From: Scott Royall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 4:27 PM
Cc: ‘Angela Standridge’
This is for your CEO, David Jevans.
I think I love you—or at least IronKey. The funny thing is, I nearly missed finding out about it. I heard your interview on Steve Gibson’s weekly Security Now podcast. As you likely know, Steve had been quite coy in his advance promotion of the interview, merely describing IronKey as a encrypted thumb-drive. He was almost too coy for your own good because I debated skipping the episode, having no interest in thumb-drives. As it was, I listened last night while doing other things, and I was half-way through your interview before your discussion of IronKey’s less obvious features popped up my antennae. It seems that your product may solve a problem I’ve grappled with since Windows Vista came out.
I’m what the medical community dispassionately calls a “severely disabled” person, being in a power wheelchair and unable to speak. Yet, I managed to earn a Computer Science degree, and worked for 14 years for Shell Oil as an application developer before outsourcing mania laid me off in 2002. It became apparent during my career that talking was a necessity, and none of the commercially available products satisfied my employers so I wrote my own solution, Xpress-It. Since 2002, I have been struggling to make a living marketing it.
I will include the full description of Xpress-It at the end of this email, but I recognize that you’re a busy man and the salient point for IronKey is that it may solve the dual problems of product distribution and copy protection. To be clear, I detest copy protection. It serves to mainly create usability nightmares, especially for the Disabled. IronKey seems to address most of the problems, though. The thumb-drive is nigh indestructible, with a “virtual CD” feature that’s ideal for distributing Xpress-It, and the API will allow the licensing data to reside securely in the IronKey’s protected memory. Simple, efficient, cool.
Of course, you will turn me over to your sales people, and that’s fine. I wanted to let you know of another small niche that IronKey may fill. I have an assistive technology conference looming in late June, and it’s been strongly suggested that I give away one or two copies of Xpress-It there. That assumes I can integrate IronKey by then. If I ever make any sales, the cost of your keys will simply be included in the retail price. For now though, one or two should be plenty for development and testing. Even your $79 model has far greater capacity than Xpress-It will ever use, but I don’t yet know what your SDK costs (shudder).
NOTE: This initial email will appear on my blog (free publicity), but obviously subsequent communications will be confidential for security reasons.
Here’s the poop on Xpress-It:
Xpress-It uses the Eloquence speech engine developed by Eloquent Technology Inc. for the Department of Defense. This all-software synthesizer produces very high quality speech that even total strangers understand. Xpress-It is a text-to-speech system with the following features:
· Practically unlimited vocabulary (max. database size: 2GB)
· Automatic entry of new words into vocabulary
· Programmable pronunciations
· Word prediction based on the user’s previous history
· Customizable voices
· Built-in voice control language
· Complete compatibility with Windows 98 or higher
· Modest system performance impact
· No additional hardware needed, just sound support and speakers