My Desktop

Episode 153

This week we take a look at the toolset I’m building for my new desktop computer and how that will help me become more self-sovereign. These freedom tools are indispensable. One of the projects I’m working on is to make these toolsets available more widely.

Bitcoin Weekly Close

BTC – $41,572

Bitcoin Block at Time of Recording



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I can be reached by email at and on Twitter at @McIntoshFinTech. My mastodon handle is Looking forward to hearing from you!


Music Credits

Protofunk by Kevin MacLeod



Ethernight Club by Kevin MacLeod




[00:00:00] McIntosh:

Hey, Pleb Nation. Today is January 19th, and this is episode 153 of Satoshi’s Plebs. I’m your host, McIntosh. And today’s episode is a look at my desktop. Alright. Alright. Alright. Alright. Alright. Bring the music down. Yeah, it’s gonna be a little different today. We’re gonna do our normal market. We’re gonna do our normal support. We’re gonna do our normal stuff, but, gonna talk about my desktop, actually. This new, I call it a server desktop, whatever, I mean well, we’ll get into that in a few minutes and why that might be important to you.

So as I record, the Bitcoin price is $41,572, and it has been all over the map of late. Our block height at time of recording is 82645 4, that’s 826,454. Hash rate, which I haven’t talked about in a while, is actually down. The 7 day rate is 480. It actually got lower than that on one chart that I was looking at, and it’s all because there’s a lot of hash power out in Texas at this point. We’ve had a big freeze in the southern, southeastern, whatever you wanna call it, part of the United States. And, as part of the agreements that they have with ERCOT, they shut down. So a lot of stuff went offline, and so that dragged down the hash rate. So for those of us who are left hashing, we’re doing a little better.

We are actually looking at a downward adjustment right now, which that will be coming up tomorrow. And in the difficulty, adjustment I’m trying to find. Right now, we’re looking at 4.33 sent, which is a nice little move downwards. The previous adjustment back on the January 5th was 1.65. So nice little adjustment. We are 93.55% of the way to the next halving. And that is looking like it’s going to occur on April 22, 2024 2024. Yeah. In just a couple of months, it does kind of I remember originally when it came out, there was, like, April, May, and then it was very late April. And, well, now we’re down to April 22nd. I doubt we’ll get much closer than that, but somewhere around 20th or so of April is what it’s looking like.

Right now, our transaction costs are doing okay. Mempool is still quite full. 1.73 gigabytes of transactions. And we are looking at about 40 sats per vbyte to send a transaction. Forty-one, actually, on the low priority $2.39. So not too bad right now. Why is McIntosh talking about his desktop, or should I say my future desktop? So this is as I record right now, I’m still using this Mac many, as I’ve been talking about for quite a while, I’m looking to transfer over to this new little server that I’ve got, this be link g t r 7 pro. And honestly, after using it now for, what, a couple of weeks, I guess, maybe not quite a couple of weeks, I’m very impressed. It’s very quiet.

It is very power efficient. I know that from the specs, but it’s also very powerful. So I’ve got 16 cores. I’ve currently got 32 gigs of RAM. Eventually, I will update that to 64. What I have been doing, since I’ve got it, is kinda playing around with how I was going to set it up. Originally, I was planning on doing the Nix OS. I’ve probably mentioned that. However, I got down in that rabbit hole, so to speak, and I did actually get a desktop set up. But when I started setting up my tool chain, my my the workflow, the stuff I need to do what I need to do, I started running into problems. Now, NextOS is a little unique. It is a functional, operating system, I think is what they call it.

So you basically build spec files that kinda say, I want this, this, this, and this, and then it’s supposed to figure it all out and install it, which is great. I do something somewhat similar in my day job. We write code, primarily I primarily write code to control servers up in Amazon. So, you know, we can tear down dozens of servers at a time or even more if we really wanted to or build them up or modify them or whatever. So it’s a it’s a great system. It’s a great way of managing servers. And NextOS has been around for a long time, but to be honest, it hasn’t gotten a whole lot of traction until the last a year or so, I would say maybe the last couple of years. And to be honest, the documentation is not up to spec at least for people who are not heavily involved in it like I am. I just want something to do my work with.

And so it it was proving to be too much I was spending too much time. So I went back to Ubuntu, which I’ve used Ubuntu for a long time. It’s actually what we use on our servers that I’ve actually dealt with one two for the last 10 plus years as the primary operating system at my day job. The Earl Grey is really hot. I made it up right before we started and probably overheated it a little bit, but it’s good. Anyways but then I I know so that eliminates a a lot of issues. It solves the audio kind of side of things more or less, but But I have other things that I wanna do with this server.

