Coinbase Crisis, Alarms bells were ringing years ago

The first time I ever heard of Coinbase was when I was intending to donate to an entity that wanted to stay anonymous because he/she/it was being targeted by Leo Laporte and needed funds to keep their website operating as they had to keep restoring from backups and getting a new domain and web space etc.

I originally converted US$ into bitcoin and was shocked at the high charge for doing so. When the entity I was donating to declared they didn’t need any more donations I sat on the bitcoin I had, not a lot, $50 or so worth. It didn’t go up in value and I decided to pull it out using Coinbase where I had deposited it in. The charge was even higher to pull it out, inordinately high even though they said it was 5% I was charged $23.50 to retrieve that $50, so while the value of bitcoin had risen the value they gave it was still $50 and then I was charged almost half for the widthdrawal.

I never thought anything, I was never going to use bitcoin again. I went on my way with that sour taste in my mouth.

Then I heard of others that were charged administration fee’s for handling depositing and withdrawal of bitcoin through Coinbase, one of them being a youtube creator.

It seems now that many people that invested in Bitcoin trying to make huge profits from it’s bullish run etc are now crying Fraud with a 134 page complaint filed with the SEC. It paints a horrible picture of the Coinbase Cryptocurrency exchange.

According to MASHABLE there are cases of Money just vanishing and Coinbase ignoring distressed calls to them asking where the hell their money went.

Money that was transferred inside Coinbase from one account to another. Not only did it vanish but Coinbase failed to respond. Others that lost money due to errors by Coinbase and others that feel that Coinbase is deliberately stopping them taking money out by “losing it” until they have a chance to utilize it.

The list goes on and on.

The issues have gone on forever with the company mishandling funds, locking people out of their accounts and the company failing to address complaints.

Now Coinbase is supposed to be one of the better exchanges, if this is a good guy then I’d hate to cross paths with a bad one.

I’m of the opinion these days that, just like my meager $50 put in, that it should be treated as a gamble and you should only treat Bitcoin like going to the casino and gambling, the difference is that you may never get any winnings from the Bitcoin casino even if you are a winner. I expect that this 134 page document obtained by Mashable is merely the tip of the iceberg and that many many more people are struggling to retrieve their savings back out, expecting to have profited muchly they have lost everything.

I feel sorry for people that remortgaged their homes and invested it all in bitcoin, they may have lost everything including the roof over their heads.

I know personally that I won’t convert dollars to bitcoin or any other crypto currency for that matter. I leave others to make their own mistakes I know that I may be called a Luddite simply for declaring that I am never going to use Cryptocurrency but there is no stability and no guarantee that you will be protected, in fact we know that you will not be protected by any government body.

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The biggest threat to the internet was not the expiring of Net Neutrality it is the EU’s Article 13!

Almost every tech news outlet threw a hissy fit over a non-event, the expiration of Net Neutrality rules. Hardly any outlet has been outraged over Article 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Yes, literally everyone and their dog went into a tizzy over the killing of the Net Neutrality rules. Rules that had not done a single thing, it did not protect people using the internet but the tech journalists twisted everything they could to try and make it sound like the end of the world was coming.

Now we don’t hear nary a peep from these same journalists that just don’t grasp how dangerous the EU’s Article 13 of the GDPR really is. It comes up for vote this week.

It’s a copyright law that requires platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter etc to scan for and remove any content that “might” be infringing on a copyright.

What that means is that it’s not that it “is” just that it “may” which is two different states. It requires proactive filtering as opposed to allowing the courts to deal with arguments over copyright.

It also gives immense power to those platforms that will be affected. We already see the way that Google and Facebook actively control and censor what we see in searches.

In fact worse still Google already have such a feature and while it highlights some content it does a lousy job, flagging video’s erroneously while allow through massive amounts of content that is copyright infringing and then allows the infringer to monetize this content simply because they get huge number of views. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that would love to get the income these infringers get for doing nothing more than uploading ripped copies of Cable network TV shows.

The biggest issue I have is that content providers will come down on the “play it safe” side and have their system block anything that may be a copyright infringement. They could block a transformative piece such as a meme, this is an act of fair use, even if the image is copyrighted if it has been transformed to make a point by the adding of text or graphical imagery then it is fair use but content providers in fear of breaking the law itself will be simply just blindly take almost everything down.

