sister who is two and a half years older than me and the story goes that when I was about six months old she tried to call be “Big Boy.” It came out Bebo and that’s it.

And then there was that ninth grade teacher I had who announced that I could not go through life with a name like Bebo so she would refer to me only as Howard. I agreed, but she gave up when I never responded to her in class. I was not doing that on purpose or in any way being rebellious. I guess that she was wrong about me going through life with Bebo since the rest is history…

Bebo Joins the Blogosphere

December 18, 2005

During the past several years I have been encouraged numerous times to start a blog. I’ve always been reluctant to do so for several reasons: (1) I’m not sure of what I might say of general interest; (2) I’d worry about the frequency with which I would be expected to write.

Since becoming an advocate of “Web 2.0,” I’ve decided that I need to “eat my own dogfood” and start blogging. I need to stop simply being a reader of other blogs (“blog lurking?”) and to experience the process from the other side. My reluctances are still reflected in the title that I’ve chosen for my blog – “The Desire to Blog is No Sign of Anything to Say” – an adaptation of a Garrison Keillor quote: “The desire to perform is no sign of talent.”

As far as goals for the blog, there really aren’t any. I plan to just be an observer of the technologies that I understand, practice, and love. On the other hand, I want to leave room for the blog to evolve and grow in its content and presentation as I come to understand the use and potential of the technology.

And so, dear readers, I ask your indulgence as I start this new (for me) experiment.