“Quit talking business! This is important!” A shocking pronouncement coming from one’s employer! I go mum. We sit behind thick glass, watching the Chicago Blackhawks clobber the Anaheim Ducks in the final game of the series. The Hawks will win this game and go on to the coveted Stanley Cup. That is correct, sir—an opportunity for a third championship in just a few years! Continue reading HAWKS
by John Jonelis
Kids are dropping dead on the athletic field. Dead! These are our kids—those highly cherished and precocious little brats, grades K-12. Just a few years back we suffered a miserable year—120 deaths according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. Here’s a huge problem waiting to get fixed.
I recall Coach Bodle from my high school years. “Hey kid,” he’d say, “Scrape yerself off da ground. Yuh got yer bell rung is all. Shake it off! Da team needs yuh. Get back out there and gimme a hunert ‘n’ twenty percent!” An inspiring speech. Always got results. Players knew the alternative. During my moments of serious academic pursuit, I’d draw Coach Bodle in the margins of my textbook. The result always came out looking like the Frankenstein Monster. This was a guy whose claim to fame was an ejection due to unnecessary roughness in a semi-pro football game. But I made allowances for his furious temper. Had no alternative. Anyway, I figured the guy got his bell run too many times.
That was a different era. Nowadays coaching is a profession. They know better. The liability is huge. People can go to jail. Eighty percent of athletic injuries happen at the high school level. Same old/same old doesn’t cut it and the demand for change rings powerful and loud.
Tonight I get to see Tyrre Burks, founder of Team Interval tell us what he proposes to do about it. Continue reading INJURIES TREATED BADLY
The feature will begin as a limited external beta, alongside a new area of the cross-platform messaging service called BBM Shop. Similar to its competitors, stickers will be separated into ‘packs’ around a specific character or theme.
BlackBerry will be promoting a set of original characters to begin with, called CosCat, Gilbert’s Tales, Bubble Bot, but it’s likely that roster will increase over time. Facebook and Path, among other apps with a messaging compontent, have offered characters from well-established brands such as LEGO, Peanuts and Despicable Me, to tempt users and their hard-earned cash. BlackBerry said it would do the same with characters from TV shows and movies, although it stopped short of giving examples or what the pricing structure would be.
The move isn’t original by any means, but it’ll make BlackBerry more competitive with some of its closest rivals. Given all of the attention bestowed upon Facebook and WhatsApp recently, BlackBerry needs to make sure that it doesn’t lose any traction of its own in the coming months.
While pricing wasn’t touched upon, stickers – especially branded packs – and the introduction of the BBM Shop suggests that BlackBerry is hoping this will become an important revenue stream for BBM.
At its core the device is a very simple cased or uncased e-ink reader. It consist of a very simple, waterproof device with an e-ink screen and allows programmers to build HTML5-based applications that can be pushed directly to the platform. Built as less of a dev kit than a thin client system, you use the Visionect screen as sort of a dumb terminal for your web projects although the system does allow for complex app development.
It should cost about 240 Euro when it launches. The Slovenian Team added a 120Mhz processor which powers the very basic terminal features of the device. Most of the heavy lifting, then, is done on the Visionect servers and pushed to the devices as needed.
It’s an interesting strategy – cheap hardware and a focus on cloud services – and I suspect it could catch on in situations where an e-ink interface would be ideal due to environmental concerns. In other words, don’t think of this as a denuded Kindle but instead a Star-Trek-esque flat control panel that is weatherproof and won’t be overpowered in sunlight.
Adrien Broner and Marcos Maidana had no problems with the scale at their last press conference before getting in the ring for their bout at the Alamodome in San Antonio , Texas. Neither boxers struggled with making weight with Broner weighing in at 144.4 pounds, and Maidana 146.2 pounds.
Things got a little heated later when Broner began to heckle the Argentine , Maidana responded and Bernard Hopkins had to go on stage to separate them.
Adrien Broner came up and spoke as usual, with the arrogance, does not fear the power of his opponent and is sure to keep him undefeated.
“Maidana never fought with me , has never seen anyone like me in the ring , I feel good , I’ve eaten lots of ice cream .”
“I have to stay focused, I will not fall into distractions , I will not lie : this is the biggest fight of my career , he will try to hurt me, so I’m ready.”
” The plan is to go out and hit Broner , keep busy. I’m ready to throw a lot of punches and push it throughout the fight . I am also ready to cut off the ring ” Maidana went on to say.
The fighters are ready and just waiting for the first bell.
Here is the under card for tonight
Thurman Keith 145.8 vs . Jesus Soto Karass 146.2
( Interim WBA Welterweight Title )
Leo Santa Cruz vs 121.4 . Cesar Seda 121.6
( WBC Super Bantamweight Title )
Beibut Shumenov vs 175 . Tamas Kovacs 174.4
( WBA Heavyweight Title )
Bitcoin fails as a form of “money” according to how economists look at money. This has lead many economists to conclude that Bitcoin will fail. What it really means is that economists need to change how they look at money.