To make matters worse, it includes a form of taxation where a platform would have to pay a fee to use anything from another website even if it is a mere snippet, for example if this paragraph was to match in anyway with just a few words the same as another entity that would leave WordPress where this blog post is hosted open to fee every time someone reads the post simply because there are a few words the same. As we know it is fairly easy for the wording on a subject to sometimes appear similar because when it is the same subject the phraseology tends to be limited.

The biggest impact that I see from this, as others have described it, link tax would mean that articles and documents and even a person’s essay for school coursework would not be able to provide a link to the source of the information or quote that article or document for fear of their essay being taken down by the hosting source for example Google Docs which would of course have to also actively scan for copyrighted materials.

Tomorrow I expect that the buffoons in Brussels will vote FOR Article 13 thinking that essentially it protects the people of Europe rather than seeing that it harms not just the people of Europe but the people of the World who would be affected by this awful and badly written law.

Opinion: Folding Smartphones are adding another point of failure.

Swarming the headlines is yet another report of folding Smartphones with claims that Apple are creating one and so is Samsung, this is something I hope never sees the light of day or gets killed by price.

Yes, the tech press is barking like yipping dogs around everyone’s ankles about folding smartphones. We’ve heard it all before.

The basis is that screen technology has advanced enough where they can produce it on flexible plastic sheeting but I’ve yet to see flexible glass screens to match or a perfect way of hinging.

Talking of hinges this is where I worry. No end of us had clamshell style phones and I remember no end of stories from friends where they had broken their phone at the hinge, similarly lots of stories where the Hinge gave up.

We have to think about how we use our smartphones! We don’t use them just a few times a day, we use them a humongous number of time in comparison. Now imagine opening and closing a clamshell smartphone several dozens of times a day and see how long that hung mechanism lasts. A week’s usage probably amounts to as much as you would open and close a laptop in a whole year, There’s nothing worse than a laptop screen that slowly opens itself or starts to fold itself shut and many of us also remember that phenomenon.

Sure the technology has changed over the years but the amount of board circuitry that would travel from one side to the other is humongous and the density of chips on the smartphones makes it a juggling act not to mention fitting the battery.

CNBC give an impression of the phone folding in half across the midsection, others are slightly more optimistic and call it a two screen device with two full screens (essentially no advantage other than having what is essentially a folding Tablet) but either way neither options sound good.

The Smartphone is all about the experience and I for one don’t want to my experience ruined. I remember the good old days when I loved a clamshell phone, it guaranteed no butt dialing and protected the screen. I don’t think it would give enough protection and it would just encourage the morons that stick their phone in a back pocket and then complain that they have failed due to the stresses they put the phone under.

I look forward to seeing what happens with this rumor but after seeing the number of known dropped projects that had a folding form because either it hit the market and flopped or they decided that the customer experience was not going to be good and dropped it.

If any do come to market I would love to see how the users feel about them after a few weeks or months of use and how they stand up to the amount of abuse they will go through and certainly what the experience is truly like.

California’s Water Rationing, how hard is it to get by on 55 Gallons a day?

Now that Californian’s are being rationed by the State with what seems like an oppressive amount I decided to look at my own water usage looking at my latest water bill which also shows the previous year.

Yes I know, those bills aren’t perfect but it is the closest way to calculate it for yourself.

The billing information shows the usage but it also shows outdoor consumption i.e. what is used for watering the garden etc. In my case, my lawn in the back of the house is a brown dead mass for most of the year, gophers and ants had ruined it, in fact where I had a 12×10 garden shed the shed had to be relocated because the gophers had utilized the underside of the shed to deposit all the soil they have tunneled out and the lawn never recovered from the combination of the gophers and the ants. I was always either almost breaking an ankle when the lawn gave way or stepping on an ant nest and being attacked by the ants (I think I’ve gotten rid of them then they return like the pesky gophers).

What we do know is that, for my area they bill in blocks of water, 748 Gallons is one Unit and they only charge for the whole Units and round down. So if you use 1495 you will be charged for one unit because it has not reached the next unit measurement, the following month though you may end up with a larger usage because it has ticked over Two whole units and because you were so close to rolling over the unit it will show as an extra unit being used and billed for.

