Your Phone Could Become Your Universal ID And Debit Card

Yesterday we were discussing a governmental proposal to eliminate a need for passwords, and today there is news about Apple and Google with their own plans. These plans would make your phone a universal ID and also incorporate the phone as your debit card. Now picture this if you will. You walk into a public place to use a computer and all you have to do is place your phone next to the computer. You are automatically logged in and you can safely buy online, do your banking or other financial transactions without fear. Even if a bad guy tries to access your information later from the same system, it would be impossible.

You go out to your car and just push the start button. Your car talks to your phone and confirms it is you, and the vehicle starts. Stopping at your local 7-11 just got easier as well since to make a purchase you just to need to swipe your phone across a scanner. Owe someone a few bucks? No problem. Just type in the amount you owe them and place your phones together for an instant auto transfer of funds.

Does all of this sound like it is a futuristic idea? Think again. According to one recent article Apple and Google are in the process of implementing just such a system.

The magic happens when you can combine a biometric ID system (which uses some kind of scan from a smart phone to verify that you’re actually in possession of the device) with a secure short-distance wireless communication technology that other devices (cash registers, PCs etc.) can read.

That’s right boys and girls,  your phone will rule your life. By adding a single additional chip to your phone and maybe a fingerprint scanner, you would have a secure system in theory. So if a hacker wants to break into your phone they would need to cut your fingers off. Sounds secure to me. :-)

Yes, I am being factious.

A retinal scan may be a better option.

But before you start to lose any sleep over these proposals, there is going to be a need for standards. There is also a need to provide a safe system that also addresses privacy concerns. Plus there will be a need to coordinate all of this with a banking system, that might not be willing to spend money on new technologies to implement a new system.

What do you think? Would you be willing to use such a system, if and when it became available?

Comments welcome.

Source – Computerworld

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (25th Anniversary Edition)

There should be an image here!This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy’s classic book, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution traces the exploits of the computer revolution’s original hackers — those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early ’80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.

Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as “the hacker ethic,” that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today’s digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (25th Anniversary Edition)

There should be an image here!This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy’s classic book, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution traces the exploits of the computer revolution’s original hackers — those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early ’80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.

Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as “the hacker ethic,” that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today’s digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.

Apple Store Won’t Take Cash For iPad Purchases – No Gift Cards, Either

In a strange but true story, Diane Campbell went to buy an iPad at her local Apple store, but was turned away. She was informed that the store only would take a credit or debit card for those purchasing an iPad. Diane, who is disabled and on a fixed income, had saved up the cash to make the purchase, since she does not have a credit card nor a debit card. When she was turned down, she contacted KGO-TV and ask the station to investigate why she could not purchase an Apple iPad for cash.

In a reported story it states that:

“It took quite a long time for me to just save up this small amount of money to go down and purchase one,” she said. “I had my cash in the backpack and I went up proudly to the counter and told them, ‘I would like to purchase an iPad.'”

She was at the Apple store in Palo Alto, about to pull out the big wad of cash and take home her first computer. Instead, she received a terrible blow.

“They said, ‘Sorry, we don’t take cash.’ And, so I looked at her and I said OK she’s kidding,” Campbell recalled.

However, the clerk was not kidding. The Apple sales policy says if you want an iPad, you must pay by credit card or debit card. Diane didn’t have any plastic and amazingly her cash was useless.

Apple did not respond to a 7 On Your Side request for an explanation of the policy, however, the store clerk told Campbell it was to prevent con artists from buying lots of iPads selling them overseas.

“They heard of people buying 50 and 100 iPads at a time and going overseas and selling them triple the amount, Campbell said.

“Come on Mr. Jobs, give a sister a break, okay,” she says. “I’m not going to go sell my iPad.”

Talk about a PR disaster. Instead of allowing Diane to buy an Apple iPad, Jobs should give her one. If not, I think Diane should should sue the company for discrimination against the handicapped!

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source.

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The Microsoft Tax That Can’t Be Beat

Microsoft has been and still is the company that everyone loves to hate. In this article by Richard Stallman, the criticisms continue. Most of what Mr. Stallman states has been said before. That Microsoft is a big bully that controls the computer market by fear and intimidation. But the article also states that other software companies are also to blame and include Apple, Adobe,  ‘and the rest‘ [whoever that might be,], are just as bad as Microsoft.

But than there is this statement:

Many outside the computer field credit Microsoft for advances which it only took advantage of, such as making computers cheap and fast, and convenient graphical user interfaces. 

Interesting. Is this true? Do we need to credit Microsoft for bringing about cheap and fast computers?

The article also states:

Microsoft’s software is distributed under licenses that keep users divided and helpless. The users are divided because they are forbidden to share copies with anyone else. The users are helpless because they don’t have the source code that programmers can read and change.

If you’re a programmer and you want to change the software, for yourself or for someone else, you can’t.

If you’re a business and you want to pay a programmer to make the software suit your needs better, you can’t. If you copy it to share with your friend, which is simple good-neighbourliness, they call you a “pirate”.

Should programmers be allowed to modify Microsoft software as stated above?

What do you think? Is Microsoft a villain? Or have they contributed more to the computer industry than they have taken away?

Comments welcome.

Source.