Friday, January 18, 2008

iTunes U

Here is a "Short and Sweet" version of the post that almost happened in October. There are a lot of ramifications to having full-blown top-notch university courses available at any time and for free on the internet. This is profound. I'll leave it at that for now!

iTunes has a new feature called iTunes U. MIT is there with its open courseware, Stanford, Yale, Duke, University of Pennsylvania (check out their 60 second lecture series!) It is all free. It is unbelievable.

Vidoop OpenID, Sprint Aircards

Well, time does fly. Here it is 2008 and I haven't posted since August. I almost posted in October, but it was an involved topic and the post was never "post-worthy." I find that writing is work! Not drudgery -- I have read writers who feel that it is -- but, work. I find myself wanting to write a quick post, but then, the details come in, and the need for accuracy comes in, and the need to set the correct context comes in, and then a quick post becomes a novelette!

So, here is the first post of 2008. Yahoo is going to support OpenID. Here is where details and context enter. Suffice it to say the OpenID is an attempt to make authentication on the web easier. Rather than having sign-ons for each website, each with its own password, OpenID allows a single ID to be used on multiple websites. The OpenID site has details.

Now, I figured that if Yahoo and a slew of others are supporting OpenID, I should at least get one. After perusing a few providers (not an insignificant task, I assure you), I came across Vidoop. These guys have a great authentication method. You get an ID. When you log in, they first authenticate the machine you are logging in from by emailing, telephoning, or text-messaging an authorization code, which you then enter, and then ask you to provide a passcode. The passcode is given to you in a grid of pictures, each with its own category. You tell vidoop which categories you want to use, they show you a grid of all categories with a letter in each, and you enter the letters from the categories you chose. Their categories are things like People, Dogs, Cats, Trains, Clocks. If your categories are Dogs and Trains, you enter the letters from the grid where there is a picture of a dog and the grid where there is a picture of a train.

This is brilliant. This is the type of thing that will pretty much guarantee that it will be you who is logging in -- they email the authentication codes to your email account, or call or text-message your phone, and the categories are the ones you chose. I don't have the math here, but I can guess that the odds are low that a break-in will occur. It sure is more secure than a simple password that never gets changed and that is usable from everywhere on Earth.

I just signed up today. Get an OpenID, and use to get it.

Also, I live in the boonies. This means that there is no cable, no DSL, and, until recently, no internet. I have been using the Sprint Aircard for the last month. It uses their mobile network. It is great -- as fast as DSL. They also have a Linksys router that can have the card plugged into it -- now I can get to it from my laptop. Good stuff.

That's all for now. I'll try to post more short and sweet ones this year -- but even this one ain't short!