Showing posts from 2017

Should you buy Bitcoin?

"Should I buy Bitcoin?"

This is a question I've heard a lot the past few weeks, so I'd like to quickly answer it in a public forum.

My official answer is:

"You should spend no more on Bitcoin than you'd be comfortable putting into a Vegas slot machine."

As far as I'm concerned: Bitcoin is not an investment.

Bitcoin is a speculative, risky commodity gamble.

If you do choose to put some chips down, remember that Bitcoin (BTC) can be subdivided up to 8 decimals places. Although fees make it difficult to trade very small amounts, you can easily trade down to 0.001 BTC, which at publishing time is worth about $15 US Dollars (USD).

So at least you're not required to put a large amount of money at risk to play the game.

Coinbase, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges (where you can trade "real money" for Bitcoins) recently sent out an email: "Please invest responsibly."

This might as well read: "Please gamble responsibly."


Capitalism only works if there is competition

Everything I'm going to write here seems painfully obvious to me, but apparently is not well known.

I've read many recent articles and comments that seem to herald "free market capitalism" as the answer to every problem in society.

They all seem to miss one critical factor though.

Capitalism only works if there is competition.

This seems like a very simple, bland, undeniable statement, and yet as I write it, I hear the collective sound of thousands of people picking up their torches and pitchforks and heading in my general direction.

So -- Who disagrees with this statement? Please put up your hands.

Now, how many of you that raised your hands understand economics?

And I don't mean the philosophy or political nature of economics.

I've read Atlas Shrugged cover-to-cover and I'm not talking about the type of "political economic philosophy" introduced there.

I'm talking about straight up basic Microeconomics and the theories, math, and pretty gr…

When did software go off the rails?

As CTO of The Rumie Initiative, I spend a decent amount of time trying to find tech solutions that offer "the most for the least" in terms of computing power vs. cost.

There is one thing that has baffled me in my long career in technology.

Hardware capability increases exponentially, but software somehow just bloats up, using the power and space, without providing much more functionality or value.

Computer specs from the past 30 years

YearExampleCostSpeed (MHz)RAM (MB)Storage (MB)1977TRS-80$599.9520.0040.61981IBM PC$3,000.0050.0630.21982Commodore 64$595.0010.0630.21985Amiga 1000$1,295.0070.2500.91990Amiga 3000$3,000.0016

Fear, or Hope?

It's Sunday, May 7th, 2017, in the evening.

In less than 48 hours, we'll have a good idea of how the 2017 BC Election is turning out.

A mere two months ago, I was nominated to represent the BC Green Party in the BC NDP stronghold of Port Coquitlam.

I must admit, at times, I am finding myself filled with some fear, doubt, and confusion. Fear of the worst. Doubt about our strategy. Confusion over how it has all unfolded.

My confusion stems from the BC NDP's strategy.

After spending the first half of their campaign firing missiles at the BC Liberals, the second half has featured them launching a full nuclear assault at the BC Green Party.

Thankfully, my NDP running mate has not (to my knowledge) participated in this barrage, but I've seen very nasty behavior in many other ridings, especially on the island.

The BC Liberals are running a classic neoconservative campaign, yelling loudly, and trying to scare people about losing their job, or having to pay more tax.

This is s…

"Jobs" is the wrong metric

There's an old business saying: "What gets measured gets done."

Politicians love to talk about jobs.

Even better, how they are "creating" jobs.

But is "number of jobs created" really a good metric to be tracking and optimizing for?

Short answer: No.

Why not?

Some of the most urgent problems today are:

Wealth inequalityEnvironmental pollutionAn aging populationAn increasingly unhealthy populationAn increasingly uneducated population Does "creating jobs" solve any of these problems?
No, and in some cases, it makes them worse.
We need true education, innovation, and technology to solve these complex problems, not dead-end, part-time, low-quality "jobs" that sometimes pay less than being unemployed.
Let's start setting and measuring some education, health, and wealth gap goals, and see what gets done.

Trudeau: Implement PR, or prepare to lose

This is an open letter to Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

January 23rd, 2017

Dear Justin,

You seem like a cool guy.

We don't have a lot of time, so I'll get straight to the point.

In 2015, you made a very specific promise (which is still online -- kudos for that). It reads:
"We will make every vote count.
We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system."
Time is ticking away, and so far you haven't made very many positive steps towards moving to a PR (Proportional Representation) system that would truly satisfy this promise.

Late last year, you released a survey that seemed to be designed to confuse people rather than find out what they really think.

More and more, it looks like the Liberal government is preparing to renege on its promise to "make every vote count."

I assure you, this would be a huge mistake.

If you decide to keep FPTP (or implement some mushy non-P…

Foreign expressions

Over the years, I've picked up a few interesting expressions from places I've lived that I've incorporated into my everyday conversation :)

People are often confused, so here are the explanations.

Texas / Atlanta / The South

Usage: Abbreviation of "you all" or "you guys" or "yous guys"

"How are y'all doing today?""What about the rest of y'all?"
New Zealand
Pronouncing many short vowel sounds as "ee".
Examples: "Builder" = "Beelder"The name "Ben" = "Been" France
"Comme vous voulez" (pronounced: Come voo voo-lay)

Usage: When you don't really have an opinion. Literally: "As you wish." or "However you like."

"What do you want for dinner tonight? -- Comme vous voulez.""Should we invite the Jones? -- Comme vous voulez."
The Caribbean
"Yah mon"

Usage: Affirmative / Yes (in a casual tone)

"Are you…