Monday, October 31, 2011

Thoughts on Bitcoin

I like the idea of Bitcoin quite a bit, mainly because I like the idea of being able to send money to someone else at a distance without having to involve a third party (ie a bank).  Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal suspending donations to Wikileaks at the behest of the US (and probably other) government made me like this idea even more.
Bitcoin also seems to have a few problems right now.  The biggest problem seems to be that a lot of bitcoins are owned by speculators who are simply sitting on them.  The other is  that not too many places are willing to accept bitcoins as a form of payment.  If I had a need for alpaca socks or marijuana (and the balls to have it shipped to my house) I could possibly get what I needed.  Aside from that, I'll be stuck using US Dollars.
I am not  deeply invested in Bitcoin, and have no plans to be.  If I see something I can use being sold for Bitcoins, I'll buy it.  I will also accept them for anything I have for sale.  I won't be doing anything else to try and spread their use.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


One of my hobbies is listening to shortwave radio broadcasts.  I've been listening for about a year.

Technically speaking, the frequencies between 1.8 and 30 MHz are considered short wave.  Radio signals within this range can "bounce" off the ionosphere and can therefore be received at a much greater distance than other freqencies.

When I first started to listen, it seemed like I had discovered another Internet.  There are many times of transmissions.  I often hear music broadcasts from South America and Asian talk shows.  There are also many government news broadcasts (BBC, Radio Australia, Radio China International, Radio Havana), the occasional pirate, numbers stations, and coded military transmissions.

I mainly look for pirates and things that seem mysterious.  It's fun to hear the static give way to something done by a person, even if it turns out that it's just a radar.

It is possible to spend a lot of money on radio equipment, but I have not done that.  Here is the radio I use the most:

This is a Kenwood R1000.  It's about 30 years old, but it was built like a tank and works quite well.  I have it connected to around 80 feet of wire which run out the gable vent of my house, across my back yard, and then down to the ground at my garage (the antenna and the radio both are grounded).  I have the antenna connected to a home built antenna tuner (just an LC circuit).  A radio with memories would be nice, but outside that I am pretty happy with it.


I am not very interesting.
This is going to be, for the most part, a tech blog.  I won't be limiting myself to only mentioning the digital gadgets we all enjoy so (although they will not be excluded), but analog stuff as well. 
There may well be a variety of other things here as well.