Posts

Federation Credit

 "The economics of the future are different” Jean Luc Picard He adds that money doesn't exist in the 24th century. However, we also know that Dr McCoy used the Federation Credit to pay for passage on one star ship. The economics of Star Trek seem remote and, of course, it's fiction.  This week El Salvador decided to make Bitcoin an official currency . El Salvador also uses the US Dollar. Countries are moving away from cash and going digital. China has introduced a digital national currency . Android has Google Pay. Apple has Apple Pay and, in the USA, Apple cash using their own branded credit card.  The disconnect between physical money and the transfer of a digital asset is moving faster by the week. Most of the west has been using paper money as a form of currency for hundreds of years. Replacing the practice of using metals such as gold and silver. Paper money needed to have some link back to gold and silver for a long time to be considered equivalent. As we move to dig

A right to repair

 One of the funny obsessions I have right now is the YouTuber Hugh Jeffreys . I have been a casual watcher for a while but recently I have been getting more and more satisfaction out of his videos. His premise is simple. He gets an old bit of technology, a PC, Mac, phone or something else that has been damaged. Sometimes its not even that old. Then he repairs it on camera.  My interest comes from building PCs. There was a time when the only way to afford a PC was to build it from parts. Buy an empty case, a motherboard, a cpu and out it together. You could save a lot money and you got to understand how they worked. The economic case for building PCs declined but gamers still build their own PCs. Over time PCs just worked and dramatic changes were less. Applications no longer needed a better processor every six months.  The new fashion is repair. Instead of throwing away a broken device, why not repair it? There is a good reason. Manufacturers would like you to upgrade. They would like

YouTube Alternatives

 There are two aspects to YouTube . One is the element of self-publishing and cat videos. The other is the creative space where people now run entire businesses on YouTube. Their channel subscribers and advertising revenue shares mean they are full time YouTubers.  The problem is that all the power is in the hands of Google . Google can demontize a YouTuber. They can suddenly get no money for a stream. A channel can be closed down. The metrics and algorithms can make your videos less visible. The power is with Google.  Out of this creators are looking for other places to present content. The ones I have found include Nebula and Odysee . Nebula is a subscription service. You don't subscribe directly but you get it free when you pay for CuriosityStream . At $19 per year you get a documentary channel and a creators channel. The creators on Nebula are often YouTubers that use the platform for longer form videos and things that would not bubble up on the YouTube algorithmic searches. Y

Windows 11 after all

 In the world of rapid development cycles nothing stays the same for long. Microsoft have now moved Windows 11 testing into the more stable "beta" channel. I am still nervous about moving my PC into a beta environment but I am a long time user of Windows, professionally and personally, so what happens to Windows matters to me.  The Windows Insider programme has three levels of entry. DEV. This is the most frequently updated and buggy version released for public comment and testing. BETA. A version for professionals and enthusiasts to see what is coming next with a less frequent update schedule and fewer problems.  RC. A release candidate version. The last version before formal release of a production ready product. A version for businesses and developers to see what the next released version will look like.  All of these will provide feedback and telemetry to Microsoft. The beta channel is most suitable for people who want to feedback to Microsoft on how Windows 11 is really

Windows 11 or Windows 10

  Windows 11 has been available to Windows Insiders since launch. Being a Windows Insider means that you switch on more Microsoft telemetry data and you test new versions of Windows before they are released to everyone. The good news is you get the very latest Windows that it's possible to have. The bad news is that the Dev Channel and Beta Channel have buggy versions of Windows.  If you have a PC that you use every day and is important then you should not put it on the Insider programme. You should use a different machine to avoid your main device being unusable. The problem with that approach is that you are not testing in a real scenario. From that perspective using another PC that is not used for normal work is going to be mis-leading as a test machine. If you just want to see what the next Windows is going to be like then using a non-production machine, or a virtual machine, is fine. To do real testing you need your production machine updated. If you really go for it then ma

Windows 11 - The Open Platform

Image
 Windows 11 has been announced . In a virtual global livestream, the current head of Windows Panos Penay, showed off the new OS.  This is a consumer Windows. The main thrust is to make Windows look "modern". Modern is always an ill-defined word for Microsoft, but it seeks to frame using a newer version as "modern" and everything thing else as "old". Obviously, from a marketing standpoint, everyone wants to be "modern".  There is lots of eye candy to make it look beautiful. Under the new screens it is a variation of Windows 10 plus a lot of the 35 year legacy of a mature operating system.  Consumers haven't been shown a lot a love by Microsoft. The core things consumers care about like music, video, mobile phones, personal tech, speakers, instant messaging and social media have been abandoned or de-emphasized. When WindowsPhone was discontinued you had to take the extra step of downloading apps on an iPhone or Android device to access Microsof

Retiring Alexa

 Alexa has been fine. In 2017 I decided to buy one of the earlier smart speakers. At the time I would have preferred to get a Cortana enabled speaker. The Invoke speaker was something I looked into. The Invoke was designed to work with the Cortana virtual assistant from Microsoft. I owned a Windows PC, a WindowsPhone, used Microsoft services. The natural thing was to go for the Invoke. The one problem was that the Invoke speaker was only available in the USA. It assumed US regional settings. This included things like the voice and understanding transport from the perspective of car ownership. It also didn't understand that weather should use celsius in the UK. In the long term Microsoft had no interest in smart speakers and it disappeared from sale everywhere.  The choice in 2017 seemed to be Google Home and Amazon Alexa .  Privacy worries play into this. Whatever the choice these devices will have microphones in my home. Google seemed to be cheap, privacy invasive and poor sound