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Showing posts from 2016

We need a new word for "homeless"

My dear wife picked up an Aboriginal couple  who were thumbing a ride who told her they had been moved on from Byron because they told the officials they were "homeless".

They hadn't done anything wrong... they had not been drinking. Had not been causing any problems.

But when asked where they lived they said they were "homeless".

Why is it assumed that if someone doesn't have a a home that it is because they are incapable of having a home?

Why can't it just be that someone likes to be unattached?

For the life of me I cant think of an appropriate term for it... traveler, on the roader, open liv-er, transient (nah used for something negative)

Any ideas?


Big banks vs ApplePay

Is the claim by Apple that consumers are not safe if they use anything else but Applepay on their iPhones?

This was the question that a great strategic thinker and advisory board member Ted Pretty put to me. And my answer… bunkum.

The ApplePay system is very secure. It uses tokens to verify identity and communicate with the banks to allow transactions, so in a way it is a step up in security from a standard card EFTPOS transaction.

But to say that ApplePay is the only secure way for a phone to talk to an EFTPOS device and the bank is just nonsense. Its tantamount to saying that every communication between any client and server is not secure unless it uses ApplePay… secure email? Safer with ApplePay, Secure web access… only secure with ApplePay…. it’s a sweeping statement that completely ignores the many proven secure technologies that are available to solve the phone to eftpos security problem.

Take Haventec Secure Wallet for example. To EFTPOS enable this highly flexible and secure t…

Nuix traction, Wickenby biplane crash with Robert and Agius family connection.

It is so gratifying to see Nuix get so much traction from the changes it has been going through in recent months. We at Haventec have been able to see all this close up as we share working space with them in their Australian headquarters. Now that they have just enjoyed a big showing at RSA we are watching them closely for clues for our future success as we receive mentoring from our chairman and co-founder Dr. Anthony "Tony" Castagna.

On another front had an interesting email from Robert Francis from Ferodale where there is a pet project in NSW. He only just returned from a holiday in Vanuatu. Ferodale suffers a bit with an unemployment problem so life is tough. Interestingly he is a distant connection through the Agius family line in Malta but has a fascinating interest in biplanes which are flown a lot on the northern rivers. The crash in Wickenby in the UK really was sobering for him since there are so many crashes that never hit the news even though it has a great commu…

Mentee success: stainless clotheslines

Just wanted to put a good word in for one of the inventors I mentored over the years... this much-needed innovation is stainless steel high tension clotheslines and he has done a great job.

Have a look at their gear at

Well done guys.

Telepresence - essential for everyday Australians.. an NBN killer app

"Imagine looking at someone who is the same size as you on  photographic quality screen, where you are so comfortable talking to them that you forget they are 800km away... that is Telepresence. And THAT is THE REASON to have optical fibre in every Australian home." It's been almost a decade of talk about NBN super broadband and still the message is muddy and unclear. The NBN is NOT about Netflix. It is not about downloading movies fast. Mark my words, it IS EVERYTHING to do with Telepresence.

It about a form of video conferencing that is real life quality. Where you forget that the person you are talking to is not in the room.

It's about putting an HDTV at the end of your dining room table with an HD camera in suburban Sydney and having dinner with your brother and his wife in Brisbane where you talk over your food and laugh and share as if you were both at the same table.

No glitches. No hiccups. No fuzzies. It just works.

I'll never forget hearing an elderly …

Ric's Entreprenuer and Inventor Tips for 28th July 2016

Some more tips to pass on:
Stump procrastination with the restart phrase "The next minute is the first minute of the rest of the day." I use this to jump start myself out of a procrastination loop. Sometimes research becomes an endless loop of distractions and next thing you know you are feeling like your day is wasted. Just stop, refocus and cut the wasted time out of your mind.Never miss an opportunity to give warm thanks to someone who has gone out of their way for you. Risking that you made a big thing out of nothing is never as powerful as someone hearing your genuine thanks for making an effort with you.There is a time to be angry but rarely is it warranted more than a few times a year. If you are careful to be angry only when it really matters then people will recognise that the situation is really serious and generally try and fix it. If you are regularly blowing up, people will write you off as a grump. This happened to me this week. Frustration with a situation boi…

The Upside of Mentoring

When I first started helping fellow inventors way back in 2010, it was a way to say thank you to the 2 million Australians who shared their Monday and Saturday nights with me to watch the Australian Story episode covering our win against Microsoft in that year.

