BitCoin Digital Currency: Financial Revolution or Doomed to Fail?

BitCoin Digital Currency: Financial Revolution or Doomed to Fail?  | 40Tech

I recently read a Gizmodo article about BitCoin, a new digital currency that is peer-exchanged — and generated — and aims to “revolutionize global finance.” It’s a nice idea, really, and some stores and services have already adopted it. According to Gizmodo, you can already trade BitCoin tokens for web designers, games, guns, and even drugs — yep… drugs. This sounds like the makings of real money to me, but how far will it — or can it — go?

Money is many things: the root of all evil, maker of spinning worlds, an absolute necessity to live in our society, yada yada. It also has a basis on which to trade — generally gold and silver repositories that give the coins and paper some degree of relative worth. Even our debit and credit cards, which are the primary ways of buying things digitally, are tied up in the worldwide economy of shiny valuable metals. This has been going on for thousands of years, ever since a few people decided that hoarding pretty things was a good way to live — and other people decided they wanted those same pretty things too. In a nutshell, anyway.

Can BitCoin stack up against all of that? It creates itself out of nothing! It’s an app on your computer that uses your machine to crowdsource the power to facilitate the currency’s transactions, all the while generating tiny bits of BitCoins for you. The creators have put some thought into it, sure, putting a cap on the creation of BitCoins (21 million in total) that will introduce scarcity, and therefore a basis for value, but what kind of potential does this new currency have against thousands of years of history? Not to mention that the wheels that turn the economy, like credit card companies, might have a thing or two to say on the matter – especially about the lower of fees, transaction limits, country walls, and other things that provide financial control over users.

I think BitCoin is a nice idea. I think it even has potential — at least to gain some sort of reasonable adoption over the long term. It will probably be a very long term, though, before any real revolution is seen. Everything we do is too tied up in regular currency. There are those out there who believe in BitCoin now, however — and they are trading the online currency at one BitCoin for $7.50. That’s virtual coins for real money — and not bought by someone who is looking to get a new castle or set of armour in their favourite MMORPG.

Think about it.

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Is BitCoin revolutionary? Doomed to failure? Ahead of its time? — Or maybe all of the above? Let us know what you think in the comments.

What is BitCoin [Gizmodo]

Save Money On Food (Then Buy Yourself Some Techie Toys)

Save Money On Food (Then Buy Yourself Some Techie Toys) | 40Tech

There’s really not enough money to go around these days, what with the economic crashes and the rise in prices of, well… everything. Yes, this would be the perfect opportunity to complain about the price of gas, but this is a technology blog, so I’m going to complain about the price of food instead — wait… what? Yep, you read me right: Food. The prices are climbing toward the ridiculous for the essentials, and frankly, I’m more than a little put out about it!

Thankfully, the always vigilant folk over at Wise Bread have taken the time to scour the technology world (see, I brought it back…) for online tools that are made to help you save a bit of your hard earned cash without having to tighten up your belt.

Wise Bread breaks the tools they showcase into three categories: Menu-Planning, Coupon Resources, and Price Comparison. Menu planning takes a bit of time and dedication, but it beats the hockey sticks out of the customary North American (or , at least, my) pastime of pouring money into an active garburator. As the author, Sarah Winfrey, says — and I’m paraphrasing here — you’ll spend less, waste less, and leave the impulse buys in the past.

The menu-planning tool I liked the best was Kitchen Monki. You can get some good recipes from the site, or add your own, and there is a shopping list which can be scaled to suit your plan’s needs. The shopping list can be printed or sent to your phone, which is also handy, and the site has an active community and blog. The other two tools in this category were MealsMatter, which focuses on eating healthy, and Relish! — which costs 7 bucks a month. I’m not a fan of Relish! for the reason that I am interested in saving money, not spending it, but mostly I liked Kitchen Monki because of the site’s friendly layout and monkey mascot.

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Some of the other featured resources were coupon sites CouponMom and Redplum, and price comparison site Pricible, all of which are worth a look if you are in the US.

These online tools and services are a great way to keep your cash where it should be: saving itself until it grows big enough to buy you a fancy new tech toy. Or on your kid’s college fund, but you know — whatever. Kids can get jobs…

What are your favourite money saving tools/apps/services, for food or otherwise?

