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Could blockchains solve authentication and passwords forever?

(TECH NEWS) Blockchains are earning their way into tech minds from entry level to veteran, and their implications are massive.

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Identity grab bag

Technology is expanding beyond our ability to secure it. Our identities, birthdays, passwords, and the names of our first pets make up the candy bowl of identity for any grubby hand to defile. Currently, our private information is protected by passwords, an antiquated system of whispering secrets to get in the door. Our systems authenticate without actually identifying. This means that anyone with one of your special codes (and we know you have a different password for absolutely everything, right folks?) can access your information, and pretend to be you in the digital world.

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But what if rather than passing along a code that anyone could subvert, our identity was confirmed by the sheer fact that this is us. In a system where everyone controls their individual identity, any company honoring this technology could know immediately if we are who we say we are, or if we’re not.

A new international non profit Sovrin Foundation, is proposing exactly that type of system. Sovrin’s founding goal is to create individual personal identities on the internet in the same way our machines have unique IP’s.

Securing your online presence

Our relationship with our internet identities is founded on mistrust, on the very principle that anyone, with the right flick of keys, could be anyone online. Needless to say, with the growing Internet of Things, that online identity now controls more of your life than you’re probably aware.

Calendar dates, bank info, love letters, the dimness of the lights in your living room, your fridge temperature, and car stats are all protected by the same fragile system. Soon everything with an on and off switch will be connected, leaving us exposed to unimaginable infiltration.

By creating a self-sovereign identity (SSI) for everyone on the planet, Sovrin will change the way we interact with the internet and the way the internet interacts with us.

Each individual or organization will own and have 100 percent control over their identity and with whom they share it. This means that you will choose to share your personal information with governments and institutions rather than governments and institutions storing vast amounts of unsecured identifying data like bait for every two-bit hacker looking to make a buck.

Internet of identity

Sovrins system is complex and massive. Their goal is to be an “internet of identity,” a disconnected but regulating body that manages the systems of identity without having access to the data they manage. Their board of directors is comprised of professionals from an array of industries and countries to ensure neutrality and transparency.

Identities will be broken up into individual packets. Your birthday, address, and phone number will be separately stored, disconnected pieces of information that will only be accessed as you see fit. That way no one has access to all of your information except for you.

With Sovrin we can safely achieve what we can’t currently do online for fear of identity theft.

We can make big purchases, access comprehensive medical records, apply for marriage and birth certificates, even buy homes. Even notarizing may not have to exist in a world where Sovrin has their way. Individual blockchain identities may not replace traditional systems for every company, but users will likely be able to update their Sovrin account to include institutions that may still use passwords.

Something for everyone

The Internet of Things is a complex system in itself that would benefit from a globally recognized blockchain identity like Sovrin. Users will be able to quickly connect devices to their home network of devices without a lot of set up and pairing.

Additionally, businesses wouldn’t have to assume the liability of ensuring that every consumer is who they say they are. Likewise, Sovrin would put consumers on the same playing field. They won’t have to jump through hoops just to purchase something, or remember a million different passwords.

This issue is not just a first world problem for online shoppers, though. Identity storage and identification is a significant question in growing countries as well.

Sovrin proposes that this system will give developing nations an easy way to document land ownership, birth and death certificates, medical records, and refugee information.

We welcome the sovrinty

Sovrin is sort of like the much bigger version of Amazon’s experimental brick and mortar store. It relies on individual identities to create accountability. Once they know that you are who you say you are, Amazon is confident that your connected financial accounts will remit payment for what you took from the shelves. Sovrin seeks to create implicit trust in a world where trust is an oblique and guarded concept.

People just have to be who they are, not remember usernames and passwords and the name of their first dog. Sovrin will help protect all of us from fraud, and keep all of our wonderful devices that we’ve become so reliant on safe.

Sovrin expects to put their program into production in the beginning of 2017. If you’re interested in contributing to the open source service, check out their GitHub page.

#Sovrin

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Tech News

Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.

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earbuds noise cancelling

Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.

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Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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Tech News

This note-taking app is perfect for the creative mind

(TECH NEWS) The newest app for note-taking could be a tremendous asset for a very specific type of creative that tools like trello and evernote fall short on… not all apps work for all people.

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milanote

If you’re like me, you’ve had many phases in your idea-having, note-taking life. There was the AP History period, where I decided the quality of my notes would be judged based on the tininess of my handwriting and the number of innovative abbreviations coined. There was the “song collection” period, in which I wrote down song and band names with reckless abandon, on any scrap of paper or non-paper within reach, and promptly scattered the scraps everywhere. There was the post-it era, in which every single idea was carefully documented on a “Sticky Note” that tiled over my Windows desktop and was impossible to find thereafter.

And then, there was Evernote, and Trello, and I thought my evolution was complete. I had neatly organized “Notebooks” and “Cards” and I felt very structured and efficient and spiritually done with my note-taking journey.

But a whisper of rebellion called out to me. It sounded musical, colorful, whimsical. It asked me whether I wouldn’t like to liberate myself from those neat lists and stacks, let my ideas flow, visualize my thoughts?

It introduced me to Milanote – the note-taking app truly made FOR images, not just tolerant of them.

Milanote markets itself toward creatives: “For the research, thinking and planning behind your next great piece of work.”

But the strengths of this app could benefit anyone who could use a more freeform space to collect their thoughts. A blank page resembles a peg board, and users can add images, notes, links, and more in any configuration their hearts desire. You can also link any elements together with a web of lines, or leave them on their own.

This could be a great app for early-stage brainstorming and planning, when you need to play around and be flexible.

Milanote can be collaborative, like Trello, or individual and personal, like my always-evolving grocery list in Evernote. Milanote currently works in any web browser, and iOs and Android apps are coming soon.

For up to 100 notes, Milanote can be yours free of charge. More than that, though, and you’ll have to pay $9.99 for the pro version.

Something tells me infinity should cost much more, but the organic, customizable concept is something to hold on to.

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