So, of course, I, as a Bitcoiner, I want to build a, a secure way to manage my seed signer, my hardware wallet, if you wanna call it that. How do I have something I need to plug in? What do I do that. Well, I want Sparrow for that. Well, Sparrow wallet is very easy to install. No problem there. But Sparrow needs things. It doesn’t just operate on in a vacuum. Sparrow interacts with either a Bitcoin node or an Electrum node, and I’ll explain what these are very briefly if if you don’t know. Of course, Bitcoin nodes, this is a node on the network. These see all the transactions of the Bitcoin network go through these, and it stores them.

Very straightforward. It’s actually relatively simple software in that sense, but, of course, there’s a lot of data. Currently, 500 and 60 plus gigabytes of data. So that’s not so difficult. The other piece of this puzzle is Electrum. So Electrum if you got any background well, let me explain it like this. This will make sense. If you view the Bitcoin Node as a Giant Book. Let’s call it a dictionary. It’s not, but it’ll make this analogy work, I think. You’ve got a giant dictionary, except it’s not in alphabetical order.

The words. How do you find the word anteater? Well, in a regular dictionary, you flip to the a’s and then you drill down to the a n’s and the a n t’s and so forth and so on until you find the word. That’s not really the way Bitcoin node works. It’s not indexed is literally just a appended on list of transactions. And what happens if my wallet needs a transaction from January of 2021? There’s not an easy way to get at that information without scanning through the entire stack until we find that. Now that may sound silly, But that’s kind of what goes on under the cover. That’s not probably a 100% accurate, so please don’t boost in and say, McIntosh, you got this little detail or that little detail wrong.

The point is Electrum works with that as an indexer. So you could think of it as the alphabetical order of that dictionary. So it sorts it all out, in the case of our dictionary, alphabetically, and allows you to very quickly look up what is anteater. Oh, I start with the a’s and then I drill down from there. It’s the same thing with Electrum. So it works in tandem with this Bitcoin node, and it lets your wallet work much, much faster. So it’s a very useful piece software. Well, there’s a number of different versions of Electrum because, you know, we’re open source people, and, of course, we’ve gotta build three different ways to do something. So my next decision is what version?

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. I’ve I like rust. I’ve been working fiddling around, I should say. I’m not really I’m by no means an expert on rust, But I’ve been fiddling around with it for a while, probably a year or so. And one of the newer implementations of Electrum is called Electrs, and it’s a Rust implementation of Electrum of the Electrum server and, technically, the wallet. I’m just interested in the server part of this. Cool. Okay. Here’s the thing. You start talking about, I wanna run Bitcoin Node. I wanna run Electrum or Electrs.

I want to run maybe a lightning node. I need Helipad to run with that if I’m gonna use that lightning node for my transactions. You start to see how all this builds up because it really is going to serve the function of a small server. How do I manage all that? Well, with NextOS, I plan it on, managing it with the spec files. You don’t have that in Ubuntu. Ubuntu, they use, Debian packages, and you use tools like apt, a p t, to to interact with that. But not everything isn’t packaged up for Debian for, for Ubuntu, really. Let’s say electors. Elector’s not available. There’s probably a Bitcoin package. There actually is. I installed it.

Actually, I know that there was. And it was a GUI desktop kind of thing that it worked. It I downloaded all the data, and it was syncing. I could have used it, but I wanted something a little more a little more like what I was used to where I was deploying the actual well, not having a GUI essentially. I’m not a GUI person. I’m not. I’ve I’ve never historically been for multiple decades at this point. I’m not opposed to GUIs, but they just tend to slow me down. Anyways, point is I didn’t wanna use that package. I wanted to use something else. Well, how do we solve that? Stay with me. We’re almost to the end of the Shane, I promise. You’ve maybe heard of this. You if you if you’re techno associated, shall we say, at all, you probably have. There’s a concept in system management. There’s a a technology, a methodology, whatever you wanna called containers.

Specifically, they’re commonly called Docker containers. You probably heard that. There’s a Docker tool system. Docker was one of the very early implementers of this, so their name gets thrown around a lot. But, basically, it’s a set of tools that allow you to work with these runtime containers. And, essentially, that container is like a tiny VM, and it can run actually, it can run on your desktop. If you have macOS or Windows, which you most likely do. Technically, you can run Docker on that. I’ve done it on the Mac OS. I I honestly haven’t had Windows for since Windows 2000, just to give you an idea.

