Geek Journal: Attempting to upgrade Linux Mint.

I’ve been using Linux Mint Rosa 17.3 for a long time.  This was the plan.  I prefer an LTS release, so I don’t have to deal with this issue every year.  This year, though, I struck some problems with usability due to it being close to the end of its life.

In particular, I couldn’t get my Trezor wallet to work in Chrome anymore.  The problem was that the development of the Trezor bridge had begun to use dependencies that were not available in 17.3.  I resigned myself to having to boot into Windows to use my Trezor, but that was not a long-term solution.

On the release of the next LTS version of Linux Mint, I upgraded to version 18.x and thought my problems would be solved, but no,  I hit a hardware regression.  My Radeon chip had a bug that would lock up the system with the kernel provided in 18.  I went through the process of reinstalling 17.3 and just stuck with that.

Fast forward to today, and Linux Mint has a new LTS version.  Linux Mint 19 (LTS), code-named ‘Ubuntu Bionic’.  I don’t like the name at all.  I much preferred the girls’ names, but whatever.  I like Linux Mint.  It is stable and well constructed.  It is Debian based, which means good package management.

I started with some experimentation by resizing and creating new hard drive partitions.  Did I make a backup first?  No.  I flew by the seat of my pants and just resized.  I thank the gods of computing for not allowing that to go south.

I’m typing this out from an experimental Linux Mint 19 install.  I have not encountered any lock-up bugs while booting and the Trezor bridge installs with all the dependencies now.

Next comes the hard part.  I have to migrate my old /home directory to a new installation.  I didn’t create a separate /home partition.  I’m going to have to do it all manually.  For now, I’m going to leave that be.  It is not something I can rush.  I need to think it all through before executing.  One thing I’ve learned from migrating old /home directories is that the old configs can make a ‘pretty’ new installation suddenly look ugly.   I don’t want ugly.

I have to pluck a whole lot of crypto wallets and associated keys out without messing up.  As I type this I wonder whether I should just transfer all funds out of the wallets and start with brand new wallets.

It’s not going to be fun!  But it will be worth it.  Stay tuned.

Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon.

Seablue Journal: There is a revolution going on in my browser.

I’m sorting out my bookmarks.

I discovered bookmarks from 7 years ago.  At least that is what the bookmark manager is telling me.  Perhaps that was the last time I sorted my bookmarks out. That would make sense.  I came to the U.S. about 7 years ago.  I probably reorganized my life around that time.

I’m in an organizing phase again.  I’ve started writing todo lists.  I’m pruning and culling down to the bare essentials.  I’ve become weighed down by the accumulation of many years.  It’s time to get rid of the fat!

…and I’ve grown, O’ so fat, too.  Begone, links of no use!  I purge thee from my browser.  You are dead to me!

Seablue Journal: Watching ‘The Expanse’ Season 3

No time for posting.  I love this series.  I haven’t seen a good science fiction production for a very long time.  This one has all the good qualities.  The grand scale, the emphasis on technology, the exploration of the strange and mysterious possibilities in the exploration of space.

Anybody else a fan of ‘The Expanse’?

The Expanse

Seablue Journal: At the crypto coal face with Openbazaar.

I’ve been at the coal face of cryptocurrency. Using the interfaces, visiting the exchanges, reading the websites, actually transacting in the tokens.  Many cryptos say a lot of things about their qualities and try to present a glossy exterior. The real proof is always in the actual use of the token. I’ve been digging deep to discover what the reality is.  An interesting exploration has been using openbazaar.

“Openbazaar is an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace. It uses cryptocurrencies as medium of exchange…” –openbazaar.org

I’d heard about openbazaar before.  I’d actually tried using it over a year ago, but it was not particularly useful for me at the time.  Fast forward to this week and I’m watching a video by Chris Coney (@marketingmonk) on his Cryptoverse channel, where he is talking about the move towards KYC at Shapeshift.io.  This move by Shapeshift has met with some criticism from the crypto community.  Many used Shapeshift.io to obfuscate their transaction history.  The crypto-anarchist, whose blood boils at the thought of governments eyes peering into their private lives, is not so happy with this change.

Chris Coney made the suggestion of another way of transforming one form of crypto into another.  Openbazaar was his suggestion!  Well, that was out of left field.  I had not seen that one coming.  I was expecting him to recommend a decentralized exchange.  It intrigued me and the next day I was installing and running my openbazaar server.

I soon discovered on openbazaar a crypto shop that was dealing in converting Bitcoin Cash to a number of different currencies. They traded at anywhere from 1-3% over the market price.  I think that is okay.  You get worse on localbitcoins trades.

