Coming soon! – iBeacons

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iBeacons-Coming to a venue near you soon!

It seems to be on the lips of every marketing agency, it’s the buzzword of the year, it’s the retailers recurring fantasy come true, it’s the ….  ” but …  but……WAIT a minute!!  surely it’s just a bit of technology and it’s got some obvious retail and other public space applications”. Thanks Homer.

iBeacons use Bluetooth 4 technology to broadcast messages to Mobile phones. The iBeacon itself is inexpensive and mobile. They can be put almost anywhere. Imagine you are at a rock concert and the merchandiser wants to get a message to all the audience in front of the stage, or arriving in their thousands at Wembley Stadium… but how?.. what about pairing?, what about distance and …..hold on there fellah !  with the iBeacon there’s no need to have paired devices and the range is typically greater than you would associate with standard Bluetooth, up to 50 metres at the moment. Imagine the potential  where the beacon could reach every one of the tens of thousands of people walking down Wembley Way towards or away from the stadium. The possibilities are many and varied for selectively blatting a message to these passers-by as they exit a game, hungry, thirsty and tired perhaps. Hotels/restaurants, bars , burger joints and hot dog vans  alike will be able to entice people with direct marketing appeals at specified events  turning it on or off like a tap as their facility fills to capacity…………..or their beer runs out….ibeacon2

When will this “hit the streets” so to speak? Well…that’s a good one, it’s definitely about to land in a significant way, in fact, 200 million iOS devices can already serve as transmitters and receivers  – yes, Apple have built in  the technology and it’s called Apple iBeacon into the iOS7iPhone operating system.  To be clear, the Apple iPhone beacons are two way iBeacons for receiving a signal and for transmitting.  There are other,  third party beacons, which simply act as transmitters of data /messages which are received by the iPhone and numerous Android devices too including the ever popular galaxy range from Samsung.

…. Any more objections?  Yes sure, what powers these iBeacons?  – great point, they are low energy, have self contained power source – (cell battery!), so can be installed and left alone (low maintenance) and are thought to have a battery span of about 2 years…. since they work on pulse rather than continuously draining a battery… Yes two years!. Next.? How does it work in practice…? Ahaah, OK, yes… well,… from a user perspective it’s a case of “Wow – where did that come from?”. But in fact When a smartphone enters within an  iBeacon’s range (up to 50m), the beacon’s signal triggers content from either a local database or cloud-based storage. The smartphone user will see a notification on their home screen saying a discount, incentive or appropriate product is available at such and such a place .  What if the phone is locked? It gets to them even if the phone is locked, relax.ibeacon3

That’s what I’m talking about, targeted marketing , targeted by time, place, people events products …what about putting this into a shop, there’s a special offer on those shoes, lets hit everyone within 15 metres of the shoe shop with this offer, lets sell shoes !….and everything else besides. Beacons will be used in all sorts of public spaces to inform as well as to sell. Maybe airports will use them to direct people to the right gate, maybe an art gallery will have information on the artwork on its walls and a guide through the building to keep those crowds moving. Crowd control is a really big business in the days when mass participation activities seem to be on the increase through the marketing efforts of social media. These iBeacons may be the link on the ground that contacts and communicates any number of kinds of information to the crowds once they get together at the venue. iBeacons are here folks… let’s get ready to ……..er… be…. contacted. Yeeey!

 

 

5 Best Camera Apps

Phones are a wonderful thing that many of us cannot possibly fathom being without. They are always with us in our purses, pockets and hands. We use the camera on our phones for anything and everything. For selfies, which have become a right of passage and life style incorporated in songs and a favourite occurrence on twitter and Facebook. To pictures of our dinner, family pictures, the mountains and beach and every other thing in-between.

Our phones are consistently being updated with the camera being a main focus for many. We aren’t always satisfied with the simple picture in the way it was taken. Instagram really spearheaded the fad of filters and editing that has simply expanded and grown since. Take a look below at the top 5 camera apps available on iTunes today!

