Friday, December 8, 2017

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash - What's Best?

I would like to share some experiences and observations with you concerning Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash and hopefully cryptocurrency newbies and cryptocurrency evangelists will both be able take something interesting away from this post.


bitcoin logo
Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency is, of course, the most expensive cryptocurrency to move between wallet addresses. I have been paying around $4.00 (0.0003 btc) to send Bitcoin in a relatively timely manner recently. At this fee it seems to take about an hour or less to successfully send Bitcoin from one wallet to another. Check the transaction fee that your wallet is set at so that it is not too low or too high. If it is too low it may take hours or days to go through. If the transaction fee is set too high then you will be throwing away money but getting a fast transaction. If you're in line at the store and paying with Bitcoin, then a high transaction fee is what you would have to pay to complete the purchase in a timely manner. But I don't suggest paying for small items at the store with Bitcoin. The other coins I talk about below would be better for that. In the near future Bitcoin may be paired up with something called the Lightning Network which will make Bitcoin transactions cheaper and faster but so far this is not near implementation as they have only done testing on it, so Bitcoin in 2017 and much of 2018 is better for holding or trading as an investment or for buying big purchases or moving larger amounts of money from one place to another. (One BTC is about $15,000 on 12/8/2017)


Bitcoin Cash logo
Bitcoin Cash is a child of its parent Bitcoin, though if it were up to the Bitcoin developers Bitcoin Cash would meet an untimely death. Since the Bitcoin community could not come to terms with its problems, Bitcoin Cash was created as a fork off of the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Cash is really Bitcoin 2.0 if you ask me. It is Bitcoin improved. It has much lower fees, sends faster, and has larger blocks on the blockchain. I have been sending Bitcoin Cash using fees that are pennies and the transactions are blazing fast indeed. Bitcoin Cash is certainly a great candidate to supplant Bitcoin as the payment method for everyday purchases. It is so much cheaper and faster to use. While it has proponents pushing its use in the marketplace Bitcoin Cash has no central governance structure and so its acceptance in the marketplace is reliant on no one in particular, making its adoption as the future go-to coin kind of sketchy. (One BCH is about $1375.00 on 12/8/2017)


Dash logo
Dash (Digital Cash) is the other cryptocurrency that has real potential to become the cryptocurrency for everyday purchases and money transfers. Like Bitcoin Cash, Dash is very fast and very cheap to use. Not only that but it has a great smart phone app that is a multi-feature wallet which makes it extremely easy to send and receive Dash. Unlike Bitcoin Cash, Dash has sort of a corporate structure, which is funded by the coin transfer fees, that can market the coin's usefulness to consumers and businesses alike and seeks to make partnerships with businesses. This makes Dash the most likely candidate for wide marketplace adoption compared to Bitcoin Cash which does not have any single controlling entity mapping out where it will go in the future. Though decentralization is good and part of the appeal of cryptocurrencies, as we have seen with Bitcoin this leads to indecisiveness, bickering, infighting and lack of direction when it comes to adoption in the marketplace. Dash's corporate-like control will ensure a better marketplace penetration and adoption, leading, I believe, to eventual dominance as the cryptocoin for everyday transactions. (One Dash is about $700.00 on 12/8/2017)

The future is not clear at this moment as to which of these coins, or perhaps one of the other dozens of coins out there, will become the dominant cryptocurrency for everyday transactions. Maybe there is room in the marketplace for multiple players just as there is in the credit card market or the cash transfer marketplace. It is an exciting time, however, as the process evolves and plays itself out. 

Check out Crypt0's youtube channel for informative and fun videos about cryptocurrencies. Omar's take on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is definitely worth your time.

Coindesk.com is another good source of information concerning Bitcoin news and prices.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

On Bitcoin Mining 8

antminer r4 bitcoin miner
Here we go, just another chapter in a Bitcoin mining adventure.

So, I had a perfectly good Bitmain Antminer R4 earlier this year and when I saw how much I could make selling it compared to the heat, noise, electric bill and slower return on investment I decided to sell it. What I made was almost double what I bought it for (and for a lightly used miner) that's how hot the market for Bitcoin miners in May/June 2017 was and still is. 


