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I continued working on the next release, mostly by fixing bugs and polishing things out. Most screen transitions were a bit messy so I spent some time making sure all the important transitions are smooth. Making the app more resilient in experimental standalone mode was also high in my list of priorities. Lastly, I found some time to improve the test coverage, although it’s more of a long-term effort and it won’t really benefit the next release.
Core Lightning is my favorite Lightning Network implementation for many reasons outside of scope of this note. Unfortunately, there are no native Android apps which can control a CL node, and making payments on the go is pretty essential for Lightning Network to take off.
CL didn’t even have a remote control API till 0.11.0 so it’s still a bleeding edge stuff and there are a few rough corners we should be aware of. That said, the new gRPC plugin is pretty great and it also sets up mTLS out of the box so you don’t have to worry about unauthorized clients messing with your node.
I was pretty excited about this new gRPC API and I decided to create my own Android client. Most electricity-themed names were already taken, but Thunder seemed to be vacant, so I took it. This app can connect to your CL node via Tor, and it lets you see you balance as well as the list of you channels, and you can even make Lightning payments on the go. Some features are still missing and I’m planning to improve this app in the coming months.
I’ve finally registered in the Express Entry pool, which is just a first tiny step towards Canadian residency. I had to verify my degree and I fled to Bangkok to attend an IELTS exam which is supposed to verify my English language ability. The exam was easy and my final CRS score isn’t that bad, although I’ll probably re-take it a few times until I have the score I want. Bumping listening to 8.0 is realistic and it would give me 50+ extra CRS points, which is a huge competitive advantage.
The best course of action now is squeezing as much extra points as possible and looking for a Canadian job. It’s quite hard for a non-resident to find a local job, but it’s definitely worth a try.
I’ve been digging into Bitcoin in my spare time and it improved my understanding of the whole Bitcoin development process. Submitting changes and proposing new ideas ended up as hard as I expected it to be, but it’s possible to change stuff in reasonable time, if you can explain why it’s necessary.
The Bitcoin itself is a well-organized project maintained by a sizable group of experienced devs, but you shouldn’t have the same expectations about other core infrastructure projects in this space. Some of those projects are wild and chaotic, but it’s generally possible to make meaningful changes, although you might need to be more pushy.
In my previous note I mentioned that I was planning to cut my energy bill, and I had a pretty ambitious goal. I aimed at 5-fold decrease, but it assumed not using air-cons, which made me feel uncomfortable, especially at night. That said, I was still able to cut the bill in half without any damage to my quality of life.
The most savings came from not keeping the lights on when it’s not necessary and from using a fan and an open window instead of an air-con in my office. It’s pretty clear that rising energy prices can be beneficial because my current bill is even smaller than it was a year ago. Price is a nice signal, and it currently nags us to stop wasting energy.