F0ul Thoughts

Mild mannered on the outside, Free thinker on the inside

Archive for the ‘Bleeding Edge Technology’ Category

Bitcoin – time for a new start

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Bitcoin – the crypto currency that has won most publicity for being a huge growth market, then a bigger crashing market is the future. It is a technical answer to how do you create online coins that can be used as currency.
The basics, are quite easy. A coin is actually a file. It contains the answer to a complex mathematical algorithm, and are stored in other files called wallets. When you spend a coin, its identity is confirmed by matching it on a publicly accessible database called a blockchain. This is how its possible to prove that the coin is valid, and hasn’t been spent by the person who gave it to you before. There are 21 million of these coins, and each coin can be split a million times down to a unit called a Satoshi.

Got it so far? Good. The next issue is to work out how to value it, and for that we use exchanges. The problem recently though has been that there has been one exchange that has been far more popular than others, leading to criminals blocking trading by attacking the exchange with DDoS hacking. This creates a lag, which means an honest trader doesn’t know if the price being quoted for their bitcoin is the current price, or the price 30 minutes ago. This confusion is what led to the prices finally crashing, as traders lost confidence in the valuations being given to them.

Finally, we need to have a way to actually buy and sell stuff using bitcoins. That part is quite easy, but due to the confusion over the price, as well as the legal implications of accepting bitcoins rather than local currency, not a lot of people are doing that bit yet. This means that you don’t have to own bitcoins to buy stuff online, meaning that bitcoin valuations are a little suspect!

Today, we are a step closer to making bitcoins more acceptable because I had an idea to offer a Fiverrr service which worked exclusively in bitcoins – that might work! 🙂


Written by f0ul

April 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

Broadband – when is it fast enough?

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Everyone seems to want faster broadband, but sometimes the numbers become meaningless. The question is, how fast do you want?

I’m currently running on around 40Mb at home, with an upload speed of around 10Mb. I don’t worry about download time or buffering or having to share my connection with others. Things just happen quickly and quietly. If I wanted to state an ideal, it would possibly be the same speeds that I get with a LAN of 100Mb.

That doesn’t mean that this is the ideal speed, and once everyone is on 40Mb, all our problems are over. Far from it. What it means is that today, broadband works well in our household.

That is actually the crux of the problem. Broadband speeds have become political, either because they get used as shorthand for having a modern lifestyle, or the opposite of being the cause of a digital divide. It really isn’t true, but when we talk about politicians, we are talking about a class of person who doesn’t understand anything beyond popularity and sensationalism.

Technology goes through a few phases during its life, from bleeding edge, unstable but very cool to geeks, through to do people still use those museum pieces? IT, as in desktops, laptops etc used to be only something for the geeks with no social skills but now are currently as cool as washing machines! Everyone has something that works, and if you want a new one, you visit the supermarket!

Broadband is close to this point where the vast majority of urban people have a choice of ADSL or Fibre or Cable and make their choice based on price vs performance. Rural communities can’t do this yet.

Rural communities are still about 5 years behind their urban cousins with internet usage. Dial up is rare, but ADSL is between 512Kb through to 3-4 Mb at its peak. Nobody gets FTTC and ADSL2+ is always being promised within the next 6 months!

Here is the important bit. Whatever speed they are getting isn’t the point. Broadband is at a turning point where the technical details are becoming irrelevant compared to what people do with it. We no longer need broadband just so we can check our emails and visit a few websites. That sort of use is easily possible with a 512kb connection. The turning point is because the internet has become real time.

We now use social media where the news is only a few seconds away. We use streaming TV services so we can see what is happening, where ever we might be. We use the internet for telecoms so we can speak to anyone from anywhere – cheaply! We can now work from anywhere with a broadband connection and pretend to be in the office! We share phone calls, databases and documents with colleagues who can be spread around the globe and its easy and cheap!

However, if you are not used to this way of working, why would you want it? More importantly if you don’t know what you need a fast broadband service for, how do you know if its fast enough?

I would suggest we need to look at broadband just like we used to deal with electricity. Remember the power cuts we would get? If you are under 30 the answer is probably no! We need broadband to be as unobtrusive as electricity where it just works, it just handles the speed we need, when we ask for it, and where the only cost is based on how much data we move – not on how fast we get it.

That is going to take another 10 years, but the days of a broadband equivalent to a 230v 30A supply is getting nearer! 🙂

Written by f0ul

January 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Technology past present and future

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Technology is how we describe all these plastic boxes which connect to the internet but what about old school technology?  Did technology start in 1975?

Of course it didn’t, but I do seem to read from countless commentators how the past was really slow and it was only the invention of TV, colour and Facebook!

