Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Photos from Avalon in Sydneys last big swell

My friend Bob McTavish sent me these photos from a mate of his down in Sydney.. I looked around to see who owns them and am happy to point people at the right place... top one is Avalon main beach in monstrous size.. Ive been out when you had to jump the rocks ie no paddle out possible but this looks much bigger...
And the shot below looks like it is South Avalon at the pool... good grief! 10 foot only 30 meters from the pool... thats what it looks like anyway.

Encryption and the Quantum computer freight train

Quantum computing is clearly the next phase in computing progress. It's the difference between having a vocabulary of two (Yes and No ie binary) and being able to use millions of words to calculate and communicate... faster, more accurate, efficient and powerful.

The problem is that anyone with the advantage of a Quantum computer can totally overwhelm someone relying on old YES/NO technology.

Enter Encryption.

It's current role is to scramble information so that the processing power of someone with a key can unscramble the information millions of times faster than someone who does not have the key but has to guess it.

Quantum computing means that key finding is so fast that encryption as a protection is almost pointless.

But Quantum computing (that uses qubit rather than bit) is only coming in the medium term future isn't it?

We are a decade off at least... right?

Well for a relatively long time IBM's 5 qubit Quantum computer was considered the ceiling for the near future, but just recently French scientists successfully ran a 15 qubit computer... while this is exciting for computer engineers, for cryptographers this is a nightmare.

To illustrate. If this progress continues a 300 qubit computer is feasible. A 300 qubit quantum computer could use more computational states than there are atoms in the known universe. On that track a 1000 qubit computer could break any encryption at any time with little or no effort.

So how do we counter this? How can we operate without and information constraints or privacy?

In the long term, this will need a major initiative. Very serious.

In the short term, the answer is a carefully designed security architecture. Architecture that is not dependant on particular flavours of encryption but allows advances in encryption to be easily plugged in and out as they become victims in the the ensuing quantum vs encryption battle.

At this rate it may be possible to break into pretty much every standard encryption system used today within 3-5 years. HTTPS will no longer be secure.

Here are some facts to keep in mind:
  • Quantum computing is very strong at specialist tasks ie finding prime numbers in a specific range. But not good at general computing yet.
  • A modern laptop can simulate a Quantum computer of up to 40 qubit capability! So it is still early days. Ref Economist.
  • Quantum computers are finicky and temperamental so will probably be first used by big state, academic and corporate organisations, then by well resourced criminal organisations then eventually by individuals.
  • The NSA, CIA and FBI will probably be using them long before we hear about it. The advantage of the Quantum computers encryption cracking capability is too big a prize not to exploit.
  • Quantum cracking of encryption will be traceable. I am working on, developing and refining a Quantum attack detection system for use by our team in staying ahead of these developments. For details please feel free to contact me but I will discuss this advance only under NDA.

  • If you don't want someone to see something that you have stored digitally... don't put it out there... at all.
  • If its important, make sure the encryption you use is Quantum resistant... ie NOT RSA.
  • Store your important stuff on your own devices that can be detached from the net if needed.
  • Watch the movie "The Imitation Game" to get some insight into what happens when someone assumes they are secure and then has their security broken. Good operators will not let you know you have been broken until years after the fact. Quantum code cracking will be happening long before anyone knows about it publicly.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Greenland ice sheet melting has started early

How Sad.

From SMH:

Greenland ice sheet melting has started early: "In a year of startling data pointing to a warming world, the thin blue line in the chart below of Greenland's ice melt was initially dismissed as just too outlandish to be accurate.
Greenland is home to the world's second largest ice mass, containing enough water to lift average sea levels about seven metres if it all melted.
The early-season melting of Greenland ice has scientists worried. Photo: Daniel Beltra, via Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago)
So in early April, signs that the giant ice sheets were melting at least a month earlier than typical during the three decades-plus of reliable records stunned scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute."

'via Blog this'

Monday, April 25, 2016

Microsoft sues US government over gag orders on customer data grabs

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Good logic in this article... how is a search warrant for your house different to a search warrent for your cloud storage... in both cases you should have to be notified. Those who know me know that I am not political so this is about common sense to me not a political statement.

Microsoft sues US government over gag orders on customer data grabs:

Orders that prevent Microsoft telling their customers when they're being surveilled are becoming more common, according ...
Orders that prevent Microsoft telling their customers when they're being surveilled are becoming more common, according to Microsoft. Photo: Bloomberg
Microsoft has sued the US government, arguing that a law that can be used to prohibit technology companies from telling customers when law enforcement comes looking for their data is unconstitutional.
Microsoft's lawsuit is the US technology industry's latest high-profile challenge to the reach of law enforcement into cyberspace, coming a couple months after Apple fought an FBI order to disable an encryption measure on an iPhone connected to a mass shooting.
The company's case, filed in US District Court in Seattle, challenges a law enforcement tool Microsoft argues is being used in a way that violates its rights and those of its customers.
When law enforcement agencies get a warrant to grab emails or other data stored online, they can request a court order that bars internet service providers from informing the user that their documents were seized. Microsoft has received about 5600 federal demands for consumer data in the last 18 months. Almost half were accompanied by such secrecy orders.

Read more:
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My best bet on the FBI iphone break in technique

The news has been speculating on how the FBI has broken into an alleged terrorists iPhone and after thinking about it a while here is my guess...

Here is what I'd do:

1. I'd take apart the iphone and make a flash copy of the memory of the iphone.
2. Then Id run up one hundred flash copies of the original image in its original state.
3. Then I'd test three of the possible 10,000 combinations on each individual image until each individual image self destructs. Thats three hundred attempts in each cycle.
4. Then I'd keep doing it until I found the combination that worked. That is only 333 cycles to try all ten thousand pin combinations.

Ahhhh, this makes me think of a way to stop this attack... I wonder if Apple is interested in a solution?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The biggest change in computing history is coming this Wed US time

Everybody, I have had my socks blown off.

An end to monitors and iPhone screens is at hand...
And the tag "Augemented Reality" does not do it justice...

1080 screens suspended in space around you. Holographic 3D images in front of you... using a touch screen that is floating in front of your eyes...

Really, really fantastic stuff.

The technology goes live Thursday Sydney time, Wed US Pacific time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Imagine if Australian Dollars could be Bitcoin-ised

Imagine that!
You could send a twenty dollar bill to your mate or your Mum by email or SMS.
A shop could show its SMS phone number and you could pay by sending the money from your phone. No card, no waiting to see if the card cleared... no merchant fees... no web site and forms to fill out.

Web sites could have only an SMS number for you to send the money, your delivery address and the name of the item you want to purchase... a new age of simplicity and immediacy.

What's more the Reserve Bank of Australia actually wants this to happen.

Imagine what would happen to the value of the Australian currency if anyone in the world could use it for International transactions?

Just imagine. No question as to the value of what's in your wallet.. er... ah phone. You pay $20 you get $20 worth... the real power of Bitcoin is when it is used as a token for a physical currency not as a currency in it's own right...

Another opportunity for BitToken™.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bitcoin is dead. Long live BitToken™

This will no doubt end up being one in a series of postings about Bitcoin.. er um Blockchain... er um that new technology all the banks and finance investors are excited about.

Try this quick quiz:

  • Is Bitcoin different to Blockchain?
  • If so what is the difference?
  • Is one a currency and the other a trusted ledger?
How irritating all this is... here are some quick facts.
  • The Bitcoin system, uses both Bitcoin's (as the item of value that is traded) and Blockchain's (that is the ledger that keeps track of who owns each individual Bitcoin at any given time.
  • So why use the term Blockchain if it's simply a part of the Bitcoin system? Because people hate associating a fantastically powerful mathematical system of trust with the baggage now heaped on the shoulders of Bitcoin due to it's association with Drug Dealers, Terrorists and the Dark Web.
  • Most of the noise surrounding Blockchains is the rudimentary and rather boring excitement around using the blockchain for archiving all kinds of irrelevant information... 
  • 90% of the news surrounding blockchain that I read is puffery.
Here are a few other very important facts:
  • As a currency Bitcoin is failing. A universal currency that refuses to be recognised on a large scale by anybody that matters will never make the Bitcoin a reliable measure of value.
  • But as a system of trusted transactions that defies attempts at centralised control it has survived attacks from every state, state agency and financial institution bent on breaking it. 
So what do we do? Bitcoin has proven itself, but is dead as a standalone currency. So how do you exploit it?

  1. Rename the system for what it really is... a representation of value and a humongous trusted transaction system.. NOT a currency... ie rename Bitcoin. 
  2. Call it what it really is... BitToken™.
  3. Now rethink how to use Bitcoin as a BitToken™(ie as a Token representing something of value) and the world opens up before your eyes...
  4. Replacing anything of value with a BitToken to allow free and secure trade.
  5. Here is the top 6 things that I have applied BitToken™technology to....<blank>
Have I left you hanging? Good. 
In coming days I will be filing patents for multiple applications of BitTokens but in the meantime here is a bit of news.. as of Friday 19th Feb 2016, I am the proud owner of the trademark BitToken™.

Living in a glass house

Last month I did a blog article about the concept of a glass house. I was surprised by how many people have an opinion on the matter and also how many people thought it was a crazy idea. And now I think it's worth the effort to explain some of the thinking behind my position.

First of all a key fact is that the glass being used is industrial skyscraper type tempered glass with three layers so it has incredible installation and strength characteristics. Another factor is that industrial glass like this can apparently be shipped quite cheaply from China. For example a 2.5 x 1 m sheet of R43 glass (ie bushfire proof) can be purchased in lots of 200 units for about $80 a sheet which is really quite amazing.

If you add the ability to frost the glass using an electronic impulse you have the ability then to turn on privacy at a moments notice and to control light and privacy to any panel of glass in the house.

In my own case I am ultimately looking to build a house that is in a very high risk fire area and where our neighbours are not close by. So it makes sense for us to be able to have a house that allows us to enjoy a maximum view of the surrounding trees without significant concern for privacy from nearby neighbours.

Another significant design decision is to go with a completely air tight house design. In fact you will have to go through an air lock to enter and leave the home... this design feature comes from Europe and is designed to completely control humidity, air freshness and temperature.

Living in Byron Bay would typically not present a problem of extreme temperatures, but as this summer proved, humidity is a major problem... even though we only had a few days over 30 degrees celsius, we have had a month of high twenties with 80-90% humidity which has been very unpleasant without air conditioning.

A closed loop circulation system would keep the internal temperature at 19-22 degrees celsius with a relative humidity of about 40%. The Mrs also plans an indoor waist high garden bed which can also be used to stabilize the humidity in the house.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Inspiring business advice from Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferris of "4 hour work week" fame does an audio blog every week that is often full of gems. A recent example is his interview with marketing guru Seth Godin. Here are some great takeaways:
  • Most people who think they are entrepreneurs are not entrepreneurs but freelancers. A freelancer does work for pay. They want to set up a web site or a business idea and get their money back. An Entrepreneur is a builder who puts people and resources together to build something that makes money by itself without the need to work in the business and then can be sold for multiple times what it cost to build.
  • Seth does a blog that he adds a story to every day. The flow of ideas and tidbits is amazing and really worth tracking.
  • His method for blogging is to use his blog site writing tool (typepad) as a trigger for switching into the mindset of writing for his specific audience.. people who are looking for entrepreneurial inspiration, guidance and advice.
Maybe I could follow this thinking here in my own blog. The most important thing when writing continually is to have a clear picture of the audience so I will give this some thought and then clarify my audience in the right-hand column so that it reminds me every time I come to write on the blog who I am writing for.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Experiments in 100% glass housing

As the insulation capabilities of commercial glass has increased the ability to cover more wall space with glass rather than traditional wall materials has become more viable.

Personally I have swung between extremes of trying to make shipping containers work as a great home design to now looking at commercial high rise glass as another alternative.

How about tempered or triple glazed energy efficient glass at $30 USD a metre?

Why not?

I have been experimenting with the idea of a completely enclosed living space with an air lock to capture energy loss and open window policy that only allows opening when the outside temperature is within 2 degrees + _ of the chosen internal temperature.

Internal greenhouse garden, humidity management and air circulation with heat exchange and ground water based cooling.

What is missing is light management

I was looking at moveable internal walls but settled on the idea of glass walls with electronic privacy... except for the prohibitive current cost it should come down shortly...

Cost $500-$1000 per metre square for smart glass

This link (see above) shows how a bathroom would use the technology.

Even for the roof?

Why not? If the glass is strong enough for bush fires and structural application then handling a falling tree or hail stones should be possible right?

Here are some other ideas that have popped up during my research:

  • A global house wide privacy panic button for when unexpected visitors or intruders approach the house.
  • Multiple power circuits where one circuit may be left on at all times, a second circuit can be shut off for long periods away from the house and another circuit that is turned off whenever you leave the house.... the idea is that the main switch is next to the house entryway and that power can be conserved wherever possible.
  • Using Passive house design and combining it with internal gardening techniques (Karen is an avid gardener) means that we can have in side generated oxygen and humidity regulation
  • There is a couple of house designs I looked at but haven't been able to re-find that are very interesting. 
    • One used a big central house sized rock in the middle of two wings of a house as a heat sink to warm the house in winter and cool the house in summer... that looked very interesting. 
    • The second used a pool of water and a garden in the sun facing side of the house as part of the air circulation and humidity control capabilities of the house... as I recall it sounded very similar to the passive house concept except with a garden integration thrown in...
Note: This design is not for urban applications but more so for rural or outback application where the dwelling is at least partially protected from the sun by surrounding land forms or forrest.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lara AI - a focussed exploration of artificial intelligence

After watching the film Her it really hit me that, the real breakthrough for Artificial Intelligence is the day that an AI assistant starts working with and supporting a real life assistant in getting important things done.

In real life, I jokingly call my office manager Lara my boss. She holds everything together for me... but one of the frustrations of our work together is involving her in my activities to the degree that she/ Lara can automatically take over things that don't need my input, but at the same time not demeaning her by getting her to do things that are convenient for me but are boring and repetitive for her.

For example, having Lara listen in on a phone call so that she can take notes and list follow up items is a good use of her time, but having her call people and get them on the line for me smacks of the old Mad Men secretary days.

So what does this have to do with AI and the project I have named Lara AI? Well, what if I ask Lara to spend part of her week doing everything for me? Making calls and listening in, reading my emails for me and summarising them, making replies... all the things that you wish Apples SIRI really did!

But then, what if you had an Artificial Intelligence algorithm listen and watching everything we both did?

At first it would just listen to Lara and I interact. Then it could start to look for web sites we mention so that they could be shown to Lara in real time. Then it could recognise telephone numbers to call and start making Lara's life easier.

Thus started work on the project I am calling Lara AI in honour of my boss :-) / assistant and in recognition of the work we will be doing over the next year as we make this project work...

Here is how I see it working:

  • Initially I will just have an ear piece like the character in "Her".
  • When I tap/ activate it, Lara (the real Lara) comes online and interacts with me.
  • If I'm not using the earpiece Lara can notify me of important stuff... she can ask, "Can I interrupt you?" "Sure..." "Tony just sent an important email about the funding closing, can I read it to you?" "Sure."
  • I would only interact with my iPhone to look at photos or read specific texts, but most of my interaction would be through Lara.
The Lara AI would start to learn:
  • When I summon Lara, Lara AI would answer for her in Lara's voice.
  • Lara AI would get Lara's attention to take over but in the mean time, Lara AI would be transcribing my request for information and trying to do whatever I ask while REAL Lara comes online.
  • Gradually over time Lara AI could handle more and more tasks... calling people, making sure they are on the line before I speak to them, reading emails and texts to me. Summarising news and collecting information for me.
What's really interesting about all this is that it becomes apparent in this scenario that the days of the iPhone are numbered. The personal device we know as a phone becomes an interface to Lara where she shows me photos and graphics from time to time but most else comes to me through her...

Exciting stuff...

Update: The password replacement project

A lot has happened since the SMH article last year. Here are some highlights:

  • A company was incorporated to commercialise the technology.
  • I have partnered with a respected co-founder
  • We have been working in the banking industry
  • The technology is officially working
  • We have an initial customer
  • We have secured funding
  • And will soon have an experienced CEO in place to roll out market entry
Why all the secrecy? Well there isn't really, its just that with this project, that we have called Haven, we have opted to quietly go about executing. Also the fact that the players involved are all significant well known people and institutions, it would be improper for me to speak for them in my blog.

That being said, when the time comes it will be really exciting for me as this project is by far the fastest moving most successful project I have ever worked on.

Solving the shark problem

Byron Bay is a marine park sanctuary. Its the marine equivalent of Africa's Serengeti, although quite a bit smaller! This fact really hit me when I first started having a go at solving the shark problem for our beautiful corner of the world.

The beaut thing about wildlife parks is that you can see the Lions and Leopards at a distance before they get close. You can jump out of the car, take photos, enjoy the landscape and feel safe.

When the dangerous wildlife is a half kilometre off you can start moving back to your car... at 100 metres you can start the engine and close the windows and then move if you have to... but the healthy respect for wild animals is not terrifying.

Now if that Lion or Leopard was somewhere in a sea of tall grass, and you had no idea if it was 3 metres away or a kilometre... now that's scary.

And this is the problem with sharks. They are beautiful, powerful animals, but when they sneak up on you there is not much you can do.... and when great whites come from deep water at 40-50km/hr there is not much chance for you, whether you are wearing a magnetic bracelet of a high powered electromagnetic shark repelling system!

So the mandate of the solution I am working on with the help of Lara Alberd from my office and the energetic and enthusiastic Kirra Pendergast, is to let people know when sharks are nearby and then let them get back in the water as soon as it is safe.

I first started talking to Byron's Mayor Simon Richardson about the shark problem  some time ago after we lost our neighbour to a shark attack at Clarke's beach just in front of the Beach Cafe in pretty shallow water.

What a good man he is.

With limited resources we talked about the problem and explored possibilities. What came out of those discussions were really good principles. For example having quadracopters following Lion prides around the countryside may be safe but it is just a painful exercise and expensive. UAV's, Jetski's and helicopter surveillance are the marine equivalent and  they all just send the wrong message... they remind people that something dangerous may be out there.

Nets are even worse. What use is a wildlife sanctuary where the fences can't tell the difference between dangerous animals and everything else. According to public information from the government 84,800 animals have been ensnared in Queenslands shark net system. Since there are only approximately 1,100 great whites on the east coast of Australia according to the CSIRO and since Great White, Tiger and Bull sharks represent the main danger to humans, then Netting is a pretty horrendous way to solve the problem. Netting would make Byron Bay an aquatic moonscape.

There is a lot in the design we are working on but the most important features are to detect when a shark is nearby, inform people and then allow them to get back into the water and enjoying themselves as soon as the wildlife has passed by. And to do this discreetly, without making a big deal. No big floating bouys dominating every photo of the Bay!

At this time we are about 60% sure of a solution. There are some really promising candidate technologies and we are testing them and researching them at the moment. Things are looking promising.

Since I am full-time working on Haven (the password replacement system), I am deeply indebted to the help and work of Kirra and Lara in keeping the project going while I contribute as I can.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Life size Lego blocks for actual building projects

About 6 months ago, Pete Symms, a friend of the family approached me about the idea of using life size Lego blocks for building projects... We discussed all kinds of interesting ideas and angles on the concept.

For my own part I started to research how to set the building block connection PINs so that there is pressure between the blocks to induce an airtight seal that would do away with the need for cement or another sealing agent...

Then sadly I started seeing articles about people using the idea for a range of situations... well good on them, but the problem is that none of the solutions fully exploit the strong advantages of Lego type building.

Plus, the Lego system has seemed to have taken a different direction since I was a kid. Back in the day, Lego was about buying multi purpose components and doing all kinds of things with the same set of bricks.

Today, Lego seems to be like a simplified Ikea where the user actually builds something specific from a specific kit...

Also no one has seemed to treat Lego building as a structural/ load baring method. This would require a simple way of adding reinforcing and also allowing commercial grade attachment of wall structures to flooring and foundations...

So there is still room for a real world solution here...the other area I am intrigued with in the concept is insulation. How to best use the cavities inherent in the design of each block for the most effective and cost efficient insulation.

