Biometric Airport Security

As a traveller, one of the biggest peeves I have is waiting in line to clear security – especially if I’m running late! Personally, I think the TSA is a bit overboard with their tactics, but I do think they’ve gotten better. On several recent trips, I had bad experiences waiting for security. Flying to Toronto in May, I experienced the longest line I had ever seen at Baltimore Washington International Airport. Coming home from San Francisco for WordCamp, Terminal 3 that houses United Airlines was a madhouse as the line extended out the door. In Seattle last week, the TSA employee was listening to hip hop music on his speaker phone while checking people’s boarding passes. And don’t get me started on the boarding pass checker driolling passengers on their age and destinations. Check the boarding pass and ID and pass them through, man!

San Francisco International Airport just announced biometric “speed passes” (press release) where for $100 you can register at Flyclear and bypass the long lines. That is, after the TSA has presecreened and approved the applicant and fingerprints and retina scans are taken.

I need one.

Clear technologies are in place or will be in place at a bunch of other airports: Albany, Cincinatti, Indianapolis, LaGuardia, Little Rock, New York JFK, Newark, Orlando, Reno, San Jose, and Westchester.

My only question is about the law of diminishing returns. What happens when most people have these speed passes? Do we then get speedier passes?

It's About the Dialog, Stupid!

Scoble shocked us (a bit) earlier in the week when he wrote that he was quitting blogging (again). It wasn’t that he was quitting blogging that was so startling. It was the reason for it that shook me a bit:

Tonight I looked over my Twitters and blogs. They are angry. Confrontational. Disturbed. Hurt. Dismayed.

Those are not words to describe someone in a state of mind to improve the world. Part of it is so many people are making stuff up about me and/or my employer without any care as to my feelings or the truth that I’ve got to get some distance. Over the weekend a variety of people said I had quit my job. Then another “A-list” blogger said I had been fired. Neither are true. Much of what I read over on that Silicon Valley gossip site lately isn’t true and they have demonstrated over and over that they really don’t care about the truth. It really depresses me cause I thought blogging would be a tool for humans to get smarter, not stupider. Depression isn’t fun.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like seeing one of the world’s most notable mouthpieces speak these kinds of words. It’s just not right. Maybe it’s just the last bit of idealism in me that says the world shouldn’t be this way. Take a look now because the idealistic side of me only comes out a few times a year on weekends and holidays. :-)

Really though, the whole incident has cause me to take a step back and look at what I contribute to the blogosphere. It’s about the conversation and dialog, but I think I, along with other bloggers, have taken to flaming people, companies, ideas, concepts because it generates traffic.

I think I’m realizing that, although I haven’t been a flamebait kind of blogger overall, I’ve done my fair share and the trend is a destructive one. How can you expect to encourage the growth of our beloved internet ecosystem when everyone is so polarized. It’s like, how can Bush expect to have a productive government when the politics are so polarizing.

This should not be so.

This morning, Jeff Ascough quit blogging too. In his case, he was too busy. The startling thing is that a bunch of other photography bloggers followed suit within the span of a few hours. (Will post links as I get them – the email is in to my source on this). These bloggers, in most case, simply followed Jeff’s lead because they were not doing anything compelling with their blogs.

This should not be so. It’s about the dialog.

I’ve decided my posts will add value to the blogosphere. In most cases, I do not echo the Techmeme echo chamber. I unsubscribed to Valleywag. I reached out to Jason and Mahalo. I’ve had long conversations with Anil Dash from SixApart and even posted a video of me installing Movable Type – something that I hope helps their community, as well as encourages bloggers to reach across “party lines”.

If we can’t talk civilly, we probably should bow out of blogging altogether because at the end of the day, what makes the competitor better is good for all of us.