Thursday, May 23, 2013

Yes, ZaReason accepts BitCoins

We have been following the growth of bitcoins since soon after they started. We followed the tough parts (when Mt. Gox was hacked and many lost funds, something that occurs in all markets), the happy parts (when some nice guy gave our teenage son 50 bitcoins for winning a silly contest), and the funny parts (when people compare the previous value of bitcoins to current value as in the $2,000,000 pizzas).
Public Domain Neutrality
Meet the $2 Million Dollar BitCoin Pizza by Katherine Mangu-Ward explains how two pizzas purchased mid-2010, "...are generally acknowledged to be the first tangible goods purchased with bitcoins, the online crypto-currency."

Silliness aside, bitcoins are a common sense next step for currency / merchant processing.

CC-SA ZaReason
Our personal favorite happened a while ago. A young kid, a Bay Area pre-teen, walked into our ZaReason shop in Berkeley and asked, "Can I buy a laptop with bitcoins?" We were about to ask him, "Shouldn't you be in school?" but once he mentioned bitcoins we knew he was probably serious.* He bought a Teo Pro, a subnotebook (I'm typing on a 3+ year old Teo prototype right now). He paid the dollar-to-bitcoin equivalent of the laptop. We transferred the money to USD and everything was properly accounted. 

If you're unfamiliar with bitcoins and do a few searches online you'll find all sorts of bad information. People tend to be scared of things they don't understand (though the less-dsyfunctional, smarter reaction is to be curious).

Bottomline: Currency is a funny thing. We could trade laptops for cookies if we wanted to** (which would require a which is simple enough). Bitcoins are easy enough to turn into USD and despite the way they are typically slandered, they are a potential solution to the many issues that plague the merchant processing industry. Bitcoins are a great solution and the merchant processing industry could see that if they stopped being scared and started being curious.

We are thrilled that there are enough people who buy computers from ZaReason who are smart enough and curious enough (open-minded enough) to ask us if they can use bitcoins. If you want to purchase an item from (or for Australasia) when checking out please select the Purchase Order option and mention in the Notes field that you'd like to pay with bitcoins.

People get their computers using cards, checks, wires, purchase orders, all sorts of payments. Using bitcoins isn't bizarre. It's just different.

--Cathy Malmrose for ZaReason

* Later I tried to hire him but it was too late. He was already working on other projects.

** We don't actually accept cookies as payment. Please don't ask, especially don't ask in the late afternoon when we are hungry for a snack. Thanks.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Growth Curve of FOSS --> what the best investors know

There hasn't been, and probably never will be, a nuclear bomb on the Timeline of Growth for Free and Open Source Software, no point where an earth-shattering radical shift occurs.
Big Bang / Atom Bomb CCO 1.0 Zdnrp

UEFI's SecureBoot may come close to Hiroshima levels, but my guess is that five years from now, it will have the "ripple equivalent" of the 1991 message to the Minix newsgroup that Linus sent about his "hobby" code.

It started innocently enough, but lead to massive change.

If you look at the timeline for Free and Open Source Software, you see slow, steady, and massive growth, same as anyone would want to see for a company, group, or idea they want to invest in. And by "invest" I am not referring to money. I am referring to invest as, "to use, give, or devote."

This slow and steady growth curve is the nickel-and-dime approach to growing a code base and I am a huge believer in the nickel-and-dime approach. There are three principles good investors understand:

Public Domain by EricFoard
1. Slow, steady growth is where you find the true winners -- ask Warren Buffet.

2. Don't give up. Patience pays. Don't stop supporting it just because it is not growing fast enough. Ask any good gardener.

3. It is the less obvious stock that is often the best pick.

So many of the GNU/Linux distros have been growing in the background, being used and built by Devs, Sys Admins, and generally good people, the geeks behind the scenes, which is the perfect place to grow.

As we have helped ZaReason grow as a hardware builder that supports FOSS, we have been happily surprised at how many of those blips on the map have directly helped people find ZaReason so they can get built-for-FOSS computers. Especially now that UEFI's SecureBoot is in full swing, we are extremely happy to be part of the world that helps get non-locked-down computers to people.

CC-Share Alike Unported 3.0 by Jawed
In fact, I just got a speaking gig at FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium Feb 2 & 3 where I'll be talking about UEFI's SecureBoot. I'm hoping to cover CoreBoot and many other juicy details. There will be approx 5,000 of the most brilliant hackers at FOSDEM. We hope to see you there!

Dear developers, thank you for your work. Keep chugging along and we will too. Onward and Upward!