Saturday, July 29, 2006

Self Asserted Identity

On the Identity Gang Mailing List, there was a recent discussion about identity claims, signatures, and business agreements. The issue of self asserted identity and whether or not it would be acceptable in business transactions came up...

Today, most internet ecommerce transactions take place using self-asserted identity. I, the user, select my own username and password that is used to identify me to the web site. I, the user, provide my identity data such as name, address, and phone number. I, the user, even provide them with the credit card information used in the transaction.

One might assert that when I use my Discover Card for a transaction, that Discover is actually asserting the data and that's why it's accepted for the transaction. In fact, this is not the case. When I use my card to make a purchase at say Amazon it is Amazon who is on the hook for the transaction value should I later tell discover that I didn't partake in the transaction.

So, when Amazon accepts my Discover Card for a transaction, it is a self asserted transaction that they have chosen to accept because they want to do business with me and because they have put in place fraud detection techniques that make them comfortable with the transaction.

Much of what we do in the world today is done using self-asserted identies, we should embrace and continue support for that model as we evolve this identity system of the future. At the same time, we should provide means to protect the user from misuse of their self-asserted identities and to protect relying parties from the same.

Tags : / / /

Friday, July 28, 2006

Wind Power Generation

My latest project, that is very much a background project, is to add wind power generation to my home. My reasons for doing so are not primarily driven by economic reasons (although as the price of fossil fues rise, the economics get better and better, perhaps even to the point of paying off). My electric provider NOVEC is required by the state of Virginia to permit net metering (where my meter runs backwards when I'm generating more electricity than I'm using). I reached out to them via their web site "Contact Us" link and was suprised to get a knowledgable response within 1 hour! WOW. They were quite open in discussing the possiblities including:
NOVEC presently has no one with a wind system and three consumers with photovoltaic systems. I would recommend that you check the length of time for payback on the system you are reviewing. The photovoltaic systems, one an 8kw system and two are 1.4kw system, have shown an extremely long time before the cost of the system is recovered in savings. I would also compare the costs and savings to possible improvements in energy efficiencies (more insulation; high efficiency windows, doors, heating systems, etc>) for the home.

Which, if economics were a driving factor, would be good advice. Of course we do have a fairly good house from an energy perspective: Geothermal heating Brick enclosed, Tyvek Home Wrapped 1/2 inch plywood sheathed, 2x6 Walls with R-19 insulation.

So, why are we doing this if it isn't about economics? Well, economics do come into play, but more so, it's more a matter of a) do I want to burn my grandkids oil and b) do I want to contribute to global warming. I look at moving to renewable energy as a way of doing less of both and hopefully eventually making some money at the same time.

Still lots of work to do - things like figuring out the right type of system for my area and walking through the building & zoning process as there's a height limit of 35 feet here on most buildings and so I have to work out some form of an exception (I think) to put the windmill up where it needs to be (around 100 feet). As I was writing this, it's hot and very sunny outside here in VA, making me think also about solar energy... I'll keep you posted as I find out more.

Tags : / / / / / /

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Canon SD500 LCD cracked

(I've been saving this one for a while...)

A few weeks back, I went to pull my trusty carry-along camera, a Canon SD500 that I bought a few years ago, and found that the LCD screen had cracked... Badly... as in totally unusable (although the camera did still work fine).

Poking around the net found lots of others with the same problem. Checked cost to replace.. a new Canon SD550 runs about $230... Getting Canon to fix the problem themselves would be $170 (it's out of warranty, even if I thought they would fix it), buying a new LCD and from Canon Parts (732-521-7230) would be $40 total, including shipping.

I have to admit I did consider buying a new Canon SD700 but it would mean going backwards in Megapixels (the SD700 is "only" a 6.0 Megapixel camera, even if it does have 4x optical and Image Stablization -- we all know it's all about Megapixels :-))

So I decided to order the new LCD figuring that at worst case I was out $40 and it would be cool to be able to say I took apart such a cool electronic device and successfully put it back together (assuming I could, of course).

The new LCD came in while I was away on a trip and when I returned I had to get onto a conference call right away, so I took the box into my home office and did the replacement while I was on the call (took about an hour that way).

I didn't end up with any extra screws and I did end up with a working camera & LCD again... YEAH!!!

My son just shakes his head, thinking I was crazy for fixing it myself -- but being that he's just 15, I'm thinking he think I'm crazy about lots of things.

UPDATE: 10/15/06 - While my camera is still fully functional after this repair, I've upgraded to the Powershot SD800IS.

Tags : / / /

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dulles Has Premium Passenger Lines!!!

I travel alot (definately of the road warrior class) and I try to find every break I can to make the experience easier for me. My local airport is Washington Dulles Internation Airport (IAD) and for the past few years, Dulles has been one of the few major airports in the country to not have special lines for us special people :-).

But late last week, that all changed... Finally Dulles has "Premium Passenger" lines and I used one on the way to my flight to Portland this week and it was a breeze. Fastest I've ever been through the security lines at Dulles.

Thank You Dulles & the MWAA!!!

Tags : / / / /

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm finally here.....

So, after much pestering from all corners (including the likes of Eve Maler and Paul Madsen) I have finally gotten around to joining the web logging society. We'll see how much trouble I can get myself into...