Virtual Currency Stolen With Help From Real World Gun

Bitcoin logoBitcoin is lauded by many as the currency of the future. Supporters say the cryptocurrency is superior to the dollar because Bitcoin is decentralized, allowing the system to stay honest as it’s constantly being authenticated by everyone who uses it. Bitcoin has also developed a bit of a reputation as being the currency of choice for illicit goods and services, mainly because Bitcoin transactions can be difficult to trace, making a true “anonymous” transaction much easier.

But despite all of its futurist appeal, Bitcoin is still vulnerable to some very old fashioned problems, as one man recently learned when he was robbed at gunpoint for $1,100 worth of Bitcoin. It might seem impossible that someone could be robbed in the real world for something that’s essentially virtual. But many Bitcoin users will meet up in person to ensure their electronic transaction goes thru smoothly. It was during one such meeting that a Brooklyn man discovered trading in Bitcoin can be just as dangerous as using cash.

No details have been made public about the specifics of the transaction. But the man went to a prearranged destination and met with another man to make the transaction. There, he was led to a parked car in order to finalize the deal. Once inside, the other man allegedly pulled a gun and ordered the first man to send the Bitcoin. The robber then stole the man’s cell phone and took off.

Fortunately, no one was hurt during the robbery. But the incident shows why it’s important to be safe during any kind of personal transaction, regardless of the currency being tended. Always meet others in neutral, public places such as coffee shops or even police stations. If you’re trying to make an arrangement with someone else and they refuse to do this, they’re probably up to no good.

Tumblr Announces Answer Time

Tumblr Answer TimeTumblr has announced a new feature that has recently been added. It is called Answer Time. It might be Tumblr’s attempt to compete with Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) as well as other social media platforms that involve a famous person answering questions from the general public. In May, President Obama did a question and answer session about climate change on Twitter.

In order to participate in Answer Time, you need to have a Tumblr account. Tumblr will give people plenty of notice whenever an interesting ask box has opened. Five of them are being highlighted right now. In short, Answer Time enables users of Tumblr to ask questions to famous people who also have a Tumblr account. Tumblr says that Answer Time will include musicians, artists, actors, politicians, and internet personalities.

There are five upcoming Answer Time events planned. Users of Tumblr can ask any of the featured famous people a question right now, and that person might answer it during his or her scheduled Answer Time.

The band Fall Out Boy will be answering questions on June 8. Vic Mensa (rap artist) will answer questions on June 9. Molly McAleer (author and co-founder of HelloGiggles) will answer questions on June 11. Cecile Richards (President of Planned Parenthood Federation) will answer questions on June 12. David Karp (founder and CEO of Tumblr) will answer questions on June 16.

Acer Presents Award Winning Products at Computex

Acer logoAcer has won a number of awards at the ongoing Computex conference in Taipei. Acer’s Revo One RL85 Mini PC has won the Best Choice of the Year award and Best Choice Gold award in the Computer & System category. This product was also recognized for the Red Dot and Computex d&i design award.

Acer’s S277HK monitor won a Best Choice award in the Touch & Display category along with Acer’s Chromebook 11, which earned an accolade in the Cloud Computing category.

The Revo One RL85 Mini PC is a desktop computer that sports a sleek and stylish design. Engineered as an entertainment center, the Revo One has a lot of features but fits into a small form factor, thanks to the thin design and high capacity of its Samsung Spinpoint M9T hard drive. The Revo One also supports up to 6TB of storage and can accommodate up to two 4K displays as well as 7.1 channel audio output.

The 27-inch Acer S277HK monitor is ideal for a premium A/V experience. It features 4K2K Ultra HD (3840×2160) visuals on a frameless screen, a super-fast HDMI 2.0 connection and speakers with DTS sound. Placed side by side, two S277HK monitors offer a nearly seamless viewing experience with their frameless screens. Leveraging IPS technology, the S277HK’s screen delivers exceptional color saturation and stability with 178-degree wide vertical and horizontal viewing angles. The Acer S277HK was designed with beauty in mind, from the sleek aluminum bezel, asymmetric metallic stand and glossy white back panel to the dynamically styled speakers and vents.

The Acer Chromebook 11 features fast connectivity and long-lasting battery life that extends from day to night on a single charge. The Chromebook 11 is great for students, families, and anyone on a budget. It’s also a good option as a secondary device, especially for anyone who uses a lot of the services offered by Google.

