Tag Archives: transportation

Blockchain – Breaking It Down

The hottest word in technology is blockchain. Whether you have heard of  it or not you will be affected by it, now or in the future. But what is it?  How will it change things?

What is Blockchain?

A block is a record or log of new transactions. This log can track things like the the creation of cryptocurrency, changes to medical records, product manufacturing from start to finish or banking transactions. After each block is completed it’s added to the chain, creating a chain of blocks, hence a blockchain.

Information on the blockchain is also available to everyone. A block chain is not hosted on a single computer or server. Because of this any changes or transactions are immediately visible to everyone. So, as you can see a blockchain is very hard to falsify because everybody can see the changes and immediately notice if something is wrong or fraudulent. Blockchains are simply a public ledger that makes everything  traceable.

Blockchain was invented in 2008 to support transactions using digital currency. If you buy something using a cryptocurrency, send some to a another person or sell it, your transaction is publicly visible on the blockchain. Other people may not know who you are but they can see exactly how much has been transferred from one person to another.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin are growing as an alternative to traditional banking. Users do not need a bank to move money from one location to another or to verify the transaction. This is sometimes referred to as frictionless transactions. This means a transaction can be completed without a paying a fee to a bank or government.

How is Blockchain being used?

Although blockchain is not yet in widespread use it is expected to change industry and commerce in a revolutionary way. It is considered a disruptive technology that can easily turn the economy and society upside down. As such, it is being carefully examined and introduced.

Blockchain and your vote.

Blockchain technology can can make electronic vote counting un-hackable. Voter fraud can be eliminated by securing the system during voter registration. Blockchain can secure voter’s identification and prevent vote tampering. Blockchain creates a permanent and public ledger of votes cast and tallied that provides for more fair, secure and democratic elections around the world.

Follow My Vote is one new start up company that is trying to apply blockchain to our voting systems.

Blockchain and your identity.

Blockchain is expected to make major difference in securing your digital identity. Right now billions of dollars are being lost due to online fraud and identity theft. Using blockchain technologies will make tracking and managing digital identities secure and efficient. The result will mean a seamless sign-on and reduced fraud. This is vitally important when it comes to banking, healthcare, national security, citizenship documentation and e-commerce. 

Currently password based systems rule the Internet. Blockchain technology is based on identity verification using  public key cryptographyUsing blockchain identity authentication the only question is if the person has the correct private key. It is understood the key holder is the owner and the exact identity of the owner is irrelevant. The only drawback to this system is, as always, the human factor. People share passwords they may begin sharing encryption keys.

Blockchain identity verification can allow you to securely apply for jobs, file for medical and other various benefits, remotely open bank accounts, verify emails and social media activity and, as mentioned earlier, secure voting.

Blockchain for business.

Blockchain has the ability to make sure corporations are playing by the rules. Records stored using blockchain suddenly become difficult, if not impossible, to alter.This factor means that contracts between people or between corporations are far less open to interpretation of manipulation. These are know as smart contracts.

Smart contracts are legally binding, programmable digitized contracts entered on the blockchain. Programmers can create legal contracts as variables and statements that can release funds using the bitcoin network.

An example would be if one company wanted to pay another company a million dollars at a specific time when the preconditions of the contract are met. The conditions, payout, and details would be programmed into a smart contract. Once all conditions are satisfied the money would be sent to the appropriate party as terms of the contract dictates. Computer control over contracts can increase business efficiency and make the legal system more equitable.

Blockchain is coming to a grocer near you.

Companies in the agriculture industry are using blockchain  to track the movement of produce through the supply chain. This means the farmer can track his bell peppers from the time they leave the field to the time you leave the grocery store with them. Blockchain creates a direct link from the farmer to the grocer ensuring they are paid fairly for their produce and allowing grocers to verify that they are getting what they’ve paid for. Blockchain use in agriculture means you know exactly where your food came from and who handled it. Keep in mind food fraud is growing problem. Is that fruit really organic? Is that fish really sea bass or is this olive oil really olive oil? Blockchain makes sure you get what you think you are getting and paying for.

