Annual tradition at Renaissance Festival — Ring the bell! Dinged it 2 of 5 times. 💪

    One of many waterfalls along the trail to Soglio.

    Short video of the demonstration chocolate line at Lindt Home of Chocolate.

    Bitcoin Lightning: Fun, Fast, and Free-ish

    I’ve been casually investigating Bitcoin Lightning for a while. Lightning is a Layer 2 network on-top of Bitcoin and promises nearly free instantaneous transactions. Apps like Strike and Cash support Lightning, but I got frustrated with them because it wasn’t clear where Lightning was doing the work. Perhaps a good thing for normal use, but not great for learning the tech.

    As Bitcoin 2023 approached one of the objectives I had was to get first-hand experience with Lightning. ⚡️ I did some digging before getting to Miami and had Wallet of Satoshi installed, and via Strike transferred 100,000 or so Satoshis.

    Before going further, a Satoshi is the smallest unit of Bitcoin and it is named after the creator of Bitcoin. 1 bitcoin = 100,000,000 satoshis. At current market 1 Satoshi is worth $0.00027, and $0.01 is worth 37 Satoshis. Satoshis are often referred to as “Sats”. Sometimes people will say “Stacking Sats” which is to imply slowly building value in Bitcoin with small dollar purchases.

    First Transaction

    We arrived at the Miami Beach Convention Center early on Friday and desperately needed coffee. We queued up and noticed that they (and we would realize all vendors here) had IBEX terminals to accept Bitcoin payment using Lightning.

    A little background, in 2015 I had gone on a mission to buy something with Bitcoin in Minneapolis. I couldn’t find any merchant selling anything that would accept Bitcoin. I’ve long felt that Bitcoin is a great store of value, but have many times said that you would never use Bitcoin for day-to-day purchases. Transaction fees are high, and block times are not deterministic so you can’t confirm payment immediately.

    Lightning proved me totally wrong. Thanks to Kerry for whipping out his phone to catch my very first Lightning purchase for some coffees and empanadas on video.

    The payment is instantaneous, and the fees are nearly free. The merchant put in the total amount I owed on their device, it generated a Lightning “invoice” that I scanned with my wallet, and after confirming payment it was done in a flash.

    Amazing. 🤩

    Nostr & Damus

    So how is it that I showed up in Miami with Wallet of Satoshi setup and ready to make Lightning transactions?

    • I knew Nostr was particularly popular in the Bitcoin world and thought it may be a good way to communicate at the event.
    • Some folks were playing around in Nostr using Damus on iOS, and Damus looked very polished.
    • Damus connects with Lightning to allow “Zaps” on posts so you can “zap” some amount of Satoshis to other peoples posts.

    Setup was pretty simple actually. I downloaded Damus and it walked be through getting my Nostr public and private keys setup. Damus had a list of Lightning wallets that worked with it and Wallet of Satoshi was the best rated in the App Store. And then I stumbled a bit but finally figured out how to send some Satoshis from Strike to Wallet of Satoshi.

    Off to the races! 🏇⚡️

    This is the first application experience I’ve ever used where micropayments really work.

    This is truly exciting to me as a potential way to fix the Original Sin of the Internet — building everything off of a surveillance economy funded by advertising! Traditionally micropayments are far too cumbersome to work. Zaps powered with Bitcoin Lightning are completely friction free.

    At the show Damus was selling (for 27,800 Sats) “Zap Me” buttons with an embedded NFC chip. When you bought it they associated the chip with your profile so people could tap the button with their phone and automatically be brought to your profile where they could send you a Zap! ⚡️

    PS: I’m planning to add Lightning options to and the Weekly Thing to encourage folks to experiment.

    Login and Signing

    Finally, Lightning also brings some functionality to Bitcoin that I’ve enjoyed for a long time with Ethereum. You can use your Lightning wallet to authenticate with a service, as well as signing messages.

    Over dinner I was able to authenticate and provision a Bitcoin mining unit just by signing in with Lightning.

    Moving beyond passwords, and digital signatures to prove validity of content, are going to increase in significance over time and it is great to see Lightning bring that capability to the Bitcoin ecosystem.

    During the 2 days of Bitcoin 2023 I relied almost exclusively on Bitcoin to pay for lunches, coffees, and anything else I wanted. I also took the opportunity to send Satoshis to some of the speakers and people that I met at the event. It was incredible. It gave me all the privacy and benefit of cash, along with all the benefit of digital money.

    So my earlier assertion that Bitcoin is a store-of-value but not useful for day to day purchases? Wrong.

    In fact I’m on the hunt to get a Lightning coin machine like the one at the event to have in my house. I’d love to be able to have people come over and get their first Bitcoin experience by installing a free Lightning Wallet, putting a quarter in a box and scanning a QR code to leave with 1,000 satoshis! 🥳

    Mazie gave a short recital at B&H Photo Video.

    Cheering for Argentina 🇦🇷 with Hector at Brit’s Pub as they won on penalty kicks against Netherlands 🇳🇱 in the 2022 World Cup will be a moment I remember forever. 🤩⚽️

    Kvernufoss. Very beautiful waterfall.

    Waterfall on way to Seyðisfjörður.

    Taylor Hawkins drum solo from Oct. 18, 2018 Foo Fighters show. RIP. 😢

    Mazie did the Multi Access Trainer at Space Camp today. She reported it was fun and did not feel dizzy at the end.

