Tech Geekery

Free Trade at High Speed

When I saw this news story tweeted by Bill Gurley something jumped out at me that was different than Bill took away:

Rocket Internet feeling pressure from street towards portfolio profitability. Perhaps we are tuning a new page.

— Bill Gurley (@bgurley) October 22, 2015

Inside the story it describes Rocket Internet’s standing in the European startup hierarchy as such:

The Berlin-based group [is] Europe’s largest Internet company

I am not 100% sure this is true, and it obviously depends on how you measure it, or account for the fact that there are a couple billion in cash on Rocket’s balance sheet. But it’s a close enough approximation to make you wonder: how did Europe … Read More »

The Fax Machine Died When I Wasn’t Looking

Of course, I’ve known the fax machine’s days were numbered for a while now. The fact of it’s death is no surprise.

But I realized today that I can’t remember the last time I sent or received a fax.

As recently as five years ago, I felt the need to have an “all in one” printer at home with a fax machine hooked up to the phone line, in case I needed to send something — likely a signed document. And for about a decade I’ve had an eFax number that I pay to be able to receive faxes and get them as a pdf — trust me it seemed cutting edge when I signed up for it.

Checking my email, I find the last fax I received was in November 2014, ironically from Silicon Valley … Read More »

Consolidating AppleID (itunes ID), MobileMe ID, and iCloud ID

As regular readers will know, I’ve switched back to iOS from Android with some mixed feelings.  However, I am excited about Yosemite and the integration of the mobile OS with the desktop OS.

I was frustrated with actually accessing the features — getting iMessage to work on the desktop, or work on my iPad with no radio but still show the phone number.  My Mac was supposed to ring when my phone did but didn’t, etc.  And sometimes iMessage would be activated in a way that I was sending messages from a MobileMe email address that I didn’t actually use (without realizing it) and then people would reply to it and I’d never get the replies.  A total mess.

Despite creating this weird fragmentation, Apple has never resolved this problem, nor do they allow you to merge two accounts.

I was able to … Read More »

What I Miss About Android

I switched to Android a year ago.  An experiment, I suppose. I was also (maybe unreasonably) offended by the iPhone 5S which seemed like such a zero in terms of improvements.

It took some real adjustment, but Android (Nexus 5) was pretty good.  The big negative is it was much buggier/less polished.  For example, when I would click on a phone number to dial it, it would pop a menu:  do you want to dial with Phone or Skype?  I could check “default to” phone, but still, every time, it would pop this menu.

Now that the iPhone 6 and  iOS8 added a large screen and 3rd party keyboards, I came back to Apple.  Why?

Less buggy experience
More cutting edge apps developed first or only for iOS
Better Battery
Better camera

Now, I could have got some of these by buying a high end android phone … Read More »

Leaving iOS

After 6 wonderful years, I’ve left iOS for Android.  Thanks Apple, it’s been fun, I have no complaints.   Well, except that you’ve turned the population of people I interact with into robots who stare at their devices for most of the day, but ultimately it’s hard to hold you accountable for that.

My partner @antrod predicted I would flip back within a couple weeks, but it’s not happening.  I inadvertently burned the boats when my wife’s phone got stolen this week, and I gave her my iPhone 5.  No easy way back.

I picked up one of Google’s very cheap, very good Nexus 4 phones ($250 with no contract) and off to the races.

Why switch?

Fingerprints be damned, I think the pace of hardware evolution of the iPhone is slow at this point.  I think Android … Read More »

Online Poker goes on Tilt

James McManus recently wrote an excellent summary of unfortunate unraveling of online poker in the US this year.

I remain surprised at how surprised everyone seems to be at the unraveling of the poker ecosystem.  You needed no expertise at all to realize that the legal framework in which PokerStars and FullTilt were operating in was, at the very best, dark gray, and likely explicitly illegal.  Now, you might think, so are speeding and jaywalking, and despite being illegal (or nearly so), you might choose to do it anyway.  Fair enough.

But people were trusting these guys with a lot of money.  McManus reports having close to $20K in PokerStars when assets were frozen, and many people had much, much, more.  People seemed to trust that the operators were ringfencing the client deposits from the … Read More »

What to do about EV Charging

I’m now a all-electric two timers:  bought (and sold) Tesla Roadster #48 a few years back, and now the proud owner of a Nissan Leaf.  Each with their own merits, though the Leaf has found more “product-market fit”.

The Leaf has a practical range of 80-85 miles, which means a Bay Area commuter like myself must occasionally rely on charging outside the home.  Luckily for me, 120V wall sockets are plentiful at the Matrix West Coast HQ, so I can top it up during the day at work for an anxiety-free ride home.

But what of public charging?  I’d have to guess that the Bay Area is tops in the country, but still locations are precious few.  Palo Alto City Hall has a couple of spots just a block from our office, and I’ve enjoyed a publicly subsidized top off at Oakland … Read More »

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