What about recycling? Or the use of plasticised ceramics? or pressed wood chip?
My limited business instinct says supply the initial batch in green colour and focus on outdoor sheds and play houses for kids then escalate to more serious projects as the certification issues are explored and addressed.

I like the 200mm x 100mm x 100mm for factor used in the wired article... easy to transport, easy to handle, large enough to be structurally strong and easy to visualise as a one day project for a shed after putting down a level floor...

Yet another example of an inventors dilemma. You find yourself dreaming up an idea, then go through the heartache of finding someone else has done it, but then on investigation you find there are key reasons why the way that others have done the invention is not practical in practise.. so do you bite the bullet and compete or do you put it in the too hard basket?

Maybe more tinkering will make the way forward clear.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Can home based hydro-electric power work? Calculate for yourself!

I've been sick at home this weekend noodling over whatever can distract me from feeling sick and did an interesting Virtual proof of concept. I invite you to do the math with me and tell me if my thinking is wrong or not but I think it is possible for many of us to have our own hydro electric power scheme!

Why would I want one? It's not about generating power... its about storing it... even if you have a 4kWh solar panel setup you can still only run it during the day. The point of using stored water is that it can be used like a battery. But unlike a battery a water tank and water turbine has no dangerous chemicals and is much easier to maintain than a bank of batteries. Tesla recently announced a solution in this field but even at 15-20k I still worry about having all those batteries stored in the garage... so here goes the math.

Hydro power (watts) = the mass of the stored water (kg or litres) x the water flow (litres per second) x the distance the water drops (metres) x gravity (9.8 metres per second squared) x the efficiency of the turbine (larger turbines are 90% efficient)

(see )

To put this in perspective an average Australian home uses 18.1 kilowatt hours of electricity.
One kilowatt hour is equal to 1,000 watts being used up over an hour. To put this in every day terms 18.1 kilowatt hours is the same amount of energy as running 10 old 100 watt light bulbs for 18.1 hours a day.. that's how much we use on average each day.

So to supply the same amount of electricity from a hydro scheme we would need a minimum of 18,100 watts of power delivered over 24 hours which is 750 watts per hour. So here goes the calculation.

If we have 1000 litres of water (1,000kg) and drop it 1 metre at a rate of 1 litre a second with gravity and a 90% efficiency then we would generate 1000L*1M*1 Lpsec*9.8*0.9 watts or 8,820 watts!

OK so we need 18,100 watts over 24 hours so we need the power/ water to run 24 hours and the 2.5 times the power we are generating above. The water above would last 1000 seconds.. and there are 24X60x60 seconds in a day... 86,400! mmmmmmm

So if we increase the stored water to 10,000 litres and reduce the flow from 1 litre per second to 210 milliliters of  water per second then the figures look like this:

energy in watts (target 18,100) = 10,000*0.21*1*9.8*0.9 = 17,640

And the water would flow at the rate of 210ml per second which is 13.2 hours ooops.. we need 24 hours so back to the drawing board.

To make 10,000 litres last 24 hours the flow rate is a maximum of 115ml per second so if we make the drop 3 metres we should have it... lets do the calc.

energy = 10,000 * 0.115*3*9.8*0.9

Wow that 30,429 watts so lets dial back to 2m drop

energy = 10,000 * 0.115*2*9.8*0.9
ok we now have 20,286 watts

So that's it... I think!
a 10,000 litre tank with a hose that allows a 115ml flow per second dropping 2 metres with a turbine that is 90% efficient should supply the power for a normal household for 1 day.

So how do we get the water into the tank in the first place?
Solar, wind turbine or wind pump (see Amazingly some windpumps can consistently pump 6400 litres of water per hour in a 24km/h wind so even a medium breeze for 3-4 hours a day may keep the tank topped up...!

Maybe the killer idea is to run the power mains to a pump to keep the main tank filled and only use mains when solar, wind or windpumps don't cover the lost power.... mmm am I not calculating this right?

Tell me what you think... maybe Im not thinking this through properly... Please comment below or on Facebook.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Open Letter to Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard,

Ever since I first read your book "Losing my Virginity" I have been fascinated by your simple approaches to complex processes and your personal productivity. Thank you so much for sharing what are obviously private thoughts. Thank you.

Now to the purposes of this letter. If by a great stroke of luck (and your forbearance) you do see this letter, I would love to know some of the answers to these burning questions I have asked over the years. I'm sorry if you have answered them in other places but I haven't been able to find satisfactory explanations. So here goes:

About the Virgin Group ?
  • Lots of Aussies, what qualities attracted you to have them on your Group team?
  • How does Virgin Group keep cash flow if equity is the main goal of the business?
  • Is there any equity sharing with the team in Virgin Group?
  • Is Virgin Group cashed by bank loans, or was there initially investors that were then bought out?
About building new Venture Teams?
  • There seems to be a practice of scalping talent from other Virgin companies. How do you do this without causing partners in in the scalped companies (the company you scalped the talent from) from getting upset? For example if you take management from Virgin Atlantic how would you pacify Singapore airlines concerns about scalping talent?
  • Is your model to bootstrap with Virgin Group (to get equity) then to find a partner for finance and operational experience?
About Personal System (Note Books and Lists)
  • Where do you keep them if you travel so much? (I presume in your mezzanine library at Necker?)
  • Have you considered digitizing them? (ie: scanning) 
  • Have you had pressure to hand them over to lawyers for discovery in court cases? (I have had to and they were ruined)
  • Do you keep daily “to do” lists in your notebook?
  • How many do you go through in a month?
What is your support system? (ie: how do you delegate?)
  • How involved are your assistants in running your life? For Example: Do you dictate messages for them to send as emails for you?
  • How do you remember who is to do what….and when?
  • How are your assistants organized? By company or by location, or both?
When interacting with Key people?
  • Out of the time you spend with them, how much is face to face? (in terms of % of total hours)
  • How much is social?
  • How much on the phone?
  • How much sending emails?
  • Do you use dictation recorders?
  • s there a difference between how time is spent during Startup? Market entry? Maturation?
  • It has been reported that Rupert Murdoch used to do four yearly cycles, travelling to his his key offices.
  • What is your routine?
  • Or are you the seat of the pants?
Mr Branson, if you do get to read this then I would presume that some of these questions could only be answered confidentially to avoid 3rd parties using the information for unintended purposes. I will gladly contribute $10,000 to a cause of your choice to pick your brain privately.

Thank you so much for visiting. It’s a real honour.
Thank you kind sir :-)

Ric Richardson
ricricho at gmail dot com

Ewingsdale Road Peak Traffic Congestion Plan

Typically I wouldn't get involved with local problems as I really try to apply myself to solving problems for Industries and everyday general users of technology. But the problem in my hometown of Byron Bay is getting so chronic that I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring.

The problem: To enable emergency vehicles and selected public transport, such as the sports ground to CBD shuttle, to have direct and uninterrupted access to the full length of Ewingsdale Road. Note, this is not an ongoing solution but simply a recommendation for the busiest parts of the year namely the last week of the year going into Jan and during big peak periods such as Bluesfest.

The solution: To temporarily on an “as needed” basis, or at a reasonable time table, stop the outbound traffic from the CBD so that the outgoing lane can be used (temporarily for 10 minutes or so) for incoming emergency or shuttle traffic. To do this by placing traffic lights that face the outgoing traffic and asks them to stop and pull to the side of the road for 10 minutes so that emergency or buses can get access to the Byron CBD.

Here is an example scenario: The happy bus leaves the sports field on the hour between 8am and 7pm on peak days. The bus driver has a remote trigger for a series of red lights that are spaced from the roundabout in front of the Byron Police Station to the OziGo intersection on the way out of Byron. Each red light has a sign that says "On red light please pull to the side of the road until a green light is shown". As the bus driver goes past each red light the driver sets the light to green to allow traffic to start behind him or her as he proceeds towards town.

  • Ambulances police and emergency vehicles do not have to run the gauntlet of oncoming traffic.
  • It will strongly encourage the use of the CBD bus service. Image the PR value of having a bus pass you in the line when you have been sitting there for 40 minutes!
  • By the way free bus passes for locals would be good!
  • Have the police use it from time to time to catch abusers!
Survey:Just below I have included a survey of visitors to the site to see what the consensus is... its OK if you decide to "Tell me I'm dreaming :-)" but its better to know one way or the other. Please note this is not a political activity, just an exercise in common sense that if supported may be put to council.

(See more details below) If you want to support this initiative there is provision to add your email to the proposal in a form below.. thanks for visiting.

What do you think of Ric's Traffic solution?
Definately need something like this
Give it a go Ric. It may just work
Nice try but not realistic
Tell him he's dreaming
facebook poll

Implimentation: To do the above I imagine that there will need to be temporary traffic lights and instructions to pull to the side of the road at these locations:

  • Just before the roundabout at Lawson street on the way out of town just past the railway tracks.
  • In front of the Caltex/ Woolworths Petrol station
  • At the Sunrise side road
  • At the OziGo intersection
The ability to remotely control the traffic lights is assumed but not a big deal if not currently available as I can see exactly what's needed.

Depending on the results of the poll I will know whether or not to formally follow up on the idea so tell me what you think and thanks for visiting. If you vote please check back as I will be wanting to get your help to push this through if enough people are interested.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The secret way to get stuff from the US - from SMH

I tried to talk my brother who lives in California into running a business like this 3 years ago but he never got excited about it. These Aussies are doing $1mill per year with the same idea...

Since then I have been toying with the idea of a town consolidation model... ie pickup locations where larger multi-person shipments are shipped from the US to an address in a local town (ie Byron Bay) and people who wanted cheap shipping group together to get one consolidated package shipped...

For it to work the goods must be non deteriorating and the recipients must be happy to wait for the full order by weight to be completed before the shipment can go off... so a person wanting a pack of batteries must wait until 80 kg of other orders are made to have the goods shipped.. but that way they may be only paying 1-$5 per kg shipped.

From SMH:

MySmallBusiness is running a selection of readers' favourite stories from 2014 over summer. This is one of them.
What do a life-size collectable ET toy, a statue of Medusa, a toilet for a caravan and a plane fuselage have in common? Well, nothing, apart from that they are some of the unusual items that Australians have requested from the United States.
Australians want to purchase some items in the US because they can be up to 80 per cent cheaper.
Cheap American goods have proven a boon for Sarah Madigan and her partner, who started the company US to OZ three years ago.

A study by Deutsche Bank in 2013, when comparing Australian prices with US prices, shows we pay twice as much for a pair of Levis, up to 30 per cent more for an iPhone, more than 40 per cent extra for a packet of cigarettes, and cars and hotel rooms are often double the price.

Cheap American goods have proven a boon for Sarah Madigan and her partner, who started the company US to OZ three years ago.

"Essentially, we are a freight forwarder," Madigan says. "If a US retailer won't ship goods outside of the US, our customers utilise our US address for the delivery. We then reship direct to the customer in Australia for a small fee. We enjoy high-volume discounts with most of the carriers, keeping the shipping costs as low as possible for our customers. Over 12 months ago, we expanded our offering to include sea freight, which is an economical option for large and heavy items."

Of course, US to OZ is not the only freight delivery service and companies like Amazon have been delivering products to our door in Australia, albeit, very slowly, for some time. However, US to OZ differentiates itself through price.

"We try to provide a cheaper shipping option," Madigan says. "Amazon's international shipping rates can be quite expensive, and if you purchase multiple items, they may ship in multiple shipments. Our advantage is that often shipping is free within the US, and we can consolidate all of the customer's items into a single package, making the overall cost cheaper for the customer. Amazon is also prohibited from shipping many brands outside of the US.

"Recently, we shipped out 19 pairs of children's shoes for a customer in Sydney. We removed all of the individual packaging free of charge and her total shipping costs came in at $5.88 per pair. She posted on our Facebook page that she saved 'between $600 and $1000 on that shipment alone'. All of the shoes, except one pair, retail between $70.99 and $79.98 in Australia. She paid anything between $14.99 and $32 a pair."
Madigan's business grew through the frustration of wanting to mail items back to Australia after returning to the US in 2010.
She decided that she could make a business out of it and at the end of her third year, the business has turned over more than $1 million this financial year.
"Shortly after launching the business, I sent my husband off to Target in the middle of a snowstorm to collect a doll for a customer's young daughter who was about to celebrate a birthday," Madigan says. "He wasn't thrilled about making the drive in the dangerous conditions in over a foot of snow, but we didn't want the customer to miss out on the item that wasn't available for purchase online.
"I sent my customer a photo of my husband shovelling the snow off the driveway and she was so thrilled with the level of service she posted about it on a forum called OzBargain. That was back in February 2012, and we have received so much business from that glowing review and the subsequent others that people have posted on a variety of different sites."
With the Australian dollar falling, US to OZ may suffer as a result, but Madigan, who hails from Perth and had a career in finance winning awards for "banking salesperson of the year" with Macquarie Bank, is a step ahead of the game.
"After an increased amount of interest from non-Australian customers, we decided to set up a secondary business, Freight it Forward, to assist non-Australian customers," she says.
"Despite the new expansion, we remain 100 per cent committed to US to OZ and our Australian customers."
Madigan says it is a big advantage being an Australian-owned company, as Australians like to deal with their own.
They also like "good old-fashioned customer service", a lesson Australian retail shops should learn in a hurry if they want to remain viable.

Read more:

The secret way to get stuff from the US:

'via Blog this'

Monday, December 29, 2014

Revealed: the encryption tools spies can (and can't) crack

With the experience I have had over the years of having my privacy breached by lawyers in "discovery" for court cases I have been made keenly aware of how personal information can be inappropriately used and abused.

