Showing posts from November, 2014


Two Factor Authentication sounds almost the most boring subject in the world but this is all about protecting your online identify and digital content. Today your email address and password is used for a lot of stuff. Whether you use Android, IOS, Windowsphone or something else many websites provide the ability to login with the ID and password for one of these services. In addition you may have bought digital products like music, games, videos etc using these ids. You also may have registered your credit card on these services for easy one-click shopping. It's easy and convenient to tie all this together with your email address. It is also a magnet for criminals, scammers and fraudsters. They want your card details or your identity to commit fraud and make money. So your password is your first line of security. A lot of people use the same one for everything but are put off from remembering complex passwords. The easy way around this is to use a identity management application lik

Nineteenth Century Banking in the Twenty-first Century

Last week I got £50 in a cheque , or in the US, a check. It was cashback from house insurance that I had earlier this year. With all the recent talk about Apple Pay and NFC it was a little quaint to receive an actual printed cheque. I left it on the table for a couple of days because I would not be near my bank but it eventually was time to get it into my account. So I took the bus into town and banked the cheque. I asked the cashier when the funds would be available. In Britain the banks like to give the impression that they are in the 21 st century but cheques got back hundreds of years. The original cheque acts state that someone has present a cheque to the actual bank for payment. So my cheque has to physically be transmitted to somewhere and at some point the bank, whose customer my insurance company is, verifies that this did come from that customer to authorise the movement of money. Total turnaround time – 5 working days. In other words a nineteenth century process, slightly mo

The Voice

If you have a smartphone made in the last 12 months you are very likely to have voice command capability. In the mid-1980s the improbability of talking to your computer was shown on the movie Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home . Mr Scott was trying to use computer to create transparent aluminium but found that the Apple Mac (brand new at the time) was unable to understand voice commands. Star Trek was set in the world of the late 23 rd century so when you find Siri , Google Voice Search and Cortana on your mobile device the real world is becoming stranger than science fiction. My first experience of mobile voice devices was being driven home one evening from work. On this particular contract I took public transport but tonight I was offered a ride. My colleague had a new(ish) Apple iphone and during the journey he decided to text his wife while driving. Voice commands with Siri supported this. Unfortunately he was from India and had developed, through his work in the UK, a northern Brit

On the bandwagon

This is the Microsoft Band. Only available in the USA right now but the first product by Microsoft to get into the watch/wearables market. One of the interesting things about this wearable is that it is not just for Microsoft products. Unlike the Google Wear and the Apple Watch this product is open enough to work with IOS, Android and Windowsphone. Right now it is only available in the USA at a relatively cheap $199. Cheap by comparison with Google and Apple wearables. Since I am not exactly a fitness and sport person this will pass me by pretty quickly. However I do think this is another Microsoft product reflecting a focus on mobile and working across devices.