22 - Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

This week was my birthday - a significant one being a Leo from the Year of the Tiger - so full-circle!  We did get the whole family together and it was good to meet everyone face to face - quite a while since this last happened and I wonder when it will happen again.  The only one missing was my Mum

Things in the world in general seem to be continuing beyond crazy pretty much everywhere - and there is no sign of sanity returning to HK although I do see that they seem to be planning events in late October and into November - eg HK FIntech Week 2022.  I cannot imagine that events like this will do anything unless there is significant change - so... what does that mean?  

I have been enjoying my time fully off work this month - and I do recognise the wise words of so many that you "wonder how you ever managed to work and everything else" for all those years.  All the more important to be clear on the priorities for each of your roles with well-identified goals.  You know that I am a fan of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I did discuss how I do that back in Issue 13 along with a demo of how to do this with Mindmapping.

The weather in Northern Ireland continues to be "the usual - cool, cloudy and damp with sunny spells" while the rest of the world seems to be basking in warmer temperatures - so no change there either!

Update on my projects...

No changes on the website this week but I am exploring using alternative media channels.  You likely already know my Youtube Channel - check it out here and subscribe!  You may recall that Ali is fully convinced that having  your own YT channel is a goal and skill to have!

A first YT video already - watch the Walkthrough of the Website and newsletter 21

During the week I have been looking into podcasting - something of an audio equivalent to Youtube.  I will certainly be exploring this more going forward.   Being audio-only it reaches an entirely different audience and can be consumed in entirely different ways from video.

I am a great fan of podcasts and I do feel that I benefit significantly from the knowledge and insights gained from the podcasts that I follow.  It is somewhat like having a widened circle of informed people in your own personal network.  One of the more interesting sources on how and why to do this is Pat Flyn who also explains how this can effectively be done in combination with video recordings.  To get you started - consider this A-Z intro by Buzzsprout and Pat's hands-on/practical explainer: How to Start a Podcast in 2022 - Beginner Podcasting Tutorial.

RSS feeds are just fantastic.  They enable you to keep up to date on the updates and changes on websites of interest and to get notified when certain updates of interest occur; all of this without needing to sign up to the website or give your email address.   One of the nice things about Ghost (the tool that I use for my site) is that the RSS feed is built-in and available out of the box.  Check out https://rogerprice.me/rss.  When you click on this it will not seem useful; instead copy the link into the RSS reader of your choice - there are many good ones available free - eg Netnewswire (free and open source!) - let me know if you need more on these and how to get going.  Once you start you will quickly wonder how you ever did without this!

Remember - if you are worried about using your email address for signing up to multiple services SimpleLogin is the way to go.  I have been using this for many months and it is just fantastic.  You can instantly create alias addresses for any service that work with your existing email account(s) but which hide your real email address.    If you are a 100% Apple fan you can use their Hide My Email service; it works great but this is still annoyingly only available from iOS devices and not on the Mac - why?  Advantage of both of these tools is that they lessen your risk of personal ID theft (making it possible to detect any abuse of your address) and they may it easier to block or unsubscribe from any service in future.

My bitcoin node continues to run just great.  I am looking into how best to extend this, adding Lightning support.  A nice explainer here from Johnathan Run a Bitcoin Node: What Hardware is Best for a Lightning Network?.  Or you may prefer to jump straight to the Summary and conclusion.  More on this in due course.

On the software development side, some projects that I am following and studying include the following:

  • Taro is a new protocol for issuing digital assets on the bitcoin blockchain that can be transferred over the Lightning Network for instant, high volume, low fee transactions. This marks a big shift to a multi-asset Lightning Network with the potential currencies to route through bitcoin liquidity on the network.   Read their announcement here and Documentation here.
  • Fedimint is a fascinating project that takes a long-established technology and makes it available in a new context.   Listen to this interview with Marty and their CEO.  Documentation is here.   Seth also did an interesting interview with Eric Sirion and Matt Odell.  You can also read the BTC Magazine article here.  You should understand that they are tackling one of the most important issues that people find difficult (custody) and by leveraging well-established technologies  and bringing them together in new ways, better solutions emerge.  Particularly interesting is that they are piloting and battle-testing this in the countries where there is absolutely the highest need and the most adversarial environment.  Another significant element is their focus on building Circular Economies - they explain why this is is easier in countries where the traditional financial system is more degraded - potentially coming to a country near you sooner than you think.  If that does not convince you then Guy's take from Bitcoin Audible should!
  • Synonym.to and their technology under development are facilitating decentralised ownership and circular economies with an interesting collection of full open source technology including Slashtags and Hypercore
  • I will be looking into using Fountain.fm as one of the Podcast feeds - this is all part of the "value for value" economy, popularised by Adam Curry.

Fun discovery of the week

I did spend a fun hour in the Oxfam book shop in Ann Street, Belfast.  Important to give shops like this your custom and you may well find some interesting gems and surprises - especially looking around the Antiquarian section.   You ought to be aware of the manipulation of history that occurs, not least since WWII, 1971 and even recently, so getting your hands on original books from before that time and even before 1914 can be very insightful.  Note too the changing definitions of words recently and recall how the Pigs rewrote the commandments on the wall when it suited them (Animal Farm).

Many of these books are also available online in scanned versions (you can only hope that undetected changes are less likely) and particularly interesting sources incude:

  • Project Guttenerg  a library of over 60,000 free eBooks that you can download  or read online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which US copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for you to enjoy.
  • Google books can also surface many interesting things - you can imagine that their AI has been studying all of this diligently over recent times...
  • The Internet archive and Way Back Machine  are particularly important and useful tools to have in your toolbox...

Watching and listening

Below a collection of interesting sources that I came across, or was reminded of, in the past week - for your enjoyment and edification:

That's it!

No one can be told what The Matrix is.
You have to see it for yourself.

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