Friday, December 6, 2019

Fort Gun Free



It seems like the one place in the world that there should be no mass shootings is on a military base - you know, because everyone is a highly trained weapons capable soldier. However, in the span of two days there have been two shootings at military bases with at least six people killed and more injured - Pearl Harbor and Pensacola, Florida. Why? Because, ironically, military bases don't allow soldiers to carry their weapons on the base. They are gun-free zones. Isn't it about time that this ridiculous situation is remedied?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Microsoft Windows Keyboard Shortcut of the Day 909

Microsoft Windows Keyboard Shortcut of the Day
 

If you need to blow up a portion of your screen for easier readability or to see better what is going on in an image, open the Windows Magnifier quickly and easily using this Windows shortcut.

In Windows 10 -
 
To open the Windows Magnifier

Press the Windows logo key and +

Press Windows logo key and + again (and again) as needed to increase the size.

Press Windows logo key and - to reduce size.

Press the X to close the Magnifier.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Why Forsake the Kurds?

www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/turkey-launches-military-offensive-against-kurds-in-syria/2019/10/09/    






Dear President Trump,

Please reconsider your position regarding the abandonment of our allies the Kurds in northern Syria. These people have spilled their blood in our fights against the Taliban, against Saddam Hussein, and against ISIS. We depended on them as forces auxiliary to our own military, they were crucial in the fights that this country has fought since 2002. Fights that we may not have won without them. And now after a phone call with the bad actor in Turkey you decide to leave these allies open to attack by Erdogon and Turkey? An attack that has this very day started. The American military cots were still warm as the attacks from Turkey's army began.

But if these people are massacred, if there is a genocide or some other catastrophe for these people who have helped us and relied on us, I will NOT support you any longer nor will I vote for you. There is no conservative program implementation you could tout that would wash away the sin of betrayal. If these people die or are subjected to Turkey's hegemony then you are directly responsible for their deaths or loss of freedom. This will be the worst thing anyone could have done, the worst thing you will have done. Please reconsider and protect the Kurdish people. It is the least America can do for an outnumbered ally in the middle east.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Windows Keyboard Shortcut of the Day

Microsoft Windows Keyboard Shortcut of the Day
In Windows 10 -

 
To open the Windows Settings screen
Press the Windows logo key and i.


windows key











 The Windows Settings screen will appear.

Monday, August 5, 2019

El Paso and Dayton Shootings

God bless those people who perished in the mass shootings this past weekend and God bless and comfort their families and friends. Bless the injured that they may heal quickly. The shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, were terrible acts committed by two individuals with free will. The two young men who pulled the triggers were responsible for the heinous acts. You can try to place blame here and there, but in the end, they were responsible. 

In the case of the El Paso shooting, this man was a racist and he was very likely supported and fed in his views using the internet and social media to hate foreigners from south of the border. He thought that what was happening was a conscious invasion of people from another country. Before the internet and social media there was not as much support to be found for deviant points of view. There were deviant points of view, yes, but you can find fresh new thoughts and ideas supporting any ideology (extreme or not) literally every second of the day now.
  
If you want mass shootings to end, taking guns away from people is not going to help. Legislating access to guns is not going to help. Legislating or controlling the internet is not going to help, either. The only thing that will help is the message that we are our neighbor’s keeper. People are beings with souls, hearts, loves, dreams, and families. Not unhuman entities that it is okay to kill, to slaughter as if you’re walking through a video game and trying to increase your kill count as these mass shooters tend to do.
  
There needs to be more love taught and shown to young people. The way that these murderers view other human beings needs to change—needs to stop. That people can get to the point where they can see another human being as just a target for their gun to kill and not a living breathing member of a family of loved ones is the thing that we must fix.
  
