There’s been a lot of talk about ICOs (initial coin offerings, named after IPO) in recent weeks, fueled by a number of companies you’ve never heard of raising ridiculous amounts of money. Status, reported to have raised $64MM; Bancor, another $153MM -a record in ICO history-; and a company, at least I’ve heard once or twice before, Kik‘s announcement of an upcoming ICO at the Techcrunch event — all in one week.

According to the ICO aggregator Smith-Crown, more than $290MM has been spent in such token sale transactions over the past two years. Which cumulatively raise suggestions as to ICO may be the new VC. read more

flip the iceberg

There’s a good reason for the “@“ character in the middle of your email address. It separates the two parts: your user name and your web site. Someday you might see something similar on social networking sites – Mark Zuckerberg could write on Facebook and mention Jack Dorsey “hey jack@twitter.com” and Jack could write back from Twitter “hi mark@facebook.com!” — that would be the Silicon Valley equivalent of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson’s first telephone call. When small social networks like Twitter and Google Plus start to interoperate with open source networks and blogs, they could eventually form a large enough base of users to “flip the iceberg” and have more usage than the dominant, non-interoperable player: Facebook. read more

lonely bear

Last weekend I began transitioning my personal website into an IndieWeb friendly site. I still have a lot of work to do on design, but more importantly I’d like to start interacting with other indie bloggers. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, since there’s one crucial thing missing from this generation of indie bloggers: the humble blogroll.

Those of you who were around in the pre-Web 2.0 era (before 2005-ish) will remember that early bloggers used to have a list of other blogs they read in their sidebars. That list was known as the “blogroll” and it was a great way for newbies to get to know established bloggers. The other neat thing about the blogroll was that it was a token of respect to the bloggers you admired. When I started ReadWriteWeb in 2003, this was my blogroll in August of that year: read more

New York Times published an opinion article yesterday that suggests ethereum may take over bitcoin as the gold standard of cryptocurrencies. I disagree. And the proof is in the technical details.

Ethereum is a currency that’s vulnerable to hacks. Any cryptocurrency is, but with ethereum, it is more so. In fact, ethereum was hacked once in its less than three years long history. $80MM worth of ethers were stolen, and the Ethereum Foundation decided to change the source code so that the thieves would not be able to use the money. The idea was, this way, the heist would be contained. But, to some, this was no different than governments seizing individuals’ properties, hence against the decentralized spirit of blockchains. As a result, the ethereum-classic hard-fork was born. read more

It was a bit of surprise to me when I heard Chamath Palihapatiya a month ago on CNBC, roast IBM as a joke on the topic of AI.

There’s no doubt that IBM is not the sexiest company in tech right now and it’s an easy target for bullying. But anyone who has spent some time on cloud-based AI platforms will admit IBM has one of the best offerings in the market right now. IBM’s acquisitions of SoftLayer, AlchemyAPI, Cloudant put them in a strong position in terms of cloud and AI, but especially the intersection of the two. read more

IndieWeb

I’ve decided to re-design my personal website, richardmacmanus.com. My primary reason is to become a full-fledged member of the IndieWeb community. If I’m writing about Open Web technologies here on AltPlatform, then I ought to be eating my own dog food. Another reason is to discover – likely by trial and error – how to route around Walled Gardens like Facebook and Twitter, which host so much of our content these days. In other words, my goal is to make my personal website the hub for my Web presence. Finally, I want to re-discover blogging in 2017 – what it can do in this era, who’s doing interesting things and how, and what opportunities there might be for the Open Web to cross into the mainstream. read more

Florida

As we grow more comfortable with social networking, we are learning to create multiple networks of friends. We can find people to follow on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – there is a seemingly endless supply of new places to connect. Some of these use actual open web infrastructure to spread data and control to the edges and form a true network, while others take a hybrid approach. Micro-blogging at Mastodon is an example of a true network where friends are made between Web sites. Micro.blog and WordPress publish their feeds to the open web but require a feed reader if you want to aggregate feeds from friends on multiple networks. Slack alternatives like Matrix, Rocket Chat and Mattermost support fully private, real networks. read more

You may have never heard of CUDA or OpenCL, and that’s no surprise. Only a very limited number of AI, VR researchers, and programmers use them. However, the AMD graphic cards of your Mac, your XBox games, Google searches, and Facebook newsfeed rely on these technologies, and you’re inadvertently reaping the benefits.

CUDA and OpenCL are gateways to your computers’ GPU. Once used for gaming mainly, GPUs are today the main components of AI servers, VR machines and blockchain miners. With Moore’s Law’s demise, they’re increasingly replacing CPU in the ranking of importance in computer architecture. read more

feed readers

The state-of-the-art in feed readers was frozen in place sometime around 2010, if not before. By that time most of the format wars between RSS and Atom had long since died down and were all generally supported. The only new features to be added were simple functionalities like sharing out links from readers to social services like Facebook and Twitter. For fancier readers they also added the ability to share out to services like Evernote, OneNote, Pocket, Instapaper and other social silos or silo related services. read more

Mastodon

Let’s get this out of the way right at the start: Mastodon is not a Twitter killer. It’s more like Twitter crossed with Reddit, plus it’s open source. But while Mastodon is not going to take over the world, it does have promise as a community platform. Here’s why…

I first came across Mastodon in early April, via a Vice article. It was described as “a kinder, nicer, decentralized open source version of Twitter.” Curious to see what the fuss was about, I jumped over to Mastodon to check it out. I immediately came across its first quirk: Mastodon isn’t one single social network, like Twitter. Instead it’s made up of multiple “instances,” each one hosted on a different server. Indeed the most popular instance, Mastodon.social, wasn’t accepting new users when I arrived – due to its sudden ascension to Internet fame. So I had to sign up with another instance, in this case Mastodon.technology. read more