daily life

running armory on Mac

So I have been party to a sort of bitcoin saga for months now. I had a miner running for a few months in the summer of 2014, and I ended up with about 1.3 bitcoins. At the time it felt like a bad deal, to make barely one coin over three months, so I just forgot about it. Enter this whole crazy crypto run-up at the end of this year and I started to wonder if that wallet was still doing all right. As it turns out, it's doing fine. It's getting money OUT of the wallet that is proving difficult.

You see, the blockchain is now around 160GB and growing. Armory then runs an index database along side, so I'm not sure if a 256GB SSD is enough to comfortably host a BTC wallet now. Plus you need at least 8GB of RAM and a decent processor; and of course a good internet connection. I had a little Dell Inspiron that I thought would do the trick, but man it was slow. 2 weeks to get the blockchain downloaded. Another few days to run the Armory indexes. And then, because Windows, the McAfee sales popup crashes the app and corrupts the index. Reinstall the OS. Repeat.

Anyway, it sort of became my white whale, until I realized that the hardware was just not good enough.

Now, I have this workhorse laptop that I had situated for running SQL and importing our massive database, it has tons of RAM and and large SSD and it is perfect for finally pulling up this wallet and getting those BTC out of there. I want all of my bitcoin to be ready to sell if the price gets too much higher.

So the blockchain downloaded over night; took barely 12 hours. Armory was difficult however. Here's what you do.

  1. Get version 0.95.1
  2. you will need to have HomeBrew installed.
  3. run xcode-select --install if you haven't done that already

  4. make sure your ssl is up to date: brew upgrade openssl

  5. make this edit to ArmoryUtils.py:
Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 3.12.33 PM.png

and that is all you need to get Armory running. 

it is all about the Javascript

So there I was, on an interview with a cool company called Clevertech, with a pleasant lady named Rena, and the question of Javascript came up, and I mentioned that I saw basically most of their dev team was Javascript developers, and I said something like 'I guess they are doing a lot of front-end'... Not sure why I said that, knowing full well that we already live in a world where Javascript is taking over the back end, but you know sometimes things just come out, and I probably won't get that job anyway but at the end of the day I'm never sure which is which in terms of good vs. bad. Quite to the contrary - when I think I've done well, I've often done rather poorly, and when I think I messed up a bit that is often when I get an offer. But either way, JS is taking over the world, and unless I want to hang my hat on being a Rails dev forevermore (please, no?) -  then I had better get with the program. And now I am doing a little 'code project' for a prospective employer, and pardon my French but I love that shit, because no one ever says no once they see my code. I am a poet who writes code, and that means I care about every line.

So anyway I am working my way through a Node.js proof of concept, and seriously I am having more fun than I remember having in a long time (Node + Express + EJS). Coding is fun, anyone will tell you that, that is how we all get hooked; but if you keep your head down long enough you may forget it is art at the end of the day. I can't tell you how excited I am to get started on something new. I've got a lot more interviews coming up and it all just feels really good right now.

It is really strange to be back on the market, so to speak, it has been almost a decade now since I've been looking for full-time work. But I feel really ready right now for whatever comes my way. And I have until next Friday to deliver on a pretty simple POC in Node.js, and I'm telling you, that app is going to fart rainbows by the time I'm done with it. :)

the reverse interview

So after 20 years of doing this, I've learned a few things about the interviewing process. One of those things is the concept of a reverse interview.

For my example, I am going to use the interview I did for a company called Recurly (in San Francisco), they were based in the Mission near where we used to live and I was excited to finally get one of those 'warehouse' dev jobs, like I used to pine for in LA when I used to live east of Hollywood with my view of the downtown skyscrapers. So I get the interview, I talk to Scott, their lead dev, my prospective 'boss', and we hit it off like gangbusters. Seriously. I was super-excited to work for this guy.

And then he says, one last thing - we need our boss to sign off on you. He's going call you tomorrow. He's going to do an online 'code' interview. We'll call Scott's boss Steve. So Steve gets on the phone, hey how you doing, I am going to ask you how to code a binary tree, we need a left method and a right method and some sort of object. Pick a language. We were using a screen-sharing service, it might have been a shared google doc or something. I could type and he could see it. And I'm saying to myself, 'sweet! I just learned about data structures at Stanford - this is going to be easy'.

I had just finished a class about structures and algorithms at Stanford with Cynthia Lee, and although we used C++ for that I decided to write something with Ruby, because that's my go-to. And I decide to write an implementation using recursion, because had just finished that section with Cynthia and I was excited to show off.

ME: Ok, well the first thing we need is a base case.

STEVE: can you start with the left and right methods?

ME: OK...

and it all went downhill from there. Basically, if you don't understand recursion, it can't be explained to you in a few minutes. It's like the concept of limits - you need some time to wrap your brain around it. And it became clear that Steve did not really understand recursion, or worse yet, thought he did but hadn't put it into practice.

I did not get that job, and for a while I was angry because I really liked talking to Scott, but then I realized, that Steve guy is running the ship. And he was a mess. Put simply: he decided to veto a candidate that his own manager had already approved, based solely on his own limited understanding of Ruby, and recursion, and his inability to see his own limits (pun intended).

So that's what the reverse interview is - if you are not paying attention, as an interviewEE, to all of the details available to you in terms of what kind of culture exists at the company, then you are missing a huge opportunity to vet the organization before you are tied down. I believe great organizations are easy to spot - as are uneasy ones. Most of the time all we have to do open our eyes, and pay attention.

