Hard to Kill

A few days ago, we celebrated children's day, the birthday of our first prime minister. The messages and images over chat and social media applications reminded me of my childhood days and the games that we used to play. One of my favorite toys was to create our own version of the star trek flip phone. Take two matchbox covers, put them next to each other bend them along the long edges and use a rubber band along the length of both the phones and voila, the flip phone is ready. Keep one matchbox cover over the phone, pretend to make a call and flip it open. Reading story books was another passion. It started with comics and graduated to Famous Five, Secret Seven before moving on the Three Investigators and Sherlock Holmes. The detective stories were largely unputdownable (is this an english word or did I just invent it?). The Secret Seven had the concept of a secret meeting in a shed with secret passwords and badges with "SS" inscription. There are attempts in the book where non-members attempt to gain access by various means. We attempted forming such a society which could meet at a secret place (read terrace). We were wondering what we should use to identify people coming to the terrace.  Our pocket money did not allow the luxury of a physical identifiable and badges. Recognizing the voice of the person and using the password seemed best since it did not need us to ask our parents for money or earn the money.We once tried shifting to a cheaper form of identification where we could use a small page with an inscription. It was more of the thrill of having a physical identifiable that led to this thought till we hit problems of one of the members forgetting to bring his and refusing to go back home and wanting to be identified using his voice and to get the meeting started. We refused suggesting that it is not difficult to mimic voice. Another friend had his inscription stolen by his sister for the fact that it looked like a neat drawing. She felt it looked good for her to boast to her friends that she is a member of a secret society. A few years ago, mobiles and the voice plans became a reality in terms of pricing. In the past, you could kill a person by buying a car and gifting it to the person and let him/her pay for the fuel. Mobiles went through a similar phase at that point of time. Gift a mobile and let the person die paying of bills. I believe that mobiles contributed to shorter time frames between engagements and marriages. The bills ensured that couples were happier spending money on the marriage sooner than read the mobile bill amounts (after all, how many spouses talk to each other after marriage as much as they used to before). Phones became a reality and an everyday requirement. Smart phones came in next and became the fastest sold piece of equipment. I purchased a smart phone and did gift a similar one to my parents. They do not seem to be happy having one and are happy with a basic phone. While I think the smart phone is intuitive, they do not agree and in my case, I find some of the social media sites non intuitive. I guess every generation will have its own set of challenges.Multifactor authentication has been one of the areas where I have worked and build products. While I with the world believe that passwords are evil and the world continues to invest in finding technologies to do away with passwords and are also successful in certain scenarios, passwords will not easily die for the reasons above. Cost, convenience and complexity keep them alive.

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