Warning. The following publications may induce intense reasoning.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jerny At Ways, Part Two

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When Pae finally realized that she and her brother could not stay at the farm any longer, she asked Maghir, her elder brother, about their mother.

"Why can't we stay with mom? We can work the animals, ourselves," she complained. Maghir, a young boy, quite far from being a young man, did not have a good answer. Instead of giving her a bad answer, he decided that answering another question would be better.

"We're going to aunt Jen and uncle Madhu. They'll take care of us, and granny will take care of mom," he ended in a decisive tone. He was not really sure why their mother needed taking care of, but it was plain enough that she did not take their father's death well.

It is not that most children take death well. Not even a friend's death, much less family. Even the death of a farm animal could hurt. It is not even that their father was a bad man to be despised and glad over his demise. Not at all. Maghir and Pae simply did not feel as strongly as most others, when it came to death. Even they suspected that such a perspective was considered unusual in people.

"Spring" by Charles-Francois Daubigny, 1857
On the northern road, away from their home in Iranwin and towards those who would adopt them, at least for a time, Big Hor sang merrily. "Hoddy ho doddy do, little bird a whistle oh," he went and changed melodies and lyrics often, with little pause. Pae seemed aloof to the man's attempt at cheerfulness. Maghir felt slight disgust at the notion that they were too young to be allowed to be upset about their father's death.

Hor was a neighbor and an old friend. Each farm in their village, their further and further away village, stood a good walking distance away from the next farm. Even so, the locals felt close to each other, and treated each other well. Even between adults and children, games and conversations were commonplace. Hor was not then only a friend of the family, but an actual personal friend to both brother and sister.

As they walked under the mid-day sun, Maghir heard a noise from the east. Hor seemed to be too preoccupied to notice the sound, but Pae did turn to look at the same direction, as Maghir did. They exchanged curious glances. Could it be a wandering fox, Maghir wondered. When he turned back to look to the east again, he saw a tall woman covered with feathers from head to toe. She wore no clothing, except her feathers and a big toothy smile.

End of Part Two.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

How To Identify People Reliably

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The act of identifying people has always been a nookie in the smooth mechanic wheels of communication. By nature, we tend to generalize our identification of people by their figure, face, voice, gestures and swagger. Less consciously, we also do so by scent and rhythm.

In the age of the letter, which now includes the age of information technologies - Internet & Computers, we find the problem more aggravating, than ever before. And the contemporary solution? Passwords.

Passwords are as much of a failure as is fast food. First, you have to memorize them both ways, which is unreliable. If either the listener or the teller get the password wrong, for whatever reason, then the identification fails. Second, using the letter or word format to identify a person is unsafe. It may be easily stolen and copied.

What is the next step in reliable identification?


Passwords are a sub-category of patterns. Many things are patterns. How we behave. How we converse. Our timing.

Face, voice and finger-print recognition software use patterns, too. Are they reliable and safe? No. Faces and voices are too error prone and may be simulated by others. Finger-prints are reliable, but can be copied, so they are not very safe.

Also, all of the above require an extra device to get the user input. A camera, a microphone or a finger-print sensor. It will be more reliable if we avoid using extra devices for identification.

There is, however, a pattern that requires nothing new, and is more reliable and safe, than anything else. Usage patterns.

For example, a computer can remember the input patterns of the user, during regular activity. Typing on the keyboard. Mouse clicks and movement, or touchpad clicks. The days and hours of usage. The applications most used and the pattern of changing between them. Internet website browsing patterns. Even the patterns of audio and video that the computer can access.

What does this mean, in practice?

Any new account is guaranteed access, for a limited period of time. No password necessary. After a reliable and unique pattern has been identified, the computer will begin keeping a watchful eye on the user, trying to identify the user. The moment the user logs in, the computer will start running unobtrusive tests, against the user. The more the user is identified, the more access is granted.


Imagine you create a new email account. The email server - the computer on the other side - begins the recording process. After you have accessed your email several times, the server will start by having you type a short phrase, for basic entry. Any phrase! The server will know what words, symbols and typing habits should display from your side.

In the case of more entry levels, such as a sensitive email folder, the server may open up certain secure options, only after you have displayed enough usage to confirm your identity.

Can you even imagine anybody able to mimic your habits? It sounds impossible!

Unless, you are a machine. Machines mimic patterns. That is their specialty. Never the less, no worry, for this process is protected from such machine hacking attempts, by the simple usage of already existing anti-bot modules (pieces of software that are designed entirely for this need.)

Big social websites, such as Facebook and Google, already use pattern recognition for both server and user. The server will identify and alert you, when your account has been logged in from a new location. Facebook even requires users to identify people in their photos!

I hope you find this topic interesting. I know I do! This is definitely going to be implemented in my next programming project.

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