My Ethereum Coin Control System

In finance, your emotions are often your enemy. You may have a superlative investment plan, but it won’t do you any good if you abandon it in a volatility-induced moment of weakness. For the past few years I have been investing in the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency market, and I would be much richer today if I had been less jumpy earlier on. I’ve cheated myself out of more than one chance at acquiring a small fortune by playing at being a day trader. I’ve found that code-mediated, value-driven, long-term investment is the best fit for me: if I have to think about what my money is doing, I will become obsessed with what it is doing, and my obsession will lead to becoming over-attached, which finally will result in my making emotion-driven decisions against my cooler-headed past self’s better-considered plans.

The Nexus Docker Environment

I work as a developer for Nexus. One of the things I’ve done to make it easier for new developers to come on board and start contributing code was to create a Docker image that contains a pre-built development environment containing everything a new developer might need. It also helps with being able to reproduce each other’s bugs, as our environments are all very similar. I’ve been using it myself every day now for about a month, so I figured it’s time I write a post introducing it.

Maker DAO

This blog post is based on a presentation I gave on January 4th, 2016 at the Ethereum meetup in Seattle. The slides are available, as is a video of the event.

I’ve been working with Nexus, an Ethereum-centric blockchain development shop, on a decentralized cryptocurrency leveraging and stablecoin platform called Maker. There’s a whitepaper available for it, but some of the concepts can be tricky, so I’m writing this explanation to provide another resource for anyone trying to figure it out.

To start with a summary: Maker is a stablecoin and decentralized cryptocurrency leveraging platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. It is composed of three primary pieces.

A lot of the technology that empowers people does so while simultaneously creating a large power disparity between the user of the technology and the provider of the technology. In aggregate, this can result in an unhealthy power dynamic between the technology provider and society as a whole. is a news feed focusing on technology that empowers people while minimizing those sorts of power disparities.

Torrent This Post

Every post on this blog can now be torrented, thanks to the “BitTorrent My Blog” WordPress plugin by Maymay. (Maymay is perhaps better known for writing the Predator Alert Tool family of apps and plugins for use with social networks like Facebook and OkCupid.) If you’re using the Maelstrom browser, you will be torrenting and seeding this blog by default.

If you want to torrent any post on my blog, just add “/webseed” to the URL. For example, this post’s torrent can be found at

Watching Websites for Changes in Linux

(Some of this may also apply to OS X, since it’s Unix-like.)

Edit: The general idea does translate well to OS X, but there are a few key differences which Maymay has noted in the comments.

I was digging around in my home directory today and came across a script I’d written last May during one of Github’s outages to alert me when it came back up. Yesterday I turned out a one-liner to watch a website and alert me when it changed, so I was struck by how my problem-solving approach had changed in the intervening months as I continued to learn more about the utilities available on the Unix command line.

Communications Security

This is a copy of a handout I wrote for a talk on PGP to a group of activists at a dinner on January 29th, 2015. The intent was to provide a supplement to the practical, but narrow, walkthrough I’d given for those who wanted to dig deeper into data security in general.

Basic Security Principles

  1. Your security chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Make sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each link in your security chain. Take care to maintain the integrity of every link in your security chain. Using encryption will not help you if you composed your message on a compromised machine.

Message Boxes in OpenERP

Edit: This technique does not appear to work in Odoo/OpenERP 8

Being able to show a user a message is a pretty basic, important piece of functionality. It took me a while to figure out how to trigger a user-visible message from the server in OpenERP, but I eventually managed it. Given the answers on Stack Overflow, I figured I should share this valuable finding with the rest of the world.

A Just Cryptocurrency

An Ideological Basis

I like Bitcoin a lot, but I kinda see it as the latest development in our ongoing conversation about what currency should be rather than as the final word in it. One of the problems I see with Bitcoin, aside from the mining centralization problem, is the wealth centralization problem. In particular, capitalism tends toward the accumulation of most of the world’s wealth in the hands of a few.