Cryptocurrency in a Nutshell

Explaining cryptocurrency (and Blockchain) isn’t necessarily so simple, but to add a bit of levity to the whole situation, here is a (fairly hilarious, but true-to-life) primer:


Crypto Tulips

With Thanksgiving having come and gone and Advent/Christmas upon us, we – for better or worse – start focusing on commerce and buying things. Reading the news, for some reason the cost of Bitcoin has skyrocketed to nearly $10k per Bitcoin. It’s likely going to keep growing and growing to astronomical levels, but this appears to be the beginning of a speculative bubble.

That got me interested in learning a bit of history. This is as non-tech as this possibly can get, but the first major economic bubble in recorded history involves flowers , or tulips more specifically. What we’re probably seeing is the Bitcoin version of “Tulipmania.”

History is bound to repeat itself.

iPad + iOS 11 as Complement Rather Than Replacement

A few months ago, I espoused the merits of iOS 11 as the point where the iPad has become finally become mature enough to be PC-like. As far as getting things done, the addition of the macOS-like dock, split-view, hovering app windows, and other desktop-like features make an iPad actually useful for real productivity tasks. The iPad mini 4 I used, despite its size and older processor, paired well with iOS 11.

Most recently, I made the jump and upgraded my mini to an iPad Pro (12.9″, second generation) and this is where iOS 11 truly shines. Add the Apple Pencil and a keyboard, the overall experience works amazingly well considering iOS’s inherent limitations. For example, using Lightroom CC for staging RAW files from my dSLR is more intuitive (and fun) compared than using my MacBook Pro because of touch and Pencil capabilities with performance on par – or better, maybe – as well. Working with photos on an iPad Pro in general is a joy for a very amateur (bad) photographer as myself.

However, I wouldn’t quite yet call an iPad (Pro or non-Pro) with iOS 11 a real replacement. Even with the additional iPad-specific features, you still face the inherit limitations of working with iOS. For example, backing up files and photos to multiple places still requires having a Mac or PC on hand. I like to have local + cloud backups and it’s much easier to manage them on my MBP. Also with any iOS device, you face the reality of a single Lightning port for anything and everything (prepare for “dongle-hell”). Lastly, being that iOS by design allows installation of applications only from the App Store (a form of security whitelisting, which is great in many cases), many useful utilities are out of reach (some powerful Wi-Fi utilities come to mind). For many users, these limitations aren’t deal breakers and I do suspect many do make an iPad (or heck, an iPhone) their primary and only computing device.

Ultimately, what we see is a far cry from the early days of tablet computing; finally we’re seeing high-end tablets positioned as productivity machines, not just glorified media viewers. A Mac/PC + iPad Pro, I would say, is a very powerful productivity combo for power-users today.



iPhone X and Facial Recognition as a Second Factor


Starting tomorrow, millions will be receiving the iPhone X and thus spur the age of wide-consumer adoption of facial recognition technology. The technology has been around for decades, but this is really the first time a consumer product has been released that is built around this technology. I’d rather wait a couple of generations before adopting the tech, considering it’s first-gen and largely unproven (hence my choice to get the iPhone 8 Plus instead of the X), but I say that once the technology improves, it can be the primary form of authentication. However, I would much prefer that a combination of passcodes, fingerprint and facial biometrics be the ideal multi-factor setup to secure our personal data.

This, of course, must all be balanced with ease of use as consumers will cease to care about security if it takes them too long to take an opportune Snapchat video.


That’s a ‘Bad Rabbit’

Well, another week, another majorĀ ransomware attack. Being that it has been a much busier week for me than usual, I haven’t had a chance to really dig into this story. Again, like previous ransomware attacks, it exploits known SMB file-sharing flaws and exploits that are often left un-patched.

Apparently this malware attack’s target was primarily Russia (but spreading across different countries).

Hmmm…nah – well, maybe?