Save Money On Groceries With These Online Tools [Wise Bread]

Use “Niggle It” to Back Up and Track Contracts, Product Warranties, and More

Niggle It Backs Up, Tracks Contracts, Product Warranties, More | 40Tech

If you’re like me and have a tendency to lose track of your warranty information, Niggle It is a service with a singular purpose: to help you keep track of the details of all of your agreements, including warranties, business contracts — even those conversations that you have with your mobile carrier’s customer service agents. Niggle It will track anything you feel important enough to be reminded about, be it personal or business related.

You can add electronic copies of your documents to Niggle It by emailing in a scan or a photograph taken with a digital camera. You can also use any mobile phone capable of taking pictures and sending email — or use the iPhone app to create the entire Niggle on the go.

The value of Niggle It is the ability to create reminders based on contract dates, and to add additional information and documents to the file (Niggle) that is dedicated to that one item/contract. You have a dedicated, always on hand back up of the documents you need if something goes wrong, and a tool that is able to remind you to, say, get that last full service in on your car before the warranty runs out — just in case.

Niggle It guarantees that your information is always available from anywhere you can access the internet, and that everything is private and secure, with no personal information ever shared with a third party.

Niggle It is free up to five Niggles, and also includes the following pricing plans:

  • Basic: 70 Niggles, 300 MB, 5 MB filesize limit –> $24.95/year
  • Household: 200 Niggles, 800 MB, 10 MB filesize limit, and a Tax Deduction report –> $29.95/year

What do you use to track your warranties and contracts? [Niggle It]


UPDATE: The pricing page for Niggle It is somewhat unclear. I assumed it was per month, but it could, in fact, be $25 and $30 per year — much more reasonably priced.

UPDATE 2: The price is yearly — not monthly — and has been corrected.

10 Useful Online Tools For Business

10 Useful Online Tools For Business | 40Tech

We’re all relatively grown here, and chances are that most of us have dabbled in a business venture or two. We’ve spent time reading blogs and listening to podcasts that tell us about this new toy or online start up that may change the way we work (for the better, of course). Chances are we even went and signed up for an account or free beta or three, and spent a little more time mucking about to see if that new online tool would work for us. I have a long (looong) list of things I’ve tried and put aside, still use, or have flagged for later, when it suits whatever project I’m working on.

I’ve culled through that list and pulled out some of the online business services that stuck out to me, avoiding the more obvious ones like Google Apps, Producteev, Evernote, and the like. I’m pretty… thrifty… when it comes to online ventures, so all of these services will be affordable, and many of them will be at least partly free. Check out the list, below, and share some of your own highlights and discoveries in the comments.

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Take the Power Back in Your Investments: A New Tech Standard Shows You How a Company is Really Doing

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If you are thinking about buying nearly anything, you can go on-line and compare the attributes, warranties, and reviews of the product or service- apples to apples as they say.  Have you ever tried to do this with a share of stock in a company?  Tell me, is it a better investment to buy a share of stock in GE, or in Exxon?  Which company has made a higher return for its investors, Dunkin Donuts or Home Depot?  Even if you can’t answers these questions, you still have to make an investment decision regarding each contribution you make to your 401(k).  Do you do what most people do- people pick something and hope?  Now there is a better way.

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Your Next Credit Card May Be a Cell Phone.

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My wallet is pretty small. I don’t carry business cards because you can get my contact information from my LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, website or email signature. I don’t carry money because I have one rewards credit card that I use for everything.  If you don’t take credit cards, then I’ll go to the store around the corner that does. I don’t carry receipts because I scan them into Evernote and have them synced with my phone. I don’t carry pictures because I put those in Dropbox and can see them on my phone any time I want without the risk of losing them. I don’t carry health insurance cards, dental insurance cards, business cards from my doctor’s office, or membership cards from AAA or elsewhere, because I put all of that information into my contacts on my phone and leave the cards at home. I don’t carry a library card because the library staff can pull up my information based on my driver’s license. So I am left with my driver’s license and a credit card. It seems that if Verizon and AT&T have their way, I soon will be down to just my driver’s license.

According to several sources, Verizon and AT&T are working on a partnership to develop contactless payments from your cell phone. The financial website The Motley Fool has more information on the deal.  It seems there is no word yet on when this might be rolled out, or how they are going to fill my mailbox with pre-approved cell phone / credit card offers.

So what do you think?  Would you use a system like this?  Would you trust it?

     Looming Threat for Visa, MasterCard from AT&T, Verizon [The Motley Fool]