I started using WriteRoom after I heard Joe Rogan mention the software on his podcast, The Joe Rogan experience. The comedian says he uses the software for his comedy writing sessions he strives to do daily. The software’s purpose is to serve as a no thrills text editor that offers a plain full-screen mode thus blocking out all the distractions. Whether it’s cat memes, fear porn or debates in comment sections, Jesse Grosjean, creator of the software and founder of Hogbay Software, wants to help you be more productive.
The idea behind WriteRoom posits that with fewer visible options on screen, concentration on the writing process increases. As PC Mag stated, “WriteRoom makes concentrating easier than any other app I’ve tried.”
@Josh96OBrien it's called write room
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) May 23, 2013
When I use WriteRoom, my ideas are better, I can flush them out in my very own mind tunnel (of course with some music playing, perhaps Gorillaz or The Clash). The endless distractions to every corner of the imagination provided by the Internet no longer exist. Alongside a version for Mac, an iOS version is also available.
In the full-screen version, the only available graphics other than your text is the word count. Customizations are available, and there is even spell-checking, grammar-correcting and autocorrect. WriteRoom offers numerous Themes to change the appearance of the screen. It appears Mr. Rogan likes a green text on black background. I tend to use a black background with white text.
WriteRoom creates plain text files in standard .TXT format. To italicize, bold, create headlines, and so on, I open the document in Google Documents or Word and format. The company recently updated FoldingText. As Jesse wrote on the company blog:
It’s a free update to all existing users. FoldingText 2.1 comes with a lot of bug fixes and improvements.
- A Calculator Mode: Now you can perform math calculations right within Foldingtext. See Help > Calc Mode Guide.
- A Stopwatch Mode: Run timers from within FoldingText to track time. Useful for keeping track of your time while writing. See Help > Stopwatch Mode Guide.
- Auto pairing brackets, multiple cursors, customizable notification sounds and much more.
I spoke with Jesse about WriteRoom and his other software, FoldingText. I ask him about Joe Rogan’s mention of WriteRoom and the effect it had on Hogbay Software and other things.
So, I heard about your software from Joe Rogan. Did you know he mentioned it on his podcast one time? Did that affect sales to a noticeable degree? Are there other well-known writers using your software?
JG: This was a number of years ago. I didn’t hear the podcast, but I had quite a few people tell me about it. I’m sure it affected sales positively, but I’m not really sure by how much. For better or worse, I spend most of my time messing with software, and not much tracking sales.
I’m not sure who’s using WriteRoom. Truth is I have a hard time remembering the names of people that I see every week in my men’s league soccer. Remembering who is using WriteRoom is out of the realm of possibility for me. I would hope at least a few famous people have used it, and I guess Joe Rogan’s one example.
Why might writers enjoy FoldingText? What sorts of features does it have beyond WriteRoom?
JG: FoldingText isn’t really meant to replace WriteRoom. With that said if you are writing using Markdown syntax, then I think you would prefer FoldingText since one of the big things that it does is highlight Markdown syntax.
Have you heard of the early text editor, GrandView? Did that serve as an inspiration at all?
JG: Depends on which GrandView.I’m really interested in outliners and GrandView was in the first wave of PC outliners way back in DOS days, I think. That software is a bit before my time, and I never used it, but I have read about it and other old outliners such as ThinkTank and others.
Any plans for the future?
JG: Right now I’m working on an update to TaskPaper.
What is TaskPaper’s strength?
JG: TaskPaper is for managing to-do lists in a plain text file. It’s related to FoldingText (FoldingText was created by wondering what would happen if I took the ideas in TaskPaper and turned them up to 11), but less ambitious and simpler. I’ve been deep into FoldingText for a number of years, and now it’s TaskPaper’s turn for an update.
Tell us a bit about recent updates to FoldingText in version 2.1, if you don’t mind.
JG: I think calculator mode is the neatest new feature. It allows you to do math, and see live results, in your text file.
FoldingText is definitely the coolest piece of software that I’ve worked on, but it’s also quite geeky and not easy to sell. Much easier to sell simpler more focused apps like WriteRoom and TaskPaper. Going forward Mutahhir , who also worked with me to create FoldingText, is going to work on it with an eye toward bug fixes and maintaining it into the future.
Thanks for chatting with Hacked.com, Jesse.
JG: My pleasure and thank you!
Images from Shutterstock and the Writeroom software.
Blockchain Asset Manager Ambisafe Talks About Institutional Guarantees, Parity Debacle
Ethereum platform Ambisafe has quickly emerged as one of the blockchain’s most promising asset managers. Hacked recently spoke with representatives from the company on their product, institutional bottlenecks and other contemporary issues facing the cryptocurrency market.
Ambisafe Asset Platform
In the world of blockchain, Ambisafe is well established. The company has been involved in the cryptocurrency space as far back as 2010, and is today one of the blockchain’s leading asset issuance and management firms. The company provides many go-to-market offerings, including ICO services, asset issuance and custom Ethereum development solutions.
Ambisafe operates several other companies, including Orderbook, an Ethereum token exchange. Orderbook has 25,000 active users and is averaging about two ICO launches per week, according to a company spokesperson. Combined, ICOs launched via Orderbook have generated more than $35 million in funding.
Orderbook claims to provide full transparency and immutability by recording all transactions on the blockchain. In this sense, it is entirely trustless and stores all assets “on-chain.”
The companies (both Orderbook and Ambisafe) areled by Andrey Zamovskyi, who has been coding since the age of nine. He has his fingerprints all over first of their kind blockchain projects, such as wallets, merchant services, exchanges and trading platforms.
A Lack of Institutional Guarantee
Ambisafe told Hacked that one of the biggest challenges facing the crypto-sphere isn’t payment processing, but a lack of institutional guarantees. This could make it difficult to attract new investors as the market eventually stabilizes and cools from its recent streak of record-setting gains.
In explaining this issue, Ambisafe drew our attention to account guarantees in the United States. In the U.S., all savings accounts held at banks are backed by a guarantee of $250,000 from the federal government. This is essentially a guarantee that your funds will be protected for that amount if the bank fails.
Moreover, if your credit card is stolen, U.S. law limits personal liability drastically so that you are not left on the hook for a massive bill payment.
These same guarantees are not present in the cryptocurrency space. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.
For example, if my Trezor is stolen or Coinbase is hacked, I simply lose everything. Large-scale trusted and insured institutions need to back vaults with extensively audited multi-sig wallets before we’ll see widespread displacement of credit/checking accounts.
Ambisafe also chimed in on the recent controversy surrounding Parity Technologies, whose account holders were locked out of $190 million worth of ether tokens. When asked about how the accounts could be unlocked, Ambisafe referred to the fact that there are some Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) on how to recover the funds. However, the discussions appear to be ongoing with no immediate solution in sight.
“In our solutions, we make sure to have a test coverage,” Ambisafe said. “Also, we don’t publish our code out in the wild just for the hell of it. We share the code by request though.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Does ‘CryptoRuble’ Threaten the Point of Cryptocurrencies? Jean-Yves Sireau Weighs In
Last month, Russia said it would move to regulate cryptocurrency by bringing mining and exchange under the purview of the central government. Investors rejoiced in the decision, as it signaled that another major economy would not ban cryptocurrency. However, as one prominent blockchain expert notes, the advent of a government-controlled cryptocurrency – i.e., CryptoRuble – would threaten the point of cryptocurrencies all together.
Binary.com Founder and CEO Jean-Yves Sireau (JYS) was recently in contact with Hacked.com, where he answered some of our most pressing questions. Below are excerpts from our most recent email exchange.
JYS Weighs In
According to the Binary.com founder, Russia’s plan to centralize the mining process is probably feasible, but will likely hamper the CryptoRuble’s popularity. That’s because this arrangement practically ignores one of the key selling points of cryptocurrency – that is, the potential for a universal token.
“Indeed, the attraction of cryptocurrencies is that they are like cash: easily transferrable, essentially anonymous and open to everyone,” JYS says. “A currency that doesn’t have these features is going to be at a competitive disadvantage. There are already hundreds of competing cryptocurrencies, hence creating one that has limitations is not likely to be a success story.”
As many of our readers know, Russia isn’t the only country looking to create a state-run cryptocurrency. Kazakhstan and Estonia are in the process of creating a state-run digital currency, with several others considering the idea. There has even been talk of China – a country that recently banned cryptocurrency trading – implementing its own state-run digital currency.
In Sireau’s view, there’s no guarantee that these currencies will be popular. As he rightly notes, “there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies with a very limited following.”
