Bitcoin and the Democratisation of the Value of Currency

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Bitcoin, Mobile, Philosophy | Posted on 06-12-2013

bitcoinI have yet to see anyone note a fundamental difference between fiat currencies and bitcoins: that fiat currency supposedly has value through the decree of a government, whereas bitcoins gain their value from the voices of the people. And that these two approaches fall into two categories: centralised control, and decentralised control. The decentralised control of the value of bitcoins is the democratisation of currency value.

This really can’t be overstated.

Fiat comes from the Latin word for “let it be done” and means an “official” arbitrary order, decree, or sanction. The value then rests in the acceptance of the authority of whatever is making that decree, or in the ability of that “authority” to enforce its decree.

Bitcoins on the other hand have no such authority to declare their value or violence to enforce their value. Their value comes purely from people voluntarily participating in the bitcoin economy by using it.

For example, as a customer you can go to many different stores. If one store only accepts bitcoins, you are free to go to another store. If you wish to use bitcoins, and a store does not accept them, you are free to go to a store that accepts bitcoins. If you wish to trade in your fiat currency for bitcoins, you can purchase them privately from someone, or you can go to an exchange, which is simply a marketplace for bitcoins.

The value of goods and services in bitcoins is then set by the market. Where one merchant may charge 0.0005 bitcoins for an orange, another merchant may charge 0.00075 for an orange. You are free to shop where you will.

But the importance of this really, really can’t be overstated. (The democratisation of currency.)

Let me recap so far:

Fiat currency: Given value because some government says so. People must obey the decree (or risk being thrown in a cage) and have no voice.

Bitcoins: Given value through the voices of countless millions of people. No government voices have any authority (though they may try to manipulate public opinion).

Do you remember Napster? It was a file sharing service. However, Napster used centralised servers. This made it possible to shut Napster down.

Are you familiar with BitTorrent? It’s a P2P file sharing protocol. However, it is decentralised with no central servers. It cannot be so easily shut down. Just ask the fellows at The Pirate Bay about that.

Is the parallel between Napster/BitTorrent and fiat/bitcoins becoming apparent?

As centralised systems, both fiat currencies and Napster are subject to a single point of failure. They are not resilient and quite fragile.

As decentralised systems, both bitcoins and BitTorrent are resilient with no single point of failure. A failure in any given node is pretty much irrelevant to the system as a whole. (I don’t mean the technical aspect of bitcoins here, although that is also decentralised and highly resilient. Here I specifically mean the way in which bitcoins obtain value is decentralised, and highly resilient. i.e. Free market.)

Some will point out the volatility in bitcoin exchanges as evidence that it isn’t resilient or that it is subject to failure. This doesn’t follow. Volatility only illustrates that the system is in fact working, and that there are competing voices speaking out about how much bitcoins should be valued at. The system itself is agnostic as to its own value.

That is, the “volatility” objection confuses the output of the system (the value of bitcoins) with whether or not the system is working.

This does not mean to say that bitcoins will skyrocket up to $1,000,000 per bitcoin. Much less that bitcoins will continue to grow at a rate of an order of magnitude per year, which would value bitcoins at $1,000,000+ sometime during 2016. (The actual growth is around 1 order of magnitude every 9~10 months. We’re being pessimistic here.)

What this does say is that it is far harder to collapse bitcoins as a currency than it is to collapse a fiat currency. No single node can declare a value for bitcoins. All nodes participate in its valuation. Provided those nodes decide that bitcoins are valuable, and that more nodes are added, the output of the bitcoin system will value bitcoins cointinually higher. (Pun intended.)

We are looking at the democratisation of currency here. No more dictatorial edicts. No more authoritarian force. No more being told how you can earn a living and how you can spend your earnings.

V is for VoluntaryThis is the end of authoritarian power in currency.

This is the voice of the people.

You have a real vote.

You have real power.

You can put the fruits of your labour into the trust of mathematics and the fundamental principle of the universe that guarantee those mathematical equations.

With bitcoins, the choice is entirely up to you. If you wish, you can vote for its value and purchase bitcoins. If you don’t want to participate, nobody is forcing you, which you cannot say about your local fiat currency.

This is a revolution and an evolution in what currency is. You now have to ask yourself which side of history will bitcoin and crypto currencies fall on, and which side of history do you want to be on.

Frackin’ Reserve! for Android

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Awake, Banking, C#, Google, Logic, Mobile, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Software | Posted on 27-01-2013

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Frackin’ Reserve is now available for Android!