How do you do that? More love needs to be taught from early on. The sea of media that we live in today needs to change from hate to love, needs to change from devaluing human life to valuing human life. The value of human life needs to be taught. Video games that allow the user to participate in killing people do not teach the value of human life, they devalue human life, turning what looks like a human onscreen into an animal, or less. I know people tend to blame video games and movies after mass shootings, but it is because there is truth there, there is devaluation of human life in these popular media. Pilots, doctors, fork-lift operators, ship captains, astronauts and many others are trained with video games (simulators). They are trained with them because they are an effective learning tool. They're like real-life. Aren’t killers trained to some extent too? People with a moral foundation and a strong psychological make-up are not trained as killers by video games because they know right from wrong, because they recognize the sanctity of life, because they have a moral foundation. I don't know if either of these killers played violent video games, but it is more the norm than not in today's world.
  
Killing is glorified in movies as well. Look at a hundred movie posters or DVD cases. How many of those that you see have a guy or a gal holding a gun “on the cover”. Many, if not most of them. I’m not suggesting we legislate video games or movies, just as we should not over-legislate guns. America is about freedom after all.
  
The one commandment delivered by Jesus says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. And he meant everyone, not just your proximate neighbor. All people on Earth are your neighbors. If people just followed that one commandment it would be impossible for mass killings to continue; people would value other people’s lives. This can be taught in schools. It doesn’t even need to be religious, but love does need to be taught, it needs to be displayed.
  
A mind is not right that wants to do this to his fellow human beings. It’s not the gun, or the knife, or the bomb, or the car doing the killing. It is the brain of an unhinged (or indoctrinated) individual with free will. But perhaps in an environment where there is more valuation to life, where there is more love, even unhinged people will think twice about taking such actions.
  
But after we discuss all the things which may influence a person, the responsibility for murder lies in the murderer’s hands and heart. Justice will and should come down on him here and in the hereafter. If the person is deemed crazy or mentally unstable that person needs to be detained for the rest of their life to keep the population safe. President Trump said that the trigger was pulled by mental illness and hate. Well if it was mental illness then I do not agree that the death penalty should be pursued.  

There will always be unhinged people but perhaps if the social climate is one of love (less toxic) and one where human life is valued  (and our opponents not dehumanized) these things won't happen so often.

Monday, August 27, 2018

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hillary's America - A Review of the Film

Hillary's America is a well-done documentary by Dinesh D'Souza about the Democrat Party and about Hillary and Bill Clinton. It is an eye-opening description of the Democrats' dark history involving slavery, the Indian's Trail of Tears, Jim Crow laws, the KKK (founded by a Democrat) and much more. If you want to see why she is called Crooked Hillary, you will find out here. The documentary also shines a light on Republican efforts against all of these negative Democrat policies. The movie also delineates all the reasons that installing Hillary and Bill in the White House again will be bad for America and good for them.

Watch the documentary at iTunes, Google Play or Amazon before voting November 8 if you can. It is worth it just for the emotional renditions of "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" at the end.

See the trailer...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

You Should Be Wearing Orange

low visibility on busy highway
Here is an equation for you: Rain + low light = Poor visibility.

It seems like a lot of drivers don't know their basic math.

If you drive in the rain when it's dark with your headlights off then you are either lacking brain functionality or you are malicious verging on evil. You are an accident waiting to happen and the sad thing is that someone innocent is going to be involved in the accident with you.

I am not saying that 50 percent of drivers drive without their headlights when they should use them and I am not saying that 10 percent of people do this, but if it is 1 percent or less doesn't make it any less heinous or dangerous.

Get a conscience and turn on your headlights. It's against the law to drive in the dark without headlights on and in many states it's against the law to drive without headlights in the rain. These laws are there for a reason and if you have a driver's license you should know the law. It's a matter of safety and thinking about your fellow travelers on the road. It's also a matter of how drivers with mild visual impairments may not be able to see you or young/newbie drivers who may not know to look for dark vehicles.

I don't know if police are concerned with giving tickets for this infraction, but since it is such a dangerous offense I hope that they do, and I hope the ticket is expensive and comes with 4 points (and a dope slap).

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vote to Make America Great Again

The U.S. election is just days away and there are very few people who won't be happy to see the whole spectacle put behind us. The presidential race has sucked up the news cycle like a Dyson in a sawdust factory.

