Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hot tub trauma in Misery!

This is a completely TRUE story that occurred just last Friday night as my family and I were preparing a luxurious log cabin in Missouri for the arrival of guests on Saturday.

We were at a borrowed three-storey log cabin set in 160 acres of private land in Missouri: it was amazing - surround sound in every room and lots of comfort. Friday night, after doing our chores to get the place ready, we went outside to enjoy the owner's hot tub on the edge of the woods.

It was only when it was too late that we discovered that the cabin has doors that lock themselves after you go through - and we'd gone out with nothing but swim suits, VERY small towels, and only Cathy, my wife, had shoes!

Use a little bit of imagination, but not TOO much, at the picture of 17-year old Chris and me, wearing Cathy's shoes, swim shorts and hand-sized towels making our way along a half-mile path through woods, under star light, with temperatures hovering around freezing at 10pm at night accompanied by the noise of a pack of coyotes who, fortunately, had just made a kill...

The trouble is, whenever I tell this story and explain that I'd had to wear Cathy's shoes, most of the guys picture high heels whereas, fortunately, she'd left her hiking boots outside the front door.

Still, we had to walk through 160 acres of private land, past a chapel and graveyard, to knock on the door of the nearest neighbor - and had to stand hammering on his door to wake him from sleep before asking to borrow his phone and phone book to try to get in touch with the cabin owner for rescue.

I had to ask the neighbor, after 5 mins of standing on his doorstep, if we could go inside as it was cold out! After we'd used the phone he then let us walk all the way back when he had five vehicles parked outside his house. Chris and I had to get back into the hot tub to thaw out and to stop our teeth chattering.

Finally the cabin owner and his wife arrived with the spare key to the cabin - and parked with their car lights shining on the four of us in the hot tub. Cathy was so embarrassed, but more so when, unlocking the door, they stood inside talking to us - them wearing four layers of clothing and the family in swim suits. Eventually someone realized this was awkward and went to get Cathy a robe, but that didn't deal with the running mascara that she only discovered when they left after midnight and we crawled in to bed.

Small wonder that other folk in the USA refer to Missouri as the State of Misery!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Email privacy and trust

Email systems are a bit like sending a postcard through the mail, but where everyone handling it takes a photocopy of the message on its way from sender to recipient. Some email systems, like Gmail, go further and index the contents of the email so that they can be searched later, with somewhat relevant advertisements displayed by the side of the message.

By contrast, messages sent within our software are automatically encrypted in the app on the sender's computer desktop. Messages remain secure as they travel across the internet to the app on the computer belonging to the recipient and only then are the contents unscrambled so that they can be read, just by the intended recipient. We use the AES-256 algorithm, certified for use up to "Top Secret" classification!

We're building a system designed to give you both privacy and trust.