Small Adventures in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Back in 2014, I began to read about Bitcoin, a new type of currency. I had no idea what it was or how it worked. But I had seen the price rising. At the time 1 Bitcoin was already worth about $566, having started at essentially zero 6 years before.

I decided I wanted to learn more about Bitcoin and the technology behind it. I was afraid I’d already missed the boat, so I only wanted to dabble and not “bet the farm”. I signed up for an account on Coinbase (disclosure: I get a small reward if you sign up using that link), already an established Bitcoin marketplace. I bought 1/5 of a Bitcoin for around $114 as a way to keep the concept in front of me. I didn’t actively trade, just watched as it meandered in value and then, suddenly began to take off. As of today, my investment is worth over $2000.

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency

Unfortunately, as you can tell from that, I am not a crypto millionaire. But I really didn’t set out with that goal. I’m much too cautious for that. Still, I have made more than enough to pay for my new iPhone X. I just need to figure out when to pull the trigger and cash out enough to cover that cost. Should I hold? Should I take some of my gains now? (BTW, whenever I do, I will have to pay taxes on them).

In the meantime, my dabbling has kept me interested in the whole cryptocurrency field and the underlying technology called Blockchain. This included following the incredible story of Silk Road that used Bitcoin to trade in drugs and other nefarious goods and services. What the hell had I invested in?

But Silk Road was brought down and the dark reputation of Bitcoin was slowly rehabilitated. Some business started taking Bitcoin as payment. Cryptocurrency broke into multiple variants, like Ethereum, LiteCoin, and many others. In fact, at one point Coinbase split my Bitcoin holding in two, so suddenly I was the owner of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. It’s all still quite muddled, but also exciting to watch.

And the buzz around the possibilities of Blockchain and how it may affect our lives well beyond Cryptocurrency is even more interesting. Some have claimed Blockchain will prove more revolutionary than the advent of the Internet itself. Others are not so enthusiastic.

It’s difficult to separate the hype from reality at this stage. But if you want to get just a basic idea of what a blockchain is without getting a headache, I suggest watching this:

 

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Reviving the Blog

Look out! After a few years of neglect I have decided to put some time back in to this blog site. It’s one of the oldest sites I still have so the record goes back pretty far. I’m putting a new look on it and that will be developed over time. But the point is, suddenly I have things to say that I don’t have another great place for.

Stay tuned!

Backslash

A couple days ago i was listening to a podcast and the speaker was describing a URL for a website and he said something like www.blahblah.com backslash somepage.

Backslash? I always thought it was a forward slash. Here’s a backslash \. Heres a forward slash /. Am I wrong? I don’t know. because there seems, after all these years, to be some cnfusion. The backslash is usually used in local computer paths. \files\images\picutresoofmydog\fido3.jpg for exambple. But URLs are someplace.com/thispage. A forward slash. 

But I know there is confusion about which is which because I have tried to give people URLs over the phone and they often say: “Backslash or forward slash?” And I just don’t know what they are talking about so I say “leans to the right slash’. But usually I just give up and say, “Give me your email address and I;lll send you a link and you just click on it. Of course, then I have to be sure I get their email address exactly right, meaning they know how to tell  it to me and I transcribe it correctly. 

People hear what they hear. I have said my domain and email address includes morsemedia.net. I don’t know how much email I have lost with people sending to morsemedia.com or morrismedia.net. I say “Morse, like the code”. But who remembers Morse Code, or thinks it’s Morris Code?

I am often  amazed that anything of value ever gets communicated.

Betas vs Silicon Valley

Betas vs Silicon Valley

I try out a lot of shows. I like winding down with a good show on the tube/pad/laptop/phone/some device. Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes. They’re everywhere I am. What a world we live in.

So, when we still subscribed to premium cable channels I started getting hooked on HBO’s Silicon Valley. Then along came the trial season of Betas on Amazon Prime. The shows have a very similar premise: A team of young geeks striving to make it with their innovative app amid the crazy, over amped, high rolling tech world in the Bay Area. There are so many parallels between the two shows I kept thinking the characters from one would run into characters from the other.

Despite the similar premise there are differneces. The production values on Silicon Valley seem a little higher, the characters a little less extreme. There is a kind of coolness to the show that seems to emulate the image we have of the real Silicon Valley and its high tech, Apple like atmosphere.

But for some reason, I came away liking Betas overall better. I thought it was funnier, the characters more like-able. As the season went on I grew to empathize with them more.

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Silicon Valley

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Betas

I don’t know, maybe now that we don’t have HBO any more, I’m rationalizing, settling for what’s available. Now that old HBO stuff is showing up on Amazon Prime, I guess I could go back and watch them side by side. Yeah, that’s right. I have all the time in the world for that.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance

Travelling can be fun. It can also be fraught with trouble and misshaps, especially when you depend on technology to keep your life and work moving while on the road.

My work is all on line. So communication and work tools (phone, iPad, laptop) are essential. Two days into this road trip to Colorado I dropped my iPhone on a cement slab while trying to take a picture of a Clive Bundy supporter’s pickup at a rest stop in Nevada.

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The screen was shattered. While the phone still worked, I knew it could easily deteriorate with dust or water getting in through the cracks. So, using my phone I made an appt. at an Apple store outside Salt Lake City. It got resolved ($280 later) and we were back on the road pretty much on schedule.

Today, I did an OS update on my MacBook Pro. I downloaded the update through the App Store and set the thing to reboot while I went out for a run. When I returned, the thing wouldn’t boot. So, it’s back to another Apple Store this afternooon.

Update

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Will Wanders for a Cause

Will Wanders for a Cause

We’ve started offering our home again, via the Warm Showers website, to cyclists passing through town. I know, it sounds a little illicit, but it’s really quite innocent.

Warm Showers

Most people offer up a place to stay in trade for when they themselves go out on a bike tour. But I’m not touring much any more beyond an occasional bike ride around Eureka or the McKay Tract or the Arcata Forest. Our reward is meeting interesting people and hearing their stories.

Some people are just on a lark, riding along the coast because they have the time, the youth and the resources. Some are on a personal quest or attempting to burn out some trauma. Then others are riding for a cause.

Will KingThis week we had a bit of all that, but the most recent was a rider with a cause. Will King is raising money to help fund research into leukemia and cystic fibrosis. Motivated by the loss of two friends, Will, who lives in London, is riding from Canada to Mexico and looking for sponsors and donations. Visit his site, read his story and donate if you can.

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