The last eight years are another spectacle that many will be glad to put behind us starting with a disrespectful, haughty, petulant, campaigner-in-chief/golfer-in-chief who took more vacation and played more golf than any servant of the people should, except that he was not a servant but really more like a lord. He was the first president of half of the people of the country, continuously expressing disdain for Republicans and conservatives. Race relations didn't improve under Obama in his eight years - they got worse. I don't want to go through the laundry list of his ill-conceived policies but in relation to this election we are going to just get more of them with Hillary Clinton. The reason not to elect Hillary isn't the 33,000 emails she deleted, or the thousands (including secret) that she let fall into foreign hands. It also isn't the fact that she lied about Benghazi to the American public and didn't protect her embassy staff. It also isn't her failed foreign policy where much of the world is now at odds with us and where ISIS was allowed to grow and prosper. And it isn't her gathering of money from overseas power brokers for the Clinton Foundation.

The reason not to elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States is that she will continue Barack Obama's fundamental transformation of the U.S. and on some issues shifting into high gear while doing it.

She will continue to weaken our economy and our safety by drastically increasing the flow of illegal aliens into the country, legalizing all those who reside here and came here illegally, and by increasing the numbers of refugees from the middle east who will harbor among them hundreds of terrorists. She has promised to raise taxes which will harm the economy. She will continue to make poor deals with other governments and lead from behind. Terrorism will not decline because it won't be met with a firm response.

A Hillary Clinton presidency will be four more years of the messy Obama world we live in now and even worse. We are really on the wrong track and your vote will make a difference in the most important election in the country's history.

Vote for Donald Trump for president of the United States and we will have a stronger economy, reduced debt, a safer country, a safer world, more friends and better partnerships in the world. Vote for the outsider - not the Washington insider.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 5

It turned out that we would not be in my sister-in-law's house as long as previously thought. They were returning home and we needed to move out to a townhouse that we owned by January. This meant that I would not be able to bring the BFL Monarchs with us. For one thing they were too loud for a townhouse environment and too hot. They were also not very efficient in terms of electricity consumption. They are rated by BFL for 0.65 to 0.85 watts/GH but I measured them as using close to 1 watt per Giga hash including the power supply and the necessary laptop.

antminer U3 bitcoin miner
Bitmain Antminer U3 version 2
Looking for quiet, townhouse friendly miners, in October I bought two Bitmain Antminer U3 miners. This ASIC miner is very similar to the Rockminer R-box 1 (37GH/s) miners. The U3 however runs at 55 to 62 GH/s. Like the older Rockminer, the U3 is basically silent and put out little heat while using about 50 watts of power (plus wattage of attached computer). The problem is that every day or so these miners would become "zombies" meaning that they would stop working. This requires a hard reboot of the device (unplugging and re-plugging) and restarting the mining software. It's a hassle and not on a schedule of any kind so you don't know when you'll have to do it. So as quiet as this was, the fact that it had a problem like this and that I felt the hashrate was too low I kept looking for a better solution.


black arrow prospero bitcoin miner
The better solution in my situation was the Black Arrow Prospero X-1 (X-1.5). The X-1 hashes at 100 GH/s or better and the X-1.5 hashes at 140 to 190 GH/s. This miner is unique among ASIC miners - for one thing it has a large fan which dissipates the generated heat very quietly and effectively. For another thing it has an Android-based touch screen for interfacing with the miner. The miner is also WIFI capable which means that you can place it anywhere in the house and it doesn't need an ethernet cable or a computer attached to it to run the mining software. It is truly a stand-alone device. Perfect! As it got closer to moving day (again!) I sold the two Monarchs which turned out to be pretty solid hashers - if a bit inefficient - and bought two Black Arrow Prospero X-1.5s. I also sold one Antminer U3 and kept one in the box as a backup. I ran the two Prosperos near the dining room in the townhouse for most of the winter and spring of 2016 and appreciated their silence and their heat generation. 