No information yet on pricing and availability for these new products from Acer.

GameStop Set to Acquire ThinkGeek

GameStop logoThinkGeek is an extremely popular online purveyor of all things geeky. Recently, it appeared that Geeknet Inc., (ThinkGeek’s parent company) was going to be acquired by Hot Topic. Things have changed, and it turns out that GameStop is now set to acquire Geeknet, Inc. There are those who are breathing a sigh of relief because they weren’t so keen on Hot Topic.

GameStop posted a press release that states that Geeknet has terminated its agreement with Hot Topic. The press release says that GameStop and Geeknet, Inc., “have entered into a definitive agreement under which GameStop will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Geeknet’s common stock for $20.00 per share in cash.”

The press release goes on to say that this transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both companies. It also says: “The transaction has a total equity value of approximately $140 million, including $37 million of cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, 2015.”

What happened to the potential sale of Geeknet, Inc., to Hot Topic? Geeknet, Inc., has posted the same press release as GameStop did. Either one explains a bit more about the situation.

Geeknet also announced that it had terminated its previously announced merger with Hot Topic, Inc. (“Hot Topic”). Following discussion with both GameStop and Hot Topic, the Board of Directors of Geeknet determined that the GameStop transaction represented a superior proposal. Geeknet will pay Hot Topic a termination fee pursuant to the Hot Topic agreement, for which GameStop has agreed to reimburse Geeknet.

Engadget reported that Hot Topic was offering Geeknet $17.50 per share. It is easy to see why a company like Geeknet would want to take the offer from “the highest bidder”, so to speak.

In short, GameStop will acquire Geeknet, (parent company of ThinkGeek and ThinkGeek Solutions). Right now, one can only speculate about what changes will come as a result. I’ve been a long time fan of ThinkGeek and have made several purchases from it. Now might be a good time to use up my remaining Geek Points… just in case.

Vox Media Acquires Recode.net

Recode Logo The New York Times reported that Re/code is being acquired by Vox Media. It was an all-stock deal and the financial terms have not been disclosed. The deal would give Re/code access to a wider audience than it currently has.

Re/code was founded by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Both of them will be joining Vox Media. Re/code is going to continue to publish news on recode.net. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher wrote a note at Re/code that gives some further information. It starts with:

We are thrilled to announce that Re/code’s parent company, Revere Digital, is being wholly acquired by the highly respected digital-native media company Vox Media. This is the next big step in our mission to bring you quality tech journalism, because our work will now be amplified and enhanced by Vox Media’s deep and broad skill set.

The note goes on to say that Re/code will collaborate with Vox Media’s current successful tech news site, The Verge. It acknowledges that there will be occasional overlap, and states that Re/code is focused on the business of tech while The Verge is focused on covering tech from a lifestyle perspective.

The New York Times reported that Re/code had 44 full-time employees and three contract employees. Those employees were expected to join Vox. The New York Times says that Vox would not elaborate on potential staffing changes.

Gigaom.com Acquired by Knowingly Corp

Knowingly Corp logoKnowingly Corp, an internet startup that is based in Austin, has announced that it acquired a portion of the assets of Gigaom.com. Those assets include the website gigaom.com and the content library.

Gigaom was founded in 2006 by Om Malik as a technology blog. It grew to become one of the industry’s respected sources for tech-related news, events, and research. Knowingly was founded by Byron Reese in 2014. Knowingly offers a number of websites and services. One of them is Correctica, a tool that catches errors in documents and websites that spell checkers miss.

Knowingly plans to relaunch the Gigaom site on August 15, 2015.

Reddit Announces New Anti-Harassment Policy

In the wake of concerns regarding abuse and harassment on social networking site Reddit, the company has adopted a new anti-harassment policy with stricter rules and consequences for abusive activity.

reddit-logo-01-674x501A survey of 15,000 Reddit users in April found that negative and offensive content is the number one reason why users avoid the site and encourage their friends to do the same. In a recent statement, interim CEO Ellen Pao said, “The community wants these improvements… We believe less harassment means more participation, leading to more free expression, better conversations, and better communities.”

Since its creation in 2005, Reddit has been a haven for free expression on the web. Although the site’s openness has provided artists, satirists, and enthusiasts of nearly any topic under the sun, this anything-goes nature has also made the site a hotspot for trolling and cyber abuse. Subreddits promoting revenge porn (the practice of getting “revenge” by posting of sexually explicit images of someone without their consent), child pornography, and other illegal activities have popped up, casting a dark shadow over Reddit’s reputation.

