Encrypt and Unplug

The past couple weeks I’ve been thinking about the importance of privacy and how little we have. I read an article a while back and it was talking about how Google and Facebook’s mission statement sound very noble and moral but there’s no way for them to fulfill these principles because they are a private company and have to do what’s best for shareholders (make as much money as possible).

With that article in mind, I can’t find it anywhere, I’ve been looking for alternative tech services that are non profit and have the users best interest in mind. So far I’ve come up with Mozilla Foundation, ToR Project, and a handful of others.
Where are this weird point in time where no one really knows or cares about their data as long as google tells them an answer when they ask and as long as they get a bunch of likes on that hamburger pic they uploaded on Instagram.
Where are the non profits serving up encrypted email, cloud storage, anonymous browsing, crypto wallets, and more?
I’m ready to unplug from FB but all the groups I am in have abandoned their message boards and I don’t want to miss out on the conversations…. what to do?
This is what I’m doing. I will try to move away from Gmail for my personal email affairs and migrate into Proton Mail. They don’t have calendar services YET but say they are coming. Next I am going to get off FB and be a contributor on the message boards. That’s all I can do. I will stay on instagram because I don’t see the harm in liking pictures. Also, Twitter, I don’t use it much, they aren’t making money, so I’ll keep it for now and try to use it more. I just can’t get into it.

Windows broke my miner

I don’t know why but the latest Windows update broke my miner.

It boots, starts mining, crashes repeats.
Not recognizing all the GPU’s.
Frustrating tobsay the least.
I’m going to try to reinstall all drivers and if that doesn’t work I’m going to wipe the PC and rebuild the machine.
Will keep you updated.

Current thoughts on mining

Just so you know, I’ve tried dual mining ETH and PASC, solo mining XMR and solo mining ETH. As of today, XMR has the best payout but only by about $10 per month more than ETH. The question is which coin you see sticking around long term or getting the most gains in the next X months (however long you plan on staying in the game). Since ETH is (slowly) moving to POS, I am trying to stock up as much Ether as as possible so I can have a share in a POS pool once it goes live. Once that happens and POW is shut off, I’ll pivot to XMR or whatever is viable at that time.

Mining Rig Update 5 – I spoke too soon

After 12 hours of running with all the cards loaded, I experienced continuous crashing and BSOD.

I troubleshooted to the best of my ability by reloaded drivers, swapping cards on PCI slots, and even botting 1 card at a time to see where the problem was originating.

After all that work, my conclusion is that my power supply (1000w Platinum) can’t handle all the cards under 100% load.

On a side note, I ordered a XFX Vega 64 today…. pretty cool shit. Awesome hashrates from my research.

I am now considering my next move… is it an additional rig or scale out this one.

Also, I am not sure how the Vega card is going to play with my 1070 ti’s.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

My dream rig would be to have a proper frame with an all Vega build out but I don’t know how I can get my hands on that many cards.

I will keep you posted.

P.S. So you’re probably asking yourself what I’m doing with that extra 1070ti… I loaded it in my personal desktop and my 43″ 4K TV is running games at ultra without hesitation. Not sure if i will load up Claymore to run over nite but that probably makes sense.

Mining Rig Update 4

It’s been one hell of a holiday. I have not done any newsletter posts and I feel a bit guilty about that but it’s not like I didn’t think about cranking out posts. I did manage to pick up a few more graphics cards and after 12 hours of troubleshooting the rig, I have it running decently.

I’m seeing 178 Mh/s on Claymore Dual miner after adding thge two new GPU’s.

I purchased (2) NVIDIA GTX 1070ti straight from NVIDIA’s website. They set me back quite a few bucks but it’s been a learning experience.

For one, the NVIDIA cards required no additional “bios flashing” out of the box. I downloaded drivers, plugged in cards, and booted and everything was recognized. I hopped in MSI afterburner and cranked up memory and BAM! I’m getting 31+ Mh/s per card.

Here’s the bad part, I can’t get the AMD cards back up to 30 Mh/s. I’ve played with every setting I can get my hands on but i get BSOD whenever I start mining.
I’ll figure it out because I need to see 180 Mh/s on this rig because it’s so close.
I think I want to max out this board for my next step, but I need additional risers and power supply. My frame will easily accomodate 4 additional cards but 6 will probably be pushing it. I think I’ll push it to the max just to say i did it.
Cable management is not a word in this rigs vocabulary.

Mining Rig Update 3

Like a drug addict, I wanted more. Every moment I was awake my mind was on it. My dreams were filled with desire, I wanted what I did not have.

I gave in.

I went to Microcenter and got a couple more GPU! I need that Mh/s BUMP!

