Friday, October 5. 2007
The other day I was reading some recent thoughts by Kim Cameron about Information Cards and CardSpace. It had gotten me thinking about the usage of cards and when they would be rolled out in the financial area. In particular, wouldn't it be really cool being able to used managed cards instead of having to enter credit card information when trying to purchase something online. You might ask what the benefit this would be... well I'll get to that in a minute. Today, while going reading through all the recent posts on Planet Identity, I was pleasantly surprised to come across an entry by Andre Durand from Ping Identity. He and another developer had put together a demo, integrating Information cards and an e-commerce site, demonstrated at Digital ID World 2007, that does exactly what I was thinking of. Now, how soon until reality is my question.
Anyways, here was what I had on my mind prior to seeing it. I for one, use temporary credit card numbers. This means that every time I want to make a transaction, I have to go to my financial institution, log in, generate a one-time use number and CVV, cut and paste those into the merchant's form fields and then hit submit. It would be greatly simplified if the merchant would accept cards, which means I just click on their "submit credit card i-card" button, at which point I would be asked for my credentials by my financial institution, and have a one-time generated card number, expir date and CVV automatically created and then submitted to the merchant's site. This would not only save me time and steps, but definitely eliminate the possibility that I accidentally sign into a phishing site, thus exposing my credentials and allow attackers access to my financial information.
The reason why Kim's article had gotten me thinking about this is that I don't see why financial institutions wouldn't be rushing to get this implemented out the in the real world. From their side, all they need to do is get the infrastructure in place to provide and manage the managed cards. They already have the software in place for users to provide credentials and retrieve the temporary numbers. On the merchant side, there also is little work involved. Provide the hooks and backend to handle submitted infocards. There is really no change to their existing software or business processes. They data points for the credit card (number, expir date, CCV, etc..) are the same, so all that would be required is to take the data from the submitted card and pass it off to the existing process. This also gets rid of the issue of trying to filter out card types in the selector from those that the merchant doesn't accept. My opinion is who cares? Nothing is stopping someone right now from entering in a Diner's Club card to a merchant who doesn't accept them. The user simply gets an error saying that they need to use a different type of card.
It would be great if the credit card companies could get say someone like Amazon to buy into this. It would get the things moving along in a major way. The only potential sticking point to this I could really come up with is getting all the credit card companies to agree on a common format. Worse case is that each has their own, but then it would be up to the merchant to make sure their software could understand all the different formats and parse them appropriately. I guess time will tell.
Wednesday, October 3. 2007
I have been in contact with the folks at the Maine Software Developers Association (MESDA) and they are interested in the possibility of starting a PHP user group here in Maine. Before anything is officially organized (aiming for the beginning of the year), they would like to find out the interest of such group from those in the area. Meetings would most likely take place at their facility in Westbrook, or somewhere in the Portland area. If anyone is interested, please contact me via email or i-name: =Rob.Richards.
MESDA will also be announcing this at their 15th annual conference and be seeking those interested in joining the user group. In order to help invigorate PHP development or at least educate some of the IT decision makers at the local companies around here about PHP, I will be doing a full day workshop on PHP at the conference on November 6th. The morning session, geared for anyone wanting to know how PHP could fit into their organization and what PHP 5 brings to the table, will cover an overview of PHP, its basics and overviews of the new features introduced in PHP 5. The afternoon session will be more coding oriented, taking a more detailed look using PHP 5, for the developers out there. This will be my first time at this conference. I'm not sure the cost for attendees is yet, but if last year is any indication, it will be around $130, which is a bargain for a conference.
So, to recap...
If anyone is interested in a Maine PHP user group and/or will be attending the MESDA conference, I'd like to hear from you. I can be reached via email or i-name: =Rob.Richards.
Tuesday, October 2. 2007
The majority of people using/playing around with Information Cards seem to be using Microsoft CardSpace as their selector. That's not surprising since it is pretty much the de-facto standard for selectors and, as people always hear me remark, it's really pretty. More than 50% of my time is spent using Fedora, so CardSpace (running under Windows only) is really out the question. Those who know me, know that the selector that I prefer is the xmldap plugin for firefox. Even with the problems I used to run into by using it. I say used to because it finally now works without having to modify any of the code.
It turns out that the cause of my problems was due to the dependency on Kevin Miller's selector chooser. The initial usage of the chooser allowed users running firefox to use the CardSpace selector (normally only available within IE 7). Now, as I said I am running Linux, so this chooser was useless to me. In fact, it does not work on Linux or Macs as detailed in an open bug report. Really, that is not an issue because for one thing CardSpace isn't available on those platforms and secondly, it's easy enough to enable/disable plugins in firefox to choose which selector you want to use anyways. Over the past couple of days, I worked with Axel Nennker to finally resolve the major issues I was having and there is finally a working version again.
I was never aware of this, but, the selector and it's development efforts can be found within the openinfocard project. Prior to this discovery, I would always just monitor the version available at Chuck Mortimore's site. I'm glad to have found this so now I can stay on top of the changes made to make sure the selector continues to work on non-Windows (at least Linux) systems.
Continue reading "Identity Selectors"
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I can be reached via my i-name: =Rob.Richards