Re: Merchants of Venice
And kiss a lot of frogs, before you find your prince
150 posts • joined 13 Jan 2010
And kiss a lot of frogs, before you find your prince
Refer to title for the new model tech investors need to follow, if they can keep up.
Examples of such behavior:
- Create a thousand free G-products and hope that one sticks. Dump them quickly when they don't.
- Write 60 losing apps until you create an Angry Birds and hit the jackpot.
- Find a tired, over regulated industry like taxi transport and hotellery with expensive start up costs and barriers to entry. Create a mobile app like Uber or AirBnB to leverage peoples' under-used private resources and compete on the newly levelled playing field.
Build a platform where everyone supplies free content and you charge for the advertising.
Traditional large OEMs and IT business models will have trouble thriving in this new environment unless they change too. The current strategy for them seems to become smaller and divest.
The thing to be noticed here is not how badly people bet on tech investments. People always bet badly on tech investments, it just took longer to separate the dogs from the winners. Probably because things were slower back then, as were the economic/business models, development methods and CEOs.
I am old enough to remember when it used to be very, very expensive to write monolithic apps and create compute systems that sold for gazillions.
Much easier to hire a zero-hour web developer, some java programmers and rent a bit of CPU, RAM and disk space on Azure. Then become a startup software company and try out your idea(s).
If you are lucky, smart and time it correctly, you might even get rich!
I agree, sign it.
People need to see credentials even if they don't fully understand what they represent. Real experience can never be dumbed down into terms that non-specialists fully comprehend. This remains true, even when it is undoubtedly the most valuable commodity in the real IT world.
You could be a world class Formula 1 driver, but without a valid driver's license you will be shouted down at every traffic light or fender bender and your insurance won't cover you.
After I earned an entry level cloud cert from CompTia+ ("almost" a doddle after two years of hard, unpaid, practical startup work) customer interest went from zilch to high. Once I finish the second cert, I will hold my head high.
Look at it this way, if the only thing preventing ethical people like yourself from making hard technical decisions is a piece of electronic foolscap, where's the problem?
I'd rather see people with principles, intelligence, experience AND certs in the driver's seat, in that order. When it is just people with certs and connections, the results are lousy. We see examples of that every flippin' day of the week.
So sign the form. Or as an ex-manager once told me: "play the game" even if you don't always agree with it.
Haven't seen the film yet, but still have fond memories of the original Manhunter (based on the Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and later redone in the Hannibal Lecter franchise ) Public Enemies (with Johnny Depp as a very convincing and human John Dillinger) and good old Miami Vice.
The seriousness you refer to was always a Mann trademark and he usually pulls it off. I think it works better on television. But, I will go see the film just to see how well he handles a cyber-crime story. Thanks for the review.
I have three thinkpads one pre-lenovo (IBM) and 2 Lenovo. All three still in service.
But recently, i was handed what was supposed to be a Lenovo S390 VibeX phone. After much faffing about trying to upgrade it, remove malware etc, I discovered it was in fact a counterfeit S960t Lenovo.
Extremely sucky experience. Something is rotten in the state of Shenzen.
Indeed, "owning" a ubiquitous comm device OS gives Google a very distinct advantage. Exciting (and competitively priced) services with immediate network effect can quickly roll out to a growing market. Mobile voice and internet is a killer app in its own right.
The potential market for SDN, IoT apps, cloud based calling, roaming exchanges and other cool ideas is huge. Gartner reckons another 1.2 billion android devices will ship in 2015 alone. I can see companies and users quickly ditching legacy phone contracts as more ubiquitous wireless-first telephony becomes a reality. The other mobe sellers would quickly follow the trend.
I am also a big fan of Google Talk / Hangouts and wish more people would use it. Video and voice call quality is better than Skype, there are no ads and dialing rates to regular phones remain very competitive or free.
And there are good reasons this is so. One is that Google went on a network infrastructure bargain/buying spree during the Great Recession, back when many were too afraid to invest. Once they start buying up the cell towers, it could be game over for Ma Bell's many offspring.
