Archives for category: Seeds

IMG_1751Last year I gave a lecture at a summer school on Lesbos. It was in July, right after the Greeks voted against a bailout. All Greeks, students and teachers alike, were gloomy and stressed. They loosened up, just a little, when three days later Prime Minister Tsipras did formally apply for a bailout, which Europe accepted shortly after that.

At the same time we saw scores of refugees walk along the highway every morning and found dozens of life jackets on the beaches.

I saw Europe disintegrate before my very eyes. I felt I stood right at the fault line of history. That first week it seemed nothing but certain I would return home from Greece as a country that would no longer belong to Europe. I was lucky: I could go back to Europe. They might not. And neither might the refugees. And it made me very very sad.

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In the I-want-to-be-a-startup-too-department. The Last Post. A digital funeral service for bloggers. Provides automatic archiving of your blog, to keep it accessible for eternity. Create a ‘last post’ now, to be published as soon as you pass away. A smart watch app (measuring your heart rate and other vital statistics) can be programmed to trigger the publication of this post…

Note: is already taken by a The Last Post Association. Their aim: to play the Last Post every day under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper at 8 o’clock sharp, to remember those that fell at Ypres Salient during the First World War. They have been doing this every single day since 1928!

About 11 years ago, my then girlfriend (now wife) gave me this drawing as a present. She called it “Let’s fly”. And we sure did!


Now that my children have grown up and are about to leave the house, it’s indeed time to fly. And maybe you can help. Or rather, I hope I can help you…
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The earth is divided in timezones. Timezones guarantee that on every place on earth noon 12 o’clock is, roughly speaking, the middle of the day, when the sun is at its highest point on the firmament. As a result, 12 o’clock in one timezone corresponds to 11 o’clock one timezone to the west (the sun rises there later) and corresponds to 1 o’clock one timezone to the east (where the sun rises earlier). Most mobile calendar apps support timezones. In fact many calendar apps do not even allow you to create an event without specifying a timezone. But they do so in a totally unusable way. Thing is: you only notice when you start traveling…
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Mijn koffiebonen zijn bijna op. Zie ik als ik een espresso aan het zetten ben. Tijd om nieuwe te bestellen. Dat doe ik altijd bij de jongens van het Koffiestation. Toffe jongens, met heerlijke koffie. Ze komen het zelfs gratis langs brengen. Als je in Groningen woont ten minste…

Maar hoe mooi de website van de jongens van het Koffiestation ook is, het is toch iedere keer weer een gedoe. Ik moet naar boven lopen, PC aanzetten, naar hun website browsen, de winkel in, de bonen selecteren die ik wil, het aantal, en of ik ze gemalen wil (nee dus), in het winkel wagentje zetten, inloggen, gratis bezorging selecteren. De jongens zouden dit handiger kunnen doen door me meteen vanaf de home pagina in te laten loggen, mijn laatste keuzes als standaard selecteren, en mij die keuze laten kopen met een simpele druk op de bestel knop. Vervolgens moet ik echter alsnog betalen met iDeal, wat een aantal handelingen met inloggen op de bank site en/of het invoeren van wat codes op een token betekent. Erg onhandig allemaal.
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People reuse passwords. This is not secure. But people do it anyway. So, can we make it more secure? Yes we can! In fact you can securely sign in with a single master password on all sites you visit. Plugins like PwdHash show how this can be implemented without requiring sites to change their login procedure in any way. In this post I will discuss a slightly different approach to implementing such a plugin, compare it to PwdHash, and discuss some of the usability issues related to these systems.

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ubikima-logotest02Even though they are insecure, passwords are still the main form of authentication available on the web. There are several reasons for this. Users are used to passwords, and trust them. Teaching them to use something new requires time and effort. If users don’t see the benefit of a new system, they will continue using passwords. Services have been using passwords for ages. Using a different method requires a significant effort (in terms of time and other resources). Moreover, authentication systems form a two-sided market with cross side effects. This creates the chicken-egg dilemma that users will not migrate to a form of authentication that is not offered by a significant number of services, and services will not offer a new authentication method if no users use it.

The challenge is to break this vicious cycle. And UbiKiMa aims to achieve just that.

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