Friday, February 28, 2014

Bitcoin of Bit-Conned?

Article originally published on Kupeesh!


I predict the price of AMD video cards is going to plummet soon.  Why?  because thousands of hopeful geeks were willing to pay 50% over retail for the chance to get in on the coin mining craze.

Armed with their asics and algorithms, coin miners spanning the Internet devoted real resources to something eminently virtual.  Bitcoin, LightCoin, Dogecoin and all the rest were dealt a blow today.

Mt. Gox, a major player in the BitCoin phenomenon and regularly making the list of the largest exchanges has a problem.

Somebody managed to walk away from the exchange with some 744,408 Bitcoins.  That many coins disappearing has caused a major crisis of faith among the community and found the value of the virtual currency falling to less than $500 in just 24 hours.

bitcoin charts
Bitcoin believers are usually the first to point out the fact that most FIAT currency values are based on little more than faith.  Most fall silent, however, when they have to admit that the value of their currency is entirely based on good intentions with little more to secure its value.

Those intentions were apparently misplaced in the case of Mt Gox with its books now bleeding red to the tune of over 118 million dollars (USD) in FIAT value.

The Mt. Gox theft has led to the resignation of its CEO Mark Karpeles from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation in an attempt to restore trust in the currency.  Still, you can’t put the cat back in the bag and the public trust has been shaken.

A currency that has seen a value as high as $1200 USD in November 2013 dropping under $500 after the Mt. Gox incident would be like the value of the U.S. dollar being halved because somebody robbed a Chase bank branch.

If what was once one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges can’t secure its own holdings it’s doubtful the currency will be able to shake off its geeky roots to gain public acceptance.

Bitcoin futures are always uncertain but a violation of investor trust may mean it never rises above the status of a store gift card.  You know, the ones with the fine print that says, “No Cash Value.”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Doing articles on Kupeesh

If you enjoy what I do here, check out my articles on Kupeesh.  It's a new news site with a bit of an edge which suits me nicely.

The latest article I've done for them can be found here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

TWIT without NFSW, yet another sign?

I suppose this is going to become a series and I hate that, here's why...

There's already enough negativity in the world and I'm not happy to add to it but neither can I sit idly by while good intentions wend their way toward hell undocumented.

So I might as well keep tabs on the house that Leo built and see if forecasts of its eventual demise are the stuff of insight or foolishness. 

In the intervening weeks since the departure of Tom Merritt and the fallout that resulted, TWIT has continued a now familiar trend of upheaval. 

Mike Elgan continues as the host and driving force behind the revamped Tech News Today but absent is holdover from the Merritt era, Sarah Lane, as co-host.  She's now officially taken over full time duties 4 days a week for the new Tech News Tonight(TN2.)  It's entirely possible that Lane was paired with Elgan early on to ease the transition to his era of TNT but was never intended as a permanent association.  Of course that's just supposition.

Considering the suggestion of  tensions early on between the 2 hosts (see the earlier article) and this latest merry-go-round of hosting changes, it's not an unreasonable conclusion. 

 On the February 19th Inside TWIT recording (see below) it was announced that a search for a new co-host to join Elgan was underway.  There was no mention of any further participation of Lane in the morning TNT podcast.

The decision to change the news component of TWIT is still questionable borne out by the absence of TNT on any recent iTunes top 10 podcast list since the format change.  Tom Merritt's Daily Tech News Show (DTNS) by  comparison is consistently in the top 10.  The only TWIT podcasts still ranking in the top 10 on iTunes are hosted by Laporte including the long running This Week in Tech, MacBreak Weekly and Security Now programs.  That would suggest that personality is a more critical component of successful podcasting than pure content.

If that were the end of it there wouldn't be much need for another article but this week brought another not altogether unexpected but still surprising turn of events.

NSFW, TWIT's raucous, unbridled, freeform comedy program hosted by Brian Brushwood (ScamSchool) and Justin Robert Young (Night Attack) announced its farewell episode on TWIT this week.

In the February 18th episode, Hosts Brushwood and Young were emphatic in their praise to TWIT for nurturing NSFW for over 4 years.  Still their reason for leaving was stated as "Not wanting to hurt the network" due to content incompatible with an increasingly overheated "family friendly" and "CNN of Tech" focus. 

While Both Brushwood and Young's popularity have grown well beyond NSFW, the show still provides a hub for their related endeavors .   As such it will continue under a new moniker, "Night Attack" where unrestricted and uncensored content are expected to flow far more freely than would be possible under the TWIT umbrella.

 The new show will be financially supported on a subscription basis via Patreon which is a crowd sourced funding mechanism for the arts.  Both Brushwood and Merritt have found success with the service which currently supports Merritt's "Daily Tech News Show" not to mention the cord cutter show, "CordKillers"  which is a collaborative effort with Brushwood.  This will be the third show to leave the TWIT network only to be recreated independent of the TWIT influence.

Live streaming of "Night Attack" will be streamed via as well as released in podcast form to other networks such as

The issue nobody dares talk about, however, is that NSFW functioned as a kind of release valve for TWIT's otherwise straight-laced programming.  Whether you enjoyed the content or not the simple fact remains that many avid fans of other TWIT shows would frequently make their way to the #unfiltered section of the TWIT chatrooms when NSFW was recording.  Once there, fans could break free of the often draconian moderators in other TWIT chatrooms and uninhibitedly interact with the hosts.   A feature not enjoyed and frequently criticized for its absence on TWIT.