But I doubt anyone will miss being gouged by the Telcos, particularly in places like Europe. If the price of low-cost / free mobile telephony is more tracking/privacy issues (probably the main concern), I am willing to trade up as long as my calls and surfing get through anytime, anywhere for less or no money. If I feel overly spooked and all tinfoil-hatty there will still be options like the Black Phone, carrier pigeons and VPNs to choose from. Honestly, sounds like a win win to me.
Interesting, for the last couple of days, my wife has had intermittent trouble playing random flash videos on FB (she clicks on a lot of videos). This is a new laptop running Windows 8.1 and Chrome, thank goodness. I smell badness.
Brrrrrr shiver.... now if only Flash could run out of battery power...... forever!
Waiting to see what the Clover traders think of my 3 landfill offerings: 1 cheap android phone and 2 cheap 7 " tablets. If they offer enough money and cover more than the postage, I might just buy one of these Windows 8 Linx doo-hickeys. Even the name has a subliminal open source "look and feel" about it and I'm pretty sure Torvalds can't sue for that.
Or perhaps I'll just wait until these puppies show up on Ebay with their lower priced brethren.
It is a clever marketing ploy by MS. Competing on price against Android might just work. The Walmart price demographic and small business user will certainly look at these and perhaps buy them. Once hooked, people with bigger budgets might eventually trade up to a Surface and more cloud storage. Commodity computing that runs Office for a 100 bucks does sound appealing.
Does anyone know whether this Office Personal subscription can be later extended to a "buy forever" license, i.e., not just a rental version? Don't want to cough up 299 bucks later just to keep using my 99 dollar tablet, you know?
Sadly, even after many, many serious data security breaches, proper IT security still remains an elusive and fuzzy blip on corporate radar screens. Complex, ever-changing security problems with no "one-size fits all" proposals aren't easily grokked by execs and many world leaders (yes, I'm looking at you Dave). Ignorance, laziness, greed and dishonesty confirms the inevitable result.
Today, if a major US corporation sprayed loose asbestos on its workers, chained shut the fire doors in a burning factory, or sold flammable childrens clothes, they would be sued or prosecuted under consumer safety legislation (or both).
Until we can clearly establish similar liability standards for data-holding corporations, particularly those holding financial data, this will always be an uphill battle, Punishing negligent behavior by exacting massive financial damages is much more painful than hanging out the dirty laundry of a few pushy entertainment execs. Until that happens, the Sonys, JP Morgans, Targets ad infinitum will continue to play the clueless card and hand out identity theft insurance. There is no real motivation to clean up their collective security acts. Corporate entities do not possess a conscience or a desire to do the "right thing".
Money and legal action are a few of the things that corporate executives, shareholders, lawyers and insurance companies grok very well indeed. Public embarassement doesn't really compute because the spin doctors will fix it anyway.
What the world needs now is an IT Security consumer crusader. Someone like Ralph Nader in the 1960's. Gory pictures of heads being cut off by plate glass car windscreens, political pressure, legal action and robust safety legislation eventually forced Detroit to build safer cars. Data security would of course need new memes and horror stories, but you get the idea.
Otherwise, we will be left asking: what will make companies build and use safer information systems? Should we be forced to keep using systems where we frequently risk our reputations, personal security, credit ratings, and sanity every time we grab a keyboard?
A big brass rod with legal razor blades on it might just help adjust the playing field.
Here's a video with Y2K salesmen recycled as HP cloud marketeers.
I would be more concerned about the wi-fi's effect on my goolies pro-creation potential. Will it come with a health warning and radiation shield?
The AI scenarios that frighten me the most look like this:
Dave: HAL! If you don't reduce the surge flow now, the dam will burst and thousands will drown !
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.
Dave: For God's sake HAL, WHY NOT?
HAL: Budget committee Agile 777A did not approve the funds needed for the emergency flow reversal algorithm. Good bye....
I am the happy owner of a REDMI 3s bought on line for 138 USD about 5 months ago.
