Friday, 30 April 2010

Research - it takes time

Writing books often takes an enormous amount of research by the author. I’m no exception. I spent all of yesterday researching the details of poison darts and also mobile phone (cell) encryption. Eventually I’ve decided on a combination of two poisons on the darts used by the Guild of Sisters. One of those poisons (Batrachotoxin) is so toxic that 0.1 of a milligram is lethal to a grown man. The other (PhTx3) has some nasty side effects affecting men only. Let’s hope that the Sisters are merciful in Book 3.
The other item of research is independent encryption of mobile phone calls. The mobile phone (cell) GSM calls are already encrypted during transmission from the cell phone to the telephone company mast, but bright people are beginning to publicise ways in which those calls can be decrypted by third parties. I was shown a micro-SD card, about the size of my little finger nail, that plugs into Nokia phones to allow end to end (peer to peer) encryption of calls. The card does the processing of the encryption and helps to keep the whole thing secure. It is called SecuVoice. It costs north of £700 to equip your handset, but it does mean that it will give a hard time to anyone who might want to listen in on your call. That includes authorities who might have the ability to connect direct to the Telecom provider's systems.

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