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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Peter Diamandis on Current Megatrend

Four billion people are buying new smartphones every two years, massively outpacing the PC industry (where we buy 1.6 billion PCs every five years).
Our desire for the most powerful, newest tech in our pocket is the beginning of a symbiotic merger of between human and machine.
This blog is about this metatrend.
Check out the explosive growth curves below. They demonstrate why tech will infiltrate you, your business, your family, and every aspect of your life.
How many of us don't let our mobile phones get out of our sight? How often are they more than a meter or two from our grasp?
The data comes from a fantastic presentation by Benedict Evans from Andreesen-Horowitz called "Mobile is Eating the World."
Growth of smartphones vs. PCs

Graph Above: Growth of smartphones vs. PCs
Smartphones and tablets now take up half of the consumer electronics industry.
Growth of mobile as a percent of consumer electronics

Graph Above: Growth of mobile as a percent of consumer electronics

Infinite Computing & Sensing

The power of smartphones comes from the unique mix of connectivity, computing and sensors it brings into our lives. Let's take a look.
With a glimpse of what's to come, Sprint has already demonstrated an over-the-air speed of 1 gigabit per second at their Silicon Valley lab.
  1. Connectivity: As I discuss in my next book BOLD (February 2015), consider that in 1991, early 2G networks clocked in at a hundred kilobits per second.A decade later, 3G networks hit one megabit per second, while today's 4G networks sport up to eight megabits per second.
    But in February 2014, Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse (now retired) announced plans for Sprint Spark, a super-high-speed network capability able to deliver 50 to 60 megabits per second to your mobile phone.
  2. Computing: Just three or four decades ago, if you wanted to access a thousand core processors, you'd need to be the chairman of MIT's computer science department or the secretary of the U.S. Defense Department.Today the average chip in your cell phone can perform about a billion calculations per second.
    Yet today has nothing on tomorrow.
    As MIT Technology review points out, "Generations of chip-making technology are known by the size of the smallest structure they can write into a chip. The current best is 14 nanometers, and by 2020, in order to keep up with Moore's Law, the industry will need to be down to five nanometers.
    This is the point where IBM hopes nanotubes can step in. The most recent report from the microchip industry group the ITRS says the so-called five-nanometer 'node' is due in 2019."
    Beyond the processing power in your phone (a super computer by all standards), your smartphone has access to truly infinite computational power on the cloud over its multi-megabit linkage.
  3. Sensors: Sensors are the real magic. The growing suite of sensors in our phones is extending our abilities, slowly making us superhuman.The smartphone is our future JARVIS, making us future Tony Starks.
    For example, in an iPhone, the basics include a proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer (senses the orientation of the phone), magnetometer (measures the strength and/or direction of the magnetic field), and a gyroscope.
    Of course we also have an incredible 8-megapixel camera and microphone to look and listen.
    Beyond what's packed into the phone, your device can connect to the Internet of Everything surrounding you, extending its "sensing capabilities" by orders of magnitude.
    What's next? Sensors that measure your blood chemistries, the quality of the air your breathing, the nutrient content of the food you're eating, the even the DNA of the food you're eating (is it shark or swordfish?).

Every new sensor creates a new business.

The Android app store has 1.3 million apps.
Apple's app store has 1.2 million.
While a significant portion of these apps are useless, more and more truly powerful apps are being developed that take advantage of the sensing and computing capabilities of smartphones.
And these apps are sticky.
We spend a lot of time on them.
Heck, today there's more time is spent on mobile apps than on the entire Web.
Time spent on Mobile Web vs. Apps vs. Desktop

Chart Above: Time spent on Mobile Web vs. Apps vs. Desktop

Small teams can leverage this platform in big ways

I often talk about exponential organizations – small teams of people leveraging exponential technologies and resources to scale quickly and disrupt slow-moving incumbent businesses.
Mobile and infinite computing are one of the core drivers allowing this to happen.
Instagram was acquired for a $1 billion with a team of 13 employees.
There are 1.5 trillion SMS messages sent between smartphones globally every year.
WhatsApp, an app that was built by a team of 30 people and acquired by Facebook for $19 billion, processes 7.2 trillion messages a year.
In 2000, a business with 100 employees would need to raise $10 million to reach 1 million people.
Today, we see many examples of teams of around 10 people raising $1 million and reaching 10 million people.
Or, in the case of the silly app "YO," one person raises $0 and reaches 1 million people in months.
How are you leveraging these platforms?
The opportunity these technologies present to solve the world's grand challenges are incredible.
Don't build dumb apps.
Build problem-solving apps.
At XPRIZE, we've launched a $15M Global Learning XPRIZE to incentivize teams to create a piece of software on a tablet that can teach any child anywhere in the world how to read, write, and do basic math.
Today teams are competing to win the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE to build a mobile device that can diagnose you better than a board-certified doctor.
This is really just the beginning.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

