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Friday, November 6, 2015

Rapidly Growing Niche

What is disruption? How does it occur? When we answer these questions, we will see that in many cases the leaders in the market are blindsided by the rapidly growing niche.

The word "niche" describes a market that fits nicely into a crevice of the overall market, but, according to popular opinion, doesn't really matter. And that's actually the funniest thing of all, in a way: the market that doesn't matter can actually take over the larger market, given certain characteristics. Love this stuff.

Cars

Consider the rise of the automobile. The specific market that internal-combustion vehicles displaced was the horse-drawn carriage, trap, dogcart, brougham, or whatever Sherlock wanted to call them. But consider the advantages of the new niche technology.

The space taken up by the conveyance is the first issue: having a horse and a cart means having both a stable and a garage, while a car only requires a garage. Umm, not to mention that the stable had to be swept out(!).

Which brings us to the next issue, consumables: a horse must be fed, and so must a car. But what the horse eats can go bad, and must be carefully regulated to avoid having the horse eat itself to death. Fuels can be easily stored. In plain fact, people were used to using fuels because they lit their houses with kerosene.

Repair was another issue: a horse can go lame and a car can also break down. But when a horse goes lame, it's usually not recoverable (and sad). However, a car can be fixed.

In the personal transportation market, the ever-growing advantages of the rapidly growing niche product, the car, increased its uptake dramatically, even exponentially, displacing the horse-drawn carriage. It took decades to fully play out.

Instead of sweeping out stables, we are now dealing with the hydrocarbon emission problem, and its carbon footprint. One thing is clear: we need to be smarter about the environmental impact of our disruptive technologies!

But now consider electric vehicles. In the US by the high cost of gasoline, which was almost $4.10/gal in June 2008, drove the hybrid Toyota Prius to great success as they were selling about 20,000 of them per month at the time. The cost of gasoline went down, driven by an economic downturn (caused by hurricanes and a crisis in mortgage lending which led to bad debts and a foreclosure increase). This occurred simultaneously with the introduction of the disruptive technologies of shale oil extraction, fracking, and improvements in deep-sea drilling. This caused the biggest oil producers, Saudi Arabia and Russia, to be dominated by the production in the US, for a while. The Saudis countered, with their huge cash hoard as a life boat, by increasing oil production, thus decreasing the price of oil even more, but diminishing their spare capacity. This had the dual effect of helping them to retain clients that they were losing left and right, and also of putting pressure on the Americans whose revolutionary oil extraction techniques might (still) be made too costly by reducing their profit margins.

All of this will eventually lead to a spike in oil prices and thus even greater reliance and demand for electric vehicles, like the Tesla Model S, which I am seeing everywhere. Perhaps because I live near Silicon Valley. Hmm.

Progress is accelerating

As mechanical wonders turn into embedded computers and sensors make them ever more cognizant of our environment, the size of a gadget is going down dramatically and the capabilities of a gadget are increasing tremendously. Once you can carry it in your pocket, it becomes irreplaceable, essential. The smaller gadgets get, the faster they will improve: now the improvements are often a matter of simply writing new software.

So what used to take decades now takes a few years. In the future it likely won't even take that long. Now let's look at some more examples of disruption (and disruption prevented) in this era of faster progress.

Computers in general

Well, now we come to the biggest disruption of all, which is actually in progress: computers. The rise of the smartphone shows that an all-in-one gadget can succeed over the feature phone. And by modifying its form factor and use cases, the rise of the tablet shows that there is a great alternative to the netbook, laptop, and even the home computer. Even businesses find that iPads can replace a host of other, clumsier gadgets.

What were the advantages that triggered the displacement of the feature phone by the smartphone? A single high-resolution glass touchscreen was an astounding improvement over the button-cluttered big-fat-pixel interfaces of the feature phones. A simpler interface with common visual elements won out over the modal menu environment that had to be searched through laboriously to find even the simplest commands. It can even be argued that the integrated battery made the process of owning a phone simpler. What cemented the advantages of the smartphone was the ecosystem that it lived in. On the iPhone, this is exemplified by the iTunes Music Store, the App Store, and the iBookstore. A telling, crucial moment was when the smartphone didn't have to be plugged into a desktop computer to be updated and backed up.

The next step was the tablet. In retrospect, it was more than just increasing the size of the screen. It required more power and it probably had a very different use case. The use case was closer to the laptop. On the smaller end, tablet sales are probably being cannibalized by the larger phones such as the iPhone 6S Plus. On the larger end, the power of tablets will increase until they become viable alternatives to laptops.

Still, I love my laptop.

But all it would take is a significant increase in battery technology to let the tablets reach the power of the best laptops. Then it will be purely a matter of ergonomics. Tablet are lighter, still quite useful, and clearly good enough for many types of businesses. The disruption of the PC market is but a few years away, I expect.

The post-PC era is nigh.

Those who call tablets PCs really don't quite have a handle on the form factor. Perhaps it's like Microsoft says: all it takes is a keyboard and your tablet becomes a PC. Detachables have the advantage of a keyboard and a bigger battery, with the prohibitive cost of the weight of the device.

While I like my laptop - it IS heavier than a tablet by a huge margin. Perhaps the rapidly growing niche of tablets will displace the laptop - but the growth isn't there yet.

Social media

Now: why did Facebook buy Instagram? Because it was a rapidly growing niche that was taking on more and more of its customers' time. By purchasing it they accomplish two things. First, it's a hedge against the niche technology taking over and displacing them. Second, it prevents their competitor, Twitter, from purchasing it. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's leader is smart. He knows that the rapidly growing niche can take over. After all, Facebook successfully did the same to other portals such as MySpace and Yahoo.

And what comes around goes around.


70 comments:

  1. Mark I am working on such a niche that might disrupt the world. It is music distribution plus a twist on cryptocurrency. What are you working on these days if you are at liberty and want to share that info?

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  2. Hey Shelby good to hear from you! I hope you get over your problems with bilial intrusion. If there's some kind of infection, then look for that special clay that kills all the MRSA derivatives. It's the real deal.

    I have been watching the ups and downs of cryptocurrency for quite a while now and I believe it will be an uphill climb. While anonymizing transactions is generally a good thing, preventing intermediates from tracking and capitalizing on your behavior, I also think secure systems like Apple Pay will probably win out (despite Visa and their chip-on-card). Hacking has become the bane of our society and privacy is hard to find these days. Consumer convenience (just holding your watch to the reader) and identity protection are big selling points there. To gain acceptance it looks like it will take a company like Apple to insert it into the banking system worldwide.

    Cryptocurrency appears to appeal to those people who like to jailbreak their phones (and it appeals to hackers that like to keep GPU arrays hot looking for SHA-256 hashes of block headers in mining operations). And those numbers, compared to consumers, are tiny. About the same quantity as the people looking to replace their limbs with new cyber-inventions. But of course, cryptocurrency is less obtrusive. Nonetheless it has a history of being used for illegal trade. Sort of like having an account on Tor.

    Not everybody is John Perry Barlow.

    What am I working on? I work on images at Apple, of course. But I'm not at liberty to discuss what I'm actually working on, of course. Details are necessarily omitted.

    I do get plenty of chances to study new things, like using Fourier-domain math to do things that haven't really been done ever before. I have to thank Bob Lansdon for the impetus to pursue this. And that began in 1992 or so, back at Fractal Design. And there was another guy, Kok Chen, that retired from Apple a few years back who rekindled my interest in all things frequency-domain.

    I've had to teach myself a few new fields to solve the problems I have been looking at. I bet you know how that feels, Shelby. Fundamentally I think education (these days) belongs to anyone with the motivation and the Internet connection. That may disrupt the education system for autodidacts like me.

    Back to privacy. I really can't say how mad it makes me that some companies (Google is the main proponent of this) actually form accurate models of their customers and use that to customize what you see.

    Any accurate model of your behavior should be maintained locally and on a secure network locked to your biometrics. We all deserve privacy. And none of us deserves to be Goog's product. Or Facebook's product. Our value and utterances should be our own copyright. And here I am hosting this on Google's servers! :-D I should be more careful!

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    1. > Consumer convenience (just holding your watch to the reader) and identity protection are big selling points there. To gain acceptance it looks like it will take a company like Apple to insert it into the banking system worldwide.

      > Cryptocurrency appears to appeal to those people who like to jailbreak their phones (and it appeals to hackers that like to keep GPU arrays hot looking for SHA-256 hashes of block headers in mining operations). And those numbers, compared to consumers, are tiny. About the same quantity as the people looking to replace their limbs with new cyber-inventions.

      Btw, I defended Apple on those points today.

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    2. Hey Shelby - I'm a bit strapped for time - working on a new project and being obsessive as usual. Thanks for defending Apple! Obviously convenience matters. I'm using Apple pay just about every day (many stores and convenience outlets accept it) and I find it amazingly convenient and expeditious. I can't speak to Apple Pay's acceptance in other countries, though I have heard that the UK is looking up.

      The thing about blockchain hash (bitcoin) mining is this: the technology is getting better and the average GPU farmer can't make much any more. There are ASIC solutions now and so I'm thinking that that particular method isn't going to be scaleable, though I do understand they can raise the minimum hash code value and thus create more solutions.

      Valuing computation in this way is novel and not such a bad idea I think, though it doesn't favor the average Joe.

      I work on problems that are generally very hard, and so the trail to a solution for me is typically studded with long hours, and sudden leaps of inspiration, but also with many hours of small gains. I constantly have to draw back and regroup my thoughts. It's useful to draw out the ideas in pictures. I have a new smaller iPad Pro to gather my sketches now. It's extremely useful with the Apple Pencil. Of course you would expect me, the author of Painter, to keep up my drawing and sketching skills. But my notes have always been central to my thought processes. I think it's typically this way with creative, visual people.

      Anyway I'll keep sparing a few moments here and there to answer your messages. I'm just sorry it takes so long for me to gather the spare moments, my friend. Hang in there.

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  3. My take on hacking Mark is that it is a good thing, just like viruses and cancer are a good thing, because nature requires these things in order for us to improve and remain resilient. So we must view hacking as a natural force that keeps us on our toes when designing secure systems and thus we design better systems that are more reliable. I accept nature for what it is. We do our best to be in harmony with nature (perhaps that comes from my smidgen of Cherokee genes, not my German, Celtic, and French ancestry). Tom's wit is still alive in my vivid memories.

    Hey did you see that Shawn Grunberger from Fractal's Tech Support went on to create Bandcamp. I spontaneously took the initiative during the short time span I was at Fractal to be a liaison between our developers and Tech Support. I suggested to (and encouraged) Shawn he seemed to have the ability to become a programmer. I think he had mentioned the idea for Bandcamp to me in 1995. I tried to contact them about collaborating but wasn't able to get a reply. Since that I discovered they had completely shut down their effort to stream songs for free over an API a la SoundCloud. So I suppose they have homed in on the iTunes model + band paraphernalia. I have a different idea ;)

    Oh yes I entirely agree that crypto currency in its current incarnation is going no where in terms of adoption by the masses. The use case is nefarious. However I think perhaps I have identified a mass adoption use case which can't be done with Apple Pay, but it requires a different block chain design which can do instant microtransactions. I am not going to mention it in a blog post. Note I am aware that microtransactions typically don't have a use case, because users prefer subscriptions than nickel-and-diming. But there is a case where subscriptions can't work. Also the unbanked billions are another big factor, but those who said Bitcoin could help them were totally out of their minds. Yet I see a use case that does.