Reddit banned child pornography in 2012; they again updated their policy in February to ban “involuntary pornography” such as revenge porn. With these new changes, Reddit has broadened their policy by defining “harassment” as:

Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.

Under the new policy, users can report abusive content by emailing Reddit moderators, who can remove inappropriate content and ban offending users.

Reddit continues to recognize the importance of free speech, stating that the updated policy “will have no immediately noticeable impact on more than 99.99 percent of our users.” The company hopes to make Reddit a safe, inspiring place to share and interact without the underlying threat of abuse and harassment.

New GoDaddy Customers

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Robot Underpants: 05.7.15 (201) “Oh Hi, Robot Underpants”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines and “Karaoke” Bob bring you this week’s best of the best including: “Vacation” News, Boba Fett’s Sarlaac Survival, Avengers, and more!

* Vacation trailer
* Boba Fett news
* Martin Freeman joins Marvel
* Suicide Squad photo
* The Room with Rifftrax Live tickets

ECBC Lance Executive Daypack Review

lance2As I have written before on how brutal I am on Backpacks, Rolling bags you name it. Rarely does a year go buy in which I don’t have to buy a new one. Part of the reason is I am on the go continuously and I am bit of over packer stuffing the bag full and then shoving bags in airplane bins, back of my SUV or working at the beach. I am the right guy to really stress test bags In fact my wife laughs ever time I tell her I broke a wheel, busted a strap, ripped the fabric, broke a zipper etc and I have the dead hulks here to prove it. So ECBC took a big chance on letting me put one of their bags through my abuse.

My first impressions of the ECBC Lance Executive Daypack upon unwrapping the bag was this is a nice bag. It has a nice smooth outside finish with sturdy straps. The way the bag sits on your back and across one or two shoulders has me convinced that they really thought about the guy or gal on the go. Some backpacks have a tendency to slip when your wearing it on one shoulder, and I did not experience this. The padded straps make for a comfortable wearing experience. The Back of the bag has what I am going to call cooling channels when you are wearing the bag segments of the back of the bag have small pockets where the air can flow. Everyone hates a backpack that sticks to your back. The material that ECBC used insures this is not the case and the cooling channels is a help.

One of the first thing I check on a bag are the zippers, as they seem to be the first things I bust. Examining the zipper lining is important to me as I hate it when internal material gets caught in the zipper, this is usually from the vendor having excess material in the pockets. Under close examination I do not see any catch points, and the zippers are isolated well in the pockets from the material. Internal material has been stitched tight and their is no fluff that you sometimes see. Stress testing the pockets purposelessly putting to much stuff in the pockets over the month I have been using the bag did not stretch the zipper or cause the zipper, to not open all the way.

lance1Lets talk about compartments This is a two comnpartment bag. The aft compartment is TSA approved, you can unzip the compartment all the way down and lay your laptop flat with it still in the bag. The laptop compartment has a restraining strap and a unique modular insert that can be removed in the bottom of the compartment to accommodate a larger laptop. Padding was about standard and provide adequate protection for an older 17″ Macpro around what I call the edge strike zone. Unique to this bag was a sort of barrier between the zipper and the compartment. The design team at ECBC put a lot of thought into this bag design.

The forward compartment shocked me a bit. The compartment would easily hold one day of clothes and even a separate pouch for the tablet. Yet it does not make the bag look big. The way they incorporated two external water bottle compartments allow for the forward compartment to have the extra room. This bag just went up in usability for me, and I see why they named it the Executive Daypack. There are an assortment of pockets some lined some with mesh to store all the little stuff.

lancebatteryThe front pocket though is where my OCD kicks in, I want stuff organized and easy to find. Internal to the front pocket are two zippered pockets and two Velcroed pockets and plenty of room for Glasses, Passport, Pens, Business cards, cables etc. The team even included an really sexy 4500mAh battery with a finish which is executive worthy.

Overall I am very impressed with this backpack, and it is worth every penny of it’s $149.00 price point. It has many of the qualities of a bag that is 2-3 times more expensive. This was my first exposure to ECBC the design team has really done their homework, and built a bag that is super functional and yet durable. See their product Video. Based on the build quality they is no reason this bag will not last the average person 3-4 years.