Monday I went picked up (2) of the MSI RX 580 8GB OC Armor. I read good things and MSI is a reputable brand. They set me back $300 per card + I bought the 2 year protection plan. I brought them home and had no problems installing the first card into my rig.

Then I added card 2. Radeon recognized it and I thought I was ready to continue mining. I fired up Claymore and was getting 19 Mh/s on the new cards. Fine I thought. After a minute or so my PC crashed.

I started questioning what I had done wrong. I only messed with basic OC in Radeon control panel, I hadn’t touched the BIOS.

I restarted the rig and watched the new cards in Radeon. One of the new cards fans wasn’t spinning faster than 139 RPM. This was causing the card to overheat and when that happened the rig crashed.

I called into tech support at Microcenter and after fiddling around with them we determined the card’s fan motor wasn’t reporting back to the chip properly. I was advised to return it.

BUMMER.

Back to Microcenter last night.

I still didn’t have my fix. I wanted more power. Chris @ Microcenter pointed me towards the PowerColor Red Devil RX 580 8gb. He said they’ve been around a long time and will do well in my rig. So I bought two. They cost $29 higher each than the MSI Armor cards.

When I got home and unboxed the Red Devil’s I was blown away at how massive and heavy these cards were. The MSI Armor cards looked like little baby farts compared to these big red giants.

They installed with ease. Both good cards, Radeon recognized them and I was getting 19 Mh/s out of the box. Not too bad.

Now something I’ve been wanting to do but too scared to do is flash new BIOS onto the cards. After hours of YouTubing and forum reading I downloaded the necessary SW and found .rom’s that were respected in the community and flashed all my cards.

Now all my cards average 29 Mh/s. FUCKING UNREAL. This means faster time to value and I will be adding more cards to the rig on the next paycheck!

My next goal is to learn about “undervolting”.It helps you significantly reduce power consumption. We have very low power costs here in TX but I still haven’t received a utility bill post mining rig activity. I will keep you posted.

Here are some pics of the new cards and a screenshot of the new Claymore results.

Building the Rig

I finally built a rig. It’s a personal goal that’s been lingering since last fall. I learned quite a lot in this process. Multi GPU setups and mining software can be challenging. Cryptocurrency is tough, this Ethereum wallet is hard to wrap your head around. But it’s been fun. I will probably pick up some more GPU’s from Microcenter over the next couple months just to fill this bad boy up.

Here’s the unofficial order of operations for this whole thing:

Parts List:

  • ASUS 19 GPU motherboard
  • Pentium processor
  • (2) XFX RX 580 GTS Black Edition
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 120GB SSD
  • 1000 Platinum Power Supply
  • WiFi Adapter
  • USB Boot Drive
  • Thermal Compund
  1. Went to Microcenter and purchased all components for mining rig.
  2. Got home put parts together and no boot. I googled the mobo and apparently this thing was rushed to market and there have been many complaints of the drivers. I couldn’t get this thing to boot. Here is my first big goof up, I didn’t purchase a power switch. I had an old case sitting in the corner wo I attached the power switch connectors from the case to the ASUS mobo and it still wouldn’t boot. After a couple hours I gave up, repackaged the mobo and moved on.
  3. Now that I couldn’t build my rig I was sitting here starting at my shiny new RX 580 graphics cards… so I slapped one in my desktop PC and I was off to the races. Once the HW was installed, pulling the drivers down from AMD’s website was a breeze. I setup the cryptocurrency mining software and let it do it’s thing. After tweaking the settings in the GPU management SW, I was able to mine an average of $45 USD per month in ETH. Pretty damn cool.
  4. I returned the ASUS mobo to Microcenter with no trouble and ordered an alternate mobo off Amazon. This time I opted for a more stable mining board, the ASRock H110 Pro BTC+. Definitely the best mobo name I’ve ever heard. I picked up a power switch and a DVI to VGA display adapter too.
  5. That same day, I stopped by ACE hardware to gather supplies to build a chassis. This called for 1×1 wood for the frame and a bunch of angle frame supports. I used a handsaw for the wooden pieces and let’s just say that cutting a right angle is not my strong suit. The frame got built.
  6. I began installing the components and eventually had a PC mounted in the frame. It looks like shit. I powered it up with a single GPU and guess what, it booted right into the Windows installation screen. I plugged in my key and began installation. Then it asked me where to install windows. Oops again, I forgot to install the SSD.
  7. Reboot
  8. Now I am getting black screen. Nothing is showing up. I try using the GPU for display, nope. I go back to mobo display out, nope.
  9. Power down
  10. Uninstall GPU
  11. Reboot, nothing.
  12. Reboot again. Finally Windows installer comes back and I enter key and make sure SSD is installed.
  13. Now I am in Windows. There is no wifi.
  14. Go back to desktop PC and download drivers for TPlink WiFi adapter and install them on rig.
  15. BOOM, now I have WiFi.
  16. Reboot for safe measure and now install Windows critical updates.
  17. Back to the GPU. Get a single RX 580 installed but the drivers are giving me serious heartburn. It’s not showing up in device manger. I search for a solution and can only find articles saying to pull down a legacy AMD software called Catalyst that manages old HW. It works. Now Device Manager sees the GPU.
  18. Reboot.
  19. Install Claymore mining software and fire it up.
  20. It works. I am getting 15 MH/s. I was getting 18.5 MH/s on my desktop. WTF is going on here.
  21. Go to sleep.
  22. Wake up and try to install GPU 2. It won’t show up in device manager. I am so frustrated. This is the GPU that was in my desktop so I know it works. I have Catalyst installed too and it is recognizing the other GPU. Nothing is working.
  23. Download AMD Uninstall program that wipes all AMD SW and Drivers.
  24. Start from scratch. Install AMD Relive and it works. I am prompted to update the AMD SW and do it but get errors. I try this 3 times but the update will not take. So I am stuck on the old version.
  25. Change GPU bios from Graphics mode to Compute mode, and then overclock memory and cpu.
  26. Reboot.
  27. Launch Claymore.
  28. Now I’m getting 40+ MH/s on the rig.

