You’ve Had an Automobile Accident: Multi-Source Identity to the Rescue

Summary: The real world is messy and unpredictable. Creating an identity system that is flexible enough to support the various ad hoc scenarios that the world presents us with can only be done using a decentralized system like Sovrin that allows multiple credentials from various authorities to be shared in the ways the scenario demands.

Car crash scene with police nobody hurt

Earlier I wrote about the idea of multi-source identity that allows multiple authorities to make assertions about people, organizations, and things that can be verified. Multi-source identity becomes self-sovereign identity when the individual is able to control those assertions and use them in a privacy-preserving manner whenever and where ever they want.

Recently Joe Andrieu gave a presentation about the role of multiple assertions in a real-life situation—an automobile accident. As I listened, I thought it was an excellent example because it showed clearly the power of being able to bring multiple, independent credentials to

Credential Uses in a Car Accident
Continue reading "You’ve Had an Automobile Accident: Multi-Source Identity to the Rescue"

Tesla is a Software Company, Jeep Isn’t

Summary: The recent hacks of Jeep and Tesla provide a shining example what it means for every company to be a software company. Tesla Sightings Marc Andreessen has famously said that "software is eating the world." Venkatesh Rao calls software, "only the third major soft technology to appear in human civilization." "So what?" you say. "I'm not in software, what do I care?" You care, or should, because the corollary to this is that your company is a software company, whether you like it or not. Software is so pervasive, so important that is has or will impact every human activity. The recent hacks of a Jeep Cherokee and Tesla Model S provide an important example of what it means to be a software company—even if you sell cars. Compare these headlines: After Jeep Hack, Chrysler Recalls 1.4M Vehicles for Bug Fix Researchers Hacked a Model S, Continue reading "Tesla is a Software Company, Jeep Isn’t"

Choosing a Car for it’s Infotainment System

Summary: More and more, car infotainment systems will affect our choice of which car we buy. And car manufacturers aren't ready to compete in that space. 2008_05_26_car_radios_03 Recently when I've rented cars I've increasingly asked for a Ford. Usually a Ford Fusion. It's true that I like Fords, but that's not why I ask for them when renting. I'm more concerned about a consistent user experience in the car's infotainment system. I have a 2010 F-150 that has been a great truck. I wrote about the truck and it's use as a big iPhone accessory when I first got it. The truck is equipped with Microsoft Sync and I use it a lot. I don't know if Sync is the best in-car infotainment system or not. First I've not extensively tried others. Second, car company's haven't figured out that they're really software companies, so they don't regularly update them. I've reflashed Continue reading "Choosing a Car for it’s Infotainment System"

The Quantified Car

Summary: Data changes behavior. Fuse shows you data about your car and can help you understand the facts about your driving and your cars. The quantified-self movement is all about measuring your personal activities and gaining insight from the data. Many of us dabble in it with a Fitbit or a Withing scale. Others measure everything and use the data to change their life. Data changes behavior. I walk more because I have a Fitbit. One of the things I've noticed is that Fuse gives me data about a part of my life where I often make incorrect assumptions that cost me time and money: my driving. Here's a few things I've realized:
  • Travel costs both more and less than I'd have thought. I spend $4/day getting to and from BYU. That's less than I'd have thought. But, $80/month is still a significant spend. I spent $16 driving from work to REI in Sandy and back. That's more than I'd have thought and could change how I think about trips.
  • My doctor is in Alpine. My gut told me going from BYU to I-15 and then up to SR-92 and out to Alpine might not be the shortest rouute, but would be the fastest. I did an experiment and drove to the doctor's office for an appointment by going down State Street and then up Canyon Road from Plesant grove. Lots of lights and stop and go, but more direct. The trip took 30 minutes and was 19 miles. The trip back via the freeway was about 26 miles and took 40 minutes. So, neither faster nor shorter. IMG_7151
  • I was thinking about a new car with better mileage. How much will I really save? Fuse is able to show me my fuel costs for each vehicle and help me see what I really spend.
Having real data often reveals behaviors that seem logical but are, in fact, not optimal. Watching data from Fuse has changed how I drive. I think more about trips I take and the money I'm spending on gas. I'm looking forward to getting maintenance data in Fuse as well because I'm sure that will be eye opening. Tags:

Vehicles That Get Better Over Time

Summary: As software becomes a bigger and bigger part of everything, the rules have changed for manufacturers of durable goods. They will have to adapt to customers who expect things to be updated and fixed automatically. For car manufacturers, this means that if I don't feel like my car has gotten better in some ways, because the software in it has gotten better, you're going to lose me as a customer.

The 10k

Smartphones have made us used to the idea that things can get better over time. If you're using a less-than-new iPhone or Android handset, chances are it's better now than it was when you bought it because you've upgraded the operating system. If you throw apps in, it gets better every day cause some app or another gets a new version. When I say "gets better", I mean bugs get fixed, performance (often) improves, new features get added. and so on. Sure, some "updates" aren't the improvements we were hoping for, but the overall trend is towards "better."

