Saturday, April 04, 2015

Ethereum, Bitcoin 2.0 and Web 3.0

Time to make an update to my thread on decentralization manifesting into our world though technology.

Since my Bitcoin Has No Competitors ? post in Feb 2013 about DOS attacks, I left Bitcoin as I had already talked about the implications of Bitcoin as a technology a number of years prior. Its all been fairly obvious stuff since then.

But if you dont know about Ethereum, a generalization of the core block chain technology (introduced through Bitcoin), its a good idea to be aware of what it offers and what is coming. Its also a great step toward creating a general purpose distributed crypto compute platform at the same time.

Regarding code generalizations, this is a common shape in technology evolution. I have seen often this shape of software trend. Even in my personal field of 3D graphics. I created some of the fastest 3D rendering code of the day. The RenderMorphics RealityLab system that sold to Microsoft to become Direct3D. Our 3D code was very specifically optimized for specific functions of rendering, that is how it did what it did so well. But over the period of a few years we developed general purpose shading compilers. We first did this as an experiment at RenderMorphics but it continued to be generalized and emerged in later years as shader compilers, these enabled the GPU. A general purpose computer for doing massively parallel simple tasks. Which just so happens to be great for graphics, but its great for many other things too.

Over in the world of distributed computing, Satoshi delivered the block chain using it to implement Bitcoin, a sort of digital implementation of gold due to its scarcity properties. The block chains arrival in bitcoin was the unveiling of what could now be done technologically from 2009 forward.

Ethereum delivers the full potential of block chain technology in a clean and functional general purpose computing platform.

Ethereum is an example of the natural generalization of a technology once it is well understood.  This generalization signals the maturity of the technology. Again using the 3D analogy, 3D rendering could not be called mature until the shader languages first were generalized and then settled down enough for GPU's to be built. The block chain could not really go into all the other potentials it offers until the right and mature API came and sat on it.

As far as i have been able to tell so far, Ethereum has the required features done right to do the job required. So that means we now have a distributed computing API that the world can move to. An intermediary distributed compute system for the future internet/web to run on. For the software developer world on the font end, and the hardware world on the back/bottom end.

Ethereum has first mover advantage. There can be only one as they say.. and there only needs to be one, protocol for the next generation on the internet.

I am becoming more confident that can become both the Bitcoin 2.0 and more importantly Web 3.0.

(Note: using the term Web 3.0 is not fully accurate as Web really refers to the combo of a) internet back end for connectivity and storage b) A streamed interpreted graphical front end defined by the HTML protocol. Ethereum only covers the connectivity/store component of the next stage on the internet's evolution. The apps running on it can express their front ends with HTML, but they don't have to. For example a massively multiplayer online game could run on Ethereum and not use HTML at all.)

But in this sense what are we talking about in human terms when we say Web 3.0 ? Now that we can see what Web 3.0 actually is. Just like when we first saw bitcoin, (say money 2.0, or money done better), the financial and cultural ramifications became obvious (though only just beginning to play out) We can further now codify the world into which we are heading.

We now have a general purpose crypto compute platform readily available to everyone. This has world wide reach and can connect across the whole planet.  As long as you have an internet connection (and even this is not so essential now with peering to other local connected nodes) Everyone has access to a fully democratized massively connected highly scaleable crypto secure computer.

I could talk about some of the things we are going to invent and how it will change our society. But some of my early blogs cover this already. The trend to decentralization was clear long before Bitcoin. But we did not yet know how it would be technically implemented, Bitcoin was a massive step in terms of that implementation. It was clear that block chains would be the way to run a distributed p2p system of the future. Ethereum has come along and provided the generalized version of what a bock chain can do for developers to use.. We have the next step already in place.

If you have not seen anything on Ethereum, this is a decent summary of some possibility.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rocks Spikes and Rails

For physical training, as well as chi gung and internal martial arts training, I have always liked to do some resistance training. Normally I do a mix of body weight workout (which I often combine with a more physical yoga set) and some weights like kettle bells, (I enjoy swinging them around and keeping my body springy and all connected).

Recently I found a new type of very hardcore resistance and cardio workout. Moving big rocks.

I started learning about rocks from Steven Stone, a great Scottish rock man who is also a well trained wrestler. He got me into the physical sport aspect of the thing.

Of course you need something to do with them or its all a bit pointless. I would not have taken it much further than building nice walls, steps and the stone circle (using the nicer stones we find)], until recently when I was researching natural building options to live in (such as yurts or other eco homes).

I found that the cost of buying one of these eco-structures, relative to what you actually get, did not make sense to me. So I decided to see if I could build a livable space from stuff that was just lying around or growing out of the ground, and figure out how practical it actually was.

From living in a yurt, I liked the idea of circular living spaces, I also enjoy how you really feel all the nature around you because of the thin walls. But I have also like living in mud buildings because of the unique feeling and the heat retention of the mud walls.. So I wanted to come up with something modular, but that could be built optionally either way. Added to this I wanted a design where could plug these round spaces together with other round spaces, allowing you to choose the type of round 'feeling' you wanted in each room.

I also wanted something that could be made out of components and taken down again relatively easily without any leaving any impact on the land.

Instead of thinking of a house as walls and making rooms inside it, I thought of making various rooms, with the same basic structural components, but with the option of using different materials within this structure to create the feeling you liked. These could then be connected with external paths, rope bridges or tunnels. A sort of house where the house is really the nature around you, and the rooms are interconnected spaces that are all part of the nature rather than isolated from it.

Anways, that's the idea I am playing with. So right now to test it all out, I am building two prototype versions, one on stilts up in the trees and one slightly bigger one on the ground.

All of this got me a good reason to move some bigger stones again. I did not want to make any sort of concrete foundation. It feels nasty to do that in the nature here. But I am happy to drop some rocks on the ground in a circle or two.

If you are going to build without concrete, you are either going to have to get physical or have a machine do the heavy lifting for you. I did not want a machine driving around the area where I am putting these things, and its so much more fun to see if you can do it all yourself. The building on stilts is also on a steep hill for added complication, there is no way I could get a digger there even if I wanted to.

Here is a short video of me moving a rock or two and making a foundation.

Rolling some stones down the hill from where they were delivered, then moving them with rails to where the lower space is going to sit. Its about a 50m journey for each stone. Each is a good workout, sometimes i move them in batches.

You have to stay very present moving rocks or these things can break you very easily. Your body alignments have to be spot on when you lift or things in you pop. Also if the stone starts going to wrong way, you need to get out of there. Sometimes they really do have a life of their own… stone respect is a must.

But back to the training, it certainly changes your perspective.. When you live in a city and work on a PC, you work out to keep fit.. now I am discovering that I think the other way round, I need to plan when my body is rested and strong enough to move rocks again.. No longer does it make sense to wear out my body lifting weights when I could be move a rock and getting something real done. Its interesting and fun to have that physical reality based orientation appear in this way in my life.