In the February 19th "Inside TWIT" Both Laporte and CEO Lisa Kentzell repeatedly reminded viewers that NSFW wasn't "cancelled" and left of their own volition echoing the sentiments of Young and Brushwood the night before.  That was followed by a discussion concerning the latest TWIT branded swag designs.   Increasingly it seems "Inside TWIT" is more concerned about marketing paraphernalia than the direction of the network.

This leads me to what I believe to be the ultimate endgame for the TWIT network.  That being to position it less as community driven resource and more as a "brand" to be traded on.  For many fans, that's a betrayal of what they believed to beTWIT's vision and the reason they supported it so fiercely while others failed.

However, once the brand surpasses the content, TWIT  and its increasingly "vanilla" programming will become little more than a commodity to be traded and ultimately sold to the highest bidder.  Much like ZDTV and TECHTV that followed it.

We seem to be moving that direction but only time will tell.  The popularity of former hosts has to be a bitter pill for Laporte as he grudgingly admits their post TWIT success.   An event that's been happening with such regularity that such announcements have become as routine as a form letter.  

There's no doubt that TWIT is an incubator for fledgling Internet stardom and there's no lack of examples that have benefitted from Laporte's tutelage.  Unfortunately, much like professional sports teams in Arizona, it seems that's all it will ever be as talent continues its exodus to greener pastures in the face of an uncertain future.

UPDATE:   I found a working video link to NFSW 218!  Check it out below!

NFSW show 218 ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to have a succesful YouTube channel.

Mug shot smile?  Maybe his move from #18 to #6
on YouTube afterward had something
 to do with it...

Why is that?  What are they doing that you're not.


Debatable, there's plenty of trash with views over a million.


Some would claim YouTube takes care of that all by itself.  Of course if you're already famous then YouTube is just icing on the cake. 

Ok, so what about content?  It's king right?  Only the best and brightest rise to the top enriching us all...
Then again, if everyone watched a playlist of the top 10 YouTube videos for any given week the collective IQ of the planet would plummet 40 points.

That doesn't mean the entirety of YouTube is a wasteland, however.  There are those hidden gems that deserve more attention but never seem to get it.

The most successful YouTuber's didn't necessarily get that way because of the quality of their content but rather the way they delivered it.

I've had an active channel for about 3 years now with a small (as in microscopic) amount of success.  One thing I've learned is that while content may be king, viewers are a picky bunch.  If you manage to get their attention you still have some work to do to keep it. 

You may have the voice of James Earl Jones, the charisma of Harrison Ford and a Wall street banker's  wallet but if your video stinks you'll be lucky to break 100 views.

If you're a YouTube partner, it's all about engagement.  10,000 views that only last 5 seconds each won't make you a dime.   Actually, it'll probably get you kicked off the service.  YouTube protects its advertiser dollars and actively looks for people trying to cheat the system.   So ignore those "pay per view" scams.

Truth be told, I came to the game a bit late.  YouTube was already well established by the time I got around to trying it out and found it a saturated medium.  There aren't any original ideas left just original ways of delivering them.  I thought I had a niche of starting up a channel for older gamers until I found 100 channels with the same idea.  

I've done a lot of things wrong, some because of ignorance, some because of resources but mostly just a lack of talent on my part.

But my failings may be instructive....

So let's take a look at a few.  If they seem obvious that's only because they're easy to forget.  It's not uncommon to get so wrapped up in the message that we screw up the delivery.
I'll start with the basics.

First and foremost make sure you've got a decent camera or capture software if you're grabbing screens from a PC.  Low resolution, bad sound and the like turn off viewers fast no matter how good the content is otherwise.

Second, don't make a video just to hear yourself talk.  Only people that are already famous can get away with that.  You're asking someone to invest precious time in your creation, don't make them sorry with crap content and grainy party videos.  Trust me, nobody really cares about your lost weekend in Vegas.

Third, learn how to use your equipment.  Keep your subjects in frame and keep your edits simple.  You're not going to be the next Steven Spielberg with a webcam and Windows Movie Maker so don't try.

Fourth, grow up and have some respect for your viewers.  If you'd be afraid to see it on the nightly news then it shouldn't be on YouTube.  That means we don't need to hear any of your bodily functions thank you very much. 

Fifth, do some planning.  Meandering dialog and poorly organized content is confusing if not boring as hell.  Want to kill a channel, ignore this.

Sixth, make it interesting!  Think about everything that's in the shot.  Nobody wants to see a window behind you unless it's got a great view outside of it.  If you're the star then make sure you're worth seeing and  be comfortable in your own skin.  If you're not comfortable on camera or speaking to people then why the hell are you on YouTube? 

Seventh,   If you're doing a how-to video then for heaven's sake show HOW you actually do something, don't just talk about it.  Show the tools of the trade and actually use them.  Think of it this way, most people had more fun in auto shop class than English in High School.

Finally, be aware of copyrighted material.  It can show up where you wouldn't expect it.  Embedded music in a video game, a radio playing in the background or even singing a few bars of a favorite song can doom your monetization dreams.  Always upload a video privately and then monetize it to see if it trips YouTube's draconian ContentID system.  If it comes up with a so-called VIOLATION at least you can correct the issue before it goes viral without you getting anything for all your hard work but a Copyright strike and empty bragging rights.

I'm pretty sure why I'm a YouTube failure for many of the reasons above.   Take heed!

The video below will illustrate what we've covered above.  Hopefully I broke my own rules enough for you to get something out of it!