What’s going on with OrbitFront?

OrbitFront-logo-300

We haven’t updated you on OrbitFront in quite some time. I’m sorry. The fact is, the current iteration of the site that has been built over years is utter shit. It’s incredibly resource intensive, prone to crashing our servers, and can take a full minute to load, even with no one but the admins using it.  But we haven’t given up.

We’ve got some refreshing new ideas, and someone with real power backing us. We need to start over. Our current ideas are a little more ambitious than the ones we have previously shared, but I think we can make them happen. The OrbitFront branding will not be present in the final release, as the concept of a revolutionary storefront no longer really applies to it. Vince Paddon is back in the team after leaving when we closed the site that once occupied this very domain name in 2011. Our concept is still a site about  opinions, but we can’t say much more than that. We’ll keep you posted.

-Tyler

Amazon’s Monopolistic Future

Note: this post was written nearly a year ago on the old theintek.com. Still pretty interesting.

Rumours having come up that Amazon will partner with HTC to make a smartphone in 2014. These are my thoughts of what will happen over the next couple years.

  • Amazon will buy HTC, consolidate it to Seattle and only hardware. The HTC brand will disappear. Currently, HTC is based in Taiwan and has their North American headquarters in Bellevue, the ultra-corporate satellite city of Seattle (the other satellite being Tacoma, which is known for its distinct pulp aroma). It would make sense to ditch all the failing executives and software developers and only bring the hardware people to Washington. That way Amazon and the former HTC can work side by side.
  • Amazon will create an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator – basically a company that resells a carriers service, like Net10). T-Mobile would be an obvious option, as another Bellevue based company. Monthly prices will be cheap, think $30 a month.
  • Amazon will integrate it’s device with the Amazon Prime membership. That gives them an extra $80 a year per user and makes the customer more likely to use Amazon services because they’re paying for them.
  • The device will be cheap or free with advertisements on the lock screen, and the MVNO won’t have a contract. Only Amazon or Google can do this because they get a percentage from every app, film, or book you buy on the device. That said, Amazon Prime puts it at a prepaid 1 year contract to start with.
  • It will be good hardware, but they won’t be selling the specs.

This puts Amazon as the single company that provides everything for your device. Something not even Apple has. You pay them for your service, and therefore they can see what you’re doing on the device and dish out advertising based on that, or even stop you from getting out of the Amazon eco-system. You pay them every time you buy any content. You pay them anytime you view the device with ads. The only thing that would end this limitless power on their customers would be anti-trust laws.

In Defense of Bitcoin and Cryto-currency: a response to a prediction

Note: this post is several months old.

In the past few weeks cryto-currency has had an amazing ride. Bitcoin, which traded for $12 one year ago, suddenly spiked to $1200 after several months of stagnating after a bubble popped this past summer. In a recent article by Edward Hadas of the New York Times’ Dealbook, it was declared that Bitcoin and cryto-currency was doomed to fail from the start due to being a “private currency” that is inherently right wing. I disagree.

 

Bitcoin has no central authority. The creator is unknown and despite what the article suggests, isn’t in charge of dishing out currency. Anyone that wants to be part of Bitcoin can (provided they’re well off enough to be riding on the internet, obviously). There are a total of 21 million Bitcoins, and thousands of computers are doing complex algorithms to mine them. Once the 21 million are mined, that’s it.  However, Bitcoin can be divided into infinite parts, so it can just deflate further.  They’re found in 25 Bitcoin blocks (currently worth $29,000), which can take a computer years to find.

 

Naturally, collectives called pools show up. Pools are networks of computers working together to find blocks and share the reward. Finding blocks gets more and more difficult as they’re discovered, decreasing supply while keeping up demand. While the average computer is no longer powerful enough to hash out (literally – that’s the term used for mine speed, such as gigahashes per second) coins, application specific USB and PCIe devices have been created to let anyone get started for a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. Markets, such as Coinbase, buy Bitcoins from owners and sell them to buyers. Wallets store bitcoins. They can be either local, or in the cloud, like coinbase. Every wallet contains a record of every Bitcoin transaction ever, making counterfeiting all but impossible.

 

The nature of Bitcoin is very democratic. A year ago anyone could just run a program on their computer for a few weeks and they’d have thousands of dollars today. Anyone can create their own exchange. It’s the best example of organized anarchism ever. Anarchism is not a right wing view. It’s down, not right, on the political compass.

 

Hadas mentions says “The authorities, especially in the United States, first allowed banks to act almost as if they were in a right-money world, lending and speculating wildly. That led to a typical right-money disaster — a sudden loss of trust and the failure of leading institutions.”

 

Bitcoin doesn’t have this problem, as everything is peer-to-peer and final.

 

Hadas might be right. Bitcoin might be doomed. But it’s still the future.