CoinApex.com

March 24th, 2014 0 comments § permalink

The Bitcoin space is amazing in that there are so many opportunities. After leaving Bitinstant to work on some research for 3 months, Yifu and I dreamed up CoinApex.com over some tea in September.

Since then we have done so much – but more importantly, we have learned a lot. Here are some of the press highlights thus far:

>>Forbes article on CoinValidation

>>Writing on PlayerAuction’s Hub on Bitcoin in NYC

>>Alex writes about the future of Bitcoin

>>Talking MtGox issues on Bloomberg with Sallie Krawcheck, Matt Miller, and Stephanie Ruhle

>>Discussing Satoshi Nakamoto with Matt Miller

>>Matthew talks regulation on Fox with Liz Claman

>>Alex and Liz Claman talk Bitcoin on Fox

A reflection on the small part I play in the movement towards a type 1 civilization

June 27th, 2013 0 comments § permalink

This is an exciting moment in human history. The Internet has provided humankind the ability to communicate over great distances and access to information and collaboration that’s unprecedented. The result is a great push in the advancement of our species. As a part of this technological wave of improvement, I have taken a moment to reflect on what that means now and for our future and how we can each contribute to the advancement of our civilization.

The Internet is really, really cool. Anyone in the world can communicate with anyone else in the world in a split second, as long as they’re connected to the Internet. This is a huge deal.

I rank the Internet as the third greatest technological achievement in human history (behind only fire and electricity). It provides us a global communication system that accelerates advancements in every other field of human study: Medicine, mathematics, physics, law…you name it. With the Internet, we can perhaps achieve more in the coming 50 years than mankind has accomplished in the past one thousand.

With the Internet, Socrates’ famous words have never rung truer: “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” We are no longer a tribal species; we are a global species. Today, we can easily send information, currency, physical goods, and communications around the world in trivial amounts of time. If we follow the natural path that these advancements present, we can truly achieve a global culture, global governance, and hopefully global peace.

It is easy to see that education has the power to change some of the bad stuff in the world. Technologies and infrastructure like those offered by Wikipedia, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Reddit, PayPal, and Bitcoin are enabling communication and the sharing of knowledge and information which is progressing us towards a global civilization. Anyone with access to the Internet can connect to sites like Carnegie Mellon, Stanford University, or the Khan Academy to take high-quality courses for free. They can then share what they’ve learned with people around the world on sites like Reddit, Tumblr, Stack Exchange, and WordPress. This type of access to information and interaction is unprecedented. People from all walks of life and cultures are collaborating – thinking, learning and problem-solving together. I love it. This system, with all its benefits, is empowering individuals, but it also feeds “Big Brother.”

The concept of a global government is frightening. George Orwell opened many people’s eyes to the idea that one-way transparency is a bad thing. We are seeing real manifestations of his fictional “1984” in the news lately. Governments are definitely spying on their citizens. In the US, every word written and spoken has a good shot at being recorded and stored somewhere in Utah. Even still, I’m willing to wager that technology and freedom of information will overcome the rise of tyranny.

There are many who say “if I’m not doing anything wrong, what do I care if they watch me.” The problem is that you may think you’re not doing anything wrong, but the government may think otherwise. Many countries censor the politically outspoken, even torturing and killing those who do not support the party in power. The constitution and the bill of rights in the US argue for the freedom of speech, due process, checks and balances, and the right to not self-incriminate – but it is becoming clear that the US no-longer plays by its own rules.

The potential for corruption and using new technologies to go after law-abiding citizens is eye-opening. Fortunately, the transparency cuts both ways – leaking information and whistleblowing are easier than ever.

We are on the precipice of a global renaissance, and very few of us even realize it. The idea of contributing a single line of code, or a single blog post that brings us closer to capturing a type I civilization motivates me to write that code. It is why I am so passionate about technology.

As we’re in the midst of these exciting times, ask yourself this: how would you react if electricity was just invented? Would you behave like the majority of people who scoffed at it as a parlor trick?

