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Today in Tech: Bitcoin, Batteries, iPhones & More

Bitcoin crosses a milestone

bitcoinThere must be something instructive about Bitcoin crossing $100 in value on April Fool’s day.

For the skeptics, the virtual currency system always had an aura of a Ponzi scheme. No one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto, the designer of the Bitcoin network, is (or for that matter, who ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ are, for it could be a group). Despite the media attention, the number of users is pretty small. (There are close to 11 million Bitcoins in circulation today). Its value has been as volatile as Virender Sehwag‘s batting in the recent matches, even if the broad direction seems to be upwards. There is a good chance that many see bitcoin merely as a speculative investment. Buy it today, and you can always sell it to a greater fool tomorrow.

But, Bitcoin has a primary use, a more important role to play – as a medium of transaction. Its unique features – it is anonymous, secure, not regulated by governments/central banks, and it is low cost since it bypasses banks/third parties – have made it the go-to currency for certain types of markets online, such as gambling. In future, there will be more such applications. However, all these don’t explain why its value tripled in just a month, and crossed $100 on April Fool’s day.

(For more on Bitcoin, check out this old piece by James Suroweicki in Technology Review  and a recent piece on an exchange that handles 76% of bitcoin trading in The Verge.)

 

Three views on batteries

Somehow, when talking about gadgets, battery life has become at best the fourth of fifth thing you mention. It shouldn’t be. It should be the very first. At this point, it’s the only thing that matters. ~ Gizmodo

 

 

Because battery capacity hasn’t improved much over the years, the batteries themselves have gotten bigger, limiting how thin and light phones can be. Meanwhile, technologies like 1080p screens and wireless screen mirroring have been hamstrung by batteries that can’t keep up. Bad battery life can be an Achilles’ heel for otherwise solid phones; by the time you realize your phone’s battery stinks, it might be too late to send it back to the store. ~ Time

 

I think the research in the world is largely misdirected. What I mean by that is that the conventional approach for battery research is: ‘Let’s find the coolest chemistry. And then we publish the paper and somebody else should figure out how to make this device cheaper.’ ~ Donald R. Sadoway , John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Mint

Also of Interest

  • Steve Jobs’ long shadow: Gascón said Foulkes discussed the long and laborious process of researching and producing a kill-switch technology for devices, and also said the next two generations of iPhones have already been developed. “They preceded Tim Cook,” the district attorney said he was told of the future iPhones.  | SH Examiner
  • More competition for Dropbox: Amazon turns Cloud Drive into a Dropbox rival with file syncing | Arstechnica
  • Siri, the salesman: Nuance hopes its voice-recognition tech can produce mobile ads that you actually want to have a conversation with. | Technology Review
  • Today’s joke, tomorrow’s reality: Google Nose is not really a joke | Fortune
  • Cool It: Is the Internet Too Hot for Data Centers to Handle? Scientific American

 

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NS Ramnath
I have been with Forbes India since August 2008. I like writing about ideas, events and people at the intersection of business, society and technology. Prior, I was with Economic Times. I am based in Bangalore. Email: ns.ramnath@gmail.com
 
 
 
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April 02, 2013 13:32 pm by » Blog Archive » Today in Tech: Bitcoin, Batteries, iPhones & More – Forbes India (blog)
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