Adding Sand to A Star

More conjecture about my growing constellation of devices, their potential, and their frailty

Every purchase seems to be built around the idea, “what about the genuine me will this augment?” I don’t think this is a bad place from which to figure out where tools and toys matter. It’s the kind of evolution of thought which has led to subscribing to RSS and Twitter feeds, acquiring various technologies and methods of work, and enabling a kind of embrace of flow that seems ahead and behind the conversation of the age. There’s something unique about how I’ve been approaching these lessons about connectivity and the implications of putting more sand on our stardust if you will. What that unique means is something keeping me awake some nights more than others.

I purchased the NFC Ring in order to figure if there could be a such thing as a marriage certificate being embedded into the ring. An augmentation not only to the holding of a marriage contract, but also the signing of one. Could the rings of the joined couple, combined with the pastor/officiant’s manual (itself connected to the state systems which monitor maritial unions) both send and receive the authentic behaviors the giving of rings and vows espouse? Oh, I never got to building the software. The ring became a test of the validity of the idea. It has legs. My ring is now also only half-functioning.

I grapple with the decision to purchase a replacement. Not because it would be any less capable. The idea which sparked its purchase still has legs; yet the hardware is frail. Could this ring, as well as it functions without the need of a battery; with the appeal of a magic wand when it’s described as”my business card?” Probably. Could the last edition of this ring be the one which tilts some aspect of “invisible computing” closer to those whom it would most benefit?

My browsing has been formed because of security. The Google reports of them not having any phishing attacks due to the use of a physical, 2FA tool — the Yubkey — spakred a look back at that. It fails for me; I’d have to keep it on me, like keys. I’d have to upgrade several services in order to use it best on my mobile devices. I looked back at the spec for the NFC Ring; it doesn’t support what would be needed to do similar. In the years I’ve owned this, I have evolved in my expectations, but this hardware hasn’t. Yubikey is pointing to where I should be if wearing sand.

Or, does this ring be left alone until a better one comes? The folks at Token have been working on “a ring to replace all that you carry.” Admirable. Yet tenuous. This ring would use biometrics, some implementation of RFID and NFC, to be that replacement. It will need to be charged. It will require software updates from a host device. It might be considered acceptable for security, but risky for social moments. Which means it could fly out of my orbit if a trip misses taking a charger. It could be rendered function-less if I change mobile platforms, or the company and its IP is acquired by someone who wants the skills and not the product. It could simply break; and due to its nature, insurance would be more like “is there public policy around it” rather than “what form needs to be filled out to replace it?” It could become too necessary? Would I lose cards and keys because it is on my person? Would that add or take away from the humanity I’m learning to protect, to keep?

Some of these devices and services seem to grant us extraordinary abilities. We speak around the world as if we are gods. We summon angels to our homes with prime goods and news. And it happens all around a fear of missing out. A pride of being heard above others perhaps. Or, maybe it’s simply the inside voice, having found a megaphone made of sand and electrons, exercising its voice differently than other ages were able to dare dream or imagine. We summon this sand around our lives made of this stardust; hoping to not be consumed by our own light and gravity. Yet, the sand burns away on every revolution. Our appetite praising contentment, but really asking for more.

I’m not sure what I will do about the ring. I’d like to continue seeing what it might enable (half still works just as advertised). And yet this, as with everything else in this constellation of devices, can only be a part of a better way of living through embracing more than just having ideas rotate around me. The sand has to add to the star, not just reflect whatever the star might think the universe needs to see.

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