Spending Friday mornings, listening to fellow inventors, trying to help them get going and maybe get a patent was a little way of saying thank you to the rest of Australia who shared their support and time.

But something weird also started to happen. By about the 40th person I started to really deeply understand the inventing process. Not because I studied it, but because in explaining something you have to think deeply about it, and next thing you know many of the things that I just did out of repetition started to make so much more sense.

Its's almost as if, when you really want to understand something, you make an effort to help others understand it and voila you really do start to become an expert at it.

Unfortunately …

Can the real Password-less Tech please stand

Two years ago I introduced what I thought was the first password-less logon system in history.

Since that time there have been dozens maybe hundreds of claimers to that throne. Anyone with a thumb print sign-on, or an app that opens their website on a PC is claiming to be password-less.

Well here are some things to consider:

If a web site supplies an app that uses Apple's fingerprint sign-on as a log on capability, is this password-less?
No. If you still have to use a password on ANY of your devices to access your account, you are not password-less. Your password is still stored on their enterprise network and can still be hacked. Password-less means just that... NO PASSWORD.

Just an FYI, Apple's fingerprint scanner is only a surrogate for your password... it just gets sent to the site in the background as a result of you using your thumbprint.. so it is definitely NOT password-less.

Some new technology (such as PING) asks you to open your phone and access a security app every …

Quantum computing and cryptography.. some light reading

Here are some references from one of Australia's leading crypto experts who recently shared his expertise with us at Haventec. All I can say is that we are entering a dangerous new world.
Really great explanation of real life Qubit building scenario
Explains the growing concern for cryptographers over Quantum computers cracking/ brute force capability
A report from Feb 2016 outlining specific implications of quantum computing an specific cryptographic uses.

Digi.Me allowing personal control of your own data. But can the model work?

Just had a friend send me a link as follows: bags $6.1M to put users in the driving seat for sharing personal data TechCrunch article. What a great little project with incredibly ambitious plans. From what I can tell here is their approach... Google gets to leverage their incredible user base by offering services in return for looking over the shoulder of their users and monetizing what they find out, usually by advertising. asks users upfront to trust them with your personal data and then goes about hawking it or distributing it with your express approval. If it is used by a company for income then they may sure you as the user gets a benefit.. but the basic difference is that Google asks for forgiveness after the fact of sharing your data (while assuring us they will "do no evil") and asks for permission... up front.
This approach will be a long haul. But it's a big prise.
Could Haventec do this with their Digital Wallet product? Maybe. 

A fundamental communications, networking and data sharing security fabric

An influential and strategic thinking guru who is also a friend of Haventec asked us a thought provoking question:

"have you developed a new and more fundamental communications, networking and data sharing security fabric within which blockchain applications and other applications can securely operate."
In typical nerd fashion I replied that: It's simply a way for people to securely connect to enterprise networks without sharing any personally identifiable information,A way to share private information only when and where they want to, and to have control over how that information is used and stored.And finally a way to help ensure that computers on any network can have confidence in the other computers they are connected and talking to... oh, and to allow other application to piggyback that capability so they too can be sure that there is no one faking their identity and misusing the trust that is assumed and indeed essential on any important network. On reflection fabri…

Some Competitive Clarity for Haventec

Because Haventec has branched out from a core of Authentication to secure personal data management and Blockchain applications, it may be a bit confusing to work out what space the company is focussed on and who and who are not Haventec competitors.

First of all it is important to understand how Haventec's three core products fit together.
Haventec Authentication enables users to securely connect to even high security enterprise networks without storing any personal information on the network. Plus it does not rely on thumbprints or facial recognition or any other device specific capability. You can use a multitude of user identity methods but the key thing is that nothing hackable gets stored on the server or network so it solves the biggest issue facing enterprise C suite decision makers… how to limit breach risk.
Haventec Digital Wallet moves sensitive information off corporate networks onto users devices but secures them by physically separating the location of the data (on us…

Ric's Entreprenuer and Inventor Tips for this week

Here is some ideas for you to chew over this week:

If you were the chairman of the board for your own company and you could hire anyone to be CEO of your company, would you hire you? If not who WOULD you hire?.... That person should be your co-founder.Don't think about raising money. Think about your exit. What company will want to buy your company when its at full steam? Then think about someone who has experience in getting THAT done. If you are in security tech, then maybe Symantec should be buying your company. Who has had experience at selling their company to Symantec... THAT is the person that should be our cofounder or at least a close advisor.Rarely is your skill set enough to get a special project done. A balanced team of complimentary skill sets and mutual respect and trust will always execute strongly.In my world you need three things. A great idea, the right team to execute it, and funding to allow us to do the right things first. Many very experienced friends of mine …

SWIFT Attack and other nightmares

A very experienced and insightful  friend and advisor, who shall remain nameless for the time being, asked us at Haventec to consider having a look at the attacks on the SWIFT interbank transaction system, and seeing if there is a way to help plug that incredibly dangerous and large hole.

