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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Grasshopper Group – Inside the Entrepreneur’s Brain

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, February 25, 2011
8:53 pm

I have never been too successful as an entrepreneur.  I guess my brain doesn’t look quite like this delightful rendition from the Grasshopper Group:

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Boeing 767: Gimli Glider to Air Force Tanker

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 24, 2011
5:30 pm

Boeing 767 imageToday, the US Air Force awarded a $35 billion contract to build the next generation of air refueling planes to Chicago-based Boeing Company.  The contract calls for producing 179 new tankers based on the 767 aircraft.

I find it ironic that the new Air Force tanker will be based on the same airframe as that of the Gimli Glider, an Air Canada airliner that ran out of fuel over Canada in 1983. 

From Wikipedia:

The Gimli Glider is the nickname of the Air Canada aircraft that was involved in a notable aviation incident. On 23 July 1983, Air Canada Flight 143, a Boeing 767-200 jet, ran out of fuel at 26,000 feet (7,920 m) altitude, about halfway through its flight from Montreal to Edmonton via Ottawa. The crew was able to glide the aircraft safely to an emergency landing at Gimli Industrial Park Airport, a former Canadian Air Force base at Gimli, Manitoba.

I hope the Air Force remembers correctly whether to measure fuel in liters or gallons (which goes to the root cause of the Gimli Glider fiasco).

I guess this all goes to prove that even old things (and people) can arise from the dust and be reborn into something great.

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Tru.ly Identity Verification – Strike 1

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 24, 2011
5:00 pm

imageOver the past few years, I have been intrigued with the subject of Identity Validation – being able to determine, which a high degree of confidence, that a person is whom he says he is, prior to issuing Identity credentials to him.

Today, I became aware of Tru.ly, that promises to “[maximize] personal privacy by providing users with a single, verified identity on the internet.”  A lively Twitter conversation among Identity experts @dak3 @NishantK @paulmadsen and @iglazer convinced me that I should check it out.

But alas, when I tried to join Tru.ly (twice), I got this nasty error message:


My only comment is ARRGGGGGH! I guess I’ll try again tomorrow to join the latest service that promises to save the world.

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RIP Cardspace: Heaven or Hell?

Humor, Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 24, 2011
4:33 pm

A lot of water has passed under the proverbial bridge since I first blogged about Cardspace in June 2006.  You’ve gotta love Paul Madsen’s commentary on Cardspace’s current status:

This reminds me of my favorite quote from the novel and movie, The Scarlet Pimpernel:

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell?
That damned, elusive Pimpernel.

Makes you wonder … just how will we remember Cardpace and all that was said about it?

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GigaOm: Is Blogging Dead? Like the Web Is Dead.

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 24, 2011
4:16 pm

Can you hear the  solitary bugler playing Taps across the cold, forlorn blogging graveyard, just as I am making a valiant effort to rejuvenate my blog?

GigaOm reported this week:

Blogging is on the decline, according to a New York Times story published this weekend — citing research from the Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project — and it is declining particularly among young people, who are using social networks such as Facebook instead.


according to the figures used by the New York Times itself, blogging activity is actually increasing, not decreasing. And as the story points out, plenty of young people are still blogging via the Tumblr platform, even though they may not think of it as “blogging.” What blogging is really doing is evolving.

… So what we really have now is a multitude of platforms: there are the “micro-blogging” ones like Twitter, then there are those that allow for more interaction or multimedia content like Facebook, and both of those in turn can enhance existing blogging tools like WordPress and Blogger. And then there is Tumblr, which is like a combination of multiple formats. The fact that there are so many different choices means there is even more opportunity for people to find a publishing method they like. So while “blogging” may be on the decline, personal publishing has arguably never been healthier.

I like that final observation … that personal publishing has never been healthier.  So, as I rejuvenate my blog, I will also try to leverage Twitter and Facebook to engage people out in my corner of cyberspace.  If you are so inclined, feel free to come along for the ride.