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    1. Hey Shelby-

      Hacking is certainly unavoidable these days. There are nation states that make a total thing of it, denying all of course. China comes to mind. The Russians. My favorite thing about hacking is Kaspersky, that finds all these viruses in the wild, but really never mentions anything about Russian hacking. They are probably afraid of the Polonium tea. In either case, hacking isn't the problem. It's the immature mindset of hackers that's the real issue. Companies just aren't safe enough with their user data. Storing credit card data in the clear - really? Even a security company doing this! It's obscene.

      I wasn't aware of Shawn's project. That's great! Clearly things are still changing for the music industry. As a composer, I can certainly sympathize. But these days there are still people saying everything intangible should be free. Personally, as a creative person I believe that's really insulting. I'm sure just about every music artist from Kanye to Neil Young agrees.

      As far as EFT (electronic funds transfer) is concerned, cryptocurrency is probably a fail. Meanwhile I just go to the local independent market and double-click my Apple Watch to pay. I think Apple Pay is wonderful. Especially the part about nobody getting a picture of your credit card. Who needs that headache?

      Bitcoin is a stock clear and simple. It goes up it goes down. It crashes. Hackers are quickly learning to cheat it.

      --Mark

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  4. Yeah I remember the math guy we had at Fractal who was trying to push us to use wavelets. As for autodidact education, I am a prime example. Due to topsy-turvy family situation, my education was highly neglected until 9th grade when my dad enrolled me in Ecole Classique. Before that I was in inner-city public schools in Baton Rouge and New Orleans (a different school and neighborhood every year). My sister and I were the only non-African Americans in one of the schools and we learned how to make spit balls all day. Then my college education was cut short by complete lack of family presence. My point is I've learned more since the invention of the internet, than I learned in school (note I am not racists, my kids are half-filipino). Yet I regret not having a few more years of math, as this handicapped me later on (e.g. I am lacking the number theoretic abstract math for crypto). I was attaining a 4.0 when I was there (both high school and university). I was preparing to teach myself higher maths while also teaching my daughter starting from algebra in my mid-40s, but then I got sick and my kids are with their mother by now. Any way, I think I can make a contribution in spite of this. Btw, I love math. I took Calculus at junior college when I was a senior in high school. I am confident I could have started much earlier in my early teens if I had the right situation in childhood. My mother said I was the only kid she knew who took apart his toys and built new toys from the parts. This started before age 5. I read a Radio Shack book on microprocessors when I was 13 (after reading dozens of volumes of the Hardy Boy series and Arthur C. Clarke's books as those were the only books made available to me), and I instantly new how to program a computer from the logic gates up to machine code. I am embarrassed though that I am handicapped in higher math. Maybe I'll still have time to rectify that, but I think right at the moment there is a more urgent priority to work on. I have enjoyed your blog posts that include any math or algorithms. The intricacies of the geometric art side of your interests seems to grab me less so. That is the unique skill you have to be so smart on the analytical side, yet also so inspired in the details of art (including images and music). I really love music though, although what ever minute musical talent I may have had from growing up in the Jazz town, I seem to have lost it for the most part (perhaps it is lurking and I need an improvising Jazz band around to inspire me). I did briefly play the violin in my youth. The other competition for my free time is my love of sports, so I think the music interest got crowded out by more pure love of algorithms and GUIs, plus full-time sports. It is interesting to me how we humans are different and unique. Cross-sectional shared interests bring us together to collaborate.

    I think collaboration is the future economics of the Knowledge Age. Well so does every one else who are creating social networks, or do they really ;)

    Well I (and millions of others) share your disgust over our privacy and data being owned by corporations. That is why I am preparing to attempt to do something about this. There are others working on decentralized social networks, such as Diaspora which apparently near Beta so many years after it was $200,000 crowdfunded. But I just don't think those attempts have the chops to make it work and popular. The devil is in the details on both the software and the marketing, as I am sure you would agree.

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    1. Math is completely indispensable. And there's no reason you can't learn more of it all the time. I've learned way more math since college than I learned before. I used to use books to do it - but that was hit-and-miss. Now the Internet has a panoply of mentors churning out easy-to-understand stuff, from the basics to Quantum Electrodynamics.

      When I was a kid I literally ate up math - particularly number theory - which is why I credit my time with Professor Lehmer as some of my most prized mentor time. I had an obsessive tilt when I was young. First math, numbers, then music, then Physics.

      I guess I haven't changed much since. I'm still obsessive. I have been buried in work projects. No - I'm not dead! I just haven't had the time to compose blogposts and such. Too many time-consuming projects to do.

      When it comes to invention I think times are changing. People can learn more and do more than they ever could. Sure, it's the age of specialization, but it's also the age of creativity. Specialize in multiple things. Be a generalist. Know just enough to get yourself into trouble. Then you'll know what you need to learn. And you can learn it - no problem.

      Collaboration is important to get stuff done. Teamwork is important. Surround yourself with the smartest most motivated most creative people and you can get a whole world of stuff done. I'm just not sure it can be done virtually - at least not yet. Real collaboration takes long conversations and constant interaction.

      --Mark

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    2. Mark I agree with all of that, especially the social motivation and creative bandwidth fostered by in-person communication; or at least some VOIP verbal, but lacks in-person sketches, 3D gestures, body language, etc. We are social creatures. I have to reach out over discussion forums for social feedback, which is not ideal for a close-knit productive lab due to the lower S/N ratio, lack of economies-of-scale of working with same people (imagine any new person comes along and wants the entire three year history re-summarized!) on top of the Mythical Man Month concept.

      However my initial experience with 99designs.com is I am instantly connected with designers all over the world and instantly collaborating on logo design. This ostensibly has some value, albeit some trade-offs.

      Ostensibly a contrast from your Painter days and now, is your work was more visible in a way that was associated with you. I presume you are working on very interesting projects and getting motivational feedback in-house. We can wonder.

      Yeah the age of specialization is actually a combinatorial permutation (explosion) of potential network effects. Metcalf and/or Reed's Law scaling perhaps. Exciting! I hope to be back to helping build that expressway and get off the slow boat.

      P.S. I made the mistake of isolating myself. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) makes it impossible to be highly productive, i.e. weaving in math research. I struggled past years to keep my forehead off the keyboard. Rectifying both.

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    3. It is definitely a bad thing to sequester yourself. Aside from the poor socialization, the lack of cooperation, competition, and interaction leads to less progress than would otherwise exist.

      It's nearly impossible to invent new stuff in a vacuum.

      In the Painter days, I was at odds with the idea of keeping new features secret. I loved to show my new, unfinished stuff and often did so, to crowds. This modus operandi was repudiated by Steve Jobs and to great effect I think. It's the new thinking and helps to preserve the delight and surprise. That's the impact that apparently helps to drive demand.

      So I don't share what I'm working on these days. Comes with the job. Could it be that my historical interests bear on my new work? Does my patent history point to what I'm currently working on?

      Some bread crumbs just can't be erased: public knowledge has a pretty good memory.

      The experience of working with other people is basically the same for me as it was in 1990. Except there are a LOT more smart people around.

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    4. I can imagine the working environment at Apple is loaded with smart and interesting people and projects. I agree there is no way that one person can simulate those economies-of-scale entirely with virtual interaction (at least in our fields), although the gap has probably closed significantly since the 1990s when I tried to do it prematurely.

      My guess is that your position at Apple enables you to work on very esoteric high tech imagery related algorithms, psychometrics, etc. that other companies would have the same incentive to invest or focus in. Would Facebook need your research?

      But what about all the indie gamers, musicians, and graphic artists. Do they have all the creation software they need or is the field still wide open? I am not close enough to those art and music studio production details to know. I am interesting in helping the indie artists and developers on the framework, distribution and monetization side. Think Facebook apps on steriods.

      For all that I admire about Steve and his accomplishments, I believe there is a yin and yang between closed and open source.

      I would guess (while lacking the data) that the extent to which the very successful Painter did not achieve the orders-of-magnitude greater usership level of for example the iPhone is ostensibly due to target demographics and has nothing to do with the choice of between open and closed. And it apparently requires 1000s of employees to achieve a Facebook. Any bets on whether a social network could scale to a billion users with less then two dozen in-house employees?

      Android is doing very well with global market share. Not everyone wants to create natural media arts on their computer. Though I observe apparently the number of indie artists and creative people is increasing in this globally networked computer a.k.a. knowledge age.

      It seems often good enough chaotic openness scales faster than refined perfectionist control. I note that is fundamentally because the speed-of-light is finite thus there can't exist a global ordering because a top-down observer can't process all the partial orders on earth in real-time. Local orderings annealing faster to opportunities. If the speed-of-light were not finite, past and future (spacetime) would collapse into an infinitesimal nothing for the Lorentz factor would be unity for an relative velocity between inertial frames.

      There is apparently a market for both. As I remember back in the day, Windows was more open than the Mac in terms of interopting with any third party hardware. Seems the pattern may be repeating.

      Btw, I remember looking at your patents a couple or few years ago relating to afair to screen displays or rendering algorithms. And from that I had deduced approximately what you had been working on relative to products and features that Apple had released. But I have forgotten the details now. I am not stalking you, lol. I had seen a news article that lead me to a patent that had afair Steve and your name listed on it. Or maybe my vague recollection is incorrect.

      I am not going to claim the Theory of the Firm should die tomorrow an Apple's (and other large corporation's) economies-of-scale which enable them to pool talent will disintegrate. But I do think there is a gradual transformation underway that will undermine the Theory of the Firm. I wrote about that an essay which I think I may have linked on your blog in the past. I believe I wrote this in late 2012 or early 2013 so my understanding may be more refined now:

      http://www.coolpage.com/commentary/economic/shelby/Demise%20of%20Finance,%20Rise%20of%20Knowledge.html

      Apology for rambling on.

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    5. I wouldn't write off the corporation yet. When it's designed right, and it has the right take on what people want - before they want it - then it can easily succeed.

      In Apple's case, it's well-documented that it didn't dive into the dumpster of producing the cheapest product for the bucks. Instead it found the quality and used experience was much more important. Also, it's well-recognized that Apple leans into disruptions. If the tablet cannibalizes the laptop sales - so be it (though perhaps it's vice-versa these days). This has been noted with the iPhone 6+ "phablet" and its interaction with iPad sales. Operating without fear in the presence of disruption is smart. When you downplay the effects of disruption, you become irrelevant like Microsoft. I'd jump that ship as soon as possible if I were you.

