Unverified by Visa

Tuesday 31st March, 2009

Ben Laurie has a very clear-headed post on security dangers exacerbated by Visa’s VbV programme (the same criticisms seem to apply to similar efforts by other vendors).

The short version is that these mechanisms train consumers to provide their private account data to anyone claiming to be the card issuer. The problem is that there’s no way for the user to know that the data is being transmitted to the vendor rather than an imposter.

It makes you wonder what requirements were given to the people that designed the process. From my experience these verification processes cause a not insignificant drop-off in the success rate of payment processes, ie. fewer sales.  With that (and the security problem) in mind it’s a fair bet that this particular family of  verification mechanisms won’t last that long.

Developing with methodologies

Wednesday 18th March, 2009

I have a new rule of thumb:

If you can call it a methodology then it’s probably wrong.

Can’t make our minds up

Tuesday 17th March, 2009

Ben Terrett recently noticed that people tend not to believe pedestrian road signs. He also noticed that the larger the group, the longer they took to make their minds up. This rings true for me in more ways than one. From business meetings to elections, larger groups seem to take longer to decide.

Does anyone know of a situation where this isn’t the general rule?

JQuery now integrated with TiddlyWiki

Saturday 14th March, 2009

My old mucker Phil Hawksworth announced yesterday that from version 2.5 TiddlyWiki will utilise JQuery under the hood.

Both JQuery and Tiddlywiki represent significant shifts in the way coders percieve Javascript, so as well as being a victory for maintainability there’s a nice idealogical synergy there.

Congratulations to Phil, Jeremy and all the other Osmonauts.

Twitter search parallels other vertical search domains

Sunday 1st March, 2009

In case you haven’t tried it already, Twitter’s search tool is very well implemented. It’s effective, slick, and very fast.

Being able to quickly and efficiently search through the life streams and conversations of a good proportion of the thought leaders and early adopters in the UK and US seems to me like something with a bit of potential… a stream that’s ripe for news and knowledge management apps like Techmeme, Silobreaker, and Google News. It’s a fair bet that conversation and life-streaming will be a valuable search domain just like user-uploaded video (apparently Youtube searches outnumber Yahoo’s).

Conventional (i.e. text and metadata-driven) image search is another search domain in which the big search companies seem willing to absorb losses. As I (and many others) have mentioned before, their willingness to do this stems from their desire to occupy user mindshare for the entire search concept, rather than piecemeal domains or verticals. As we can see from attempts by Google and Microsoft to include content-based image retrieval (CBIR) functionality that eagerness is not likely to be restricted to textual image search.

While my opinion may obviously be biased, I wouldn’t be that surprised to see “conversation” (Twitter, Friendfeed and life-streaming) and “product” (including price and visual similarity features)  tabs integrated into the search boxes of the big three in the relatively near future.