My Bitcoin Experience: Wallets and Debit Card

I am in the world of bitcoin since 2012 when I opened my first bitcoin wallet on blockchain.info… and a lot of things changed since that moment: new services, growing communities, new alternative crypto currencies, ATMs, Credit-Debit cards, and a larger diffusion of people accepting bitcoin in their shops.

Xapo Bitcoin Debit Card

After those two years I can see a better view of what Bitcoin means to me and the innovation behind that technology, including Xapo debit card… and some of my friends are tired of me talking about bitcoins :)

How I choose a wallet

Using simple words: the wallet is a collection of addresses and their private keys. The address, that is used to receive the money, is a group of letters and numbers generated by the private key, that is required to send money.

Because you must have the private key of your address in order to sing a transaction, the security level where this value is stored must be high. The default bitcoin client provides a wallet, but is really slow and it must be synchronized and it will take some days…

Continue reading

Impossible means: “harder to make it possible”

Several times, I have heard my grandparents saying “that is impossible” when they are comparing what the young generations do to what they were used to do. According to the dictionary, what is impossible, is “not possible, unable to be, exist, happen, unable to be done…“, but for what I have noticed and experienced, is just a matter of points of view.

Today I saw on this video, comparing the new generation of MacBook Pro with Macintosh Portable, and we can see clearly the difference between those two models, but the main difference is the release date. You have all the rights to say me that I am talking about a trivial thing, but it’s really good to introduce the thought I have in my mind.

The Macintosh Portable, yes that big-plastic-”90′s gray”-heavy thing, was released on the September 20th 1989. At that time the technologies were totally different than today, and now we can almost say “obsolete“. Nevertheless, that piece of cold engineering became really obsolete few years later. On the February 11th of the amazing 1991, that heavy guy started being “a piece of history“.

I may think about “future” things, but they will always appear as “impossible” to my practical eyes. I may say “people take flying cars in the future”, maybe they will, maybe they will not. I really believe that what I see as impossible is still possible, but the effort to make it real, so to make it possible, is higher. What is impossible for me could be possible to somebody else or in another time of the history. It’s just a matter of points of view.

Macintosh Portable battery

The main reason behind this choice by Apple was its battery. Technically you can read more about that on Wikipedia, but the battery problem is important to understand my idea: If we could travel back in time and go on Semptember 20th of 1989 with the concept of the modern MacBook Pro, or just even with the concept of the modern batteries, how do you think people and engineers will react?

Probably they may say that the MacBook Pro is an impossible concept, even thinking from the technical prospective of that time. It took almost 20 years to make the right battery and screen for the MacBook Pro… Or even the MacBook Air. Steve Jobs, as many others determinate people, took his entire life to create Apple’s products, that in the 80s were considered as “impossible”.

That’s also why I think that if you have a concept that may appear impossible, you can push to make it possible: steps by steps, goals by goals, everybody can change the world somehow, and make their dreams come true! That’s why from my point of view, what it is “impossible” is just harder to be possible.

Needs and happiness with Maslow’s pyramid

Maybe I should write this blog post on my personal and secret diary, but I would like to share this using my blog. This time I am not going to talk about technology or startup, but what happiness is to me and how Maslow’s pyramid helped me to realize that.

Before moving to Denmark, when I was in Italy, I was focusing all my attention on the main actions to get material things and physical welfare: I was happy only when I was able to achieve my goals. The truth is that I was able to achieve my goals, but as soon as I got stuff done, after a short period of happiness, I had the same feeling when the tv series I am watching is over, and there are no more episodes to watch: looking for something to re-fill that feeling of nothingness.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

So I reminded that Tommaso Grotto, once told me about his own version of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I decided to think about that, redrawing and thinking from scratch what happiness means to me. I am not a psychologist and just for fun, I created my own Maslow’s pyramid, based on the needs I can satisfy to be happy and on my life goals.

I created a new pyramid made by needs connected to specific life-goals and actions: At the bottom of it there are needs that I can satisfy easily, (like eating junk food) and on the top the needs that require a bigger effort (like found another company). I don’t want to share it here, because is really personal and I am sorry, but I hope you get the idea: I really suggest everybody to create their own Maslow’s pyramid.