 

It’s ugly, cable management is nonexistent, but damnit, it’s mine and it’s running and for now, it’s generating money. So weird. Here’s a final pic too.

 

Building my rig, but there’s a delay

I bought all the components yesterday, built it last night, and the fucker wouldn’t boot. I spoke with Microcenter tech support and we think it’s the motherboard.

It’s the Asus B250 Expert Mining board.

It has 19 slots for GPU which is bonkers.

I am returning it and have an Asrock H110 Pro BTC+ on the way from Amazon. Next Wednesday is delivery so I’m tabling the project until then.

I don’t have a chassis for the components so this delay will give me time to build it.

VR at the Microsoft store

I keep saying that VR is here and last night I experienced it again. This is my 3rd time with a VR goggle headset and each time the graphics exceed my expectations. HP had their Omen PC on display up front at the Microsoft store and they were demoing some virtual home bullshit. I don’t know why they think users want to navigate a virtual home and move flower pots around, but that’s why someone at Microsoft retail is paid the big bucks. After 3 reboots, the experience launched. After several more minutes of moving plants around I found a Halo icon and jumped into that. Why this demo didn’t launch into Halo is beyond me. The halo demo was a first person shooter in training mode. Covenant enemy targets were popping out and you got some target practice. My impression of that was very good. If I had a home entertainment room, I’d have a VR PC right now.
Final Thoughts:
  • This is only gen 1 or 2, I am really excited about Gen 5 and beyond.
  • This will be awesome with voice communications with friends
  • I want to see a real time strategy like Warcraft 3 from an above the battlefield pov. Almost like you were controlling the army from a goblin zeppelin.
  • Also, it will be cool to see Heroes of the Storm or DOTA in a VR platform so you can see the whole map without having to move move you pov to that part of the map.
  • HOTS and DOTA would be especially cool with Hololens on a table top.
As VR goes mainstream, it will be interesting to see how Peoples desire for real world objects decline and virtual objects increase.

WiFi as a service + email marketing as a service

I can’t tell you how many Brick and mortars I go to that don’t offer wifi but it’s a lot. In my opinion, they’re missing a huge opportunity to learn about customer behavior and market to these customers.
I was meeting with a peer today over coffee and we were discussing ways to break into this space as a service and the best we could come up with goes like this.
 
WiFi as a Service + Email Marketing
So the wifi piece is simple, we own the hw and the contract with the ISP for wifi and serve up the service to customers. We track behavior for customers on the network, segment and market to these users.
Email marketing will tie into the wifi piece as its always adding to the subscriber list, but you need to be capturing email addresses and time of checkout so you can track behavior segment and market to users.
The joint service would provide customers with a dashboard that tracks users, behaviors, value per customers, campaigns etc.
I’m not sure how to charge for this but demonstrating value would be very easy.
Once you get recurring rev flow, you would Upsell cross sell services like ad services, content strat and creation, app/web dev, etc.
Just an idea…

More like Civil Rights 2049

I saw Blade Runner 2049 last week and it exceeded all my expectations. I found myself asking tough questions throughout the entire flick like “is this guy a human or Robot?” and “why is this lady so mean to our beloved Ryan Gosling?”.
I had no idea what this was going to be about going in so I put the plot together as quickly as possible. When I finally wrapped my head around growing adult sized humanoids that obey their human masters, I felt a sense of accomplishment.
There’s a massive struggle in the flick to keep these humanoids down. Pretty much like STFU you have no soul. This part made me sad. I mean, I lose my shit when I can’t find my cell phone so I can’t imagine telling an obedient humanoid to fuck off.
STFU Humanoid will be a the next great Civil Rights movement.