Contrast that with your car. From the moment you buy it, it gets worse. You never take it to the dealer and have them say "oh there's a better engine out now, so we upgraded your car while it was here." Hardware doesn't work like that. Hardware upgrades cost money. Software upgrades tend toward free.

But a greater percentage of every manufactured good, cars included, is software. That trend will accelerate over time. What's interesting is that car manufacturers largely treat the software in the car the same way they treat hardware. They'll update it if there's a safety issue, but otherwise, it never changes.

I have a Ford F-150 with Microsoft Sync, so I was interested in this article saying that Ford is ditching Sync in favor of the QNX platform. One of the things that I loved about Sync was that I was able to upgrade the firmware in my truck a few times. It was clunky, but it could be done. My truck got a little better.

The problem is that it was only a few times, early on, and there were never any cool new features, just some bug fixes. Car manufacturers just don't think of their product that way. I'm not surprised that people have been largely unsatisfied with Sync, but I suspect the problem is more the product culture at Ford than inherent problems with Sync. If Ford and other manufacturers don't start thinking of their products the way smartphone makers think of theirs, people will remain unsatisfied.

Adapting to this new requirement will require focusing on the software and making it as much, or more, of the overall product as the hardware. That means more than just giving token support to older models. Sure, they're going to become obsolete and get left behind, but that can't happen after one year. Car makers will have to own the software-mediated experience and work to make it better, bringing owners of older models along as much as they can.

Smartphones have gotten us used to things that are mostly software and, consequently, get better over time. Every other manufacturer of durable goods will have to follow suit. Their overall success will likely be a product of how well they adapt to this new fact of life.

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Auto Industry is Ground Zero in Technology Disruption

Chris Dixon and Marc Andreessen with Eric Ries talk about startups in this video from the Lean Startup Conference last December. They get into connected cars about 9 minutes in. They get into a discussion of industries being disrupted by technology. Marc calls the auto industry "ground zero" in this disruption cycle. Well worth watching.

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Persistent Compute Objects and the Fabric of Cyberspace

Summary: Persistent Computer Objects, or picos, give rise to a new way to build internet-based applications to separates app and user data. Users control their own picos and thus the data and processing on them. This presentation describes what picos are, the new programming model they support, and shows Fuse, a sample application built using this new model.

Picos and Fuse - Defrag.001-001

Persistent Computer Objects, or picos, give rise to a new way to build internet-based applications to separates app and user data. Users control their own picos and thus the data and processing on them. This presentation describes what picos are, the new programming model they support, and shows Fuse, a sample application built using this new model.

I gave this presentation at Defragcon this morning.

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Fuse Update: Free Data Service for Kickstarter Backers

Summary: We've figured out a way to include the data charge in the price of the Fuse device for our Kickstarter backers if we can reach a stretch goal of $75000.

FREE

If you're a regular reader of this site, you know that I'm currently conducting a Kickstarter campaign on connected cars called Fuse. Our solution is different from other solutions like Automatic in significant ways—most notably our decision to use a device that has its own cellular connection.

I believe our strategy of connecting cars to your personal cloud through a cellular service is superior to other solutions that use Bluetooth or Wifi. Until today that has always come with a price—a monthly service fee. As a stretch goal, we are now offering any Kickstarter supporter no service fee upon reaching $75,000 (125% of our goal). This means all the benefits of Fuse for a one-time cost of $139 with no monthly charges. This is limited to our Kickstarter supporters only, so please spread the word.

If you're inclined to help get the word out, I've created the following social media links to make it easy for you to tell your followers about this new development (don't worry, they won't post until you review, edit, and press submit):

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Fuse Update: Free Data Service for Kickstarter Backers

Summary: We've figured out a way to include the data charge in the price of the Fuse device for our Kickstarter backers if we can reach a stretch goal of $75000.

FREE

If you're a regular reader of this site, you know that I'm currently conducting a Kickstarter campaign on connected cars called Fuse. Our solution is different from other solutions like Automatic in significant ways—most notably our decision to use a device that has its own cellular connection.

I believe our strategy of connecting cars to your personal cloud through a cellular service is superior to other solutions that use Bluetooth or Wifi. Until today that has always come with a price—a monthly service fee. As a stretch goal, we are now offering any Kickstarter supporter no service fee upon reaching $75,000 (125% of our goal). This means all the benefits of Fuse for a one-time cost of $139 with no monthly charges. This is limited to our Kickstarter supporters only, so please spread the word.

If you're inclined to help get the word out, I've created the following social media links to make it easy for you to tell your followers about this new development (don't worry, they won't post until you review, edit, and press submit):

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