thoughts ...

Reposting my degree project: Hearsay

Hearsay is a protocol for peer-to-peer social networking over the XMPP chat protocol. I wrote this back in 2004, so it pre-dates Facebook coming to the UK!

The specs start from page 57.

Download as PDF

Bitcoin: A Little Slice of Future Shock

This is the second of two parts. The first one is here. As before this post is more of an attempt to fit a narrative to my research notes than a clear vision of the future. Read the links!

“This sort of reasoning is the long-delayed revenge of people who couldn't go to Woodstock because they had too much trig homework.” - Stewart A. Baker, NSA General Counsel

Bitcoin: Somewhat Useful

This is the first of two parts. The second part deals with the future of digital currencies in general.

"Bitcoin has worth just because a bunch of people on the internet have agreed it is worth something - like Psy." - The Colbert Report

SHORT VERSION: Bitcoins are today mostly for speculation and sheer novelty. For most businesses they will never be cheaper than cards, for a few, mostly internet-only businesses, they are a viable option.

Innovation is a Word That Mostly Defines Our Own Ignorance

Innovators do not get up in the morning and think "I'm going to change the world!", they wake up and think "That pretty obvious, I wonder why no-one's done that yet." If they move on to actually doing that, and they are successful, someone else will call them innovators.

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.

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.

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…



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