Showing posts from September, 2017

We are being had by Facebook and Google

The business model of Facebook is to get paid by serving advertising to you and me - the ads that show up in your NewsFeed in between posts and ads on the side panel. The more time we spend on Facebook, the more ads we "pass by", the more money FB makes.
So if I were Facebook, I would work on setting up my algorithms in such a way that people spend the maximum amount of time on FB. I would find things that make people stay online longer and post more. Posting a pic of a flower or your meal will get a few likes that take less than a second to click on and then we move on. But arguing and "debate" - well that is endless.
If I were FB, I would set the algorithm to show me posts which I am more likely to "engage" with and these days that means argue and disagree with. I would make it so that if on a thread of comments somebody has called me an idiot or a "moron" in the past, those should be the posts that I see first. Because it is more likely ther…

Understanding Bitcoin, Ether, cryptocurrencies, blockchain and "distributed ledger"

Here is a PSA for anyone confused by Bitcoin this, Bitcoin that, "cryptocurrencies", "blockchain" and all that.

First of all, you do not need to understand what "blockchain" is any more than you need to understand how your iPhone identifies you by your fingerprint. It is underlying technology serving a purpose.

Second, you do not need to understand anything about currencies. Later, you may but to understand the fundamental concepts involved which you can explain to a 12 year old, you don't.

So in order to avoid that let's start with something that is not money at all. Imagine that there was a ledger (a book with records) in which ownership of every piece of land was recorded. Each parcel of land is uniquely identified and it says next to it who owns it. There is such a ledger - it is called "land registry" or "cadastral system" and just about every country has them. Many of you have bought and sold property and are familiar wit…