Credit card of the future

This article is reposted from Rackspace’s Building43 with permission.

Credit/Debit card fraud is a huge problem that costs banks and consumers billions of dollars per year. NagraID is tackling this problem by creating the credit card of the future, complete with computer chips and other security features that promise to make transactions both more secure and more convenient in the future.

“As you know, when there’s money involved, there’s also fraud involved,” explains Sebastian Pochic, Product Manager with MasterCard Europe. “As a consumer, it’s very inconvenient when you have had a fraudulent transaction on your credit card, or even worse, on your [debit card]. What we’re trying to do is put in place some preventative measures to avoid any of these fraudulent transactions and make the use of the credit card more convenient for our customers.”

One of these measures is to house your security information on a computer chip within the card as opposed to displaying it on the card. Another is a unique display window that reveals a security code necessary to complete a transaction. Each code can only be used once, so even if your card information were stolen, a thief would be unable to effect a transaction without having physical possession of the card and its security code. This window can also display account information such as your last transaction, your balance, how much you have spent this month, even messages from your bank.

One thing the card will not do is broadcast your location or reveal other private information. “The card is not a tracking device,” explains Phillippe Guilland, co-founder and CTO of NagraID Security. “It does not send back information regarding your location or the way you shop.”

More info:

NagraID web site:
NagraID on Twitter:

The Facebook iPad app maker: Friendly

I shot this for my dad, who just got an iPad and just got on Facebook. I helped him yesterday get his account setup. It’s interesting bringing a new family member onto Facebook.

Things we take for granted, like adding a profile photo, are fairly difficult for new social network users. I keep a photo of myself on all my devices so I can get one up quickly, but he didn’t have a photo of himself on his iPad.

Other things I understand deeply that he doesn’t? What happens when you “friend” someone. He had never done it before and didn’t understand the consequences of doing that. He didn’t know his news feed would change, for instance, or that that person would be able to see everything he puts up on his profile.

Heck, we haven’t even started to cover what privacy settings he should change.

Anyway, one problem on the iPad is that there isn’t an official Facebook app. That doesn’t seem to be a problem, right, but because the web page isn’t designed for touch it can sometimes be frustrating.

In this interview I meet the developer behind Friendly, Cyril Moutran, co-founder of Oecoway, and we get a good demo of what Friendly does for iPad and we also talk about why he only develops apps for iPad and is skeptical about other platforms, like Android or WebOS.

You can get Friendly on iTunes here.

Can Yobongo avoid the "masses are asses" chat room problem?

Let’s say I invite you to a chat with me, you, and Bill Gates. Or Steve Jobs. Or Barack Obama. Or your closest personal friend. You pick one. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Now, lets say we invite in 1,000 random people. Wouldn’t your utility go down? Of course it would.

That’s the “masses are asses” problem that hit chat rooms.

So, when Caleb Elston, founder of Yobongo, told me he had a way to solve that problem, I was intrigued.

How does he solve it with his new service Yobongo?

1. He keeps the chat room size small. Only about 10 people. Others will be pushed into another chat room.

2. Yobongo’s chat rooms will be location-based, so you’ll have one thing in common, you’ll be chatting with other people near to you.

3. Yobongo is keeping track of who you actually chat with, who you like, who you private message with, etc, and will continually improve the room.

In the interview with Caleb you can hear my skepticism. But that was before I tried Yobongo.

Now I’m addicted, but still skeptical about how they grow over time.

See, it put me into a room with people who all have something in common: we’re early adopter crazy people.

But will this work when normal everyday people join the service?

Will it still be interesting when we get drunk at SXSW? Techcrunch thinks it could be one of the hot services there.

Will it solve the “masses are asses” problem?

We will see. For now I’m in a cool chat with 10 people arguing about which winery in Napa is best and we’re discussing Zagat‘s new design (if you’re a foodie that’s a site you should watch). Gotta run!

A better way to run your business with

Do you run a business? If you do you need to pay bills, keep books, take in cash, track bank accounts, send out invoices. All of which is a pain in the behind. I know, I did that for Dave Winer’s company for a while.

Intuit’s QuickBooks is how most of these companies do just that, but has a better idea. Here CEO René Lacerte shows me why.

But, listen between the lines. He’s building a business graph that will be very high quality. Could he be the future Mark Zuckerberg of businesses?

A week with my Verizon iPhone: pros and cons

My Verizon iPhone

All the other reviews you’ve seen are from journalists who received Verizon iPhones from either Verizon or Apple and didn’t have to pay for them. I had no such loaner, so had to do the honorable thing: I bought one and used it for a week now. It cost me about $250 because I already ahd a Verizon account. Here’s my report.


1. No dropped calls. My AT&T phone had six drops in same time, at same places I’ve used the Verizon at.

2. A wider coverage area in SF area. I’ve been several places where AT&T just refuses to work, like on Devil’s Slide, or in some places in downtown San Francisco (on second street, for instance) but Verizon hasn’t failed yet.

3. Demonstratably clearer voice quality, even when an AT&T phone is used on other side. This is amazing, too. The voice quality is just much better with EVERY call. Not a single call has sounded worse (I asked lots of my friends to call back on my Verizon number). This is so drastic a difference that I’ve now switched my voice to Verizon permanently.

4. Data worked more places. It was interesting, but lots of places in SF I can’t use data. I don’t know if it’s an overload problem, or a signal problem, or what not. But when I hit one of those spots, like near second street and mission, I pulled out my Verizon phone and it had a great data signal and worked fine.

5. Wifi hotspot out of the box. This rocks, because now my kids can use the iPads in the back seat of the car. Yeah, I know, all you Android users and Palm users have had that for months, if not years, but glad to see iPhone users are finally getting that capability. That said, Verizon is charging something like $40 a month more for that. Yikes.


1. You can use Voice and Data at same time on AT&T. This is definitely something that bugs me, but it hasn’t bugged me as much as I expected. For one, most of the time when I use voice I’m at home and have access to wifi, so this problem doesn’t happen there (when I’m driving I rarely use voice and data together, which is most of the time when I use voice). But it is a problem and you’ll have to decide for yourself which is more important, great voice quality and no dropped calls or the ability to use voice and data together.

2. International usage. I’ll be in Amsterdam in six weeks, and AT&T works there, but I don’t think the Verizon phone will.

3. Data speed. Yes, overall, AT&T is faster, but usually that doesn’t matter for me. Why? I could only tell in some spots when I had strong AT&T signals.

So, which one wins?

Well, for me, Verizon does. Why? Because it more consistently worked with both data and voice. But with the caveat that you stay in the US and that you don’t care about using voice and data at the same time.

Luckily, I have both an AT&T and a Verizon phone, so I have the best of both worlds, but that’s a luxury very few of you can afford. Personally I hate AT&T and how they have treated most of us iPhone users the past three years. The quality of service just hasn’t been close to what it needs to be for the charges they are getting.

Good luck!

UPDATE: A good place for more info is on Quora’s Verizon iPhone topic page.

First look: SlideShare's new live video presentations, ZipCast

SlideShare is an innovative service that lets you embed your PowerPoint slides into its web service.

Today they are launching “ZipCasts” which let you make a public presentation. It is a simple meeting service. You click on “ZipCast” in Slideshare and you can share presentations in real time.

Neat thing? No download needed. It’s free, but there is a paid version to give you more features and to get rid of ads. Works completely in browser.

Very easy to do, but one thing I wish is that it let you record these video presentations (it can’t do that yet). Anyway, neat new feature. In my video I shot the other day the exec team talks about this and the technology behind it.