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Takimag audiences appreciate non politically correct jokes; a man writes for his audience.

Is your audience filled with intellectually non curious people? Your description of insulin is factually incorrect, leads to more ignorance. I knew there was a difference but many don’t.

Smart phones are a convenience, and a democratization of old technology; not a categorically new thing which insanely changes people's way of life.

Having a phone in everyone's pocket -- especially in developing countries has led to a completely new economy for the unbanked.

In cities, where you're most likely to use such services, you could also just wave at a taxi. I did it for 3 months earlier this year in Lisbon:

Unless you're a person of color and statiscally, cab drivers were less likely to stop for you....




So instead of being 'banked' by some institution with actual businesses in places they now have to make sure their phone is always on/loaded when it has to, have to rely/trust some online services which probably costs them money for transactions/credit, and whatnot else. So instead of being unbanked they are banked online which has other hassles.

I can see conventional banking shrinking where i am, by closing off branch offices, offering appcrap instead. I RESIST! Because it changes parts of the banks responsibilities over to me, reversal of evidence/shifting the burden of proof. Over to gadgets which are inherently incecure. Nice try...


Have you actually read anything about mobile banking in developing countries?

https://hbr.org/2012/04/innovations-in-mobile-banking

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-mobile-banking-is-tra_b_1...


Yes, i have. Looked interesting at first, like skipping the technological steps older economies had to develop, and are stcuk with it because of sunken costs, regulatory capture, thereby overtaking them. Sounded reasonable, intelligent, smart.

But i also recently read something about debt traps, maybe even here. But am to tired to search for that now. Anyways, would it matter? Should i have to hide my opinion behind some link i can point at, and say 'there, they said so too!'

Edit: Anyways, cash is king. It's simple. It works. Electronic cash seems simple, and may work. Or not.


Except cash is easily stolen, and can’t be sent over along distance safely. What do you think “cash” is? It’s just a common accepted way to store value. Do you really get paid in paper currency and keep it all on you all the time?


And your gadget is safe from being stolen? And you can't be forced to give the pin, password, fingerprint, whatever? I don't know where you are, but from the place where i am this whole paypal thing made no sense because we already had the possibility to 'wire' money relatively fast and cheap. Which can work even faster now with SEPA instant payments. Not to forget: credit cards! I know i'm sounding old and cranky, but most of that new stuff made NO REAL SENSE WHATSOEVER for most people in my region. That is why they are slow to adopt, because they don't need to!

There is no need for something like 'payday loan checks' around here. And no need to plug in some upstarts which are trying to circumvent established infrastructure by going exclusively mobile, while in reality using established credit card companies also. They are just one additional man in the middle, snorkeling up data, and adding fees. What do you think Apple Pay is?

Edit: Of course i don't carry all my money with me all the times. Why should i? I do have a banking account. But when i need it, there usually is an ATM somewhere within 10 minutes max pedestrian distance from a network called 'Cash Group' which my bank is a member of. You know? Physical ATMs, installed in branch offices of members of Cash Group. If not there are others, and i maybe have to pay EUR 1 for drawing EUR 100, or something like that.And not some freestanding suspicious thing, riddled with skimming devices and dirty, operated by some suspicious entity. I'm used to this sort of physical infrastructure and think that is how it should be. Not out of stubbornness, but after evaluating the pros and cons of alternative systems. Going fully cashless may appeal at first because of convenience, and in theory it may be implemented right. But usually history shows 'worse is better'. Where does that leave the 'unbanked'? Yah, well, with something worse?

Edit: Maybe i'd see it different when i'd have traveled to Sweden, the Megapolises of China, or having used some card for a public transportation network which doubles as convenience cash for other things as transport. But it wouldn't change my principal criticism of that stuff. If only usable by Smartphone you are F..... when that is without power, broken, stolen, stuck in some digital mess by either Telco/ISP, online banking account by upstart which does banking in a lazy way, or some such.

I repeat: cash is simple. It works. Use it when you can.

Maybe think about antifragility and resilience for a while.


And your gadget is safe from being stolen? And you can't be forced to give the pin, password, fingerprint, whatever? I don't know where you are, but from the place where i am this whole paypal thing made no sense because we already had the possibility to 'wire' money relatively fast and cheap.

So you wire money to every random merchant? And what's the difference between wiring money and mobile payments? If your gadget is stolen they still need to get your authentication information. The money is not stored on your gadget. They just pick up another $10 phone and log into their account. This isn't a new thing. Developing countries have been doing this for a decade.

installed in branch offices of members of Cash Group. If not there are others, and i maybe have to pay EUR 1 for drawing EUR 100

And if you're talking about euros, you're not in a "developing country". You know the whole topic of the conversation?

The "upstart online banking infrastructure" has literally been in place for a decade in some developing countries.

What do you think happens if the credit card infrastructure goes down? Of course you can still get paper currency.

Not to forget: credit cards! I know i'm sounding old and cranky, but most of that new stuff made NO REAL SENSE WHATSOEVER for most people in my region. That is why they are slow to adopt, because they don't need to!(

To use credit cards you have to have credit. To have credit, you have to have a "credit history". To have a credit history, you have to have a reliable infrastructure to record your history of payments....

There is no need for something like 'payday loan checks' around here. And no need to plug in some upstarts which are trying to circumvent established infrastructure by going exclusively mobile, while in reality using established credit card companies also.*

Payday loans have nothing to do with mobile payments. Neither are they using the (non existent) credit card companies to facilitate mobile banking.

I do have a banking account.

So you have a central authority to hold your money and then you can transfer your money to pay your goods. Exactly how mobile banking works.

They are just one additional man in the middle, snorkeling up data, and adding fees. What do you think Apple Pay is?

Apple Pay is no different than any other "merchant account" that's been around forever. Every merchant goes through a middle man to get on the credit card network. They have forever.


'Wiring' is called 'Überweisung' here and the most common way to do banking without incurring additional fees. There are no cheques anymore, which were never that common around here, with the exception of 'Postbarscheck', which are gone since the split up of the former Deutsche Bundespost into Briefpost, DHL(Express), Telekom, T-Online, and their pseudo privatization. Regarding trusting random merchants, i can give them a one time account number, dispute any suspicious bookings within a timeframe of at least two weeks, and so on.

Again, from the point of view of someone who despises to have an orwellian tracking device with him at all times, i prefer to go to the branch office, use some self service terminal, and be done with it, without having to care about the infrastructure.

If i'd order something via internet from some shop now which is 4:09 AM localtime it wouldn't be processed anyways until a few hours later, and then i'd maybe have the option of paying per invoice a few days later, or paying the postman when he brings it. Or i'd go to some self service terminal in a branch office of my bank some time during the day to initiate the 'push', the 'Überweisung' which is elsewhere known as 'wiring'. If i'd want to do that right now, i'd have to walk about 30 minutes, or use my bicycle for maybe 10 minutes to do that, because some self service terminals are closed over night because of vandalism, homeless ppl sleeping there, or something like that. Only cash withdraw works then.

Regarding credit history, you don't really need one here, because the bank which issues the card has it, vouches for you, and only if you fail some payment you'll get one via a hand full of companies. But that is a negative one then.

That's how it works for me. And that's OK.


Again, from the point of view of someone who despises to have an orwellian tracking device with him at all times, i prefer to go to the branch office, use some self service terminal, and be done with it, without having to care about the infrastructure.

How well do you expect that to scale in a country with over one billion people like India or China? How safe do you think it is to even have paper currency at banks or “self service terminals” You do realize that mobile phone penetration is over 90% in developing countries (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/03/itu_facts_and_figur...). You are the outlier, not them.

Almost all of your response is either still using the electronic infrastructure, or based on a trust relationship. No one in a developing country is going to “issue an invoice” to random people.

And no one is concerned about your needs as individual, we are talking about 2-3 billion people in developing countries.


Well... I don't care?


A general discussion forum where people talk about trends and longitudinal behaviors is not about any single anecdotal poster on HN.


Ahem! The whole topic was 'The myth of inevitable technological progress' where i latched on somewhere and ranted about online banking via smartphones, and then it went sidewards into different areas of need/applicability and whatnot.

Let me put it another way. Aside from the orwellian aspects of voluntarily carrying a bug with one all the times, the dumb feature phones lasted about a week on one charge with maybe 30 minutes to one and a half hour daily phone and/or texting usage, depending on the model and sufficient for most use cases. Got that? ONE WEEK! (and no fucking updates!)

Let's take another gadget, wristwatches. One just had them, and put them on, or off, usually not caring about battery, or winding them up, because they either wind themselves up if mechanical, or last anywhere from one to two years with one battery. And then some years, or even decades more, maybe exchanging the wristband, or a scratched glass. Got that? ONE TO TWO YEARS! (and no fucking updates!)

What else? Music players after Walk-/Discman where you SIDELOADED (OMFG!) media from whereever you saw fit, not necessarily bound to some online store/streaming service, which invalidates yor media/playlist if the business shuts down for whichever reasons. Usable playtimes up to a week on one charge within reasonable usages, maybe one to two hours daily. Sansa Clip/Zip/Plus f.e. Got that? ONE WEEK! (and no fucking updates!)

There probably is more, but i can't remember right now, or didn't use it to begin with.

Now one can argue that all these functions and MUCH MORE (like digital photography) have been consolidated into smartphones, but this also comes with more hassles.

1.) They usually last only a day on one charge if used as advertised.

2.) After about two years the devices are obsolete, at least for their advertised uses.

3.) They are obviously insecure, because why else do

4.) They come with updates, which often crap makes?

5.) They are expensive

6.) They come with

[1] http://www.androiddocs.com/google/play-services/id.html

    if they are running any form of Android.
7.) If they are not running Android they are even more expensive, or irrelevant, at least currently.

8.) If you care about privacy, security, cost, sustainability you shun that crap and live happily ever after :-)

Seen like this, anything relying on smartphones simply makes no sense at all, if only for the inconvenience of the need to be charged daily. Which is no progress, but a downgrade.

Don't even get me started about the 'internet of (crappy) things', 'cyberphysical systems', 'smart assistants', and so on.

Anyways. I'm seeing it fitting to call it Android, because its users mutate to puppets which are yanked this and that way by all sorts of algorithmic strings. To use other devices opens other cans of worms, if only used to access the same crap the androids do.

Good Night. :-)

Edit: spacing/spelling


Again, every single point you are making ignores developing countries. There are phones on the market for developing countries that have solar charges and that are less than $50. The average cheap smart phone now is no more expensive than old dumb phones and are actually cheaper considering inflation. Until we figure out how to make rechargeable batteries last forever, they will still need to be replaced.

On the high end, it’s only Android phones that are obsolete after 2 years. Apple just released an update for the 2011 iPhone 4s this past July.

You’ve always been able to sideload music on MP3 players. When the iPod was at its height in 2007, Jobs himself said that only 4% of the music came from iTunes. Even today you can mix your personal music library seamlessly with Apple Music.

And if relying on smart phones makes no sense to you even though the worldwide penetration of smart phones is above 80% for adults, have you ever thought that you might be wrong?


Again. I don't care. Most of that does not apply to me because it is elsewhere. I have no use for some phone which only works in some far away software and services ecosystem which are not available where I am. And why should i care about being wrong when so many ppl doing something, which i won't?

Ever heard of the prase 'Billons of flies eat shit. Therefore shit must be good!'?


No one is concerned about you as an individual. In a general discussion forum, how does it add to the conversation about general technological trends discussing outliers?


How does it add to the conversation where the topic was 'The myth of inevtitable technological progress' where i picked ONE thing out of many to choose, and stated that i think of it as overhyped, because lots of strings attached, unforeseen consequences, and in general not implemented in ways which should be trusted, and you latching onto it like i have hurt you in some personal way?

If this is your thing, then i can't do anything about it. OTOH there were many threads on HN also discussing the pros and cons of it, of being always on, connected, reachable, where i can't remember anyone being so offended. I may have choosen harsh words, but what to do when you perceive something like a crass mistake? Sugarcoating it?

I know i'm not being alone with my opinion, there are many more outliers than you think. (I think!)


I refuse to engage with your ridiculous virtue signalling. You can do that somewhere else with someone who will be impressed.

Nobody is denying smart phones have had a large impact on the world. I do deny they are anywhere near in importance to, say, the invention of the computer, space flight, the atom bomb or antibiotics. There is absolutely no comparison.

It's like comparing the invention of a specific kind of internal combustion engine to ... the invention of the heat engine in the first place. The harnessing of heat into mechanical energy was a cataclysmic event for humanity. It made possible industrial civilization. The invention, say, of the diesel engine was an improvement which also had consequences. It's not really comparable to "heat engines" though!


So it’s “virtue signaling” that a goal for a blog that you hope to turn into a book should be factually correct?


[flagged]


So yes, I have this crazy idea that it’s a “virtue” to present facts when it comes to stuff like insulin.

How much “usefulness” are you “getting done” by spreading scientifically proven false information?


Which fact did you "prove" false, please? Be specific.


“allow fat people to eat more sugar without slaughtering horses and pigs”

- there is gestational diabetes that has nothing to do with weight

- also certain diseases, medications, surgeries, and infections can cause diabetes.

- type 1 diabetes also has a genetic component.


Uhhh, that was a joke, bro. Yes I am aware of the etiology of diabetes.

But ultimately: my point is factual and stands -the main result of using biotech to treat diabetes is to allow more fat people to make themselves sick without killing more pigs and horses. Which is how diabetics were treated in the old days; with pig and horse insulin.


So it was “a joke”, factually incorrect, but you still defend it and say that by pointing out that you were factually incorrect, it prevented you from “getting anything useful done” and that it was “regressive”.

And if you are aware of the “etiology of diabetes” how was it useful to spread a falsehood?

You asked which fact was proved false - here it is.

Would the book you want to write also be full of factually incorrect “jokes”?


As I said: there is nothing factually incorrect in my statement, and it's not my fault you can't parse humor.


How is it not factually incorrect that diabetes - and thus the need for insulin - is not always caused by overeating, is factually incorrect?


That was not even remotely my statement. Why are you persisting in this?


“Making insulin in toilet water is a neat trick, but all that really does is allow fat people to eat more sugar without slaughtering horses and pigs.”


Great; I'm glad we're all on the same page now! Please tell me how this is a statement on or misunderstanding of the etiology of diabetes? Or is your argument "I am offended by Locklin's jokes?"


Really? The “etiology of diabetes” is not about just “fat people”.

Would it also be a "joke" to say autism is caused by vaccines just because some ignorant people think that?


Scott, from the perspective of some hitherto unwired second or third world country (ie Indian Kashmir) it’s probably a lot bigger deal than some OECD country ca. 1979


Is the point about insulin not a fact?


Btw. ancient greeks already had a form of steam engine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolipile. Why it didn't produce an industrial revolution is debatable (they had slaves, for one).


There's a decent book on the history of steam engines called "The Most Powerful Idea in the World" which answers the question fairly convincingly.




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