In an effort to try and help educate people about the inevitable mathematical fraud of fractional reserve banking, I’ve released an Android version. It’s 100% free. Pass it around, and let’s END THE FED!

Frackin’ Reserve lets you simulate what happens in the money cycle with fractional reserve banking. It demonstrates how banksters print money out of thin air and how that money very quickly mushrooms into massive quantities of debt.

Make sure to check the articles listed below as they fully explain the fraudulent nature of fractional reserve banking.

“Once a nation parts with the control of its credit, it matters not who makes the laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talks of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.” — William Lyon MacKenzie King

GET FRACKIN’ RESERVE FOR ANDROID

You can find Frackin’ Reserve for Android in the Google Play store here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.renegademinds.frackinreserve

GET THE SOURCE CODE

As with all other versions, I’ve made the full source code is available for free. There are notes in there to help you compile it as it requires some very minor tweaks to compile (you must have a strong name file).

DOWNLOAD: Frackin Reserve Android source code

However, in a massive departure from my norm, I did put Google ads in the version that you download from the Google Play store. (I pretty much never put any kind of advertising in my free software, and am generally not very fond of ads in my own software or web sites.) It takes a lot of time and effort, and I figure that if I want to keep up with some of this activism, I need to try and make some money from it in order to off-set the costs of me spending my time elsewhere trying to make a living. I do hope that people appreciate that I’m not trying to get rich or anything – just trying to pay bills. While I thoroughly enjoy this, it takes away from development time for other things that I need to put food on the table. (If you would like to help support Frackin’ Reserve, please consider having a look at my commercial audio software to help musicians learn new songs – Guitar & Drum Trainer.)

FRACKIN’ RESERVE FOR ANDROID SCREENSHOTS

Here are some screenshots on tablets and phones, with both older and newer versions of Android for the phone screenshots. Click to zoom on any of them.

MORE PLATFORMS & INFORMATION

For versions for other platforms and articles on fractional reserve banking, please see below.

Windows: Frackin’ Reserve
Linux and Mac OS X: Frackin’ Reserve
Web Edition: Frackin’ Reserve

You can download the entire package of all device software here (excludes the web version):

ALL PLATFORMS: Frackin’ Reserve

Just extract the file, go into the platform folder, and choose what you are looking for, either the program that you can run, or the source code.

Articles:

Part 1 – The Mechanics of Fractional Reserve Banking
Part 2 – What is Money?
Part 3 – “How” Fractional Reserve Banking Creates Money and “Why” it is Fraudulent
Part 4 – Run on the Banks? Or Run on the People?
Part 5 – Compound Interest as Invisible Slavery
Part 6 – Summary & Additional Resources

Please remember to rate Frackin’ Reserve and pass it on to friends and family. When enough people discover just how evil fractional reserve banking is, together we can END THE FED and end the control of the money supply by private banksters.

Cheers,

Ryan

Firefox OS Preview

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Mobile, Software | Posted on 24-01-2013

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Nobody wants to be left out of the mobile revolution, including Mozilla. They’ve announced their new Firefox OS along with a couple new phones to introduce the platform.

https://hacks.mozilla.org/2013/01/announcing-the-firefox-os-developer-preview-phone/

We’ll see what happens and whether they gain any traction. I think it will be attractive to the FLOSS community, but we’ll see about the broader market.

 

 

 

 

 

IP Porn – Hot Tech-On-Tech Action!

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Business, Mobile, Philosophy, Software | Posted on 15-10-2012

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The world of hot tech-on-tech pron is never ending. Our next bout of hot & saucy action comes (cums?) from Microsoft spewing on the backs of Google after fucking with Motorola…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/microsoft-google-motorola-android_n_1962383.html?utm_hp_ref=technology

The patent in question defines a method for a mobile device to obtain a map from one database, call up resource information such as the location of a hotel from a second database, and overlay the two sets of data.

So, let’s see… They want to join data from one query in another query from another database? That’s some pretty kinky shit! Wow. Like totally innovative and non-obvious… let’s pull out from one and stick it in another…

Maybe not as sexy as the Apple v. Samsung pronfest, but still pretty fucked up.

Cheers

Ryan

 

Osama Bin Laden Dead Thanks to iPhone Tracking

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Mobile, Politics | Posted on 02-05-2011

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Osama Bin Laden Tracked by iPhoneHighly reliable sources (the voices in my head) are reporting that the death of Osama Bin Laden is entirely thanks to him owning an iPhone, allowing his location to be tracked.

