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Keys

2023-11-13 00:00:00 / episode: 301

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Keys

I was looking at my keys the other day,

when I noticed I actually have several kinds of keys on my keyring.

I have classic cut keys.

Standard Keys

These keys are mechanically cut

and they are unique to each lock usually,

and they're sort of your standard key that most people have.

Dimple Keys

Then I have dimple keys.

These ones are quite expensive to make copies of

and they're difficult to make copies of

and they have dimples in them

but the profile or the edges aren't rough.

They're smooth so they're a little bit safer to carry

and they don't damage things in your pockets.

They're pretty cool.

USB Keys

Then I have a Yubi key.

This is one of the coolest keys I have

because it's an electronic key.

It fits into a USB device on a computer

and you can use it to sign in to various accounts.

I use my Yubi key to sign into my Google account,

to sign into my Amazon account etc etc.

These keys are pretty complex to explain

but fairly simple to use.

when I try to sign into the site I put in my username

and then my password

and then when I hit return it says

please insert your USB key and touch it.

The touch is really important,

because it lets you know that there's

really a human physical presence there.

SSH keys

Now there's another kind of electronic key that I use.

This is called an SSH key. what it is is it's a code.

It's a big long string of letters, numbers and symbols

that is very complex and very difficult to remember.

I never remember it.

I don't know it right now but I have copies on my computer.

It's also a kind of double key because it has

a public and a private part to it.

In a sense you could say it's like a lock and key combination

if you have one you must have the other or they won't work.

They work together.

I'll put one copy on my server and one copy on my computer.

My server is a computer in the cloud thousands of kilometres away.

When I want to log on to my server and do some work,

I use the key that's on my computer.

It fits with the key that's on my server

and then because they match I can get access to that server

and get in there and do work on it.

They're very very safe, but they won't be for long.

The new quantum computers are going to

be able to copy these keys or guess them

so that other people could get access to my server

if they have access to a quantum computer.

So that brings us to the next level,

or the next generation of SSH key which are going to be Quantum safe.

No Keys Feeling

Anyway back to keys in general.

I remember when I first went to Africa.

I was standing in line to get to the passport control section

and I had this incredible feeling of lightness.

I put my hand down to my pocket

and there were no keys in my pocket.

I was moving out of the country for an extended journey.

I had no car,

I had no house,

I had no residence,

and as a result I had no keys.

That was a magnificent feeling of lightness and freedom.

Keys might give you a sense of control,

and security,

but they also have a certain heavy feeling to them.

If you ever get a chance,

try to have a section of your life where you have no keys.

It's a wonderful sense of freedom.

Try it someday.

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