I believe that my water bill shows the actual daily usage in Gallons, they have the ability to identify that, they can identify if you have a suspected leak in a pipe remotely using their electronic meters they installed so I am sure they give accurate daily gallons used.

Allowances

The State of California’s new law currently sets the personal usage limit per person at 55 gallons per day. So a couple would be allocated 110, a family of four 220 gallons.

This is for personal usage, landscape water usage is a higher allowance and I don’t know how they would work that out or whether they just reduce it, I did notice my allowances were reduced by 25-35% during this summer season than last year which was reduced based on the year before.

So during a month for myself for personal usage alone I would be allocated 1673 Gallons and for the property I would be allocated another about four times as much. A family of our though for personal use would get about 6692 gallons per month but would only be allocated the same landscaping water allowance that would be close to or matching their personal allowance. This allowance though is worked out based on the square footage of the property their home sits on so for if they had a huge acreage they would have an equally massive allowance for landscape watering, if they were in a tiny lot with barely a front and back yard (some of the homes in my City barely have any outdoor space at all) they may end up with an outdoor allocation that is maybe just a single water unit per month.

My Usage

I was surprised looking at my bill, I’ve rarely used my whole personal allocation that the Water company gives me for a month, they base it on the number of presumed people in the home as opposed to the actual number so my allowances are essentially far higher while the house across the street on the same sized property that is classed as a two bedroom home only has the same allowance for personal use because they presume that there is the same number of people in each home. The home across the street has three different families living in it, I don’t know how they all fit in there but they do and even have one family living in a beat up old Fifth Wheel trailer they jammed into the property. Let’s face it, they currently have 8 vehicles being used by the family at any one time and if the toddlers drive i could understand but there are 8 drivers and at least 6 children, maybe more. So in their instance they will struggle to meet the water rationing. The previous owners were an elderly couple and they moved because they were frustrated at the cost of the water service.

Here’s my usage from the last bill

I was surprised. Though I am more careful about my usage than most. I use 1/2 Gallon/minute shower heads, wait until I have used lots of dishes before washing them and the rinsing of the dishes takes place in a single sitting so they are cleaned and stacked in the second sink and then rinsed off and put on a drainer. My dish washer is a lonely beast these days, it is an older model and I don’t think it is that efficient to use, My water usage dropped after I stopped using it.

I also wait until I have a full load of laundry and only do two types of laundry load, Clothes and towels so that while I will use more water with each load than by doing smaller loads more often I actually save water because I am doing far fewer laundries, normally two clothing loads a week and towels are laundered weekly or sometimes every 10-11 days whereas I used to use launder every few days.

My outdoor watering consists of avoiding the dead lawn and watering just the three dwarf citrus trees, every second or third day and once a week I water the Ficus trees on one side of the house and the three decorative bushes — if i remember — while the palm trees in the front yard never get water, they do fine with the arid soil.

My showers consist of quick showering and wash as quickly as I can and turn the shower off. I try to get the shower time limited to less than 10 minutes. In warmer weather or when I have been working outside I usually have a follow up shower and another shower before I go to bed. So I aim for less than 15 gallons a day or less for showering.

My biggest usage seems to be when I use flush the toilet, I can’t bring myself to go to the extremes of holding back flushing when you do a pee until you go two or three times. I know that it’s wasteful but it freaks me out thinking about and as much as I tried I would flush the lavatory anyway.

My usage though remains this year 50 gallons or less per day which surprised me though I may have screwed up this morning I turned on the hose to water one of the citrus trees and forgot for several minutes so it got a nice watering and I doubt it will need watering for another week now.

Oh and while the water is saved by the 1/2 Gallon a minute shower heads they are extremely hard to get used to, and you need a routine to make sure get washed because some parts of your body sometimes dont get washed if you don’t learn to get your limbs under the water flow. I did try a 1 Gallon per minute shower head (yes I’ve spent a small fortune on different shower head types) but the spray was so fine that it was almost misting rather than spraying so you felt like you were not getting any cleaner and I would spend longer in the shower.

You have to pick the shower head, your Water District will normally be happy to send out kits with new shower heads for 1 1/2 gallon per minute flow and reduced flow faucet aerators for in the home.

