-1 Factor Authentication (negative trustworthiness elements)

a box full of used lanyards

Many places of work implement forms of security that are used as part of a human’s trust gestalt, their holistic group identity calculation, that are actually more trouble than they’re worth.

Take for example, the lanyard. Some are pretty fancy. Some might just be a colour, or have basic text on them like “STAFF” or “VISITOR”. Insisting that everyone wears one, as if it increases security, is counter-productive. It is being used as a visual shiboleth, when in fact it is trivial to (pronounce) get hold of. If I meet a stranger in the corridor, and they’ve got a lanyard on, I might be less inclined to challenge them, my internal Bayesian graph has just afforded them a bit more trust weight. I don’t ask to see their ID card. I don’t ask “can I help you?” or “who are you here to see?”.

Bad ID badges are possibly worse. These can be printed on any inkjet printer- indeed the hardest thing might be to simulate the crappy quality most specialised badge printers seem to be capable of. But they are trusted far more than a lanyard, and easier to replicate at home, from a photo taken covertly or downloaded from the company website.

Even in places where the badges are normally scrutinised closely on entry, a little fire drill, with the mass exodus and subsequent mass ingress, and you will sail right in.

The box in the picture? 10p per lanyard at a car boot sale. Didn’t rummage around, but you can see ones for Oracle. Granted, these were probably from where they were sponsoring a sporting event or conference, but you never know what little ledges you can use as a springboard.


One of the aspects of XP that also shows up in related styles of development, such as agile, is pair programming.

This is where you work as a team of two, at the same workstation. One of you is the pilot, operating the keyboard. The other is the co-pilot or navigator, and they sit off to the side, observing. Every so often, you switch roles.

Two programmers at work, pair programming. The pilot on the right, at the keyboard, with the navigator to the left. CC BY 2.0 wocintechchat.com
Programmers working as a pair

Continue reading “Pair…configuring?”

CamShow – webcam document visualiser application for educators

CamShow is a simple desktop application for teachers, lecturers or anyone who wants to demonstrate little things up on a big screen.

CamShow in action
CamShow in action

The short version is this- it’s a little app that lets you use a webcam to show real, physical documents on your PC (and therefore your smartboard), and it has a vertical flip option in case you want to mount the camera at the rear of your table.

Continue reading “CamShow – webcam document visualiser application for educators”