The reason I went looking for a Bitcoin Cash solution was the internal wallet for openbazaar had three options when you initially set up, and they are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash or ZCash.  I might have tried ZCash but for the word ‘beta’ next to the wallet.  Being a beta tester without first finding out what openbazaar was all about didn’t appeal.  Bitcoin transactions are just too pricey to even consider Bitcoin for trading peer to peer.  So I’m left with Bitcoin Cash.  That is not a problem for me at all though.  I’ve grown used to using Bitcoin Cash ever since Bitcoin transactions fees became ridiculously high.  It costs me around a penny to send a BCH transaction.  That is awesome.

So with my Bitcoin Cash deposited in my openbazaar wallet, I was ready to make some trades!  Looking through the list of things to buy I really liked the look of EOS.  For one I knew it has zero transactions fees.  Secondly, I’m accumulating EOS like a man possessed at the current prices.  I’m also using EOS as the base unit on decentralized exchanges within the EOS platform.  There where a lot of good reasons to start buying EOS.

I soon discovered that EOS was not something this particular shop had a lot of experience with.  They were a little mystified at my account name, which I won’t reveal here, but is one that I created for myself while playing with EOS functionality.  It was ridiculous enough of an account name, that I’m probably not surprised at the confusion.  They asked me for a memo, concerned that my transaction would be lost, so I had to coach them on the difference between an exchange account and a personal account of my own making.

I made three trades.  The minimum trading amount required was 4 EOS.  Between 4 and 9 EOS, their conditions allowed for a moderator to be chosen for dispute resolution.  Over 10 EOS and they required direct trades with no moderator.  I still don’t understand the reasoning behind this, but whatever.  I wanted a moderator to have oversight on my first few transactions, so I kept the transaction sizes in the required range.  There is a discussion feature when a purchase is being negotiated.  It came in pretty handy, as there was definitely some discussion to be had.  After schooling them in EOS after some declined trades, we got the whole show running nicely.

I traded in a few other coins.  LBC for the LBRY application that I have been playing with lately (another exercise in actually exploring the crypto space).  I put in a request for them to trade BAT (Basic Attention Token) and they added it to the shop the next day.  The conditions on the BAT token exchange where not particularly exciting though.  I made the trade out of gratitude for their quick response, but trading ETH or ERC20 tokens have now become just as ridiculous as trading in Bitcoin.  It is just a stupidly expensive exercise.   I passed on my thoughts about the experience of trading BAT.  I probably won’t do that one again.

Discovering just how stupid it is, is part of the experience of being at the crypto coal face.  That is why I do it.  There is a lot of talk of mass adoption, but are we ready?  How likely is that to happen?  Will it be soon?  Or will it be many years down the track?  These are all the questions that are answered by just getting out there and using crypto.  And so it was done…..

How was your crypto user experience this week?

 

Digging into crypto.

Seablue Journal: The transient nature of relationships.

Since coming to the U.S. in 2011, I’ve made very few close friends.  I guess it is not that surprising.  I had very few close friends in Australia.  There was a core of people that I knew from my school years and some that I met in the preceding years.  I only seem to have the energy for a handful of people. Such is the intensity of my character.

The first separation from those relationships came about with the beginning of my own family. Once I became a father and was involved in the intricacies of fatherhood there was a slow drifting away from all my bachelor friends.  They continued on their path of doing bachelor things and I was focused on raising small human beings without accidentally killing them.  As my children grew older and those same friends began to settle down with their new families, we once more passed like ships in the night.

Many of my friends after that were people I met through my work. While we worked together we were close, but I was never in any occupation for long.  The longest period I spent in any occupation was taxi driving, which was around fifteen years.  I made some great friends in that industry.  People who changed the course of my life.  One in particular who was the prime impetus in my emigration to the U.S.  But where are they now? They are in some distant reality that no longer has any relevance to me.

I have a good friend that I have made in my workplace currently.  He is about 7 years older than me.  We connected on a spiritual level, both of us having a sense of the divinity of the individual.  He was a Marine in the Vietnam war.  Afterward, he was a mechanic and became a master of his trade.  When I first met him he was doing part-time work on disability.  I think he found me somewhat of an inspiration and he became a loyal ally and confidante.

This week he struck another issue with his declining health.  Another attack of gout.  News of declining kidney function.  Warnings of imminent heart failure or stroke.  Here I find another friend who will soon pass out of my life.

I often said to my daughters that friends come and go, but family always remains.  It seems somewhat hypocritical now as I find myself thousands of miles away from my daughters living a life completely disconnected from them.  I was not always that close to my father.  We became closer shortly before his death.  I am still very close to my mother.  We both have a good understanding of each other and share many common values.  In the pursuit of finding myself, they are no longer so close that they understand my journey.  They still offer me a connection though.  Blood is so much thicker than water.

