However, if I really did want my dollar, I could have gone and arranged with you to set up escrow, then posted the pic.
Basically, the conversation goes like this:
You) I'll give you $1 to post an alien pic from Deviant Art.
Me) Sure. Put that $1 in escrow.
You) Ok. Done.
Me) Let me check... Ok. Looks good.
...a little while later...
Me) Ok, here's your pic!
You) Great! Let's finish off the escrow.
Us) Yay! We both got what we wanted!
At no point do we need to trust each other there. When I ask you to put the $1 in escrow, that guarantees your end of the deal, or you can look at it as me saying, "Really? For sures? Like totally for reals?" My posting of the pic is the completion of the deal before escrow completes.
Please excuse my lack of understanding of the BitCoin escrow process. But your scenario didn't seem to answer the question (in my mind) about why trust isn't needed.
1. How does Tao know that you will post the picture after he puts the money in escrow? i.e., Once the money is in escrow, can he cancel the escrow if you don't fulfill your end of the bargain?
2. How do you know that TaoPhoenix will complete the escrow after you post the picture? i.e., If he can cancel the escrow, what stops him from doing so after you post the image?