Ledger of record

The most interesting idea/thought of my day goes to this thread by Balaji Srinivasan.

I need to really spend some time studying this, thinking about it, and seeing what work is being done to achieve this. Since the advent of bitcoin, I’ve been thinking about how the content we see online can be verified cryptographically and attributed to a person, and how truth / facts can be established. The vast majority of major media outlets in the US make us all dumber. There is very little consideration for objectivity, scientific thought, fact checking, and truth for that matter. It’s not only a shame, but extremely dangerous, especially now that “news” is used to propagate dangerous lies, misinformation, and actually create civil unrest, whether it be the escalation of the violence between protestors and the police or other federal agencies, or the idea that the coronavirus is a hoax, etc.

It is deeply saddening to see people 100% believe some things that the media tells them that are not true. While it’s tempting to make fun of these people or take pride in being better informed and call it a day, but it is so much more important thing is to focus on potential solutions to the problem because we can’t just change people’s beliefs over night to solve our problems.


How to Install WordPress on Ubuntu in 2020

I’ve installed WordPress a few times over the past decade or so. I have never managed to keep a blog up and running for more than a few years. In the end I end up not renewing the domain and/or terminating the VPS it’s installed on. Hopefully this blog stays longer. At $5 / mo, it’s much easier to justify paying for this VPS than the $10 I was paying a few years ago. I’ll go through some basics about how I set this up (FYI this is not a full tutorial).

I first launched a new Linode running Ubuntu, and secured it a little bit (changing SSH config, setup the firewall rules). I installed mysql-server 8, nginx, php5-fpm and downloaded WordPress. I was following some tutorial online and I got stuck once I had setup nginx config, the mysql db, user and password and had wp-config.php setup with the proper credentials. I tried loading my WordPress site through my browser but it wasn’t loading properly. I forget exactly what I saw, but after googling around for a while, I finally found someone’s blog post which posted the solution.

ALTER USER 'user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'mypassword';

Mysql 8 changed their authentication method! This was super frustrating, but I’m glad that someone discovered the fix and I was able to get WordPress setup.

I also setup https using Letsencrypt (free!), which I highly recommend.

You need to create a Diffie-Helman params (takes a while):

openssl dhparam -out /etc/letsencrypt/certs/dhparam.pem 4096

and also run certbot:

certbot certonly -d, --standalone --cert-name

Writing is useful

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I figured starting a new blog would be a start to write down my thoughts more, which have lately been super unorganized and all over the place, especially now that I have a little one to take care of! Writing is useful. It helps one focus, clarify, organize and even prioritize thoughts and ideas.

What are some thoughts that I’ve been having? I feel less productive than usual, and that’s fine given I have a baby to take care of. But my concern is that even if I didn’t, I would still feel “unproductive” and lazy. Covid-19 doesn’t help, as it keeps me indoors a lot more in my small home, where it gets very warm and there’s no AC. If only the AC guy I found on Yelp would submit the documents to the HOA so I could get a mini split installed.

I don’t want to just kill time. I want to make good use of it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s caring for my daughter, learning new things, reading books, writing, programming, or creating things, I just want to make good use of time and not have regrets.

Netflix does not help this situation. The last show I watched was Halt and Catch Fire. My spouse and I were hooked and finished it in about four or five days! At least it was somewhat educational or relevant to technology, the history of computing and the Internet. The transformations of various characters was also interesting.

SPOILER ALERT. Donna went from a busy working mom to a successful partner at a VC firm. Gordon went from a bored employee burned by a past failure in entrepreneurship to having multiple successful exits. Joe shed his unwavering salesman / Steve Jobs like visionary mentality to a softer, more thoughtful and caring human being. Cam went from a stubborn, fiery, my way or the highway genius coder to, well, mostly the same but more mature and less temperamental.

Watching the show made me think (not very deeply) about whether I wanted to do something as cool as any of these characters did, whether it’s starting my own company (something I’ve always wanted to do), being a VC (I don’t think I’m the type), or just working harder to become a better programmer (the most realistic option).

I’d love to read more books on programming, learn to code in more languages, think deeply and learn about new tech especially around cryptocurrencies, learn more about management (and do it). These are all great, but one can only spend so much time on these things while juggling actual work, taking care of a baby and loving my spouse. Not to mention the time I spend on Youtube, Twitter, managing stocks and investments, reading investment newsletters, and distracted by so many interesting content I find on Hacker News, Twitter, and Reddit. Oh and checking the Wall Street Journal a couple times of day, and, Am I so predictable? Is this all I amount to? A news and content addict? Sad.

Perhaps the solution is to not just read something interesting, but to actually apply it and create something with what I’ve learned.