I have spent some time at Ironbridge, which is the birthplace of Industry and it helps you see the world in a different light.  Technology is just the tools which make life easier – that is Facebook, The steam engine, and even the flint knife.

More intersting is the attitude to old technology.  While we are amazed by what modern technology can do, we are all fashionably dismissive of older technology, until it goes totally out of date at which point, we are amazed again!

Take the water wheel.  It is just a wheel which takes its power from a flow of water.  This is normally a channel from a river.  The wheel drives a shaft which drives other devices which need a movement to make them work.  This could be a drill, or a press or an electric generator.  The possibilities of all this are endless.

The electrical generator could be used to power a  broadband WIFI repeater.  Oh, hold on that really new technology, being powered by a really old technology – is that good or bad? 😉

Hint – its neither, its just technology!

Written by f0ul

August 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

How to do Time Travel – Practical Ideas

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Every day I have lots of thoughts on pet subjects – mostly its about how to win the lottery by predicting the numbers and only then buying a ticket – bit daft, but it helps me fall asleep!

Another way to fall asleep is work out how to do time travel – and it doesn’t help that you watch fantastic films like FAQ!

Basically, in the real world, there is only one thing that I am aware of which can travel faster than light – and they are Tachyons You would have thought that once you know what to use, it would be easy – but it isn’t!

The next problem is, if only Tachyons are able to move faster than light, how do we use them to make US go fast than light?

Actually before we get on to that, let me just say that light and time are related – that was Einstein’s work – assume that anything faster than light becomes time travel.

Anyway, if you can’t make a Tachyon vehicle, what would you use?

Rather than have a long rambling post, let’s cut to the chase – why not use the Internet?

Assuming that Tachyons can be made to behave like electrons, then you could use the same concept that makes electronics work.

I got the idea from thinking about telephones which transmit a copy of your voice anywhere on the planet, and then transmit a copy of the voice you want to hear all the way back.

That leads to the idea that you could therefore create a Internet gateway with the past or the future. Actually, the future is the more interesting area!

So, imagine this, tap future into the address bar (e.g. http://2050.google.co.uk), get tomorrow’s news. Really want to see the future, send an email and get a Youtube video of where ever you want to see!

At the end of the day, while its nice to dream of walking with dinosaurs, its more practical to just watch a TV screen and control objects with our Tachyon Gateway.

So, next step is either to build it, or to Brainstorm for a while and think of a cool name for it! Oh, and as its my idea – the F0ul Gateway seems a nice name!
The comments await your thoughts!

Written by f0ul

March 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Twitter – a self powered ego and hot air system!!

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I have been experimenting with Twitter, the micro blogging site which has confused a lot of media people due to its 140 character nature. I have three accounts, all of which have three different functions. My experiment is to see what makes Twitter work well. Or, to put it another way, what is Twitter good for?

I first started using it about a year or so ago. Having been aware of it for a few years, I finally thought I would use it on a daily based to see if it could be used for building visitor numbers for a website.

Unfortunately, this website is professionally based, so I didn’t want to use if for personal comments. Therefore, I set up another Twitter account. This was a bit ranty, but I was trying to use it to build an online following for my opinion.

After a while, I decided it would be useful to try and automate a Twitter account, which didn’t need any form of work to build a following.

Using various tools, such as Twitterfeed, as well as a auto follower/ following package, I quickly got the figure up to a very reasonable number of followers.

This experiment is still active, so I don’t want to get into numbers. However, I will reveal my initial findings as it is quite depressing! 😉

Twitter, like most forms of Social Media, is mostly junk! Worse than the subject matter of what is being tweeted about, is the fact that nobody is reading this stuff with any thought.

The time messages are being tweeted has a huge effect on visitor returns, but the numbers are still minimal. On the auto site, it seems to be about 1% or less of followers click on links.

The accounts built using real thought, and filled with text written by a real person, get less followers, but a higher percentage of clicks to links. This is just like any other form of media. The lowest common denominator is the key.

More interesting is that while I am creating auto content, and barely reading anything on that account, what is to say everyone else isn’t doing the same?

Twitter seems to be everything by proxy. We already know that the celebrities with big numbers of followers have a team of people to write their tweets. This single act seems to defeat the original object of the concept! 😉 More importantly, it seems to show that none of the followers seem to care!!

I will carry on my experiment but reading other articles, but I am not the first to spot this trend!

Written by f0ul

February 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Hubless Bicycles – wow! that is what cool looks like!

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Found this on a site I visit occasionally!

You got to admit – while it might not look so good with a 16 stone middle aged adult panting on it while ringing along the A548, North Wales coast road, that is a cool looking bike!

What do you think?

Written by f0ul

February 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm