Bitcoin – what’s next?

When Bitcoin was started in Jan. 3, 2009, it was a mystery. No one was ever credited with its invention, and while many people have falsely claimed to be the author, the real inventor still has yet to be verified. “Satoshi Nakamoto” is the name of the alias that the team of people or person used when publishing papers on how Bitcoin would work.

An overview of Bitcoin

Bitcoin has a couple of neat features built into its design. Most people are aware by now of “mining” Bitcoin, which consists of using powerful computer components to, essentially, check math equations verifying other users transactions with the coin to keep fraud or hacks from occurring. The more computers verifying the transactions, the safer, as theoretically a bad actor could take 51% control of the network and verify forged Bitcoin transactions.

When mining Bitcoin, a ‘block reward’ is paid out to the one computer who verifies the transaction correctly first, and guesses the solution to the math problem the fastest. The ‘transaction fees’ that you pay when sending Bitcoin are paid out as a way of compensation for helping the network, and are separate from the block reward.

The block reward, originally, was 50 BTC. This would be an astronomical $3,027,800.00 in today’s currency with the current conversion rate of Bitcoin (1:60556).

Naturally, if that much Bitcoin was given out with today’s popularity of the coin, it would cause rapid inflation. This is because as more Bitcoin entered the market, it would become more easily obtained, and the demand would drop, making the value of Bitcoin decrease.

However, as the authors were aware of economic theory, they implemented a few safeguards to try to mitigate that situation. First, there is a hard limit on the amount of Bitcoin that can ever be created. That limit is 21 million. This is set in the source code and a fundamental rule that cannot be changed without disrupting the entire network. Once that number is reached, no more Bitcoin can be given out as a block reward. We are estimated to reach the upper limits of Bitcoin around 2140, but at least 97% of all Bitcoins will be mined into existence in the next decade. The last 3% will take much more time, due to another one of the cryptocurrency’s features.

Bitcoin has a process built into its underlying framework and code that is known as “halving”. Bitcoin’s framework contains instructions to decrease the block reward every 210,000 blocks rewarded. This means about every 4 years at our current pace, the block reward divided by 2. In 2009, it was 50 BTC, as stated above. In 2012, it halved to 25. In 2016, 12.5. Now, most recently, in 2020, it’s dropped to 6.25. This will continue until the block rewards become negligible amounts of Bitcoin.

This process helps maintain the scarcity of Bitcoin as a resource and a currency.

If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies, you can look at “how do blockchains work?”, for an easy to understand explanation.

Let’s talk about usage

Bitcoin uses a lot of energy. Mining Bitcoin is a very electricity intensive task, and “Cambridge researchers say it consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year”. This is more than the whole of Argentina uses per year, and that number will only increase as Bitcoin becomes more widespread.

This, additionally, is by design. The more power and effort it takes to compute a block’s solution and get that BTC reward, the better for BTC. This method also keeps the value of the currency in check because it requires more effort and money to produce, therefore it must be worth more, right? ๐Ÿ™„

When looking at utility use of Bitcoin, it’s hard to argue for it modern day. Most of the ideas people are rallying behind do not apply to Bitcoin anymore, and can be found elsewhere in far better cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, as a whole, has been surpassed technologically many times over at this point. This is to be expected. Bitcoin should be seen as the framework for cryptocurrencies, the origin idea, but not the final version, or anywhere close to it. The first phone was nothing like what we have today, just like the first computer. There is a necessary step in the process of adoption for technology of all levels, and this is the next technology that will take a while to refine.

Bitcoin is unchanging because of its code, which means it’s difficult to keep modern. Many other cryptocurrencies that have implemented Bitcoin’s core ideals have been released since 2009 however, and many that do it better. For instance, one such “feature” of Bitcoin is that it is supposedly anonymous. However, it is not. This is a fact. Many government agencies and even private companies have developed extremely sophisticated solutions to parse the blockchain and create connections to online identities. Personally supplied information to exchanges for verification is readily sold and shared with many partners, or such government agencies. This along with computer usage, location, and withdrawal location tracking can paint a clear picture of how Bitcoin is being used, where, and how much.

Okay, so it isn’t private. What about speed? Is Bitcoin fast?

Well, no. It’s not fast by digital standards anyway. It is definitely better than a 3-5 day ACH transaction by your bank or a wire, but it still takes around 30-60 minutes depending on transaction fees. If you pay a higher transaction fee, you can send it in as little as 10 minutes or lower. There was a recent change to the Bitcoin network called segwit that is a whole other technological explanation, but basically increased the speed of the network, decreased transaction fees, and freed up more space for transactions by removing unnecessary data.

Modern cryptocurrencies have this beat, however. Ethereum transactions on average are confirmed in around 5 minutes, and NEO confirms in 15 seconds. Ripple can be sent in 4 seconds.

Monero, a cryptocurrency that takes the idea of anonymity from Bitcoin and runs with it, makes a nice balance between security and speed with 30 minute transaction times on average. Monero is unable to be tracked or linked to identities easily with today’s technology, as it was/is built with a security-first focus in mind. In fact, it’s so effective that the IRS has offered up to $625,000 to anyone that can successfully crack it or track transactions taking place.

Well, do people use it? Not really, either. Most of Bitcoin is stored in long-term holding wallets, or people want to purchase it like a stock, because they think the value will rise. A currency is effective and useful when it can be used as just that: a stable currency. Bitcoin is not stable by any means price-wise, and that means it is treated more as a store of value. Because of this, it’s difficult to use in transactions because the prices change so quickly, in the next 10 minutes the Bitcoin you just got paid for your services could be worth less than half of what it was originally.

Despite all this, cryptocurrencies are still a promising technological advancement – we simply need more iterations like every level of technology that has ever been developed.

What’s next?

Bitcoin is a great framework and foundation for future ideals of cryptocurrencies that will eventually rule the world. The era of slow banking apps and waiting days to transfer money have already largely been eased with the introduction of apps like PayPal, Venmo, or Cashapp, and they will be eliminated in the future when cryptocurrencies are refined and implemented properly into everyday conveniences.

If you want my opinion on what cryptocurrency will be the next widely adopted coin? None of the current ones available.

2032


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-10-16 11:48:38

macOS doesn’t have a key productivity feature of Windows – switching windows easily. Here’s how to add it.

I recently starting using a Mac laptop again for the first time in almost 6 years, and the stark contrast between the two major OSes was made all the more clear to me. Little things about macOS I never noticed before my long stint with windows practically jumped out at me.

One such glaring oversight that seemed to be unforgivable is the fact that macOS doesn’t currently have a good built in window switcher. If you hold CMD (command) + Tab, you will get an application switcher, but it does not switch between active windows of the same program. This limitation is hard to form a habit around, as I found myself frequently attempted to CMD + Tab to another Firefox window, or another instance of a Finder window I had open. However, I found a nifty application that can bring that behavior to macOS, and I highly recommend you try it out. If you build the fast switching window shortcut into your daily routine, it will help maximize your productivity.

Here’s how to get it:

Download Standalone App Here (Alt-Tab)

You can also get it through brew, in which case I will assume you don’t need further instructions.

  1. Download Alt-Tab from here OR the link above (same link)
  2. Drag it to your /Applications folder by clicking Finder > Applications on sidebar & drag+dropping into the window
  3. Double click to launch
  4. Click the Controls tab
    1. Make sure shortcut 1 is highlighted
  5. Change the shortcut to your desired keys by clicking the keys in the line “Hold [KEY] and press: [KEY] Select next window”
    1. I highly recommend using CMD + Tab for the average user
  6. Now, close the window, don’t quit it.
  7. Test! You should be able to switch between applications and their windows with a nice, graphical interface upon pressing CMD + Tab. If you want to switch to the last used application then press CMD + Tab ONCE, meaning if you press CMD + Tab and release, you will continue to switch between your recently used applications. This is a great trick for copying down information, or quickly referencing another window while completing the current task.

โ˜บ๏ธ

ย 


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-10-09 09:20:15

Windows 11… completely unnecessary.

I started writing this post a few times and honestly I just can’t figure out how to write this intro, so I’m going to get straight into it.

Windows 11 is wholly unnecessary, and shouldn’t even exist.

If we ignore the fact that Microsoft stated Windows 10 was the last version of their operating system, and the seemingly obvious missed opportunity to simply rebrand Windows 10 to “Windows” alone like Apple did, then we can look at their proposed reasons for the change.

Why Microsoft is Rebranding

When Windows 10 came out, it was supposed to usher in a new standard of operating under the Microsoft family. The start menu was brought all the way back in comparison with Windows 8.1, and they finally fixed a number of graphical issues users were having.

The rebrand to Windows 10 was for the numerous changes they’d done to the operating system, back then.

So what changes to instigate a new OS now?

A New Name Means Distance from Old Identity

Changing a name is a great way to distance a person, place, or thing from old actions or non applicable qualities that exist currently. It’s a way to signal change, that something is not the same as before.

Microsoft and other corporations use this strategy often to create positive attention for their brand or distance themselves from negative attention.

And Windows 10 has had a lot of negative attention:

A quick search will pull up almost unlimited articles complaining about Windows 10.

With the recent failure of Windows 10 X, Microsoft had enough.

So What’s New?

Really, that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? Are the changes any good?

Well, no.

Unless you want a bunch of features you could already achieve in Windows 10 with more bloat, more integrated applications, less customization, and more restrictions on which hardware you can install it on.

Windows 11 still has bloatware in the preview builds, and they’ve had updates before which has reinstall all preinstalled apps. Microsoft Teams will now be integrated into the taskbar. I don’t have high hopes for the Teams integration if the weather icon they tried to add to the taskbar and failed miserably with is any indication. The “News and Interests” taskbar option causes the taskbar to update arbitrarily and File Explorer to lag, and the font is grainy and pixelated on a monitor with higher than 1080p.

Well what about the centered taskbar?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could already do that in Windows 10?

Center Taskbar Windows 10 Dark Theme

Oh wait. You can.

This is what my desktop looks like currently on 21H1. I also have a custom dark theme installed to properly theme some of the discrepancies out of the OS like the Task Manager, the dialogue options, and even Notepad.

Using TaskbarX, SecureUXTheme, and a few other dependencies, you can already create what I believe to be a better look than what Windows 11 delivers out of the box.

Changing UX Design

Notice that the start button is on the bottom left in the image above. Now look at a picture of the new Windows 11 taskbar:

The start button has moved to the center with the other icons.

THIS IS BAD UX DESIGN.

Why?

Because when a button is on an edge that you can move your mouse against, it has an infinite width. If you drag your mouse against the left edge of your (leftmost) monitor, it cannot move outside the screen and thus any button on the edge of the screen would be easier to quickly whip the mouse over and click.

In the same way, when a button is in a corner such as the start button was in most previous versions of Windows, it is much easier to drag your mouse to the corner quickly without aiming at all, as two sides have infinite width. This makes it extremely efficient to locate the start button, no matter the cursor location.

However, by moving the start button to the center of the taskbar, Microsoft eliminates that smart UX choice they made all those years ago.

Perhaps Microsoft will realize this and provide an option to restore the default alignment in a later update. As of 8/2/2021, this is not possible.

Additionally, they eliminated the option to align the taskbar to the left or right in the latest version.

The main concern for me as Microsoft continually whips around GUI updates is… how has Windows fundamentally changed since the last big update? And how are they fixing the small issues that continue to plague normal operations throughout the working day? Well, the answers to both of those questions are pretty disappointing.

A) It hasn’t changed that much, so don’t expect to notice much difference

B) They haven’t fixed that much, so don’t expect to notice much difference

And that’s where we are. Another graphical change to an OS in an era where to this day, on the latest Windows build, you can open command prompt and hold F11 down to see the old Windows 7 UI underneath for a split second as the GUI is overwritten with the new theme.

Split second after you hit F11 to minimize the CMD prompt window out of fullscreen.

Progress Is Not Bad

But there has to be progress. Windows 11 is completely unnecessary for what they are bringing to the table in the new versions. In a perfect world, maybe Windows 10 would have been rebranded to “Windows” with thematic naming to keep versions clear, saved the sweeping UI upgrades until AFTER THEY’VE FINISHED THE EXISTING DARK THEME FOR THEIR CURRENT OS, and maybe don’t make yet another “Settings” app before the old Control Panel is even removed.

I’ll say it again, I would love for Microsoft to be innovating here, but where is it? What can be achieved on Windows 11 that can’t already be accomplished on existing hardware and software?

“Windowsย 11 has all the power and security of Windows 10 with a redesigned and refreshed look. It also comes with new tools, sounds, and apps. Every detail has been considered. All of it comes together to bring you a refreshing experience on your PC.”

I suppose nothing. It’s not like I would consider whatever Microsoft is shipping with their OS to be essential apps, probably just a new version of candy crush ๐Ÿ˜‰.

At the very least, Microsoft says they will still support Windows 10 for 4 more years, until 2025. Maybe by that time, Windows Infinity will have hit shelves and I can skip 11.

Honestly, just please make one settings app and I’ll be happy. ๐Ÿ™


If you want to improve your Windows 10 experience by searching with any browser and Google from your start menu instead of Bing, read this.


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-07-27 18:55:20

Blog Style Refresh

Wow, it’s been a long time since I began this blog. Four years and counting, to be precise, and lots of stuff has happened since that point. I’ve realized I hadn’t touched the blog css or general theme since inception, so I decided to spruce it up a little bit. The style refresh was much needed and I think it looks pretty good!

It’s cool to look over the archives and see what I’ve created since that point.

That’s all this blog is for, after all. ๐Ÿ˜„ Writing practice, and fun. Hopefully whomever visits gets a small amount of enjoyment from it as well.

Here’s the first post that was ever made on the blog:
https://gmr.dev/blog/2017/02/17/moved-to-wordpress/


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-06-18 00:52:11

Testimonials & Upwork Reviews

Some nice reviews by clients. Mostly putting these on the blog to link between my website and Upwork.

Genevra was nothing short of AMAZING! We needed functionality on our nonprofit’s website we weren’t sure how to do and she connected all the dots perfectly and SUPER fast. She’s extremely knowledgable, incredibly thorough, patient, kind, and responsive! Genevra answered a MILLION questions I asked (I’m curious, what can I say!?) and explained everything in a way that made sense to a relatively non-technical person. Honestly, our team was quite hesitant to use Upwork in the first place since we had never used it before and are a small charity. (Thus, we have very little risk we can take on as it relates to our tiny budget!) Part of it was also that we didn’t even know exactly what we needed or how to accomplish what we wanted to do. Genevra put all of those worries to rest as we exchanged messages back and forth before deciding to work together. She was very fair and transparent on pricing and worked with us. She also instantly knew how to help us and the best approach to take for what we were trying to do. It was TOO easy. If you’re looking for someone you can trust, please look no further and hit Genevra up – even if you don’t necessarily know what you need, trust her to help you find it! I’m sure if she doesn’t know she can at least point you in the right direction! We will certainly trust her with any future tech/software project. Genevra rocks!

https://www.upwork.com/jobs/~014ce5e09030e7b1c1

Working with Genevra was a great experience. She was professional, quick, and solved the issue I had run into with ease. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great freelance web developer!

https://www.upwork.com/jobs/~019da05fa9f035f24a

Gen did a great job with minimal revisions. She also noticed other problems we were unaware of and brought up on her own initiative. Looking forward to working with her again!

https://www.upwork.com/jobs/~015284d820ba99220b

More reviews/hire me on Upwork here

or click this link below

https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~0198b8b2130c1dc9a0

If you would like to discuss a project or hiring me, you can always use my website to contact me directly.


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-06-14 03:05:57