1. Facetune   But first… let me take a selfie! “A fun and powerful portrait and selfie photo editor” We now have the ultimate selfie editor! You can correct blemishes, spots or scars on the skin to make it perfect. Or you can give yourself white teeth. It gives you the capability to retouch and add artistic flair to selfies and portraits easily.pic1

2. Afterlight  “Perfect image editing app for quick and straight forward editing” It has 15 adjustment tools, 59 filters, 66 different textures along with cropping, transforming tools, and 128 different types of frames to add and edit your photo with! Just as it says, it is wonderfully simply and straight forward for anyone to use and play around with.pic2

3.Camera+  Over 10 million people are using Camera+. “If the iPhone’s standard camera is like a digital point and shoot, the Camera+ app is like a high quality SLR lends”—TIME: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011. This app will make you truly love taking photos again. Touch Exposure and Focus, up to a 6x digital zoom, front flash, levels, and many different shooting modes you will easily be able to take marvellous photos. On top of that there is a clarity setting that analyses your photos, scene modes, effects, and Lightbox to help make the mood you are wanting. Camera+ is also making it easy to keep sync with your other devices! Finishing touches are available with borders and captions as well.

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4. Party Party    We all love a good party pic! “More than your own personal photo booth” This app has taken to a new level to photos to having stop motion animation. Allowing you to adjust the speed, save as a looping video for vine or Instagram or save as a .gif file for blogs, tubmlrs or websites. You can move them into square collages or the classic layout of a strip. There are only 17 filter and 9 frames but the main focus of Party Party is the stop animation that we just can’t seem to get enough of!

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5. Faded   Faded has won the endorsement of many, “The best photo app on the iPhone is Faded” by John Mayer. Specializing in film inspired looks, it includes 46 filters, 12 profession adjustments, various effects, camera tools, and overlays. It also keeps your history so that you can always revert back at any point.

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Apps are constantly being updated as well. They are adding more features and easing the process. As well as they all have the handy sharing feature to all popular social media sites that we know, love and spending the majority of our time on. Making it easy and convenient to share photos of your latest adventure, food consumption or best mate.

This post has kindly been contributed by:  Phink 

 

 

The Internet of Things.

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The Internet of Things – also known as Machine to Machine but most commonly described as “an ecosystem of technologies monitoring the status of physical objects, capturing meaningful data, and communicating that information through IP networks to software applications”. – See more at: http://blog.atlasrfidstore.com/internet-of-things-and-rfid#sthash.89FeGYhk.dpuf  Sounds a little bit like that nightmare scenario where the computers take over. (Kubrick’s space station computer,Hal, was early to that game!). But let’s not panic yet; this term is less worryingly more concerned with building links between devices, often via Bluetooth or Wi Fi to enable a degree of automation to daily chores. phew, that’s all right then.

What is it in everyday terms ?  In a simple form this is the remote Bluetooth speaker playing music that you hold in your phone. More and more people are enjoying the benefit of a wrist band linked to an app again by Bluetooth, which monitors various measurable to display as output on your mobile phone. Fitness tracking apps abound! (as does increased obesity… ).The-Age-of-Everywhere-Computing-is-Here_smarthome

Extending the concept into Home automation is more than a mere ambition.

Home automation, a term that has become increasingly popular in the mansions of Mayfair where the mundane task of opening a pair of heavy drapes (I dare not stoop to call them curtains) is no longer reliant on the mind and muscle of a human being. It no longer relies on a human being even being in the building. Open your app, choose a room and manipulate various aspects including the aforementioned drapes.

Google snapped up Nest Labs recently for a handsome £1.9 billion, giving them a foot in to door to this sphere of activity. Nest are currently looking at many more ways to join devices in the home via this technology, from security systems to health tracking. imagesMore recently, news emerged that Google are about to launch a “smart tracking system” to enable the user to be alerted to the vicinity of specified people, places, shops etc. Google Nearby is set to be standard on new Android handsets and will compete directly with Apples Homekit and iBeacon smart shopping system.

The Google  app will use the phone’s GPS, Bluetooth and even microphone to work out location of the user and then automatically trigger commands – for instance, waiting for the user to issue instructions such as ‘open the garage door’  but only when in close proximity to that particular door, or automatically turn on the lights when the user is close enough to the house in question. The system is expected to work with appliances such as Google’s own Nest smart thermostat to enabling a user to adjust temperature without anything more complex than a voice command.

The key point to notice in all this is that many of the big names in technology are heavily investing and this signifies a belief in and the inevitable increasing application of this technology in this environment. It’s going to grow increasingly pervasive. Apple have announced their forthcoming Homekit at its Worldwide Developers Conference. This system will perform numerous domestic tasks such as unlocking doors, turning on lights via the iPhone. That’s a relief I am sure!.

For the moment its worth acknowledging that the world is on the cusp of a revolution, a change driven by miniaturisation and computing advances which will deliver noticeable changes to the way we live, even if its only that we don’t have to move our increasingly obese behinds from the sofa in order to draw the curtains. The more significant consideration which will come as a secondary outcome is that these digital devices and their interconnectivity with servers and databases will begin to generate masses of data from day one. Imagine having that level of micro knowledge about the behaviour of …well most of us. But perhaps we should save that thought for now and concentrate on the matter in hand… the  ahhh… World Cup, ….now, where did I put the beer…er.. the remote? What do you mean its all over?…who? Germany! Doh!!! well in that case, Vorsprung durch technik and all that.

Attention all Gadget Thiefs!

What is the last thing you look at before going to bed and the first thing you wearily gaze at in the morning? For a growing number of people it is their smartphone. Smart phones are now engrained in society with 7 out of 10 people owning them. Phones are now an extension of ourselves, holding our pictures, music, contact details, and apps. So imagine having your precious device lost or worse yet stolen.  Until recently a stolen smart phone was a very easy thing to sell on, there’re expensive, portable and in high demand.  Now authorities are catching up with the thieves.

Authorities from around the world have put imagespressure on Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple to add a “kill switch” to all devices.  Apple and Samsung devices have already implemented this function and it has been proven that it works. In the first 5 months of this functionality the number of reported thefts of iPhone’s in London dropped by 24%.

These are known as “hard Kill Devices” meaning once activated the phone essentially becomes worthless.  “An activated kill switch converts an easy-to-sell, high-value multimedia device into a jumble of plastic and glass, drastically reducing its street value.” said the report by New York Attorney General.

With 3 million smartphones stolen each year it has become a multi billion pound monster.  This type of functionality is long overdue.  Organised crime routinely target phones as a mean for income since it often is more valuable than people’s wallets or purses. “Almost a third of US robberies involve phone theft.”  There are however concerns over people hacking this functionality being used by malicious hackers remotely deactivating peoples phones and the mill switch can be avoided by putting the phone into air-plane mode.  Other critics state that this will only work for the phones as a complete piece, not stripping down the phone for parts.

With technology advancing all the time, phones get better and better and we are storing more of our lives in them. So it is about time that we take phone security more seriously and develop phones with security systems already installed in the device and not have to rely on third party apps that could potentially be a security risk.

Microsoft plans on rolling out anAntiTheft-e1330012035815 update including this lock by July 2015 and Google has said they will implement Activation Lock on all new devices manufactured and in the next major Android update all phones running the most current OS will be protected. With all the major players in the phone industry agreeing to this it is calculated that 97% of the smartphone market place will be protected by a kill switch resulting in a huge loss to crime around the world.

 

Uber: A lesson from History.

imagesJudging by the headline this afternoon the UBER app which we wrote about a couple of weeks ago is about to deliver a lesson from history. UBER is causing unrest amongst the traditional Black Cab drivers. As reported on the BBC this afternoon, the situation is summed up thus:

“Black-cab driver Lloyd Baldwin is in no doubt. “Our beef with Uber is that these drivers have come straight into London, and have been licensed straight away by Transport for London. We’re regulated to within an inch of our lives.”    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology

Which is a pretty legitimate reason for concern.  The question is however, just how much should the rise of technology be tempered by the logic of social  adhesion, social order or tradition?

This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. Remember the luddites? Not first hand ofcourse but through your school days their place in history was often featured.  For a quick reminder visit http://www.victorianweb.org/history/riots/luddites.html  where the following makes the parallel clear.

“Luddites were men who took the name of a (perhaps) mythical individual, Ned Ludd who was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.  The Luddites were  trying to save their livelihoods by smashing industrial machines developed for use in the textile industries of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire………  The men merely were attacking what they saw as the reason for the decline in their livelihoods.”

And since then there have been countless similarly impassioned cries to temper or regulate the march of technology as it smashes through the professions and skills of our forefathers. Any automation in any factory has destroyed livelihoods of many and created new jobs for a few. The GCE level knowledge of social history that most of us carry around should be enough to help us recognise the tensions that are inevitable when technology advances.  Motor industry, Henry Ford’s first production line, The Coal industry, Steel, and above all, farming. Imagine the dissenting voices as the first motorised tractors took to the countryside, doing the work of 20 labourers for a fraction of the price. There were indeed ructions and convulsions throughout the land as transport improved, allowing movement of machinery by canal and later by road, increase in commerce developed and new methods and ideas spread quickly to revolutionize land use.

The Black Cab drivers are appealing to that great friend of civilized society – “Justice”. Their position is that only they, who are regulated by Transport for London, should be permitted to use a “metering system”. This is seen to be sacrosanct amongst cabbies and they are adamant that the use of a smart phone which measures time and distance via satellite and GPRS technology, constitutes metering.  Thats a no brainer isn’t it? Measuring time and distance……. is metering, no argument there! That being a fact they argue that its unfair for UBER to use such a meter. That’s their point and some may say that it’s a pretty feeble one based on arbitrary rule dreamt up in a bygone era (ie the 60s!). Rules change, sands shift, horizons adjust. Why not allow a competitor to meter i.e. measure time and distance?. Cabbies have no IP of measuring time and distance surely?

Well, since this is not meant to be a social history blog that’s history finished for today. Lets treat this topic as food for thought. The UBER app (available on both Apple and Google Play, seems to be a further advancement in what is a technologically determined age that we live in. That’s the point surely. It is widely acknowledged that this is the age of technology so why would anyone be surprised when a little advancement occurs and disrupts the traditions and rocks the Status Quo. Roll on UBER 2. As sure as chips are chips, and satellites are satellites ringing the planet enabling the communications, mapping and other technologies of today, it’ll be along sometime soon. Brace yourselves. or er…beam me up scotty.

Health Technology

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Good health, Bad health. It’s the most vital of all our concerns- so much so that the idea of Health runs throughout our daily interactions via the daily greeting “how are you?”. Expenditure on health care in all developing and developed countries is immense, especially as health technology continues to astonish. The recent 70 billion bid by Pfizer for UK Company Astra Zeneca hints at the inestimable proportions of the commercial health industry. Drugs, treatments, hospitals, nurses, doctors, equipment, the list is endless.

Annual expenditure by the UK government is a cool £ 132 billion-  23.5% of the total  public spending.  It’s a hot topic. That’s why there’s a buzz in the technology word regarding the new wireless charging techniques enabling tiny embedded sensors to be used as a means of preventing the rapidly rising costs of healthcare spiralling upwards in a seemingly unsolvable social whirlpool.

OK so here’s the pitch, you put this minicomputer into your body, it sends info back in real time so you can make sure that the ol’ ticker isn’t about to bow a fuse. Simple? Well not quite, but that’s the idea in brief. When miniaturisation meets wireless the possibilities expand as to the purposes to which this combination can be extended. The Guardian newspapers technology section explains thus:

A breakthrough in wireless technology could allow a new wave of health tracking tools that can be embedded inside our bodies – in our livers, hearts and even in our brains.

A new wireless charging technique known as “mid-field wireless transfer” can deliver power to tiny electronic devices such as sensors, pacemakers and nerve stimulator’s embedded deep within the body. They can be charged using a device the size of a credit card placed outside the body.

“With this method, we can safely transmit power to tiny implants in organs like the heart or brain, well beyond the range of current near-field systems,” said Dr John Ho, co-author of the study that appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.IAP23902

 As if this revelation wasn’t enough – read on for more heart stopping (pun intended) information on the cyber future possibilities ahead, if not for you then almost certainly for you children.

One of the big breakthrough factors here is that devices don’t need to have large batteries or power sources (like a pacemaker) and neither do they have to be near the surface of the skin, they can be implanted more deeply to the places in the body where the vital organs sit and lets face it if it if we are going to have microchips put inside us we want it to be “vital”. Using a new kind of “near field wave” that can reach deeper into the body the devices can be charged by an external source by wireless charging.

“The discovery opens up greater possibilities for medical implants called “electroceutical” devices, which use electrical stimulation to treat illness or alleviate pain that would typically require long term drug treatment. Diseases like Parkinson’s are already treated with techniques like deep brain stimulation to control shaking symptoms”.

These devices will be designed to handle treatments as well as monitoring health.

Good health and bad health. It’s a big business and its about to get bigger. Just how and when the mobile phone companies engage with this deeper level of technology remains to be seen. On the face of it Apple and Google as well as the big names such as Samsung and others are well positioned to add this area of development into their mid term strategies.

Apps that Change the World.

phpiha5jx“Apps really do change our daily lives” How many times have we heard that old chestnut? But unless you are one of the increasingly small proportion of adults not using a smartphone in your daily life,  it is actually true. There are genuinely aspects of our world are being changed by the digital toolbox we carry around with us in the form of mobile apps.

Yes we all benefit from those little conveniences offered by Google Maps, or mobile banking whilst waiting for the next bus or taxi.  And speaking of taxis, the world of technology has until now had muted impact and certainly seemed irrelevant to the 65,000strong army of Black Cab drivers who crisscross the nation’s capital delivering everything from paupers to princes to some destination or another. Somehow that stable of London society, so often a feature in the media and cultural world seemed beyond the reach of the technological advances happening elsewhere in the Capital’s diverse economy.

But quite suddenly everything has changed. The digital revolution is reaching parts of our lives that up to now have been otherwise unaffected by technology. The London cabbie, much to his/her chargrin is now not protected by their hard earned knowledge driven ability to pick out a route from Billingsgate to Big Ben in the fastest, or most scenic, or most tranquil manner according to instruction. Tourist, businessperson or casual traveller is all now being presented with options which could seriously cut into the income of our traditional Cabbie.  Indeed, the acquisition of “The Knowledge”, whist still the holy grail for genuine Black Cab drivers in London, is no longer the barrier it once was to entry into this lucrative marketplace.

UBER taxi service is the app which is causing concern amongst the London Black Cab drivers having gained such prominence that it is muscling in on the extremely lucrative Black Cab industry. So what’s so transformative about this app? Well, unlike the traditional Black cab mode of operation this app allows its user to pre book a ride after agreeing a fare and even pay in advance by credit card! Tipping is positively discouraged! “The idea is very simple – if you want a taxi, you look at the app on your phone, see where the nearest car is and order it. You can then watch the little icon on screen as it approaches. The payment is taken from the registered credit card.”

Convenience is our world’s greatest mantra so this app hits the traditional Cabbie approach to “Fares” with a sharp undeniable punch. But the key benefit to the user is the way it tells them where their ride is, how long till it collects them and much more information about their coming journey. This is the point surely; Information is king.  So if the service empowers the user it has a distinct edge over the competition.  IN best social media tradition the clients can even “rate” their ride giving the driver pause for thought is attempting any inappropriate manoeuvres!

The world of mobile apps has impacted for better or worse on so many areas of life in their brief history. What are the best mobile apps that you have heard of or seen in action?  Send us your views on these digital tools.

Texting whilst driving

Texting whilst driving …a concept that is familiar to one and all on the roads of Britain. Whether its a sneaky one word text at traffic lights or a novella during a run up the motorway, its something that society acknowledges is happening to a lesser or greater degree. So, hey, what’s the problem?  Well, to borrow words of veteran football commentator John Motson, “it only takes a second to …er.. kill someone by accidentally driving into them” actually his words are just the start of that sentence of course. The point being whether it’s a 1 second text or a ten minute effort, the risk of making a driving error during that time is immense. In driving terms you can drive 50 metres in a second or less so that little cute message to your friend may turn out to be your infamous last words.

The number of times I see people talking on phones whilst driving beggar’s belief. If they are not texting or talking they are looking at phones whilst driving presumably reading a Facebook banality (boo hiss) or writing a text, or maybe just placing a bet, reading the news, or whatever their passion may be. The thought that this selfish action could end someone’s life, cripple or maim some innocent on in another vehicle, or on the pavement or zebra crossing or whatever seems of little interest to these self-centred morons.

Motoring organisations including, the AA say that they find that some drivers appear “addicted to texting and  using smartphones, it’s an addiction that is very hard to break even when in the car — it will take some system to help people break that addiction.”

Meanwhile the road safety charity Brake, labels the activity “a “widespread menace” which has been shown to slow driver reaction times by 35% and increase the likelihood of a crash by 23 times for commercial drivers.”

Therefore it is with unashamed self-righteousness that I welcome the proposed new developments coming out of the Apple orchard of technological loveliness…they have proposed a method that would prevent this kind of distraction and indeed disable the functionality of certain smartphone actions when an iPhone user is driving. Apple have  applied for patents such as one describing  “a “driver handheld computing device lock-out” system that detects when a user is driving using on-board sensors or pulling information from the car when connected, blocking the use of text messaging or using other smartphone functions from the person driving”.

Apple recognise that this habit of attempting to multi task whilst already multi-tasking (driving) is anti-social. So hats off to Apple, let’s wait for their next update on this but on the face of it any effort to reduce the risk of innocents being wiped out or maimed by idiots behind the wheel is a great step forward.

 

Android and the Bitcoin Miners

unnamedNo its not the name of a band, and yes it does sound pretty James Bond meets Thor / Iron Man i.e. like daft fantastic …but the title above seems, nevertheless to have some basis in truth. Android, famously open source is now  perhaps infamously Open Sauce. By the time you have read this your favourite Android phone, sitting seemingly innocently in your trouser pocket may have been engaged in a sort of co-operative mining subterfuge in pursuit of untold riches of the virtual yet transferable coinage of the Gods of Ether…Bitcoin.. Oh yes, isn’t technology wonderful?

So what’s happening exactly? Well according to Stuart Dredge, technology expert at The Guardian newspaper there are millions of Android devices engaged in actively mining Bitcoin…….without their owner having the foggiest idea that it is happening. The words “stealth” may be applied by a more generous soul than I, to my mind its fraud and deception on a grand scale. It happens when an app you have downloaded contains some code which is activated once it detects a data link is possible and then gets to work hooning your data allowance and sucking the life blood from your battery. Researchers have already identified a couple of apps which are sitting on about 10 million Android phones right now doing their dirty deeds. This may be the tip of a very unappealing iceberg.

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The serious point here is that this is exploiting faithful and loyal Android users in a way that can only be described as dishonest and fraudulent. The devices are using the phones data connectivity to mine for Bitcoins, i.e. stealing bandwidth. The user gets to pay for the bandwidth but doesn’t get to enjoy the fruits of the ill begotten gains made via this stolen bandwidth.  A double whammy too because this mining activity drains power like kryptonite drains Superman. The continual re charging of the device costs money (real money on someone’s electricity bill) and reduced the life expectancy of the device.

The mining activity happened as soon as the app containing the code is downloaded. The code is launched and the CPU mining gets under way, whilst connecting to a dynamic domain for an anonymous mining pool. All the mining data is sent to a central database where the analysis takes place. Presumably this is the place where coinage bought up from the data is extracted.

If Android is to avoid a splurge of bad PR, they’d better sort out this weakness sooner rather than later as it’s hard to see the general public welcoming the exploitation of their bandwidth without reward. beware the” no armed” bandit!

 

Bitcoin

bitcoin pic 3Bitcoin explained, or not. Can anyone explain Btcoins in a way that makes perfectly rational sense to a non-clued up majority? Bitcoins, we hear about this mysterious currency from time to time, whether it is in relation to the so called inventor / founder turning up in Malaysia and denying all knowledge or whether it’s the unemployed chap who accidentally lost 4 million pounds worth by chucking out a few old hard drives. Today we hear that Wikipedia is considering accepting these as donations to its cause. What next? Loyaltybit points on my clubcard for spending  actual Bitcoins.  In fact are there any physical Bitcoins, there are certainly lots of photographs of lovely piles of these virtual coins….why?  …

This month we notice continues coverage in the news about companies established with the sole purpose of mining Bitcoins. That is to say they attract millions of pounds, dollars and other boring real world cash investment on real stock markets with which they invest in factories to build powerful servers to create or mine the Bitcoins. It’s like the elusive Black Panther of the Cotswolds  or Somerset or wherever the Black Panther kept getting sighted. Very hard to know if any of these Bitcoin sightings or explanations are anything but a high flown prank by some megalomaniac IT / nerd. Who be dat? You may well ask. Its rumoured to be . well ,  er …..well its only a rumour.

The fact is however that a company called  KnC Miner in Sweden is a real company and it is spending more money that they care to detail on building numerous computers at a cost of 10 thousand pounds each with which people can to “mine” for Bitcoins. Well excuse us for being nonplussed but why, how, where ? Astonishingly KnC Miner have just announced that within four hours of putting these on  sale they have orders for over 2 million us dollars worth. Its not like buying you pick and shovel for the old school gold rush then is it?  “We are overwhelmed by the positive response we have gotten and we will continue to produce the best possible mining hardware for our customers,” said co-founder Andreas Kennemar. Can’t argue with the sales figures but frankly ..what does it all mean?

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How and why are Bitcoins valuable?  Hard to find? So is a four leafed clover but it doesn’t make it valuable and that’s something that’s real and does exist. I have seen one !. So is the mutated humorous root vegetable, but its not worth a lot once the laughter fades. Bitcoin on the other hand, a rare beast indeed so rare that they seem unlikely to exist. Most of us haven’t seen a Bitcoins and out of the many people I have asked, neither has anyone else. That’s because they don’t exist as material things, they are a series of numbers. Big Deal. Yawn.

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Get this, in Sweden KnC are building a 43 thousand square foot data centre for…you guessed it, for back up capacity for their customers who are mining the Bitcoin. Ho h oho… what? But then again this malarkey has proved itself profitable as the company, only a couple of years into its existence says it made 15 million dollars profit last year on a turnover of 75 million. Whose laughing now.? Well…. No one because they don’t get the joke. Why Sweden? because its cold. Like Facebook and Google before them, who have both huge purpose built data centres in this corner of the world, the advantages of the Nordic chill are well understood in the world of data centres. Keeps the server cooling costs down (mind you the outgoings on company thermal underwear must be through the roof!)….Wait a minute… what was that? Bitcoins? Haven’t got a clue, but perhaps some of our more switched on readers will let us know. Please!.