While being on your own makes it possible to get by with the water restrictions, I believe that when you get to families with children or more than two adults in the house the struggle will start because then you have to work as a team and we all know kids that will turn on a faucet and forget about it or just sit flushing the toilet etc.

Apple iPhone Predictions and The Art of BackPedaling

There is nothing so annoying as a reading for months predictions by so called Tech Journalists who then desperately try to erase all their predictions based on lousy information. It’s an art that they are exceptionally good at.

Yes, the backpedaling season is under way, both Forbes and Cult Of Mac are started to demonstrate the fabulous art of dancing around to become positioned so they can point the finger and say, “We were right, this product was cancelled and was not going to be updated at all”.

In this case it is the iPhone SE’s follow up tentatively called, by the all the stuck in putting a number on the back of a model name, iPhone SE2, which they are now all backpedaling as they realize that it may not be appearing, after all it now been far too long.

But wait, does it need to be updated?

In my opinion if Apple chose not to release an update it is because they decided to optimize iOS 12 and focus on higher priced phones. After all the iPhone SE form factor was designed for those on a budget and unlike the budget phones of rivals Apple gave it a relatively fast processor, as fast as the iPhone 6. Since iOS 12 will improve performance those that own the iPhone SE are less likely to purchase an updated version, after all they will gain a jump in performance from the OS update itself and there nothing that makes a person halt and not update their device than a sudden improvement in performance.

iOS 12 is also to blame

Yes we can blame iOS 12 and the jump in performance that all Tech Journalists are still wetting their knickers and still jumping around dancing like excited children over this boost in performance for the purported lowering in production forecasts and component purchases by Apple of 20%.

Yes 20% is a pretty good estimate of the number of people that decide to stick to their old device because the performance suddenly improves somewhat and of course those that would ordinarily have bought a new device that have, instead also had a new battery installed and seen a bump in performance.

I’m also a little dubious about the number of devices supposedly being launched

It may be true that three iPhones will launch later this year but if Apple does it is a mistake. Multiple devices means higher production overheads, multiple production lines making different models means that it’s harder to guess the model that needs more production.

Steve Jobs didn’t make the focus just a single form factor for a reason. It’s more profitable and more efficient to have all productions lines doing the same product but with different storage capacities. It’s easier to predict the numbers needed. Even with the current range it is getting more and more complicated even with the dumping of a middle tier storage capacity, with the models currently available, not including the iPhone SE, we have three models, two memory capacity’s and multiple colors to deal with. It’s juggling too many apples (no pun) and trying to predict the sales for each one.

I suspect that the Apple are actually planning to dump the number after the back end of the name and go for model. We will have the iPhone X and iPhone XL. The iPhone X is conveniently almost the same size as the smaller iPhone model and the iPhone XL will become the size of the iPhone Plus model but will operate with Face-ID.

I strongly believe that the multiple models being buzzed around by Analysts and rumor mongers are just test models that Apple have been working on.

While I am only guessing I think the idiots reporting on Tech are so busy listening to gossip coming out of the Apple supply chain that they are over-reporting which is why they have suddenly gotten into full “Backpedal” model as they try to make themselves look less like they grasped at straws just to get advertising traffic.

Dear Apple, why handicap iMovie on mobile?

Out of curiosity I wanted to see which was faster, uploading a movie through iMovie or the Youtube app, only to find a stumbling block.

Yes, there is a stumbling block that is frustrating, regardless of whether Youtube allow you to upload video of longer than 15 minutes the iMovie app made by Apple restricts all uploads to Youtube video’s of less than 15 minutes. If it is 14 minutes 59 seconds then you are fine after that you have to save the movie to the photo’s app and then use the Youtube app to upload the video.

The desktop version of the iMovie app for the Mac has always done it but the iOS app throws a little tantrum and kicks back.

This is yet again another sign that Apple is really not mobile centric as they would like to tell us. Instead they are putting on an act and when you look at many features they just do not work well on Mobile through background limitations and issues that Apple write into their apps.

It’s a long list of features that either need WiFi or failures for features to work as they should.