But friendships? I don’t know who I will meet next in my journey of transient relationships.  I rely on my own company more and more.  The internet has been a comfort and I have met some beautiful and inspiring people online.  Often it is hard to find people of common values and goals who happen to be inhabiting the same spatial dimension as me.  My online friends are very dear to me, but even then I’m struck by the transient nature of these relationships.  Disparate goals always intervene.

I guess it is my fate.  My providential journey.  I remember thinking to myself very early in life, is it more important to pursue a noble goal or to be the type of person to sacrifice a chosen goal for the companionship of others?  In my mind, I saw the image of a scientist on the dogged pursuit of knowledge and revelation who has no friends, except perhaps for an adoring assistant who finds unrequited love in the object of her adoration.

Is it a travesty that a noble goal should be lost for want of company?  I decided that the noble goal was the greater pursuit and now it is my reality.  Do I regret it?  I don’t think I regret it.  I experience its vicissitudes more personally, but I’m still enamored of its cause.  It is a personal and private journey and most of the time, friendships and relationships will always be transitory things.

It is what it is, as my now slowly dying friend likes to say.  There is no questioning it.  There is merely the observation of its nature.

 

Transitions of the soul.
Transitions of the soul.

Seablue Journal: The Shitcoin Rally.

Labor Day is gone and it is back to the usual routines in the house.  Everyone has gone to work and I’m all by myself.  I love it!

I struggled to get much sleep while working over the weekend.  On Labor Day I managed to have a nap during the day and went to bed early.  Around 4:30 AM I woke and plonked myself down in front of the computer.

I’ve been watching coinmarketcap.com with regularity.  The recent rise in prices led by DOGE was quite amusing.  In my mind, I had labeled it the ‘Shitcoin Rally’.  This was reinforced this morning when I woke to find BitcoinDark as the biggest gainer of the day.  The website for BitcoinDark doesn’t even exist now.  It comes up as a parked domain with advertising. I guess if DOGE is going to have a rally people might as well pump all the shitcoins too.

The day before I was watching HOLO (Holochain) lead the gains.  HOLO was a little more interesting.  I spent hours reading about HOLO and visiting the markets where I could purchase it.  I didn’t buy any, because I loathe chasing a price, but it went on my list of things to watch and consider should the price be right.

I did regret letting XMR get away from me.  I’d been watching it and considering that it hadn’t had a rally in a while.  I thought about getting it.  I even loaded up my XMR wallet and synched with the network, but I never pulled the trigger.

The more I look at my portfolio though, the more I think I need to focus in on a few coins.  My BTC holdings are better than they’ve ever been.  Seeing these prices so low has me thinking it is an obvious move to buy BTC.  I always have a chunk of BCH (Bitcoin Cash) because that is the cheapest way of moving crypto to fiat.

EOS is my bet in the speculative part of the portfolio.  Again, prices are down and I think it is time to accumulate.

My wildest speculative bet, Polymath, is giving me the most heartache.  I was reading on the Polymath subreddit this morning and nothing I read filled me with much confidence.  I probably would have sold but for the thought that I would sell at a loss.  Even a shitcoin can rise in a bull market.  There is still time to make some gains on Polymath.

My best buy of the week is a bittersweet one.  I replaced the NEO I had sold on the way down.  I bought NEO at the top of the market for close on $150.  I sold it for less than half what I bought it for because I was hard up for cash.  When the price went to $15 I bought back the same amount that I had bought at the top of the market.  It has since gone to around $20.  It is going to be a long haul to break even on that trade though.  It feels good to have that little stake in the NEO hype train.

Steem?  Well, I’m a little jaded on Steem.  Probably enough said about that.  It is still the only platform that pays me for blogging.

I don’t often talk about cryptocurrency on my blogs.  I figured there are a wealth of posts about it on Steemit already.  It is a subject that consumes many hours of my time though.  I probably have many things to say about it, but little that I feel qualified to say.  I’m a bit of a noob to the scene, having only started in late 2016.  I’ve learned a few things along the way, but I feel like there is plenty for me to learn still.

How was your week in crypto?

The Great Blue Sea.

Enjoying Labor Day.

I very rarely get to enjoy a public holiday.  Good fortune has brought me the opportunity today.  It has been a very relaxing day.

I made myself a beautiful breakfast, then smoked my tobacco pipe out back in the cool of the morning.  My wife was having a great time with her 1 y.o. grandson, who had stayed with grandma overnight for the first time ever.  Watching everyone smiling and adoring the baby was uplifting.

Later I had a bit of a nap., then woke to the voices of parents returning to gather up their child and take him back home.  I’ve been cooking another big slab of meat in the oven, after covering it in lots of seasonings. So while I’m doing that I thought I would make a quick journal entry in my blog.

I hope all of you are all enjoying your day too. Be it Labor day or not, wherever you may be.