Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

October 1st, 2014 Comments off

Some two and a half years ago I was, to be honest, nervous when Bwin-Party announced that their then newly acquired social subsidiary Win would be releasing a social sports betting product.  Social sports betting was, after all, the main game of 2BET2 – my sports apps business.

2bet2 for serious sportstersRoll on a few years and (more than a year later than predicted) they roll out sportster on Facebook.  Now – let’s gloss over the first obvious fact – that they purloined our tagline for their name.  We used the word Sportster from day one. Now I know its just an english word, but really – could they not have been more original?

The product is OK.  Its a flash based game and covers football.  That’s football in the European sense of the word – don’t go here expecting any sports from the American side of the pond – they don’t exist.  So be it.  Bet types are fairly simple although perhaps they get better as you progress through the game.  So far – nothing game changing.

2BET2 sports selection2BET2 Sports Selection





Compare European football with the selection of coverage from 2BET2 and you get an idea of what you are missing on Bwin’s effort.

When Bwin partnered with Nordeus I was anticipating something more in line with Nordeus’s market leading fantasy sports products but it seems this was not to be.  Honestly I think that was a mistake on their part – there has to be space in the market for a more fantasy/betting blended game.

2BET2 Turbo Bet




Another feature which they copied invented? was the addition of virtual sports based on real world events and odds with a “proprietary result prediction engine”.  Quite frankly an exact copy of the 2BET2 Turbo Bet option.  Yes – we take real world events and odds, schedule the events for the next few minutes, and randomise the results.

Really the only difference between the Bwin/Sportster version of virtual events and 2BET2 Turbo Bet is the name, and the broader selection of sports available on 2BET2.

I wish BWin-Party all the best with their product.  They presumably have budget to promote it and no doubt will get some traction.  God knows they need it to work – their core gambling games have been declining over the past few years.

Meanwhile we here at 2BET2 headquarters are working on the next iteration of 2BET2.  Expect something different.  Something game changing.  Something that BWin Party will take longer than 2 years to copy.  We are currently in the early development and fund raise stage for the new initiative – it’s going to be huge and that takes money – but it promises to be sensational!

Until then – adios!

2BET2 Sports Apps

2BET2 Sports Apps – the future of social sports

2BET2 sports selection

Categories: Arthur, Computers, Gambling Tags:

Musings on Bitcoin vs iCoins

March 7th, 2014 Comments off

I have been interested in the movement of money for most of my professional life, and initiated a number of businesses to ease payments in the digital world from Earthport – LSE:EPO (CTO/Founder) through to iCoins more recently.  The quest is always the same – how to move money between interested parties – whether from individual to individual or from customer to merchant – quickly, seamlessly and robustly.  By the latter I mean that transactions must settle and risk to all parties should be minimised.

This against a background of credit cards being “ruling the roost” with all their inherent flaws, unsuitability for online transactions and high propensity for fraud.  Clearly there has to be a better way.

The currency of the internetiCoins took the approach that the interfaces to the physical world could be independent of one another, and that stored value should always be underpinned by value in the same currency in any one of many treasuries (financial institutions). To a large degree this mimics the real world.  We further saw that transactions should/could be anonymous at the time of transacting, but that sufficient audit trail should be provided to satisfy authorities concerns over money laundering and the use of the system to perpetuate crime.

The system was well engineered.  It mimiced to a large degree the real world in that it left the responsibility for looking after value and dealing with end users in the hands of the existing players, but it extended the field to include not just financial institutions, but any party who acts as a source or destination for customer funds. So it was possible to send funds instantly from (say) your Skrill wallet to (say) your wallet on Neteller. Or from Pokerstars directly to Ladbrokes to facilitate that urgent bet. Contractual arrangements were put in place between all parties in a way that could evolve and grow without the system becoming unmanaged. In a way this “feature” was an achilles heel as well.

Unfortunately we ran out of funds to commercialise iCoins.  So while the systems are all completed and were deployed in a number of scenarios, the company has had to be mothballed.

BitcoinThen along came Bitcoin.  On the face of it it offers all that iCoins offers.  But it seems tidier.  End points can hook on without any contractual obligations and “money” just flows. Money is worth what it trades for – a tidy model and with the inherently limited supply of BTC a very stable model in the long term, albeit with massive volatility in the short term.  Money is stored in client side wallets – in other words wallets that are on your device be it a computer, phone or whatever.  Client side wallets in my view provide a double edged sword – while they are more secure against theft (ala Mt Gox) they are also susceptible to failure – hardware/software failure or simply lost private keys.  So with the client side wallet the currency is inherently deflationary in that coins can be lost.

