Thomas's blog

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.

Pirate Coves, Guerillas and Puppet Masters

"What's interesting about bills of exchange is that they're just, well, information"
— True, about as much as your driving license/ credit card is just a piece of plastic…


The Big Condensation

Disclaimer: I've spent my career working for firms too small to afford "proper" enterprise kit. I've never bought a network connection wider than a 100Mbps drop.

The cost of silicon has collapsed; power usage is under control; bandwidth isn't an issue if you're sensible. "Enterprise" is a misnomer, most of it is barely distinguished from what's on sale at Dixons. Within a few years, IT in well run companies will focus almost solely on improving the use of people. CTOs of the future will spend their lives trying to cut phone support and replacement call out costs.

Enforceability: Finding a Home for Tobin Taxes

A few months ago, I had a discussion (read argument) with some more left-wing friends (full disclosure: I'd like a 30% smaller, highly localised state, with the rich paying for everything) about the Tobin Tax. A tax to be levied on a small percentage of the value of every foreign exchange transaction. Apparently this will stabilise the FX markets, making incidents like the Asian currency crisis less likely.

SMTP Whitelists for Charity

Having spent some quality time with SMTP whitelists lately, it's occurred to me that all these lists exist to do is costly signalling. In my experience, all that getting added (or being removed from) a list takes is a polite note confirming you're real and have a reason to send bulk mailings.

Your account is probably compromised

"Dear Customer, your computer is probably compromised and several criminals probably have full access to your all your accounts. Neither me, nor my company are particularly concerned. It almost certainly doesn't matter, and will never affect you if we do our job properly."

I did eventually settle in

Street vendor sticky rice cube

Such a tourist

Yes, I'm a total tourist and went to Starbucks on Najing Dong Lu.

Chilled Dumpling

But I did get to sample Starbucks Chilled Mango Dumplings, individually wrapped in a single leaf. Which you don't get in London (yet). For the record, they're gelatinus and refreshing!

Back of Envelope Monetary Theory

Note: This was caused by me having three arguments about community currencies in as many days. I figured I ought have a better (and more respectful) objection than "fluffy".

Money is a flow system. We only use money for transferable value. A pile of gold in a cave is not money, it's just a hoard. Money is fungible transferable material goodness. (If you mint the gold, it's money.)

Hummus and African Mobile Money

Joining us for our next Geek Finance Dinner (brought to you in association with Geek Dinners) will be Dave Birch of Consult Hyperion.


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