Cyberdeck Users Weekly

By Paul Miller

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Description

A podcast from Paul Miller about how to own technology.

Episode Date
Mesh networking with Richard Myers
5855
May 28, 2020
What a Bitcoin future looks like
3227

I did a pod about Bitcoin, I hope that's okay!

Bitcoin resources I recommend

Tales from the Crypt

Noded

Bitcoin Audible

Satoshi Nakamoto Institute

The Bitcoin Standard

A Bitcoin Future

What if everything you bought got cheaper every year, but your salary stayed the same? You'd eventually go to space, right?

Human material needs are in some sense finite, but human wants are infinite. Human time is absolutely finite, but human ingenuity -- the ability to do more with the same amount of time -- is multiplicative and exponential.

In an economy we create value as we transact voluntarily, and in an economy with money we use money as an intermediary to store that value we create. In a Federal Reserve economy, that value creation is skimmed off the top and given to banks so they can give us more credit card debt. In a Bitcoin economy, we all get to benefit from value creation.

Bitcoin wouldn't fix theft, or the desire to steal. It just makes theft no longer our national monetary policy.

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May 23, 2020
IoT with Internet of Shit
2705

Internet of Shit: the origin story

@internetofshit

Product Hunt

"Samsung smart fridge leaves Gmail logins open to attack"

"Hackers can hijack Wi-Fi Hello Barbie to spy on your children"

"how many servers could it take to turn on a light bulb lol"

A history of IoT

JavaScript

Raspberry Pi

Gartner 2014: "In 2020, 25 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use"

Smart socket botnet

Highlights of IoT

Philips Hue

Sonos

Litron

Brilliant

Cats

Petnet outage

A better way? (Probably not)

Home Assistant

Apple HomeKit

HUGE: INTERNET OF SHIT FULLY ENDORSES GOOGLE HOME

Alexa everywhere

I always forget GlassWire exists and then I look like a dummy when I talk like it doesn't exist.

Sony patent where you yell "McDonald's!" to skip an ad

Less internet, less shit

Stagg EKG electric kettle

Oh dang there's a Bluetooth version now

IoT might be useful if you can "own" it

Nest Thermostat

Ring + police

UniFi doorbell (early access)

Apple Bounjour / Rendezvous

Internet of Shit merch

Stickers

--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/futurepaul/message
May 20, 2020
"Next-gen"
3302

The next generation of consoles

Faster storage, ray tracing, higher resolutions.

Unreal 5: "nearly a polygon per pixel"

But what about

Simulation? Single shard MMOs? Multiplayer physics?

To me, Dwarf Fortress still feels like the most next-gen game on the planet

Minecraft with RTX is the perfect example of what's going well and what's not improving in games.

Portable assets and avatars

As photogrammetry matures and we approach photorealism, assets might be more shareable. And easier to create.

See: Quixel Megascans

There's probably a rough DIY photogrammetry aesthetic that will differentiate non-pro games from "pro", but it will still look great IMO.

If there's unification of the art pipeline, "remixing" game assets and game modes seems more possible. That would be truly groundbreaking.

What I want is a skateboard game that's also a multiplayer shooter.

Cheating

What would a game be like where everyone was running the maximum amount of cheats they can get their hands on?

If you think about it, cheating is a form of "AR" for a virtual space. Maybe it doesn't have to be a bad thing for all games, it could be a feature!

What about the holy grail of anti-cheat: peer to peer multiplayer games. It works with chess!

I think it could come down to multiplayer physics simulation. If your character is only capable of producing forces within a certain range... those could be the rules you abide by. just thinking out loud.

Single shard

Eve Online and Dual Universe are "next-gen" in this sense.

Beyond single shard: the "metaverse."

Whatever happend to VRML?

Digital scarcity

Reamde. Hats. Real money poker.

"The dream is, I want a 12 year old camper from thailand to help pay for his family's food by killing me in an online video game and my slow reflexes" - Matt on TFTC

How do you have digital scarcity without centralized control? Bitcoin actually only solved Bitcoin's problem in this regard.