Here’s the ever growing list.

iOS Updates over Cellular, mail drop attachments over 170MB over cellular, Many larger apps will not download or install over cellular, iCloud Backups over cellular…

Very frustrating that these features are hit and miss. When you can stream gigabytes of video and even download updates of Apple’s own apps over Cellular when the apps together were in excess of 3/4 of a Gigabyte yet an iOS update of 43.1 MB could not be downloaded over Cellular. ICloud doesn’t back up over cellular, all it takes is an option to say Do it between time A and time B if the device is connected to charger and on lock screen.

Some larger apps will not download unless you connect to WiFi and which ones do and which ones don’t is hit and miss.

Some App Updates don’t download unless you are WiFi, this is hit and miss too, some it will say that you cannot install it because it exceeds 150 MB in size but then goes ahead and installs, others it just doesn’t.

Mail drop, what’s the point of using it to send attachments that are large if you can’t retrieve them without hunting down a WiFi connection?

There’s probably more but I can’t keep track of all of them.

Apple Apps that should work with sharing direct to other platforms where the mobile app has a limitation that is not present on the desktop version.

At this time it seems to be iMovie but I am sure that the other apps would be doing the same. There is nothing more frustrating than creating a large video using iMove and then discovering that it won’t upload even though your YouTube account allows it. So you have to process it and send it to the photo’s app then upload using YouTube’s app instead which then processes the file again, then you wait for it to upload then you wait for it to process when Apple’s iMovie if it worked correctly would have done it perfectly well by itself cutting out the need to reprocess the video on Youtube saving several minutes of time.

I’m sure there are other but I’ve only just started to realize how terrible the issues are.

I really am starting to see that Apple has very little focus on things “just working” the way they used to and it is time that they started focusing on this, many have started to transition to mobile data services only for convenience and because they no longer watch TV or have easy access to broadband. Should a person carry a battery and lightning cable with them so they can do all these things while sitting in a Coffee shop or wandering around a grocery store etc. Hardly fair and totally unfair to expect people to maintain a cable service or relocate to a place where there is access to WiFi broadband just so that their iPhone operates how they claim.

For me, it is a reason why a person would switch to a rival phone maker where their operating system allows these things to take place.

Is Youtube falsely identifying Accounts for non-existent breaches of terms of use? They may be.

The list is growing of established, monetized, Youtube creators that were with Multi-Partner Networks that have found themselves dropped for unknown reasons. Others have found themselves with copyright strikes that don’t exist.

You may remember just over a week ago I wrote about how I wanted to test a live-streaming while driving to see if it was viable as a dash cam that would send the video straight to storage in the cloud. I was stunned to find that there was a copyright strike on my account that meant that I could not livestream video on the account. I went to the account and there was no strike. Even the “Monetize” option was showing as qualifying for Adsense and an option to enable but I was disqualified for live-streaming due to this “strike”.

I gave up and used my Google Voice number on a brand new account and managed to livestream and do my test.

Meanwhile we have have seen Tim Pool receive a strike and banned from live-streaming video but they couldn’t tell him what the strike was for, which video it was for or why, His multi-partner network sent a letter saying they were dropping him for.

Within the past 24 hours another creator Dave Cullen has received a letting telling him he was being dropped, again this was for “breaches of Youtube terms” yet just like myself he could not find anything to identify these breaches that he was being told of.

Just using this two we can now eliminate the presumed “in-video advertising of CBD Oil” because Cullen didn’t advertise any form of Hemp or Cannabis Oil at all. What we can tell is that both created video’s that upset a particular group.

Tim Pool received his strike and ban from live-streaming shortly after defending Elon Musk’s stance of horrible journalistic practices. Dave Cullen on the other hand regularly upset many on the far left when he would call them out.

We have to ask are the Multi-Partner Networks, that represented them along with fellow creators, bowing to pressure from groups to drop Youtube creators because their content is upsetting to a group? Is Youtube bowing to pressure to target certain creators based on how it upsets Journalists or people of a particular political leaning?

Is this why creator Bear_ing was banned from Youtube, did he upset a group of far left and youtube decided to target him rather than telling these people to grow some balls and get a life and if they don’t like what he says don’t watch it.

It it not time that we all stood up and said, “Enough, with this witch hunt, enough with the targeting and enough with pandering to every whimpering idiot that doesn’t have the spine to ignore criticism of them or their views”.