The nice thing about mining for Bitcoin at home is that for part of the year the heat that Bitcoin miners generate can (and is) used to heat your living space. One hundred percent of the heat generated will go into the air in your home. For instance, if my two Prosperos raised the temperature of the downstairs portion of my townhouse by two degrees Fahrenheit, then that is two degrees that didn't have to be heated by the furnace (electric blower and gas fueled) thus saving that much electricity and gas from being used to heat our home. This means that the efficiency of the miner doesn't matter very much in the winter or on cold days in the spring and fall because you are basically running a heater that is mining Bitcoin. It's another story when the hot weather comes but the efficiency of Bitcoin miners is going to be better than rated over the course of a year if they are used in environments where their heat is used. (Now if they could make Bitcoin miners that generated cold air we'd be all set for the summer!)

I'll cover my experience with Bitmain's Antminer S7 in the next On Bitcoin Mining.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 4

To continue the story from On Bitcoin Mining 3, in early 2015 I had a stack of 6 Rockminer R-Box 2 110 GH/s Bitcoin miners in my living room (which my wife didn't complain about as long as I kept them quiet) and while the heat they generated was appreciated in the winter and reduced the gas bill somewhat, it was now late spring and some of the days were mighty hot which in turn made the living room too hot. So, it was either turn off the miners (which I did do on many days) or relocate them. I decided to try the attic and add an external fan.

The attic had a pull-down stairway which made access to it easy. As you may know, attics get hot on warm days and this one could reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) or more. For this to work safely I had to set things up right. I placed the miners in stacks of 2 on non-flammable porcelain tiles, placed the power supply also on a porcelain tile, aimed them all towards the center of the attic where their heat would rise to the roof vents and aimed a fast blowing fan at the back of them. I also replaced the quiet fans I had earlier installed with the original more-noisy-but-more-effective-at-cooling-fans back on the miners. Then I monitored the temperature of the attic and monitored the temperature of the miners. On cooler days and at night the miners ran from 50 degrees Celsius to 65 degrees. On hot days the miners would run in the 70s. If they approached 80 degrees (which they did on really hot days) I would shut the miners down. This setup allowed me to mine in the summer and the noise and heat were out of sight. The down-time was minimal.

Oh, and I almost forgot about the laptop PC which I had to have attached to these six Rockminers. This laptop had to be in the attic too since the miners are attached to it via USB cords and the software on the PC runs the miners. After some research into the operating temperature of laptop lithium batteries I opted to remove the battery from the laptop and allow it to run only on AC power. It certainly wouldn't be good to have a rechargeable lithium battery exploding in the attic. 

Of course, this is not an optimal setup and if you are careless maybe even dangerous. Miners can fail if they run too hot too long. But these miners did not fail, and did not run slower. I kept them under 80 degrees and they only had to last until August like this as we were moving into my sister-in-law's house to take care of it while their family had "moved" out of the country for what was supposed to be a couple of years.

This meant I would have a basement in which to place my miners and in a solar-powered house. Nice. Hello, almost-free electricity.

Butterfly Labs Monarch bitcoin miner
BFL Monarch 650 GH/s Bitcoin Miner
At the same time I had noticed that the prices had come down on the water-cooled Butterfly Labs Monarch 650 to 700 GH/s bitcoin miners. If I got just one of these it would replace the six I had and give me the same hashing power. I bought one of them off of eBay and plugged it in. I had trouble getting it to hash at the rated speed. I was only getting about 500 GH, not the 650 advertised. It turned out that I had to use a special version of the Bitcoin mining software BFGminer. Anyway I spent dozens of hours trying to work out the problem. Butterfly Labs' own software EasyMiner never worked for me. Finally I got everything ironed out and the thing was running at 650 GH/s. I decided to get another one of these (actually a 700 GH Monarch) and sell the 6 Rockminer R-box 2s. 

Due to the fact that the Monarch's are liquid-cooled, the two fans on the miner are not as loud as fans on many other miners (like the Antminers). They are also potent heaters and the basement was soon very warm. This wasn't an issue though because it was a basement and not a living space.

This is the 1300 GH/s setup I had in the late summer of 2015 and going into the fall. But, as ever in the world of Bitcoin mining, things never seem to stay the same for very long. More to come....