The point is, though, it will certainly run on my new Bee Link with running Ubuntu. Ubuntu works very well with Docker. You can build and run Docker containers in that environment. So after I kind of set NextOS aside, I said, well, I’ve got experience with Docker going back a couple of years. Maybe because I do kind of want this diverse set of tools, I should just do docker on Ubuntu. And that’s the path that I’m now going down. I will mention this. Last night, for example, I built an an Electrum server Docker. This Rust implementation I was telling you about, e l e c t r s, Electrs.

And I put the code up in GitHub. GitHub, if you don’t know what it is, is a code repository. It’s globally available. I have put mine under the MIT license as I will all of my code. And, essentially, it’s the spec files. It’s showing you how I build electors. Why am I taking the time to do this? Because it’s kind of a pain. Well, for one thing, I wanna be able to, if I need to, go back and rebuild these. So it’s actually for my own benefit, but I could throw that up in hedge doc in my notes and not make that public. I’m making this public, and I’m doing it on purpose. Because there are other kind of ways of doing this, but I think other people may find this useful.

So here’s where I’m going with this. You may choose not to run Windows or Mac OS. Now I know that’s heresy, but it is a potential. I choose not to because of a number of reasons, because neither one of those truly supports open source. Because even though macOS is based on FreeBSD, actually, and it’s at least kind of in the open source Linux, new whatever ecosystem. Apple does a lot of proprietary things and actually makes it very difficult to work with. I’ll just give you a very quick example. I use a Mac laptop as my work laptop for my day job. And the other day, we were making some changes, some configuration changes to the way that we were accessing something.

And I could not get it to work, and it’s simply because Apple and all of their divine authority and wisdom have chosen to implement a nonstandard way of managing SSH keys, and it’s been a pain. And this has happened again over and over the years. Different things. It’s like they feel like they build something better, and maybe they do, but it’s different than the way that everybody else does, and then it becomes a problem. Another reason why I’m choosing to use Ubuntu, really Linux, instead of a McIntosh, is because of how can I say this?

I’m a very paranoid person. I I I’m gonna rephrase that. I’m a very security minded person. And as a Bitcoin enter who is becoming self sovereign as someone who wants as much control as possible. I fully intend, and I already do this, but I fully intend to continue to self manage my own wealth in terms of Bitcoin. I’m not gonna stick it in an ETF or a bank or anything like that. It’s in my seed signer. Actually, it’s not, but I use seed signer to interact with it. And as such, especially as the amount of that grows, I want to be very active in keeping that safe.

Running Ubuntu instead of Windows especially or McIntosh right behind it is a way to provide some level of security simply because those two operating systems, Windows, and the McIntosh make up probably 98% of the worldwide desktop market. If I’m a hacker, am I gonna spend my time targeting that 98% or the other 2% that runs Linux or some other operating system? Most likely, I’m gonna target those other 2. Does that make sense? So these vulnerabilities that are out there, you’re more likely to be you’re far more likely to be affected by them on a Windows or McIntosh environment, that is just reality. It’s not that there’s not ever vulnerabilities on Linux, but they are when they do happen, they’re taken care of. You can manage that. But the attack surface is just much smaller, essentially. So attackers tend to not target those systems.

So you may choose not to run this stuff are Ubuntu on your desktop. I’m certainly not forcing that on you. The repositories that I’m building, the code that I’m going to be deployed certainly theoretically could run on any Docker setup, which you can do on Windows or Mac. Your mileage may vary, but this is one way that I’m looking to contribute back to the community and at the same time solve a problem that I have. So from here, now that I fixed up the, Electra’s now that I built the elector server, I will be building a Bitcoin node. I will deploy both of those, and then that will give me the basis for my setup, I will already have seed signer set up on the desktop, and then I will interface that with electors, and that will provide a more private, way for me to access the main chain data. So as you move on your sovereign Bitcoin journey, this may be something that you want to consider.

I’m not gonna post even in the show notes, this repo yet, I will be doing that maybe even by the end of this weekend. It depends on how much I can get done. I’ve still got a fair amount of work to do. I want to at least have those 2 containers working. Once I’ve done that, verified that, and set it up, then I will start looking at some of these other things. Probably a lightning lightning node next and then, helipad, and then I think they already have a container for helipad. I don’t know. I may need to use that as a base. And and one of the nice things about Dockers, like, you can pull in an image, an already built image, and use that as a base. It may need some configuration to work with our system.

