Latest read: Beyond Bitcoin

Beyond Bitcoin: The Economics of Digital Currencies by Hanna Halaburda and Miklos Sarvary is a wonderful read to learn about digital currencies and the state of Bitcoin. The authors clearly defined the real world use of digital currencies.

Beyond BitcoinBeyond Bitcoin explores the emerging and dynamic universe of digital currencies, to understand how they developed and what the future holds for our economy.

The authors use an economic framework to explore platform-based digital currencies that are centrally managed by the businesses that introduced them. The book ends with a comparison between various cryptocurrencies.

The authors use an economic framework to explore platform-based digital currencies that are centrally managed by the businesses that introduced them. The book ends with a comparison between various cryptocurrencies.

The history of currencies is rather fascinating and the third chapter covers currencies we are familiar with including BerkShares, Food Stamps and Mortgages. Also addressed are gaming currencies including World of Warcraft, and Diablo; virtual worlds including Eve Online and SecondLife and social networks including Facebook Credits or Amazon Coins.
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Cetus Extended 3D printer

The Cetus Extended 3D printer, a Rails-based printing technology has been occupying a great deal of my time as of late. This 3D Printer has a build volume of 180x180x280mm and supports 1.75mm PLA filament.
Cetus Extended
A very important consideration for children is a printer’s power source. Many 3D printer kits from GearBest, eBay or AliExpress contain open, live wiring that may prove extremely dangerous to children. This printer is a safe choice for children and schools. Cetus ships a kid-friendly power supply that will put to rest any parental concerns. Remember kids are curious. IMHO the Cetus minimalist design provides a better introduction to real hands-on 3D Printing for my children.

Cetus printers have an active Facebook group providing great feedback from a growing community of owners. I am also pleased to see an active Reddit community.

Popular 3D applications Simplify3DUltimaker Cura, Slic3r, and Craftware all connect to the Cetus Extended and run very well on an iMac. USB and WiFi are built in and Cetus has an iPad client. The Cetus app will also convert G-code to native machine code before sending objects to the printer.
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Latest Read: Blockchain Basics

The Blockchain Basics by Daniel Drescher. This is a very basic blockchain book. I would recommend this to someone completely unfamiliar with blockchain.
Blockchain BasicsDaniel hits his mark as he places a repeated template for each step.
I felt the book had trouble flowing for anyone who has already read a blockchain textbook. Daniel pushes the elementary lessons through 25 steps.

There is a very basic outline of security on the blockchain. Again this book has a very specific target audience: Newbie. I have to admit that I was bored reading the text. Yet I was impressed by the lessons for newbies and related topics that are presented.

Yet his lessons and related topics are simple to follow. For an overall tip of the iceberg, you can fly through this book and then move to Don Tapscott, William Mougayar and Melanie Swan.

Latest Read: Decentralized Applications Harnessing Bitcoin’s Blockchain Technology

Decentralized Applications Harnessing Bitcoin’s Blockchain Technology by Siraj Raval is my follow up to three previous blockchain books. This kinda forks hard left after chapter two and drifts.
Decentralized Applications Harnessing Bitcoin's Blockchain TechnologyMy first book Don Tapscott’s The Blockchain Revolution was interesting in broad strokes. William Mougayar’s The Business Blockchain was better.

Melanie Swan wrote an even better overview to in her book Blockchain: A blueprint for a new economy. Melanie provides a great overview (looking back from 2015) to address decentralized apps (Dapps), decentralized autonomous organization (DAOs), decentralized autonomous corporations (DACs) and decentralized autonomous societies (DASs). There is such a deeper dive required to wrap your arms around decentralized autonomous blockchains.
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World Economic Forum: The Blockchain

The blockchain is the future of financial infrastructures. An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services.

The World Economic Forum has posted a PDF view of the Blockchain’s pragmatic impact upon global financial services. Its a very visual read to a great deal of research.
The future of financial infrastructure An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services

The key areas of focus are blockchain technologies that can push simplicity and efficiency. The opportunity to create new financial service infrastructure based upon high level information security.

The blockchain is looking to launch next generation financial services infrastructure. The report’s use case focus considers how blockchain technology can benefit multiple scenarios across future financial services.

The report is a follow-up to a Deloitte/World Economic Forum report Disruptive Innovation in Financial Services. This report analyzes blockchain across nine sectors of financial services.

Latest Read: Blockchain – Blueprint for a New Economy

When Melanie Swan’s book Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy written under the O’Reilly series was available I was eager to start reading. This is a thoughtful overview to the Blockchain. There is much to learn about the role of cryptocurrency and the blockchain but this is not the sole focus of her work.

Blockchain - Blueprint for a New EconomyMelanie, like Tapscott paints a wide brush across the Blockchain. Too similar to Tapscott perhaps? No. If the blockchain’s focus was just security then it would command a smaller, narrow focus on IT infrastructure. Yet Melanie provides a wider arena to learn how Blockchains especially in healthcare hold enormous possibilities.