The Antminer R4 was my favorite Bitmain product because even though it is a powerful miner it is pretty quiet compared to other miners. Why they stopped making it is beyond me but I have a feeling that they wanted to concentrate on making, noisy but modular, Antminer S7's and S9's which they could sell to mining farms by the thousands and hence make a better profit, sort of giving up on the home-oriented miners market.



antminer s7 bitcoin miner
At any rate, since there was a more immediate profit to be made for me by selling Bitcoin miners as opposed to mining Bitcoin with them I decided to buy a couple Antminer S9 Bitcoin miners from Bitmain and resell them. There was a wait to receive them in June but it was only about a month or so at this time. Buying from the Bitmain company in China was (and is) not a simple process, as most people will tell you who try to buy miners from them - one of the reasons that people are willing to pay more on eBay or Amazon. It is simpler there and less of a hassle. The communication is inefficient with Bitmain, which is understaffed in their sales department. In addition, they are always changing the accepted method of payment, sometimes it is with Bitcoin, sometimes with bank transfer, and now with Bitcoin Cash.

Anyway, eventually I received the two Antminer S9's and wanted to test them to make sure they were operable before I listed them and shipped them to a paying customer. Luckily I had a 1375 watt power supply, so I hooked one up and tried to find it on the network. It seems like this is always difficult when you first turn on a miner and try to find it on your network. When I did find it and assigned a mining pool to it, the machine started mining and I was treated to the trademark Antminer "jet engine" noise that I discovered with my Antminer S7. I don't know if the S9 is louder than the S7 or if they are the same but there is no way I would be keeping either one of these loud ASIC miners since I only have a garage and not a mining farm. Both S9's operated well, hashing away at around 14.5 TH/s. After my brief testing was complete I listed these on eBay and eventually sold them for a 70% profit. Not bad.

Since this fiscal adventure was a success I decided to do it again. However, the next time I wanted to buy some S9's to sell I would have had to wait two months to receive them, so I decided to look elsewhere, if possible, for Bitcoin miners that I would receive sooner. (Apparently other people were having this idea too.) The company I settled on was another Chinese company called Canaan who were making and selling a nice miner called the Avalon 741. Unfortunately, they were just as hard to communicate with as Bitmain, also being woefully understaffed to meet customer demand. But once the back and forth about price and shipping were taken care of and the bank transfer went through, they shipped and I received the machines within two weeks of my initial contact with them. This was probably the last good experience anyone would ever have with them as the company was beset with orders because people wanted and needed miners and Bitmain became even more backlogged. Now Canaan would be backlogged too. 



Avalon 741 bitcoin miner

But for now this first buying experience from Canaan was pretty good. They accepted bank transfer, shipping cost from China was reasonable and I received the machines fairly quickly. This time I bought five machines and controllers and tested one or two of the Bitcoin miners. Within a couple of weeks they all sold and though there was a profit it was significantly less than on the Antminers. The reason the profit was less was that these miners didn't have the same reputation in the mining world as the Antminers do. Also the Avalon 741 hashes at a slower speed than the S9 and so for these reasons it was somewhat less sought after. One of the controllers and miners I had sold did not function properly and were sent back by the customer. After refunding him I determined that one of the hashing boards was inoperable. Canaan support was very helpful and sent me a new hash board which was pretty easy to replace. I was then able to sell the refurbished miner.

The Avalon 741 runs quieter than the Antminer S9. This is because it has only one variable speed fan and because it runs at half the speed of the S9 (7.3 TH/s vs. 14.5 TH/s). It is a good, sturdy and steady Bitcoin miner with a good user interface. It uses a controller (Raspberry Pi) which you have to buy, hook up and power separately and this is unappealing compared to Antminer's onboard controller. I did run the Avalon for about a month and made some pretty good Bitcoin with it, above and beyond electricity cost, so it was a positive experience overall.

As of December 6, 2017 it is almost impossible to get a Bitcoin miner unless you want to pay at least double the price. Bitmain has a 2 to 3 month waiting period and only accepts Bitcoin Cash. Canaan doesn't even bother to sell to individuals any more and their distributors either have a waiting period, no miners to sell or sell out as soon as they put them up for sale. Jhejiang Ebang, who makes the Ebit series of miners, which I will talk about in the next blog posting, is having the same problems. They don't respond to e-mails after you make an order and apparently don't want to deal with individual buyers.

With Bitcoin's precipitous rise in price I think I am back to feeling that it is better to mine for Bitcoin if you want to make money from Bitcoin rather than selling the machines -- that is if you can get your hands on the latest version (or any version) of a Bitcoin ASIC miner. Just buying Bitcoin and holding may indeed be the wisest strategy, even at this point when it is 12,783 dollars for a single Bitcoin.
 

