Bitcoin.de more or less useless for non-German customers

I’ve been using Bitcoin.de for about a year now and I have to say the service is very good, in general no dodgy dealers and their own customer service is excellent. However, lately the exchange has become more or less useless if you live outside of Germany and don’t have a FIDOR bank account. FIDOR provide a so-called express trade service so that traders can trade instantly without having to place funds in escrow. This is an excellent idea but means that more and more people in Germany use that service. If however you live outside of Germany and FIDOR does not operate in your country then it means the number of potential traders is significantly reduced. This is not helped by many traders also requiring a German bank account, even if they do not bank with FIDOR. The net result is that the majority of trades are now in accessible. I hope Bitcoin.de provide other mechanisms or they will lose out on a large number of customers in other Euro countries.

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Battery Issues: Nvidia Shield K1

Image (c) Nvidia. Shield K1 Tablet and Controller

The Shield K1 is a great tablet, not too expensive and with great graphics what’s more out of the box it works great. Yes I did use the word great a lot in the last sentence. However, there is one major flaw… if you update to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)  the battery will drain even when you are doing nothing. For example there was 71% battery usage against a task called “Miscellaneous”, this is basically the task used to describe the difference between the expected battery drain of the various apps and what has happened.

My plan was to use this tablet (due to it’s nice graphics chipset) for some augmented reality work but the current problem renders it more or less useless.

I had the tablet for barely 48 hours when I made this fatal error. When the tablet was not being used it drained from about 90% to 5% in five hours. You can find out more about the problems here. Nvidia are clearly aware of it but I am shocked that they would release an update like this without full testing! Such serious battery drain is something which could easily have been uncovered with proper internal quality control.

A full review will follow, but I would suggest Nvidia fix this soon or it may not be too positive.

The moral of the story- DO NOT UPDATE THIS TABLET !

 

Posted in Android, Geekville, IT Discussions, Mobile Tech | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: Paymium Bitcoin Exchange

Paymium unlike some rivals is not an over the counter exchange, i.e. you do not deal directly with other buyers and sellers but instead trade via the exchange. For example, if you have a Bitcoin the easiest way to sell it is for the current market price. You simply enter the quantity and click sell, then your sell request is matched against what others are prepared to pay and you receive the funds in your Paymium account. You can also issue a sell order where you set the price – in this case when another buyer matches or exceeds your price you sell your Bitcoins. Buying operates similarly but in the other direction of course.

Paymium has enough participants and hence liquidity to mean that provided you are trading at a fair price your trade will normally go through pretty quickly. However, in order to use the service you must upload real money to it. This in effect means you are depositing funds with them, so you need to trust them that they will not run off with your cash. So far (and I’ve been using it for months) I have had no problems. They also promise that all your cash is held in account in your name at a licenced payment organisation.

Fees are 0.59% for each party with a 99c fee charged for withdrawing any money to your bank account. There are also no fees for any incoming or outgoing Bitcoin transactions or for uploading funds – which compares favourably to other sites.

The site is simple and quick to use. As are are dealing via the market you also completely avoid the need to manually arrange payments to other users or to check for incoming payments yourself. The time taken to receive incoming Bitcoins has also improved significantly from when I first used the service.

The setup process was slower than for other websites, but this is entirely down to their security checking procedures for all new accounts. Their support was always quick and responsive to my requests.

Would I recommend Paymium? The answer is yes, its quick, simple and a whole lot easier for newcomers to get their head around than over the counter markets.

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Draft of Book Chapter: Ethics, Privacy and Trust in Serious Games

A draft of a chapter looking at Ethics, Privacy and Trust in Serious Games, gamified applications, pervasive and persuasive games. Written by myself and Lynne Baillie of Heriot Watt University.

The chapter is scheduled to appear in 2017 in:
Handbook of Digital Games and Entertainment Technologies
Editors: Nakatsu, Ryohei, Rauterberg, Matthias, Ciancarini, Paolo (Eds.)

Publisher Springer.

Posted in ethics, gamification, Privacy, Serious Gaming | Leave a comment

Financial Paranoia? RT, Max Keiser and Zerohedge

Why don’t you pop on over the Zerohedge.com for a spot of financial paranoia? If you believe what you read then the dollar is worth nothing, gold is worth something and Bitcoin is the future. What’s more if you also watch the Keiser Report on  the “impartial” RT you will have noticed Zerohedge as being a major source of information. If you read or watch these sources you will quickly find that they promote gold, bitcoin, alternative investment funds and other approaches outside the financial norm. You will often also find that the same people who promote these alternatives are offering financial advice or in some cases are even connected to the ventures which offer surprise, surprise, similar services.  This is for me is a clear conflict of interest and should mean that anyone watching or reading such sources should do so with some considerable care.

On a more positive  note, if like me you studied economics or financial related topics (I did so as part of a joint degree) the chances are that you may have had some nagging doubts about what you were being told – especially about the massive over simplifications relating to markets and human behaviour. Not forgetting the complete lack of empirical evidence to back up a large number of the economic theories. You may also have thought that rising house prices and with it mortgage costs and rental prices which were not matched by salary increases(especially in the UK) would only lead to trouble. Despite these reservations you most likely thought like me that well, “I didn’t study it in enough detail to really understand any of it” and hence left it to the economists and governments only to find that when we experienced the fun of 2008 t that actually a lot of it was theoretical academic nonsense. If you do hold that view then please do check out the sources above. While all the facts presented are probably correct, do keep an eye out for propaganda, overly selective facts and conflicts of interest – a quick Google search is usually enough.

Despite reservations  Zerohedge and “Mad” Max Keiser are relevant sources of information which make you question the prevailing economic views of our time. They for example frequently point out how debt is ignored in predictions (economists do not usually take it into account except if it is sovereign debt) or how we have seen massive increases in public and private debt with little or no  meaningful return in terms of GDP (China and the West being good examples). They also regularly accuse bankers of fraud or misconduct – something which has been alleged against some former HBOS staff, not forgetting the blackmail charges in the same case. So in that sense he is right (which may also explain why Bank of American banned it’s staff from accessing Zerohedge). From then on it is up to you to formulate your own opinion… but do take it all with a pinch of salt.

 

Posted in Bitcoin, Economics, politics | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment