Saturday, March 30, 2013

The iPad Madness in the Netherlands

From the adverts that come through the post, one that surprised me was from one of the leading dailies; the NRC Handelsblad. It aims at young, well-educated (graduate) readers in the 20-39 age group, most of whom currently do not read a newspaper, or only read the free tabloids Metro and Spits.
The newspaper is intended for "the new generation of interested media-users who use news and information in a different way", according to NRC executive editor Folkert Jensma. The news is delivered in concise format, because it is assumed that the readers have already picked up the basics from other sources. For the same reason, some news items are not covered at all. Background, analysis and opinion are thus the main focus of the paper. It is "a newspaper for people who don't read paid newspapers." It costs one euro and ten cents, less than other paid newspapers. Regular readers can take a weekday subscription, or they can opt for a subscription for ofnrc•next on weekdays and the NRC Handelsblad on Saturday. (Wikipedia). New subscribers earn themselves an iPad. One can chose which one; a mini or iPad 4th generation!

The NRC handelsblad newspaper 
The iPad Mini

I found a sense of madness and desire for the iPad in the Netherlands. it seems to be the gadget of appeal today and it is across all generations. The iPad mini is very common with the youth. On the trains, bus, metro and trams, you find most of them very busy with the gadget. Human conversation is almost non existent. 

In most promotions, the deals are sweetened with an iPad for the winner or new subscriber. A few days ago, my front doorbell rung, I went to open and found a guy promoting Oxxio energy company. The deal was changing from a competing energy provider (supplying gas and electricity) to theirs. They were willing to pay the fine (of about 200Eur) for leaving before the contract was over in addition to offering a free iPad 4th generation (the latest).

Meanwhile, as I was looking through the folders that are delivered during the weekend, I again saw a promotion where buying yourself a sofa set earns you an iPad!  Purchase of a sofa set over 1000Eur, you get an iPad 4th generation, 16GB. (see advert below)

Advert in a folder promoting sofa sets with iPad
In the same package of folders, I found the one below. It was from the organization that packs folders and distributes them at our houses. This one was saying you scan on the QR code using a smart phone to take you to their website where you are supposed to vote on the best folder among the ones they deliver. For those who answer the questions, there is a chance of winning an iPad!

So Easy, Yet Difficult!

Easy is to judge the mistakes of others
Difficult is to recognize our own mistakes

Easy is to talk without thinking
Difficult is to refrain the tongue

Easy is to hurt someone who loves us.
Difficult is to heal the wound...

Easy is to forgive others
Difficult is to ask for forgiveness

Easy is to set rules.
Difficult is to follow them...

Easy is to dream every night.
Difficult is to fight for a dream...

Easy is to show victory.
Difficult is to assume defeat with dignity...

Easy is to stumble with a stone.
Difficult is to get up...

Easy is to enjoy life every day.
Difficult to give its real value...

Easy is to promise something to someone.
Difficult is to fulfill that promise...

Easy is to say we love.
Difficult is to show it every day...

Easy is to criticize others.
Difficult is to improve oneself...

Easy is to make mistakes.
Difficult is to learn from them...

Easy is to weep for a lost love.
Difficult is to take care of it so not to lose it.

Easy is to think about improving.
Difficult is to stop thinking it and put it into action...

Easy is to think bad of others
Difficult is to give them the benefit of the doubt...

Easy is to receive
Difficult is to give

Easy to read this
Difficult to follow

Easy is keep the friendship with words
Difficult is to keep it with meanings 

Amazing Photos 1

Impressive Swim Pools Balconies at Bandra Ohm Residential Tower in Mumbai, India

Amazing Landwasser Viaduct Switzerland 

World's first billion dollar house in Mumbai, India - 27 Floors Ambani's Palace

The Streets of Monaco Yacht 

World's Largest Ice Cave in Austria 

Ferrari World Theme Park In Abu Dhabi

Awesome Singapore - Dance of Light

Mesmerising Niagara Falls - Rainbow Bridge, USA

Amazing Corinthos Channel in Greece
Amazing walk at West Side of Taihang Mountain in Shanxi Province, China

Airplanes rolling over highway at Leipzig-Halle Airport in Germany

Heart Island in mangrove delta of the Vaza-Barris River, Brazil

The water is so clear it looks like the boat is hovering! - Bora Bora Pearl Beach

Escalator of the New World Trade Center 

Amazing view of Schwerin Castle, Germany

Super Moon rising above Sierra Nevada Sequoia National Park California

Beijing International Airport, China

The Amazing Stone Mirror in Istanbul, Turkey

Dinner in the sky in Brussels, Belgium

Impressive Highways system above the Rainforest in Sao Paolo, Brazil

Bitcoin; The Online Currency!

