Thomas's blog

Collapsonomics with Vinay Gupta

I met Vinay quite randomly in London just before I started working in Hammersmith, and he's a fascinating person to spend an evening talking to.

@Vinay - I'm still dubious about Seasteading. What use is Peter Thiel's money if your sociatel model fell apart in a best selling computer game :-)

Patent Troll Mines

(Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Legal System)

Sadly, we live in a litigious world. Civil law suits are often tools of business, rather than justice. Badly drafted laws create industries of vexatious litigant, the most modern of which is the patent troll. Unlike a commercial company, the troll seeks out the worst issued and most over-reaching patents his tentacles can grasp.

My 4 year old P2P Lending Comment, still relevant.

I came across a 4 year old comment of mine on peer-to-peer lending (before I had anything to do with it myself). And I'm surprised that I still agree with everything I said.

Euro Fragmentation? Yes, SEPA can !

NOTE: Better informed people have since told me that the TARGET-2 system used to clear € payments makes central banks notional counterparties to all cross border payments (with the actual risk being on the ECB). So the self-regulating market mechanism I sketch below couldn't function within the current Eurozone payments infrastructure.

SWIFT vs. XMPP

SWIFT is a miracle of 1970s ingenuity and a testament to man's ability to work across cultures and borders. (How many real institutions manage to have Iranian, Israeli and Arab members?) It's also €1 for a 700 byte message, takes £10,000 to set-up with my bank and requires dedicated private line for real-time connectivity.

Brief Notes on HTTP Cookie with Javascript and Unicode

Cookies are very useful, but they basically suck as they're just an ASCII string bounced between the server and the browser. RFC 2965 has standardised then, but they're still icky. You're best off avoiding them, storing per user data on the servers-side and having permanent session cookies with just a SUID.

If you want handle cookies with javascript and correctly handle unicode:

Hotwire Your Bank

We might often complain about the grip banks have over our personal details and credit. And they certainly try to make the best of it. There won't be Flickr-style APIs for you Lloyds bank account any time soon. It's worth thinking about the fact that there doesn't really need to be.

Java Recipe for Realtime Graphing with JS and Bayeux

The data comes from my employer, but this is was my pet project.
Note: Don't try a non-Sun/Oracle JVM with Jetty 7.

Everyone in retail finance needs to generate realtime graphs for the web. It gives users a sense of what the price is doing and they're pretty.

Guide to Mass Mailings

I've written up what I have recently learned about mass mailing as a little guide. It's just notes and a link dump, but I think it covers all the important things you need to do.

The Credit Horizon: Why Kiva's Loan Pooling Matters

The event horizon, the boundary of the region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape, acts rather like a one-way membrane around the black hole... One could well say of the event horizon what the poet Dante said of the entrance to Hell: "All hope abandon, ye who enter here." Anything or anyone who falls through the event horizon will soon reach the region of infinite density and the end of time.

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