There’s a good story about a man who thought that electricity could change the world. His own father thought that he was a fool. Now, JP Morgan stands as one of the most respected and visionary business men of all time. If only we could all reflect on this moment in history, it might teach us to respect each innovation for having the potential to change the world.

When a decentralized communication system (the internet), a decentralized currency (Bitcoin), and a decentralized voting system (TBD) come knocking at the door – will you jump on board?

New Job

January 7th, 2013 2 comments § permalink

I have a new job at Bitinstant.com as a python developer. It’s awesome – I get to hang out with cool people and write code.

Hopefully I’ll be making a post soon about some futurism topics. Stay tuned, I’ve been super busy =)

Getting back into code

August 13th, 2012 1 comment § permalink

It’s surprising how quickly I forget how to move around in code. It is nothing like riding a bike (which I also don’t do as much as I should.)

After spending a few months away from PHP – I suddenly have two projects where I am working exclusively in it. There’s something magical about sitting in some new code, solving problems and listening to good music.

I have a lot of catching up to do. I learned about latent static bindings a year or so ago but I totally forgot how to use them. I literally have an empty database_object include in all of my projects. #wishfulthinking

Not to mention, 5.4 being released and I haven’t even checked out the changelog.

Another tidbit of “entrepreneurial freedom” aka I don’t have a corporate job right now:

I  have been catching up on the free crypto class I missed earlier this year. Dan Boneh has put together an excellent course on cryptography – you can find it either on Youtube or at the Coursera site (requiring a free sign-up). Some of the topics and explanations are math-intensive. Although, even the novice mathematician can follow the over-arching theories and bird’s eye explanations.

One advantage to taking the Coursera class (as opposed to YouTube) is that it pauses for the Q/A section of every lesson. It’s such a good feeling to get correct answers on such a complex topic – especially when you haven’t touched discrete probability in over 5 years.

I can’t take credit for getting the correct answers though. Prof. Boneh does such a good job of explaining the material. It’s easy enough to get a few answers right. A lot of the notation escapes me, but Prof. Boneh waters some of that down to plain text.

If you’re mildly interested in cryptography but don’t need a Stanford-level education in it, at least check out this one video on crypto history:

If anyone is interested in taking the course and wants to discuss some of the topics – please let me know. The YouTube comment section is surprisingly vacant.

Edit: I forgot to mention that Amped Web Design is in the process of becoming an LLC (finally) and I can officially call it Amped Web, LLC. This is a very exciting milestone for me – but is probably meaningless to all other humans.

Having an identity online is hard and the fear of being exposed is in your head.

April 12th, 2012 1 comment § permalink

TLDR; I give my experience with online identity and ideas as to where it is headed.

Over the years I have held several monikers on the Internet. Not only is it easy to conceal an identity but it is seemingly encouraged by various registration forms. The simple absence of Your full name: as a hard requirement panders to people’s creative expression.

Until recently, the masked Internet was thriving and mainstream. I say until recently with reluctance. There is still a thriving anonymous community but the majority of people (on Facebook, Twitter, Google) are using their real names to identify themselves.

People going by their real names online used to be rare, especially in online social interaction. The concept of using your real name online wasn’t bad – it just wasn’t necessary.

For many of the pre-social network internet inhabitants (irc, aol, usenet, hackers, 3l33t, etc.), having an identity online tied to ‘real-life’ was an offense. When social networks embraced and required the use of real names, there was somewhat of an outcry.  It was an affront on one of the core positives of the Internet; the freedom to express oneself.

Having a username like th3j35t3r or TimBL up to 2004 almost guaranteed anonymity. It was fairly easy to sterilize one’s online identity from the day-to-day family and social life. If you said something controversial online, it didn’t echo out into reality.

The computer was essentially a black box where anyone could be and say whatever they wanted, with no consequence. A passionate secret for the technically inclined and a preservation of self. For many it was 1984′s hidden notebook.

That snapshot has changed, and online identity is now a complex and mysterious subject.

For the majority of people, having an anonymous identity is emotionally rewarding. It isn’t a serious security precaution or a preventative measure arising from paranoia. It’s a luxury pair of sunglasses and not a Kevlar vest.

