Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Cool App Ideas and the Fruit of Unschooling


This morning, Liam (my 14-year-old) just sort of spontaneously threw out a really cool idea for an app. I told him he should create it and sell it if there's not already something like it. He protested that he "doesn't program" (he does -- more on that in a minute).

The context: Tamara and I were discussing John McAfee's EveryKey idea, and that segued into stories about the TSA grabbing travelers' laptops and demanding passwords. The upshot being that if I travel I would want to use full-disk encryption and refuse any demand for my password, but then they'd keep my laptop.

The idea: So Liam is listening in, and he suggests that there should be a full-disk encryption app that uses steganography to encrypt the ACTUAL content of the drive into pictures of cats and so forth, then creates a fake drive and directories full of the now innocuous material. So when you give the TSAers your "password" (as opposed to the real method of decrypting the drive), they see a bunch of harmless crap instead of whatever you actually have.

Anyone know if there's already something like that out there?

Like I said, he claims he doesn't program, but he does. Every once in awhile he emerges from his room with a question about C++, and I have to remind him that I don't know the first thing about it. The other day, he was bellyaching about something and when I asked him what the problem was, it was that he had had to teach himself to calculate sines and cosines in order to accomplish something on a game he's working on (he still uses an app called GameMaker, but it apparently has its own scripting language in addition to the drag-n-drop stuff, and also can call and run C++ routines -- or something like that). I'm sure there are  14-year-olds who can do a little trigonometry, but how many of them just teach themselves trig when they realize they need it for something?

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