1. Apple’s new Fingerprint Sensor

    We’ve all been hearing rumors of Apple’s new fingerprint sensor coming out on the iPhone 5S soon.  What has surprised me the most is how not a single article I’ve read - talks about how Apple is going to leverage the hardware with it’s software - a classic Apple move.

    Sure, we all expect the fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone.  Duh.   This is what most articles seem to consider.  Swipe to unlock - no more passcode to get into the phone for security!   That is only the beginning.

    Let’s go back to June this year when apple announced iOS7…the feature that stuck out for me was this one:


    Fingerprints + iCloud Keychain + Password generator = better security throughout the user experience

    This combo will help users finally stop using the same password across many sites (by generating them - and also remembering them, and also make sure only YOU can use them)

    I believe Apple’s big play and will probably make a big deal of it at the iphone announcement is that they’ve made security easier and more consistent throughout the iOS user experience.

    Think about how many times you need to enter usernames and passwords on your phone.  (ProTip: Add a dictionary word to your iphone to make a shortcut for your personal email - ie: when I type “argm” on my iphone - it spellcorrects it to my full email address - saves typing 15 characters each time I login somewhere).  It’s painful and insecure because each password character is shown to someone peeking over your shoulder as you type.  

    There are “apps for that” like 1password (recommended!) - which store all your passwords in one place securely and make it easy to use in Chrome on my desktop.  But on my iphone?  The 1password app has had to integrate it’s own custom browser to provide a simple way to login to all my sites from my iphone.   Since I prefer to use Chrome - I generally need to access 1password, type in my long password, copy the site’s password to the clipboard, then paste it into the password box in Safari/Chrome or the iOS app itself.  Not so slick.

    Enter Slickness….

    When you try to unlock your new iPhone 5S, sure you may need place your finger on the home button (or if they succeeded - it may even be part of the screen itself - swipe as normal!)….but after you’ve unlocked your phone - there are many more interactions that can benefit from the Fingerprint Scan PLUS the new iOS keychain feature.

    Safari is going to leverage the fingerprint scanner to authenticate the person using the phone at that moment:

    • From the browser, log you into any site you’ve saved a password for by swiping your finger
    • Before you can use the iphone’s built-in Twitter/Facebook authentication
    • Auto-filling your credit card information into a check-out process on a website
    • When using an app that wants to make sure the current user is actually the owner (ie: banking applications)

    Hopefully Apple makes this open enough that other apps can leverage the functionality - for example having the keychain available to Google Chrome.

    Apple is doing what it normally does - making something that has a solution - but is inelegant and disrupting it.  I think in a year or two - we’ll all be used to holding our finger down on the home button to authorize a variety of things, not just unlocking your phone’s homescreen.

    If I have a reliable way of generating one-time passwords and keeping them stored - this may be the first step to not having any passwords that i actually know in my brain.  They are all in my Apple Keychain (which is scary too).  

  2. 09:49 24th Apr 2013

    notes: 648

    reblogged from: cabinporn

    image: download


Once-derelict log cabin from the 1860’s, restored and relocated. Warren County, MO.
Submitted by John Foster.


    Once-derelict log cabin from the 1860’s, restored and relocated. Warren County, MO.

    Submitted by John Foster.

  3. Eloqua is joining a huge sinking ship.

    I wrote up a post about my feelings about the Eloqua IPO a few months ago - it was a great feeling.  I never ended up posting (maybe now I will) - but the main thing about the journey to IPO was the competing feelings of how fast and at the same time how slow it seemed to progress.  

    Fast forward to today - checking the interwebs after waking up and seeing that Oracle has purchased Eloqua for 800+Million Dollars.  First thought - “Shit”.  

    I am torn between being happy for us Eloquans (current/former Eloqua employees are “Eloquans”) that now have a well deserved financial outcome - and the sad fact that Eloqua will now die a slow death in a company that doesn’t understand marketing and shares completely different values than Eloqua’s.  For a company about Modern Marketing - it’s about the saddest death you can face.

    Death?  Yes - Oracle is a hated company.  They have a habit of acquiring companies and turning their products to mush.  Over and over.

    They acquired an Eloqua competitor Market2Lead a few years back and turned it into a formidable competitor to Salesforce’s built-in marketing system. Did nothing with it.  

    While Salesforce has a decent system for tracking marketing campaigns and how money is spent - Oracle’s CRM systems don’t allow for some basic marketing analytics.    A marketer is basically an afterthought in Oracle’s systems.   If you’ve ever used Oracle’s Siebel Marketing suite - you know what I’m talking about.  

    Usually, Oracle throws some software licences for Oracle in with any Siebel deal - most companies never even implement it (it takes years AND a lot of money for professional services).  That’s because Oracle sells software licences - not customer happiness. 

    At Eloqua - as a SaaS company, our customers could leave after their contract is up.  As with all SaaS companies - this drove us toward increasing customer satisfaction and coming up with customer-centric solutions that make them happy.  We worked our asses off to make our customers better marketers.  We sold customer-happiness.   I worked the support-line, I managed products at Eloqua and I know that everyone was driven to see our customers succeed then re-sign their contracts.  Oracle does not do this.

