Jun 8, 2016

Distributed Ledger Technology -- Bitcoin

As most of my friends know, Bitcoins have been one of my passions for the last 5 years. I think it is because it uses open source technology and has the promise to improve currency transparency. This week I received a letter in the mail from Sujata Verma who is Canada's Data Assessment and Evaluation person for Canada's Tax Free Savings Account.  She told me that I had over contributed to my TFSA. I logged in to my Canadian account and clicked on TFSA and low and behold I had not over contributed. So who was right.  I asked my Chartered Accounted and he told me to believe my computer rather than Sujata.
Distributed Ledger Technology doesn't have this problem. There is no need for a central data base. There is no need for reconciliation between what you tell someone and what is the truth.  Processing, recording and auditing of sensitive financial information can be done better with block-chain technology than central databases. With Bitcoin now equal to 11.5 billion it is equal to approximated 1/4 of Canadian's current currency in circulation.
Most of us trust our banks to have the correct figures of our wealth. I guess I need to mention here that my bank had a different amount of contribution room left in my TFSA. Trusting antiquated technology for finding the truth can be costly. Who knows if this distributed Ledger Technology catches on maybe there is hope for open social networking software.

Dec 21, 2015

HURAH! Winter Solstice arrives again.

Today is the day when we get the least solar energy of the year. I managed to get 8 kwh from my 6 kw system so basically you could say I had 1.2 hours of sunlight. In reality I started making electricity at 10 am and stopped at 4 pm. There were 6 hours of sunlight. Another reason why I don't make much electricity at this time of year is the angle of my solar panels. My panels are laying flat on my 4/12  roof (66 degrees off vertical) In an ideal world my panels should be only 10 degrees off vertical because I live at 56 degrees north. If solar panels cost more than one dollar per watt I might get the incentive to make the panels more perpendicular to the Sun. Losing 50% electricity production seems easier to me than building the infrastructure needed to keep the panels from blowing away. 10 years ago we got an 100 km/h wind that stripped the asphalt shingles off this roof. So December and January are the 2 months that I can barely bring in 100 kwh.
     Our newly elected NDP government says we need to have 30% of our electricity generated from renewable resources by 2030 (right now we are at 9%) Currently only 1104+ households in Alberta have a grid-tie solar system and right now 10% is coming from wind and 0% from solar. Most rooftop solar systems, even though they are grid-tied, use their electricity on site. In Alberta the distribution and transmission fees cost 60% of your total electrical bill. So even though we can buy electricity for 7 cents / kwh by the time we get it to our door it costs us 18 cents / kwh. I for one am hoping that the Tesla powerwall makes rooftop solar financially more feasible for Albertans. Not having to pay for power line losses (5%) and other infrastructure costs will help Albertans be more green.

Nov 12, 2015

Don't do Windows update until Microsoft fixes it's software.


Yesterday I spent the day fixing Microsoft computers. Normally I repair computers in which the user is at fault, yesterday it was Microsoft's fault. Most people are familiar with "patch Tuesday" in which Microsoft fixes their Operating System Vulnerabilities. So on Wednesday a lot of computers didn't boot up.  Microsoft's update caused their computers not to be able to reboot. I did a windows recovery and low and behold it worked. So I installed the critical update and the computer stopped booting again. So if your running Windows and you want to keep using your computer don't do the update.
I downloaded Windows 10 and put it on a usb stick thinking I might have to do a fresh install. Who knew Microsoft now gives their OS away for free. Mind you with critical updates not working it can see why.