The next blog post will cover my Ebit E9 plus Bitcoin miner experience.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Great Gasbag - Review

No surprise here. The Great Gasbag is another Trump-bashing book by another liberal Republican-hating media star. Nothing new and only one or two funny comments. But I do love the title of this book by the host of "The View", particularly the title page which says "Joy Behar The Great Gasbag" She couldn't have done better than to self-title this incredible waste of paper, waste of ink, waste of fuel, waste of resources, and waste of time. Thanks for adding to global warming, Joy. The book is the same Democrat rhetoric you can find every day on "The View", MSNBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, etc. Save your money, save the trees and save the climate by not buying this book.

Behar starts out the whispy tome with the admitted "alternative fact" that her agent begged her to write the book and promptly proceeds to rely on alternative facts throughout the book (read: lies). She also states in the beginning of the book that she is a satirist, as if that excuses her alternative facts, her lies, her hate, her disrespect of the president of the U.S., as if being a satirist is some kind of carte blanche for spouting garbage and vitriol about another human being (eg., his shit-eating grin). In the "A" chapter she says that 65 million Americans get acid reflux whenever Trump appears on the TV. (That must be why Tums and Prilosec are selling so well. Another plus for the Trump economy!) How do you think, Ms. Behar, the rest of us felt when Mr. Petulant Crybaby came on TV for eight years? I couldn't even hear his voice on the radio but it would ruin my day. Her definition of Vitriol in the book is well applicable to her and actually moreso. The book is nothing but vitriol aimed at Donald Trump, Republicans, Tea Party members, Mormons, social conservatives, evangelical Christians, straight people, white men, etc. It is political hate speech posing as satire.

So many lefties are always promising to go to Canada or Norway or Saudi Arabia (haha, no not really) or Mars. Why don't you just go instead of lying about it over and over? Another point: Can you, Joyless Behar, and the rest of the liberals finally get it through your heads that Republicans are not against immigration? It's such a hackneyed joke to point out that Trump's relatives or anyone else's are immigrants. That's cutting edge analysis right there. Now if you pointed out that they were illegal immigrants you'd be getting somewhere. Republicans are against illegal immigration, people who break the law and the rules to get into or stay in this country. We are also against the enablers of people who break the laws and rules. We are for immigration as long as it is legal and restrained (restrained, as in we don't need a million new foreign people a year! And we don't need potential terrorists.). Behar goes on to associate neo-nazis with President Trump and Republicans but doesn't offer any proof of this. Additionally, saying that Steve Bannon runs a website for neo-Nazis is a bald-faced lie. Breitbart News is a news website that leans conservative, populist, nationalist, all of which have nothing to do with neo-Nazis even if you say it one hundred times.

Joyless Behar constantly suggests in the book that there is something improper in the relationship between Donald Trump and his daughter. Maybe that is the satire she was talking about? She also complains about Trump's golf and his vacations when President Obama golfed 170 plus times while he was president and his many vacations (with separate travel arrangements for his wife) cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. There's your definition of hypocrite, Ms. Behar.

Behar is transfixed on Vladimir Putin mentioning him 45 times in a short book. She says she is more afraid of Trump and Pence than ISIS. That's just brainless and this seems to be a common theme with Democrats. They are less frightened of people who burn their victims alive, drown them in cages, run them over with tanks, cut off their heads, than they are of two Republicans who will hardly be able to get their job done for all the obstruction they get from other Republicans and Democrats in congress.

For all its negativity, vitriol and hate, the best part of Gasbag Joy Behar's book is all the tweets she reprinted from The Donald's Twitter feed. #Thanks! #NotSad

Monday, October 23, 2017

Las Vegas and Other Mass Shootings - Possible Responses

laser
The Las Vegas machine gun shooting of 10/01/2017 from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel was the carefully premeditated and inhuman murder of 59 innocent people trying to find a moment of joy in an increasingly difficult and violent world at a music concert. It was also attemped murder and wounding of hundreds of others trying to find the same moment of joy. Truly a sick and cowardly deed. How many of the couple thousand people who were there will have PTSD from this event as they go forward with their lives?

On October 23, 2017, more than three weeks after the shooting we still do not know if this guy was crazy, or whether he was radicalized by Daesh (they say he was their soldier). We don't know if perhaps violent video games and movies motivated him or dehumanized other people to him. We don't know if he hated America, or Las Vegas, or country music, or Republicans, or just hated people. Did he have a brain tumor? Did he have a drug or alcohol problem? Was his brain easily susceptible to negative manipulation? Or was he just seeking to become famous for murdering the most people in the shortest amount of time? Where is his manifesto or statement of action? Did he write the plans for his heinous act down somewhere? Did he plan to do this alone? What do the people in his life know about his actions or mental state? I hope we start hearing some answers soon. The families require it. The rest of the United States needs it too.

