Welcome to 2016. And welcome to ridiculous mobile phone pricing. Virgin Mobile refuses to give me an additional pay-monthly SIM, even though the amount I have paid topping up the prepaid SIM over the last three months is approximately 3 to 4 times the pay-monthly tariff. Their line that it is because of my 'credit rating' is clearly nonsense, as they won't let me pay in advance, and easily debunked because they will allow for my wife to get her own pay-monthly SIM on a separate account, but not for me to have two on the one account. It's obviously designed as a cynical way to extract higher rates. What a nasty little scam. Any mobile carriers out there want a new customer? Drop me a line.
What about this English weather, eh? The warmest December on record was also one of the wettest.
Paul Graham started the new year with a pair of posts on Y Combinator that address the issue of economic inequality: 'Economic Inequality' and 'The Refragmentation' are both well worth a read. There have also been a number of rebuttals that are equally worth reading, some with more venom than others. For example: Paul Graham is Still Asking to be Eaten. The bottom line here: people are talking constructively about inequality, and that is a good start.
There was a bunch of cryptocurrency activity over the break, including:
- 10 New Bank of America Cryptocurrency Patents Published and also, Bank of America is trying to load up on patents for the technology behind bitcoin
- How Apple’s Trojan horse will eat the credit card industry
- National Security Implications of Virtual Currency
- Why bitcoin matters
London is still buzzing with fintech activity. For example, "in last five years, out of $9.8 billion of investments in FinTech across the European region, 55% are invested in UK FinTech."
Insurance is a terrible investment, but one that the majority of people are forced into for cash-flow reasons. You only have to look at what large corporations do with insurance: they mostly underwrite themselves. So, is 'microinsurance' the answer to the insurance industry? Notwithstanding that "the insurance industry" is not a question, the changes afoot in banking and finance could mean that insurance is ripe for disruption, too.
In a move that foreshadows a move towards financial services by one of techs Big 4, Amazon is to start offering loans to customers with pay monthly option.
- Basic infrastructure patterns - its very useful to think of solutions in terms of patterns that can be categorised, synthesised and reapplied in different contexts
- 16 mobile theses - another must read from Ben Evans
- Bitcoin's mining difficult has increased by 41.9% over the last 30 days - most likely because of BitFury's new 40 megawatt data centre
- The Global Landscape of Blockchain Companies in Financial Services - includes one of those 'landscape' infographics
- Outdated payment protocols expose customers and merchants - proprietary security protocols are never a good idea
- Reputation Tokens - another snapshot infographic
- FinTec 2016 – quo vadis? – Part I: The digital challenge - introduces the idea of 'relevant banking'
- @hollyransom - speaker and strategist
- Getting started with Distributed Ruby (DRb) - #TIL that Ruby stdlib contains a remote method invocation (RMI) system.
- 5 AWS mistakes you should avoid - good tips on setting up an AWS environment
- aws-shell - interactive productivity booster for the AWS CLI