Jon Udell is an author, information architect, software developer, and new media innovator. His 1999 book, Practical Internet Groupware, helped lay the foundation for what we now call social software. He has been a software developer at Lotus; BYTE Magazine’s executive editor, feature writer, columnist, and web developer; an independent consultant who helped launch Safari Books Online.

From 2002 to 2006 he was InfoWorld’s lead analyst, author of the weekly Strategic Developer column, and blogger-in-chief. During his InfoWorld tenure he also pioneered the medium now known as screencasting and produced an audio show, Interviews with Innovators.

From 2007 to 2014 Udell worked for Microsoft as a writer, interviewer, speaker, and experimental software developer. He created the Elm City calendar network and worked on Thali, a P2P technology that enables people to control their online identities and share their data securely.

In 2015 he joined Hypothesis to help build an open annotation layer for the web.

In 2021 he joined Turbot as community lead for https://steampipe.io.

52 thoughts on “about

  1. Love your work – your seminal article in Byte on Windows 95 is a classic.

    However, your recent change in layout with the new fonts makes your blog almost unreadable for me. Your previous layout was great – not only readable but a touch whinsical as well!

    New font is too small, line-spacing is ridiculously small. Very claustrophobic feel. The anti-thesis of your previously very approachable blog.

    – Paul

  2. You know, I’m feeling the same way about the font size. I guess I’ll re-up my expired WordPress CSS privilege and fix that. Thanks for reminding me.

    Silly, though, isn’t it, that after all these years there’s no common straightforward way to deal with site-specific preferences on the client.

  3. Hi Susan,
    The pro’s for a geothermal system w/deep well are following as far as I see it:
    Well proven technology
    Automatic operation

    The disadvatage is high investment cost and you are tied up to the price of electricity. This price will , in my opinion, follow the price for oil, gas and coal.

    If we are talking about a sentralized pellet boiler in the basement or outside to heat many radiators and providing hot water for other utilities, then the pro’s are:
    – Pellet boilers are similar technology to oil or gas furnaces, you can use the exisiting radiators etc.
    – Pellets are fairly cheap and they will probably be cheaper in the long run compared to other alternatives.
    – It’s more environmentally friendly than geothermal systems if these operate on electricity made from coal or oil.

    The disadvantage is that you need to follow up the boiler and clean out the burner head etc. on a regular basis. It does’nt take any longer than to wash some clothes.

    You can check out pellets.info, a Swedish pellets forum. On pellets.info/viewforum.php?f=39
    you can find pictures of different solutions.

    regards (matene dot com) Norway

  4. Apropos of your tagline: “strategies for internet citizens” is a wordpress site I launched, http://www.capitalistcredo.com that includes the Capitalist Bill of Rights and a way for bloggers to Sign / Filibuster. Having read your site for a while, I think you’ll like it. -Brendan

  5. Hey Jon,

    I was hoping to get a review on your site of a web-based music product we’re releasing shortly. Is there a good way to get in touch with you about this?

    -Jared @ OneLlama

  6. John,
    I am Dir. of UxD at DraftFCB, working on the U.S. Census Project. I would like to talk to you about the project and how we can get people who have a stake in the use and availability of public data involved. We are the Agency of Record for the effort charged with raising awareness and support for participation in the 2010 Census.

    Let me know how best to converse on this. Thanks
    Chris Gierlich

  7. Hello, Jon. Thank you for your blog, which I find extremely informative and useful. At our school, we are seeking a way to publish Exchange mailbox calendar information in a more useful format than OWA. For example, we are setting up school buses as resources (mailboxes), but need to aggregate multiple buses into a single calendar view.

    Why can’t I find existing products or open-source projects that do this using MS Web Services for Exchange 2007? We could try to dive into this ourselves, but we don’t have a lot of programming expertise (or time).

    I recall a small script you wrote about a year ago that pulled calendar information from Exchange. Did more come of that project?

    Thank you for your thoughts on this question.


  8. Re: Your wealth of materials at Infoworld.

    Am I missing something obvious, or did you get “disappeared” at Infoworld.


  9. > Am I missing something obvious, or did you
    > get “disappeared” at Infoworld.

    I left InfoWorld and joined Microsoft in January 2007.

  10. I realize you are no longer at Infoworld, but all your blog entries over there are gone, including those you yourself referenced as recently as two months ago. Why would they remove old content? A lot of it is of lasting value. Can you work with the Infoworld folks to get the content restored? It’s a pet peeve of mine when resources move or disappear and, knowing your passion for information architecture, I figure you can’t be too happy about this either. Looks like no one at Infoworld has ever read your blog…

    – A concerned fellow information architect

  11. > Can you work with the Infoworld folks to
    > get the content restored?