On disruption and consolidation

As we sit here and watch a masterclass in disruption by Jeff Bezos and Amazon, I can’t help but wonder how terrified business leaders become when rumors swirl around Amazon getting into their business. We’ve seen it happen so many times now from the bookselling kingpin that it’s now expected. In the tech world we use the term “digital transformation” which technically means “get your shit together or you’re going to lose your ass”.

So what happens when Amazon comes for your business?

Like I said, we’ve seen it many times.

The short answer is consolidation. That means a couple things.

(For this let’s talk about Walmart)

  1.  M&A – walmart is the king or retail with a global footprint of brick and mortar and a vast network of distribution hubs and fleet of transportation. What Walmart has struggled with is online. Their ecommerce is the last place I check for anything. Ever. So what did they do? They went out anb bought some cool kids who are doing it right from day one. Enter Jet.com. Jet has ecommerce down to a science, so teaming their front end with Walmart’s back end is logical AF. It’s like someone is getting paid to make acquisitions, am I right.
  2. Partnerships – A couple weeks ago, Google announced a partnership with Walmart that will let you shop from your Google Home device for anything offered at Walmart. This is because Amazon has it all already baked into the echo platform. Now Amazon is saying they are getting into logistics. This means FedEx and UPS are shitting down both legs and will be looking to establish strategic partnerships asap. My prediction is that we will see a partnership announcement between Walmart and either FedEx or UPS. So customers will order a roll of toilet paper on their Google Home from Walmart which will be delivered by FedEx. That customer is a lagistics exec who needs toilet paper to wipe his sweating ass.

TIME TO SPECULATE SOME MORE

Amazon will get into logistics and they will deliver an autonomous delivery platform out of the gate beating the old guard to the punch. Also DRONES!

Drones for profit

I’m sitting here watching Droneweek, hyped up about the FPV racing drones. This is definitely gonna be huge.
I’ve thought drones are a huge market opportunity and here are a couple ideas I’ve been kicking around for a year or so….
  1. Drone Security – this would be an aerial drone surveillance and security company that could patrol or be dispatched upon command. Think if you had a large property and an intruder was detected and a drone could be dispatched to film and shout Commands at the intruder, that would be scary/valuable.
  2. Event audio video – specifically youth sports. You’d need a drone and operator with 4k camera. Additional cameras on ground and an film editor. I believe you could capture up to $500 per game for film. Think about signing a deal with a team that youd film all their games and roll that cost into team dues… there’s plenty of parents who’d pay that extra $50 per game to have their kids games on film…. Unless they ride the bench.
  3. NEW CONCEPT THANKS DRONEWEEK – Inspection drones – quickly inspect street structures via drone and high powered camera.

Pro Tips: a list of 50 life tips to live by

I’m not about click bait articles, although I always click the ones that are like “only a true genius knows this fact”.
That being said, I’ve got a list to share and it looks like click bait, BUT IT’S NOT!
50 Pieces Of Life Advice From People Over 50
I’ve got a OneNote folder that’s nothing but the best life tips and I’ll probably share that out one day. Until then, hit that link because there’s some sage wisdom on that list.

Drawing logos from memory

I think pretty high of myself when it comes to brand recognition but this puts a new spin on it …. Draw a logo from memory. I remember posts in the past of the draw a map of the USA from memory but this is the new hotness. I was looking at some of these drawings and I’m not sure I could do much better than these armchair artists.

Bye now.

Bunch of shit posts from 2017

Quad cubes, future features

The Gartner Magic quadrant is cool and all but they don’t show price. Would be great to incorporate price into a quad or wave.
Also, link to relevant decks for each tech as well as promos for that technology.

Share price news chart, a future feature

I want to develop a chart that overlays big news for a company with their stock price. Would also show key competitor moves or geo political news that might effect share price.

The last fanny pack you’ll ever need

I haven’t been to a tailgate this year but if I was planning on it, this would be a must have item. The only thing I’m worried about is if it will fit around my current dad bod. If I get one of these I’ll share a pic.

Desk Robot

I want a little Robot that lives on my desk.
It should be mobile, because it needs to graze around like a piece of livestock.
But unlike an animal, this bot will be Cloud connected thanks to cloud integration thanks to Amazon or Google.
It’ll have a little Qi charging mat so I never have to worry about it.
If I had two of these bots they would play tag and  mozy around like Sims.
It’ll be AI powered too, have a camera built in, and be a little companion.

My wife’s little brother has a bot that’s the form factor I like. It stacks blocks and shit like that.