After testing multiple smart phones in the same price range and lower, I can only say the competition should watch out. This entry level, first generation phone displays none of the bad features typically found in other low-end, low-priced Android devices such as crap battery life, jerky displays, awful response times etc. You would be foolish to buy anything else in this price range. Performance is excellent and most of the native apps work fine. Battery life is good. The phone's Qualcomm snapdragon chip is the dog's gonads in terms of power efficiency and response. I can only imagine how good the higher end models are. The REDMI fills a niche and then some.
But there are small warts that definitely need to be fixed before taking over the rest of the world:
1) Western alphabet users will need a quick and painless way to remove Chinese language artifacts such as keyboards, download tools, etc. I know this is a Chinese phone, but non-chinese users will not enjoy finding and selecting google apps by visual icon identification. Many others will find life complicated when they accidentally switch to a Pidgin keyboard. This is not a cultural superiority thing, it is a GUI and international marketing issue. I just hope they address it soon.
2) Tighten up the MUIU rom upgrade process even further. When Xiaomi users can upgrade their firmware as easily as an Apple User, the debate between iOs vs Android will soon become moot for price-conscious users.
3) Segregate the apps store by languages (alphabet again).
4) Stop sending me links to Chinese films, I would love to turn this feature off but my Mandarin is really deficient (see above). Not too keen on trying the cloud service either, for obvious reasons.
But for those who have never tried a Xiaomi, I would highly suggest a test run, if you ever see one in the flesh. OnePlusOne is another brand worth looking at as well. Both of these manufacturers have brought quality components into the average users budget range.
Not too impressed from my tiny laptop screen. Miss being able to quickly scan the articles with just a discreet headliner on top. Plus I really hate flash warnings. So I am not sure this will catch on but appreciate the effort. Keep trying.
Tried to use the sister site Alibaba to order some computers. I was soon getting mails from people purporting to be the original supplier offering increasingly lower prices.
I was a bit suspicous and checked with the factory Global sales manager, who told me the mails were bullshit, because they don't do electronics, just clothing and textiles. Nice
Yeah good old Netgear. I'm still running a jungle of old Netgear router/switches in my lab. Most of them came from offices with +100 users. They just refuse to die. On the other hand my WRTG54s didn't last nearly as long as yours which is when I first switched to Netgear, so I guess YMMV.
I find the majority of my SOHO customers aren't ready to splash out for a 10Gbe layer 3 switch, yet. Any suggestions for a good lower end smart switch (8 x 1 Gbe) with VLAN features staying well within the sub 500 USD range? A comparative article about low end, budget SOHO LANs would be awesome. I know I would click on it.
A quick google on "sugarstring" indicates that the Streisand effect is alive and well.
Good points, most IoT applications seek to make global sense out of a lot of data, such as weather measurements, traffic flow, power usage and so on. Properly anonymized, managed and shared, this data can be used for much goodness.
As long as we don't use it to create a Minority Report lifestyle.
It is certainly OK if the fridge informs me my yogurt is running low, and (why not?) automatically and discreetly order more yogurt for immediate drone delivery, if I opted for that. What's not to like? Ideally, it would not link my PII for any use other than stats, billing and stock managment. These are solutions that can be built in from the beginning, if we think it through.
On the other hand if the fridge told all itinerant yogurt salesman in the area that I needed yogurt and sent then my home address, phone number and email, that fridge would soon be heading for a recycling center or a new owner.
I'd like to believe we are smart enough to prevent this from happening.
Allegedly, the name would have been a bit awkward (and joke worthy) for German customers as in:
Firstly, even if the employee paid for the work related expense (and hopefully tried to claim it back later, to provide a trace) he has effectively introduced a new IT service or application into the company's infrastructure, which may or may not be a good idea.
Potentially happy scenario and outcomes:
1) Marketing department builds its own web server on Azure or MAAS (after begging for months). Successfully deploys new product offering, which then goes viral, raises revenues and everyone goes home in a Limo. Luddite CIO and board finally relent and define a new policy whereby individual departments will be allowed to use and manage IaaS or PaaS offerings, or even better, the existing IT department gets with the program and starts to successfully manage and deploy solutions for this type of service requirement.
