Kind of a tech geek, my attention was drawn to this article in Business Insider today. Yes, I know, your wallet has been mobile all along. Mine too, but I was kind of hoping it was about hardware wallets. Turns out that mobile wallets are apps that store payment card information in your smartphone, allowing you to make in-store payments. Mastercard, heavily invested into the phenomenon with its Masterpass, did some market research about mobile wallets and came up with a conclusion that seems rather biassed. Mobile Wallets were mentioned In 75% (!) of 3.5 million social media conversations about new payment methods. Yet these apps are used in just 1% of retail sales. Their conclusion: mainstream breakthrough is hindered by too many available mobile wallet apps, lack of support for store loyalty cards and consumers waiting for wearable wallets. My two cents: with 75% awareness and 1% penetration, could it be that the public just isn’t interested? 🙂 My wallet contains all cards I need, is finished in premium leather and I do wear it … in my back pocket.
Maybe it’s just the remarkable advertising profile Facebook has given me, but adverts on my Facebook wall have been strange for a while. Endless Kickstarter wristwatch suggestions have just given way to middle-aged women with the intention to show their knickers. Written in fluent Gibberish, this particular one reads something like On the feelings of a woman alone, you will have experienced differently. Passion impulse, tremendous delight from here. Recipes, tips and all things kitchen for any level of chef. The links leads to either this blank website or this Facebook page with a picture of a smiling girl. Strange, isn’t it? Who pays for such useless publicity?
Our increasing use of smartphones, tablets and laptops while traveling implies a constant quest for a power outlet to charge them. Hotels, on the other hand, try to minimize their electricity bill by using a key card holder, so the electricity switches off when you’re not there. As a result, hotel guests are not able to charge batteries while out-and-about. There is a clever way around it, however. Refrigerators do not switch off, as it would make them useless. Just use that outlet for charging, while you’re not there. It may require some fidgeting or even a splitter, but I guarantee it works.
An insignificant investment with a potentially huge pay-out. Such gambles do not cross you path very often. But that’s what is was, a gamble, I knew it. Odds were stacked against me, yet I could not resist. Let me tell you what I stumbled across while researching URL shortening services and one-character internet domains, and how it panned out.
For over a decade Paypal has been my preferred means of online payment. It’s reliable, swift, offers good support and any kind of dispute is solved without a hitch. They had really earned my trust, but a recent practical problem has made me wonder if Paypal has realized that times have changed. They are not suited for international travelers at all, which is extremely peculiar for an online payment system in the 21st century. Let me tell you why.
Yesterday, a video of a ritual performed in front of a statue of Hindu deity Shiva on the grounds of CERN in Geneva, surfaced. It immediately reminded me of the famous quote by Robert Oppenheimer, after the first atomic bomb had been detonated. He quoted Vishnu out of the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita. “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”. His actual intended message is a discussion for another time, and yesterday’s ritual was quickly dismissed as a joke. Let’s put aside the fact that the ritual had some similarities to initiation rituals of gnostic societies and focus on the question that seems to have been missed in mainstream media. Why does the home of the Large Hadron Collider have a statue of Shiva?
These day, apps are all the rage … for some reason every online service needs it’s own app. Supposedly for your convenience, but really so all separate service providers can collect your personal data. This NY Times article/documentary now praises the strategy of the Chinese WeChat app, were all online services imaginable are being combined into one app. Disruptive, pioneering, innovative … well, not really. What is such an app called if you think outside the hyped frame-of-mind? An internet browser, isn’t it? The only difference … more online services forced back towards a single application, enable the provider to get hold of your behavior and profile. Not too fond of the business world turning to totalitarian regimes for inspiration, quite frankly.
Remember what a relief is was when AdBlockers finally got really good and all pop-ups, pop-unders, banners, commercial videos, and the like were eliminated and you could actually surf in peace again? More and more websites started detecting AdBlockers and implementing nagging messages that you should switch them off. Recently this got more aggressive, with an increasing amount of websites banning access when they noticed a blocker, anti-Adblock if you will. You probably guessed the response: there is an anti-anti-Adblock strategy available. The Anti-Adblock killer consists of a series of 4 steps to restore you blissful surfing pleasure:
- Browse down to Step 1 and install the Script Manager. Basically this is a little add-on that allows the use of little formulas that slightly change how a website is displayed.
- Install the Addblock killer script (the little formula)
- Install the Adblocker add-on of your choice in Step 2 (you can skip this if you already have one installed)
- Click Subscribe, so your browser keeps up to date about sites that detect Adblockers. Done!
AdBlock recently came available for iOS, so you can use it in combination with Safari on your iPad/IPhone. More about that, later.
When my trusty WRT54G router started showing its age after 14 years, I was in denial for a while. It had always been trustworthy, never let me down and passed along countless terabytes of data, both privately and professionally. For months, I rebooted, changed frequencies, changed settings and tinkered until I had to face facts: it was slowly dying and needed to retire. With 14 years of solid reliability, I really wanted to stay with Linksys and wanted something future proof. The upcoming EA9500 will be a tad expensive at around EUR 400, which left two routers at the top of the range: the EA8500 and the WRT1900ACS. Apart from a negligible difference in speed, all features seemed similar. So which one was the right fit for me? I’ll let you know how I made the choice, maybe it can help others in a similar situation.