Train to Toruń

Travel

On the train from Poznań to Toruń, random fellow passengers helped me put my bags away, offered me food and a drink which is definitely something spiked with something. And now we are using Google translate to communicate with each other.

I think they are Ukrainian. And we are mixing some Russian with Polish now.

They work in construction. Build bridges. They came from Ukraine to work in Poland.

I gave them chocolates from the U.K. One of them has a girlfriend called Marislova. The chocolates are now a gift for her.

And yes it was Vodka. We are best buds now 😜

Tribute in Light

Uncategorized

I was taking the ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan last night and happened to see these giant towering lights on the skyline.

I took as many pictures as I could. Surprised how sharp it turned out given this was all handheld on a rocking boat. What a beautiful way to honor the victims of 9/11 🕊

The Tribute in Light is an art installation of 88 searchlights placed next to the site of the World Trade Center to create two vertical columns of light to represent the Twin Towers in remembrance of the September 11 attacks. It is produced annually by the Municipal Art Society of New York.

[911 Memorial]

A quick guide to buying some zCash (ZEC)

General

If you have decided you want to buy some zCash but don’t know how to go about doing it, here’s some help. It’s a little complicated to do as of now (May 2017) given that it’s a fairly new currency. There are many different ways to do this, what I have here is just one way that has worked for me.

Before you proceed, please pause to reflect. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and are not good investments. Think of the amount of ZEC that you plan to purchase – $100, $1k, $10k, more? Now imagine flushing that much cash down the toilet. How does it feel? If you’ll miss that cash and have better use for it then maybe you shouldn’t be buying ZEC with it. It’s best to only buy the amount that you are very comfortable losing entirely.

Step I: Create a virtual wallet

To hold your cryptocurrency, you need a virtual wallet. There are lots of options available for holding your currency. You can have wallets that are hosted by someone else or you can just physically own your virtual wallet on an electronic device you own. I have found JAXX to be the best wallet option out there. It’s available for every device/platform, syncs your wallets across them, is the most beautifully designed and is very reliable. JAXX is actually multiple wallets – one for each currency – you can choose which currencies you want to store in it. For our purpose here, you only need to initialize the ZEC wallet within JAXX.

  1. Go to JAXX
  2. Download JAXX for your device (iOS, Android, OS X,  Windows etc).
  3. Launch JAXX after it is installed
  4. Select zCash (ZEC) as the wallet you want to initialize
  5. When it’s initialized, it will display a long gibberish string titled “your zCash(ZEC) wallet address). That is the unique address of your wallet that you will need this for step III.
  6. Right now your ZEC balance should be 0.00

Step II: Convert Cash (USD) into Bitcoin (BTC)

It’s very easy to exchange one cryptocurrency for another. The most friction is in converting regular Cash (USD) into the first cryptocurrency. Bitcoin (BTC) is the easiest cryptocurrency to work with. Assuming you don’t already have BTC lying around, the very first step is to convert some USD into BTC. There are several options but Coinbase is the easiest to use.

  1. Create an account on Coinbase
  2. Connect your bank account or credit card to it
  3. Get verified
  4. Go to Buy/Sell and Buy some BTC

Step III: Convert BTC to zCash (ZEC)

There are several exchanges that sell ZEC against various other currencies. I have tried a few and I found Changelly to be the easiest and most reliable way to do it.

  1. Go to Changelly
  2. Put in how much BTC you want to convert
  3. Put in your ZEC wallet address from your JAXX (from Step I in the beginning) where you want to receive the coins
  4. Send the BTC from your Coinbase wallet to the Changelly address
  5. Sit back and wait for the ZEC to arrive in your JAXX wallet

 

It can take time for cryptocurrencies to be transported. This is because “work” has to be done to verify the transfers by independent 3rd parties. But as long as you got the addresses right, it will work. You should now have some ZEC in your JAXX wallet. Please leave a comment if you have any questions, or leave any tips that might help others.

Training Neural Networks to Design TypeFaces

General

Design Typefaces using Neural Networks
The next 10yrs are going to disrupt a lot more things than anyone can imagine. Design already needs to use AI to keep up with the exploding contexts and use cases they find themselves designing for. This is an example of how previously career jobs are getting replaced with neural networks that can learn all the knowledge and implement newer solutions. Read on to learn more about this experiment.

Design is being disrupted by AI

General

‘Infrastructure’ is something whose value becomes apparent only when it breaks down. The developed world only notices electricity, water, Internet when the supply/service is disrupted.
30yrs ago, very few people used computers or the Internet. Today, almost all work is influenced/ affected by digital manipulation of data. It’s infrastructural. Humans add most value doing tasks that technology hasn’t quite figured out yet.
Over the next 10 years, almost everyone’s work will begin to be impacted/influenced by Artificial Intelligence. As jobs get smartened, automated, and scaled, human tasks will continue to shift more into newer, higher abstractions that were practically unreachable in the past.This is an example of how User Interface and Interaction design has moved from tangible interfaces (e.g. physical buttons), to mutable digital interfaces and gestures (displays and touch screens) and now to a deeply integrated partnership with Artificial Intelligence. Designers have to be skilled in understanding contexts and distilling down use cases. But now, Artificial Intelligence is beginning to be the only scalable way to keep up with and design for abundantly complicated contexts of rapidly evolving technology and increasing levels of customization. Traditional UI design is already getting outdated. 

The Fourier Transform

General

When I studied engineering, the topic that I found the most philosophical value in was The Fourier Transform. It blew my mind as it took a complex, crazy, unruly world of waves in the time domain and transformed it into an orderly world of discrete frequencies and phases where they could be easily understood and manipulated. I remember realizing for the first time that most complex, emergent behavior in one dimension was something that could still be easily abstracted in another – a template for many problems we encounter in the world. This is the most accessible explanation of the Fourier Transform. Wish I had access to this when I was a student.

An Interactive Guide To The Fourier Transform

Social Trust Based Transactions in Tanzania

General

  
These are keys to my Lexus 4WD and my 3 bedroom apartment with a view of Mt Meru. I haven’t signed any papers so far. And hardly fronted any money.

CAR 

  • 8am – I text a guy that rents out cars.
  • 10am – he shows up at my door, hands me the keys and leaves. I ask, when do I pay? He says you can pay me later.
  • 5pm – I grab $$ from an ATM and pay him, along with a copy of my passport.
  • Done.

HOME

  • 5pm I stop by to take a look at a house (along with many others)
  • 8am (next day) I decide that’s the one I want
  • 4pm I show up with my stuff and am handed a key to a just cleaned house. When do I pay you? He says: today I’m busy. Tomorrow I am going somewhere. How about the day after?
  • So I will pay him in 2 days.

In Tanzania, trust is important. Relationships matter. The system doesn’t require you to distrust each other. Social reputation systems, and people’s reliance on them, remove the friction (and extra cost) associated with doing things more formally.
Western systems, however, are more universal. Not relying as much on social systems means there’s less biase, better exception handling and more scale.
As technology-mediated reputation systems get better, successfully avoiding all their traps and pitfalls, we can expect more Tanzania style personal, human service at western style scale and access.