      Saying the corporation is done is just exactly like saying Apple was done just before 1997. All it takes is a Steve Jobs and things not only turned around - they turned Apple into the world's largest corporation - largely run like it was in 2007. It's not about lifestyle - it's about simplicity and focus.

      Talent will always be attracted by the kind of perks that corporations can provide the good engineer. RSUs, flex schedule, and big rewards for innovation.

      My most interesting patent is the "3D screen" patent that allows you to look behind icons and such. Though the patent is quite a bit more broad. When you think of something that vastly increases the cool factor, it becomes responsibility to pursue it. As part of a team.

      Chaotic openness is a bit like boiling the ocean. If you don't (at the very least) mix it with the focus and simplicity aspects of perfectionist control, you will always lose.

      And my friend, chaos scales to even greater chaos - producing nothing because, after all, monkeys do NOT type Hamlet, do they? SO it must be mixed with openness, as you say, because then it's possible for someone to say "hey - that could interact with my idea in a good way". It's the ONLY way things can succeed in the chaotic openness anarchy space. And it relies too often on serendipity.

      Obsessive focus is so much faster for making products, especially when there are so many ideas bubbling up to choose from in a large company like Apple. Chaotic openness lacks the essential element - deciding how to prune the tree.

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  5. Steve Jobs had that talent for identifying the sweet spots in marketing and feature sets. He was also a perfectionist. Do you know I was thinking of exactly what Steve Jobs created for the iPhone last time I was in the USA in 2006. I was thinking someone who combined a mobile phone and a handheld tablet computer, would create a revolution. I hadn't dug into the point where I would have invented swiping, but I think it is in my nature to conceive of necessities of invention that naturally follow from a problem space. You too Mark. And so too others at the top of this field.

    Hope I can get to work on something exciting again. It is has been too long I been in the desert (figuratively).

    Right now I need a logo that depicts collaboration with the 6 letter name I have chosen. Imagery and art! I was really drawn to contact Fractal seek a job because of the amazing artwork in your print ads for Painter version 1.3. I contacted Fractal with a cold call. They put me through to Tom. Biggest mistake you and Tom every made, lol. Btw, I did help guide Priscilla Shih on how to be very good at finding bugs. I saw myself more as a facilitator when I was there, than as the productivity leader. I was trying to be clever and create leverage.

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    1. We are inventors. Our tools are knowledge and creativity. The ability to ask the next question. Knowing the areas that are prone to disruption. Staying ahead of the curve.

      So many of these attributes simply do not exist in most people. If you combine them with an obsessive ability to focus and solve problems, and the sense to tumble the sharp rocks into smooth stones, then you have a rare talent.

      Knowledge of many areas helps such people make sense of the world. Generalism is the best way to describe it. The sense to know what's possible even when you don't completely understand the field. This also help you find similarities in stuff like troubleshooting. It gives you the ability to know when you need a real expert - like a materials scientist.

      Or a logo designer.

      In any case, we use the talents we are given and think about the wider picture before proceeding. Who is the audience? What do people not yet know they want? Where is this new trend going to end up? What gets disrupted over time and how long will it take?

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    2. Word!

      I had to deepen my specialization because some facets of my generalism was missing the mark due to lacking knowledge of essential details. So concur there is skill for knowing what you don't know and separately when you need to know.

      Up until now, I did not have an idea for a project that justified the scale of working in a team. I lack updated experience on teaming with other developers. And I lack scale and don't know who will help me scale yet. Joining a startup would be easier, but who is doing something I believe in. I have invested a lot already in my current project idea. If I only had infinite extra time to become aware of all the other startups and make a rational assessment of my opportunity cost.

      The logo design so far is a collaboration of my sketches and the logo designer's ideas. Probably could be improved. You may find the mintees.com Tshirt artwork for sale site interesting. I am trying to buy the Wario design there. To me it resembles a Saddam Hussein, Popeye Brutus variant of Mario.

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    3. It's great to exercise creative chops in design. That's where I feel at home: sketching and doodling. I have demonstrated it time and time again in these pages. But I also feel the need for music creation. And code creation. Lately I have been entrenched in two projects. One is more run-of-the-mill, but I still get to advance the state-of-the-art. The other is actually a bit "out there" and advances the SOTA in may ways. It's like the crossroads between three of my favorite subjects. I got to learn iOS app development and Metal in the process, which was good for me in a personal growth kind of way. So I am still learning and applying all that I have learned, while applying creativity in the process.

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    5. Mark I am so happy to read that you are symphonically or symphoniously applying your creative juices and knowledge.

      I started digesting the Bentonite clay (your tip) and also Oregano oil, and in only two days so far I see a significant improvement! Hope it sustains. Apparently the Oregano oil is effective in vitro against MRSA, fungal infections (as effective as anti-fungal medicines and more effective against resistant strains), bacterial infections, Giardia, rashes, etc..

      Seems I am feeling good enough to sketch again. I sketched a music and game theme. We'll render that metallic. The social network name will be in the Dope Jam font.

      I remember you and John Derry constantly jamming on new art experiments, effects, and Painter brushes. I remember the day you introduced me to one of the band members from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. You were a rockstar programmer, mathematician, and artist to me and on that day I realized they were rockstars to you.

      I hope the world can be filled with creative and learning fun for everyone; not all this dark stuff floating around these days.

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    6. Thank you for your kind words, and I certainly hope the special clay can cure your current medical woes. It's hard for me to write these days: I am constantly working.

      Recently I harvested a significant chunk of work from a huge project for use on something else that was apparently needed. I always delight in making tools that are useful so I created a special application for testing and demonstrating this chunk of technology. This process is one of the most fun things I can imagine.

      I play piano every day, at length. Sometimes I wish I had a recorder that would just capture everything I play. Lots of it gets lost. But recently I have been using the Music Memos app, and it's perfect for capturing and structuring my improv.

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    7. It is magnificently motivational to make tools that users love. I can understand very well the noble feeling of working for Apple. I do. Afaics, you gave up being the head honcho of the entire company (Fractal Design Corp) to work for a bigger goal and to work with a wider array of co-workers. I, and I am confident your other friends and fans, are happy to read you are busy and your creative juices are still flowing. I am happy to say the same and more so if my health woes get out of the way entirely. That song from the 60s comes to mind, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven".

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    8. I mentioned in a message just now how I use the Notes App on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I'm a sketch person, a note taker, and a constant doodler. But I also like to sketch out the 2D and 3D relationships between my concepts on "paper". Now paper is being superseded by a nice display.

      As the creator of Painter, I'm passionate about drawing tools. So it's useful to me to talk to people who draw, or enable other people to draw.

      Most of my work is on the basic technologies that underlie all graphics and imaging these days. But I just can't keep my hands off the App-making process. So I have built some internal apps that are incredible tools for creatives.

      All I can say is its important to keep on creating and flexing those creativity muscles. You are a smart person - very smart. Combine it with creativity and there are no limits.

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  6. Mark thanks for that MRSA clay tip. I've located the research. I am making progress lately on laboratory testing and treatment+lifestyle changes. Starting to ramp up my work again after several years of declining productivity.

    I have become an expert in crypto currency over the past 3 years. I have debated with the core Bitcoin developer Gregory Maxwell and computer science professors who are following Bitcoin. We could perhaps benefit from a conversation on this because there is more than I can cover in a blog comment. See for example the following discussion between myself (TPTB_need_war) and jstolfi (Jorge Stolfi, PhD):

    https://www.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/49a14r/how_the_heck_are_actual_bitcoin_users_who_want_a/

    Crypto currency can't scale decentralized. The generative essence reason is the profitable mining accrues to economies-of-scale. That problem is insoluble unless mining is made unprofitable. I have such a design and I am hoping to replace all the other crypto currencies with my design. One of the key findings of my research is that validation will always end up centralized in any design. There is no way around that due to insoluble economic reality. But I believe there is a way to keep the control decentralized by having the payers mine unprofitably. I also found a way to achieve secure instant confirmations within this decentralized control by employing a stacked block chain. Sharding and partitioning is another issue and the CAP theorem applies.

    I am actually searching now for someone to collaborate with me. I am also going after social networking in order to have a base from which to launch this crypto currency to millions of users. I am trying to find now someone (hopefully smarter and/or more accomplished than myself) to start a company with. I want to crowdfund, then my idea is to later Seedr fund (but I am open to other ideas). If you know anyone who might be interested, feel free to have them contact me (you have my LinkedIn).

    I want 100% ethics. No shady crap. Want to work hard again and make one more really big software hit before I reach 60. I am 51 this June. I am willing to relocate. I read Guy Kawasaki's take on social media startups (google search "guy kawasaki on startups").

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    Replies
    1. Ethics are really important in software today. But I would caution you that I expect cryptocurrencies to be a very hard uphill slog. Most of the world, outside the software Jeffersonians that seek fewer regulations and less government in general, doesn't think anarchist thoughts. Though privacy is becoming a cause celebre for the masses and I expect the 50's mentality of "the government controls all" to be relaxed in stages. After all, terrorism does represent a singularly asymmetric form of antagonism.

      I read somewhere that the government considers the dark web and stuff like tor, Telegram, What's App, threema, and others to be a haven for criminals. I'm very uncomfortable with any edict that says "only evil people need privacy". By turning hard, uncrackable encryption into a commodity, I certainly hope the government's edict of "only criminals need privacy" can be overturned and proven to be laughable. Hard encryption should be a fact of life.

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    2. Apologies I erroneously presumed you had lost interest in (or too busy for) our discussion and I failed to notice your reply until now. Also I see you rescued my post about Apple Pay ostensibly from the "spam" folder. Thank you.

      Banning encryption as the UK has I hear already done for Whatsapp, will send the world into a Dark Age because the Western governments are actuarially bankrupt so they are going to try to confiscate as much wealth as they can instead of defaulting the politically entrenched liberal socialism. Rational speculation and Armstrong's computer model says the USA is likely to fracture into regions because of the "Taxation without representation" as the economy turns down after 2017 (which is subconciously or generatively what the battle between establishment politics and Trump exemplifies or portends):

      https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aarmstrongeconomics.com+breakup+USA

      Note I don't support any of the Presidential candidates (because they are all in the back pocket of Goldman Sachs and besides I think politics is a dysfunctional power vacuum) and specifically Trump because he advocates a top-down authoritarianism. He is both technologically and macro-economically ignorant of for example the egregious unintended effects of disabling encryption by giving the authorities a backdoor (which he advocates).