    Tammy’s grandparent’s cuckoo clock is ticking again at our cabin thanks to Blackstone Manor Clock Repair.

    Two minutes on the dogsled trails out with Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge today. We had to stop and start the sled so you hear the “woah” and “hike” commands. Willow and Acorn are the two lead dogs. Tammy and Mazie are in the sled in front of me, and Tyler was on their sled.

    A quite minute on the dogsled trails out with Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge today.

    Quantum Mirror at REM5VR

    Tammy got us tickets to see the Quantum Mirror exhibit at REM5VR. We’ve been to REM5VR many times for VR games, but this Quantum Mirror is a “transcendent immersive art experience”. It was created by Adrian Stein. We weren’t real sure what to expect at all, and I was very curious.

    The exhibit is limited to 6 visitors at a time, and is experienced in two settings. The first is a gallery space with digital art on the walls, and six chairs. After a moment you take a seat and take a VR experience to “upload yourself”. The VR experience was pretty cool. You didn’t walk around, more like you were on a train going through these experiences tied to the art.

    Upon completion of the VR experience you then enter the Quantum Mirror. This is a room covered on all sides by mirrors, and at a variety of angles. In the center of the room are three portrait displays playing about a 10 minute loop with audio. There is no interactivity, but the reflections are very engaging. I captured a 30-second segment of the video which shows it best.

    It is with a bit of surprise that I have to admit I haven’t explored digital art with any seriousness. Surprising because we have a good amount of art and appreciate it, and I’m obviously into technology, but the two haven’t intersected. This experience was cool and made me want to see more like it.

    At the end of the experience you could type a message to yourself in the metaverse. This was a neat touch but lacked clarity on where it went or what happened with it. It would have been cool for that to be somewhere on the web or folded back into the experience for others to see.

    Quantum Mirror had a couple of nods to crypto tech, most notably the premier digital art you could purchase also came with two NFTs. This would have been a brilliant use for a POAP token. I was really wishing I could have gotten a Quantum Mirror @ REM5VR POAP token.

    This is how we wish every MN United home game ended! Wonderwall! 🤩⚽️🖤💙

    I dig this FLÎKR Fire that we got in Vermont. Great ambiance! 🔥

    One minute at Oval Beach, Saugatuck, Michigan.

    Time-lapse video going through Lock 32 on the Erie Canal.

    I’m so happy to have our Andrew Carson wind sculpture back up after being in storage a couple of years. It is one of my favorite pieces of art. It is the centerpiece of the raised garden beds.

    Fifty Puzzle

    Tammy enjoys doing puzzles. The kids and I have started a tradition of making her a custom Christmas puzzle each year. This year we decided to do one for her “big birthday” and we decided to take a completely new approach.

    Here is the final version and I’ll share with you how we got here.

    To make this we started with a hand drawn image that Mazie framed out and then her and Tyler filled in. This allowed them to work with pencil and paper and the clear borders for the initial idea. Puzzles are pretty close to 8.5x11 ratio, but not exactly. After scanning I do a stretch on the size to get it just right.

    Now that we scanned the original pencil drawing, we needed to recreate the entire image in digital format. We loaded up Procreate and put the original scan on a layer and made it 50% transparent, and then used the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil to trace a copy of the image on a fresh layer above. This made a perfectly clean digital version, and allowed us to clean up the image a bit. There were detail areas that were too small to do with the pencil but by zooming into the canvas on the iPad Pro they were able to get it just right.

    After the image was traced we created two layers for coloring. One layer was “under the lines” and is where most of the coloring was done. We had another “over the lines” layer for select sections. We also segmented off the backgrounds and the “50” numbers into their own layer.

    One of the super cool features of Procreate is the ability to share a video fo the drawing being created. Here you can see the entire process unfolding, as well as the couple of versions we tried for the “50” colors before we landed on the rainbow. Our creative process took 3-4 weeks and here you get it in 9 minutes.

    The project took a while but the finished product worked out great. Plus the kids got to learn how to create digital art and got really adept at working with multiple layers and understanding how to use them to create different effects. Mazie got into the various brushes as well.

    The only mistake we made was mine. I forgot that I needed to create a margin on the edge for the printer. We didn’t factor that in, so the finished puzzle lost about 1/4" of the image on all sides. On the top we had sky so that was fine, but on the bottom we had this cool seascape and a lot of that got trimmed off. Next time I’ll remember to mark a “safe zone” there so nothing critical is in that area.

    Mazie finished her LEGO Grand Piano build today. It is one of the most intricate LEGO I have ever seen.

    You can connect it to your phone and it will respond to, or move, the piano keys.

    This “10 years” Easter Egg in the Apple Store app is fun.

    I find wind generators mesmerizing. 🌬

    I got my Peloton “Cooldown 2020” video this weekend. I think its fun that they make these and kudos to them for making them easy to download and keep. #FitByFifty

    Parallel Zoom Pacing

    It turns out I pace a decent amount. Last week I was on a Zoom call and also took a call on my cell. I muted my audio but left the video on and one of our team grabbed the video loop and made it into this terrific Zoom video background. So brilliant! Only topped by sharing it with several of us who then had it on at the same time. That is a lot of pacing! 😂

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