Russia has given mixed signals about how it plans to regulate ICOs. According to Sireau, this reflects broader confusion about how to secure a market that so few know about. Apparently, JYS doesn’t think too highly of ICOs, either.
“In my opinion most ICOs are worthless or scams, and investors will lose 98% of their money. Even if regulators do come up with regulations, it will be too little too late. In 1-2 years’ time there is going to be a flurry of lawsuits surrounding ICOs, especially in the US where law firms can organize class-action lawsuits. I think these lawsuits are what are going to tame the market, not regulatory action.”
On whether any jurisdiction approaching cryptocurrency regulation the right way, Sireau said flat-out no. That’s because “the core issue is that regulators are typically lawyers or compliance people who don’t understand the details of the technology. It’s like trying to create grammatical rules for Greek without having any knowledge of the language.”
The future of cryptocurrency looks promising, but will be marked by volatility and many failed projects. In Sireau’s view, this is especially the case with ICOs, which could “implode in a flurry of lawsuits, especially in the form of class-action lawsuits, in the U.S.”
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Minerva’s OWL Token Fights Inflation and Offers Merchants Unique Revenue Stream
Luxembourg-based Ethereum startup Minerva has developed a platform that will reward merchants for using its tokens. Through a system of “reverse transaction fees,” Minerva will supply merchants with its newly minted OWL tokens when they agree to offer discounts on goods and services that can be paid for in the cryptocurrency.
In other words, merchants who accept the OWL as a form of payment will receive more tokens simply by propagating its use.
The Decentralized Central Reserve
Observers and participants of the cryptocurrency market are no doubt aware of the volatile nature of this new asset class. Just last week, the global crypto market shed $65 billion – some 40% of its value – after China launched an attack on the blockchain community by banning ICOs and bitcoin exchanges.
Minerva’s platform aims to do much more than just incentivize the use of digital tokens; it seeks to tame volatility once and for all. This can be accomplished through the Minerva Volatility Protocol (MVP), which in some way functions like a “decentralized central reserve.”
MVP works by smoothing out price movements in the OWL token. When the price of OWL increases, Minerva’s algorithm mints new coins for approved merchants during transaction. This is the “reverse transaction fee” everyone is talking about. When OWL’s price drops, the platform incentivizes users to temporarily take coins out of circulation with smart contracts that resemble bonds.
OWL is essentially modelled from basic economic theory, which states that a currency – be it crypto- or fiat-based – is determined by the law of supply and demand. The price of a currency rises when its demand outstrips supply, and falls when its supply exceeds its perceived utility.
The smart contracts implementing OWL work to ensure that the basic law of supply/demand is maintained by targeting currency fluctuation. The algorithm does this by targeting the supply of OWL under present conditions to achieve zero or near-zero inflation.
When the inflation rate is smaller than targeted, additional OWL tokens are created; these OWL tokens are delivered to approved merchants, with a portion “taxed” and placed into a reserve vault. When the inflation rate exceeds the target, additional MVP contracts are made available for purchase at a calculated incentive rate, which is paid at a future time from the reserve vault. No MVP contract is offered for sale unless there is sufficient OWL reserved to pay the incentives.
Key Challenges Facing Adoption
OWL’s impeccable delivery method isn’t without its challenges. While cryptocurrency is the biggest thing since sliced bread, the market is still in its formative stage. This means ease-of-use and broader mainstream appeal remain limited for now.
“Our biggest hurdle is what we look forward to solving the most: achieving the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency through ease-of-use and utility incentivization” Minerva co-founder Kevin McSheehan told Hacked.com.
Although many in the industry have told McSheehan that integration with merchant processing ISOs is a non-starter, Minerva appears to be ahead of the curve. The company has a long and established working relationship with some of the world’s biggest merchant processors. We’ll just have to wait a little while longer to find out who they are.
Regulatory uncertainty and volatility surrounding the crypto-sphere more generally are also key challenges companies like Minerva are facing. These issues have spawned another community pushing SAFTs as the next major breakthrough in the debate over regulation.
To combat these and other challenges, Minerva has put together an impressive team of advisers, tech gurus and legal counsel. There’s even an economist on board. The ensemble of powerful minds clearly shows there’s still a lot to think through in this uncharted industry.
Minerva is planning to launch its ICO in the near future. According to the website, 60% will be allocated to presale and final public ICO.
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