The Internet is the history of disruptive innovation. The telephony system had evolved slowly for over a 100 years, then the Internet came along and changed everything. The old engineers, steeped in telcom lore, unwilling to challenge old assumptions, claimed that the Internet would never work. And, according to their principles, it doesn’t. For example, when I use Facetime with my brother who lives in Japan, there is a lot of “latency” or “lag” between when I say something and I see my brother react. That’s what the old telcom engineers warned us about: the “packet switching” nature of the Internet would cause unpleasant lag in telephone calls.
But did I mention my free video call, in high definition, from my iPhone in the United States, to his iPad in Japan? That this works at all, and so cheaply, is inconceivable according to old telcom principles. No matter how right the old telcom engineers were, they were still obsolete. Nobody cares about their old principles; the Internet is a whole new set of principles of free, world-wide, high-speed connectivity.
Old economists have the same problem as old telcom engineers. What economists say about Bitcoin is correct, after a fashion, but it’s obsolete.
For example, a major critique of Bitcoin is that there is a fixed supply (21 million coins), and thus can’t expand to accommodate demand. This causes the value of Bitcoin to rise (“deflation”). This in turn encourages hoarding (why spend the coin when it’ll buy twice as much tomorrow?). And this in turn causes the value to rise even further. This means nobody will be able to buy anything using Bitcoin because everyone else will be hoarding them.
That’s true for normal currencies, but not true for Bitcoin. The idea that hoarding money makes it unavailable only applies to physical money, because you can’t move it around and subdivide it. This doesn’t apply to electronic currency, because somewhere in the world you can always find somebody willing to part with a billionth of a coin so that you can use it to purchase something. Hoarding has no effect on the “supply” (sic) of money available for transactions.
Well, another reason hoarding is bad is because it causes volatility. As people hoard Bitcoin, a bubble forms, a sort of ponzi scheme driving up the value until the music stops, after which the price collapses. Such volatility makes it too impractical to use as money.
Again, volatility matters more for physical currency than electronic currency. Volatility is only a risk for the duration that you hold onto the currency. This matters, for example, if you need to save money to pay rent at the end of the month. But, in a fully liquid electronic system, such timing goes away. Instead of a monthly, weekly, or even daily wage, you could get paid once per second. The incoming pennies every second can then automatically be spent every second on rent, food, gasoline, and so on. Even in situations like Zimbabwe’s trillion-percent inflation, earning/spending electronic money on a 1-second timeframe means volatility doesn’t much matter.
Bitcoin’s timeframe is around 10-minutes for transaction, so volatility matters somewhat more. But here’s the thing: the amount payment processors charge for Bitcoin is less than what they charge for credit cards like American Express or Visa. The total risk associated with Bitcoin, including volatility, is still less than the total risk associated with other payment methods. And in any case, a recent study has shown that Bitcoin volatility has been steadily decreasing.
So we’ve proven that Bitcoin’s deflationary issues don’t matter, but here’s another thing: it’s not even deflationary.
The word “Bitcoin” can mean many things. It can refer to the coins (B⃦) themselves. It can refer to the “blockchain” (public ledger) that holds those coins. It can refer to the “bitcoind” software that most everyone uses to process the blockchain. It can refer to the “protocol” that the software implements. It can refer to the general algorithm that the protocol/software implements. It can refer to the general idea of “cryptocurrency without centralized control”.
If 21 million coins aren’t enough, somebody can simply fork the blockchain, starting a new one with another 21 million coins. Or, somebody can fork the software/protocol, creating a new currency with more than 21 million coins (and other useful properties, like shrinking the transaction window, or changing the proof-of-work algorithm). Or, somebody can come up with a wholly new cryptocurrancy vastly different than Bitcoin.
People have done all these things. There are a vast number of “Bitcoin” things running around.
For example, “Bitcoin mining” can now only be done by those who invested a lot of money in custom silicon chips (“ASICs”). It takes two years to create a new chip, so only enthusiasts who invested two years ago can profitably mine Bitcoins today. However, many forked Bitcoin variants use different mining incompatible with these chips. You can still mine these “alt-coins” (as they are called) using a desktop computer with a graphics card. I do this. I mine whichever alt-coin is more profitable at the moment, and then exchange them for true “Bitcoins” at the end of the day. Thus, I’m earning about 0.02 Bitcoin per day (about $10) through mining — but without directly mining Bitcoin. This demonstrates that more “coins” are being created than just the 21 million limit on Bitcoins.