Bitcoin: How An Unregulated, Decentralized 

Virtual Currency Just Became A Billion Dollar Market


Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Hang around in the tech industry long enough and you or someone you know will be heard saying, “that’s so crazy it just might work.” Two years ago, if you’d have told me that an open-source, P2P currency would soon be a thriving, billion-dollar market, I would’ve told you that you were on a lonely bus headed to CrazyTown, U.S.A. But today, Bitcoin officially became a crazy idea that’s actually working.
Today, all the Bitcoin in circulation — some 10.9 million of them — have collectively crossed the billion-dollar mark. As it is wont to do, the value of Bitcoin (and its exchange rate) has fluctuated wildly today. At one point, it hit a dollar value around $78, then pushed into the mid-nineties. As of this minute, it’s hovering around $90.
Okay, it’s still a tiny fraction of Google’s market cap, but this is something — especially for a largely unregulated, decentralized virtual currency. (Say that three times fast.) The world’s most popular controversial crypto-currency, mind you.
Bitcoin supporters will scoff and tell you that this is no news, and that Bitcoin has been alive and thriving for years. In fact, it first appeared back in 2009, and has been slowly gaining steam since. But Bitcoin has largely remained outside the realm of mainstream media attention, because no one has been quite sure what to make of it. Is it a passing fad, a hilarious geek-driven phenomenon, or the real deal?
In fact, it has really been relegated to the realm of the uber geeky, or seen as the currency of anarchists or crazy digital libertarians. The black market marketplace known as Silk Road, which allows pretty much anyone to anonymously sell “alternative products” (i.e. large quantities of one’s drug of choice), uses Bitcoin for its currency. Something which hasn’t exactly helped Bitcoin’s “cross over” appeal.
And geeks have had a point: Eventually, with the increasing popularity of P2P networks, virtual currency and digital marketplaces, it was only a matter of time before these entities would collide and a virtual currency of record would emerge. No government control?! Even better!
Bitcoin crossing the $1 billion threshold may not seem like much, but if anything, it seems to be a sign to anyone listening that the crypto-currency is ready to be taken seriously. Of course, there are still a lot of concerns, as John Biggs laid out in 2011.
But why has Bitcoin become a billion-dollar market?
First off, startups are beginning to carry the torch. As Alex wrote yesterday, Expensify announced that it is now supporting Bitcoin “to give international contractors an alternative to PayPal and the high fees associated with the service.” Reddit has jumped on the bandwagon, too, along with WordPress and Namecheap, among others.
Adam Draper, the founder of Menlo Park-based accelerator, Boost VC, recently announced that the team would be focusing on Bitcoin-focused startups for its summer class. As he laid out in a post today, one of the other big reasons Bitcoin is beginning to take off — besides, of course, that it allows secure digital transactions without transmitting personal information — is that investor confidence is growing. Bitcoin startups are beginning to raise, and Draper claims that their fund is far from being the only one that’s interested.
What’s more, the government has finally realized that it needs to start taking virtual currency seriously and develop a strategy for dealing with these types of currencies. FinCEN recently put out a series of “Guidelines,” which will inform future regulation, but also works to establish trust and credibility for virtual currency, particularly Bitcoin.
There’s also the climate of the global financial markets, particularly the panic in Cyprus, after the government froze its citizens’ bank accounts following its bailout. Many believe that the tenuous financial markets in Europe and beyond create an atmosphere that’s ripe for a digital panacea like Bitcoin.
Of course, the other side of the Bitcoin argument is that the confluence of unsteady financial markets, and skyrocketing growth of virtual currency (plus hype), is creating a perfect storm that equates to Bitcoin just being one giant bubble waiting to pop.
What’s more, as my colleague Greg Kumparak pointed out today, Bitcoin itself is still in a tenuous place, policy-wise. There’s a good chance that a decentralized, unregulated market is going to scare the pants off the government once it’s fully cognizant that Bitcoin is a billion-dollar market — and growing. “It’s the easiest ‘this funds terrorism’ scare argument the government will ever try to make, so a big battle within the next year or two is pretty much guaranteed,” he said.
Whether one sees it as a phenomenon or a legitimate institution, Bitcoin is working on all cylinders to become the latter — and now has a real case for our undivided attention. Either way, feel free to marvel at how a virtual currency that appeared practically out of the ether (created by somephantom mathematician/economist) just pulled a billion-dollar market out of its hat.
See you on Silk Road?