It's nice to think that he feels we could have a go at solving a problem of this magnitude.

To be specific, that hole was $81 million dollars large ($81mill still not accounted for of nearly $1 bill initially attacked!) when a Bangladeshi Bank was attacked late last year, and just recently a Vietnamese bank was attacked in a related incident losing over a million dollars in fraudulent transactions.

In a nutshell, the attack was initiated by a hacker group modifying a PDF reader so that it modified transaction records when a bank worker reviewed them from an internal computer so that fraudulent transactions could be hidden and then they placed tools on the infected network to modify transactions. …

Photos from Avalon in Sydneys last big swell

My friend Bob McTavish sent me these photos from a mate of his down in Sydney.. I looked around to see who owns them and am happy to point people at the right place... top one is Avalon main beach in monstrous size.. Ive been out when you had to jump the rocks ie no paddle out possible but this looks much bigger... And the shot below looks like it is South Avalon at the pool... good grief! 10 foot only 30 meters from the pool... thats what it looks like anyway.

Encryption and the Quantum computer freight train

Quantum computing is clearly the next phase in computing progress. It's the difference between having a vocabulary of two (Yes and No ie binary) and being able to use millions of words to calculate and communicate... faster, more accurate, efficient and powerful.

The problem is that anyone with the advantage of a Quantum computer can totally overwhelm someone relying on old YES/NO technology.

Enter Encryption.

It's current role is to scramble information so that the processing power of someone with a key can unscramble the information millions of times faster than someone who does not have the key but has to guess it.

Quantum computing means that key finding is so fast that encryption as a protection is almost pointless.

But Quantum computing (that uses qubit rather than bit) is only coming in the medium term future isn't it?

We are a decade off at least... right?

Well for a relatively long time IBM's 5 qubit Quantum computer was considered the ceiling for the near fut…

Greenland ice sheet melting has started early

How Sad.

From SMH:

Greenland ice sheet melting has started early: "In a year of startling data pointing to a warming world, the thin blue line in the chart below of Greenland's ice melt was initially dismissed as just too outlandish to be accurate.
Greenland is home to the world's second largest ice mass, containing enough water to lift average sea levels about seven metres if it all melted.
The early-season melting of Greenland ice has scientists worried. Photo: Daniel Beltra, via Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago)
So in early April, signs that the giant ice sheets were melting at least a month earlier than typical during the three decades-plus of reliable records stunned scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute."

'via Blog this'

Microsoft sues US government over gag orders on customer data grabs

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Good logic in this article... how is a search warrant for your house different to a search warrent for your cloud storage... in both cases you should have to be notified. Those who know me know that I am not political so this is about common sense to me not a political statement.

Microsoft sues US government over gag orders on customer data grabs:

Orders that prevent Microsoft telling their customers when they're being surveilled are becoming more common, according to Microsoft. Photo: Bloomberg Microsoft has sued the US government, arguing that a law that can be used to prohibit technology companies from telling customers when law enforcement comes looking for their data is unconstitutional. Microsoft's lawsuit is the US technology industry's latest high-profile challenge to the reach of law enforcement into cyberspace, coming a couple months after Apple fought an FBI order to disable an encryption measure on an iPhone connected to a mass s…

My best bet on the FBI iphone break in technique

The news has been speculating on how the FBI has broken into an alleged terrorists iPhone and after thinking about it a while here is my guess...

Here is what I'd do:

1. I'd take apart the iphone and make a flash copy of the memory of the iphone.
2. Then Id run up one hundred flash copies of the original image in its original state.
3. Then I'd test three of the possible 10,000 combinations on each individual image until each individual image self destructs. Thats three hundred attempts in each cycle.
4. Then I'd keep doing it until I found the combination that worked. That is only 333 cycles to try all ten thousand pin combinations.

Ahhhh, this makes me think of a way to stop this attack... I wonder if Apple is interested in a solution?

