Mar 13

Apple and Consumer Network Warfare

This TechCrunch article headline got most of my Twitter browsing attention this morning:

Apple Patents ‘Friend Or Foe’ Identification System For Social Networking Apps And Services

I’m pretty biased when I think of networks and Friend Or Foe.  In the mid/late nineties when the Internet blew up commercially, I was a Surface Warfare Officer blowing things up with networks.  Well, I wasn’t personally.  But our ship was testing new communication, sensor and weapons controls systems that were at the cutting edge of military networks.  Our ship was blowing up test targets enabled by a new weapon: information.

It seems a natural evolution of networked communication to start with efficient ways to connect — but then then to move to anti-connections.  And it’s not a manner of trimming networks — unfriending.  You actually want to know about your unfriends.  Apple’s patent is playing with that notion:  I want to know the annoying people in my network (who to ignore) — but also who the scary (or interesting?) people are — the stalkers.  Imagine if Facebook did this?  They could define stalking as a Friend who interacts with you X times more than you them.  The possibilities are endless…

In the classic IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system an aircraft squawks codes.  For commercial airlines there are codes sent in the clear to identify who they are.  By them squawking the military has a verifiable way to confirm their identity.  They say they are something and we could verify that.  But the more useful part of IFF to us was the secure codes sent so we could know a friend — without a second verification technique.  When observing a sector of the air we knew who the Friendlies were immediately.  The hard part about IFF was confirming Unfriendlies and Hostiles…  A bad guy will fake an IFF and/or not use one.  But the absence of the squawk doesn’t make them Hostile — or even Unfriendly.   (I distinguish the two as a Hostile being an Unfriendly who shows aggressive intent).

And this is the most interesting part of the Apple patent — it’s only addressing nodes who “squawk.”  How could you identify a spammer or stalker before they do either?  And if you go down that road… what’s the evolution of spamming and stalking?  Is it geo-location and true stalker identification?  Is it trigger-based alerts if a set of people interact in some way? And if that happens, is there a whole new market of white and black hats for consumer network warfare?  Yes — there is already a market for all of this — it just hasn’t hit mass market with Apple, Google, or Facebook.  When it does what does that world look like?



Sep 10

Gmail Priority Inbox

Crazy.  I just noticed Google’s version of a my “Email AI“:  Priority Inbox.  I just configured it.  We’ll see how it goes.  Think they found my original post and developed an app in 45 days?

Jun 10

Learning in Style

The Oatmeal is a creative engine producing a crazy mix of learning graphics.  Beer and Coffee are among my favorites (and addictions).

Apr 10

Under a New Waxing Moon

It’s hard not to try to find a story here — but rather than the connections between these — the big deal is that all this unrelated violence can happen in one single night.

Chicago Tribune

Mar 10

33 Beers and the Flavor Wheel

This is very cool.  Need to get some expert training and validation on the tastes.  Not sure I’m properly tuned to them all.

Hat tip TAB.

Feb 10

Luge Infographic

Sometimes you don’t want it to tell is so clearly:  NYT coverage of luge crash.

Feb 10

iPhone Processing

This is very cool.  I wonder if it runs on the iTouch — if so, I’m on it.

Feb 10

The Future of Analog Games

Beyond musical instrumentation, this is what I hoped would be a development path for the Surface.  Check out the D&D prototype.  Lot’s of potential here.  They are just scratching the surface though (couldn’t resist).  For instance, I’m not sure a virtual die roll should be kept.  There are much more interesting interactive dynamics that could be developed if you want to add random controls.  Regardless — watch this space.  And the iPad could really help re-invent the family board game…

Feb 10

Damn Smashing Is Good

Over and over Smashing Magazine produces great stuff.

Feb 10

Interesting Data

While nothing groundbreaking in the technique, the subject matter, story, and myth-busting technique are great ways to get and keep people interested in the data:  okcupid’s The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures.