Author Archives: Szymon Muzia

The world’s most expensive „hotel” will be in space

The most expensive hotel will not be situated in Dubai, Seychelles or other exotic places. In 2021, Aurora station will be launched into orbit, which will be a hotel for very wealthy people. A 12-day stay in a space hotel will cost $ 9.5 million, and you can now pay a deposit of $ 80,000 to guarantee your seat.

Orion Span, technological start-up from the USA is responsible for the project. Frank Bunger is the CEO and founder of the company. The Aurora station will be able to accommodate 6 people at once – 4 guests and 2 crew members. The stay in space hotel will take 12 days, interestingly the company does not have its own rockets that would allow to transport the guests and crew to the station. In this regard, Orion Span is negotiating with Space X and Blue Origin for the purpose of lending them their rockets. The flight from Earth to the Aurora station would take 30 minutes and the station would be hanging 200 miles above the Earth. Although the first guests will have to pay as much as $9.5 million, President Frank Bunger says “I think by the mid-2020s, we’re going to see quite a bit of possibilities for getting up there, and the cost going down”.

Guests of the hotel will have the opportunity to stay in touch with the Earth through internet connectivity, as well as participate in experiments such as growing plants in space, which later could be brought to Earth as a souvenir. The company has also developed a special training program, which will be mandatory for anyone who wants to visit the Aurora station. However, the preparation for the flight will take only 3 months, which is a very short period compared to the NASA training program, which lasts up to 24 months.

Below you can watch a short movie with the visualization of the Aurora hotel.

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2018/04/06/inside-the-first-ever-space-hotel/

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/aurora-station-luxury-space-hotel/index.html

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Spotify plans to launch hardware device

A few days ago, Spotify announced that it will announce some news on April 24th. So far, there has not been much information on this subject but it is speculated that it will be a hardware device for handling music in the car.

Spotify certainly has problems generating profit. The company’s revenues grow from year to year, but more and more money is given to artists. From the beginning, the company did not make any profit, but it recently announced a several billion profit in 2021. Spotify understood that they do not earn money on streaming music, which is why the company decided to release the device, which will be available for an additional fee.

Spotify’s in-car music device

According to The Verge, several existing customers of Spotify got an offer to purchase the device together with the above-mentioned device. The price ranged from $ 12.99 to $ 14.99 per month in subscription model. Customers were informed that the device would have built-in data transmission and could operate independently of the smartphone. There is also information that voice control will be available and the device will have support for Alexa’s assistant from Amazon. As part of the subscription, the user would receive a small, round device with buttons to control the device and the LED screen in the center.

It’s difficult to say whether this is a good decision and whether this device is actually needed. More and more cars are equipped with a radio with a Bluetooth module and the connection of a smartphone to the car radio takes a few seconds. For now, however, this is pure speculation, but the first pictures of the device have already appeared, which could indicate that the work on the device is already far advanced.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/4/6/17207452/spotify-car-music-player-hardware-leak

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2018/04/07/hey-spotify-streaming-giant-rumored-to-launch-4g-smart-music-player-for-the-car/#1af95f342fe7

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South Korea is building Terminators

A few days ago the information was spread saying that KAIST is working on advanced war robots equipped with artificial intelligence. KAIST stands for “Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology”, a university and also a research institute that is responsible for many innovations in the field of robotics.

In order to create a war robots (allegedly), the university established cooperation with Hanwha Systems. The purpose of both brands is to create autonomous robots that will be able to kill the designated targets. As we can read on the corporate website: „As a defense electronics company, Hanwha Systems has significantly advanced the defense capabilities of South Korea’s military since the company was founded in 1978”. Hanwha Systems, with whom KAIST cooperates, is the largest arms producer in Korea and the main supplier of equipment for the South Korean military. It is also worth mentioning that the company is responsible for creating cluster bombs, which are prohibited in over 120 countries.

Boston Dynamic’s Atlas robot

Toby Walsh, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, is the initiator of a boycott against both Hanwha Systems and the Korean university. Other scientists who worked mainly on artificial intelligence also joined the initiative. There are about 30 of them in total and they announced that they will not cooperate with KAIST so long as this one does not stop researching a new weapon. The president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – Sung-Chul Shin said, “I reaffirm once again that KAIST will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control”. It is worth mentioning that not only the Korean university is conducting research on advanced robots that could be used for military purposes. The most known company working on advanced robots is Boston Dynamics, which used to belong to Google (Alphabet).

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2018/04/05/south-korean-university-may-be-developing-killer-robots/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KAIST

https://www.hanwha.com/en/about_hanwha/history.html

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Netflix – Cable TV Slayer?

Although Netflix has been heard of as streaming video portal a few years ago, the company has been existing for over 20 years, the origins are dated at 1997. At the beginning it was a traditional cassette tape rental, and later on a DVD rental with a mailing option, which was quite new at that time. You could order your favorite movies online, and Netflix sent them to you by traditional mail. After watching the movies, clients sent back the DVDs by post , and Netflix charged for it several bucks. 2007 was a breakthrough for the company. First of all, the company boasted that it has already delivered more than one billion CDs by mail order, and in the same year they introduced the first content in the form of video streaming.

Netflix has been breaking records for several years, such as, for example, the stock market valuation, the amount of investment in new content or the number of subscribers. It is estimated that Netflix subscribers amount to 120 million people around the world. Taking into account that most accounts are used by several people, the number of Netflix recipients is slowly approaching half a billion. The company is already valued at over $ 120 billion and is year by year an increasingly serious threat to traditional cable networks. These are aware of the competition in the form of a large monopoly of on-demand content provider and they themselves introduce similar solutions to the offer. It seems to me that the days of traditional cable TV are already counted and their agony will not be long.

At the beginning of 2018, Netflix announced that this year it intends to invest about $ 8 billion in new content in just one year! In 2017, Netflix spent $ 6 billion on this purpose. These are very large numbers, and this means that every year its portfolio will be richer. A smart strategy for the series’ premieres causes that every month there are some new good shows introduced and it is difficult to resign from subscription.

Analysts predict that Netflix will at least double its value in the next 10 years. Interestingly, it is generating financial losses all the time, but the company is backed by investors who donated billions of dollars in several financing rounds. Analysts say Netflix will have a $ 3 billion loss this year, but in 2021 it will be $ 4 billion profit. So far, Netflix does not offer its services in China, and it is a market with huge potential that will certainly be exploited in the future.

 

Sources:

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/business/media/netflix-earnings.html

https://www.forbes.pl/biznes/netflix-liczba-subskrybentow-prognozy-do-2028-roku/6n6qml2

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/NFLX/

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Spotify’s bizarre IPO

The stock exchange debut of Spotify – the largest music streaming service will be coming soon. However, this is not a normal Initial Public Offering (IPO), in which the founders or major shareholders decide to sell some part of the shares and let the company go public. Instead, Spotify will let the minority shareholders or investors who currently hold company shares sell their stake, the ones who could not get rid of them earlier. Generally speaking, this will not be a classic IPO, because Spotify as a company will not sell its shares, but minor investors will.

This will be the next big stock exchange debut of the tech giant after Snapchat company that went public in 2017. What is the reason for this debut? At least a few. Until now Spotify was a private company, which did not have to provide financial data, and thus the value of the company was unknown. After the debut, the market will verify the company’s financial data and evaluate it, so that existing shareholders get to know the true value of the company and will be able to withdraw from this investment (with profit or loss).

CEO – Daniel Ek during Spotify’s investor day in NYC

Various analysts have prepared different company valuations. The biggest ones are talking about $ 40 billion, which is very strange considering that Spotify generates huge financial losses every year and the founders themselves admit that it will be possible to generate profit only after achieving the effect of scale. Today, Spotify has around 70 million paid subscribers all over the world and it is not enough for the company to generate profit. Daniel Ek co-founder and CEO, calms down “Spotify has never been a normal kind of company … our focus is on the initial splash. Instead, we will be working on trying to build, plan, and imagine for the long term “.

On the other hand, existing investors believe in the company and do not plan to withdraw from the investment. Mitchell Green, the founder of Lead Edge Capital, one of the first investors of Spotify says that “Bulls on Wall Street think Spotify to generate $ 2 billion in operating profit in a few years.” Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon hold a total of 40% of the company’s shares and over 80% of votes at the general meeting of the company, which means that they are still in full power over the company.

 

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/02/investing/spotify-investor-ipo-lead-edge-capital/index.html

What to expect when Spotify goes public Tuesday

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New flagship smartphones every year. Do we really need it? LG says no!

How much can companies improve a smartphone in one year? Does the industry really need it? The new flagship phones launched every year are standard in the smartphone industry. The only question is, what is the purpose, besides filling the producers’ pockets? The new iPhone from Apple, Galaxy from Samsung or the V series from LG appears every year. These are flagship phones, that is, the fastest, best and the most expensive phones of a given manufacturer. LG slowly breaks out of this trend and announced that it will no longer launch new phones every year, and only when it is needed or will have something interesting to present. LG’s Vice Chairman, Jo Seong-jin said:

“We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do. We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.”

Designing a new smartphone model is certainly not an easy process. It is necessary to design a new graphics processor, a new CPU as well as most of the components that make up the smartphone. And then you have to start production of all these components and assemble them. And all this in one year! This means more or less that when a new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy has a premiere, they already know what the next model will feature, and maybe the production process has already begun. The question should be asked whether we need it, and whether it is necessary to spend a thousand dollars a year on the phone, which is several percent faster than the predecessor. It is worth mentioning that if there were no software updates that slow down older phones, we would not have noticed a difference in performance.

The last affair with Apple and slowing down of older iPhones has proven that the companies force us to buy a new model in a very cunning way. Apple under the pretext of saving battery life in older models began to slow them down through software updates. I wonder how many people were fooled and actually believed that their smartphone has become too slow after just one year. On a global scale, probably millions.

 

Sources:

  • https://www.androidcentral.com/lg-will-stop-releasing-new-phones-every-year
  • https://android.com.pl/news/107561-lg-nowe-smartfony-premiera-nie-beda-wydawane-regularnie
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You are unconsciously mining Bitcoin!

You can become the Bitcoin owner in two ways. The simpler way is to buy it on one of the many cryptocurrencies exchanges for the US dollar, or exchange it for other cryptocurrencies. The more difficult way is to mine it. Many of you have probably heard about mining a bitcoin, in a nutshell, it is sharing the computing power of your laptop or PC, or other high-performance machines. Today, cryptocurrency mining on a laptop is unprofitable, and special mining machines are used for this purpose, that is computers consisting of a dozen or so graphics cards or more, as well as super-fast processors. The higher the equipment’s performance, the more dug-out bitcoins are.

“Computers” used for cryptocurrency mining.

The text above is an introduction to cryptocurrency mining. I just wanted to introduce you to the issue, because many people have heard about it, but no one knows how it works. Why am I focusing on this? Because probably many of you have already mined cryptocurrencies without even knowing about it. How is this possible? Thanks to the CoinHive plugin. This is a JavaScript code that website owners put on their websites. This code uses the computing power of the person’s laptop entering the site to dig cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Monero. As mentioned above, cryptocurrency mining on one laptop is unprofitable, but what if we use thousands of such laptops? Pockets of website owners will quickly fill up and we will not be aware of anything. The Pirate Bay has recently admitted such practices, and in December it was discovered that customers using WIFI in several Starbucks cafes in the US also unconsciously mined Bitcoins. Starbucks quickly solved the problem saying that it was the internet provider, who “hacked” café’s WIFI, and not the franchise owner.

Many website owners explain this with high server maintenance costs, or the desire to disable website ads in exchange for allowing them to mine cryptocurrency on your laptop while browsing their website. What do you think about such practices? If you have ever entered a simple website and your computer has started to reach high temperatures and the CPU fan has been running at full speed, you may have unconsciously been mining cryptocurrencies.

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2017/12/13/free-starbucks-wi-fi-caught-mining-for-bitcoin/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/12/starbucks-customer-laptops-hacked-to-mine-cryptocurrency.html

https://gizmodo.com/the-pirate-bay-added-a-cpu-hijacking-bitcoin-miner-to-s-1818488143

 

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Bitcoin – Future global currency or big bubble?

When I first saw a movie In Time starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Sayfried last year, I began to wonder if it is possible to unify the global payment system. I am not talking about extending a person’s lifetime, as it is shown in the film, but one global currency. For those who like sci-fi and various visions of the future world, I strongly recommend this film. But let’s talk about cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin in particular.

In Time (2011)

Is it possible for Bitcoin to become world’s global currency? With the market cap of nearly $100 billion it surpasses its crypto competitors and is definitely the most popular one. Just imagine how convenient it would be, going abroad and not thinking about exchanging the currency, doing business with international partners and not worrying about the decline in the value of a particular currency against other. America will never accept euro as its own currency, eurozone on the other hand will never accept dollar as the local currency. The same is happening with other great powers and their currencies. And at this point a bitcoin appears. Cryptocurrency, which is decentralized, has no bank over it, and all transactions are extremely difficult to trace. Sounds beautiful? Unfortunately, it also has its disadvantages. Thefts are also extremely difficult to trace and decentralization has its pros and cons.

The questions is what Bitcoin holders are expecting it to be? Do they hold it just to sell it with profit, to speculate, or do they believe that one day it will become global currency, commonly accepted in all countries by all shops and institutions. Right now you can pay using Bitcoin in some restaurants and shops but still it is long way for Bitcoin to be widely used. On the other hand, we are seeing increasing interest from the states and institutions. The Swiss city of Chiasso has recently made it possible to pay taxes with bitcoin, state institutions see a profit in it and we hear more and more about the possibility of taxing all cryptocurrencies. European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi recently said that ECB has no power to regulate Bitcoin and that cryptocurrencies are not mature enough to think about regulating them. So we can breathe a sigh of relief, because in the near future politicians will not put their hands on it, but unfortunately investment banks will, Goldman Sachs is thinking about trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. If this happens it will just be another speculative asset.

 

 

Sources:

In Time movie

Cryptocurrencies market cap

Regulating the cryptocurrencies

Swiss town to accept tax payments

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