Igor Bubelov
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November 2021

Notes ยท Dec 3, 2021

Table of Contents

Bitcoin Mining

It’s hard to find people who never heard of Bitcoin, but it’s even harder to find someone who can explain how it works. I’m not such a person, but I have a high-level grasp on this thing which I had to put to the test recently. The thing is, a person I know wanted to tap into bitcoin mining and see how it goes. Well, it turned out to be quite a venture. First, it’s pretty hard to figure out if bitcoin mining is profitable and if it’s a good investment. There are many variables at play, and most of them are unpredictable. Here is a few things I found interesting:

  • Mining is far more profitable than I expected
  • Cost of electricity is important, but you can still mine with a good profit even if your electricity is rather expensive
  • ASICs are noisy, you can turn on a vacuum cleaner to get a glimpse on an expected noise level from a single device
  • You’re going to need a good ventilation and probably some cooling in order to mine bitcoin
  • ASICs are pretty durable if you treat them well, 5+ year lifespans aren’t unheard of
  • ASICs are liquid, you can easily sell them at a good price even if you used them for quite some time
  • ASICs are super easy to set up, just enter where you want to receive your coins, and you’re good to go

Debunking PoW FUD

One of the criticisms of Bitcoin mining and “proof of work” schemes in general is their perceived high energy use. Putting aside the subjectivity of defining the “right” uses of energy, there are also a lot of dishonest rhetorical tricks some people use in order to prove their points. Here is a great article written by an economist which neatly and patiently debunks most of those tricks:

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/11/bitcoin-and-electricity.html

Material 3

Material is a well known cross-platform design system made by Google. It looks pretty good in web apps, but mobile apps is where it really shines. Recently, Google had released a third iteration of its Material system for Android and I decided to give it a go in one of my apps. The first impressions are pretty good so far. It looks cleaner and more lightweight. Also, I’m glad it remained as fast as the previous Material iteration. Unlike Jetpack Compose, native Material components are actually usable and don’t take the phone many seconds to load.

One of the most distinctive features of Material 3 is user-customizable color palette. I hope it will push some mobile apps towards using less brand colors. Seriously, people hate not being in control and not allowing them to override colors seems like a bad idea. I removed all the custom colors from my app, and I have a good feeling about it. At least, no one complained yet, but we’ll see how it goes. I didn’t actually test it on a real device yet, but I will soon be able to play with this theme on Pixel 6. I tested it on the latest emulator images though, but they’re both terribly broken and thus not representative.

Calibre

Finding a decent e-book reader software is not an easy endeavor, bit it looks like I found a reader that suits my needs pretty well. It’s called Calibre and, of course, it’s open source. Can’t say I liked the default layout and theme, but they ended up to be easily customizable. Book library UI is a bit outdated though, but it’s not a big deal for me since I spend most of my time reading stuff and not browsing the library.

Movie: Hellbound

Another month, another hyped up Korean movie. Definitely worth watching, in my opinion, but don’t expect anything extraordinary. I like how this movie portrays religious cults and their irrational and hypocritical lines of thought. I wouldn’t say the “good” guys in this movie are likable, but the “bad” guys are pretty hate-worthy, that’s for sure. Heavy and noticeable use of CGI seems to be a common theme in Korean movies. Hellbound closely resembles Sweet Home in that regard. The monsters look absurd and fake, but somehow it doesn’t put the viewer off.

Movie: Narcos: Mexico

The new season is as great as the old ones. Narcos isn’t really a kind of movie people will remember for years, I could hardly recall what happened in previous seasons. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. I mean, I still enjoyed watching this new season, and that’s the only thing that matters. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I even remember much of what I just saw in the last season, but it’s fine.

Game: ATOM RPG: Trudograd

The review of ATOM RPG is one of the oldest posts in my blog:

Game Review: ATOM RPG

To summarize, the original game was pretty good, its some kind of Slavic Fallout. Trudograd is a completely new game which takes place in the same post-apocalyptic world. The story is completely new and most of the game systems were improved in a big way. There are also fewer issues with the game difficulty and balance. I’m looking forward for the next games from the ATOM team.

Game: Metro Exodus

I’m not a big fan of FPS, but I really enjoyed Metro Exodus. One of the wow-things wasn’t even game-related, it was the fact that I could launch an AAA level game on Linux without any issues. The graphics is pretty good and the story is bearable. Gun mod systems and RPG elements seem to be all the rage nowadays, probably that’s why I started to like some FPS games. Far Cry 5 did the same, basically, and I enjoyed it too.

Game: 7 Days to Die

This game is an infinite alpha. I tend to check it every year or so, and it always has something new and interesting, but it’s about as far from a release quality as it was many years ago. The game is actually great, though. I used to play it on my PS4 last time, but it looks like console versions have been abandoned for quite some time. PC build seems to be slowly progressing, and it has a decent Linux support too.