LastPass – The last password you’ll have to remember

LastPass is a tool launched in 2005 dedicated to the management of passwords for all the sites that a user might visit (and have an account with them).

The service includes a wide range of interesting security features; for example, users can choose to reject all login attempts to their LastPass account unless they come from a specific country. The site also features synchronization services which enable users to have their passwords available on a wide range of devices including laptops and mobile phones.

The company was founded in 2005 by four industry veterans. Nowadays it is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. On a regular month, the site attracts an average of 400’000 unique visitors.

In December 2010, LastPass announced the acquisition of Xmarks, a browser bookmark synchronization service. This allowed them to enhance their mission of providing the best data-syncing tools out there.

23andMe – Genetic Testing For Your Health

23andMe - Genetic Testing for your health23andMe is a privately held company located in Mountain View, California that enables people to find out information about their genetics (by ordering a saliva testing kit) and to discover potential health issues associated with their genes. The company name reflects the number of paired chromosomes in humans.

In the past, 23andMe used a subscription model where people would pay an upfront fee for the saliva kit and the initial genetic testing, and then, every month, a nominal fee to stay up to date with the research applicable to the discovered genes. As of May 2012, the company discontinued the subscription service to new customers (the current price includes ongoing updates, previously part of the “Lifetime Subscription”).

The company was created by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki in 2006. In May 2007, Wojcicki married Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In December 2008, their son, Benji, was born. In 2009, Linda Avey left the company. The company’s web traffic revolves around 100’000 unique monthly visitors.

23andMe is conducting a study regarding the Parkinson disease. They hope to discover correlations between specific genes and the probability of getting this disease, which might enable people in the future to find out about their predisposition to it and give insight into possible prevention steps before the disease’s onset. In April 2012, the company posted a YouTube video around these efforts, featuring Muhammad Ali‘s story.

Single – Your Phone As Your Door’s Keys


Lockitron offers, for a $295 one-time fee, a deadbolt locking mechanism for standard doors that can be controlled remotely via your smart-phone using NFC.

This allows you to effectively replace your door keys with your phone, by using a phone app in order to lock or unlock your door.

The deadbolt comes with physical keys which act as a backup in case of loss of power or Internet connectivity. The latency for opening the door from the moment the command is given on the phone is currently between 0.5 and 2 seconds; initially, the app takes 3 to 6 seconds to start up on the phone.

There are some trust issues that the company must overcome; as a de-facto door lock provider, Lockitron helds the authentication keys to all the doors where they are installed, making them and their devices susceptible to cybernetic attacks. The concept of a computer hacker opening your front door lock becomes a reality. And the FBI won’t have to destroy front-doors next time they come for a raid, they’ll just have their own Lockitron master-key instead :-). Would you use one for your apartment?

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