With love and respect to all of the victims, those who have passed and those who were injured and traumatized, I would like to suggest that in this case (Mandalay Bay shooting) and other future cases, that there is a method that may have worked at stopping or slowing the shooter and reducing the terrible damage that was done. Remember that some concert-goers, maybe many or all, eventually knew where the gunfire was coming from. Some people were able to key in on the sound to locate where the shooting was coming from. In the dark the muzzle fire may have been visible to other people. In videos from that night, people were looking up at the hotel windows and cursing the shooter. I suggest that if one or a few people had a moderately powered laser (from 5 to 500 milliwatts or above) and aimed it up toward the shooter they may have blinded (temporarily or for longer) the man and brought on some relief from the deadly situation. At any rate he would have found it impossible to shoot at targets on the ground with one or more superbright lasers shining up toward that window and his eyes. A gun from down on the concert grounds would have been almost useless unless it were a rifle in very capable hands, but the laser light would have been instant and accurate and the spread of its terminal spot of light at the distance of 300 yards or more would have been enough to cover a wider area in the window more likely flashblinding and at least frustrating the shooter. This may have worked in the Orlando night club shooting, and the Batman movie theater shooting too. In certain other mass shootings a laser will not have worked.

It is my hope that people will begin to carry commercially available lasers (of 5 to 500 milliwatts or more. Lasers of less power than 5 mW will be less effective.) with the intent of using them as defensive weapons in a case like this. And, of course concert venues and sporting events, etc., will need to allow them in if found on someone's person. Bad guys need their eyes to see what they are doing and if someone with a laser is in a life-or-death situation like this and they use their laser and it causes the shooter even just to have to close his eyes, that may make a difference which allows someone to take action. It will certainly be something unplanned for by the shooter and may cause him to make a mistake. It may save a life or lives.

I hope that we soon find out the motive behind this spineless shooter's evil murder of so many innocent people, but whatever the cause ends up being, a lesson that we can take from this is that people need to have something to else to fight back with to save their own lives. The police cannot act instantly in every situation (though they were heroic here) and even concert-goers carrying handguns would not have helped in this situation; neither would mace or a Taser. I contend that one or more moderately powered lasers would help in this sort of situation by blinding or temporarily frustrating an attacker.

Wicked Lasers sells more powerful lasers on their website but 5 milliwatt lasers are also easily available on eBay and Amazon.

Disclaimer: This suggestion is for defensive purposes only and in situations where life or limb are threatened. Any time you hurt someone else you are responsible for your actions and possibly blinding someone is a serious action which will have serious consequences unless it was done for the right defensive reasons. Lasers should never be aimed in a frivolous manner toward any plane, car, or other object where a person or people may be at or near the end of your beam. Check local laws regarding possession of laser emitting devices. Eye protection should be worn when in the presence of or when handling powerful lasers.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Trump Witch Hunt

Many of the people who voted for Donald Trump for President love the man, they don't just like him. They voted for him in the general election of 2016 because he said he was going to do things that they wanted done. Fix health care insurance, don't let people in the
country who shouldn't be here, don't lead from behind in the world but show true world leadership, reform the tax system, stop the U.S. from committing billions of dollars toward the manmade climate change hoax, show resolve in the fight against radical Islam, and many other things good for this country. There is also an image of him kissing the American flag. I don't remember President Obama ever doing that. He wanted to fundamentally change the U.S. Additionally, Obama wouldn't wear a flag lapel until pressured to do so. Donald Trump clearly respects and thanks the military and the police for protecting us. Obama did not clearly do so.


So Donald Trump has already made good on many of his promises, whereas other Republicans, other politicians, make promises and never come through. That's why people love him. He is a fighter. Mr. Bush wasn't a fighter. Romney wasn't much of a fighter. McCain wasn't a fighter. That's why people love Trump. And he defends himself.


If it ever turns out that Donald Trump did something wrong enough to warrant his removal from office, the people who voted for him aren't going to blindly continue to support him. They will be disappointed in him as they have been disappointed in other Republicans and Democrats before him. They wanted a leader and someone they could trust. If President Trump ever turned out to be found guilty of a PROVABLE criminal offense his base would drop him like a hot potato. Why not? Mike Pence would be a great President too!


