Our existence is increasingly more and more virtual and complicated. We have many email addresses, accounts, passwords and everything gets mixed up in our heads. We can’t manage to remember them, to understand which ones we need and which ones we don’t need or to realize what to do with them. In this mishmash, we get to make decisions based on emotions and in the heat of the moment: we create an account only when we have to do it and we no longer remember why we did it. I think that an objective understanding of the infrastructure – seen from the “above” – that sustains our virtual existence may help; will try to present my view on the matter.

There are three levels of accounts in my mind: 1. Identity, 2. Infrastructure, 3. Utility. Let’s take them one by one:

1. Identity. Nowadays, although we identify ourselves with our personal IDs, our identities are increasingly more connected to other elements: telephone number (still present in the US) and email address. The internet knows us as an email address. So we all need a personal email address we can keep and use “forever”. It will represent and identify us in the virtual world. It can be a gmail, yahoo, hotmail, outlook, .me email address, or an address connected to a personal domain such as @myname.net, and so on. But we must have a personal email address and this is our most important asset in the virtual world.

The security of this email is vital, as “email theft” is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. No matter how paranoid you are, it is not enough with this.

2. Infrastructure. There are three infrastructure accounts everyone should have: Apple, Microsoft and Google. These are the three producers of operating systems that you will most likely use and require you to have an account with them. Any “device” you buy these days, you must have an account with one of the three. Phones (iPhone, Android, Windows), computers (Mac, Chrome, Windows), tablets, watches etc… So we should take our time at some point and create these three accounts that we should remember and treat as something special.
What’s more, each of these accounts will try to control our lives as much as they can. Once we have them all, we will have to decide what to manage with each of them: credit cards, other applications, movies, music, maps, security…
Each of these three accounts has a control panel (appleid.apple.com, google.com/dashboard , account.microsoft.com) with which we can see and control everything happening there.
Each of these accounts is based on your email ID. If you want to be paranoid, you will have a different email for each account. However, you should at least have a different password (which should also be different from your email password) for each of these accounts and you should change that password frequently.

3. Utility. Any other account is in the “front-end”, utility area. There are two that stand out (Amazon and Facebook) and that I think everyone should have. They are similar in management terms to infrastructure accounts. We can use these accounts to login into probably other 200 accounts that we use, our favorite online stores or service providers. Whether we choose to use one of our infrastructure accounts for these utility ones is a matter of data privacy (advantage: less accounts to manage / disadvantage: we allow them access to more data than we would potentially want).
(English version by Teodora Popescu)

Original Romanian Version

Existenta noastra este din ce in ce mai virtuala si mai complicata. Avem multe adrese de email, conturi, parole si toate se amesteca in capul nostru. Nu reusim sa le retinem si nici sa intelegem de care avem nevoie si de care nu, ce sa facem cu ele. In acest amestec ajungem sa luam decizii emotionale, in momentele cele mai nefericite: facem un cont doar in momentul in care suntem obligati si nu retinem de ce l-am facut. Cred ca o intelegere “de sus” a infrastructurii care sustine existenta noastra virtuala poate ajuta si incerc sa prezint mai jos perceptia mea asupra fenomenului.Exista trei nivele de conturi: 1. Identitate, 2. Infrastructura, 3. Utilitare. Sa le luam pe rand:

1. Identitate. In ziua de astazi, desi in fata autoritatilor de identificam cu un buletin (personal ID), din ce in ce mai mult identitatea noastra este legata de alte elemente: numar de telefon (inca prezent in US) si email. Internetul ne cunoaste ca fiind o adresa de email. Deci avem nevoie toti de o adresa de email personala, pe care sa o pastram si sa o folosim “pentru totdeauna”. Ne va reprezinta si ne va identifica in toata lumea virtuala. Poate fi o adresa de gmail, yahoo, hotmail, outlook, .me, o adresa legata de un domeniu personal de tip @numelemeu.net, orice. Dar trebuie sa avem o adresa de email personala si aceasta este cel mai important “asset” pe care il detinem in lumea virtuala.
Securitatea acestui email este vitala, “furtul emailului” fiind unul din lucrurile cele mai rele care ti se pot intampla. Oricat de paranoic esti aici nu este suficient.

2. Infrastructura. Sunt trei conturi de infrastructura pe care oricine trebuie sa le aiba: Apple, Microsoft, Google. Sunt cei trei producatori de sisteme de operare pe care in principiu le vei folosi, care producatori au pretentia sa ai un cont la ei. Orice “device” iti cumperi in ziua de astazi, esti obligat sa ai cont la unul din cei trei. Telefoane (iPhone, Android, Windows), calculatoare (Mac, Chrome, Windows), tablete, ceasuri, etc… Deci ar trebui sa ne facem timp la un moment dat sa ne facem cele trei conturi si sa le retinem/tratam ca fiind ceva special.
In plus, fiecare din aceste conturi va incerca sa ne controleze cat mai mult din viata. Avandu-le pe toate, va trebui sa decidem daca si ce anume gestionam cu fiecare din ele. Carti de credit, alte aplicatii, filme, muzica, maps, securitate…
Fiecare dincele trei conturi are cate un control panel (appleid.apple.com , google.com/dashboard , account.microsoft.com ) in care putem vedea si controla ce se intampla.
Fiecare din aceste conturi este bazat pe emailul “ID”. Daca vrei sa fii paranoic, ai cate un email separat pentru fiecare din conturi. Fara sa fii paranoic ar trebui sa ai cate o parola separata (si separata de parola emailului), pe care sa o schimbi relativ des.

3. Utilitare. Orice alt cont este din zona “front-end”, utilitare. Exista doua mai importante (Amazon si Facebook) despre care cred ca toata lumea trebuie sa aibe si se apropie ca mod de gestiune de conturile de infrastructura. Si mai exista probabil pentru fiecare dintre noi inca 200 de conturi la magazinele online preferate sau alti furnizori de servicii. Este o alegere de “privacy” daca pentru aceste conturi sa folosim unul din conturile de infrastructura (avantaj: mai putine conturi
de gestionat / dezavantaj: le dai acces la mai multe date decat ai putea vrea).

So, Vector Watch was launched a couple of weeks ago, in Basel. You can now pre-order it online, and the reviews (“this gorgeous timepiece“, “was the boldest smartwatch at Baselworld” and so many others) are already very positive.

I don’t want to go into the qualities and features of the product now – although I now wear one of these watches and it’s spectacular. I only want to tell you why this company is extraordinary and why I believe it will make it big:

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As comenta un pic despre legea referitoare la investitiile de tip Business Angels, aflata in discutie publica . Au mai fost ceva discutii aici si exista undeva si textul propusei legi, dar nu il gasesc acum repede.
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Back in November last year, I was drinking coffee at HTW and chatting with a good friend. He started telling me about how much profit he made by investing in Bitcoin. “Bit… what?” I asked and he told me a story related to a virtual currency, invented by a pseudonym (Satoshi Nakamoto) that was valued 1 USD last year (per Bitcoin) and 800 USD now. Huge profit! He even made me download a wallet and gave me a few dollars’ worth of Bitcoins. My mind was full of visions of another “Ponzi Scheme” and I made fun of him together with the rest of the guys around the table. Went back home, researched. And I was intrigued. Researched some more. And I was surprised. More work and I was amazed. Eventually, in December, I was sold. Bitcoin is the next big thing. Get prepared for a long read.
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When he left Microsoft I had an opinion which I wrote about here (2008, Ro only).

I argued that those who leave multinational companies aren’t as successful as they expected. What happened to Silviu after some time? And, BTW, what happened to MS Romania after Silviu?
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Radu Georgescu