Interesting Finds: Issue #15

MS-DOS Game Archive, Bitcoin, Google dropping the gloves and the wealth of NBA players

Each week, I curate the most curious content I find, and add a spotlight on portions I find most interesting.

This week is about the Internet Archive MS-DOS game archive, Bitcoin’s recent price surge, Google competing (again) in the payments space and the incredible wealth of NBA players.

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My Childhood in Video Games

I am a child of the 80s, and accordingly grew up with MS-DOS based games. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that The Internet Archive has a repository of 639 throw back games. Even more amazing, you can actually play them in your browser 🤯.

Scrolling through the list of games brought back so many great memories playing huddled over our family’s PC playing these with my brother and sister. I can’t tell you how much of my childhood was spent playing King’s Quest, Space Quest, and of course DOOM!

Other children of the 80s and 90s: what were your favorites?

Bitcoin Surging

The obsession of cryptocurrencies have long since died off in mainstream media since the epic crash of 2018 where all cryptocurrencies valuation bubble’s popped including Bitcoin which dropped 65% in a 1 month period (Jan to Feb 2018).

Low and behold, in the middle of a pandemic, Bitcoin is once again surging. Quickly, and quietly, Bitcoin has surged 55% to over $18,500 in the last month. In the last year, it’s up a staggering 134%.

Google vs Everyone

After years of focusing on digital wallets and the “tap to pay” scenario that every mobile platform is tackling (Hi Apple!), Google has come out swinging with a completely revamped strategy, and app, for Google Pay.

Here’s a quick laundry list of what they are tackling:

  1. Peer-to-peer payments

  2. Budgeting and planning

  3. Crawl your Gmail inbox and Google Photos accounts for receipts

  4. Rewards and Cash back offers based on spending habits

  5. Future: Full checking and savings accounts management

In the words of The Verge:

It’s hard to name a money app that Google isn’t competing with.

This list includes: Venmo, Paypal, Mint, Personal Capital, Square Cash, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and through their rewards program, also competing now with all credit card issuers,

Google Pay is available for both iOS and Android. However, again, Google is screwing anyone with a custom domain (previously known as “GSuite” accounts), which I have. for my personal email. When I tried to sign in with my primary account, I’m greeted with this the following gem:

However, this is unsurprising since custom domain owners are getting the shaft for years. Here is Gsuite/Enterprise accounts with Nest:

Here it is with YouTube TV sharing:

The Wealth of NBA Players

I was recently listening to the Acquired Podcast episode about the NBA, and learned these 2 amazing facts about NBA ex and current players:

  1. They are the highest paid group of athletes in the world

  2. Have the largest social media following and influence of American sports players

Additionally, the current and former NBA athletes have a level of wealth that eclipses the athletes of any other sport in the world. Here are the current net worth of the top 5 ex-NBA players:

  1. Michael Jordan - $2.2 billion

  2. Kobe Bryant - $600 million

  3. Magic Johnson - $600 million

  4. Junior Bridgeman - $600 million

  5. LeBron James - $480 million

  6. Vinnie Johnson - $400 million

Even if you’re not a huge NBA fan, this podcast was incredibly educational from a business and strategy perspective of how the league started, navigated and thrived over the last 74 years. Warning, it’s a hefty 2hr 40min commitment 😬

Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is a tiny town in Svalbard, Norway with less than 1000 permanent residents. The town was established in 1906 when an American coal mining company (The Arctic Coal Company) started its operations there. Over the years, it has been a “company town” who’s population and activity were mostly in support to international businesses operating in the area, but is now mostly dedicated to tourism and research.

Due to its remoteness, it has some incredibly unique laws to protect the town and residents.

  1. 🙅‍♂️ 💀 There are no legal ways to be buried. In 1950, they discovered dead bodies from the 1918 flu pandemic that hadn’t fully decomposed due to the cold weather. Due to the fear of preservation of deadly diseases, they established laws forbidden burial of bodies. You can however, bury ashes if you have permission from the government.

  2. 🙅‍♂️ 😸 Cats are banned to protect local fauna and wildlife (but many locals don’t care)

  3. 🙅‍♂️ 🍷 Restriction on how much alcohol an individual can purchase each month

  4. 🙅‍♂️ 🐻 Anyone that goes outside, must carry a rifle as protection against polar bears.

Other Interesting Finds 🔎

  • 📺 Amazing compilation of the best SNL skits of Sean Connery on Jeopardy.

  • ❤️ Crew members of Return of the Jedi mocked the Admiral Ackbar character saying it was “too ugly”. The Director (Richard Marquand) left the character unchanged because “I think it's good to tell kids that good people aren't necessarily good-looking people and that bad people aren't necessarily ugly people” (source).

  • 👨‍⚕️ In perhaps the weirdest Interesting Find to date: Martin Short, Steve Martin and Tom Hanks regularly have “colonoscopy parties” where have fun together the night before, then share one car to all drive together to their appointments the next day.

  • 🥞 I want these strawberry souffle pancakes in my belly.