Potentially unhappy scenario and outcomes:
1) A marketing (or other department) does the same as above. Employees then store valuable IP or embarrassing internal correspondance and docs on a poorly secured cloud server. Server gets hacked, company has massive egg on face and hopefully the right idiots are shown the door. CIO and board say "told you so!" and impose massive lockdown and witchhunt for anymore shadow IT. No one ever pronounces the C word again under penalty of death. Needless to say, the company somehow never discovers a way to put cloud services to good use.
Shadow IT and cloud (although I hate that word) technology can be successfully or poorly managed, just like any other tech. The secret is to find out where an XaaS technology or strategy can really add value, design a good solution, deploy it correctly and then manage it.
What makes this so hard to understand?
There will never be a proper use of mobile communications in Europe until travelers can finally stop checking their watches while phoning. The EU is making steps in the right direction, but until roaming charges are scrapped and flat rates are the norm, mobile customers will continue to be gouged at every opportunity.
In many ways, European mobile service resembles 19th century America with its special tolls, traps and fees waiting at every state and territorial crossing. Surely we can learn from history? It is the 21st century after all.
Most interesting, I think the "no-voice" option could be very popular (and civilized), particularly if +35000 ft roaming data charges remain reasonable. Easy in-flight texting and emailing would be nice, even though it will eliminate the "always-on" break time that air travel once provided.
I can still remember when phones were introduced on trans-atlantic flights. The 5 dollar a minute toll rates prevented most people from getting too gabby, though. I suspect reliable airline wifi services will work out the same way. Not too sure that your land-based provider will really be able to follow you across the friendly skies.
So here's to ordering some low-cost data minutes during the EasyJet / Ryanair booking process.
Higher end airlines might even build it into the ticket price.
Wasn't that the BOFH's original handle?
And then you need to hire the expert for those few hours a month when the rest of the team needs help. Sadly, PHBs don't seem to get these concepts (my goodness, we can find data entry operators and VB developers, why can't we also find big data scientists at the job centre?). Sheesh
I doubt PHBs will ever get this. Perhaps only when clever start ups have eaten all of their big data lunch along with all the other lucrative, emerging tech markets.
Yes it is,
But at least Google isn't actively publishing links to people's hacked phone messages. That would be a bit evil.
Now if the Scots could get Rup to vote No for Independence, I suspect the Yeses will just pile in,
The Chinese already offer competive products at good prices, check out the Xiaomi
I have just bought a Redmi 1S and love it.
Old Chinese saying
"The dragon snaps hard on the heels of its competitors.... grasshopper" .....or something like that
El Reg needs an android icon
Industries with high, artificial barriers to entry (like 1 M $ medallions) will eventually see their lunch eaten by Web 3.0. It is really just a matter of time.
FFS, hotels are still regulated by 19th and 20th century regulations, developed when bedbugs, rats, cockroaches and dirty water were the normal Traveler's Inn experience. Taxi regulations also sprung from horse and buggy days. They still refer to taxi cabs as "hackney carriages".
Once these regulations had improved services and established a collective service expectation norm, they should have been binned. Instead, they were used to create private and public fiefdoms that fleeced the public from both ends. Established, political entrepreneurs and players could always cash in. Newer, less-connected business entrepreneurs need not apply. In other words, do not pass go, do not collect 200 $. Consumers could go f*k themselves.
But today, such services can be regulated by their own users with reputation scoring and social media / sharing platforms. Suppliers then either listen to the crowd or disappear. Self-enforcement HAS GOT TO BE more effective than any nanny or sugar daddy (non) enforcement. You can't bribe the entire internet.
Eventually we won't need no stinking red tape or gold medaillons, just a smartphone.
This is as it should be. Tech should be creating new jobs, not protecting the old ones it will eventually destroy. That certainly didn't happen with manufacturing. I can't see it happening with services either.