(Some Black Arrow Prospero Bitcoin miners for sale here)

Monday, June 27, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 3

bitcoin mining difficulty chart showing rising difficulty
Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Level Rising
Bitcoin mining is a nasty game. It involves heat. It involves dust. It involves sometimes VERY-difficult-to-figure-out mining software. It's a game that continuously gets harder to play for increasingly less reward. Every few weeks, the difficulty for solving a block changes - usually it gets harder, sometimes it gets easier before making an even bigger jump in difficulty. This increase in the difficulty of solving a block has the effect of pushing the little guys of the Bitcoin mining game out. It also has the effect of making little guys into big guys as they (stubbornly?) commit more resources to the project. 

So, in general, it constantly gets more difficult to solve a block (solving a block is what generates Bitcoins). This means that if you keep the same equipment that operates at the same electrical efficiency that it will take you 3 weeks to earn the same BTC that previously took you say 2 weeks before. So if Bitcoin mining is more than just a hobby, you need to upgrade your equipment every now and then. If you want to keep earning Bitcoin you must increase your hash rate. Now, because I live in a townhouse/condo, noise is an issue for me. I don't have too many empty unused areas where I can put a Bitcoin miner and not have to hear its constant droning. As such, I can't go "all in" getting the best Bitcoin miners out there because those top of the line ASICs are noisy and heat producing and not at all "home friendly". 

rockminer r-box bitcoin miner
Rockminer R-Box 32-37 GH ASIC miner
With noise in mind, my next miner, while still having the 2 BFL 60's was to get the Rockminer R-Box 32-37 GH ASIC miner. I loved this miner! Two or three houseflies would be louder than this miner. It was (and is) quiet and small and put out a tiny amount of heat compared to the BFL 60's. The wattage was also fairly low being between 40 and 50 watts, I think. I soon sold both of the Butterfly Labs 60's (at a loss) and bought another Rockminer. This is a great entry-level miner and at the moment they are dirt cheap on e-Bay.

Unfortunately, with these two Rockminers my total Giga hashes were now lower than before and my rate of earning Bitcoin pretty much halved - that and the difficulty is always increasing. Having these two quiet miners was Heaven compared to those loud and hot BFLs so you would think I would have doubled down on just these great little miners. Maybe I should have, but that isn't what happened. 

rockminer new r-box bitcoin miner
In my dealing with the Rockminer company I became aware that they had another miner that produced 110 GH/s at better efficiency. The New R-Box 2.0 miner is 3 times faster than the "old" R-Box, at a more cost-effective price (ie., the watts used per GH is better). More GH and more Bitcoin with less heat and less electric use per work done made buying these units a done deal for me. Add to that a few people online said they were quiet too. I ordered one to try it out.

It was not very quiet. Quieter than a lot of miners, yes, but noisy enough for a condo. Following my earlier experience with the two BFL Singles, I decided to swap out the two original internal cooling fans for two quieter fans. The fans were indeed quieter but also a little slower which meant that the unit ran a little hotter than when I got it but well within the safe operating temperature range (maybe 10 degrees C warmer). Now I had a 110 GH miner which ran pretty quietly and with just moderate heat output into the room. That heat output was appreciated anyway since it was winter and the heat added to the warmth of the house. Win-win.

So with my new favorite miner installed I moved to sell (reluctantly, but I had to get the funds for the new miners) my first BFL 10 GH miner and the two slower Rockminer 32 GH miners and replace them with however many of these Rockminer R-Box 2's as I could afford. Over the next couple of months I built up to six of them.

I set up two stacks of three each on top of our unused gas fireplace in the living room and they warmed up the place for the rest of the winter as well as providing about 650 GH/s. The electrical usage of this setup, including power supply and a small laptop running 24/7 computer was probably 800 watts or so. 

All was well until spring and the warmer temperatures outside became more frequent. Find out what happened then in the next installment of On Bitcoin Mining...

(Some Black Arrow Prospero Bitcoin miners for sale here)