IRS Standard Mileage Rate for 2015

IRS Raises Standard Mileage Rate for Businesses

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates that are used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014.
The rate will be 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014, and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
The charitable rate is set by law. Taxpayers always have the option of claiming deductions based on the actual costs of using a vehicle rather than the standard mileage rates, the IRS noted.The IRS noted that the standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas and oil. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil.
A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after claiming accelerated depreciation, including the Section 179 expense deduction, on that vehicle, the IRS pointed out. Likewise, the standard rate is not available to fleet owners (more than four vehicles used simultaneously). Details on these and other special rules are in Revenue Procedure 2010-51, the instructions to Form 1040 and various online IRS publications including Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.
Besides the standard mileage rates, Notice 2014-79, posted Wednesday on, also includes the basis reduction amounts for those choosing the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost   that may be used in computing an allowance under  a fixed and variable rate plan. The rules for using the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Notions of Peter H. Diamandis

4 Converging (Enabling) Technologies

Four converging tech areas enable the revolution. I write about this in detail (both the technologies and business opportunities) in my next book BOLD (coming out February 2015). See if this makes sense…
  1. Sensors: The sensors that cost you $10 today would have been military secrets costing you tens of thousands of dollars 20 years ago. Sensors that listen, look, feel and navigate are plummeting in cost, size, weight and power consumption, thanks to the smartphone revolution.
  2. Infinite Computing: Your mobile phone processor is a supercomputer from 20 years ago. Better yet, it’s connected to the cloud and enables near-infinite computing. Combined with sensors, this allows robots to have situational awareness and "comprehend" contextual information in real time.
  3. 3D Printed Parts: Smart design software and 3D printing technologies are allowing entrepreneurs to rapidly design, prototype and build novel robots and test them in the market before committing to production.
  4. Open-Source Movement: There is a massive online open-source movement sharing designs, posting software updates, answering questions and more. Whatever expertise you need you can find online, 24x7, for free. Post a question, get it answered.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Reconciling May Yield Unwanted Surprise!

For the 8 million-plus taxpayers who purchased health insurance on the Exchange (now called Marketplace) there may be an unwelcome surprise awaiting them when they file their 2014 income tax returns.  The amount they paid for insurance was reduced by an “Advanced Premium Tax Credit”.  That credit was based on some assumptions.  For many (receiving a raise; a new job; getting married; getting divorced, etc.) factors resulting in those assumptions have changed.  Their eligibility for the credit gets reconciled on their 2014 income tax returns.  The result can be in a reduced refund or increase in balance due.

Additionally, the reconciling process is complicated.  So for many who have been self-filing, they may now require professional help for a fee.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Treasury moves to curb tax inversions

Treasury moves to curb tax inversions

Scott Grannis opines there is a better option:

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Many databases containing credit card numbers compromised

The most relevant point is that the owners of the compromised servers were not aware.

Copy/paste above into your browser.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Double Login Increases Security

Recently several people on my FaceBook friends list have had their login hi-jacked followed by some inappropriate messaging. It appears that a common source may be responsible for all of the mischief. One way to ratchet up the difficulty for someone to hi-jack a login is to initiate a double login routine. One of these, by Google, sends a 6 digit code to your device at the moment of login attempt. Entering the code completes the routine. A little more logistically, but increasingly necessary.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Individual Income Tax Review Items

Link is to AICPA Tax Adviser article that is good review of items affecting individual income tax:

Friday, February 07, 2014

DropBox Observations

DropBox (the free, individual version) has many useful, and a growing number, of functions. The latest function I have utilized is uploading smartphone documents, pictures, and videos. I have routinely used it to store various documents, both personal and professionally. I selectively share documents with appropriate audiences.

One feature that currently cannot be accomplished, according to DropBox support, is logging the number of times a document or message category has been clicked on. The DropBox support person, while offering no indication this feature might be added, gave me a useful work around.

Routinely, I include the URL of a document as a link in an email or other type of message. By utilizing an URL shorterner (I used Google URL Shorterner) a by-product is that the shorterner screen displays the number of clicks.

Often it can be important, when communicating with a group via email or messaging, to be aware of how many have seen the information. And, approximately when they saw it. While the intent of URL shorterner is simplify long, complicated URLs, it is useful in other ways also.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Apple Lisa was a 'business machine' that few knew about.

For me the Apple 'Lisa' was a Fuji .... better than Macintosh.

While the graphical Apple interface was interesting (and significant), a version of Unix (Xenix) would run on the Lisa. As such it would run business basic and support 3 dumb terminals. So, for less than $15K a small business system (Open Systems application software) would run smoothly. Alternative at that time (IBM, DEC, etc) was over $35k.