Osama was a rabid Apple fanboy owning over a dozen iPods alone. He allegedly had also already received 2 white iPhones through covert channels, which is a shame because they’re now the only red iPhones in existence and are now war trophies.

The sources also report that Steve Jobs had this to say on the topic:

Well, we finally got caught tracking people, and officials from the Pentagon approached us and said that we might just as well rat out Osama now as we have nothing left to hide. It’s just as well… That bastard jailbroke his iPhone anyways and wasn’t buying through iTunes.

Red iPhones?

Red iPhoneWhen asked if Apple had plans to release a red iPhone commemorative edition to celebrate Apple’s role in killing Osama Bin Laden, Steve said:

Unlike black, or even white, red is a much more difficult color to get right. We have teams of researchers working on the problem right now, but it could be several years or more before we can develop a red iPhone that truly satisfies Apple’s high standards and delivers that special user experience that people have come to expect.

Apparently the red color of baby-blood is the most attractive, however, few infants currently own iPhones, making tracking them difficult.

Artificial means are allegedly being planned and tested at Apple’s super-secret hideout.

More Killing?

Wide spread public outcry against Apple’s privacy invasions is sweeping the interwebs. One completely lucid internetizen said:

Like, this is bullshit man! How long will it be before I’m assassinated too? This sucks donkey balls!

Reportedly, officials at the Pentagon replied, “No comment,” when asked whether they would be killing more iPhone users.

Last Words

Rumors are spreading confusion over Osama Bin Laden’s final words. Some sources report his final words as, “Should’ve got an Android”, while others report them as, “Should’ve got a Windows Mobile”. Other sources are saying his final words were simply, “Oh fuck…”

iPhone Tracking Works

Why Developers Need to Squeeze Software for Ca$h

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Business, Mobile, Money, OpenCandy, Software, Super Simple | Posted on 20-04-2011

Everybody talks about Google, Microsoft, Apple, Angry Birds, Twitter, Facebook, and a handful of other software companies and applications, but they are not representative of the majority of software companies or authors. And the amount of money they make isn’t representative either.

Few developers ever make the gobs of money that you see in TV shows or movies. That’s fantasy land. Sure, a lot of developers live comfortably, but there’s a difference between being that and being truly rich.

I came across this article, “Is one dollar enough?“, and the obvious answer to me is “NO!” The author talks about games, and how the price point is being squeezed down to a buck. She ends the article with:

It is sad to realize that someone wouldn’t think twice about spending $2 – $5 on a quick snack, but they themselves cannot see spending over $1 on a game that will give them hours, or perhaps even days/weeks in entertainment.

She’s bang on. People will pay $5 or $6 for a coffee that otherwise should cost $2 (adjusted for inflation), or $3 on a candy bar (in Australia) which is little more than sugary poison, but they’ll balk at spending $1 for a software title or a piece of fruit!

Software licensing is a difficult business, and software revenue models are even harder. Here are a few quick questions off the top of my head that only scratch the surface of the licensing and revenue model questions:

  • Charge for machine licenses, individual users, or CPUs?
  • Use an activation count or phone home and keep track of installs?
  • Allow multiple or simultaneous use?
  • Monetize with ads? On web site? In the software? In the installer?
  • SaaS (Software as a Service) – Charge for ongoing use?
  • Charge a setup fee with ongoing maintenance?
  • Free to use, but charge for content?
  • Free but with charged premium features?
  • Basic, standard and pro licensing?
  • Nagware?
  • Shareware (try before you buy) or purchase before trying?
  • Distribution partners?
  • Exclusive distribution?
  • Which payment system(s)?
  • How about an affiliate program?
  • MLM affiliate or flat with referral fees?
  • LAMP, WAMP, WIMP or Microsoft stack? It affects a lot of other decisions…
  • C#, C++, Delphi, Objective-C, C, C# with Mono, Java? Again, it affects other decisions…
  • Start free then charge later?
  • Free upgrades? Paid minor versions?
  • Subscriptions for upgrade protection?
  • Paid support?
  • FOSS? Get paid for integration or consulting?
  • B2B or B2C?
  • Consumer or professional? Enterprise or SME?
  • Privacy issues? People will pay for information… (Dark side alert!)
  • Download protection fees?
  • Physical media?
  • Dongles?
  • Partial key verification?
  • Bits du Jour?
  • Give Away of the Day?
  • “App stores”? They’ll screw you for pricing and restrict your business model more than you could ever imagine…
  • Amazon? eBay? iTunes?
  • Retail? Tech Data? Ingram Micro? Better have deeeeeep pockets…
  • “Software site” or “sales letter”?
  • Put it out there and go for venture or angel capital?
  • Exit strategy?
  • Online, mobile or desktop? Or a mix of the 3?