So we’ll see how that works out. So I just wanted to kinda give you a little bit of, news there, I will still have to set up repo or repo. I will I will still have to set up Reaper, and begin doing the audio production, I’m not 100% comfortable doing that on the same of server, the same computer that I’m running the Bitcoin note on and essentially using to manage my wallet, but I’m not willing to buy a completely separate computer at this point just to do that. So or keep something that’s really old around that may fail at any time, frankly. So, that’s just kind of my thinking there. So, here in another week or so, I will certainly be announcing it maybe Monday morning, but I don’t think so at this point.

Alright. Very cool stuff. You know, we wrapped up our privacy discussion, last week, but I’m going to be building off of that. Let’s take just a minute and talk about our supporters. So this week, I didn’t have any boost. We did have some streaming, coming from our friend, hypersensitive asaris, if I remember correctly. And I do appreciate that. As you may know by now, of course, I’ve I’ve been having a lot of trouble the last few weeks. I think that’s all been sorted out at this point. I am hosting on, pod,, which if you’re running a podcast and looking for a place to go.

I think I would highly recommend it. At this point, I certainly would over Captivate. I had no technical issues with Captivate, who they were my old, host, but they were not supporting podcast 2 point o, at least fast enough for me. Podhomed, on the other hand, is very much cutting edge. I don’t know if they have all the tags in, but they’re very close. They’ve actually got a lot of AI integration. For example, when I upload my file, I can then, click a button and it will parse out the transcription. It will basically come up with some chapters if I wanna use those, some clips even, lots of cool things like that. So so far, I’ve certainly been very pleased with it. They’re not a sponsor of the short show, of course. I’m not receiving anything for this, the only thing I got, which anybody can get, is a 3 month free trial, if you wanna call it that, that they announced on the podcasting 2 point o show last Friday. So you can go check that out. But, I think I’ve kinda got all this sorted out at this point, so I do apologize. I know a lot of you you’d be playing us, episode, and it would, like, play for five minutes, it would loop back. It was driving me crazy.

And then I when I went to move again, I even had issues during that move. So it was kind of a nightmare, to be honest. I don’t know how many of you are left out there. I know we’ve already had about a 100 downloads or so since I’ve moved over to, pod home dotfm, but that’s nowhere near what it was, previously. So that’s unfortunate, but I’m hoping that people will come back and give us a try again. So I’m gonna get this desktop set up and and, have everything running, start smoothing out this workflow. I will try very hard to be more regular. Here it is, Friday.

I didn’t even, I didn’t post yesterday, unfortunately. Alright. The news and notes. So not a whole lot. I did post a link on Twitter to, the Bitcoin handbook is now, available for free. I have not read this. It comes from, I have not read the book. It comes from a website called the The And, apparently, this is some book that used to be available, or is still for they’re now offering the PDF for free. So that might be something you wanna pick up. One of the things people were freaking out in the political world about was, our Argentine president Javier Mele, was invited to the World Economic Forum and, which is something a place that maybe a lot of the Bitcoiners don’t really agree with their views and this kind of thing. I’m not gonna really get into all that, but I think that’s early, safe statement.

And people were freaking out saying, what is he doing? You know, he’s a libertarian. He shouldn’t be going there. They’re centered a bunch of socialist and all this kind of stuff. Well, apparently, what’s happened is he went there and basically gave a speech like any of his other speeches that was really about how wrong that they were and kind of laid it all out. It’s probably worth watching. Just, m I l e I, Malay, World Economic Forum speech, and you should be able to find it without any problem. A translated version of it. He did it in Spanish, I’m sure, but there are translated versions of it running are available out there.

So another thing I wanted to note, which is kind of the only other news of the week other than the Bitcoin price, which has gone down all week, but, kinda got people in a tizzy. I always say, of course, it’s a good time to buy. Right? DCA. Anyways, I don’t know that I really reported on this, but earlier this month, kind of out of nowhere, there was this announcement that the IRS is reporting. If you businesses that don’t report the receipt of $10,000 or more in digital assets, like, that’s a really big deal. So if I send $10,000 to encrypto to, like, say, the Human Rights Foundation.

Like, we could get in trouble if basically KYC doesn’t take place. And so everybody was freaking out. It sounded like a very poorly thought out it’s part of a bill. And, for example, the the form that they sent you to didn’t even have all the proper information on it. Like so you literally could not comply with the demand that was saying, if you did this or if you didn’t do this, I should say, you were you could be charged with a felony, which is a really serious crime. Well, they’ve now announced the Treasury and the IRS that businesses do not have to report those transactions, until clarity is provided blah blah.

