Micropayments 07 November at 4:55 PM 0 comments

Something I've found is that many businesses are gradually moving from larger transactions to much, much smaller ones. Grated, I'm about the ten-trillionth person to say this, but I do think it's a good time to consider the long term effects of this and what we can expect.

Software

Consider Adobe Photoshop. Once available in Adobe Creative Suite at a one-time-cost of somewhere around £1,300, it can now be 'rented' for the much more affordable price of £50. Whilst this is still a fairly considerable expense for many, it's something that puts the software into the reach of many.

Other professional-grade software has similarly followed suit - Pro Tools, a professional grade DAW used in just about every studio ever, having previously retailed for around $800, is now available as part of a $29 monthly subscription.

Is this a good thing? Well, maybe. On one hand many users don't like the idea of never actually owning their software, and it's easy to see how many people may feel taken advantage of by this.

Whilst it's true that the subscription fee includes support and updates for the length of the subscription, the fact is many people never bothered to update anyway - the version they already owned was sufficient for their uses. That, and having later paid updates provided a great incentive to software companies to create meaningful updates worth of their fee - something a subscription doesn't necessarily provide.

In fact, in the example of Pro Tools it's fair to say it's lost them a fair bit of market share - not in professional studios perhaps, but bedroom producers especially have started looking elsewhere, and for many people going into music production now, Pro Tools isn't even something they consider.

Self Driving Cars

Taking a leap into the future, let's consider self-driving cars.

A self driving car could meet you anywhere - you could summon it, similarly to how Uber works now. But consider - how many people would be willing to give up the expense of car ownership to instead be able to reliably summon a self-driving car at any time for a low per-use cost.

I can't speak for everyone and I'm very much aware that people disagree with me but, personally, I'd be very happy to do so. A direct per-journey cost would make someone such as myself much more aware of the actual cost each journey is running me whilst meaning I'm not spending a lot of money on a car that is primarily parked in one place or another.

Car ownership, for this reason, is horrifically inefficient. You've got a big block of metal that took a crazy amount of engineering effort to produce, which millions of people own, which spends most of its life taking up valuable space on roads, parked.

Granted, I'm very much a big supporter of public transportation for this reason, and I find it depressing that the state of public transportation is so dire outside of London, at least in the UK. Living in Surrey means a bus running on time is far beyond any kind of realistic expectation, if there's even a bus service that goes where you want it to.

There's clearly a future in this. Not immediately, not everywhere, but soon and to a large enough degree that for a future generation being able to drive a car, while being convenient, is unlikely to be any kind of a requirement. Commuting by Uber is already totally doable and in fact plenty of people do. The only difference long term will be the lack of human drivers.

Hyper Terminal 03 November at 12:24 PM 0 comments

If you use a terminal, ever, you need to try this. 

Hyper Terminal is a free, open source, javascript based terminal for Linux and Mac based around the Electron framework, as indeed every app ever seems to be. Think containerized webkit turned into local applications. That is to say, what Atom runs on. 

Take a look at their website.

Azores 22 October at 8:02 AM 0 comments

Photo by Guillaume Baviere from Helsingborg, Sweden, CC BY 2.0

Just scrolling across the Maps app on my computer, and I notice some small islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Normally, I'd think nothing of it. Tiny islands, almost certainly uninhabited. 

Still, I was curious so I thought I'd look up one of the places I could see on the island - Ponta Delgada, which lead me to a Wikipedia article. So I read through, and apparently it's the largest settlement in Azores - nine volcanic islands in the Atlantic, and in fact part of Portugal, despite being roughly 550 miles away from their coast. 

I was expecting somewhere uninhabited, and instead what I found was somewhere with a population of nearly 250,000.

Photo by Feliciano Guimarães - originally posted to Flickr as Ponta Delgada, CC BY 2.0

Azores is impressive - there's some downright stunning views and it's somewhere I'd love to go one day. What really impresses me though, is the idea that such a community and such a society can exist. A place that's so distant from other places, that only recently could've been better connected through technology. 

Despite it being so remote, it has a strong agricultural industry, primarily focused on dairy farming but also livestock ranching and fishing. 

More recently tourism has become integral to the success of the archipegalo, which is hardly surprising, but it still blows my mind to consider that so many places like this exist that I and many others would know nothing about, had I not stumbled across it by pure chance.