GOOD GRIEF~! It goes on almost forever. And every one of those is important for your licensing or revenue model. Some will only limit your possibilities, while others are models in themselves.

And people often don’t even want to pay you $1?

There’s a very large disconnect between what people will pay for software and the amount of work that goes into a lot of it.

Slow down music with Guitar & Drum TrainerFor example, one of my software titles, Guitar & Drum Trainer, goes for $49.95. Now, considering how much some people use it, and just how valuable it is for their music, it’s easily worth 5x that much. But, when people look at software, they don’t see value in the same ways as when they look at physical objects. Tascam makes a hardware product that doesn’t do half as much, but sells for 3x the price.

So it seems to me that the $1 being enough is a symptom of the “software price disconnect” with consumers.

Gamers are an odd bunch though. They spend a lot of money from one hand, but grip tightly with the other.  They’ll spend $X per month on a software subscription for game Y, but won’t spend a dime for game Z. Fickle? Unpredictable? I think that goes for the market at large – consumer behavior isn’t always predictable, and even the best research can lead you in the wrong direction. We’re talking about stochastic processes, so this is trivially true.

As a conjecture, spending on software seems in many places to follow a sort of herd mentality, where the more people that spend, the more people that spend. The MMORPG is a perfect example. Some MMORPGs have gone the “free to play” route with items being available for purchase, e.g. Cabal Online. (I used to work for ESTsoft.) Get players in with the promise of free play, gain the critical mass needed to make the game viable, and offer items for sale to a crowd fighting with itself for supremacy. Seems like a great model to me!

However, I think that there’s a bigger issue underlying a lot of the problems in the market. The Apples and Amazons out there. They are effectively destroying the market for anyone except themselves. Their pricing policies are a requirement to be included in their stores, but they also limit pricing for the software developers. It’s not a good thing. It is eliminating competition, and forcing developers into the role of “starving artist of our day”, as one commenter in the article above puts it.

Developers are forced into ad networks like I talked about in “Win an iPad 2 – A Mobile Ad“. I’m not so sure that I like that very much. It looks like a win-lose proposition.

So with prices being driven down by the market at large, and price gouging being encouraged by the big players who profit to the tune of 30% from each sale of a developer’s hard work, the sale of software is becoming increasingly unrealistic in many categories, like games. This makes it all the more important to use or come up with non-traditional revenue models that don’t rely so heavily on sales. Every avenue needs to be explored and assessed.

Again, developers need to squeeze out revenue wherever they can. This is not a good thing. We’ve seen where that road leads to, and we’re heading full on down the path to the dark side yet once again, apparently not having learned jack shit from the past. There are good options out there, but the “bad” options always seem to pay more. Sorting out the good ones from the bad ones is hard enough, let alone resisting the siren’s call.

One good area that I think we’re going to see more and more of is in content driven software. I would love to be able to offer GDT users the opportunity to purchase music directly in GDT along with GDT files with premade loops and EQ settings. That would be fantastic! However, it’s also unrealistic for me to expect to be able to become a music distributor. Still, the opportunities for larger developers with more muscle than me is out there.

For games, this takes the form of purchasing items, or purchasing additional levels or episodes. Few programs out there though, compared to games, really take advantage of this though.

For Super Simple, this could be offering users the opportunity to get professional prints of their photos through Photo Resizer (or a new title). Of course there would be a lot of work to do to get that done, but it *is* a possibility, and would genuinely offer users a solid value proposition. That sort of bleeds the idea of content with services though. i.e. Your content, our services.

The Super Simple revenue model isn’t complete yet. It has a few elements in there, but it’s very far from being what I envision as sustainable. However, it is setup to allow for the addition of different revenue models, and when I have things ready, I’ll work them in. For the moment, Super Simple leverages 3 areas:

  • Web site ads – AdSense
  • Download page ads – AfterDownload
  • Installer ad – OpenCandy

So far the clear winner in terms of revenue is OpenCandy. They’re like the invisible 800 lb gorilla. While people scramble to position their AdSense ads properly, and optimize colors, they could easily trump that revenue with OpenCandy and leave all the work up to OpenCandy. Heck… That’s their job! i.e. Get and vet good software titles as advertisers, then help developers make money while introducing users to new software during the installation process.