In Minecraft you choose to have scarcity to maximize fun.

What's the point of games?

Factorio

StarCraft

Overwatch

Path of Exile

Minecraft

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May 16, 2020
Redox OS with Jeremy Soller
5852

Everybody needs an operating system. But do we need a new kind of operating system?

Right now we basically have three major options: Windows, macOS, and Linux. Windows and macOS aren't open source, but that's not the only thing that's wrong with them. Linux is open source, but oftentimes that feels like its only advantage over the other two.

For years now I've dreamed of an alternative desktop OS with a fresh new foundation. Something we can build the future on with more speed and confidence because it got the fundamental abstractions correct. An operating system shouldn't feel bloated or fragile or like a monumental hack on top of 70s-era technology. It should be the minimal layer of software that can effectively and safely abstract hardware and allow multiple user programs to run together in harmony.

For the past five years, my guest Jeremy Soller has been actually building an alternative operating system: Redox OS. I think it might be our best hope.

WARNING

This conversation is extremely technical. In a sense, this is the sort of technical stuff that most users never have to think about. But I find it interesting because someone has to care about these technical details or nothing would get done. I'm interested in the low-level details because I think getting those right can enable more capabilities and excellence at the user level.

If you absolutely hate operating system talk, you can fast forward to around the hour mark where we talk about the Linux computer company Jeremy works at: System76.

Setting the stage

Redox OS

System76

Pop_OS

Rust

Window 3.1

Assembly language

A Taxonomy of Kernels

Monolithic kernel

Unikernel

Microkernel

How drivers work

PS/2 port

LPC bus

L4 microkernel

Trying Redox in a virtual machine

QEMU

The problem with phones

UBports

PinePhone

Librem 5

Making Linux computers

Thelio desktops

Lemur Pro laptop

KiCad

FreeCAD

coreboot

How to pitch in

Follow @jeremy_soller on twitter

Follow @redox_os

Redox OS website

Donate to Redox OS

Redox Summer of Code

Security

Meltdown and Spectre

oreboot

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May 13, 2020
Hmm are we using computers correctly?
2872

A skateboard for our minds

The computer is "a bicycle for our minds," as Steve Jobs once said.

Do you ever watch those velodrome events in the Olympics? They either have a rolling start, or they have to have someone holding them up for a standing start. The bikers look silly and helpless until they get moving. And then they go in a loop, round and round, very, very fast. If you turn a little too hard your wheels slide out from under you and you eat it. When bikers crash in the velodrome the road rash is horriffic and their paper-thin costumes are torn the shreds.

What if we thought of the computer as a "skateboard for the mind?" What would a "skateboard" computer be like? How do we get there?

The Cuckoo's Egg

“The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." - William Gibson

I brought this up on the last episode, but I'm reading a book called "The Cuckoo's Egg," and it's making me very jealous of how much agency this guy has over his machines. In 1989!

The Unix Philosophy

Smalltalk

Wearables

I don't want to brag but I've been thinking about how we use computers, and how I'm disappointed by how we use computers, for a while. Here's a piece I wrote about the history of wearable computers in 2012, and how I was pretty sure Google Glass was the wrong direction.

Dyson sphere

Along the lines of affective computing, another piece I wrote even longer ago attempted to explain how much our computers are dropping on the floor when they interact with us.

My comparison was to a Dyson sphere. Here's the Wikipedia definition:

A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output.

Wrap-up

There are some really cool people in the computer industry who are challenging the assumptions of inherent complexity. Jonathan Blow, Casey Muratori, Raph Levien. Sometimes they might come across and curmudgeons on Twitter. But I think they're fighting the good fight.

There's also a really good talk about what's gone wrong in computing called called "The Mess We're In" by Joe Armstrong, RIP.

Finally, I recommend the On The Metal podcast for a dive into this from fairly technical perspective. There's a whole battle raging just to make it simpler and more secure to boot a computer. I know not everyone can dip into this particular battle usefully, but it's at least cool to know it's happening.