      This is compounded by the fact first explained by experts Martin Armstrong and Michael Pettis that the developing world is $10+ trillion short the dollar due to a carry trade of corporate bond offerings in dollars and pegging currencies (e.g. Yuan and HK dollar) to the dollar for mercantilistic domestic devaluation (that siphons domestic capital from consumer share to fixed capital investment share of the GDP) capture of unnatural (and unprofitable) share of global manufacturing. Switzerland analogously pegged francs to the euro which created a carry trade in real estate loans throughout Europe denominated in francs, and then the peg broke and turned these loans into NPLs. China and its derivative economies are collapsing now and won't bottom until 2020. The dollar and USA stock markets will actually boom until 2017.95 due to capital abroad chasing a bubble in the USA as capital flees the collapsing economies of the non-reserve currencies. After the USA goes over the cliff in 2018 due to a strong dollar and peaking bubble, the West probably won't bottom until the liberal socialists (i.e. the 50s boomer values you alluded to) stop voting, i.e. 2032.95 on Armstrong's $billion multi-dimensional correlation computer model. Ideally one would do their IPOs and sell their stocks in 2017. The financial center of the world will shift from London and New York to Singapore and Shanghai by 2032.95:

      https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/uncategorized/china-moving-to-replace-usa-as-financial-capitol-of-world/

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    3. Agreed that crypto currencies won’t be cognizantly adopted by the masses. I only see speculation, or potentially by the masses who are adopting a desired feature (e.g. instant micropayments) not realizing it is a crypto currency.

      The latter is my strategy. I will crowdfund a decentralized social network to fix indie music and game monetization. My goal is Seedr funding after producing a live crowdfunded prototype. The business model should thrive even if the crypto currency aspect flops.

      I presume Google is not significantly reliant on music sales for its revenue. I recognize the good that Apple, Google, and Facebook do in terms of building out the economies-of-scale that has opened these new markets for the world. I am not of the mindset that decentralization will instantly and absolutely dominate. One has to be more researched and circumspect on the details and market segments and not just make some flippant sweeping Dunning-Kruger generalization.

      My health appears to be on an upturn with my strict diet of a multi-herbal tea (boiled freshly picked leaves that looks and tastes like Robitussin cough syrup), oatmeal, tuna soup, and steamed vegetables. Past week or so, I've for the most part had my complete energy and cognitive function, albeit I relapsed just slightly today (diarrhea and slight brain fog) because I didn't eat for 12 hours due to some compulsive work. I will not do that again! I figure there are only a very few tropical disease experts in the West and they won't see me until after an arduous process with primary physicians, and dubious whether they can fix me. Also I can't afford it, unless I leech on the State which is against my values. So in the interests of efficiency since I need to be productive immediately, I am placing my bet on the knowledge handed down over the generations of medicine men in the jungle. The gluten-free oatmeal in additional to high in soluble fiber also has beta-glutans and perhaps you know 70% of the immune system is in the gut. I highly recommend it in hot water only as a holistic body excelsior. Perhaps in 2017 or 2018, I can go the Western medicine route if I am not cured. I strongly suspect an infectious cause. All my Philippines lab work so far (lacking more sophisticated infectious disease diagnostics in Davao) is normal except for enlarged prostate and 50% elevated lymphocytes (which has come down from 125% in 2013). My illness (and failed stock market speculations before I discovered Armstrong) has depleted my savings. I now have a negative net worth.

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    4. I suspect that credit cards and their association with traditional currencies lead you to consider them suspect. When it comes to currency, I believe that the current model is probably OK: tied to existing currencies, rather than an invented one. I think credit card transactions are way too transparent, allowing the merchant to capture quite a bit of info about their customer, which leads to email spam and, worse yet, actual paper arriving at our doorstep and mailbox constantly.

      So my point is that separating the crypto currency from the business model is valid, and even desirable. People will know if they are spending USD or bitcoin. And likely they will care when, particularly when bitcoin is so volatile. The day that CC becomes less volatile, it will probably also be some nation's currency. Think about it. Does that defeat the semantic value of CC?

      Well, anyway, my sense is that people don't mind credit card transactions when credit card companies actively prosecute fraud. They will naturally navigate to a more secure form to eliminate that overhead.

      Strong encryption is always the best option to move our IoT goals along, and it coincidentally will help solve the credit card companies' woes.

      Apple pay is really expanding fast, particularly in China, I hear. I use it a lot. At the local market and actually most of the transactions I make, I just double-click the watch to bring up my Amex card. Bing - the transaction is done.

      Nobody gets your number, nobody gets your check digits. Nobody touches your card with their MRSA-infected fingers (that's a bit of a joke, but contactless payments do make a certain sense for that reason as well).

      I think the credit card plus chip thing is preferred by the credit companies primarily because they get more logo present time. But that handing a card to someone thing is gross.

      Chip-and-PIN is probably better than Chip-and-signature clearly. But in the US, even Apple Pay requires a signature sometimes. That's from the vendor I suspect.

      Online, I love to use Apple Pay. Particularly for tickets and music, which do not require a signature because they are below a certain price threshold. Which shoots a hole in one point of your analysis.

      Apple has a pretty good reputation for crypto-safety.

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    5. Aye I must reveal all my secrets in order to properly explain. Well I guess it is not really that secret, so...

      1. Credit cards can't enroll the billions of unbanked faster than they can obtain crypto currency in a permissionless manner, e.g. by mining it (I have specific advance that makes this reasonable), being paid in it for virtual work, including affiliation revenue in a music and game monetization model, and other decentralized network effects I can't and don't need to predict. Fundamental problem is that Apple is at the whim of the credit card companies which move slowly as dinosaurs and can balk at a necessary technological feature when they see they would be disrupted.

      2. Volatility is irrelevant if the participants' unit-of-account is the new token. Less serious cases of microtransactions for gamification in the social gaming and music context are less subject to low profit, marginal pressure (ditto fraud is less of a concern although one wants to do their best effort on the user facing security), and I suspect they will simply HODL because the exchange value will be increasing net of smoothing out the volatility. The key is creating an ecosystem that is ideologically invested in the concept and thus HODL is more valuable than anything. Marketing is the key here. It is a war between indie creators and for example the RIAA. I have gathered all the data the reveals the corruption and how they are squeezing the millions of creators on this earth. So it is exactly opposite of separating the CC from the business model, although one does want it to diversify and separate as it matures.

      3. The West is dying and this will go over the cliff in 2018. The developing world will bottom 2020 and start to rise again. Thus the future is on the currently unbanked. China is not going to be growing as fast ever again. China has already matured.

      4. Ubiquity and open source, trustless, decentralization will win the network effects race, same as the what has happened to Apple with Mac and not iPhone as I documented in my other post today.

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    6. After the dot.com bubble, many startups were formed because people were retrenched and messing around in their garages. Ditto 2017 forward (2018 for the USA). Poeple in the developing world as always looking for new ways to earn sideline (or even mainline) income. More so as the developing world will crash from 2017 to 2020.

      I am trying to help jumpstart the knowledge age I have written about where people for smaller teams as creators and collaborate an ecosystem. I am trying to put my development effort where my theoretical mouth has been.

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    7. Clarifications:

      I am very sleepy now, so my text is leaning incoherent.

      I am not insinuating that Apple Pay won't be successful at converting some (or perhaps even most if the key players have anointed Apple Pay) of the existing credit card market. I was merely trying to defend the simultaneous new market for a hypothetical CC (not Bitcoin) and also make the point the CC could hypothetically scale faster (but starting from a much smaller adoption than credit cards have now).

      CC has an advantage over credit cards in that any user can instantly be a payee (i.e. merchant) without any enrollment or risk of holdbacks, chargebacks, and blacklists on certain business types and other closed source criteria that can often seem kafkaesque. With the centralized payments model, we need to use something like Paypal or Amazon Payments for anyone to be a payee without some enrollment process, and then that is not permissionless because I think everyone has suffered some losses due to Paypal shenanigans. I did more than once.

      The credit card or centralized payments model has too much centralized friction for combinatorial network scaling of payments I envision.

      Delete
    8. And to clarify, I meant the masses will cognizantly not adopt CC, i.e. not due to some ideological motivation, but the early adopters of an ideological social network (where that fulfills a real need) might do so. Once scaled out by ideological adoption, then the masses could be pulled in by the network effects.

      Delete
    9. > The credit card or centralized payments
      > model has too much centralized friction...

      From a more abstract fundamental perspective about the potential value of decentralized and permissionless, since the credit card providers are static and centralized, they may be vulnerable to a floor of collectivized parasitic costs, which may make them uneconomic for some use cases.

      Quote:

      “The dramatic crossover from short to long-term unemployment in the rest of the working population is, I suspect, the result of my two friends multiplied by umpty-bump million. This is the job market exiling people who can’t generate enough value at work enough to cover the tax, regulatory, and deadweight costs of their employment. And I mean that ‘deadweight’ as a very broad category including the effects of minimum-wage laws, the Davis-Bacon act, union work rules, diversity mandates, and all of the other ways we pile social costs onto employers. Obamacare, of course, will be yet another and can be expected to depress employment still further.”

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    10. I would get your comments if they could recognize the status quo of the consumers and their use of credit cards, which are a de facto standard. Even in China. Other countries are busy using other systems of instant EFT, even peer-to-peer forms, which I recognize and certainly approve of.

      I can't imagine that Apple Pay will remain tethered to credit cards forever. There is no company in the world more dedicated to disrupting itself than Apple. Just ask recognized analyst/blogger/speaker Horace Dediu.

      Other methods of payment are simple going to have an uphill slog to take hold. This is the essence of the logistic function: the start is the hardest. Of the ten that try, only 0.1 succeed.

      "The West is dying and will go over the cliff in 2018"

      BS my friend. Please don't go around shouting that the sky is falling. When you maintain that, you become a conspiracy theorist. That's not a good thing, Shelby. The last thing I want to hear from you is "the fog has lifted and I can now see clearly that the west will fall in two years". Don't you feel how crazy that sounds? I worry about you.

      OTOH the concepts surrounding the small payments issues are constantly being solved by existing ecosystems and really aren't a problem for them. We are talking billions of users (and trillions of transactions) in the ITMS and Google Play ecosystems alone.

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    11. Also, more and more ecosystems and app stores are going towards curation and away from pure openness. The inherent chaotic lack of appeal of anarchy is pushing this trend along with the need for security and less malware. How can an ecosystem survive otherwise?

      The present situation with hackers, malware, state-supported hacking, and for-sale easyware for cracking and identity-theft, and so forth is pushing the need for strong crypto. Systems that attempt to penetrate millions of machines a second are becoming more common, and you know where this will lead.

      There can't be a backdoor - it must not even exist.

      Open source systems simply aren't policed. How convenient for them. Some bugs, as we both know, are practically invisible to the knowledgeable eye. Such bugs can lead to insecurities that can prove hard to patch (ala Adobe Flash, which is all about damage control and has now been essentially scrapped). Sorry - that's what happens when you let anybody edit something.

      The best way is to let people try to break your system and offer a reward. The reward goes up over time.

      Delete
    12. >> "The West is dying and will go over the cliff in 2018"

      > BS my friend. Please don't go around shouting that the sky is falling.

      The failure of the West is baked in due to the requirement to finance socialism. Asia and the developing world doesn't have this dead weight, which is why it will scale faster. The West has significantly greater hi-tech productivity, but unfortunately socialism is at a bankrupt crossroads and it needs to go, but politically it can't go. So the government is going to likely destroy its own hi-tech sector by for example requiring a backdoor on encryption. Socialism will kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. As for the 2018 date, it is going to surprise many people and I was hoping you wouldn't be one of them. Who predicted this Muslim crisis in Europe? Who predicted the Ukraine crisis well before it was on anyone's radar? Who predicted the 2007 subprime crash back in the 1990s? Who predicted precisely the crash and rise again of the Japanese stock market in the 1980s?

