Prepping for IoT: How Blockchains Thwart Security Concerns

For those interested, The Next Web offers a pretty convincing forecast of the future of the Internet of Things (IoT). 

In a recent article regarding interest the Department of Homeland Securities has in knowing more about Blockchain technology, the author points out a potential connection that both government and business have in using Blockchain technology to secure and support IoT innovations.

Here’s a snippet from the article: 

The blockchain, for those unfamiliar, is a new type of database developed alongside the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. It has become even more popular among security experts and tech firms, because it has the ability to verify transactions autonomously, making it a “permissionless” and public system that doesn’t need to rely on secure logins or passcodes.

A Blockchain database, “is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records secured from tampering and revision.”


A “permissionless” and public system that doesn’t need to rely on secure logins or passcodes.

It’s potential for unlocking the IoT, by covering the security issue so many legitimate concerns about, is what makes this technology so interesting.

Someone responding to the article put it succinctly: 

“The Blockchain tech will solve one of the major issues and fear people have when it comes to IoT – security and protection of data.”

The DHS aren’t alone in getting excited about blockchain technology. Developers are said to have already begin pushing new products to the blockchain.
Investment companies are also weighing in. Gartner and IDC separately forecast 26 and 30 billion dollar investments in IoT via smart devices over the next 5 years.

Last year (early 2015), IBM published proof-of-concept research study on the proven potentials of blockchain technology.

Samsung and IBM imagine how a washing machine could become a “semi-autonomous device capable of managing its own consumables supply, performing self-service and maintenance, and even negotiating with other peer devices.”

As companies, investments, and developers get more involved, it is becoming more clear that the blockchain’s very nature as a secure encrypted and autonomous network could help empower other smart applications to also be linked, autonomous, and secure – thanks to the Blockchain.

See more on the potentials of the Blockchain, or the aforementioned article, DHS looking to link to the Blockchain

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South by Southwest LIVE – 2016 Schedule of Events

It’s that time of year again! This is the 30th (wow, really?) year of the South by Southwest (or SXSW) convention. Once again there are a variety of events being live-streamed out to the interwebs direct from Austin. Here’s your guide to what’s live in 2016.

President Obama SXSW Live
President Obama among the keynotes being live streamed from South by Southwest 2016. (Photo credit mystatesman)

*Note: all times are CT, which is 1 hour behind ET.

Here’s a list of the events planned for:

SATURDAY, MARCH 12

9:30 AM: Countering Violent Extremism on Digital Platforms with John Allen
11:00 AM: Distributed: A New OS for the Digital Economy with Douglas Rushkoff
12:30 PM: The Future of Media Companies with Frank Cooper
2:00 PM: Keynote: Daring Greatly with Brené Brown
3:30 PM: Unstoppable Trends that are Changing the World with Max Levchin
5:00 PM: Creating the Modern Media Company with Jim Bankoff and Julia Boorstin

SUNDAY, MARCH 13

11:00 AM: Rodney Brooks in Conversation with Nick Thompson with Nicholas Thompson and Rodney Brooks
12:30 PM: Wikipedia: Beyond the Encyclopedia with Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy Wales
2:00 PM: Elephant in the Valley with Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo
3:30 PM: Anthony Bourdain as Interviewed by Nathan Thornburgh with Anthony Bourdain and Nathan Thornburgh
5:00 PM: Crowdsourcing the Hyperloop with Dirk Ahlborn

MONDAY, MARCH 14

9:30 AM: Meet Nom: Food and The Future of Live Video with Steve Chen
11:00 AM: We the People: Using Tech to Solve Big Challenges with Aden Van Noppen, Clarence Wardell, Haley Van Dyck, and Megan Smith
12:30 PM: Accessing the Inaccessible: Evolving Search with Biz Stone and Danny Sullivan
2:00 PM: How a Sports Giant Is Now Tackling Your Health with Kevin Plank and Robert Safian
3:30 PM: Coding on Camera: MR. ROBOT and Authenticity on TV with Christian Slater, Kevin Sullivan, Rami Malek, and Sam Esmail
5:00 PM: 12 Inevitable Tech Forces That Will Shape Our Future with Kevin Kelly