This technology can also increase food safety and security. Blockchain brings transparency to the supply chain allowing retailers, farmers and consumers to identify and remove bad actors and poor processes. Blockchain can determine the source of food born illnesses quickly in the event of a illness outbreak saving time, money, and lives.

Blockchain and transportation.

Another way blockchain will affect your life is transportation. Car makers are using blockchain to make sure the parts that go into your car meet their standards and come from a legitimate source. Counterfeit parts are a big problem on the secondary parts market. These parts could possibly end up in busses, trains and even aircraft endangering millions of lives. Parts can now be tracked from the manufacturer to the user eliminating any possible counterfeiting.

Now you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

App of the Week – mRelief

mReliefWhy, in the richest country on earth, are people still going hungry? According to Feeding America 25 – 40 percent of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be eaten. This food is often thrown out as leftovers or destroyed because it is simply not pretty enough for the grocery store.  That is why mRelief is the App of the Week.

First of all mRelief is not exactly an app. It is a new web and text messaging tool for low-income families. The service helps low income families to easily locate where and when they can receive free or discounted meals this summer for their children. According to mRelief 22 million children in the U.S. receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year. But during the summer, four out of five of those same children can no longer count on a meal every day. So mRelief helps families not only find where to get free or reduced price meals but also help them locate food banks and determine their eligibility for food and nutrition assistance programs even if you don’t have children.

According to USDA statistics $11 billion in food stamps went unclaimed simply because people who are eligible either didn’t know or didn’t have access to applications. mRelief provides low-income people with the help they need to figure out if they qualify for programs like food stamps and much-needed social services.

mRelief was launched in September 2014 and has helped 30,000 families locate the social services they qualify for. mRelief is looking to the future with plans to help people determine the documents they need as well as submitting those documents.

The mRelief website is fairly straight forward. All the user needs to do is enter their zip code and the type of assistance they need. But the user can also find help with a variety of other needs that include;

  • Cash
  • Child Wellness
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Veterans assistance

Those without access to the internet can text their zip code to 1-844-877-6111. mRelief is currently available in 42 states.

 

App of the Week – Transit App

TransitAppGetting around town, any town, can be a hassle. Using public transportation in a strange city is a test of your will, patience and resourcefulness. No matter what city you are in business travelers and tourists all need to get from A to B and many enjoy the option of public transportation.  Transit App allows you to plan your trip in many cities with numerous transportation options. That’s why Transit App is the App of the Week.

Transit App can display all nearby transport options and departure times instantly. Now anybody who has used public transportation in a unfamiliar city understand how difficult it can be to locate the right bus or train going to the right location. This feature is available in 92 metro areas from Ann Arbor, MI. to Nairobi, Kenya and that number is growing. If your bus or train is running late, it happens all the time on public transportation, Transit App has a remedy for that as well.  The user can quickly plan a new route, request an Uber car, or grab the closest bike share or Car2Go.

Both Car2Go and Uber are fully integrated into the Transit App allowing the user to book a car from either service through the app.

Using the full Uber integration you can;

  • View Real-Time Departures. Compare real-time ETA’s between Uber and nearby transit lines allowing the user to quickly choose the option that suits their needs. If you “star” Uber, it will appear alongside your favorite transit routes atop your Nearby Mode. You will also be able to see how busy Uber is right from the app.
  • Request your Uber car. You can request a ride right from Nearby Mode. You also have the choice to use the trip planner.
  • Compare A-to-B Journeys. Take the guessing out of trip planning. Transit App users can compare how long their trip will take with Uber or public transit, and see approximate Uber fares. They even take into account how long you’ll have to wait for pick up when providing the estimate.

This app is all about making getting around easier.

Transit App is available for Apple and Android devices, Pebble and Apple Smartwatch.

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