Some of its features also lead to concerns.  While there is a transaction trail (good thing), there is no standard or legal identification of end points along the trail, making it tricky to satisfy regulatory AML concerns.  And the latter is a bigger problem in that there is no control over the probity of the end points, or contractual relationships with end points. Now, with the failure of Mt Gox, we see what can happen in this scenario. In many respects they behaved as an unregulated poorly managed wild west bank – placing few controls on treasury funds and allowing the bandits to make off with the money.  Arguably they would not have reached the level of insolvency that they did had they been properly regulated (although recent events in the banking world question this assessment). In any case we now see the result – the largest “bank” in the Bitcoin world is no more and gone with it are the customer funds.

Having said all that – this is no dissimilar to the US monetary system in the 19th century.  There were bank failures, insolvency and theft there too. There was volatility. The list goes on.

So – in the end – where are we?  BTC has gone through a test  phase now – has seen a significant acceptance, and is now going through the failure of an end-point.  Unfortunately that was the largest end-point which doesn’t help!  End result – end-points will be regulated entities such as wallets and the like and eventually perhaps banks.

Is iCoins a better model?  In a lot of ways yes, in that it complies with AML and provides the exact same feature that everyone likes about BTC without the drawbacks.  It provides anonymous but traceable, instant, simple, secure cross wallet/treasury/currency transactions without trying to be a currency in its own right with all the downsides of volatility and market acceptance.  iCoins can be based on any currency with an exchange rate, so we could have independent coins, indeed we could integrate BTC, but we also offer all the advantages of BTC without forcing a new currency on the world.

Too bad we ran out of steam.  Perhaps it’s time for a rethink!

Categories: Arthur, Computers, Gambling Tags:

Eurodns renewal scam – warning!

January 5th, 2012 No comments

Renewing domain names is a commercial transaction heavily weighted in the seller’s favour. When your domain name expires you cannot reactivate it except through your exitsing registry for up to 4 months, and of course you stand the risk of losing the domain name.

I recently had some domain names come up for renewal at Eurodns. The domain names actually expire on 6 January (tomorrow), but I got a number of emails from Eurodns warning about expiry and soliciting my renewal fees stating that the renewal was due 31 December. As I was away I checked the actual expiry date (using whois at network solutions), saw that it expired 6 January and chose to renew on the 2 January when I was back in the office.

Eurodns then chose to charge me Euro 25 per domain name (there were a number of them) for “reactivation”. Their rationale is that they have a cost to reactivate a domain name. Given that the domain names had not yet expired I queried this from their support. Their response was “The expiration date at eurodns is not the same as the expiration date at the registry. The expiration date at eurondns is the one indicated in your domain list “renew before”. As already explained to you there is always a difference between the expiration date at eurodns and at the registry, which varies depending on the tld extension. This is necessary in order to make sure that we can renew the domain.”

I find this “explanation” to be simply bullshit. What they are doing is extorting “reactivation” fees from customers when they are left with no alternative. At this stage you have no alternative – its lose the domain name or be ripped off.

I have not had this treatment at any other registry. Shame on you Eurodns!

Unquestionably the dumbest rebrand yet!

November 16th, 2010 2 comments

Online money transfer firm Money Bookers (note how the name actually pretty much tells what it does) is to rebrand itselff as Skrill.  This has to be the dumbest rebrand ever!

Read the story here – for some fresh quotes from some PR hack who must be on some sort of wonderful weird substance :

“Payments have changed as well. It’s not all about shops or even money. It’s about life online and how it’s extended to so many areas. Being safe while you do exactly what you want to do. Freedom from worrying. Being able to give and receive more without having to try harder. Meeting needs in a new way. A way that does more than just meet them. A way that can only be called Skrill.”

Err ….  I wonder.

  1. In my life payments pretty much remain about shops and money
  2. All the cute bits about not worrying etc are what you expect in a wallet – whether its paypal, moneybookers, click and buy or any other one – hardly a reason to name yourself after a rare antartic tern
  3. And no – its not really a rare bird – its apparently the only name they could think of for this online wallet

Britain went through some monumentally silly name changes, from British Steel to the Royal Mail, but I really think this one takes the cake.  And the irony of it all is, in these troubled times, some idiot management consultant/branding expert got paid loads of money to produce this result!

If Moneybookers wants to become cool perhaps they should rather focus on what they do as apposed to what they are called.  If they are so cool then why is there no facebook app (such as Coin jars)?

A simple rebrand doesn’t cut the mustard.  And, no, there will not become a new term “skrilling” for moving money, like googling for searching.  Nice try, but it aint gonna happen.


Thanks to Bob Rains who points out that Skrilla is urban slang for money.  Too bad the wise guys forgot the extra A at the end.  I still think it sucks as a name.