Some make sweeping statements about not having anything to hide, but its amazing how information can be twisted and abused.

In the Microsoft case I had two highly paid Microsoft lawyers grill me about what they thought was some damning evidence that turned out to be an amplifier design for hall that I was doing volunteer work at. Its not about having things to hide. Its about how information can be twisted to serve any purpose an intruder wants.

On the other hand we want to live in a civil just society so there is argument for both sides but I for one like to have some say over when and where people get access to my personal information. This article is an eye opener.

Revealed: the encryption tools spies can (and can't) crack:
'via Blog this'

Jeremy Howard: The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn

I've had a few people tell me that this video is disturbing but I find it fascinating... its is really worth the investment of time to have a look at this to understand machine learning (also called Deep Machine Learning) and its impeding impact on modern life.

'via Blog this'

Jeremy Howard: The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn | Talk Video |

Friday, December 26, 2014

Apple Pay works in Australia, if you have the right card

Interesting to see the reality of what happens in trying to role out a ubiquitous solution for something as complicated as merchant services.. Make me think that Quickpay (a project I am working on at the moment) has a solid chance of becoming a large scale solution.

Apple Pay works in Australia, if you have the right card:

'via Blog this'

Sir Richard Branson Proves the mighty power of the lowly notebook

I'm a chapter or two into Sir Richard Branson's latest book and seeing yet again how powerful his simple practise is of keeping a notebook for all his meetings, ideas, lists and life. This practise continues to serve him well and yet again I am forced to concede the simple practicality of his system.

Ever since I read "Losing my Virginity" his first book, I have been trying to work out how to achieve his success with notebooks with firstly a Palm Treo then my iPhone... but the fact is that the organic immediacy and handiness of a notebook trumps all...

Over the years I have cycled in and out of periods using notebooks for a number of reasons...

What really stands out in this latest book is his discipline in writing down notes after meetings and also some thing he alluded to in this latest book... he talks about how he recalls details from months ago to use in meetings so he must practise the use of carrying the last 2 or 3 notebooks with him at any given time as a reference...

So with the lessons learned under my belt i am going to try to fine tune my take on the Branson Notebook system by doing the following:
  • Keep up to 3 months of notebooks with me all the time. 
  • Make a point to do detailed notes and action items from each meeting or important phone call 
  • Try not to use my notebooks for roughing and planning so much as documenting and defining... 
Looking back at my notebooks, the pages are full of half drawn patent drawings, random and never finished to do lists and rough scrawls of numbers or words that have no context or "meat" to them.

Let's see how far I get with this system.... with a tip-o-the-hat to the brilliant Sir Richard Branson..

Thursday, December 25, 2014

8 Weeks work cycle life hacking: 7 weeks work + 1 week off

Back in 2007 I conducted an experiment in trying to optimise the length of sustained work over a limited period of time... I started by looking at the traditional quarterly work cycle.. 4 cycles per year with evaluation and planning at the end of each cycle.

But i found that cycle to be too long.... people lose focus and momentum when delivery dates are months away... but the other extreme doesn't work either... in my experimentation I found that less than a month doesn't give you enough room to get major projects achieved... so I settled on an 8 week cycle where the 7th week is used for relaxing and recalibrating and the eighth week is used for planning the next 8 week cycle.

Well Ill never forget the feeling of successfully completing my first 8 week cycle! 6 weeks of intense activity felt like a lifetime but was just short enough for me to push hard with the knowledge that if I achieved my goals i would have a reward week at the end... I went on a 10 day RV trip with my girls as a result and spend the most of week eight planning for the next 6 weeks...

Well life got in the way and I didn't get to consolidate the things learned but sitting here today I realise what a powerful thing it is to know you have a break coming up and the chance to relax and plan, but a real impetus to push through and make things happen within the first 6 weeks of the 8 week cycle.

Well its on again. I'm going to give the concept another try. The technique works like this:

  • Print up 10 pages with 7 days across and 8 weeks down the page.
  • Order the pages in themes: personal/ income/ project 1/ project 2 etc
  • Then devise specific milestones and goals for each theme or project with the intent of getting key target milestones complete as part of the basis for the reward of a week off in week 7.
My pages for the next 8 weeks will be: 1. Master; 2. Theo, 3. Income, 4: Haven, 5: Motion Log on, 6: Quickpay,  7: IdeaMachine,... and two or three others.

Why am I doing this?
Because Inventing is so proactive and draining that its easy to feel overwhelmed and put things off until tomorrow.. but when there is a reasonable deadline and a reward to look forward to (ie the week off at the end of the initial 6 weeks) you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and can push on even if its painful to do so... the joy of doing something constructive on your break and being reinvigorated for the next cycle could be a powerful routine if it can be achieved.

It will be interesting to revisit this post in 8 weeks and report how successful the project was.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Court Case Win in East Texas

Yesterday I arrived home from Texas on a 17 hour Qantas direct flight. The day started with the first day of Jury deliberations for the case of Uniloc vs Electronic Arts... the day ended with a verdict in favour of Uniloc and a dash to Dallas airport to get back home.

I came to Tyler for the case as a witness. It was my first time in court representing myself as the inventor of the 216 patent and it was a real eye opener.

Top things learned was how great it is that an Australian can go to Tyler in Texas and ask the American people for justice from a worldwide respected Judge (The Honourable Judge Leonard Davis) and eight patient and long suffering jurors. I never got to meet the jurors but I did get to say hello to the Judge. After 5 long days it was a real honour to meet such a well respected and even handed member of the judiciary.

The first thing that hits you in court is just how solemn and serious the law process is. Judge Davis has a coat and tie rule so there is a rack of coats by the court entrance. Everyone working in the building has a deep respect for the Judge and even though there is lots of lively argument and counter argument the strong presence of the Judge and the deep respect that he demands for the law and the court overrides any tactics on any side of the issue at hand.

I so often read people off handedly spouting off about East Texas and it's reputation for patent cases but I can tell you the pressure on both the plaintiff and the defendant to make a reasonable, clear and understandable case is mind numbing.

I became part of a team that was sincerely trying to get justice. We had a war room near the curt and the conviction in that room made me feel like a spectator. Every person was giving 100% and totally engaged and the epitome of professionalism. I will do another blog a bit later to thank them all individually but I must say that it made me feel deeply privileged to have been part of that team.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Helped Adam with his Augmented reality patent

This project was really interesting... Augmented reality has been either a military app or an entertainment app.. Adam is using it for a vital real world purpose.. good on him glad to help.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Now know your strengths... the single biggest change to business thinking

If any of you know me will know that I quote this book as being the biggest influence on my business life. It was the instrument that got me to focus on my strengths and manage weaknesses. It was also illuminating given that most Aussies aren't to big on knowing their strengths... it took this book for me to realize what I'm good at...!