I wear those sunglasses and occasionally I see people wearing the vest. (I have also tried to wear that vest but the weight of it is annoying when I know my head’s still exposed.)

Having a purely anonymous identity online is harder because tracking people is easier. A relatively inexperienced geek can find out who someone is without writing a single line of code. Root passwords to secure systems can be obtained via social engineering. Cookies, analytics, cross-site tracking, persistent multi-site sessions, etc. have made it incredibly difficult to have any control over who you are online. It sounds pretty bad for securing information, let alone identities.

Being anonymous was great, until I wanted to do some online banking…

This isn’t a doomsday manifesto. Today, being controversial or outspoken is fortunately passé. Facebook has made us all a little more accepting of everyone else’s crazy.

As much as we’re losing anonymous, we’re gaining acceptance of transparency.

So there you have it, a glimpse into my conscience – online and transparent. Fortunately for me, no one reads it – so I don’t fear being judged. (I track my readership with Google analytics)

As for the people that wore Kevlar vests: they’ve just had to spend a lot more time building better vests. They now build and sell the vests. My point is that if you want your  pseudo-identity to be really secure these days; you had better devote your career to it or pay someone that has.

We could also accept that there is no such thing as an unbreakable safe and that most people don’t care to read our diary anyway. We’re too busy reading Aldous Huxley’s wiki.

How to: Dropbox

October 6th, 2011 0 comments § permalink

So I just uploaded a video to show people how to download and install Dropbox:

I just wanted to add a post to my blog to cover some additional information that people might find useful. So here are some key points I wanted to make:

-It’s free to use and easy to install.
-Dropbox can be used to share and sync files between two or more computers.
-Files can be added to the Dropbox/public folder to make them public. Right clicking on the file, and selecting Dropbox->Copy public link will give you a link to the file (which you can give to anyone wanting to download the file.)
-It’s supported on Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and iPhone/iPad.

So this is my first software how-to video, and I plan to do many more. I’m going to try to knock off the easy ones first. This way my video editing/voice over techniques will be up to snuff by the time I do the advanced videos.

Here is a selection of some of the videos I am planning (there are many more in my lists):

Software
-How to: Sync your keepass across multiple computers
-How to: Install virtual box with Ubuntu natty
-How to: use Google Analytics
-How to: use Google Plus
-How to: use Git

Hardware
-How to: install RAM
-How to: apply thermal paste to a GPU
-How to: replace a hard drive in a laptop

If you have recommendations for additional how-to videos, please feel free to comment here or on my YouTube.

Google Wave

February 12th, 2010 0 comments § permalink

I finally got on the Google Wave today, and I have mixed feelings…

Overall, Google has disappointed me again. The concept and GUI is there, but its implementation and functionality are lacking as usual. Also, don’t even bother trying to get support. It’s my personal belief that Google employees think they belong to a secret society – and thus; rarely grace forums with their presence.

hooded figures in color

Google's support team

While I do support Google overall; it seems that they are spreading themselves too thin. Google Wave was an awesome concept, but it seems that development of the app is going slower than anticipated. Granted, I am only seeing the preview, but many pieces are missing to what the Google Wave is promising to provide.

With the recent release of Google Buzz and aquisition of Aardvark, Google just bit off a heaping serving of development. Are they expanding too quickly?

Geocities – so many memories

October 27th, 2009 0 comments § permalink

Probably one of the earliest catalysts to my development as a web development professional, Geocities has finally come to pass. Hearing this news feels like I just threw away the training wheels I kept in my attic for the past 17 years (I don’t).

Geocities began its adventures in 1994 and quickly became the first place for internet users to have their own “webpage”. The blogosphere is probably the 4th or 5th evolution from those humble beginnings.

I get nostalgic remembering my first lessons in HTML and how I had no idea that today I would be blogging in my underwear surrounded by empty caffeine vessels.

Geocities, I’ll miss you old friend.

R.I.P

Geocities.com

1994-2009

I like robots?

October 27th, 2009 0 comments § permalink

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzd1OiP27s0&hl=en&fs=1&]

Title goes here

October 14th, 2009 0 comments § permalink

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