Some of these alt-coins, namely Litecoin and Dogecoin, can be used to buy things online. For a payment processor, or online trading site, handling multiple types of coins is as easy as handling one. If Bitcoin is volatile and has a high risk premium, a buyer could easily switch to Litecoin, which might have a lower premium. If more people would use Litecoin, then that means fewer people would use Bitcoin, and that the value of Bitcoin would drop.
QED: Bitcoins are inflationary in the long run.
So it’s not about Bitcoin, but the entire ecosystem of alt-coins that needs to be evaluated for inflationary or deflationary tendencies. On the whole, the system is inherently inflationary (anybody can fork the system at any time), but it depends upon the willingness of payment processors and customers to use new kinds of coins.
We might find that it’s self-regulating as alt-coins are accepted or dropped from the system. New alt-coins might be created when the price of existing coins rises. Lesser alt-coins might stop being accepted when their price decreases. We might find a decade from now that the Bitcoin-ecosystem turns out to be more stable than national currencies.
What we see here is that old timers (the economists) are right on every principle, that a physical currency limited to 21 million coins would be inflationary, volatile, and unusable as money in the economy. But, they are ignoring how online currency changes those rules, and that Bitcoin isn’t a single currency, but an entire ecosystem. For economists to be right, they have to hold onto their immutable principles for old currencies and ignore all the innovation happening online.
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman opined back in 1998 that “by 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s”. After being mocked for that, he gave this rebuttal:
“I don’t claim any special expertise in technology… The issues about Bitcoin, however, are not technological! Everyone agrees that it’s technically very sweet. But does it work as money? That’s a very different kind of question.” — Paul Krugman, from Business Insider
But he’s wrong. That Bitcoin is technology has everything to do with whether Bitcoin works as money. It’s like old time telcom engineers who claimed that while they didn’t understand computer networking, they didn’t have to, because it was long distance transmission of data that mattered, regardless whether it was computer data or voice data.
Consider my claim that the Bitcoin-ecosystem is inherently inflationary. Let’s take that to the logical extreme and assume that anybody who has Bitcoin gets rid of them as fast as they can, as they would any inflationary currency. They only acquire Bitcoin if they can immediately spend them. If that’s the case, and assuming that Bitcoin accounts for 10% of the U.S. underground economy, then the value of Bitcoin comes out to one penny, or 1¢, or $0.01. It’s simple math, taking the $2 trillion underground economy (IRS estimate) and taking into account the 10 minute transaction window enforced by the Bitcoin protocol.
I arrive at this 1¢ value by technology, now explain it with economics. I’m pretty sure squaring the two will discover something new about the properties of money, all monies, that economists hadn’t considered before, at least, been able to convincingly prove. I predict that in 20 years (these things take time), some economists are going to win Nobel Prizes for their theories on cryptocurrencies.
The technology of decentralized cryptocurrency is here to stay. It’ll be used by those dissatisfied with existing currencies (namely, the underground economy unhappy with the surveillance mandate placed on existing money). Instead of poo-pooing this technology claiming it won’t work, the successful economist is going to be one that analyzes it, gathers data, and explains why it does work.
Created: BlackICE, IPS, sidejacking, masscan Doing: blog, code, cyber-rightsPublished February 20, 2014
Got a new Chromecast? Here’s the manual Google should have put in the box.
As the new year arrives, many of us are greeting it with shiny new gadgets, courtesy of the holiday season. And one in particular has been a noteworthy hit—Google’s Chromecast streaming device, which is still holding strong as Amazon’s bestselling electronic.
Unlike many other new gadgets this year, this $35 TV dongle—which can “cast” or send streaming media to your television from the Internet—is incredibly affordable, making them perfect gifts and stocking stuffers for early adopters and non techies alike. The only downside for the latter: There’s no manual in this box.
That’s pretty common with electronics these days. Software updates so often and swiftly, core features can change from one minute to the next. Still, if your parent is wondering where to plug this in or your spouse can’t figure out how to “cast” shows from that trusty mobile device, then pass this on as the unofficial, missing manual.
Begin At The Beginning: Setup
On one end of the USB stick-like device, you’ll find the HDMI plug that goes into your TV. (If the space between ports is crowded, owners can use the included HDMI extension cable.) The other end features a micro USB port, where the charge cable would plug in, if necessary. Older televisions may not power Chromecast, but later models with more recent versions of HDMI might be able to supply the necessary electricity.
To find out which one you have, plug it into the TV first without the power cable, and see if it comes on with the television. If not, then you know you need to plug in the charge cable and wall adapter/power brick. (Don’t forget to choose the appropriate source on your television.)
Next, you’ll need to add your Chromecast to your Wi-Fi network. You can do this a couple of different ways, either by downloading the Chromecast mobile setup app on your Android or iOS device, or the desktop application. (You don’t need to do both, unless you want to have Chromecast settings control across all of your devices.)
