Tech Tent: Indian rockets, password confusion and the parenting app

Rory Cellan-Jones

On my technology podcast this week, we find out what a record-breaking satellite launch says about India's technology ambitions.

We also discuss whether there's a better, simpler way to use passwords online, and we talk to the entrepreneur using dating app techniques to connect mums.

India's Space Journey

This week saw an amazing feat, the simultaneous launch of 104 satellites from southern India. That broke the previous record, set when Russia launched 37 satellites in one mission in 2014.

Image copyright EPA

It was a huge boost for India's space programme, as well as for the new nano satellite industry - an American firm with ambitions to provide dynamic close-up maps of the globe was the main customer of the launch.

Our correspondent in Mumbai Shilpa Kannan explains that the whole country was gripped by this event, and tells us about India's wider ambitions in space which include a mission to put a rover vehicle on Mars.

Password Confusion

This week, the boss of Britain's new National Cybersecurity Centre admitted what has been obvious for a while - the advice which organisations like his give to the public on passwords is a mess.

"We worked out we were telling every British person to memorise a new 600-digit number every month," Ciaran Martin told the BBC. "None of my best people can do that so we shouldn't be telling other people to do that."

So what is the answer? Is it biometric methods such as voice recognition or retina scans?

No, says Surrey University's Dr Shujun Li. He has developed a new system which allows users to combine very simple and short passwords with something else - a picture, a webcam photo, your geo location - to produce a secure authentication code.

Dr Li admits there is work to be done to convince organisations to adopt his idea, but he warns that the idea that the password is dead is premature. He reckons we will be tapping them in for another decade.

'Tinder for mums'

Dating apps like Tinder have transformed the way people hook up these days - or so I am led to believe. But can the technology which sees people swipe left or right to choose or reject a partner be used to connect people in different ways?

Image caption This week's guest is app creator Michelle Kennedy

Our special guest Michelle Kennedy certainly thinks so - she's developed a new app called Peanut designed to help mothers in London and New York build friendships.

We discuss whether apps really are the way to make connections these days - or whether they are changing the nature of friendship in negative ways.