    After Sun was acquired by Oracle Scott McNealy looked back on his work and summarized:  

    Kicked Butt, had fun, didn’t cheat, loved our customers, changed computing forever

    A few months later - it was easy to see that Oracle crushed that spirit.  Everything in the above 12 words is the opposite of what Oracle stands for.  Read each one.  Try to put it in the context of Oracle as you read it out.   

    At Eloqua we had the pleasure of having several fast growth companies as customers a few years ago - including BEA, MySQL and SUN.   Each and every one as a matter of process ripped out Eloqua after they were acquired - speaking with former customers at these companies, there was a general feeling of mistrust and angst at Oracle’s methods and ways.  Looking back on those acquisitions - I personally don’t think they added value and in some ways have strategically devalued those acquisitions (Examples: MySQL is losing out to PostgreSQL and others, Java is no longer the ideal it was designed to be and removed from Apple’s default Mac OS, BEA may have FINALLY resulted in Oracle Fusion being shipped last year - 4 years late)

    Oracle is dependent on Maintenance revenues.  They are a slave to them - since the market values them based on this recurring stream of revenue.  SaaS subscriptions are NOT maintenance - they are also not recognized as revenue until it is earned over time.  Some people have stated Oracle is after maintenance revenues form Eloqua’s customer base - I don’t think that’s true.  Oracle is trying to build up their ARR - recurring revenue rather than protecting their maintenance revenue.  

    As much as Larry hates it - SaaS is the future.  Did you know that before the 1930’s or so - most Americans did not have a mortgage except for farmers?   You had to buy your house outright in cash before you got one.   The mortgage market allowed Americans to boost home-ownership to current levels today.  SaaS similarly lets  companies acquire critical software infrastructure for their companies without an upfront cash layout.

    Eloqua joins a company that is an anachronism.  It is a successful multi-billion dollar company with tremendous resources that is still riding a fading wave of past software revenues.    The marketing automation space is a VERY different place than when I first joined Eloqua back in 2006.  Oracle’s acquisition gives validity to the space even more so than the IPO in some ways.    Salesforce now has some interesting choices to make.

    Eloqua’s shareholders scored, Oracle’s shareholders won’t notice anything, but Eloqua’s customers lost and more importantly - marketing innovation and advancement lost out in the long-term.  Eloqua was a company I was still proud of even though I no longer work there, because it kept moving forward and getting better.

    This is a sad day for me.

  4. The trouble is that UNIX is not accessible, not transparent in the way that Interleaf is, where you sit down and start poking around in the menu and explore the whole system. Someone I know sat down with a Macintosh and a Lisa and was disappointed because, in a half hour, he explored the whole system and there wasn’t as much as he thought. That’s true, but the point is in half an hour, almost without a manual you can know which button to push and you can find nearly everything. Things don’t get lost. I think that’s the key.
    — Bill Joy, 1984 Interview
  5. 12:30 13th Dec 2012

    notes: 10935

    reblogged from: uchicagoadmissions

    This is too awesome.


    Indiana Jones Mystery Package

    We don’t really even know how to start this post. Yesterday we received a package addressed to “Henry Walton Jones, Jr.”. We sort-of shrugged it off and put it in our bin of mail for student workers to sort and deliver to the right faculty member— we get the wrong mail a lot.

    Little did we know what we were looking at. When our student mail worker snapped out of his finals-tired haze and realized who Dr. Jones was, we were sort of in luck: this package wasn’t meant for a random professor in the Stat department. It is addressed to “Indiana” Jones.

    What we know: The package contained an incredibly detailed replica of “University of Chicago Professor” Abner Ravenwood’s journal from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It looks only sort of like this one, but almost exactly like this one, so much so that we thought it might have been the one that was for sale on Ebay had we not seen some telling inconsistencies in cover color and “Ex Libris” page (and distinct lack of sword). The book itself is a bit dusty, and the cover is teal fabric with a red velvet spine, with weathered inserts and many postcards/pictures of Marion Ravenwood (and some cool old replica money) included. It’s clear that it is mostly, but not completely handmade, as although the included paper is weathered all of the “handwriting” and calligraphy lacks the telltale pressure marks of actual handwriting. 

    What we don’t know: Why this came to us. The package does not actually have real stamps on it— the outside of the package was crinkly and dirty as if it came through the mail, but the stamps themselves are pasted on and look like they have been photocopied. There is no US postage on the package, but we did receive it in a bin of mail, and it is addressed to the physical address of our building, Rosenwald Hall, which has a distinctly different address from any other buildings where it might be appropriate to send it (Haskell Hall or the Oriental Institute Museum). However, although now home to the Econ department and College Admissions, Rosenwald Hall used to be the home to our departments of geology and geography

    If you’re an applicant and sent this to us: Why? How? Did you make it? Why so awesome? If you’re a member of the University community and this belongs to you or you’ve gotten one like it before, PLEASE tell us how you acquired it, and whether or not yours came with a description— or if we’re making a big deal out of the fact that you accidentally slipped a gift for a friend in to the inter-university mail system. If you are an Indiana Jones enthusiast and have any idea who may have sent this to us or who made it, let us know that, too. 

