Ryan Holiday: Trust Me I’m Lying

Ryan Holiday dubs this book as “Confessions of a media manipulator”. It’s a book about how the media is so volatile to manipulation, starting at the small time blog and progressing it’s way up by “trading up the chain” as far as the broadsheets and mainstream media outlets like CNN.

I enjoyed that Ryan’s book was not necessarily only applicable to the United States. The same happens here, the Daily Mail is our prime example of the sort of nonsense that people read. I love the quote by Ian Hislop that we “Don’t have a pretty press, but it’s free” and the important thing to take from that is that the free press is a force for good. I had a discussion with a friend the other day down the pub and we came to the conclusion that much like newspapers, the internet should not be blamed for it’s content. It’s not the medium it’s the content that is the issue.

The fact of the matter is, as revealed in Ryan’s book is that a life can be ruined by a rumour online. I still find it distressingly sad that the gentleman from “Get Your Own Back” the children’s TV Show, had his career ruined by a rumour online that he had died. This is where the problems come in.

The book confirmed many suspicions of mine and fuels my anger at the stupidity of people. Why is it so many people accept the media for what it is. So many people will read a headline and make dangerous assumptions from it.  I mean dangerous. The power of the media is absolutely insane. Murdoch is the example we all know and love, at least the people who understand the manipulation that is. It’s scary. One man can spread his political ideology like no other. Not only that, but even if you don’t think he’s provoking you he is just by sparking the conversation. Just like the Mail writes to provoke the left and spark controversy, The Guardian often writes to provoke the right. It’s so obvious when you know what to look for. Then we have cases like the Guardian revealing the NSA scandal and having the balls to do it and for a split second, you gain a little respect for them but for the majority of it, the media is pushing out absolute tripe day in day out and we are all slaves to it’s system.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone. If only to open your eyes if you are  unaware of how manipulated and manipulative the media is. Ryan offers a fascinating insight into modern media and I struggled to put this book in as it reaffirmed some of my greatest suspicions.

Nokia Lumia 925

Decided that it was finally time to boot my Nokia Lumia 710. Remember why I had that? Well it was because I fell down the stairs and my iPhone 4 smashed into small expensive pieces. How unfortunate.

Well, after being humiliated by my friends on a regular basis for being on pay as you go since I’ve been back in the UK, I’ve bit the bullet and gone on contract. I’ve even got one of those shiny 4G sim cards. Ever the futurist me. For someone so intrinsically involved in technology (see Computer Science degree), I have little to no interest in getting another iPhone or an Android because I really enjoy the Windows Phone. It’s like an underdog story that is quite fun.

I’ve wanted Windows Phone 8 for a while now because there’s a few apps on my iPad I’d like to be on the more portable side. Instagram and Snapchat to name a few. I also think the few apps that I miss from my iPhone I have on the iPad anyway and they were never necessities. The necessity for me these days is Spotify and Whatsapp. It’s so strange how Whatsapp became so important, if 02 decided to strike away my unlimited texts, I doubt I’d notice very often, or my bill going up at all really.

So I settled on the Lumia 925. I appreciate a good camera on my phone, I also think it’s a gorgeous looking device. Windows Phone 8 is proving a vast improvement on Windows Phone 7, although like all things there is a large proportion of space available for improvement. The screen is gorgeous, the photos are good. The speed is fantastic, and the larger keyboard is welcome. I’m only 36 hours in and I’m really enjoying it. I find it fascinating that 6Snap is more feature full than Snapchat itself and I also enjoy having 5gb of Internet and unlimited calls and texts.

For anyone who would like to step away from the crowd without dropping a fortune on the Lumia 1020, I’d highly recommend this Windows Phone… so far.

Experimenting with Crypto’s

I’ve spent the past few months fiddling with Crypto currencies, I got involved with bitcoin a few years back but I think it was a little over my head at that point, I probably have £2500 worth of bitcoins on an old laptop buried away. I remember being given my first bitcoin which currently sits at the value of £520.

I don’t sit here bitter that I have lost that though, I am aware that it’s a shame but I would have never predicted the rather fascinating growth of the value of the virtual currency. The value has increased because of a number of reasons, taken knocks for other but I still find it absolutely fascinating.

I’ve found that faucets are currently absolutely useless unless you acquire a currency that is going to go up in value. For example, I’m not really sure if dogecoin is a joke or not but it was worth 90 satoshis today. That’s a tiny fraction of bitcoins but still for something that started off as something that nobody could ever take seriously, it now has actual value.

These cryptos are most amazing because they take something completely valueless and by limiting them, they give them value. The Bitcoin algorithm tops out around 21 million and people want them, the dogecoin, I believe is based on Litecoin which is slightly different.

I can’t help but think it may be worth putting an hour or two a week into some of these new currencies because if they do take off, the capital gains can be absolutely mind numbing. I have 100 odd dogecoins at the moment, should they ever reach a fraction of the value of bitcoins, I’ll make a good whack off very little effort. I can buy thousands of them for a fiver today. Perhaps, I shall. Perhaps the risk of a pint and a packet of crisps might pay off.

I don’t know of any of my friends who have experimented with this. A lot of people are trading bitcoins as if they would trade currency and it’s an extremely volatile way to trade because the media has such powerful impact on the currencies stability but I actually have been really enjoying the anarchy and uncertainty of it all. Whether I’ll put my money where my mouth is remains to be seen, because calculated risks are hard to make here. We are relying on hearsay and new methods. It’s all very subjective.

I will continue to follow the Crypto Currency markets for a long while yet. I believe there is opportunities here even with lower risk, for example, I’ve noticed that due to the young nature of the crypto scene, there is room for development of good multi-currency management software that could at some point become invaluable.

The legislation side of things is also fascinating. China have outright rejected it, Germany have decided they are going to tax it (how?), Britain has remained quiet, who’s surprised? Britain’s notoriously useless with forward thinking technologies. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Happy 2014 To All

Happy New Year To Everyone,

I wish you the best with anything you may be trying to achieve this year. This year holds my graduation, job interviews, holidays, personal projects, new reads, new creations and much more I look forward to sharing this with you in the future.