I love riding my bike. And I'm actually really bad at skateboarding. But I want to get better.

--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/futurepaul/message
May 09, 2020
Bitcoin with Matt Odell
8379

This week I'm joined by Matt Odell, the co-host of the Tales from the Crypt podcast. Not only is Matt Bitcoin-famous, he's also hugely informed on technology in general, especially when it comes to security and privacy. I'm grateful to have him as my first guest on Cyberdeck Users Weekly, and grateful to have someone as practically paranoid as Matt in the world pushing for better ways to use and own technology.

Here's what we talked about:

Matt's podcast

Tales from the Crypt

Bitcoin

Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

Bitcoin Core on Github

Dear Family, Dear Friends, A letter to all of you who still have no bitcoin

Not bitcoin

Ethereum Web 3.0

Namecoin

Dentacoin

Cryptography

PGP

GPGTools

Blockstream Satellite

"Nyms"

WebAuthn

Signal

Messaging

Lightning Network

Juggernaut

Sphinx

Matt's dead man's switch

FinalMessage

SCANDAL: Paul doesn't use a VPN

Mullvad VPN

Carl Dong's Mullvad top-up service

Practical Bitcoin privacy

BTCPay Server

Wasabi

Samourai

JoinMarket

Coldcard

Phones

PinePhone

Librem 5

GrapheneOS

Open source image processing

Paul's Bitcoin setup

Let Paul scam you out of BTC

myNode

"Bugatti of nodes"

Matt's recommended resources

Matt's YouTube guides

Matt Odell's website

bitcoin-intro

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May 06, 2020
The Optimistic Case for Decentralization
2585

WELCOME TO THE POD

In this episode of Cyberdeck Users Weekly we'll review a bunch of tech giants and what their potential weaknesses are:

AMAZON: MAKE IT MORE LIKE DEPOP

Amazon can't track counterfiets (scale fail) and it uses its vendors for market research (evil).

Solution Why can't I just order from local stores and self-run warehouses? Why can't I buy masks from the guy who stockpiled masks?

See also: https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/14/21065894/google-pointy-acquisition-in-store-products-stock-inventory-shopping

GOOGLE: MAKE IT MORE LIKE RIPGREP

Google simultaneously knows too much about me and yet can't know enough to give me truly amazing and deep results (scale fail), and it attempts to control what I see (evil).

Solution Run searches locally before hitting the network. Most search just me trying to find that one CSS Tricks guide to Flexbox.

See also: https://minbrowser.org/

SEAMLESS: MAKE IT MORE LIKE SQUARESPACE

Seamless takes a gigantic cut. What are they reallllyy actually offering? So much less than even something like Uber.

Solution A protocol you can adhere to for listing things.

See also: https://twitter.com/susie_c/status/1255971900599046144

FACEBOOK / YOUTUBE: MAKE IT MORE LIKE WORDPRESS

Like Seamless, Facebook starts out by letting you build an audience, and then at some point it pivots and starts to charge you for access to your own audience.

Solution Matrix? Mastadon? Jitsi?

See also: https://pauljmiller.com/posts/how-to-fix-the-internet.html

APPLE: MAKE ME MY COMPUTER CARTRIDGES!

Alternatives to Apple: Pi / Pine / Librem / Redox OS / Oxide Computer / System76

I didn't bring this up on the pod but my dream for phones is that when you "retire" one you remove the battery and plug it into your home server setup and it becomes part of the borg that hosts all your local services.

UH-OH:

BIG PROBLEMS WITH DECENTRALIZATION:

Identity (unsolved)

Payments (Bitcoin)

Decentralization of messaging (Lightning?)

Polish and ease of use

BIG systems like operating systems and UI frameworks are rare or bad and possibly unwanted in the first place?

WRAP-UP THOUGHTS:

HOW TO EVALUATE A TECHNOLOGY:

  1. Is it actively harming me?
  2. Can it be taken away, and how easily?
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May 02, 2020