SEO Oktoberfest 2009

October 5th, 2009 No comments

Too funny!  Take a bunch of the world’s best SEO  (Search Engine Optimisation) guys, put them in Munich at the time of the Oktoberfest, throw way too much money at the party and this is what you get!

SEOktoberfest 2009 – The Movie from Mike Rübesam on Vimeo.

Categories: Arthur, Computers, Gambling Tags: ,

Apple Computer and secrecy

August 18th, 2009 No comments

An interesting piece appeared in the Sunday Times on the weekend – you can read it here.  It talks about Apple’s culture of secrecy and Steve Jobs’ illness.  Some very interesting bits and pieces.

It seems that Apple has such a strong culture of secrecy that they still (after 4 years) wont stock any books in their stores published by Wiley (who do the “.. for Dummies” series) because of  book written in 2005 – “iCon: Steve Jobs – The Greatest Second Act in The History of Business” which they tried to suppress publication of.

The secrecy extends beyond suppressing stories and draconian employee secrecy rules, to what migh well be regarded as deliberately misleading shareholders. Should Jobs (who, as far as the world is concerned, is Apple) have been allowed to conceal the seriousness of his illness? Warren Buffett, the greatest investor alive, doesn’t think so. “Whether [Steve Jobs] is facing serious surgery or not is a material fact.”

Another sign of secrecy gone too far might be the death of Sun Danyong, a 25-year-old employee of Foxconn, a Chinese manufacturer of Apple machines. He was given 16 prototypes of new iPhones. One disappeared. Facts beyond that get hazy, but what is clear is that Sun committed suicide by jumping from a 12th-storey apartment. Some say he killed himself because of the vanished prototype and, therefore, because of Apple’s obsessive secrecy.

Discussing the future of Apple without Jobs there is a feeling that it will not be as strong. “Apple will keep executing its current business plan,” says Philip Elmer-DeWitt, “which could go on for years. But it will be different in one key respect: with Jobs there was a guy at the beginning and end of every project who had the authority to say, ‘This sucks. Start over.’ Whoever replaces him may share his vision and job title, but he or she will not be the co-founder of Apple and won’t have the same authority.” I would have to agree with this.  Every technology project, in order to be successful, needs to have ultimate authorities to take the hard decisions.

The Times article goes on to speculate that Google and Apple could merge – a view that is not hard to share.  They are rapidly converging in a number of spaces. The key areas of convergence are, first, mobile phones. There is Apple’s iPhone and there is Google’s Android, not a phone in itself, but an operating system that can be used by other companies. Google also produce a web browser called Chrome, which competes with Apple’s Safari. And, most importantly, Google is working on a computer operating system, also called Chrome, which may well be a very serious competitor for Mac OS X.

Anyway – the article is well worth a read.

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

July 17th, 2009 1 comment

In a few words that’s my new toy.  And what a cool thing it is too!  Start with the size.  Fits nicely into a full overnight (overweek) bag.  Light.  Big enough to type documents and email on (sorry – the iPhone route wasnt going to cut it for me).

Really cool small netbook - all you need for on the road

Really cool small netbook - all you need for on the road

Please  take a trip to el Reg to read the full review.  I read it and wandered off on Tuesday to Tottenham Court Roadwith a fairly open mind.  I have used a Sony Vaio laptop as my only machine for years, but it has been getting slow and now the fan doesnt work so it is useless to travel with (ok at home on an external fan).  As a solution, given the credit crunch, I rescuscitated a PC that I had under my desk as my main machine and then sought a suitable travelling companion.

I liked a number of the Netbook type machines.  They all have small screens which is an issue – 10 inch is theoretically the largest although I did like the Acer 12 inch model.  After checking out the review on el Reg, however, I was less sold – particularly in view of the difficulty that I was having reading the review on the machine in the shop!  I liked the added screen real estate, but unfortunately the resolution we too ambitious for the screen size and my eyes complained.

Small and light

Small and light

A note on shopping on Tott court road for these things.  Dont feel shy to get the reviews up on the screen while in the shop.  Most of the assistants are failry moronic, so dont expect sensible answers from them (I heard  a few classics on Tuesday).  Watch out for special deals – one shop offered me the 1008 $15 cheaper but then to sweeten the deal offered the bag at £10 instead of £20 – the thing comes with a bag anyway.  Also, when they say they dont take Amex, walk for the door.  You would be amazed how fast they find a way 🙂

Anyway – the machine is fantastic.  160G hard drive is twice the size of my “full size” laptop, and the machine runs significantly faster than it!  So, a stripped down “low performance” netbook is in fact faster than a 3 year old top of the range laptop, and at £400 is a lot cheaper.