Holbenomics. E-Commerce and Execution.

 

Hi all,

I’ve been hard at work for the past few years and left this blog in the dust behind me.. until today!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating more posts with a specific focus on e-commerce, automation, philosophy. Also I’ll be sharing how I’ve managed to be more productive in my life and how I’m still moving forward with enhancing my motivation.

I’ve been working on http://www.hewlbern.com most recently and just finished up working at IBM and researching in India for Engineer’s Without Borders.neon-sign2

Here’s hoping I can provide some value to the internet community!

Thanks,

Hewlbern.

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Friends poem (Australian poem ;D)

The times they are a changing” 
for the worse: and we carry social justice in a hearse.
We are travelling backwards, rediscovering all our bitterness;
When we restricted blacks to settlement- to fringe camp or the mission;
where we denied them their entitlement..
We took their children crying,
And left the old people dying,
men and women sighing,
as we hid beneath the lying
of “progress” and “development”..
As we opened up the wilderness 
with chainsaws and D9; 
employing brutal ruthlessness,
and white law that said, “It’s mine”.

To Tinder or not to Tinder. That is the question.

My good (& female) friend recently went through a massive tinder binge over the past few months. And at first it seemed like a really awesome thing for her! The massive oversupply of horny guys on the app made choosing a partner ridonculously easy. She literally had a list of tens of guys, with a short list of her favourites….. Supply and demand at work. But her experiences later on in the process of using the app, like dating and whatnot, were overall negative. I found her insight into this relatively new phenomena interesting to say the least; is tinder just another needless technological intervention into a system that needs no change?
You see there are a lot of really good things about tinder! Oh I know that it seems like a really superficial way of meeting people, but let’s be honest, how do people usually meet each other…. In dankly lit clubs with overbearing music while drinking alcohol. As though drunkenly choosing someone in this way is anyway less shallow than swiping through a phone app for someone you like the look of. And it’s not like you can get your drink spiked over tinder.

And as a women you literally have your choice of the population. Don’t like 1 guy after he said something iffy? Well he can just be demoted off your list of potential candidates. That old saying, there’s plenty of fish in the sea? It’s understating how many fish in the sea there are. Because there are a lot. Like I’m talking the most under fished sea in the world. Well the world is meant to be a little over-fished but you get my point. But it’s this at first triumphant selling point that showed a strange dark side to my friend.

Today’s world of continuously expanding technology brings with it a certain optimism for the future. What is a bright treadmill of discovery to most people can be subtle in its flaws; but a more obvious one is its effect on devaluing people and our relationships with said people. So what my friend found over the months of using the app was that she devalued whoever she was seeing. They were just one of her many options that were keeping her amused, and in being so involved with this app, she found it very difficult to take anyone she met through it seriously. I found this an amusing notion, that having something in an extremely large supply, can make your perspective on it lessened. That tinder can make you view the opposite sex as an expendable commodity.

Now this was a problem for her, because she was looking for something a bit more real, but that’s not to say it could be perfect for you. My word on it is this; for those not looking for love, use it. It’s a great shortcut to sex. But if you don’t want your perspective on the other sex stripped down to a numbers game and feel a struggle to connect… then tinder is a bleak hole of horny uninteresting/ed men.

Sorry if this is a little bit similar to last weeks, i was writing it up for a website, so reused some stuff because im lazy. Thought i might as well put it up though!

Man as a machine

Today’s world of continually expanding technology has brought with it a certain optimism in the future for most people. But this optimism could be blindly leading us to a more machine than man future. Humanity was meant to be flawed and weak. Not a gradually developing synthetic species with an inadequacy complex, and a lack of appreciation for real interaction.

When I was a child I had talked to my father about life in the real world, and he told me that people would come and go and that there was no escaping this simple fact. However over my life technology has taken a hold of our society. With social media especially; things have changed. Before I meet people I have made judgements about them based upon there what information I have gleaned from their various profiles. Keeping up with people has become as simple as a mouse click with personal information streamed through my computer and into my brain. We’ve become a hive mind; like it or not.

I really do think people are aware of how this has happened and how little they can help but use these tools. Recently my good friend turned off his social media accounts, deeming them a superficial waste of time, but as a result has been unable to connect with his peers and lost opportunities to connect with people. I know that if I did the same it would have a hugely negative affect on my friendship groups, and my ability to keep up with others. Resistance to these changes is completely futile and self-defeating.

But to me this is only a small issue affecting myself, a part of a larger issue as a whole.

The words from the character Walton “What could not be expected in the country of eternal light?” paint light as discovery and enlightenment. 200 years ago an 18 year old girl was experiencing much the same lack of ease at the current human condition as I am now.  Part of the Mary Shelley’s book’s premise, Frankenstein, was that light often burns when you follow it without forethought. When Victor Frankenstein created his monster, he did not consider the consequences of what he was doing, and upon reflection was consumed by his guilt over what he had created. He then turned on his creation showing himself as the true monster. This obsession with taking the next step, regardless of the consequences, shows to me a childlike push towards a complicated question.