    We know this sounds like a joke/hoax… it’s not (at least, from our end).  Any hints, ideas, thoughts, or explanations are appreciated. We’ve been completely baffled as to why this was sent to us, in mostly a good way, but it’s clear this is a neat thing that either belongs somewhere else— or belongs in the halls of UChicago admissions history.

    Internet: help us out. If you’re on Reddit (we’re not) or any other nerdly social media sites where we might get information about this, feel free to post far and wide and e-mail any answers, clues, ideas, thoughts, or musings to indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu  (yes, we did set up an email account just to deal with this thing). 

  6. 1977: A Year of Beginnings.

    Star Wars Opens in Movie Theatres

    I noticed a few articles in the past few weeks and it got me thinking about some seemingly unrelated stories.  There’s no direct corelation, but I think it’s interesting to see that the life-horizon of some technologies may last for decades.

    Imagine yourself in 1977.  It was the year before I was born, so it definitely takes some imagination for me - but according to wikipedia (and my parents) sounds like it was pretty chill.  The first cellular phone system wasn’t available until the next year.  The average US house price was $49,000 and the average American annual salary was $15,000.  The first Apple II computers went on sale.  Jimmy Carter was elected. The World Trade Center was completed.  

    Two significant events happened in 1977 as well:  Voyager 1+2 were launched to explore the solar system, and the first TCP/IP network was setup - aka the interwebs, aka The Internet.

    "And Now You’re on a Horse. In 2012"

    Over the past few months, the Voyager 1 spacecraft has been getting closer to what scientists call the “heliosphere” - In June, NASA announced that Voyager seemed to be approaching interstellar space and the edge of our solar system.  Through Voyager’s steadily weakening radio signals - which now take over 17 hours to reach earth - we are finding out that it is approaching interstellar space.  Scientists predict it will actually leave our solar system before the end of this year.  This area is dubbed the “Termination Shock”

    For the first ten billion kilometers of its radius, the solar wind travels at over 1,000,000 km/h. As it begins to interact with the interstellar medium, it slows down before finally ceasing altogether. The point where the solar wind begins to slow is called the termination shock;      (Wikipedia)

    That sounds like a pretty cool place to be.

    There is a spacecraft the size of a garbage dumpster which we sling-shotted using the gravity of planets 35 years ago and we can still hear it talking to us.  Steadily sending back it’s scientific information payload.   It is approaching it’s end however, by 2025 it’s nuclear engine will go dark and it will begin it’s final voyage of drifting between planets until it is finally smashed by some blob of rocky or icy material.

    There the solar wind velocity drops to zero, the magnetic field intensity doubles, and high-energy electrons from the galaxy increase 100-fold. Starting in May 2012 at 120 AU, Voyager 1 detected a sudden increase in cosmic rays, an apparent signature of approach to the heliopause.    (Wikipedia)

    "Meanwhile back on Earth…"

    In November of 1977, 2 months after Voyager 1 liftoff - TCP/IP was launched as a prototype and eventually became what we all know as “The Internet”.    Over the years, each computer or device added to the internet needs a new address.  Well back in 1977, 4.3 billion addresses sounded like a lot.  But - it ends up that when half the planet has a cellular phone and each person has a computer or three, 4.3 billion isn’t that much. TCP/IP is heading towards it’s own termination shock.  

    In a few years the only new IP’s being handed out will be IPv6 addresses as we exhaust the final IPv4 addresses.  The modern internet itself will be approaching it’s own heliosheath as it begins to move into a pure IPv6 world which may take decades (or centuries?) to transition to fully.  

    IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, allowing for 2128, or approximately 3.4×1038 addresses — more than 7.9×1028 times as many as IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses. IPv4 allows for only 4,294,967,296 unique addresses worldwide (or less than one address per person alive in 2012), but IPv6 allows for around 4.8×1028 addresses per person — a number unlikely ever to run out.    (Wikipedia)

    35 years after the first IP connection went live, the European Region announced they have no more IPv4 addresses to hand out.

    35 years after the Voyager launches, Voyager 1 is approaching the end of solar system and will keep moving onwards into the unknown.

    35 years after the first cellular network was setup outside of Chicago, we have over half the world’s population speaking on wireless phones - many of which have their own IP address and easily checks their location on earth from a constellation of satellites above our tiny earth.

    While 1977 might have been cool -  I’m quite content to be part of this eraof technological advancement and look forward to being able to look back in 35 years and see how far we’ve come again.

  7. Good design makes a product understandable. It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
    — Dieter Rams
  8. 16:58 5th Apr 2012

    notes: 157

    reblogged from: hatchlingsblog


    After trying to go through the “proper channels” for almost a year now it’s time to share this story of how Google screwed over our startup with the world.

    Hatchlings is the world’s largest Easter Egg hunt. We have over 3.5 million users spanning all 50 states and almost every country on…

  9. If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.
    — Kurt Vonnegut -http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/03/i-am-very-real.html
  10. image: download

    Rainbow! (Taken with instagram)

    Rainbow! (Taken with instagram)