Category Archives: IT

On Bitcoin rivals


While all the hype might make you think that Bitcoin is  the only cryptocurrency, there are a number of alternatives out there and this piece in Fortune outlines what they are: 5 Bitcoin Rivals That Are Rapidly on the Rise.

While this piece lists a handful, I expect that there will be a flood of such things in the future as financial markets look to capitalize on this mixture of money and technology.

The Fortune piece is also not bad in summarizing some key facts about Bitcoin if you still find it hard to get your head around it.

I expect Bitcoin to crash to a much lower level, but I don’t see cryptocurrencies going away. Knowing more about them, especially because they could have a major impact on global economies, is worthwhile.

Advertisements

San Francisco puts delivery robots on a lease. Good.

According to CNET: Delivery robots face strict rules in San Francisco.

I like that picture above. Often when I see delivery robots in photos, they are by themselves on an uncrowded street. In the photo above, you can get a better sense of how it will be a problem if swarms of these things start taking over the sidewalk. The idea of sidewalks becoming more crowded by these tiny vehicles is a maddening one.

I’d be fine with them if city planners can come up with a way these robots can roll around and not impede better uses of the streets such as walking and cycling and public transit. Until then, the less robots crowding the sidewalks, the better.

Like drones in the air and autonomous cars on the roads, robots are coming to the sidewalks. City planners need to start planning for that now.

Why I think this review of the Tesla Semi is really good.

I thought this piece was great: This ex-trucker has some questions about the Tesla Semi – Autoblog.

It punctures the hype behind Tesla’s new truck in the best possible way, by carefully and methodically asking questions and bringing up real life experiences that show the limitations of the truck.

Too few tech reviews come with this type of analysis. I’d like to see more of it. Most tech reviews are positive summaries of features. Or there are a small number of pieces that say such and such will never work because I say so. In either case, the person reviewing it comes from a technology background. I’d like to see more non-technical reviews of technology.

If you are interested in Tesla or the direction of automotives, it is well worth a read.

Blockchain 101

IBM (my employer) has a great page that will get you up to speed on Blockchain. If you are interested in Bitcoin, crytocurrency, or just hot areas in IT, then you want to visit:  What is blockchain? – IBM Blockchain

In an alternative universe this is the next hot smartphone


I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.

It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors,  so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.

As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.

The further decline of Peter Thiel

The man who threw his lot in with Donald Trump continues to sink in the world. Case in point: Y Combinator Quietly Ends Relationship With Peter Thiel.

You’ve heard of Google’s 8.8.8.8…now there’s 9.9.9.9 (a new DNS service from Quad9/IBM)

If you are using Google’s DNS services (i.e., you are using 8.8.8.8 for DNS services), then there is a new provider on the block you should consider: Quad9. The following links detail why you might want it, as well as how to set it up.

We need all the help we can get in dealing with malicious people and computers on the Internet. Glad to see my employer has a role in this.