When Professor Oppenheimer, a father of the atomic bomb, spoke after the first atomic bomb tests he quoted Bhagavad Gita. “Now I am become Death..”. The bomb stopped wars, but was a disastrously powerful weapon really the answer we needed? It seems to me that our progression is tainted with an arrogance and a disregard for the unexpected.

Every night I play the computer game DoTa with my friends, talking over Skype, and while I know that real human contact has no comparison with a computer screen I take what I can get. When I leave my room I use my phone-computer. Star Trek’s species of the Borg come to mind. For to me; We are the Borg. We are assimilated. And only time will tell where this will lead.

obama-borg

Undesirables.

According to the Melbourne Street to home reports 78% of homeless people feel looked down upon. At first seeing this statistic, I mentioned laughingly to my friend, “I want to meet the 22% that do not looked down upon”. Now writing this I really question, who are they?.. Probably those most out of touch with reality and in need of help.

I spend a lot of time down on a relatively up-market stretch, Glenferrie road, near my university. I’ve lived on this street, drunk on this street, and well… spent a lot of time… on this street. One learns to notice the slow change of landscape when they spend a lot of time in an area and the one constant, apart from the seedy McDonald’s restaurant, is the faces of the homeless have not changed since I started studying 4 years ago.

The two men are Anglo-Saxan. The first is a very confused looking man with a gigantic pot belly and sunken eyes. His partner in nothingness has a more resentful slant to his features, perhaps understandably, but carries himself in much the same way as his colleague. Both of these men wear dilapidated blue denim cutoffs and white,well what used to be white, shirts that leave they’re midriff open to all to see. These two lurker’s have sat down and watched this street change next to me, but from a different vantage point. While they’ve watched me scoffing down a 10$ sandwhich, I’ve watched them scavenging for money. As I’ve watched paramedics come to take them away, they in turn watched me wave away their various attempts to beg.

My eyes glaze over the moment I see them walking down the street. They’re the walking dead, the bottom of the barrel, undesirable and a scary image of the worst case scenario. I can’t help them on my own, that would be ridiculous. Wouldn’t it?

We live in what is supposed to be the most livable city in the world, Melbourne, and yet we have these people, who obviously cannot help themselves, living like this. I say that cannot help themselves because our country does provide shelter for the homeless, through Centrelink and emergency accommodation, but the majority of people without housing have a mental illness. And until a system is made to deal with people like this, there will always be sad souls sadly whiling away in front of people on Glenferrie rd. Tackling homelessness to me is not just about getting people off of the streets. It’s also about finding lasting solutions to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place.

22773 people are homeless in Melbourne. That’s enough people to fill out our Olympic Park Stadium and then some. And that number increases day by day.

BitCoin

Bitcoin is probably a familiar story to most of you by now – a new online currency that has grown in price from a lowly price of .10$ USD in September 2010 to over 1000$ USD over the past month. During these past two years I’ve been watching over this price on various forums, admittedly largely sceptical, but none the less interested, as to where this hugely speculative currency will end up. Let me make clear – BTC is not a stable currency; and yes it is overvalued… for now. With that said, its rise does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon, for various reasons… the first and foremost being pure speculation is keeping it stable.

That said, the idea of Bitcoin as a currency is not one that can be easily discarded, especially with the advantages that it provides to its users (not including the more nefarious and well known examples available.)

For starters, say you were planning on buying an item for a large amount of money, 20,000$, but the seller refuses to use credit cards or –gasp- Bitcoins even! The amount of effort you would have to go to just to get that amount of money in cash, while ensuring the cash wasn’t counterfeit, highlights how Bitcoin in the place of cash would be useful. Had the seller been interested in using Bitcoin the time spent trading would be cut down to a few minutes.

Here’s the kicker. Say the seller accepted credit cards. Well, paying via credit card usually attracts a 2-3 percent transaction fee.
Drum Roll.
What’s that you say? Bitcoin has little to no fees involved? Yes. And that is an extremely attractive attribute to anyone interested in saving money. This is due to there being no need for Bitcoin to be processed through a third party institution and it’s a major selling point of this crypto currency. To me it’s the best one and the other benefits are humdrum in comparison, the others being transparency and anonymity – as well as others.

Keep in mind that with very few businesses worldwide, with 4 in Australia, accepting BitCoin, the notion that people are buying Bitcoin in relation to an expectation of an increased price in the currency as opposed to a need to use it for any practical purpose is highly probable. With the high volatility of the currency, it lends a lot to the view of the current state of Bitcoin to be that of a gigantic bubble. If and where it bursts remains to be seen.