      Armstrong and his $billion investment in A.I. and collection of 6000 years of every relevant shred of data he could find. The man who purchased a bust of Julius Caesar and can rattle off details of human history that will make you dizzy.

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    13. I was reminded today of another problem with Android, is that there is no uniform way to push security updates out to older devices. Add that to inconsistent software across different hardware vendors. Nevertheless 84% of global consumers seem to prefer Android. Although (afair) the gross profit is closer to parity with iPhone, I will posit it is network effects that matter most going forward. More on that with Horace Dediu below.

      I concurred that consumers which already have credit cards are not going to cognizantly switch to a CC. I stated I am not insinuating Apple Pay couldn't take this fiat driven payments market if it has no capable competitors and/or is so annointed by the key players. I also stated that I am talking about new markets that afaics haven't been tapped yet. It is not only the currently unbanked, but also the disenfranchised such as musicians stomped on by corporate fascism in the music industry. I believe these disenfranchised would like to own a share of the exchange token that is their ideological protest and ensuing victory. I believe there are features they need which can't be optimally done with a centralized variant such as Apple Pay. If Apple Pay is decentralized, then Apple can't monetize it. Apple can't have it both ways. Btw, the video game market is $100 billion and afaik we haven't even monetized yet the majority in the developing world who may be playing most.

      Of course biting off a chunk of the mainstream payments market is $billions, but that is pocket change for Apple. They need something that scales much bigger if they are going to grow significantly beyond iPhone. As for my plans, even let's say a $100 million initial market will provide the minimum economy-of-scale to scaffold the ecosystem.

      Horace Dediu who drank the Koolaid[1] that says Apple is different in some invincibly synergistic way than every other hi-tech company in the world and who based on that thus predicted 5 years ago that Apple would innovate around Android and in that intervening time Android has risen from single digit percentage market share to 84%. In my limited study over the past half-hour, Horace's model[2] appears to be that Apple is integrated where it matters most to maximizing value (even he makes the point I agree with which is advertising is the lowest ROI monetization model) while being open or modular enough (e.g. open to Apps) to avoid the disruption that Windows did to the Mac.

      My rebuttal is that someone (and I might know him) will disrupt the iPhone by making an App a superior and consistent platform across all smartphones (solving Android's security update issue perhaps), thus taking away Apple's control and ability to charge higher prices for the essentially the same hardware as Samsumg. The battle is all on the software and do you understand then why I am concerned that Apple would ban my App? Luckily I don't really have to care that much because Android is winning and afaik Google doesn't care what an App does as long as it is not illegal, immoral, and isn't deleterious to their advertising revenue.

      Any way, I am doing too much talking. I should be instead coding. Talk is cheap.

      [1] https://soundcloud.com/drericjackson/ep-6-horace-dediu-on-ifwhen-the-iphone-will-be-disrupted (listen at 8:30min)

      [2] https://soundcloud.com/drericjackson/ep-6-horace-dediu-on-ifwhen-the-iphone-will-be-disrupted (listen at 27min)

      Delete
    14. > OTOH the concepts surrounding the small payments issues
      > are constantly being solved by existing ecosystems and
      > really aren't a problem for them

      When Apple or any other music streaming site offers ad-free free streaming of music and enables indie musicians to set their price-per-song for purchases, then you can make that claim.

      Ditto for game gamification monetization.

      And when everyone can pay, even if they don't have a credit card nor a bank account.

      > Also, more and more ecosystems and app stores are going
      > towards curation and away from pure openness. The inherent
      > chaotic lack of appeal of anarchy is pushing this trend along
      > with the need for security and less malware. How can an
      > ecosystem survive otherwise?

      Android is open to hardware vendors, not to malware Apps on the Playstore. Don't erroneously reject open source based on an issue that has nothing to do with open source.

      The problem with Google and Apple controlling the App store is that vested interests can cause them to ban an App. One of the key features of what I want to do is eliminate that monopolistic control. Users should be able to choose from many App stores without a reduction in ease-of-use. Walled monopolies need to die within what is remaining of my career.

      > There can't be a backdoor - it must not even exist.

      Knock yourself out trying to convince the totalitarianism of bankrupt socialism.

      > Some bugs, as we both know, are practically invisible to the knowledgeable eye.

      I fixed one of those in your undocumented low-level algorithms for tiling the paper grain. ;) I didn't know what the algorithm was doing but I recognized the structure of the loop and nailed it. I never forgot that one because I initially looked at that maze of 68000 assembly and thought I would never figure it out. And ended up only consuming some minutes, not even an hour.

      Open source proponents argue this is precisely why open source excels at identifying and fixing bugs, because of the Linus rule, "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow".

      > The best way is to let people try to break your system
      > and offer a reward. The reward goes up over time.

      Open source proponents argue the better way is to open source so many corporations have a vested interest to invest in fixing bugs. Spread out your costs over a larger ecosystem, and thus reduce in house inertia that is not nimble. Increases degrees-of-freedom.

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    15. Android has a 2% uptake of their latest software revision, which iOS has somewhere near 90%. Yep, I'd say that's a flaw. It hampers security updates and exposes the innocent and unaware Android-using populace to malware and such horrible things as Locky (who demands a bitcoin to unlock your day - yet another classic example of cryptocurrency being used for criminal activity), being rootkit'ed, and even having your identity stolen. People put their lives into their devices - it's a serious problem and Google must solve it soon. It's only going to get worse.

      Ah, socialism. That topic.

      Consider that the right thing to do is to enable people rather than giving them handouts. The west simply has to get it right. There was an initiative - welfare-to-work - that had its heart in the right place. I don't imagine any socialist programs that get mandated by the Obama administration will stand for long. It takes an intelligent person to see why.

      If the US were accelerating towards socialism, then you would see Bernie winning over Hillary. Which you don't. Also there's the odd sensation of Trump - a brusque businessman who certainly knows his PR and audience. He says things that are quite unpopular with the left (and also unlikely to ever happen) because he knows it will increase his voter base. His comments seem somewhat uneducated and that appeals to the unwashed working people who still believe in the old-style american dream.

      I'm often annoyed by the campaigns because politicians are at their least sincere when they campaign. It's all about widening their audience and platform for the process of winning. When they get elected, though, they tend to get an education and things certainly change. What worries me are the idealists. They are so righteous. Idealists will literally do anything to see their programs through because they literally believe they are right. And so often the ends justify the means.

      There is a lot of reteaching that needs to be done. I suspect that there is plenty within the Internet to get people educated. My humble opinion is that our higher education system is a bit outmoded and heading for disruption.

      Why reteach?

      Is coal the right fuel for tomorrow? How much more fossil fuel infrastructure should we continue to spend our money on? With mobile devices, what becomes disrupted? Well, probably government.

      To assume that the trend towards socialism has America in its grasp might be hubris on Armstrong's part.

      There are plenty of false prophets out there, Shelby. Be careful where you put your money. If you singularly funnel it into the next prophet you find, you will lose it.

      Diversify. Nobody can know the future. Progress is accelerating out of control and it's simply too hard for any relativistic observer to guess.

      Delete
    16. I had some more time to listen to remainder of that audio of Horace Dediu's and others' criticism of Clayton Christensen's theory of low end price disruption.

      As I briefly mentioned before, I agree with him that the advertising monetization model is a low quality trolling mode and is not the future of the internet. The future of internet advertising is viral social network sharing due to the value users get from sharing, not from being paid to share. Users will make their money from creating, and thus sharing.

      I agree that companies can create long-term niches via differentiation on style and quality— e.g. Mercedes Benz and Ferrari. And I agree that consumers will pay more for this, as long as it is within their means.

      However, I argue that once the market size comprises a significant percentage of the world's population, network effects rule the outcome. The reason people chose Windows over Mac was not because of price, because they weren't able to run all their software on the Mac. And they became worried about being locked into a narrow range of hardware choices. Several times I considered buying a Mac, but I couldn't choose the display I wanted, the hard disk I wanted, and some of my software wouldn't be fully supported on the Mac even if did run more slowly and buggy in some software emulator. For example, Samsung has this curved screen smartphone that is the rage here in the Philippines among affluent women. How many years do I have to wait for a curved screen iPhone? The hardware choices that won't be available on iOS will continue to proliferate. The range of price points won't be available on iOS.

      Eventually this will make it into software choices that won't run natively on iOS. This can be because they run on some platform that Apple bans from their App store because it threatens to abstract away the differentiation that Apple depends on to create the "reality distortion field" status symbol effect that drives iPhone sales.

      Apple may do excellent integrated software and hardware, but they can't write all the software for a general purpose computing device. And thus as the quality of the Apps becomes consistent between Android and iOS, then network effects will dominate more the logic about consumer choices.

      I am flummoxed that these Apple diehard analysts missed this. I have only studied this for one hour and I see what they ostensibly haven't figured out over the past years.

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    17. > Android has a 2% uptake of their latest software revision,
      > which iOS has somewhere near 90%. Yep, I'd say that's a flaw.

      Agreed that the overriding flaw is the 90% centralized control is indicative of the lack of degrees-of-freedom in the iOS ecosystem, which will eventually rear its head as the network effects insideously eat away at the what iOS doesn't support. This has surely begun already as the relative market shares of Android and iOS have diverged significantly but it is likely still under the radar. It predict it will slam Apple some years from now just as did for the Mac and the bottom will fall out of the market share. Originally I thought I was writing these posts maybe because you would benefit from recognizing these trends early, but I am fairly convinced now that your best future lies with Apple because you appear to be very ideologically invested in Apple's business philosophy. I am ideologically invested in the power of network effects. I wasn't wrong for Windows and I don't expect to be wrong this time either.

      KitKat which was new when I bought my Samsung a year or so ago, is already at 73%. Jelly Bean which was my prior (and first) Android is at 95%.

      Btw, the only copy of Windows I still run is XP SP2. My up-to-date desktop is running Linux (Mint Mate).

      > exposes the innocent and unaware Android-using populace
      > to malware and such horrible things ... People put their lives
      > into their devices

      I am all for high quality software and timely security updates. But past a certain level of basic needs met, this can be seen as a pita. If a user is really concerned, they can go buy a new Android and pass their old one down to a maid or family member. Which is precisely what happens, thus driving more Android market share. I was thrilled to upgrade because the hardware available for the same price had improved.

      This reminds of the Monero CC lead developer who argued that non-anonymous CCs were risking the lives of dissidants.

      Btw, a Jeeney crashed today and people were killed. I think we ought to get rid of Jeepneys and for that matter roads and have everyone transported in Apple flying cars that are all coordinated by a central command center in Cupertino. That diesel power plant at the new Apple campus will insure 100% up time, and then we just need to figure out how to allow Apple to take control of the quality of the entire internet so we can insure 100% up time of the internet connectivity between Cupertino and Davao. Oh and yes we will need Apple to be control of all natural disasters that could possibly disrupt that line. No worries because Apple has the competent engineers and requisite vertical integration.

