Stealing Fingerprints From Photos – Episode 60

Today on the show: a block-chain social network, China driving down the price of solar power, Nintendo’s Switch issues,  EV owners avoiding taxes, Faraday Future’s FF91 sticker shock, giving away bio-data with a simple photo, measuring infinity with Verizon math, Content We Like and Today I Learned!

Steem. Blockchain cryptocurrency earnings for social media curators & contributors.

    • Rewarding people who contribute or curate with cryptocurrency.
    • System has careful governance in place to make sure the currency is stable. Explained in their whitepaper as a balance between Steem Power, which you can eventually convert into Steem Dollars, and the Steem Dollars themselves.
    • Your ability to reward other with Steem is limited. Once you’ve upvoted, it takes a bit of time before you can upvote again.
    • Would be hard to game the system. Lots of checks and balances.
    • From what I can tell, the system is insular.
      • I don’t see a way I could have readers of my blog reward me with Steem, at least not directly.
      • You’d have to be on
    • But…who wants this? What’s the point?
      • The big ideas are noble ones.
      • Principle 1. If you contribute to a platform, you should get something back.
      • Principle 2. All forms of capital are equal. Time has similar value to money, for example.
      • Principle 3. Products are produced for the community. (Reinforcing my point about Steem being insular.)
    • “The Steem community provides the following services to its members:
      • 1. A source of curated news and commentary.
      • 2. A means to get high quality answers to personalized questions.
      • 3. A stable cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar.
      • 4. Free payments.
      • 5. Jobs providing above services to other members.”
  • Will this go anywhere? Lots of issues with Steem…
    • The rewards aren’t valuable enough to put up with the lack of audience.
    • The competition for attention is brutal.
    • Monetization schemes with similar or better real-dollar rewards already exist in the form of ad revenue. Yeah, ads suck especially when done badly. But it’s a proven system that rewards creators for their content in direct relation to their quality. The better the content, the greater the audience. And audience numbers, to a degree, correlate to ad revenue. Thus, creators are already incentivized to make strong content.
    • Being rewarded in a new cryptocurrency seems like an intangible rewards, bordering on getting coupons.
    • Might it work? Yes. Are the ideas noble? I think so. Will Steem gather any steam? I don’t see it.

Chinese driving down the price of solar.

  • $360 Billion (with a “B”) in renewable energy
  • By 2020… that’s 3 years away
  • Estimates 3 Million new jobs to be created
  • Wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power (nuclear isn’t exactly “renewable”)
  • They’re scrapping 80-odd planned or in-progress Coal power plants
  • China is the #1 carbon emitting country, releasing roughly 2x the carbon of the United States
  • However, China became the world’s top solar generator in 2016
  • The cost of solar installation has dropped 40% since 2010

Is the Nintendo Switch purely a portable?

  • The Nintendo Switch is an impressive portable gaming system
    • 6.2” (15.75 cm) screen
    • 1280×720 resolution
    • Nvidia Tegra SOC
    • 32GB Internal storage
    • Expandable with SDXC
    • Two speakers (and a headphone jack, because they lack courage)
    • 6+ hours of battery life (depending on what you’re doing, the new Zelda tops out around 3 Hours)
    • It charges via a USB-C port – so you could even bring a portable power bank with you to charge it.
  • This article posits that its biggest “feature” the ability to “Switch” from handheld to home console is its largest detraction point.
  • I am actually inclined to agree. I don’t think it’s necessarily a fatal flaw, but the logic works.
  • The Switch is only slightly more powerful than the failed and cancelled Wii U, but as a mobile device that’s actually just fine. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a beautiful looking game.
  • When you dock the Switch to play on your TV it actually gets slightly more powerful, because there is more power available and it does some sort of “turbo mode” apparently, slightly overclocking the SOC.
  • The biggest use case for this is to play games wherever, whenever. I love this idea, and rarely take the time to sit down in front of a TV to play video games.
  • The switch does not compete in power with a PS4 or Xbox One (let alone the new Pro and S models, respectively)
  • Why does it need to have a dedicated docking system to add complexity and cost to the package?
  • $299 is the launch price and some quick tallying on the part of the Ars author estimates that the launch price could have been lowered to $229 or $249 – making it more price competitive with Sony and Microsoft’s consoles.
  • With that said, this is a “hardcore” system. Just not the way “hardcore gaming” usually is used… this system is, at least at this point, targeted at hardcore Nintendo fans. Zelda and Mario and Splatoon and Xenoblade fans.
  • I really, really want one. I could take or leave a PS4 or Xbox One, (though there are some games coming out for the PS4 that may change that). This is right in my wheelhouse: the right genres of games, the right game franchises, portability, it really hits a sweet spot for me.
  • I gotta say, $299 is pretty steep for it though. $199 or even $249 certainly would be a lot more palatable.

EV fees vs. lost gas taxes

  • The freeloading EV argument. Hey, they use the road, but aren’t paying much (any?) in gas taxes.
  • Solution? An EV fee to balance it out.
  • But are these fees fair? Article argues no, not even close. Their arguments are…
    • Little EVs don’t trash the road like large gas-burning semis do.
    • Fossil fuels are damaging the world more than road damage done by EVs.
    • Not many EVs on the road, so the fees don’t amount to much.
    • EVs fees tend to cost more than taxes enacted on a gas vehicle.
  • These arguments seem mostly specious to us.

Faraday Future FF91 price comes in…

  • Discussed in a recent episode (Episode 58) estimated “At least $100k”
  • Eric: I admit I was wrong.
  • I was waaaaaaay low!
  • “Under $300k” according to the CEO.
  • Estimates from $100-200k abounded, but it looks like it’ll be significantly more.
  • So now there’s an EV for the folks who just can’t be seen in a $100k Tesla.
  • The FF91 is a step in the right direction while simultaneously a big step in the wrong direction.

Giving away your biodata in hi-res pictures.

  • Japan’s National Institute of Infomatics is warning people about the peace sign coupled with digital photography.
  • “The NII researchers were able to copy fingerprints based on photos taken by a digital camera three metres (nine feet) away from the subject.”
  • To prevent fingerprint theft, there’s an NII-developed coating containing titanium oxide that can be worn to prevent theft via photo, while still allowing your fingerprints to function normally for traditional means of identification. But it won’t be ready for a couple of years.

Verizon joins in on the unlimited data threats, too. Not just AT&T.

  • Grandfathered Unlimited data users without a contract
  • Specifically users on Month to month plans for which a comparable plan no longer exists
  • If you are one of these users and consume over 200GB, Verizon will terminate your service.
  • Done. Gone. No more bits to your handset.

Content I Like

The Grand Tour‎

  • First few episodes were…? Not confidence inspiring.
  • Last few have been great. Actual LOLs.

Today I Learned

Rolling coal is the practice of modifying your diesel engine so that it emits lots of sooty exhaust. You might roll coal in front of a Prius. Probably an illegal modification.

TIL the term “genuine leather” isn’t reassuring you that the item is made of real leather, it as an actual distinct grade of leather and is the second lowest quality of leather there is.

  • Full Grain
  • Top Grain
  • Suede
  • Genuine
  • Bonded

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