So, I’m a little proud of last week’s post coming out right before Apple announced Passkeys, their take on FIDO/WebAuthn. I actually deleted a few lines speculating that they would launch using Keychain or maybe secure enclave capabilities in their hardware to enable this functionality. Alas, you’ll have to take my word for that. Regardless, though, this is good news. As much as I’m a fan of password managers, they’re clunky, especially on iOS. Broader adoption of WebAuthn/FIDO will make a lot of this easier for everyone.

This week, I want to dive a little deeper into this idea of getting rid of passwords. We’ve got overviews from Google, an interesting authentication product from the Web3 world, and some analysis of Apple’s announcement.

  • WWDC 2022: Meet passkeys: A good rundown of Apple’s announcement along with thoughts about the choices Apple has made. If you compared their announcement to even just what I described last week, this isn’t the same thing as a hardware token. If you can share it, it’s different. That said, this is really similar to the behavior of Web3 wallets. That’s why I believe there will be some convergence on this stuff.
  • FIDO authentication with passkeys: Google has a good overview of FIDO/WebAuthn that’s a good overview of the technology.

Reads

  • In defense of crypto(currency): I like this essay by Matthew Green because of the intro, honestly. It basically describes my own route through Web3 over the past few months: skeptic, happily calling out the bullshit, but still recognizing something interesting is going on in the space. I’d also suggest reading his Twitter thread - the comment about interoperability describes the reason I’m intrigued by blockchains: composibility seems natural to smart contracts, in part because they look like programs running in a universal computer in the sky.
  • The Verge’s WWDC 2022 page: Good rundown of the big announcements. I know everyone is skeptical about the Carplay announcement, BTW, but I use my car’s built-in navigation because it integrates with the screen that’s behind the steering wheel. There are many times I’ve wished CarPlay could at least control the map portion of that display for navigation.
  • Developer Center Room Names: Just thought this was a fun observation from WWDC. This is the first time a public event was held at the new Developer Center on Apple’s campus. It’s been fun seeing all the photos and stories from that part of the week. The campus looks AMAZING, by the way.
  • Avalanche Subnets — Bridge The Chasm: I’ve been poking into permissioned blockchains, but came across Avalanche’s idea of subnets while looking into something else. Feels like an example of Matthew Green’s line that engineers will figure scaling out. Some interesting ideas here, will be curious to see where it goes.

Code & Tools

  • Sign In with Fractal — A Wallet for Web3 Gamers: Fractal, a Web3 marketplace focused on gaming, released their wallet product, complete with SDKs. It doesn’t require a browser extension, claims to be non-custodial, and only requires a social account of some kind. It’s an interesting idea. I’m curious how many people drop off at the “adding an extension” step of the Web3 first time journey? Also my first introduction to Shamir’s Secret Sharing.

Maker & Home Automation

  • Jasco Products on Twitter: Jasco announced they were releasing a bunch of firmware updates for their smart switches (often sold in the US under the Embrighten/GE brand) after public pressure led by a big YouTuber in the HA space. This Reddit thread has some good information on how to use those updates with Home Assistant. Long story short, hope you used ZwaveJS2MQTT (I didn’t…). Bet this ups the pressure on the core devs to release that functionality.