TUESDAY, MARCH 15

9:30 AM: Creating a Movement: The Story of SoulCycle with Elizabeth Cutler, Julie Rice, and Kim Last
11:00 AM: Stewart Butterfield in Conversation with Farhad Manjoo with Stewart Butterfield and Farhad Manjoo
12:30 PM: What Works: Gender Equality by Design with Iris Bohnet
2:00 PM: Why Happiness Is Hard and How to Make It Easier with Andy Puddicombe
3:30 PM: It’s Not About an iPhone: Fixing the Encryption Mess with Charles Henderson, Kayla Tausche, Michael Slaby, and Misha Govshteyn
5:00 PM: Closing Remarks: Bruce Sterling with Bruce Sterling

The interactive portion of south by ends on Tuesday, but you can get a full list of live streaming events on the site (extending through March 18), or follow the conference twitter account for live sxsw news.

3 Fundamental UX Changes Coming to Facebook

​Perhaps you heard about the Facebook phone this week, well we’re not here to talk about chat heads, or Facebook Home today. Though we will soon.

Today, we’re going to review three fundamental user experience changes that are coming to Facebook this year. In short, they include the following…

  1. Graph Search
  2. Newsfeed
  3. Threaded Comments

Graph Search – Your social data uncovered

Graph Search provides search of user data (however accurate or inaccurate it may be).
Graph Search provides search of user data (however accurate or inaccurate it may be).

What is graph search, and why do I care? Graph search is Facebook’s search engine of user profil​​e data. In all fairness, they would likely suggest it is a search engine of the entire social graph – your profile info., page info as well as like button and other off-site user activity. However you define it, Graph Search is poised to shake things up.

Graph Search is not meant to be a Google search replacement (in the short term).  It is a different kind of search. Today it is a potentially confusing tool. Users have noted the strangeness in the areas of both the search functions and structure, as well as question the usefulness of the information available by the service. There is much yet to be discovered by Facebook and it’s users around the potential for Graph Search.

Graph Search has something to provide both advertisers and users. By including Facebook’s Nearby Places service, the social network looks to create more local reviews of businesses from users within a close geographic proximity. Incentive programs, useful information and the opportunity to champion a new area of the online space makes Graph Search + Nearby Places an enticing offer for local businesses and online marketers alike.

Once more test cases prove out; once more sharpness in the system arrives, Graph Search will fundamentally change the Facebook user experience.

Newsfeed – Unifying the experience with a mobile lead

Newsfeed will unify the mobile-tablet-and-desktop experiences for users.
Newsfeed will unify the mobile-tablet-and-desktop experiences for users.

Newsfeed is a unification of the experience with a heavy mobile lead. It will, predictably, become one more somewhat minor user interface updates in a whole series of enhancements as Facebook iterates it’s layout, design and user experience to be more and more mobile-friendly.

Today, this change seems fairly significant, but I predict in the not to distant future newsfeed will be just another update in a long continuum of updates (don’t they all seem to go this way?).

Overall, this will provide a more seamless experience across device types. I’m interested to see how they handle (if they address) click options differently. Commonly, mobile interface, or design features big buttons to accommodate a users ‘clicking’ with their thumbs. Desktop hyperlinked text phrases and other ‘click’ options don’t require such large buttons (or accommodation). In this age of the responsive website this aspect of the user experience is pretty fascinating.

Combined these UI changes  – navigation changes, information retrieval and display processes – have and continue to change the look and experience of Facebook, we’ll see what this unification does to put Facebook into the mobile-future for users.

Threaded Comments – Our coversation re-organized and renewed

Threaded Comments will launch for all pages in July.
Threaded Comments will launch for all pages in July.

Already started for many larger pages, threaded comments also stand to shake things up a bit.  I see this update as one that may help further lead the web-space into a frenzy of personal conversations going in a million different directions.

Threaded messages ‘help organize’ conversations by fragmenting them into new and subsequent conversations. This update alone, I don’t think will turn our world upside down. However, I do look at this as one more iteration in a continuum of updates that (combined with a tech-thirsty, wired-world) will demonstrate further how we are moving swiftly into an age of communication that might even more readily be classified as ‘controlled chaos’.

South by Southwest 2013 Livestream Schedule – Keynotes & Sessions

It’s that time of year again folks, and I don’t mean Spring. It’s time to (fill out a bracket and to) review the livestream schedule at south by southwest.

