To USB or Not to USB


Fever, Security, Marketing

I feel bad because I haven’t posted a blog for the past 2 weeks and let down my legions of fans.

I’ve just spent the last 3 days in bed with a fever over 102 degrees. 

The 8 hours prior to that I was sitting at my computer working on a business review with worsening chills thinking,
“It’s really cold in here today” and “Was that tuna salad I ate for breakfast bad or something?”

It took me 2 days to figure out how much acetaminophen would get me ambulatory for 30-45 minutes at a time, and to see a doctor who said,

“Left ear looks fine.”
“Right ear looks fine.”
“Throat, Yuck, you definitely have strep I don’t even need to swab that.”

Okay, too much detail.  Sorry.

What I did think about while lying in bed is, what is technology going to do for me now?

I did re-listen to several audio books while passing in and out of various hallucinations.  I used my Video iPod and some Logitech speakers with a 10-hour rechargeable battery.  That is pretty much it.
And an LED night light.  (Hey, I could trip and fall)

I drank chicken soup.  No TV. No Tivo.  No PC.

The cool thing was actually in the medical clinic.

The nurse led me into the room.  The computer recognized here, she entered in a pin, and:

Entered my weight: 160 lbs (thanks to the chocolate chip cookies all day long)

Blood Pressure.

Temperature: 101.6, thanks to the meds for keeping my brain intact.

So each person in the clinic carries an ID key or RF ID tag with about a 2m range.  Or rather, the PC has a USB device, a transmitter received that sends out signals.  It receives an ID from something the Doctor or nurse is wearing, and it knows who will log on, and logs them off immediately when they exit the room.

So when my doc comes he, he doesn’t even have a chart.  He walks in say’s “Hello Eric” (He’s actually a pretty friendly doc) and sits down at the PC.  Enter’s his PIN, and we talk.

After doc says “definitely have strep”  He sits down at the computer, and says “Are you still at the same Pharmacy?”  I say, “Yes” and he FAXes a prescription right to the Pharmacist.

Now that to me is cool.  It’s like living in the future.  In theory, I get to drive to my Pharmacy which is about 25 minutes away, and I can get my prescription.

It saves the doctor’s office time. (I don’t ask the nurse to call it in)
Increases Accuracy (It’s a checkbox on the screen, no messy writing).
Reduces mistakes (lost prescription anyone?)
Saves me time (My prescription should be ready right?)
Saves me money (I don’t wander around the drug store buying up protein bars and key rings).

Maybe in more advanced parts of the country like Oregon and Texas this kind of thing is common place.  I don’t think it exists in Minnesota.

Back to the security thing, this seems like such a simple way to secure a PC.  Make it completely useless to someone who has stolen it.  If they don’t have the right combination of Hardware and Software, the PC becomes completely inert.

Why is this not widespread in the US?

Part of it is social engineering.  We want access.  We don’t want to deal with passwords all the time. (Of course we will wait for 5 minutes for a PC to boot up).  In Europe they have pass codes on everything.  It is just the way it is.  In the US, it seems to be different, or we are still cavalier about things like our Wi-Fi networks (although probably not those reading this Blog).

Part of it is cost.  Why pay more?  I’m guessing but a secure pair like this could retail for less than $100.  For the Clinic, the cost was probably more.

How do you solve this?

You can use Wi-Fi or you can use Bluetooth or can use,…

 wait for it…

Certified Wireless USB.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are viable because they are already integrated in most laptops, and well understood.  Security is the big thing here, since there are ways (apparently) to break the security.

CWUSB has a higher level of authentication using a form of encryption I can’t remember right now because I haven’t had enough sleep.  But it’s an option.  Carry around a $25 or less battery powered login key, the size of a flash drive.  Turn it on, get recognized, enter your pin, use your PC, and walk away, PC logs out, device turns off.

Also, you could use a USB dongle.  Just like the clinic.

I’m going back to bed.  More accurately, I’m putting my PC on the floor, slouching down, and hopefully I’ll blackout.

(By the way, if you do a spell check on WiFi, one of the options that comes up with is “wife”.  Go figure)

Security Certified Wireless USB Wireless USB

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