But there is no fire here, and the smoke is all created by the media and Democrat smoke machine. The poor, helpless media, which Trump bashed throughout the campaign because they bashed him, that poor, helpless media has a mission to destroy him. It is so clear that that's all that is going on here and the Dems are just on the bandwagon, willing partners with the media. They print stories that have no verification to create the smoke based on hearsay or that's attributed to unnamed sources.


The leaders of both parties in Congress need to call off the dogs that are hounding the president, say there is no "there" there, and let
him and the Congress get down to real business. Disagreements can be worked out through the political process as they should be rather than trying to get your way by destroying a man. If you have an argument against Trump's stance on, say, illegal immigration then put forward the argument -- don't try to win by trumping up phony charges against your opponent. It's no different than a figure skater hiring a hitman to break your opponent's leg.


The political dysfunction in the United States is married to hate right now and you can see where the hate takes us after the shooting of the U.S. Congressmen, aides and Capital police at the baseball field on Wednesday, June 14.


Let's hope that, moving forward, the virulence and the violence abates. But leaders on both sides of the aisle need to make it happen.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

On Bitcoin Mining 7


antminer r4 bitcoin miner
The Antminer R4 joins me on my Bitcoin mining journey and it is still too early in my experience with this miner to tell anything but a short story about it. But I can say these things right now: It is significantly quieter than any other powerful ASIC miner and it is more electricity efficient than any other miner.


When the R4 is running at 8.7 terahash (TH/s) it still puts out quite a bit of heat using about 950 watts compared to something like 1300 watts for the Antminer S9 (13 TH/s) and the previous model Antminer S7 (4.7 TH/s).

At the moment it is creating the equivalent of about 0.15 Bitcoin per month (in a mining pool) but this will go down at the next difficulty increase.

I really like this machine and though it is not as quiet as the Black Arrow Prospero it is much more powerful, productive, and expensive (unfortunately). Also unfortunately, I see on Bitmain’s website that they have been out of stock for a while and I am wondering if this means they will not produce them anymore. If not, then miners who want a powerful Bitcoin miner that is relatively quiet will have to buy whatever is available on eBay, which is mostly used stock. If you want a powerful miner and don’t care about the noise then get the Antminer S9 which you can get new from Bitmain, on eBay, and on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On Bitcoin Mining 6

antminer s7 bitcoin minerThe next inning in my Bitcoin mining adventure was my ill-fated Bitmain Antminer S7 acquisition. It was ill-fated not because of the perfectly adequate machine that it is but because of what I did with it. Prior to buying it I had no idea how loud this device was (I could hear it outside the garage of my townhouse and so, I figured, could my many closely proximate neighbors.) but I did run it for a while. Finally I decided to run it at a much lower speed so that the fan would run at a much lower (and quieter) speed. This was okay but not optimal. Why have a 4.7 Tera hash bitcoin miner running at a fraction of its design speed?

Then I heard about hosted mining. This is where you send your bitcoin mining computer to someone else who puts it in their building, runs it on their cheaper electricity, and charges a monthly fee that is less than the amount of Bitcoin generated. I did my research on hosting companies and cost and decided on an outfit called ASICSPACE. I and they signed a hosting contract and thus began a nightmare relationship.

I boxed up my Antminer S7 and its EVGA power supply. Both of which cost me $800 back when S7’s were more expensive and there were no S9’s yet. Then I sent the S7 to Tennessee. The company is in Washington state and the pictures on their website of their hosting site are in Washington state so I thought it was odd but I figured maybe they have a satellite site, so I overlooked this little Tennessee detail.

After receiving my miner they told me I didn't send a power supply and of course I told them that I did and described it and sent a picture, etc. After some time they "found it". After this snafu and a period when the owner was "out of town", it took 3 weeks for them to turn the bloody thing on. Once they finally got the miner running it would run for a while and then take days for them to turn it back on or reboot it after it went off. These were days when it wasn’t earning money. Critical time in the Bitcoin mining world. Then it wouldn’t turn on or reboot and that was additional time not mining. Then they stopped trying to turn it on saying that it was only putting out 1/3 of the hashpower. I asked ASICSPACE and Robert Van Kirk, the owner, to return the miner to me after that and he kept stalling or saying that he would and he never did. Then he said that someone else had the miner (!) and I should call him to get it back, only that person never answered the phone.

So almost a year later I still don’t have my miner or power supply back which I basically consider as theft of my property. The company is supposedly defunct but their website is still up, so I am worried that someone else may be taken for a ride by this guy.

My advice to you if you are considering having your miner hosted . . . DON’T!! Try and deal with it yourself.

In the next installment I’ll talk about the Antminer R4.