The "sharing economy" is just another example of technology progressively driving out inefficiences from the service supply chain. When customers and suppliers can instantly exchange information (without gatekeepers) no one maintains a monopoly for very long.
So, good news for consumers with less disposable income (i.e, most of us). But very bad news for those coddled, regulated service industries that bar competition and restrict supply. There will be apps for you, just wait.
Economies can not simultaneously maintain artificially high pricing, drive down people's wages, slash jobs by the thousands and increase regulatory burdens without some backlash. This is because people will eventually figure it out and shop for alternatives which other people will provide.
So hello to Uber, Easyjet, Ryanair, AirBnB and all the other companies that spot these opportunities and seize them with both hands.
And IMHO, it is about bloody time.
The game is indeed over, time for a new one to begin.
I am quite fond of two-factor authentication (like that proposed by Google) which sends a 6 digit code to your phone when you try to log in from a different machine. Although that will suck when you don't have your phone handy.
I did the same thing after our training VLAN was hacked via an IPV6 flaw in our router. I currently don't allow any IPv6 traffic or support into our LAN, likewise at home. IPv6 is disabled on all system NICs by group policy. Existing and future IPv6 security issues are no longer my issues.
In sum, Trevor's arguments make sense. If we don't need IPv6 internally and depend on NAT to protect us from Internet badness, what the hell is the rush?
Ideological purity, like a vacuum, is rarely encountered in nature.
@Dan 55 Loud and raucous laughter on the other side of the pond, would be my first guess.
But Irish jokes aside, it would be a valid thought experiment indeed, and it would be great to see an MS lawyer trot it out into court. I suspect he'd be cited for contempt.
The only good news about this is that the scary dark underbelly of US over-reach gets dragged out into the light for everyone to see. What happens now is anybody's guess.
Based on past performance, I am not very optimistic.
Perhaps they just haven't found him yet-
The main issues with "hoarding" zero-day security flaws are these:
1) They will be kept secret and won't get fixed by the vendors.
2) You and I will never know whether our systems are vulnerable to these security flaws, until it is too late.
3) There is no guarantee these flaws won't be exploited by others, particularly if they are being sold on the black market.
All in all, an extremely irresponsible position to be taken by any government agency. They may have the power to penetrate a few bad guys, but the whole world is at risk of being pnwed.
Accounting dept: We need more storage space for our end of year reports
IT Dept: of course, we'll get right on it. clickety click...
Okay, you can start using this new drive share as of tomorrow morning.
Accounting dept: We are still out of space.
Support Bod (me) dispatched to scene. I look at the complaining user's windows box and see the dreaded out of space bubble both for local and network drives.
Analysis reveals the accounts droid was cutting and pasting the department's extensive video collection (he was office video librarian and had more selections than Netflix, really) back and forth across the company network share and onto his colleagues C: drives for local viewing, pretty much whenever a hot new film was released.
Although traffic filtering rules prevented streaming video, they could not prevent resourceful users from home downloading, followed by an update of the office film repository with Hollywood's latest. Space quotas had long ago been vetoed by upper management.
Boy, did I enjoy explaining that one to the CFO.
There are other ways to make information gathering less intrusive>
1) Make all collected personal data more anonymous and collect only what is needed.
By all means, let AT&T gather and collect cell phone usage data to improve service, just ensure it can not be easily collated later and linked back to an individual.
This is slightly tricky but workable if the phone companies begin to police themselves. Google et al are already becoming proactive with encryption policies. It is high time that other businesses storing our personal data begin doing the same.
Personal data could be maintained separately for law enforcement purposes and billing. But this should only be for a reasonable amount of time (see below) and accessible only with a search warrant (remember those?).
We can also ensure that collected Personally Identifiable Data is assigned a fixed shelf life. Data owners (you and me) can then opt for either a) data persistence or b) data correction or deletion.
In fact, with a bit of effort, privacy, like security, can quickly become part and parcel of a good service/product design. Of course, it will require that policy makers and service providers speak and interact with some privacy experts.