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Klout vs. Value

Identity, Social Media
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 24, 2011
10:44 am

I recently stumbled across an interesting site, Klout.com, which analyzes a Twitter account’s history and assigns a “Klout Score,” which is purported to be a “measurement of your overall online influence.

Of course, my inquisitive nature as it is, I had to try it for my Twitter account, @mgd.  The results were not great, but respectable, I suppose:


By contrast, the Klout Score of my favorite Phoenix Suns tweeter, Jared Dudley, was 70.

The three major components of the score are:

  • True Reach – the real size of your engaged audience.
  • Amplification Probability – the likelihood that your content will be acted upon.
  • Network Influence – the influence level of your engaged audience.

Additionally, Klout offered a categorization for my twitter account.


I am certainly not a celebrity, but I do try to be consistent and focused.  I have a small number of followers who seem to be fairly well engaged.

For example, after I had received my Klout store, I joked on Twitter,

“Let’s hope that low @Klout doesn’t mean low worth.”

An “engaged” Twitter follower responded with this encouraging note:

“@mgd I’m sure our worth as human beings is not related to Klout. :)”

That was certainly good news.  I am glad that my intrinsic worth really isn’t dependent on my Twitter Klout score.  I was reminded of the profound observation printed on a framed picture my wife gave me many years ago:

“In a hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the type of house I lived in, or the kind of clothes I wore.  But the world may be much different, because I was important in the life of a child.”

The bottom line? Klout is interesting, but has little to do with my value as a human being and the impact I can make on things that really matter.

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Charge or Retreat?

Humor, Leadership
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
8:30 am

Did you ever find yourself in the same dilemma as Hagar the Horrible?  Makes you wonder what is down below!

Hagar the Horrible Cartoon for 02/23/2011

Source: Hagar the Horrible comic for February 23, 2011.

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Celestial Wonder: Milky Way over Switzerland

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
8:59 am

The NASA Picture of the Day site featured this incredible view of the Milky Way galaxy captured earlier this month over Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

The words of Psalm 8:3-5 come immediately to mind:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version

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Canadian government hit by foreign hackers

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
8:24 am

IT World Canada reported last week:

Cyber_securityMalicious hackers who may be based in China managed to fool Canadian federal IT staff into providing access to government computers, leading to severe Internet restrictions at Treasury Board and the Finance Department. …

In what the CBC described as an “executive spear-phishing” attempt, hackers used bogus e-mails to pass themselves off as senior executives to IT staff at the two federal departments and request passwords, while other staff received e-mails with virus-laden attachments.

Although it appeared that the attacks came from Chinese servers, it was not certain that the cyber-attackers were Chinese.  The attacks could have originated elsewhere and been routed through Chinese servers.  Not surprisingly, Chinese government officials quickly denied any connection to the attacks.

Whether the attacks originated with a foreign government or not, this highlights the vulnerability of people, more than technology.  If indeed people divulged passwords to email requesters and opened attachments infected with viruses, it shows that people, not technology, are the weak link in cyber security.

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Identity Theft and Phishing Scams: Practical Advice

Identity, Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, February 21, 2011
3:49 pm

Some information doesn’t go out of date quickly.  This afternoon I stumbled across a post by Wilma Colon-Ariza who published a helpful article entitled “Identity Theft and Phishing Scams” last January.  Its content is still timely.

She first notes:

The federal government reports that identity theft is now the fastest-growing financial crime. Every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone’s identity and opens accounts in the victim’s name.

I don’t know what the current statistics are, but guess they are worse.

After commenting on an “Identity Theft Prevention Act” which took effect in New Jersey, on January 1, 2006, Wilma proceeded to provide a very practical outline of how consumers can protect themselves against Identity Theft and Phishing attempts. 

Finally, if you become a victim of Identity Theft, you can refer to specific steps Wilma provided to get things back in order.

Thanks, Wilma, for an informative and practical post, even it took me a long time to read it!

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