Once Chromecast has been plugged in and the setup app has been installed, launch the application and follow the prompts. Be sure to have your Wi-Fi network name and password handy.
One look at your Google gadget tells you why these steps are necessary. The dongle has no keyboard, button or interface of any kind, so there’s no way to add the gizmo to your network without something acting as the input for it. In this case, it will be your mobile phone, tablet or computer.
Essentially, Chromecast creates its own network, and your mobile or laptop joins it, so they can communicate. Once that happens, you can use the ancillary device to name your Chromecast and add it to your wireless Internet network.
That’s App-tastic!: Discovering What To Cast
When Chromecast first launched, there were only four apps that worked with it. Now, there are 14, including Google’s own YouTube, Google Play TV & Movies and Google Play Music. Not a huge selection, but they cover some of the biggest and most popular offerings. Beyond those mentioned, you can currently use Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Pandora, VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, Plex, PostTV, Viki and RealPlayer Cloud. Bear in mind that most of these require subscriptions with the individual services.
Google created a dedicated page listing Chromecast-friendly apps, and you may want to bookmark it. Over time, as more apps support the device, they’ll likely be added there for quick reference.
Once you have an app that you want to cast from, the task is simple. Just launch a compatible app and look for the cast icon.
When you see it, just tap that and choose your Chromecast to begin casting the content to your TV screen.
Here’s what it looks like on a Netflix video playing on an iPhone.
It’s the same icon in HBO GO, but in a different position.
You can also stream videos and music using the related websites on your laptop, thanks to the Chrome browser.
Casting only works from the Chrome desktop browser (computer) or the individual supported apps (mobile). They also let you play, pause, scrub or adjust volume on the TV stream, like a remote control. Just be sure to have the specific app on screen (or website on your computer), when you need to change playback settings.
Note that you can’t cast website videos via Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer. It also won’t work using any of your phone’s Web browsers. This means you can’t use your phone’s Chrome browser app to cast.
Advanced Chromecasting tips: To stop TV casting and resume playback on a device, the user simply needs to select the Chromecast icon (on their mobile or laptop) and choose their device. The video or music stream will pick up at the same point the TV left off.
If several mobile users are on the same Wi-Fi network, any of them can also take control of the stream. They just need to launch the same app that’s casting and tap the Chromecast icon on their devices. In the case of YouTube, multiple phones and tablets can even see and add videos to a unified “TV Queue,” which works like a playlist. (Once joined to a YouTube Chromecast event, the “TV Queue” appears inside the app. Tap it to see what’s playing and what else is in line to play. Search for other YouTube videos, and a “+ TV Queue” option pops up.)
Other Ways To Cast
See also: Chromecast May Be Breaking Out Soon
The section above outlines the primary use for Chromecast, which receives the stream directly from the Internet. Since the transmission doesn’t go from your phone or computer to the TV, there’s no hit on battery life.
Additionally, you can cast something directly from your computer to your television—whether a full Chrome browser tab, a compatible media file or your whole desktop screen. But be warned that it will zap your battery and, if it’s an older model, the laptop could struggle with this task.
Tab casting and desktop casting are experimental features, but they can come in handy if you want to share photos with a room full of people or pipe your own videos to the TV. You’ll need the Google Cast extension for the Chrome browser to make this work. Once you add it to your browser, you’ll see the Cast icon you’re already familiar with sitting at the top of the browser window, near the URL bar. Bear in mind that tab casting can transmit audio, but desktop casting does not.
Tab casting is rather interesting for another reason. Thanks to this feature, anything you can open and play within a Chrome browser can play on your television. This includes many unsupported video sites—particularly at full screen playback—as well as select video files (including H.264 MP4 files and WMV vids), audio clips and songs, and images. You can open computer media files in Chrome easily, whether by dragging and dropping them on your Chrome browser or, within the application, going to “File -> Open File…”
Plex and RealPlayer Cloud also allow you to send your own files to Chromecast now as well, and they offer cloud streaming (to all of your devices) as well as organized libraries or folder structures, so you can find specific items easily.
The Google streaming stick’s affordability and relative ease of use has made it very popular among mainstream consumers. And the company’s recent Chromecast hackathon and rollout of new apps bode well for a future of widespread Chromecast support, making for a very happy year for online streaming fans.
Feature image by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite.
Addition: A few Chromecast users have contacted me to report glitches with their units. Indeed, I have also noticed hiccups in my own Chromecast streaming as well. But in my case, the blame fell on an inconsistent wireless signal in my home. The device is entirely Wi-Fi dependent, so if your signal’s not strong or inconsistent, this could cause problems. Other users, with routers placed in the same room with their Chromecasts, tend to have smoother operation with their units. So if you experience issues, check your Wi-Fi signal and router placement.