The biggest change in computing history is coming this Wed US time

Everybody, I have had my socks blown off.

An end to monitors and iPhone screens is at hand...
And the tag "Augemented Reality" does not do it justice...

1080 screens suspended in space around you. Holographic 3D images in front of you... using a touch screen that is floating in front of your eyes...

Really, really fantastic stuff.

The technology goes live Thursday Sydney time, Wed US Pacific time.

Imagine if Australian Dollars could be Bitcoin-ised

Imagine that!
You could send a twenty dollar bill to your mate or your Mum by email or SMS.
A shop could show its SMS phone number and you could pay by sending the money from your phone. No card, no waiting to see if the card cleared... no merchant fees... no web site and forms to fill out.

Web sites could have only an SMS number for you to send the money, your delivery address and the name of the item you want to purchase... a new age of simplicity and immediacy.

What's more the Reserve Bank of Australia actually wants this to happen.

Imagine what would happen to the value of the Australian currency if anyone in the world could use it for International transactions?

Just imagine. No question as to the value of what's in your wallet.. er... ah phone. You pay $20 you get $20 worth... the real power of Bitcoin is when it is used as a token for a physical currency not as a currency in it's own right...

Another opportunity for BitToken™.

Bitcoin is dead. Long live BitToken™

This will no doubt end up being one in a series of postings about Bitcoin.. er um Blockchain... er um that new technology all the banks and finance investors are excited about.

Try this quick quiz:

Is Bitcoin different to Blockchain?If so what is the difference?Is one a currency and the other a trusted ledger? How irritating all this is... here are some quick facts. The Bitcoin system, uses both Bitcoin's (as the item of value that is traded) and Blockchain's (that is the ledger that keeps track of who owns each individual Bitcoin at any given time.So why use the term Blockchain if it's simply a part of the Bitcoin system? Because people hate associating a fantastically powerful mathematical system of trust with the baggage now heaped on the shoulders of Bitcoin due to it's association with Drug Dealers, Terrorists and the Dark Web.Most of the noise surrounding Blockchains is the rudimentary and rather boring excitement around using the blockchain for archiving all kinds…

Living in a glass house

Last month I did a blog article about the concept of a glass house. I was surprised by how many people have an opinion on the matter and also how many people thought it was a crazy idea. And now I think it's worth the effort to explain some of the thinking behind my position.

First of all a key fact is that the glass being used is industrial skyscraper type tempered glass with three layers so it has incredible installation and strength characteristics. Another factor is that industrial glass like this can apparently be shipped quite cheaply from China. For example a 2.5 x 1 m sheet of R43 glass (ie bushfire proof) can be purchased in lots of 200 units for about $80 a sheet which is really quite amazing.

If you add the ability to frost the glass using an electronic impulse you have the ability then to turn on privacy at a moments notice and to control light and privacy to any panel of glass in the house.

In my own case I am ultimately looking to build a house that is in a very high…

Inspiring business advice from Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferris of "4 hour work week" fame does an audio blog every week that is often full of gems. A recent example is his interview with marketing guru Seth Godin. Here are some great takeaways: Most people who think they are entrepreneurs are not entrepreneurs but freelancers. A freelancer does work for pay. They want to set up a web site or a business idea and get their money back. An Entrepreneur is a builder who puts people and resources together to build something that makes money by itself without the need to work in the business and then can be sold for multiple times what it cost to build.Seth does a blog that he adds a story to every day. The flow of ideas and tidbits is amazing and really worth tracking.His method for blogging is to use his blog site writing tool (typepad) as a trigger for switching into the mindset of writing for his specific audience.. people who are looking for entrepreneurial inspiration, guidance and advice. Maybe I could follow this thinking her…

Experiments in 100% glass housing

As the insulation capabilities of commercial glass has increased the ability to cover more wall space with glass rather than traditional wall materials has become more viable.

Personally I have swung between extremes of trying to make shipping containers work as a great home design to now looking at commercial high rise glass as another alternative.

How about tempered or triple glazed energy efficient glass at $30 USD a metre?

Why not?

I have been experimenting with the idea of a completely enclosed living space with an air lock to capture energy loss and open window policy that only allows opening when the outside temperature is within 2 degrees + _ of the chosen internal temperature.

Internal greenhouse garden, humidity management and air circulation with heat exchange and ground water based cooling.

What is missing is light management

I was looking at moveable internal walls but settled on the idea o…
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