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    18. > Consider that the right thing to do is to enable people rather
      > than giving them handouts. The west simply has to get it right.

      I think this is right up there with fairytales such as Dumbo The Flying Elephant and the reason is because an Iron Law of Politics which is that it is a power vacuum that rewards those who can promise the most collectivized debt financed "freebies".

      I mean I am all for enabling individuals (and via technology and not ineffectual political delusions). But I am not for ignoring fundamental, inescapable economic truths.

      > If the US were accelerating towards socialism, then you would
      > see Bernie winning over Hillary.

      Disagree. We would instead see Rand Paul winning. Bernie is a liberal socialist. His rhetoric rails against corruption and such, but he would pile on the debt-based freebies. Hillary represents the status quo which is massive socialism, corruption, and driving stakes through the heart of our technology industry with NSA shenanigans (which is just a sheepskin masking the real purpose which is to track all the money for coming capital controls in 2018). They will get their backdoor on encryption even if they have to do it with national security letter gag orders and martial law. Watch 2018. I'll come back around then so we can acknowledge who won this prediction. The establishment will steal this election if necessary to make sure there is no departure from crash & burn trajectory we are on because it is part of their plans for global monetary reset and unification of global hegemony.

      What Bernie and Trump represent is the ultimate rebellion and fracturing of the USA into regions of cultural differentiation, after the establishment steals the 2016 election for Hellary proving that democracy is a charade.

      > What worries me are the idealists. They are so righteous.
      > Idealists will literally do anything to see their programs
      > through because they literally believe they are right. And so
      > often the ends justify the means.

      I predict this will precisely describe what Apple will become over the next several years. Hope I am wrong. One of us will be correct.

      > My humble opinion is that our higher education system is a bit
      > outmoded and heading for disruption.
      > what becomes disrupted? Well, probably government.

      Agreed. But socialism is the elephant in the room that won't leave through the door because he can't fit through it. He'll destroy most of the house on the way out. Then we will rebuild after 2024 or 2032.

      Note this disruption will be starting from small seeds right about now. And come into major adoption while the socialism is burning the old system to ground.

      > To assume that the trend towards socialism has America
      > in its grasp might be hubris on Armstrong's part.

      The West will break free of it when most of the boomers are dead by 2033. But by then Asia will have moved ahead of the West in total GDP. The tables will have turned. We will be outsourcing for Samsung, instead of them outsourcing for Apple.

      The best and brightest from the USA will leave or virtually subcontract to Asia well before the elephant has left our house.

      Silicon Valley might shift to some where in Asia.

      Times change. We seem to forget that lesson from history.

      > Diversify. Nobody can know the future.

      Please understand the science of the Strange Attractor before alleging that Armstrong's literally $1 billion investment in a computer model hasn't correlated something information and predictive. There is hidden order in chaos.

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    19. What? User satisfaction of 97%+ is clearly not an indication that lack of degrees-of-freedom matters at all to the billion or so users of iOS.

      Ideology? Me? Well you caught me at that! But you should look at yourself, pushing soothsayers like Armstrong on people.

      Socialism is a strange force, also. I expect that some of it is doing good, causing the misery index to decline, for instance. But there needs to be more "welfare to work" programs and re-education programs in place. It was never so cheap to educate people than in the age of the MOOC. Just make sure everybody has access, and knows about it.

      I see that you are running Windows XP SP2. That's quite a dated release! It really only supports my assertion that Windows devices are aging fast. People just aren't buying them like they used to. Reports from IDC over the last 4 quarters indicate that mac sales are going up in aggregate at a reasonable rate, but PC sales are going down at an unreasonably high rate. The mac now makes up about 8% of PC sales. Actually I never thought it would be that high. And that share is not going down, it appears.

      Mac users do upgrade to the latest OS, quite often. 25% of them upgraded to macOS 10.11 El Capitan in the first month alone.

      I'm glad you are all for timely updates in Android. But your PC OS version seems to be a bit out of date. Is XP being supported any more?

      My ideals are these: make sure the user has a good experience. Make sure the product is simple, relevant, and focused. Make sure the user can get stuff done. Show the art in creating the product. Products enable users, they do not harness them for usage.

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    20. I only run WinXP on one legacy PC. You might notice some of my posts come from my Linux PC.

      My planned solution is to abstract away Android and iOS APIs so upgrades can be done orthogonal to the OS and hardware. Remember I interfaced with Lee Lorenzen on the Altura porting layer we were using to emulate the Mac API on Windows. I think Apps shouldn't be "installed", they should be cached and run in a sandbox. I think I am reasonably good at design, e.g. I argued against WebSockets conflating the framing and data layers. They chose to conflate primarily afair on the basis that it was easier for the world to implement.

      I agree with your stated ideals. On the harnessing of users, Facebook must invade our privacy to track our past activity to enable "Targeted Ads" and spam our eyeballs and screen real estate with ads that perhaps only 1% click, because that is the only way it can monetize mobile games.

      The degrees-of-freedom taken in the context of inertia is what concerns me. 97% don't care now, because there isn't yet a conflict with that inertia. Inertia is difficult/slow/costly to turn when you later need to.

      Imagine 97% satisfaction with very high degrees-of-freedom, thus many smaller inertia and thus finer granularity of dynamic fitness.

      I agree with Armstrong's summaries of the scientific absurdity of AGW and of the damage that socialism has wrecked on the West. Let me explain something very insightful which may change your entire perspective. Armstrong explained that the design of the EU and Euro allowed the PIIGS to borrow in Euros, but then forced them to pay them back in devalued local salaries losing the ability to devalue their local currencies and thus the ability to default on debt. Without a default, it is perpetual slavery. The EU+Troika is an enslavement system. The current global sovereign debt collapse will lead to the world calling for the end of the unfairness of any nation controlling the reserve currency (especially as the dollar skyrockets in value as capital flees the crisis in other nations in 2017 - 2018). This will lead to the formation of a global reserve unit. This will be a global version of the same enslavement as the Euro, because people will borrow in this global unit, so they won't be able to devalue those loans by devaluing their national currency.

      Unfortunately top-down managed programs for social development never work. What works is to remove the subsidy and stand out of the way, then amazingly people become motivated. And as you say, education is cheap. The lie of the value of college degree is starting to dawn on the youth now. This will grow. Did you know the Clintons made it impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.

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    21. I agree with this logic that says that where there is no pricing power then there is a Tragedy-of-the-Commons. I differ or call out distinction on the proportionalities and thus the Anti-fragility of vested interests which are small enough to attain more resilience to disruption. I'd agree with retort is that if its too small, then it can be disrupted by one with greater economies-of-scale. Its all about the correct balance for the market. The devil is in the details. I wildly ponder that Apple has its fingers in too many businesses that potentially compete with its own ecosystems, e.g. iTunes, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and the Appstore. IMO, that makes it more vulnerable, but as you say disruptions are long-tailed distributions.

      "1. The fecklessness of laissez-faire. Apple is famous for its closed hardware system, the PC is famous for open standards and competition. You would have thought we would all prefer an open system, but it can become chaotic. For example, Apple was able to build such an amazing iPhone because it owned both the software and hardware. This is another example of the famous Railway Privatization Problem in the UK which was designed to introduce competition but ended in chaos. A closed system is often associated with higher prices, but economies of scale can actually work to the advantage of a more monopolized market. Apple is gradually developing economies of scale no competitor can touch, what we are increasingly seeing today is a world in which Apple and its competitors sell their products at about the same price, but because Apple has economy of scale advantages it can offer a much higher quality product than its competitors. The biggest danger of a monopolized market is excessive prices, market prices settle at what consumers are willing to pay, whereas in a competitive market prices are supposed to converge on what it costs to produce. Lenin argued that free markets degenerate into monopolies earning excessive profits, but his collective ownership solution failed miserably. The trendy new theory on the block is Chinese State Capitalism which prevents companies from making excessive profits and abusing the market either by heavy handed regulation or state ownership."

      "Steve Jobs imagined Apple as an efficient hive of bees minding their own business, he didn’t want a herd of group thinking sheep following each other round the field. The sheep herd’s failure to specialize, to mind one’s own business, creates both muddled thinking and wasteful duplication. I don't think Steve Jobs really mastered this kind of analysis because he emphasised a culture of secrecy and unquestioned authority in order to build the hive rather than a culture of expert debate, but he we surely quite a example to us all. What has all this to do with economics and politics? What we are saying here is that rational expectations and freedom of choice doesn’t work, the fundament capitalist idea that market price is the best measure of utility and competition is the best way to deliver it, is nonsense. The market price is just the sheep herds wavering opinion, and the stupidity of the herd derives from competitive duplication. In the same way democracy also fails.

      These three arguments taken from the Apple-Microsoft example are insights into the wider debate swirling around the world today between the American and the Chinese economic models. Yet I am not suggesting authoritarian Apple should be boycotted in favour of democratic Windows/Linux. Wisdom, not ideology, should guide our purchasing."

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    22. Wisdom does guide purchases, but only for a few. Most people just go with they guts that one technology is simpler, more focused, and thus more useful to them over a more complex, poorly polished technology. And the user satisfaction is there to prove it. User experience and satisfaction are much better accelerants in the wildfire of consumer uptake of technology. Our world now sits disrupted in many ways because of Steve's focus and confidence that he knew better what people needed than they did. Conventional thinking was all wrapped up in the lower-price knock-off-the-product metric. And boy, were they wrong when disruption comes along! To assume that Steve's policies are like totalitarianism is simply missing the point. Sometimes you hear the words "surprise and delight" but more often you feel that the new technology enables you to do more than you could before. A power for good, not for evil. Valuing the user rather than productizing them. Valuing their lives and helping to keep them secure in an identity-theft hackers-take-all future. State-run hacking farms, Eastern European hacking mafia, you name it. These are the mote in the eye of our promising future. They are the cartels of personal information. They ransom your future. Literally.

      Now ask yourself what a product shouldn't proactively solve these problems. And be a pleasure to use.

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    23. This commitment is worth a lot these days.

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  7. Btw, I am so proud of Apple standing their ground on encryption. It changed a lot my opinion of Apple to see them do that. But (from what I read which may not be the comprehensive set) I feel they haven't articulated the technical reason clearly to n00bs. I would suggest some different wording.

    Reliable anonymity is impossible if we are talking about hiding our commerce from the national security agencies. The two best technologies for anonymity on a block chain are Z(ero)cash and RingCT (which I co-invented as Zero Knowledge Transactions last summer) which is a combination of one-time ring signatures (to obscure the payer) and homomorphic value hiding employing a zero knowledge proof-of-sum (to hide the transaction value). Zcash is employing zk-snarks to increase the anonymity set to every transaction that will ever be performed, but it has the drawback that the setup must be trusted and if the setup is compromised then unlimited, undetectable counterfeiting of value is possible (but anonymity is not impacted). RingCT is highly vulnerable to IP address correlation (because payees aren't in a huge anonymity set) thus must be employed together with a non-End-to-End principled mixnet, which thus IMO makes it entirely unsuitable for reliable commerce. Zcash is the superior fully End-to-End principled technology and even is less susceptible to IP address correction (because the candidate payers and payees is the entire block chain), but nothing will be anonymous against the national security agencies because it is impossible for users to not leak meta-data. I have glossed over some of the finer details which I can't fit into a blog post. You of course would register the concept of combinatorial and probabilistic unmasking via block chain and timing analysis.