To really use my “pyramid” I started comparing it with my every-day whims: by asking myself  “where should I put this whim inside the pyramid?” I understand what priority and if that whim makes me really happy. If it fits or is connected to some of the pyramid levels, I will perform the actions to satisfy the need behind that whim. This helped me to distinguish things that really matter and things that doesn’t, like for example, my decision of not buying a new phone at the beginning of this year: there was something more important to do than spend some money for something that I don’t really need.

Even If I live in the happiest country in the world, I think that this is really personal and probably there is not a single way to see the Maslow’s pyramid. I am not a psychologist but I think everybody should build a pyramid… and listen to the happy song :P It helped me to clear my mind from stupid whims.

Does Money mean Trust? [Spoiler: Yes]

Finally, I moved my blog to wordpress.com. The reason is really simple: time. I have a blog that had been for years and years hosted on my own server. This helped me a lot, because is cheaper and it allows me to use custom plugin and design my own theme. But everything is fine until you get hacked! …and sadly I don’t have enough time to find a solution to this… by paying!

Money by Mukumbura

Shortly: I found that 2 months ago, exactly on the 5th of May, somebody injected some PHP code in my wordpress installation on my server.  The way to fix this is to restore some backups and upgrade everything to the latest version… but I don’t have time for this. So I decided to spend 99$ and buy the WordPress.com Plan in order to have my old blog, in my old domain ( blog.setale.me ), with a horrible theme and the trust that wordpress.com will take care of the security of my thoughts.

I have a strange feeling of security when I pay that. Probably this feeling of security is caused by the trust I give when I pay those 99 dollars. I am not a psychologist, but I can say that maybe this is the base for some business models mostly in the share economy or every peer-to-peer business model… Continue reading

Communication techniques for lovers.

During the last months, I fell in love with different people. My real problem was that my mind was “acting like a child”, dividing work from loving affairs as two magnets with the same poles attract themselves (hint: they don’t). That’s good, but what happens if you bring “communication techniques” into love affairs? So I realized that, when I am in love, I was not that good in communicating as I am doing while working every day… then I decided to write down some suggestion about the “communication techniques for lovers“.

Communication for lovers (Photo by MartinodF)

I decided to write some simple suggestions based on what happened to me, to remind me to communicate better. I want to apply some communication techniques that I’ve learned from the experience of working in teams, to my future love story, just because I failed in the past.

The fact that we pretend other people to read our needs is really stupid. Is really important that we understand that nobody will ever be able to read clearly what we are thinking, our needs or our interests. Nobody is called Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, and only few people are able to understand or create needs in other people. I believe this is the basic problem that brings us to communicate with other people in the wrong way. Continue reading

Goodbye Roma!

Dear Rome,

I know you are not missing me and I am not missing you. You may wonder why I made the decision to move to another city, well the truth is that I planned to go abroad to live and escape your life-style. Escape from the never-ending life style. When I’ve got 21 I realized that I would no longer be the “smart guy”, the “genius” or the “talented young guy” and I cannot stay in my “comfort zone”. I knew i have to change everything and grow up. Again. So I made a big decision 8 months ago: I started collecting money and waiting for the right moment and the right opportunity…

Copenhagen Canali

We are on a time bomb, Rome. You are not what I need now. You are the perfect city for people that are not willing to grow up. Your citizen has big dreams, but maybe someone has cursed you. So they easily get distractions when they are almost to achieve goals. You are my eternal city because it was not easy to get things done for me. I had this feeling.

When I was not thinking about collecting money, because I get used to that, and when I forgot that I planned to move abroad, because I was feeling so good with my friends and my clients, something more concrete and real bring me back to the reality. During my 21th birthday party I got my opportunity and a new mood. I got an unexpected opportunity to move to Copenhagen. I took that and I decided to escape and get away from you. Is the very first time in my life I feel really happy and “accomplished”. I achieved my goal: I found a great job in a cool startup with great people and great co-working space. I am really lucky.