Launch Date:2009
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. The name refers both to the open source software he designed to make use of the currency and to the peer-to-peer network formed by running that software. Unlike some other digital currencies, Bitcoin avoids central authorities and issuers. Bitcoin uses a distributed database spread across nodes of a peer-to-peer network to journal transactions, and uses digital signatures and proof-of-work to provide basic security functions, such as ensuring that bitcoins...

The Many Faces Of Bitcoin

Currency Of The Revolution, Or Tool For Online Vendors? The Many Faces Of Bitcoin [Feature]

by Justin Pot

about bitcoins
It's become an annual event: the fall of Bitcoin. You've probably read about it multiple times, and maybe even believe that the online, decentralized currency is already gone forever. It isn't.

Created by a mysterious, anonymous entity back in 2009 - when the recession was at its worst - Bitcoin is a completely digital currency with no central servers. Transactions are distributed across the network of users, and developers claim counterfeiting to be impossible.

Anyone who wishes can mine Bitcoins by putting their computer to work solving complex math problems, but the total number of Bitcoins that can be created is capped. The currency is designed to increase in value as demand for Bitcoins go up, and it has - occasionally too quickly to be sustainable. By the summer of 2011, for example, one Bitcoin was worth as much as $30 USD. Within weeks it fell as low as $5 - just one incident the media has called the death of Bitcoin.
These spikes and drops - accelerated by speculators - haven't stopped Bitcoin's value from rising over time. Outliers aside, the currency's been trending upwards since it's creation in 2009. While I'm writing this a single Bitcoin is worth over $48 USD - the most it's ever been worth. This just days after a glitch temporarily brought the price down to $37.

It's unclear whether the current value will hold, but major online companies - including Reddit and WordPress - are starting to accept the currency, increasing its legitimacy.

Around the world organizations shut out by traditional merchant processors - Wikileaks, lulzsec and the creator of a 3D printable gun, for example - are turning to the digital currency for donations. And online casinos based entirely around Bitcoin are bringing in serious revenue. A vibrant community of developers, users and enthusiasts surround Bitcoin, and more than a few exchanges around the world allow anyone to trade a conventional currency for the digital one.

So yeah: Bitcoin's not dead.

A Revolution, Or A Business Opportunity?

I was looking for someone to explain the basics of the currency to me, so I emailed the Bitcoin "press" mailing list. Two people responded: Jon Holmquist and Amir Taaki. Both see Bitcoin as a tool, but they differ greatly as to what that tool is for. Holmquist sees an effective tool for commerce; Taaki, for revolution.

The UK-based Taaki is a lot of things - an activist recently arrested for squatting in London, the pioneer of multiple open source projects, a video game developer. He's even a former professional online poker player.

about bitcoins

Right now he's organizing UnSystem, a Bitcoin conference in Vienna he says will bring together "anarchists, hackers, squatters and subversives." He speaks of the conference, Bitcoin, and the world in far-sweeping terms.
"Bitcoin is powerful", he tells me. "It's tearing a hole in the fabric of society itself."

When I ask how Bitcoin differs from cash, he responses with a list of things cash cannot do.
"How do I buy drugs online with cash?" he asks. "Or a WordPress install? Or donate to WikiLeaks, or lulzsec. Evade sanctions by hedging my money, buy anonymous services, gamble and play poker, pay for torrents or Megaupload accounts, exchange money at no cost?"
Jon Holmquist, meanwhile, sees Bitcoin primarily as a tool for business. The California man makes his entire living working with Bitcoin-based online retailers.

"For me it's less about ideology and more about what works," he tells me. "Bitcoin is a tool that works."
To Holmquist Bitcoin is a game-changing technology for anyone who runs a business online. Direct payment means little or no processing fees - something any business owner can appreciate.
"A lot of places offer discounts for cash, even though that's not allowed by their credit card licensing agreement," he points out.
Bitcoin brings the advantages of cash to the online world, by eliminating the need for merchant processing services like PayPal.
"I read a lot of news about the payment industry and there's nothing like Bitcoin," he tells me. "It's basically the next step forward for bank wires. It's transferring value, but all online, without any banking structure."
Holmquist runs a few retailers that use Bitcoin, including - which sells electronics - and - which allows you to trade your Bitcoins for gold.

about bitcoin mining

Taaki, meanwhile, tells me that to him Bitcoin is not a business opportunity: it's a technology that helps people evade control.
"It's a very human technology: it brings trade back to me and you," he says. "Not as some merchant-client relationship - you are both a merchant and a client, producer and consumer."
He tells me Bitcoin alone can't change the world - that "you need the whole prescription to be taken holistically." But Bitcoin, in his view, can help keep the Internet free.

How to View and Delete Your Location History on Facebook

By  Nancy Messieh, If you have the Facebook mobile app installed on your phone, chances are it’s storing a lot more of your location hi...