East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Google & SMS

Filed under: Software,Technology — Erwin @ 8:57 pm

Crazy, or useful, this new beta from the Google lab?

… Google SMS, a preliminary mock up of a service offering that extends Google’s reach to cell phones and other handheld devices … Google Labs chose to keep it simple and target scenarios where the service would be of practical use in everyday life. For instance, when users SMS “pizza 94043”, they will immediately receive listings for local pizzerias within the 94943 area code.

Fun for the entire family

Filed under: Projects,Software — Erwin @ 8:41 pm

I’ve been working, on and off over the past years, on collecting family-tree information. Initially, around 13-14 years ago, this was just my own siblings, parents, and further up and around. A few years ago I added M‘s family to the mix, which extends it quite a bit of course and also means some positive feedback from various parts of the family that appreciate the effort, always nice when you’re the new kid in town^H^H^H^Hthe family.

One goal of the project was to be able to share the results with others. Seeing how relatives are all over the USA and 99% of my own relatives are in the Netherlands, the obvious choice is a webpage where I draw semi-on-the-fly tree/graph structures with clickable entries so you can hop around. Quite handy once it’s all set up.

So by now I have a collection of 398 individuals and thought it might be cool to put a link on my homepage so I can show the rest of the world the result of the project, put together with a little bit of Perl and the GraphViz library.

But here’s the catch: That would make it a little bit too easy for someone to find out my mother’s maiden name, my father’s middle name, etc, which are two common security questions of online accounts. And not just for me, but also for others in my extended family. Hrm. Until they figure out different security questions, I’ll just be passing on the URL and hope nobody puts a link on their own homepage. 🙁

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