Biometrics are in our future


vein scanThough many have doubts that biometric technology will become the prevailing ID technology of the future, replacing passwords and PIN numbers… it’s already being rolled out.  In some places, it’s been active for a decade.

Palm vein ID technology, a system most Americans are not yet familiar with, has been gaining in usage and popularity abroad, and now beginning to reach domestic shores.  Palm vein technology uses an infrared scanner to identify the veins inside one’s hand, compare it to a complex algorithm of data points, and okay (or decline) the user.  The system has been tested extensively, demonstrating a .0001% error rate in over 75,000 user tests.  (More info here and here.) Continue reading

Defective by Design practicing Thuggery by Design


Defective by Design logo

I don’t put Digital Rights Management (DRM) software on the ebooks I sell; it doesn’t work, so why bother? So I’ve never had an issue with Defective by Design and their campaign against DRM. To be sure, our opinions differ, DbD essentially objecting to DRM on a philosophical level, and me on a practical level, but I never considered the difference an issue.

Until I discovered something about the ebooks I was posting to the Amazon website: My product pages were getting vandalized, as far as I’m concerned, with “defectivebydesign” and “drm-infested” tags, despite the fact that my ebooks had no DRM applied to them. Continue reading

Stores blocking ebooks? Try selling them instead


John Blake at the Bookseller Blog laments over ebook sales cannibalizing hardback sales, what he calls “real books,” in the stores:

The idea of simultaneously publishing an exciting new title both as a hardback and as an e-book seems totally crazy. If only publishers could publish the book as a hardback initially, then put out the e-book some months later, bookshops would be given a sporting chance to stay in business, and the dizzying decline of book sales could almost certainly be slowed.

I was fascinated to discover that serious readers—people who buy more than 12 books a year—are fast becoming the keenest e-book customers. These, surely, are the very people who would wish to purchase hardbacks rather than waiting months for an e-book edition. Continue reading

Being NOML


Our planet has reached an era of crisis, a point at which civilization severely threatens the Earth’s ability to maintain a biosphere conducive to human life. The early warning signs have been about for quite some time, but only recently have the signs been fully understood and appreciated… only now do the majority of people believe that the situation has graduated from “maybe” to “absolutely.” Continue reading