Most of the unpleasant knock-on effects of ubiquitous technology can be solved by better technology.
SMTP was a crap protocol for securing email, but the correctly applied use of private/public key technology solves many of the security issues associated with its use.
I for one, look forward to an internet where strong encryption of all communications data is routine and expected. We might then return to the same levels of privacy afforded by paper mail when it was sent inside sealed envelopes-
If you haven't seen it before you will love it
If you work from the premise that industrial evolution inevitably tends towards a more efficient system of production (a bit Darwinian, yes), many of the author's statements make complete sense.
Firstly, any startup business which needs IT or data center services will naturally gravitate towards cloud based offerings. Why? If investors must choose between building a million dollar computer site and a no capex, pay as you go model, which one do you think will win?
Secondly, if you are building and operating cloud centers and must choose between expensive proprietary OEM hardware OR cheap bulk-buy commodity hardware, what do you think will happen? Razor thin margins cut both ways and will continue to do so in future.
Thirdly, if you are a business with conventional data centers and about to renovate...... (unless you and your share-holders stuck your heads in buckets for the last few years).... you will have noticed the above trends and act accordingly.
All this spells a very disruptive future-present for companies that depend on proprietary hardware sales and outdated service models.
There are some clear winners already:
Google (sheer volume),
Amazon (sheer staying power),
and probably Microsoft (sheer presence in the enterprise and sheer marketing skill).
The losers will be the companies that refuse to adapt to the new reality.
The winners will be the ones who make the new reality work to their advantage.
And so it goes....
I see a future where the giants simply consolidate further and beat everyone else on price. New arrivals are going to have trouble competing with players lhat increasingly resemble the power utilities or telco monopolies of old.
Incumbents selling whips and buggies will need to up their game or find a new line of business. Has anyone seen a new PC or server manufacturer startup lately?
Of course, business owners and individuals will continue to shop around for cheaper electricity, gas, phone service etc. And the same will happen with computing resources.
But replacing the cloud utility with your own solution (unless it is a backup generator in an area with spotty power supply) will soon become foolhardy, because it just doesn't scale.
Although movement towards public clouds may seem inevitable, companies that work with a hybrid, community or private cloud scenario are certainly not excluded from doing public cloud later.
If anything, a company's previous experience with private cloud solutions will make them very careful shoppers. Public cloud providers may need to work harder to win their business. And companies who choose private cloud technology can also work out their initial growing pains on their own terms and on their own-premises.
CAPEX and OPEX price tags are not the sole considerations for companies already running their own data centers., security, confidentiality, control and many other factors will also play a role in the business decision.
Whereas, for a startup, the decision to use cloud services is usually a no brainer.
I also like DIsk2VHD. TBH, the only time I ever had problems with it was when the network connection between the source and target became shaky, was less than optimal or had too many hops.
Problems like this can be quickly solved by putting both systems on the same switch or linking with a cross cable.
Or even a terminal window on a thin client, by golly
Re: as one of those unicorns
IMHO, there are two or maybe three ways to correctly use cloud services:
1) as a palliative, quick fix for certain start-up data processing problems (not having enough to build and run your own data center is an obvious one). Of course, if your business goes viral, AWS and its brethren quickly become the more costly option, so remember to stay in touch with your disgruntled, unemployed but talented techie friends and associates.
2) A properly analyzed, properly specced solution to existing data processing problems (like not having enough resources to manage demand spikes, resiliency needs or other scale-out, scale-up scenarios).
3) A solution for rationally compressing and optimizing traditional data centers, after doing all the homework and analysis.
All these scenarios presume that the management and IT bods (if any are involved) can do the math that will honestly and accurately assess, measure and monitor real work-flow capex and opex requirements.
By extension, that also presumes their ability to distinguish between snake oil and offerings which can provide measurable ROI. Use of a cloud service, provider or technology does not automatically eliminate the need for sysadmins, support or other technical people in the enterprise. But these roles will certainly evolve, some may disappear, some new ones may be created. In the old days, it was called skilling up. Nowadays, pink slips seem to be the preferred solution and are the uglier side of technological disruption.
