Identity Leakage

I just bought my new cell phone the other day. Well … I ordered it. I’m buying a new Nokia E70, and I bought it directly from Nokia. Well … from Nokia’s distribution partner  There are two things that really struck me about the purchase … one was the “Identity Leakage” that I am detecting about myself … the other was their customer service.  Both were impressive.

Identity Leakage?  What is that?  Well … it’s all of the information about me that is leaking out all over the place.  And the slow accumulation of my leaked identity by various organizations that provide services based on that identity information.  Nokia uses a company that is busy slurping up all of my leaked identity … and yours too!  How did I experience this?  Well upon completion of my purchase of the phone, I received an e-mail indicating that I had to call into their offices to complete my sale.

When I called the 1-877-xxx-xxxx phone number I spoke with a customer service rep who indicated that I was going to have to answer three questions to verify my identity, and to receive my phone.  I started to think about the experince that I had on-line with Tiger Direct that was similar … and it ended up being identical.

First, the customer service rep asked me “Which of the following vehicles have you bought or sold recently?”  She then listed five vehicles … and the sixth choice “None of the listed vehicles.”  The funny thing is that the third vehicle she listed was my truck … exact year, make, and model.

Second, the customer service rep asked me “What counties have you bought or sold property in?” … and listed 5 or 6 county names several of which I had no idea.  But of course, again, one of the last counties that she listed was one where I have bought both a house, and a building.

The third question was to “Please identify the name of a friend or family member.” … after which she read the names of 5 or 6 people … none of which I recognized … followed by the option to indicate that I didn’t know any of these people.  I told her that I didn’t recognize any names, and she then said that I had answered the questions correctly.

Now I do have to mention that when I saw this on-line with the Tiger Direct system, when they listed names of friends or family I *did* see my sisters married name.

Through public records (vehicle registration, property title registrations?) companies are able to begin to assemble a lot of my identity.  My involvement in public activities allows my identity to “leak”.  It’s not a far leap to see where this will continue to go …

P.S. Th other part of my story … about their customer service?  When I bought the phone on Friday it was ~$460.00 … by Monday after they shipped the phone the price dropped to ~$400.00 … and so on Tuesday morning I called to see what they would do about it.  The customer service rep immediately asked if I had got the e-mail.  Well … I was on the phone driving to the office, so no … I had not yet seen an e-mail.  He indicated that an e-mail had already been sent Tuesday morning indicating that I’d get the $60 refund.  They had already covered me with some sort of price-protection.  Nice.

Travellers Wireless Solution … Access Point and Router

While down here at Adobe MAX, we wanted to get some work done after dinner. We realized that we hadn’t brought ethernet cables, and chose to run to Fry’s in Las Vegas … we also had a Fry’s virgin with us, and it’s always fun to introduce a geek to the Fry’s experience.

While wandering through the wireless section at Fry’s, I chose to look for a new portable wireless access point that I could take on trips with me. I used to carry a Lucent RG-1000 with me everywhere that I went. It was an amazing box for the time … it provided Ethernet and Dial-up capabilities, and was a router with DHCP and NAT built in. I could go into any place with a phone line, and create a shared wireless network … uh … sharing a 56kbps dial-up link. Not the best speeds, but it worked.

Well, I have now found my modern replacement … and it’s very cool.  I’m impressed.  The Linksys WTR54GS is now going to be travelling with me.  This compact little unit appears to have two wireless radios, and two ethernet ports.  It is able to be a complete wireless router, with either wired or wireless connection to the Internet, and then both a ethernet and/or wireless access point functionality for clients.  Amazing.  So, for example, I had it connect as a wireless client bridge to the hotel wireless network, and then was able to connect to it’s wireless access point and have multiple machines share that single connection.  So it was an active wireless client, and wireless access point at the same time … complete with NAT, firewall, and even MAC Address cloning.

All of this in a compact little unit, with a retractable power connector, that fits into a small zippered carrying case.  And the price?  Fry’s had it for $79 …. I’m sure that you might find it cheaper elsewhere.  I’m sure that I’ll blog more about it if it continues to live up to the experience that I’ve had this week.

Adobe MAX 2006

I came down to Adobe MAX 2006 this week. It’s being held in Las Vegas, and this is my first time attending this event. Last night at the welcome reception I met some great people, and saw a few interesting applications. One thing that hit me was the deep penetration that Adobe has into government. There were government employees – federal, state, and city – along with military employees and defense contractors everywhere!

I’m down here with part of my team from mediaForge as we are now committing This morning I’m at the keynote, and I’m impressed that Adobe has really spent some money on this event … and there are a *lot* of people here. Our first guess is that there are maybe 2000+ people attending. After an intro by Blue Man Group, Kevin Lynch – Chief Software Architect – came on stage and said that this is the largest Adobe MAX conference to date.

The CEO then reviewed the Adobe/Macromedia merger, and showed a video of the feedback from users. He talked about the adoption of the “labs” concept that Macromedia brought. His focus then turned to the technologies that they are going to focus on – video, mobile devices (FlashLite is running on over 100 million devices!), Flex, and Flash Player 9 (now 10 years old).

Kevin Lynch returned to the stage and fist addressed the adoption rates of Flash Players. He showed where the Flash Player 9 reached over 80% adoption within 9 months, and how Flash Player 9 is on track towards 40% adoption in close to three months. This again demonstrates that the ability to deploy updates globally, in a seamless and simple way, is key to software adoption.

There was then a series of demos of new features in Fireworks, Photoshop, After Effects, their new application Soundbooth.  Then came the demo of what I’m here for … Apollo.  Apollo is the new “cross-OS runtime that allows developers to leverage their existing web
development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, Ajax) to build and deploy desktop RIA’s.”  I’m hoping that Adobe will release a beta to us here at the show …

More later!

More storage coming … cheap.

For those people who just don’t seem to think it can get better, consider that within a few years you’ll be able to head to Costco and pick up your 2TB and 2.5TB hard disks for your personal computers.  This article outlines the announcements from Seagate and Hitachi announcing record densities in magnetic media … and the fact that the 1TB drives will be in our hands by this coming summer.

So when will the 4TB and 5TB disks be here?  2010?  Sooner?

Seagate, Hitachi up density in hard drive material. Blog: Seagate and Hitachi celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the hard drive by announcing two records in areal density, or the amount… [CNET]

Net Neutrality from Gilder’s Telecosm

Bummer.  I just realized that I missed the 10th Annual Telecosm Conference held by George Gilder and Steve Forbes.  This has always been one of my favorite conferences, where I’m always stimulated with something technology oriented that I never would have thought of.  I’m really into discovering what I don’t know that I don’t know.

The one thing that I was glad to find is that they are releasing the conference proceedings as podcasts … good move.  The first one is on Net Neutrality and has an all-star line-up of speakers.  I’m downloding it now.  Oh … ad it even says that it’s a video podcast.