NFC in a nutshell

The race is on to equip phones with Near Field Communication. Today, NFC kicks in when you hold a card near a reader to access the Tube or a secure building.

I expect in a few years you’ll get an NFC email with a link from your boss. You’ll tap the link on your phone’s touchscreen and it’ll program the phone to open doors in the company building.

Banks will cut plastic cards out of their budget and then you’ll get similar emails from them, too. Cash registers and ATMs will get phone readers to match.

Whither cash? Simple answer here: it’s gonna come down to fees. NFC payment will need to have the same overhead cash does – zero – before it can replace cash. Owning a smartphone will indeed be required to exist in a cashless society. I’m sure the network operators would be happy to jump in and make sure everyone’s equipped. They kind of already do that.

Surely this is a privacy and security nightmare? So much of our lives are already subject to gadgets and web sites. Nothing new there.

There will of course be a ton of brand new applications, from concert ticketing to coupon/checkin kiosks to finding and making contacts in the field.

If it manages to live up to its potential NFC could become the one thing it’s unthinkable to leave home without.


Canon S400, 2004.When I left my place in the States I took pictures of my furniture and such for sale online. To avoid the unwanted attentions of unsavoury characters I made sure there was no personally identifiable information in the posted words or pictures. The pictures were a bit of a surprise.

Apparently, 7 years ago, I configured my digital camera by connecting it to my computer and using a software app. The software CD is now long gone and I completely forgot about using it. So it was a shock when I found my name and email in the IPTC info for every picture I ever took with that camera.

Eventually I found an application that could both see and delete the unwanted IPTC info in the JPEG files. But what about the next pictures I take?

There’s no way my name or email can be purged from the camera using the camera menus. What’s worse, the software app can not be downloaded without a copy of the CD containing the software, whether I’m upgrading or not. I had to apply to the company and get them to send a fresh copy of the CD.

The CD just showed up as I’m bequeathing this camera to my sister. Luckily she’s been avoiding phones with cameras and will get some use out of it. Interesting adventure in privacy issues, overall.

Houston snow brought our meeting at to a halt

Houston snow brought our meeting at to a halt

Virgin MegaStore at night, Stockton and Market, San Francisco.

Virgin MegaStore at night, Stockton and Market, San Francisco.