There’s still a good deal more to come for Super Simple, but all in good time. I’m working on the next release at the moment.

Well, I meandered around quite a bit there trying to cover some aspects of the business of software and some pressures on software that are pushing it towards non-traditional routes for revenue. At the end of the day though, I believe the important thing to say is that you made an honest dollar.

Cheers,

Ryan

 

Win an iPad 2 – A Mobile Ad

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Business, Mobile, Money, Online Marketing | Posted on 20-04-2011

Here’s a screenshot from a game I have on my HTC Desire HD (click the images to zoom on them):

ipad 2 ad in Farm Tower

Note the ad that covers the play area.

Now, here’s what you click through to:

Controversial Legal Ad Android

Note the red bar for that shows the fold in the mobile browser. Also how much it costs to “enter the contest”.

Ouch. That’s a pretty dear price to pay for a “chance to win”.

What I Want in Computing Devices

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in .NET, Logic, Mobile, Philosophy | Posted on 21-03-2011

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I know what I want in computing devices, and it’s not available. Anywhere. Nobody makes it. But everybody wants it. Not just me.

But talking about a bunch of specific and whatnot is just boring, and analogies and comparisons are much easier. So… I want…

Apple Style

Yes. As much as I utter loathe Apple and its many obsequious, obnoxious, rude fanboys, I want that style and polish. I like nice things, and Apple packages up their stuff in a very fine way.

Microsoft Platform Brilliance – The CLI

If you’ve developed for Apple platforms and Microsoft platforms, you know bloody well just how insanely miserable developing for Apple can be. Objective-C doesn’t hold a candle to C# or .NET. While there are some nice things in Objective-C, the constant barrage of pain makes it something to be avoided at almost any cost.

The entire concept behind the CLI and CLS is brilliant. The language that you use shouldn’t matter. Developing software should be more about concepts and ideas than platforms. Microsoft has THE answer with .NET and Novell and Miguel have the proper response with Mono.

I want a computing environment that’s easy to develop for. I want .NET/Mono/MonoTouch/MonoDroid… to improve and become…

True Cross Platform

More than just token efforts and messy GUI kits, I want software and platforms and goodness that truly work. Right now there are no really good cross platform kits. I blame this entire on the lack of good GUI tool kits. No matter what direction you go, there are just too many drawbacks for every GUI kit out there. Considering that for many kinds of software, GUI code is 75% or more of the code base, you’d think that somebody would have a good GUI kit. But nope. Not even a decent abstraction layer to sit on top of multiple kits.

I want to buy software that I can run on all my computers and all my devices.

Transparency Like Linux Openness

I want computing platforms that are transparent. I don’t care too much if they are GPL or BSD or whatever, but I just want transparency. I wouldn’t mind licensing that gives you access to source code, but no redistribution rights.

Sun & Solaris Reliability

Sun is such a well-named company and Solaris a well-name product. They’re reliable in the same way that the sun will rise tomorrow. It’s going to happen. You can’t stop it.That’s what I want. I don’t want to worry about crappy hardware drivers causing a BSOD. I like zones.

Upgradeable Hardware

I’m sick of devices and computers that you can’t upgrade, or that make upgrading a nightmare. I should be able to swap out pieces without worrying about software and platform issues. I shouldn’t have to buy a new phone to improve the camera. I shouldn’t have to buy a new tablet to add in mobile 3G.

Actual Simplicity

Apple is very far from easy to use. They’re no different than any Unix system for ease of use. But that’s what I want. I want the command line to be an option, but never the only option. I like GUIs. Why should I type when I can click?

Portable Operating Systems

I want to copy my OS to new hardware and have it work. That shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve heard about it for Mac systems, but I want it for other systems too. I want to be able to upgrade my operating system hard drive to an SSD with no issues.

I know… I’m dreaming… We live in a consumer market economy and none of that would ever happen because it benefits consumers and not companies.

But I can still dream.

Egypt – No Signal

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Mobile, Politics, States | Posted on 29-01-2011

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Egypt - No SignalThe Associated Press is reporting that Egypt has suspended mobile phone services in some areas where protests are expected.

It’s disconcerting as this kind of thing bodes ill for everywhere. If the Egyptian government will cut the Internet nationwide and cut phones, who else will be willing to do so?

Cutting communications is something that you do against an enemy. What does that say about how the Egyptian government views its people?

Things are going from bad to worse.