EDIT: I was shooting for something like this implementation but I didn't think to rope in the enumerable module.

with regard to Russian hackers

We have all heard of the boogeyman, right? He's for scaring kids to sleep. Russian hackers: they're for redirecting anger towards the unknown, and obfuscating the real issues with our 2-party system. Hopefully everyone has also heard of Pascal, and what is now known as Pascal's Wager. The question is, should one believe in God?

Basically, believing in God, per Pascal, is the smartest decision to make, because it avoids the only  possible 'infinite loss' which is that you don't believe in God yet he/she is in fact, real.

Basically, believing in God, per Pascal, is the smartest decision to make, because it avoids the only  possible 'infinite loss' which is that you don't believe in God yet he/she is in fact, real.

Great, let's try this with Russian hackers. It's a bit different, because our choice is one of priority, but it still looks similar:

fix hacking firstfix hacking 2nd
fix DNC fraud firstn/atakes care of itself
fix DNC fraud secondwe still have a problemn/a

Look, I get it. I don't like the idea of anyone hacking our anything, especially if it's a little bit true. But to quote GoTThe night is dark and full of terrors...

Seriously, there are a lot of problems with the world today. They all need to be addressed. I agree. It is a question of priority. Here are my premises:

1 - we as a nation are basically able to obsess over only 1 thing at a time

2 - Bernie would have won if the DNC primary had been fair

I don't think either of those things are even up for debate anymore. The ability to avoid Dr. Orange was baked right into the system. It was the DNC that failed us. Russian hackers were not and are not enough to sway the election, even if they do exist. If you grant the truth of those 2 things, THE ONLY DISCUSSION we should be having right now is how to either create a viable third party in this country (Bernie, I am looking at you) - or to somehow change the DNC for the better. If we do neither of those things, we are on track for season 2 of DOTUS™.

Coming to you in 2020.

But by all means, let's keep talking about Russia.

 

EDIT: lol, someone sent me this link on how to watch GoT over VPN.

it's the privacy

Very often, I promise myself that I will write more. I am a writer, after all. That's my qualification. Sure, I've been writing software for web apps since the invention of the internet, but my degree is in Creative Writing. Go figure. So I go round in circles, because I want to create things, and I want to SHARE, but I can't just talk candidly about the people in my life, because that is a violation of privacy, and I am a pretty private person. But I also don't want to write things that no one will read. And as far as I can tell, unless I want to be a 'real' writer, and start my first novel, I am stuck being a blogger, and bloggers live and die by page views. Plus, my life revolves around a 4 year old and a 1 year old, and I don't feel right posting lots of photos and talking about them online. So it's quite a waste of time. I don't really even want particularly to be a successful blogger - I just want to feel like I am writing.

So what is there to talk about? Two things, really. The last few weeks were spent vetting new BI platforms, and although Tableau Online and Mode Analytics were both close, it became pretty clear that the only option for us is to continue with Periscope. They look the best, and they make my life the easiest. Sold. So here is a good example - my proof of concept was basically to recreate part of the main dashboard, and see how easy that is.

So, in Periscope, for the first chart the query is this:

select sum(amount) day_total, sum(f1) count_of_items, f3 merchant, ds
from temp_ps 
where p_type='Periscope Retailer 180'
and [f2=partner]
and ds > DATE_FORMAT(CURRENT_DATE - INTERVAL 31 DAY, '%Y-%m-%d')
group by ds, f3
order by ds, sum(amount) desc

Now, Tableau won't even let you give it a query, it likes to sit on a whole table and you drag fields around until you are happy. Not how I like to work. But Mode, on the other hand, looked pretty good, until you realize that:

  1. there is no Top X functionality;
  2. If you want to do that yourself you have to: write the query yourself, and handle the the settings in Python

So just as an example, the query, compared to above, for 'rolling your own' top x query - in this case, top 20:

select * from 
 (
( select * from
(SELECT (@rownum:=@rownum + 1) AS myrank,
merchant,
total
FROM ( SELECT merchant,
SUM(day_total) AS total
FROM {{@dash1}}
WHERE partner = "Facebook"
GROUP BY 1
) AS merchants,
(SELECT @rownum := 0) r
ORDER BY total DESC) z
where myrank <= 20 ) x
right join 
(
select sum(amount) day_total, sum(f1) count_of_items, f3 merchant, ds, f2 partner
from temp_ps 
where p_type='Periscope Retailer 180'
and ds > DATE_FORMAT(CURRENT_DATE - INTERVAL 31 DAY, '%Y-%m-%d')
group by f2, ds, f3
order by ds, sum(amount) desc
) y on x.merchant = y.merchant )

which as you can see is brutal, mostly because MySQL has no native ranking function, but to be fair that is before you even handle the presentation using python.

So it just quickly becomes a mess. I love the level of control, but I also need a simple workflow, and for Periscope you just click the damn checkbox. Yes please.

So it is nice to feel like I put us in the right direction. I hope that we can work with Periscope for a long time.

The only other piece of news is that I will be going to Austin at the end of the year to record an album with my buddy Shawn Pander as producer. I am super excited. Seriously this is going to be a pretty big deal. This is the song list (album working title: 'Nothing Can Keep Us'):

Go My Way
Roll Easy
Seeing Stars
You Got Me Running
Never Say Goodbye
A Little Dying
There's Nothing Beneath This
Dernier Coup