My first book Don Tapscott’s The Blockchain Revolution was interesting. William Mougayar’s The Business Blockchain was better. My thirst for knowledge continues.This is possibly the best of the three at providing a deeper dive to the possibilities of a truly changing technology.
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Latest Read: The Business Blockchain

William Mougayar’s new book The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology provides a blueprint overview that compliments Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution previously reviewed. Mougayar is able to specifically touch on the Blockchain’s architecture. Tapscott painted with a wide brush addressing everything possible with the Blockchain’s decentralized trust solution.
The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet TechnologyMougayar moves slightly forward addressing v 3.0 aimed at audiences wider than banking. A key view is that Blockchain will not just be for the enterprise. This will create a new crypto economy. It will be interesting to watch this grow. Care to take a live look? Here is the blockchain.info site.

He views the blockchain will revolutionize the roles of existing financial intermediaries including PayPal. Blockchains will force change upon them. They can adapt or die like the dinosaurs. Blockchains will disrupt oldschool, imperial organizations as the trust boundary shifts value away from them after hundreds of years.

Banks are clearly the key target of the blockchain infrastructure. To no surprise even the Federal Reserve has been given a blockchain briefing in June. The focus byMougayar beyond another blockchain overview is a breakdown of trust, obstacles and challenges to the Blockchain technology. The issue is much stronger in the financial services marketplace as Wall Street and international banks are now testing blockchains. He touches briefly implementing Blockchain technologies and closes by pushing the message of decentralization as a key in moving forward.
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Latest Read: The Blockchain Revolution

Blockchain as a financial technology (FitTech) surged in late 2015. Wall Street banks and other international financial firms stress tested this technology and are investing in blockchain infrastructure. Even Janet Yellen and The Federal Reserve received a blockchain briefing within June.

Don Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World is a worthy introduction to this advanced security ledger technology. This book is NOT about Bitcoin.

The Blockchain RevolutionTapscott paints with a wide brush across the underlying architecture. Looking for blockchain infrastructure, cryptocurrency or blockchain as a service than take a glance at the table of contents. O’Reilly’s Blockchain books are more targeted to tech folks anyway.

Hard to believe I have been a fan of Don’s writing for over 10 years. Just looked at my review of Wikinomics and MacroWikinomics, his previous books published way back in 2006. His follow up Macrowikinomics was released in 2008. It was interesting to me to understand Don lightly wrapped an element from Wikinomics called Ideagoras into The Blockchain Revolution. Sometimes you just cannot leave home….

Clearly FinTech sees the blockchain’s potential to disrupt their world. The focus for Tapscott is how to address Blockchain beyond Wall Street. The blockchain allows participants of public and private distributed systems to agree on a common view of a system and track changes across those systems with highly secure encryption. Security is also the core of healthcare blockchains with the focus on the crypto in cryptocurrency.
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Latest Read: Keeping Up with the Quants

Have been looking forward to Tom Davenport’s Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics for longer than I care to admit. I throughly enjoyed his book Competing on Analytics all the way back in 2008. His followup Big Data@Work provides the same scope for business regarding the emerging era of Big Data.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics Tom has truly mastered the role of business analytics for well over two decades. He is acknowledged as revealing the path of metrics and just as important how success can be defined by adopting a mindset of analytics over intuition. It should be no surprise that I am a big fan of Tom Davenport.

Seems like a lifetime ago in the competitive and fast changing world of analytics. Quantitative analysis with a side of regression is not a diner order but a key skill to identify patterns in data.

An easy read with great common sense approaches for leaders to understand and professionals to embrace it proves not only how business gains insights but how to defend Kobe Bryant.

On the heels of reading Nate Silver’s bestseller The Signal and the Noise, Davenport reveals how quants have not only broken down NBA basketball defensive measures to each quarter when playing Bryant and the Lakers but how to guard him in a last possession game scenario.
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Latest read: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Wharton’s Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner is another great read addressing analytics, human behavior and analytic technologies for establishing and sharpening forecasting abilities for any organization.

superforecasting the art and science of predictionThe book title is a wonderful attention grabber for me that demonstrates we live in the era of big data with business driving the age of immediacy.

Superforecasting acknowledges data lessons supplied by Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise as helping to define standards to data and how it misled the national media.

Yet just into the second chapter Tetlock and Gardner point to the research by Daniel Kahneman excellent work Thinking Fast and Slow to help determine behaviors shaped over time that have fundamentally changed how we predict success.
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FarmBot: Open­source precision farming

FarmBot is an open­source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package designed from the ground up with today’s technologies. The world’s population is growing and is projected to surpass 9 billion inhabitants by 2050. As a result farms must increase production by about 60 percent to meet demand which is stunning since many believe we have reached the limits of traditional farming.
FarmBot

In comparison to desktop digital 3D printers and CNC machines FarmBot extends the idea of X, Y, and Z directions and applies it to plows, seed injectors, water and sensors in order to accurately and efficiently grow plants and soil. I think that I would like to try this out in my own backyard.
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Glowforge laser cutter

Glowforge has quickly emerged as the best Kickstarter campaign to introduce desktop laser cutting. The entry point of $2300. The Pro version with an Air Filter for $5,000 is actually the right configuration.
Glowforge uses subtractive rather than additive manufacturing. The device will carve objects out or burn designs into a number of materials.