As you may know from years past when I’ve written before about the super conference, (SXSW, Will you be there?sxsw livestream links & schedule (2012) I’m convinced that there are valuable things being shared there. And while the crowds have grown exponentially in recent years, the number of keynotes and session panels being livestreamed from the event have also become more numerous as the interactive portion grows more popular.

So, without further delay, may I point you to this year’s schedule … Note: Over the course of the next week there may be other, off beat livestreaming of events in Austin. I’ll update, but please share in the comments if you find something noteworthy. Enjoy!

SXSW Interactive Live Streaming Schedule:

Friday, March 8

Opening Remarks from Bre Petis
2:00pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Tales of US Entrepreneurship Beyond Silicon Valley
3:30pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Technology, Imagination & Exponential Thinking
5:00pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Saturday, March 9

Digital Reality: Life in Two Worlds
12:30pm, ACC Ballroom D

Elon Musk Keynote
2:00pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Al Gore on The Future
3:30pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Sunday, March 10

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
11:00am, ACC Ballroom D

Go Fund Yourself
12:30pm, ACC Ballroom D

Tina Roth Eisenberg Keynote
2pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Monday, March 11

The Computational Future: A Preview
11:00am, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

100 Year Starship: Interstellar Travel & Beyond
12:30pm, ACC Ballroom D

Julie Uhrman & Josh Topolsky Keynote
2:00pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Tuesday, March 12

Jane Pratt: Secrets of a Publishing Renegade 
11:00am, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Matthew Inman Keynote
2:00pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Peter Thiel: You Are Not A Lottery Ticket
3:30pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Bruce Sterling Closing Remarks
5:00pm, ACC Exhibit Hall 5

Interactive Award Ceremony
6:00pm, Hilton Austin Downtown

I’m Back Developing Returns

English: W3C HTML5 Badge in SVG.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. There is a reason.

I enjoy the act of drafting and organizing content for this blog, but I have also found that I am pretty fascinated by creating webpages from scratch. So, I have been on a bit of a hiatus (from this), but the spending the time on web development things has been great.

I thought I might share with you some of the resources I’ve used over the past few months to pick up more understanding in the web dev. arena. They include:

1. Wendy Willard – BASIC HTML | This is a solid book. With a clear and easy to read style, Wendy lays down the ins and outs of building sites with the web’s fundamental language. Too, an extra “way to be” goes to her for not skimping on the rise in CSS for positioning. The title says HTML, but the book provides a nice measure of gateway information to the language’s counterpart, CSS.

2. Worthy of Honorable Mention | Lynda.com: For the uninitiated Lynda.com is, more-or-less, a video repository of teachings on the emerging tools and techniques surrounding the Internet, and computer -based programs. In the past month or two, I enjoyed free access to the courses at Lynda.com and have since been plotting a return. Classes on CSS are most of what I viewed there, though they do offer classes on Excel, SEO, web design, all sort of stuff.

3. E. Castro & B. Hyslop – HTML5 and CSS3 | My most recent read, and a terrific book (available at Martin Library) is the 2012 published Quickstart by Castro and Hyslop. This book has done a great job of introducing me to many exciting aspects of web development. Some of these topics include:

  • Semantic Markup – The particulars and ‘how to’
  • Fundamentals of each language, HTML5 & CSS3
  • Responsive Design & Media Queries
  • Lot’s of solid structural stuff, lots of design effects, so many things

I really hate to give this book up. But, it has served me well – as has the holiday down-time which is partly when I was able to get away and really learn from and apply teachings from the book.

Too, I’ve been amazed by some of the blog posts, and resources out there and available to the interested eyes. I’ve really enjoyed continuing to listen to The Big Web Show. Additionally, I just received my first a book apart book, Mobile Content Strategy. A list apart is a mind-boggling gem of a resource. And it’s things like this that remind me just how awesome the web can be.

.net Magazine‘s, HTML Design Essentials is a bookazine I’ve picked up in the past few months. It’s mind boggling as well. It is amazing, and delightful, to see some of the super-cool things that people are doing with    websites. Particularly, I think it’s great to see websites delivering some of the rich visual and sensory experiences that have fueled the appreciation for mobile apps.

Smashing Magazine is great. CSS Tricks is super neat. Many more worthy of mention.

So, that’s where I’ve been of late.

How about you?