Click on it to go to the download for the book if you are interested...

Traction.. a book for people who get product but think execution is a mystery.

Just started reading this... its a bit technical but it works.. really works... this book is a real eye opener to all of us who think that building a better widget will automatically get people to come.

This is just the thing for all the inventors I know... really great book so far.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Help for Rob regarding patentability of an app and how to get the development done cheaply

7/9/14 Rob. W

Helped Rob work out what may be patentable for his app on Android and how to go about reducing the cost of development... he was quoted $100k for his app but I showed him how to use Filemaker as a prototyping tool and to get a working model before getting quotes... Rob is a happy camper.

Click here if you think Ric could help

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A young fellow I helped hits the news

From the Northern Star 2nd September 2014 Congrats Jacob Link to original article A SIMPLE idea for a portable hard drive to back up photos is proving a winner for teen inventor Jacob Clarke. The 17-year old student took out the innovation award at Ric Richardson's Innovation Pipeline event last week, beating five adult local inventors.

The invention, Picstor, is a portable battery-powered hard drive to back up photographs and video. A keen nature photographer, Jacob came up with the idea while on a trip to Tasmania when he ran out of space on his SD cards.

"At the moment all hard drives need a computer, so if you are in the wilderness there's no way you can backup your photos," Jacob explained.

"This is the first portable hard drive with its own power source."

Winning the prize means Jacob has the chance to patent and prepare his invention for manufacturing, with mentoring by seasoned professionals along the way.  "I think one of the reasons I won was there's a ready market for my design," he said.

Yesterday a provisional patent for the invention was filed with help from Ric Richardson, famous for taking on Microsoft in a nine-figure patent infringement case - and winning. "He's pretty amazing, he devoted heaps of time to educate me on all the legal language of patenting," Jacob said.

"I think I'm officially an inventor now," he laughed.

"By the end of this year we're trying to get a prototype made and then we'll start a Kickstart campaign to go towards raising the money for full-scale production of it." Already an accomplished photographer, Jacob said he couldn't wait to get his hands on the prototype of his own invention.

He's won several competitions for his photography and on the weekend did a photo shoot for the social media sensations and singers No Frills Twins for Teen Vogue.

Kimmaree Thompson, CEO of local Regional Development Australia who sponsored the event, said the Innovation Pipeline brought a huge amount of specialised knowledge and business opportunity to the region. "We had close to 50 inventors and innovators from outside the region, and were able to connect dozens of national entrepreneurs with local creative businesses," Ms Thompson said.

Patent Pending in 24 hours

This is the book that I used to learn how to write provisional patents and I highly recommend it. The most important feature of the book is that about a third of it is examples showing the provisional and full patents for the same invention side by side so you can see how much less work is involved with a provisional patent... an excellent tool. If you think it will help you please download it now by clicking on the image

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Visit to Google Today

After demoing the Google Glass privacy shutter at Sydstart today, I built up enough confidence to bite the bullet and just go over to Google Australia and find someone to show the invention to. Luckily on the way out of the event I ran into Murray Hurps from Fishburners and he reminded me of the key people who have interacted with the Fishburners crew from Google. His advice "Talk to Alan Noble (Google Australia GM), but if you get the chance talk to Sally-Ann Williams first".

So I jumped in the taxi and headed of to Google in Ultimo... went to reception and was greeted by a friendly young guy in a snazzy suit, with an ivy backdrop, cool looking rusted Google logo and a misting device putting a calming scent into the air. I asked him if they made him wear the suit, but he said Google lets you wear whatever you want.. he just thought that his dressing up was appropriate for his job.

He subsequently did the rounds trying to get in contact with SallyAnn and amazingly she agreed to see me in about an hours time... I had some lunch and went over to meet her at the Fairfax building. Again I was greeted by a wacky train carriage entry area, scooters and other transport paraphernalia and ten minutes later a smiling SallyAnn. 

I am not going to go into what happened but safe to say it was as positive as I could expect. How many places do you know of where you can call in unannounced and have someone fit you into their schedule on no notice?
Especially someone with Sally Ann's level of experience and responsibility. I hate the idea of ever working for someone but if I had to my first choice would be Google.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Inventor training and advice.. Go Brett

Brett 30th August

Brett wanted advice on how to select the best idea from many & focus on developing patents, prototypes and business plans cheaply and well. We discussed getting basic skills such as patent provisional writing and discussed the book Patent Pending in 24 hours... hes a dedicated inventor in training.. good on him

Click here if you think Ric could help

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is our tech patentable?

28/8 Simon

After a lot of work on a killer technology Simon had no idea if there was a patent hidden in their project... sometimes you cant see the forest for the trees.. within a few seconds Ric knew they had a pretty strong technology going and set them in the right direction... One of the founders also had doubts about patents because the ability to fight infringers needs big bucks. Ric helped them to see that its not the small business that needs to fight patent infringement... its the big company that buys your company that wants to fight infringers...

Cool stuff.

Click here if you think Ric could help

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Byron event teaches how to make the most of crowdfunding

CHECK IT OUT: Inventor Ric Richardson will be one of the speakers at the conference.

CROWDFUNDING - the Reality Check will inspire all ambitious innovators looking to get the most out of their crowd-funding campaigns by teaching them the skills necessary to start their dream projects.

The two-day conference, which is part two of the Innovation Pipeline Series, will provide the tools for local inventors to learn how to use crowd-funding campaigns to test the market and fund their ideas.

The series for up-and-coming inventors was created by one of Australia's most high-profile inventors, Ric Richardson, famous for taking on Microsoft and winning a multi-million dollar settlement for breach of his software patent.

Speakers at the conference will include Richardson and event co-creators Ted Esdaile-Watts and Braden Wilson from Industrial Design.

The founders of Zeoform, a start-up that invented an innovative ecomaterial made from cellulose fibres will share the lessons learned from their crowd-funding campaign while Marcus Schappi from Geek Ammo who attracted backing of $573,760 having asked for $25,000 will also speak.

The first Innovation Pipeline event held in Byron Bay last year was a sellout and numbers are restricted to ensure participants have a chance to mingle with speakers.

Byron Theatre on Thursday, August 28 and Friday, August 29. Early bird tickets $35. Standard tickets $80

Friday, May 2, 2014

Great advice from Richard Branson

--Business Stripped Bare, page 259

Entrepreneurs versus managers

As a small-business person, you must immerse yourself 100 percent in everything and learn about the ins and outs of every single department. . . . And as the business gets bigger, you will have to decide if you’re a manager or an entrepreneur. If you’re a manager, you can stay with that business and help it grow. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to find a manager. Then you should move on, enjoy yourself and then set up your next enterprise.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Microsoft patent victor Ric Richardson working on no-password security breakthrough |

This is the first article about the password replacement technology I'm working on. 

A couple of mistakes but I shouldn't not pick. It's starting to get exciting. 

