By Phil Windley

I build things; I write code; I void warranties

I build things; I write code; I void warranties

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The Path to Redemption: Remembering Craig Burton; Technometria - Issue #59

When I got word that Craig Burton had died, the news wasn't unexpected. He'd been ill with brain cancer for a some time and we knew his time was limited. Craig is a great man, a good person, a valued advisor, and a fabulous friend. Craig's life is an amazing …


The Most Inventive Thing I've Done; Technometria - Issue #58

In 2007, I co-founded a company called Kynetx with Steve Fulling and realized that the infrastructure necessary for building our product did not exist. To address that gap, I invented picos, an internet-first, persistent, actor-model programming system. Being…


Decentralized Systems Don't Care; Technometria - Issue #57

I love getting Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View each week. There’s always a few things that catch my eye. Recently, he linked to a working paper from Alberto F. Alesina, el. al. called Persistence Through Revolutions (PDF). The paper looks at the fate of the ch…


Fixing Web Login; Technometria - Issue #56

You know the conventional wisdom that the “close” button in elevators isn’t really hooked up to anything. That it’s just there to make you feel good? “Keep me logged in” is digital identity’s version of that button. Why is using authenticated service on the w…


Transferable Accounts Putting Passengers at Risk; Technometria - Issue #55

Bolt is a hired-car service like Uber or Lyft. Bolt is popular because it's commissions are less than other ride-sharing platforms. In Bolt drivers in Nigeria are illicitly selling their accounts, putting passengers at risk Rest of World reports on an investi…


Twenty Years of Blogging; Technometria - Issue #54

Leslie Lamport said "If you think you understand something, and don’t write down your ideas, you only think you’re thinking." I agree wholeheartedly. I often think "Oh, I get this" and then go to write it down and find all kinds of holes in my understanding. …


Using a Theory of Justice to Build a Better Web3; Technometria - Issue #53

Philosophy discussions are the block hole of identity. Once you get in, you can't get out. Nevertheless, I find that I'm drawn to them. I'm a big proponent of self-sovereign identity (SSI) precisely because I believe that autonomy and agency are a vital part …


Decentralizing Agendas and Decisions; Technometria - Issue #52

We held the 34th Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) the last week of April. After doing the last four virtually, it was spectacular to be back together with everyone at the Computer History Museum. You could almost feel the excitement in the air as people met w…


Is an Apple Watch Enough? ; Technometria - Issue #51

Last week, I conducted an experiment. My phone battery needed to be replaced and the Authorized Apple Service Center was required to keep it while they ordered the new battery from Apple (yeah, I think that's a stupid policy too). I was without my phone for 2…


We Need a Self-Sovereign Model for IoT; Technometria - Issue #50

Last week Insteon, a large provider of smart home devices, abruptly closed its doors. While their web site is still up and advertises them as “the most reliable and simplest way to turn your home into a smart home,” the company seems to have abruptly shut dow…


John Oliver on Surveillance Capitalism; Technometria - Issue #49

Surveillance capitalism is a serious subject that can be hard to explain, let alone make interesting. I believe that it threatens our digital future. The question is "what to do about it?" John Oliver's Last Week Tonight recently took on the task of explainin…


Playing with LoraWan and Helium; Technometria - Issue #48

I’ve been interested in the internet of things (IoT) for years, even building and selling a connected car product called Fuse at one point. One of the hard parts of IoT is connectivity, getting the sensors on some network so they can send data back to whereve…


PKI and Censorship; Technometria - Issue #47

Each semester I have my distributed systems students read Rainbow's End, a science fiction book by Vernor Vinge set in the near future. I think it helps them imagine a world with vastly distributed computing infrastructure that is not as decentralized as it c…


Are Transactional Relationships Enough? Technometria - Issue #46

We don’t build identity systems to manage identities. Rather we build identity systems to manage relationships.Given this, we might rightly ask what kind of relationships are supported by the identity systems that we use. Put another way, what kind of online …


Provisional Authenticity and Functional Privacy; Technometria - Issue #45

Last week, I discussed the trade offs between privacy, authenticity, and confidentiality, concluding that the real trade off is usually between privacy and authenticity. Ultimately, that seems like it pits privacy against accountability and leaves us with a H…


Privacy, Authenticity, and Confidentiality; Technometria - Issue #44

At a recent Utah SSI Meetup, Sam Smith discussed the tradeoff between privacy, authenticity and confidentiality. Authenticity allows parties to a conversation to know to whom they are talking. Confidentiality ensures that the content of the conversation is pr…


What is Privacy?; Technometria - Issue #43

Ask ten people what privacy is and you'll likely get twelve different answers. The reason for the disparity is that your feelings about privacy depend on context and your experience. Privacy is not a purely technical issue, but a human one. Long before comput…


An Identity Metasystem >> A Giant Identity DAO; Technometria - Issue #42

In response to a recent post, my friend Britt Blaser made the comment that life is a DAO. A DAO, or distributed autonomous organization, is a specialized form of smart contract. Think of them like an internet-native business that's collectively owned and mana…


Framing and Self-Sovereignty in Web3; Technometria - Issue #41

I continue to work on how to describe and explain digital embodiment and its importance in creating our future digital world. In The Stack (Chapter 18), Benjamin Bratton talks about borders, framing, and sovereignty. He quotes Elizabeth Grosz who saysThe eart…


Web3: Self-Sovereign Authority and Self-Certifying Protocols; Technometria - Issue #40

I stumbled across Web3 is Self-Certifying from Jay Graber. Jay’s post resonated with me on several points. First, her tweet about the article said “You might notice I wrote this whole post on the ‘decentralized web’ without using the words ‘decentralized’ or …