    I’m told the archive will be resurrected, with its former namespace intact, within a few days.

    Fingers crossed…

    1. It looks like the content has not yet been restored. I’m looking for the screencast on the wikipedia entry for the Heavy Metal Umlaut. Is it available anywhere else?

  12. Jon – Looks like InfoWorld redesigned and your Strategic Developer posts are gone. Are they available somewhere else?

    I found podcasts at beemp3.com, at least the one I was looking for which was the open gov discussion with the folks from DC.

    I hope we haven’t lost your writings!

  13. Dear John,

    I was wondering if you might be interested in doing some cross-promotion with iHollywoodForum.com for our upcoming 7th Annual Digital Media Summit on July 29 in Los Angeles. The event features some of the top executives in Hollywood and digital media: Disney Interactive Media Group President Steve Wadsworth, Sony Pictures CTO Mitch Singer, Mass Animation CEO Yaer Landau, Boxee CEO Avner Rone and many more. As a cross- promoter you would receive free tickets to the event and all the benefits of a media partner, which include your logo appearing on our website and company e-mails, a promotional table at the event, and a copy of the attendee list. In addition, we can provide you with a percentage of all ticket sales that happen as a direct result of promotion on your website, and discount tickets for select members chosen at your discretion.

    Let me know if you have any questions or require any additional information. We’d love to have you on board! And feel free to check out http://www.ihollywoodforum.com/digitalmediasummit/index.html for more details.


    Matt Shore

  14. Jon,
    I found a wealth of blog fodder on Zed Shaw’s (author of Mongrel HTTP server) website (www.zedshaw.com) — I did a search and couldn’t find any of your entries that referenced him. I think you’ll find some good stuff on there. :)


  15. I work with developing standards for smart energy, especially smart buildings. A focus on mere efficiency is often a trap that reduces the ability of systems to adapt to renewable energy sources. Variation of energy resources over time will become the rule.

    How a building (or vehicle, or home) can respond to variable energy, and what price it will be willing to pay for energy will heve to be driven by the operations of the businesses that occupy them, and of the families that inhabit them. This perhaps means mini “Elm Cities” for the businesses in a building, to inform the building systems that support them while buying energy on open markets. It perhaps means micro-“Elm Cities” to support pulling One parent’s corporate calendar, another parent’s PDA, the school sports calendar, the little league calendar, and the local night club into a something that offers guidance on how and when to charge the electric car. People, and their lives, must be the first consideration of smart energy. The schedules of people are the best guidance.

    If you are interested, I would like to compare notes on this some time.

    and for the building systems
    or a

  16. Interested in Purchasing Text Link Advertising!


    I am basically interested for business reasons. I found your site: “http://blog.jonudell.net/” really enchanting and would like to buy a number of text-links on your website internal pages only. Let me know if you would like to hear more of this. I can offer you a good price.

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    Liz Joline

  17. I am looking forward to seeing you at Havard’s Berkman Center next week.


  18. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for your post to my blog about your Harvard talk: http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/12/marmoset-participant-observation.html (December 6, 2010).

    And thanks for a fascinating presentation at Harvard. Here’s my web site: http://scottmacleod.com

    For identification: I teach a class on Harvard’s virtual island in Second Life, and am the founder of World University and School _ http://worlduniversity.wikia.com – like Wikipedia with MIT OCW. … Not sure what your article is about, though.

    Nice to be in touch.

    All the best,

  19. Hi Jon,

    Thought you might find this of interest. Loved the post on Sears by the way :).

    Many software developers around the world probably do not know that Tuesday, September 13th is their day, but there are a few companies out there that recognize the 256th day of the year as Programmers’ Day. We wrote this ode to developers for this often forgotten day:

    Also, please take a look at the initiatives we’ve created to show software developers around the world that we appreciate what they do:


  20. Hello,

    I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. I’m a recent college graduate, with an English major, looking to build out my portfolio. I can write on a wide variety of topics and am sure you would be happy with the quality. Please email me back if you are interested. Thank you for your time.

    – Kathleen Hubert

  21. Any idea what is going to happen to ‘interviews with innovators’ now that IT conversations is going dark? I realise they are archiving with Internet Archive, but what about the future of the show? I’m sad to see this network go down as it was such an valuable resource.

    1. I had already retired that show well before the shutdown of the Conversations Network and ITConversations, because I needed to focus on my own innovation for a while. If I bring it back I’ll just do it here on my blog as I originally did before I took it to ITConversations.

      And yes, the network was a wonderful resource. Doug Kaye and the team were a class act all the way. The reason for the shutdown, in case you hadn’t heard, was only that its mission — to democratize podcasting — was accomplished.

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