According to the Hill, “The White House is funding efforts to wipe out the password as the primary security code used to access sensitive data online.” It is certainly true that passwords are a very weak form of security, although the primary culprit is poor passwords.

However, there is something very creepy—as in creeping government intrusion in our lives—about the federal governments involvement in this.

Update: Just remembered that XKCD had something to say about passwords (of course).

Why is My Smart Home So Dumb

In this Gizmodo article author Adam Clark Estes discusses his frustrations with creating a smart home.

I’d spent the last six months making my home more intelligent with Wink components. That meant six months of programming lightbulbs and installing sensors and adjusting shades and updating hubs. All my effort to connect my appliances added up to this one very public test. My friends didn’t need to walk ten feet to the light switch, when I could manage everything with a couple taps. My friends would be so impressed. I’d talked up my pet project plenty, and now they could watch the future unfold before their very eyes.

I unlocked my phone. I found the right home screen. I opened the Wink app. I navigated to the Lights section. I toggled over to the sets of light bulbs that I’d painstakingly grouped and labeled. I tapped “Living Room”—this was it—and the icon went from bright to dark. (Okay, so that was like six taps.)

Nothing happened.

After a thousand dollars and six months, his first public demo failed. A friend smirked “How many gadget bloggers does it take to turn off a light?”

Not all simple things are bad. The article has a section titled “The Beautiful Simplicity of a Light Switch.” I appreciate most modern conveniences (air conditioning, anesthetics, and antibiotics are three that I cannot live without). But I do long for the simple life. My grandfather was never stuck in traffic or late for conference call because he did have the right passcode.

Senator Says Carmakers Have No Clue About Hacking

I am quite leery about the Internet of Things. I was leery when I first heard of GM’s OnStar. Sure it was cool that it could send you assistance with the touch of a button. And it is really awesome that it can turn the engine off if someone has stolen your car. (Especially, if it is right in front of the police who were vectored to the same location.) However, these cool features mean that GM knows every where you go and someone can shut off your engine. This is tremendous invasion of your privacy and autonomy.

I read today an article on Popular Mechanics that shows automakers do not know what they are doing and probably do not care. Be afraid.

Justice served

justice served
(see on original site)

This is one of my favorite Dilbert comics. I often use it to illustrate abstraction. For example, there are no “files” on your computer. There are ones and zeroes that are interpreted as such. A file is an abstraction. Just as pretty much everything we do on a computer. Some abstractions are quite useful.