    If you browse some of my latest analysis, I hope you would be proud and add some specific knowledge which I have researched. Although I lose my couth sometimes when having to speak over the very low S/N of discussion forums where the high tech topics fly over the head of many of the most vocal participants (who have vested interests is scammy altcoins).

    I have recently highly criticized the scam attempts to create decentralized file storage block chain, because they provide no way to eliminate content that is violating copyright. I am anarchist leaning but I also recognize that we can't steal from each other and expect to not end up in a Dark Age. Also I identified the generative essence reason that all these (e.g. MaidSafe, Sia, Storj, etc) are scams. That is that it is impossible for a proof-of-storage to differentiate between a high economy-of-scale node (e.g. data center near hydropower) and a decentralized node (e.g. node stood up by an individual). Thus these systems will centralize and the idealism is pointless hype to sell illegal unregistered investment securities to USA investors.

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    Replies
    1. Privacy is increasingly essential to our modern lives. Plenty of forces work against it. Cameras everywhere. Hackers stealing credit card numbers and SSNs. The number one lesson hacking has taught us is that companies that store their user data should be aware of the problems of hacking. They should be aware of the need to keep all user data encrypted so it can't be simply scooped up by the next script kiddie to come along. Passwords, left up to the un-security-educated individual, are highly insecure. GPU farms are making even previously-secure passwords insecure. If they care about entry, they can gain it unless you stay one step ahead of the password cracking scripts and methodology. Obviously Ars Technica is a good way to stay ahead of that game, but who amongst the un-security-educated crowd reads that?

      We have also learned that our transactions can be a point of insecurity. With perfect knowledge of them, we can be tracked, we can be located, we can be user-typed, and we can be pwned. It's OK to be paranoid about our transaction log. Cryptocurrencies do help solve those problems and your additions do help preserve anonymity. But where's the advantage over crypto-secure Apple Pay, for example? Nobody gets your credit card number or its "secret" code. Apple doesn't want to sell you like a product like Google does.

      And please, don't continue to maintain that Microsoft remains relevant, except to 1% of the mobile population at the most.

      I am not an anarchist (not in the least). I believe that transactions exist because things - even intangibles - hell - especially intangibles nowadays - are worth the money we pay.

      Which is why people like Martin Shkreli need to get prosecuted for abusing the system: gouging. And why cryptocurrency scams need to be exposed. They shouldn't be "investment opportunities" - they need to be clean and at least partially altruistic.

      It's a controversial line making medicines for sick people and then charging them loads of money so only a few people can recover - leaving the rest to suffer. Transaction mechanisms need to be transparent to be trusted. It's not enough to say "don't be evil" you must also practice the philosophy for people to trust you in turn.

      And the appearance of this message indicates that at least some of the missing posts are no longer being treated as spam. You see any more - just tell me.

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    2. By “leaning anarchist”, I mean anarcho-capitalism and with some minanarchism. I think private businesses can render most services better than the government. Also I view the government as an enormous liability because it is a power-vacuum that must be dominated by a winner-take-all Iron Law of Political Economics. So to the extent practical, I encourage the empowerment of the individual, the small business, and devolution of the Theory of the Firm by the rising Knowledge Age. I don't mean anarchy, where rogue individuals can opt out of the community good. Btw, CoinCube has a very interesting theory on this opt-out principle and ties it into biology, evolution, and sociology in his thread Atheism is Poison. He acknowledged his inspiration started from my essays on the Knowledge Age. My usernames at the linked forum are AnonyMint and TPTB_need_war.

      I will follow up with a reply on hacking, Apple Pay, and other technical points.

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    3. My understanding of Apple Pay is a conceptual one, so it is plausible I am unaware of some specific detail in its protocol which would render my analysis incorrect. My understanding is Apple Pay has some flaws which can only be fixed with a crypto currency. I am perhaps one of the most expert on crypto currency right now (not on the crypto math, but the economics and system analysis), so it is quite understandable that perhaps only I would be the one to point out these corner cases.

      1. Because Apple Pay has the feature to disable a pay token (e.g. if mobile device is stolen), then a payer's (a.k.a. customer's) signature can't be independently verified by the payee (a.k.a. merchant). Thus Apple Pay has a higher latency because the validation has to wait for roundtrip between the merchant network and the centralized database. This means pay-per-streaming music plays would have a delay while they wait for validation of payment. The streaming server can't just take a chance and start serving while waiting for validation, because an attacker could attack this delay window to do DDoS on the streaming service. I see no way for Apple to work around this flaw that doesn't open an attack vector, other than making a decentralized block chain and abandoning the credit card companies and banks (which of course they won't do).

      A crypto currency payee has to get the transaction confirmed on the block chain before it is immune to a double-spend which requires rounddtrip latency, but the attack vector of a double-spend is very rare to achieve if the payee has merely sent the transaction to the network (barring a Finney attack where the attacker wins the current block). Additionally my design improves over Satoshi's to make a Finney attack even more implausible.

      2. I presume Apple Pay doesn't have the ability for a single payer to pay to two or more payees in the same atomic transaction. The use case is where the payer wants to pay for example the musician his portion separately from paying the streaming service its portion, without forcing the streaming service to be a middle man and register as a Money Services Business with FinCEN. Also the streaming server then doesn't hold the liability of being responsible for the security of the musicians' funds. Hackers have already proven they can destroy the crypto currency exchanges which hold traders' coins. That is why I recently helped to analyze decentralized exchanges and I identified the generative essence of how they can work and what proposals won't work.

      3. Apple Pay will suffer from everything that is currently broken about credit cards other than perhaps improving the problem of stolen credit card numbers (although i think hackers will still find a way to steal the tokens and hack the centralized databases). Fractions of a penny microtransactions will still be uneconomic, signing up for a credit card will still not be instant, permissionless, decentralized, and becoming a merchant will still involve pain points. All of these are severe constraints on bringing the billions into the Knowledge Age on a social network I envision where trade is user-to-user in hopefully a combinatorial explosion of network effects that is going to blow Facebook, Google, and Apple away.

      I think there are other issues too. Allow me more time to think about it. This post is already too long to type in this tiny box Google's very poorly designed blogger service provides. And I need to sleep.

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    4. > And why cryptocurrency scams need to be exposed. They shouldn't be "investment opportunities" - they need to be clean and at least partially altruistic.

      https://www.sec.gov/investor/alerts/ia_virtualcurrencies.pdf (Issued Jan 4th 2016)

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    5. dude, I know you aren't a bomb-thrower. Of course you aren't that kind of anarchist: a Bakunin. Your assertion that private business can do things better than the government is a tautology. I think most of the US government is still using an insecure version of Windows XP. When I go to the DMV to do some car/license/registration business, I'm appalled at the stone-age level of their capabilities. All you have to do is look at the advancement of UAVs (drones) to see private business at its best. Or perhaps Boston Dynamics - well they got bought by Google I think.

      One of the central issues to cryptocurrencies is "should transactions always be 100% private?". I am split over this. While I don't want a Google to shop my behavior data like trading baseball cards - often to dangerous and unscrupulous clients, I believe that some transactions should be earmarked as suspicious. Like buying multiple guns, dangerous chemicals like perchloric acid, or especially explosives. And controlled substances as well, of course. Silk Road was definitely a haven for drug criminals and I don't support that kind of transactional privacy at all.

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    6. The authorities will always be able to track down the criminals because metadata is nearly impossible to perfectly obfuscate reliably. Analogous to cash where authorities didn't have a block chain but could still track down the criminals.

      Thus I don't see any great harm with providing greater block chain obfuscation that didn't already exist with cash.

      Users buy drugs with cash. What is the big change with Silk Road? I believe the main reason the government too down Silk Road so aggressively is because the DEEP STATE of our government does not want competition to its monopoly over money and drugs. They don't want a market with economies--of-scale to develop. They prefer small time drug pushers which they can control with their corrupt police and lie of War on Drugs. Former HUD undersecretary Catherine Austin Fitts explained how this underworld operates which she discovered when she used computerization to correlate statistics and patterns on low income housing. Gary Webb apparently "committed suicide" due to his investigative journalism on this topic.

      Btw, my detailed post alleging some technical flaws in Apple Pay relative to a hypothetical crypto currency, seems to have disappeared from this blog. Out of respect, I will not repost it. I did think of another flaw:

      "Apple Pay can't scale because it requires users change the way they pay with credit cards, i.e. it fights against significant engrained inertia. Adopters need a smart (and secure!) mobile device. They need to choose from competing technologies. The billions can't sign up instantly in a permissionless, decentralized mannner."

      I am not at all happy about what is happening to the world right now. We are sinking into totalitarianism. The large companies do what ever they can do protect their fat profits by supporting corruption of the government where it suites. For example, Uber pushing for regulations that lock drivers into their 20% fee.

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    7. Your rhetoric is anti-corporation, understandably. Yet witness that some companies are actually fighting for your privacy. Don't want to make you their product. Actually provide good user experiences. This is what the general milieu will care about. Brands are either desirable or not. Perception is huge. So when a corporation says it does something you would hope it really is going 100% renewable energy rather than just putting a flower or a leaf into their logo and hiring a larger PR staff like Monsanto or Exxon or (OMG) BP.

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    8. I am not against the good that a company can do. I understand that vary levels organization is required to accomplish varying goals. I understand some projects have higher minimum economies-of-scale.

      But first of all, the scientists say there is a Maunder minimum coming 2030 (declining sun spot activity), with the cooling kicking off in earnest as soon as 2020. They recently correlated that it has predictable cycle. So I don't conflate the global ambient temperature with the pollution of the local environment. The former is a fake propaganda created by Al Gore to enable a global taxation corruption. The latter is real problem that each local community has to decide on. China defecates in their own backyard and uses substandard concrete construction which collapses; U.S.A. typically doesn't.

      I could wholeheartedly support Apple's niche if I didn't have to fear that one day as an App creator I might be at odds with Apple's vested interests. And even then I would be at odds with getting my work out to the greatest number of poeple, which is why you guys hired me to help debug the Windows version.

      I actually like refined art. I am sort of a perfectionist also. I rejected so many ideas for my new logo because they just weren't good enough for my standard.

      I wish I had a really great idea for Apple, but the problem is they are such a huge company already, so they need huge wins now. That is much harder to do.

      That being said, I am happy Apple is there to balance Google and I am hoping they find a way to be clever about the problem of network effects.

      I'll surely keep my mind open.