View down Main Street Fort Worth Texas

I'm here as a witness in a court case but enjoying the city. No graffiti anywhere and all the buildings seem newly rebuilt. 

Asked a local about living standards and he told me the average wage was 60-80k but you can buy a house for 100k! This is not Sydney! 

Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

Friday, April 4, 2014

What happened to the Underground Wireless Power project?

Many have asked me what happened to the project that I was working on for much of 2011-13.. the Underground Wireless Power Transmission project. Sadly, the founders and I separated ways when they decided to follow a competing capital raising approach.

Unfortunately, after putting the level of work that I did into the project and then having this new development forced on me I decided to move on. For the record, I think it's a great idea but needs a killer execution team to have a chance at winning.

Despite the high profile and work that resulted from my involvement, I never expected to be given or claim equity in the project as I felt that the team had enough of a burden to get the idea going than to have additional non contributing hangers-on in the seed round. I would have been involved only if I and my partners were involved as significant investors and controlling shareholders... but that did not eventuate.

Hope things work out guys.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to see Australia.. by flying boat

A friend of mine who is a JetStar pilot and all round Indiana Jones type is also an inventor. Rowan Watkins invented the StopRotor technology which turns a helicopter into a plane and back... it means vertical take off and landing with full speed fixed wing flight speed in between!

Power to him... but back to my story. I ran the logistics of my plans to one day get a Flying Doctor plane (ie a Pilatus PC12) and follow the Australian coast line at 1500 feet to really see this wonderful continent.
Quick as a wink he countered with what he thought was a better idea and I cant get it out of my head.

Get on old flying boat (so you can land wherever you want) fit it out with a double bed and some long life batteries and a bit of a kitchen and really experience Australia.
Can you imagine a double bed in here? Looking out the buble windows of a night time?

How much do you think? A Pilatus costs 2-3 mill and 1.8 mill second hand. How much for a floating home? $345k US!!! A pity they dont make these beautiful planes any more this one was made in 1944 so I'm a bit worried about my maintenance skills... but what a wonderful thought.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What is the underlying value in BitCoin?

I seem to be seeing a lot of people questioning the value of BitCoin as a legitimate currency. The proponents of the currency don't seem to be doing a good job of explaining it... now I'm no economist but for some reason its pretty obvious to me how it works...

Here goes...

All trading standards resolve back to the basic principle of scarcity. Wheat is not as highly valued as gold due to scarcity. Scarcity is the result of demand exceeding availability. If Gold was as plentiful as grass it wouldn't be used as the basis of trade. All trading mediums are a surrogate for a much larger set of traded goods and services. A days work gets 500 pieces of paper called a dollar. That five hundred pieces of paper buys a few days rent and some groceries.

With BitCoin the scarcity is defined by the limited number of coins that are in circulation. The fact that there is a community that is willing to trade in what amounts to unique numbers is no different than a community that wants to trade in piece of paper.

The reason that dollars are called currency and technically no longer can be called money is because money is by definition linked to the gold standard. 1 Gold coin use to equal the equivalent value of that gold in terms of how much it weighed. When paper money came in, the gold was stored away but each dollar was valued at the equivalent weight of stored gold. Since most money systems became currencies and started being traded based on international trade demand (ie scarcity) the gold standard has become meaningless.

I may be wrong about this, but this is the way I understand it all and hope it helps you to make sense of this new digital currency thing thats happening... I'm waiting to see how it gets abused but its inevitable that it will stabilize and become a real currency.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Microsoft's Concept of How 2019 Will Look Like - Official Video

Some interesting concepts here... especially the use of a touch surface for remote screen control... allows a small hand space to be used to navigate a large screen area. Kind of touch-pad-ish but with smart apps running under your fingers... and the digital ink/ paper at the end... that seems to have stalled of late... wonder what the roadblocks are...

Smarty Ring - yet another wareable computer - interesting form factor

I actually like this idea more than a watch... it seems easier than having to use your other arm to answer calls interact as you would with a watch... well done guys... I hope you get the $40k you are needing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ric's Top 5 Predictions for the Next Few Years

What does the future of tech hold?

Here are Ric's top 5 predictions for big technology breakthroughs in the next few years:

  1. Healthcare tech - especially carer centric healthcare technology
  2. Wearable computing - especially head gear like Google Glass
  3. 3D Printers - they will change everything
  4. The localisation of the Internet
  5. Personal Information management and Privacy

These are the technologies I see coming fast down the pipe and going to influence our lives. There are others that I am looking at strategically or personally but I thought these were worth sticking my neck out over. So here are the details:

Carer-Centric Healthcare
Healthcare is the buzzword for technology focus in the next few years as the generations of the 50's and 60's start to hit later life and the world's population starts to age.
    Advances in healthcare are reaching a critical storm as sensors and Internet enabled devices match with advanced software to enable people facing old age to manage their own health better and to help overburdened carers do their job more effectively while allowing people to stay in their homes and out of aged care longer.

Wearable Computers
Think Google Glass... or the predicted Apple Watch. Yes Wearable computers are coming. There is resistance to this development but much of it is generational. Kids are going to gobble this stuff up. They are more connected than ever. The same way that gen X took up mobile phones at many times the rate of gen Y, gen Z will do with Wearable Computers.
    This will also be accelerated by really cool software applications that are only starting to evolve. Predictive or contextual software will drive adoption even faster.

3D Printers will change everything
At first it will be anything made of plastic less than 100mm x 100mm x 100mm. Then it will be Aluminium. Then wood, then chairs,   then buildings, then prescription drugs. Next year key patents blocking high adoption of 3D printing technology will expire and the race will be on.
    Everything will be produced by local or even in-home 3D printer setups. I'm looking forward to art pieces made out of cellulose fiber and reproductions of old 'out of manufacture' Dinky toys. The world's first 3D printed home is just about to be made in the UK.

The Localization of the Internet
The Net has given every little business the opportunity to reach out across the globe to find customers... which is a fantastic thing. The net has not been so good at telling you what is available in your own town or suburb.
     It has also been pretty dumb at showing you interesting stuff that surrounds you right now if you don't know how to look for it.
    The coming Internet of Things, a new type of Bluetooth device and push location services will all converge to make the Internet more local than ever before and return value to the businesses and shops that are within your immediate area. I am personally working on a few of these projects and the future looks bright.

Personal Information Management
People are starting to worry about what FaceBook is doing with their pictures and private comments. Murmurs of discontent about the NSA and the CIA accessing your emails and cloud storage areas are starting to get louder.
    Add to this, the opportunity that exists collect, present and store information for yourself instead of having others mange the data for you.
    Want to know your bank account balance but don't want an app publishers having access to your account. A new bread of self managed software will allow your own personal server to collect, collate, present and notify you WITHOUT having the data go to a software developers storage area. This is the advantage of Personal Information Management Software.

Do you agree? What are your predictions? Feel free to comment below and join the conversation...
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