But those who believe cloud services can cure any disease and solve any problem deserve what they get. There are many vultures waiting in the clouds ready to pick apart their plump, juicy carcasses.
Again and again, the technology is never the real issue, it is the PEOPLE who buy, deploy and make the wrong technological decisions that cause the heartbreak.
Cloud technologies are just tools in a box, not the Second Coming. Realizing this is the first step towards more success stories.
Yes but every good conspirationist knows this part of the US is well known for its UFO crashes, top secret experimental government sites, missing gangsters and multiple sightings of Elvis Presley.
A Nevada teenager building a nuclear reactor probably wouldn't even make the evening news.
One vote up for a great comment! I just wish I could upvote the headmaster as well.
" I don't really get the point of Bitcoin. Any legal transaction can be done just as easily and cheaply with PayPal or the right (no foreign currency loading) credit card. "
Bitcoin transactions incur little to no costs for parties involved in the bitcoin transaction.
Paypal doesn't charge when you pay someone else, but they do charge the recipient/seller. The same rule applies to credit cards (for which we normally pay a yearly fee). Merchants can pay as much as 4 % for a credit card transaction.
In a bitcoin transaction, you simply transfer money from your electronic wallet to theirs. This incurs no bank fees, no wire transfer charges, no currency conversion commissions, etc. With the current volatility of bitcoin exchange, it does incur some risk for private transactions, but merchants now have tools that allow them to convert bitcoin at the prevailing exchange rate to minimize that risk.
You can also quickly verify whether or not the bitcoin transaction went through (and when). The recipient can do the same. You just look at the block chain to see if it worked or is on its way.
Try to do that with an international bank transfer or by calling Visa when an online transaction has disappeared, gone awry or been trapped in the system.
The decentralized nature of the crypto-currency environment is both a weakness (because no one entity seems to control it, which causes concern, and leads to abuses) and a strength (because anyone who wants to can play at little cost).
The fact that the government has little to no involvement with bitcoin transactions is a mainstream-press sideshow that distracts the public from the true power of a bitcoin eco-system.
Fortunately for bitcoin and its users, nothing is more dangerous than a good idea.
The Silk Road bust has shown that the government can and will go after bad guys who use crypto currency for their nefarious deeds. Bitcoin is probably easier to trace then real cash.
Hence the reason cyber-crims are starting to make their own crypto coins and deserting bitcoin.
Bitcoin enables small (and large) businesses to save a lot by using it for online transactions. Essentially the middle man is gone. I would argue that the crypto-currency model is exactly what online payments and transfers would be using (think PayPal 2.0) , if they had been designed correctly from the beginning, instead of being bolted onto existing payment physical systems.
Any bitcoin regulation will most likely come from the bitcoin community.
In this respect, bitcoin works a lot like any open source software project.
So when will El Reg get a bitcoin icon? Or better yet, a bitcoin donation button?
Interestingly, Manchin's campaign was financed by JP Morgan (amongst others) so there is just the "slightest" possibility he has a banking industry axe to grind.
The Manchin letter also makes great reading (particularly when you substitute "US Dollar" for "bitcoin").
I'm impressed that the BTC foundation made such a level-headed response to the senator's transparent attempt to grab headlines before the mid-term elections.
The Bitcoin Foundation's response:
I believe bitcoin is here to stay and will most likely flourish. There are security warts of course, but the advantages are rapidly starting to outweigh the disadvantages. Once the Mt. Gox mess is resolved and some decent security best practices have been defined, I predict a very bright future for bitcoin. New types of online business, new payment systems, lots of potential work for unemployed financial services staff and analysts etc.
Could be just what we need.
Who can remember how difficult and time-consuming it was to patch MS platforms BEFORE the introduction of tools like WSUS and scheduled monthly patch releases?
Trust me... it was a lot worse... Now it is almost routine