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    9. Interesting to hear your anti-global-warming POV. Note that each solar minimum has its own name, and they are not predictable. Consider the chart visible here.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum

      By the way, Shelby, I have a bridge to sell you! ;-)

      Plenty of developers are making money with Apps in the App Store, by the way. The biggest challenge is clearly Chinese Copyware, though, not curation.

      Recently, I have been amused at Microsoft open-sourcing their AI work, especially given the almost unbelievable Nazi-laced tirade of their recent AI tweet-bot "tay". It's been a real PR nightmare for them. I guess it's hard to test tweet-bots without putting them online.

      There have consistently been articles from "analysts" for the last 30-or-so quarters on "peak Apple reached" but for some reason this has never really come to be. Why? It is hard to find another company so eager and happy to disrupt itself with new devices.

      It goes against traditional economic thinking, but this has to change in this age of ever-accelerating disruption. We were born into very interesting times.

      Microsoft never wanted to disrupt Windows and that continues to be its #1 folly. This is evidenced by the fairly steady increase in the average age of PCs in use. (average PC age > 5 yrs, while average shelf-life of a smartphone is 21 months). Also, the model of licensing software to the cheapest hardware available is essentially over. Now the best integration of hardware and software with the highest retention rates has become the model all companies want to duplicate. This is because it has been demonstrated that this is where the profits are.

      Didn't someone say once "you get what you pay for"?

      We aren't in a world where shovelware is valued because it ticks off a few more bullet points in a review. It's about usability. Customer satisfaction ratings. Willingness to buy what really is valuable: the user experience.

      Definitely keep an open mind. Things are changing faster than we can fully appreciate. Watch it happen.

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    11. > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum

      Investigative journalist and former CBC News reporter Sharyl Attkisson explains in a TEDx talk why Wikipedia is propaganda for the powers-that-be.

      Wikipedia is obscuring the new science:

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/12/mini-ice-age-likely-from-2030-to-2040-european-sci/

      https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/maunder-minimum-petri-dish-of-political-change/

      Mark it not just that. Any rational person who studies the evidence about AGW can't but help conclude it is junk science. I am extremely surprised that you have been hoodwinked. Is it because you don't follow the scientific method and thus don't have the necessary rational skepticism.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aesr.ibiblio.org+global+warming

      https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aarmstrongeconomics.com+global+warming

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    12. The main analyst I followed was Eric S. Raymond, the 160 IQ genius who wrote the manuals on open source and who apparently advised or approved of Google's long range plan to disrupt the iPhone so as to make sure no one would have a monopoly to filter Google's ads nor limit the rate of adoption of mobile devices and thus the internet. His prediction that Google would surpass iOS's market share and eventually relegate iPhone to single-digit global share has been consistently correct on trajectory and now finally is complete. In a couple or few years comes the next stage of total collapse of iOS market share due to network effects which I expounded in prior comments. This was never a prediction about a peak in Apple's sales or revenues, although those will follow down later if the collapse in market share due to network effects comes as predicted. Sorry to be so negative but walled gardens and centralized command centers are antithetical to promoting maximum network effects. It just seems to be a cultural mental block that Apple folks can't seem to admit and thus they are destined to repeat the same mistake over and over again. I read that is the definition of insanity. I just don't understand it. How can such intelligent people be so blind.

      If Apple doesn't open up iOS so anyone can design, manufacture and sell an iOS device, then afaics they can't avoid the network effects collapse on the horizon. But doing that will remove the status symbol and controlled attributes reason that people buy the iPhone, which would also collapse iOS. In addition, Apple banning Apps such as crypto-currency wallets, porn, gambling, etc., means there will network effects accruing to Android that eventually break the dam in a waterfall collapse of iOS market share as Armstrong explains is how all natural things collapse.

      The nominal level of Apple's and iOS App developer's sales are not the relevant data point. When imbalances accumulate, they do so in a way that they can be ignored or wished away for those who want to cover their eyes and ears. While fighting for those highest integration profits, Apple is also setting up their long-term collapse by conceding the network effect. Perhaps they could do both...

      Perhaps Apple could open source iOS but keep some proprietary aspects such as Siri that it could maintain the value of its brand.

      And lose the dogmatic curation. Don't allow malware, but do create a "Immoral Category" which users have to sign off acknowledging that Apple has not curated such Apps for their ethics and potential risks, outside of being technological malware.

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    13. Curation is central to the preservation of order, in some ways. Less curation seems better to me, though. Malware, however, is everywhere for Android users and Windows PC users. It's a fact of life, and it, in general leads to failure.

      To say that the level of sales or the level of user satisfaction is immaterial is hubris on your part. Actually, the assertion that perception isn't reality is grounded in physics, but not much else.

      You are just like all the doomsayers that predict the fall of Apple: wrong every time. Quarter after quarter after quarter. And to say that credit cards are going away anytime soon is also pure BS. You can predict all you want. But the thing is this: will anybody care? Let's consider the dynamics of disruption...

      Disruption is an interesting occurrence. Sometimes, given the momentum of the existing technology, it can take decades to occur. Lately, disruption has been occurring faster and faster: the relativistic observer hypothesis. But always in intangibles. Hence your fascination with electronic funds transfer. But for most of the world, money isn't really intangible.

      The usual argument for faster disruption is this: when people see how great is, they'll all want it. And word-of-mouth will cause the logistic function - defining the uptake of the disrupting technology - to have an infinitely positive slope. But get this: of 1000 disrupting technologies, only one or two actually do disrupt. There are many reasons for this, and it takes more than the Great Predictor to say why. Study Horace Dediu's analysis of disruption: he has a leg up on just about everybody (including Armstrong) on this. It's not completely understood - even by the pinnacle experts - but there is a lot you are neglecting.

      Back to curation. It's not dogmatic, it's protective. A tiny number of vocal developers have seen the sharp end of this protection. And sometimes the rules get changed a little. By the way: the tiny vocal numbers are responsible for jailbreaking as well - a nearly dead art. Most people could care less about it. Cryptocurrency is pushed by another tiny vocal group that claims plenty of headlines on places like Ars Technica and such. Developers are an odd bunch, but they don't rule the world. The consumer is the prevailing trend I look at. And the consumer seems to be going in a different direction entirely. There is a perception that cryptocurrency is for criminals: people and organizations that really want to obfuscate what they are doing. You know this perception is there. What are you going to do about it?

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    14. I'm accepting that the curation decisions made are purely data driven by analysis of the bottom line profit. Losses in reputation and satisfaction due to not banning certain "nefarious" Apps would I presume reduce bottom line profits, perhaps indirectly by eroding Apple's brand. That all appears to be rational.

      On the likelihood of network effects of what is excluded (including hardware modularity) disrupting Apple's market share, apparently Apple prioritizes market share weighted by revenue, price and purchasing power.

      Probably Apple's greatest risk other than failing to disrupt itself as smartphone markets mature, is the App that revolutionizes and blurs the distinction between the web and the App, which Apple can't allow because it disrupts the advantage of Apple's control over their ecosystem.

      I understand that Apple's users prefer the iPhone ecosystem to avoid the tsuris of malware and increased hardware and software quality variance. I've read about Android ransomware that locks the user out of his/her device, spamware that tricks the user into thinking their battery is overheating, and spyware that steals user private data. I also think Apple's users will not want to be locked out of an App that doesn't exhibit those problems, offers access to a very popular activity which Apple can't tolerate nor duplicate without giving up on some of the competitive advantage of their ecosystem.

      Crypto-currency should never be for large balances that you can't afford to lose. It should be a small valued account that you reload or reloaded ongoing by your activity, which enables some functionality that you could not possibly obtain with credit cards. Crypto-currency's dilemma thus far is the lack of a killer app, which thus relegates it thus far to speculation and nefarious activities. Credit cards will still be important, especially for large ticket items, but won't likely be able to service the new functionality and thus over time will become a smaller percentage of global payments. Nobody really cares if they pay 2% fee for a Tshirt, but they do care that they pay 10 - 40% fees on micropayments. Creators do care that they are giving up 30% of their sales to Apple, Google, and the credit card companies. They appreciate the revenue, but that is a middle man parasite waiting to be disrupted.

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    15. Mark I know you are busy and this discussion dragged out much more than we probably both anticipated. I wanted to alert you to a draft bill to outlaw encryption in the USA.

      Mark I realize we are primarily engineers and creators and don't want to expend all our effort intertwined in political quagmires. I almost advocate ignoring this, except I really sense you all there may not realize the sea change to overt totalitariaism that appears to be developing at many levels. Not to incite another long discussion. FYI. And I will shut up because I am also busy working on the more positive vocation of creating.

      I hope you understand I am just very concerned.

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    16. I suspect that Feinstein's bill won't pass. It would be bad for everybody. Should we compromise literally hundreds of millions of people's private data just for law enforcement? NO! That's totalitarianism of course. They should once more become the champions of HUMINT.

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  8. Note only 3 of my 5 posts are showing up (and this comment will be the 6th). I had to break my very long comment into 5 parts. I resubmitted until I realized the blog software is only retaining 3 of the posts. If you can't recover the other 2 comments (which had more of the meat of my technical feedback), then I can resubmit later. I have saved copies.

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    1. I'll check my blog internals for held-up messages. I think I saw them scroll by in email, so I'm pretty sure they are there. Hold on a bit.

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  10. > Paypal shenanigans

    http://venturebeat.com/2013/08/14/glassup-raised-100k-on-indiegogo-but-paypal-is-refusing-to-pay-up/

    The problem faced by repudiable payment systems.

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    1. Paypal, like all transaction-intermediaries, are required to provide fraud protection. They sometimes freeze accounts, and also there are sometimes misinterpretations and odd statements made. They long ago unfroze those assets, just like they did for Notch at Minecraft.

      This is the benefit of credit cards: fraud protection and monitoring. They will need to do less of it when transactions are secured. In the meanwhile I'm glad, for one, that they do it.

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    3. Paypal locked my account because I sold some Bitcoin for Paypal on localbitcoins and that person apparently was using a stolen Paypal account, so then Paypal reversed the payment so I lost $600. But not only did I lose $600, but Paypal locked my account which is already verified and which has many years of many transactions with no fraud.

      If crowdfunding was with a non-repudiable payment such as Bitcoin, then the contributor can't later claim they didn't understand that the payment is non-repudiable and thus their only recourse to a broken contract is in the correct venue of a court-of-law. In this case, the repudiable payment is incompatible with what is being paid for. This is one of many examples where crypto-currency is superior to credit cards.

      Now we have an example of Indiegogo ostensibly knowingly aiding an ostensibly illegal unregistered investment security being sold to non-accredited USA investors, and I conjecture they are hesitating to cancel the campaign because of the ostensibly huge risk of chargebacks if they taint the prior $151,300 in contributions.

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    4. Oh! So sorry to hear that Paypal is up to something again. They should be behaving like a credit card company: preventing fraud and keeping your credit safe - the other person was the fraud, so though they might not reimburse you (because it's crypto after all) they should reinstate your account.

      Indiegogo was paid off long ago (August 2013).

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