My dear Roma, you have to understand that Copenhagen is different from you. Is better than you. If you are talented, young and really skilled, you will find a great job a great salary and a big opportunity. Nobody is using me or takes advantage of my time. Nobody is using my age. Nobody is promising me money. Nobody is talking behind about my projects. Nobody is smiling at me just because they want something back and everybody answers to email. Nonetheless, that is something that will change. You gave me the opportunity to learn and to know, you helped me by introducing me cool and interesting people: even if everyone has defects, I think I’ve met the most important people, and I am proud of what you gave to me: I great experiences inside a great community.

It's time to fly

Roma, I am not missing you… The startup world in Copenhagen is not so big, but at the same time is more solid and people really care about important things. The city “works” and “rocks“, nobody is really complaining about the transport system, the internet connection, money, and services. Everything just works.

I hope to stay here for long time, and I want to create my new networks and my reputation in Copenhagen, because that is the thing I was really taking care when I was “with you”… and is the only thing I am really missing. However, as everybody knows, the world is still spinning around and we will never know what is gonna happen, and maybe I’ll be back under your ethereal spell. :)

But I don’t think so :P
Goodbye Roma!

Perché ho detto No all'acquisto del Nexus 5

Problema: la batteria del mio iPhone 4S si stava rovinando sempre più velocemente. Fino a 6 mesi fa ricaricavo la batteria solo ed esclusivamente quando questa si scaricava completamente… poi però ho iniziato a prendere la cattiva abitudine di ricaricarla quando ne avevo la possibilità: il risultato è che l’iPhone si scaricava in meno di 5 ore, quando prima arrivava tranquillamente fino a sera.

iPhone 3G won't charge anymore

Così avevo preso in considerazione l’acquisto di un nuovo smartphone e avevo pensato proprio al Nexus 5: il costo di questo device è nettamente inferiore rispetto a quello dell’iPhone 5s e mi offre comunque tutto quello di cui ho bisogno.

Poi mi ricordo di questa intervista a Linus Torvalds che mi aveva girato Alessio mentre eravamo in treno. L’articolo è interessante, ma la parte che mi ha colpito di più è questa qui:

“…There are a lot of people in the software industry who like to show off that they’re using the latest software or programming language. It’s a status thing, like the people who talk about obscure indie bands or foreign movies. Whether it’s Linux or Haskell or MongoDB or whatever, every workplace has at least one guy who spends most of his time talking about closures and how he is moving his blog to NodeJS so it will scale.”

Ed è assolutamente vero: con l’acquisto del Nexus 5 stavo costruendo il mio status. Perché acquistare il Nexus 5 è uno spreco di soldi in realtà, non ne ho bisogno in quanto l’iPhone 4S non è lento e non da problemi, l’ho sempre trattato benissimo e ha solamente la batteria che si è rovinata con il tempo. Nel mio caso non è obsolescenza programmata.

Nexus 5

Dentro di me stavo proiettando il film che non faceva altro che alimentare la voglia di Nexus 5: avrei utilizzato tutta la suite Google, avrei potuto installare un wallet bitcoin, avrei potuto utilizzare BitTorrent sync in background, avrei potuto usare l’NFC, oppure avrei semplicemente potuto installare una ROM differente… ma ne avevo veramente bisogno?

Con l’attività di freelance non ho bisogno di NFC, non ho bisogno di Bitcoin o di una ROM modificabile. BitTorrent Sync e la suite Google le posso già utilizzare con iOS. L’iPhone già mi da tutto quello di cui ho bisogno: Pages, Numbers e Keynote, Mail, Evernote e Skype sono il giusto necessario per lavorare e spostare tutto sulla suite Google sarebbe stato anche “doloroso“. Quindi è veramente utile l’acquisto del nexus 5? No.

Invece di fare il Nerd-Hipster vanitoso, ho cambiato radicalmente punto di vista e ho cambiato radicalmente scelta. Mi sono recato in un negozio Clinica iPhone a Roma e per 50€ ho sostituito la batteria dell’iPhone. Ora ho il problema che la batteria mi dura troppo ed arrivo a fine serata con il 30%, ma riesco a lavorare senza problemi e senza aver speso 400€ inutilmente :-)