So, apparently, for now, that’s been kind of rolled back. Pretty important thing to note. Just another example of the KYC shenanigans, you know, continuing. So yeah. And just other than that, frankly, not a whole lot. I already mentioned the news about essentially a large portion of the miners in Texas have been shut down. They will come back online. I we’re supposed to have another cold snap the next few days. I don’t know if they’re gonna get shut back off again. We’ll see. I don’t, live out in West Texas, so I don’t know that intimately of the weather out there.

Alright. So, of course, Satoshi’s Plebs, podcast supports podcasting 2 point o. We are a value for value podcast as I talk about all the time. I don’t have ads. I don’t have sponsorships. I don’t have anything. I don’t have clubs or anything. You can, however, support the podcast. I do this very specifically is with the ads and, sponsorships or whatever because I consider myself a journalist. I want to be able to report on anything, and I don’t want essentially money clouding that. And I’ve given the example a number of times. But for example, if Ledger were sponsoring this show and this little deal with Ledger where they’ve installed a bunch of spyware on the software that runs when you plug it in or whatever.

I probably wouldn’t be talking about that if they were paying me, you know, even a grand a week. I just would gloss over that, and I’d just be red ledger rah rah rah. Let them keep your, you know, your Bitcoin safe or whatever. So it’s very important. And if I ever do pick up an ad or sponsorship, which I don’t have any plans to right now. But if I ever did, I’d have to be extremely careful about who I did. I would never do a hardware wallet like even Seed Signer, which is the hardware wallet that I use. If they came to me and said, McIntosh, we wanna support your show. You’re doing a great job.

You know, you talk about our product all the time, which I do, and we wanna give you $500 a month or whatever. I’d have to say respectfully, I appreciate that. It actually means a lot to me, but I’m not gonna do that. And it’s for the exact same reasons. What happens if something happens with seed signer? Something that’s semi nefarious or or what or just stupid. Anyways, that’s why I don’t do that. Now if Satoshi’s playing cards or something, wants to support the show, and it’s completely harmless, and I feel like it’s something maybe that the listeners would be interested in I might look at that, but it cannot be something in any way that anybody gets rugged or they could lose their life savings or anything like that with because it’s just way too serious.

I do depend on you, the listeners, to support the podcast. I would come to you and ask if you’ve received value that maybe it’s possible that you could return some value as well, and I do that because I spend money on this show. I spend time on this show. I would like to grow the show. There’s equipment I need to buy, all of this kind of stuff. And I can’t do that without people actually supporting the show. How can you do that? Three different ways through time, through talent, through treasure. Time and talent, you know, there are a number of small ways that you could help with the show.

If you’re looking to help out in those manners, you know, just please direct message me on Twitter or I don’t know. Send me an email at mcintosh You can you can just email me there. Let me know. If you wanna support me via treasure, there’s really only one way to do it. Go get a podcasting 2.0 app. These apps are the best. They show you chapters. They show you transcripts. They do all kinds of cool features, and that’s only gonna continue to grow in the coming years, there’s a lot of input. There’s a lot of building going on right now in in that area.

There’s a lot of great podcasts out there, podcast players, I should say. Right now, what I’m using is the fountain podcast app. I’m using the Podcast Guru app, and I’m using Podverse. I also have Castomatic. Although, to be honest, I don’t use it a whole lot right now. But those 4 apps, all 4 are podcasting 2.0 apps. You can hook them up to a lightning wallet like Alby or your own lightning, wallet, whatever you’re using. And then you can support people like me. If you’re listening to a Podcasting 2.0 app like mine, and you say this guy’s doing a great job, you can hit stream support. And every minute, maybe you send them 10 or 50 or a 100 sats per minute, or you could boost. You could send me a boost of a 100 sats. You could send me a boost of a 1,000. And along with that, you can send me a message and say, hey, McIntosh. You’re doing a great job. Hey, McIntosh. McIntosh, you suck. Hey, McIntosh. You suck, and it’s because of x, y, or z. I do take feedback. Thank you.

Or ask a question. We’ve had some questions lately about different things. Just go ahead. Ask. It’s a great way to ask that question. Okay. So that’s it. Thanks for being here. I hope this has been helpful, and I would love to hear from you. I’m on Twitter at McIntosh Fintech. I’m on mastodon at You can reach me by email, just like I said, and, of course, our website, Stay humble, friends. Go out and make it a great week. I’ll talk to you soon.

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