This blog has moved to Medium

Subscribe via email

Archive for August 2013

Mastercoin investment period is almost over

Interest in Mastercoin is picking up, and the Exodus Address has gathered 2,578.12977381 BTC in investments, which at current rates is equal to about $315,000.

If you’re new to Mastercoin, here are a few links to get you started:

  1. My original post about Mastercoin
  3. A presentation I gave about it (slideshare, pptx, video in Hebrew)
  4. Article about it in Coindesk
  5. Risks document

I can say that I’m seeing a lot of interest in it, from hobbyists and professional investors alike, it will be interesting to see where this develops.

Update: Here is a quick link to how to do it technically from / My Wallet.


I will be a board member in the Mastercoin Foundation

A venture that raised money via BitAngels needs an experienced entrepreneur to lead it

A software investment has recently come through BitAngels and raised $300,000. Now it needs a veteran entrepreneur to lead the effort.

Anyone interested in running one of the most disruptive technology efforts in the digital payments (Bitcoin) space let me know ASAP via PM.

(I can’t publicly divulge more)

Help me buy my new laptop

Hello dear readers,

I am in need for a new work laptop, and would very much appreciate your help in buying one.

This will be my primary and only computer (I have a desktop but I never use it anymore). FYI, I’m located in Israel, where computers usually cost a lot more than the U.S, and it’s often difficult to get computers shipped from abroad.

  1. What do you think about buying it in the US and shipping it here via Mustop? (I used them before).
  2. Budget – I don’t really know the market prices, but I’d hate to pay more than about $2500-3000 for this (remember, Israel prices are higher than US!)
  3. I need something light, it doesn’t have to be ultra-super-duper light. I’m currently using Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 420s which weighs about 2.2 kg, and it’s fine for me.
  4. The Edge’s battery is pretty decent. It lasts for a few hours, and 99% of the time it’s not a problem. Of course more battery life is important, but I don’t need to pay a lot extra for that.
  5. Storage – SSD (or rather, are Hybrids the standard today?). I would like a decent amount of storage. I guess a hybrid with 400-500gb HDD and 100gb of SSD would be good enough.
  6. Memory – is 12-16gb batshit expensive, or should I go with 8gb?
  7. Graphics card – something decent, not uber, but decent. Can compromise on that if needed.
  8. Pointer device – I like the Edge’s point device, open to other models as well.

So – any suggestions for a good laptop model that fits the above requirements?

P.S I would to try and switch my primary OS from Windows to Ubuntu. I expect a huge productivity drop … which might actually make me not do the switch after all, but I’m wondering whether it’s a good strategic move on my part despite the momentary productivity loss and annoyance (FYI I’ve worked with Ubuntu for a few years as a server / terminal system, and worked with Goobuntu a bit at Google).

Should you auto-record your phone calls?

Update – see this followup post. I’ve decided the answer is “Yes, you should”.

There’s no easy way to say this – a few weeks ago, I’ve installed the Automatic Call Recorder Android app, and have been automatically recording all incoming and outgoing calls to my mobile. I actually wanted to write this post as a fair warning to my friends, and to explain why I’m doing it.

However, now that I’m writing the post … I’m not sure the reasons for doing it are enough to justify “the creepiness factor”.

My reasons for doing this were:

  1. In dealing with “potentially evil 3rd parties” (e.g. banks, cellular companies, handymen & technicians and other organizations or professionals that sometime try to cheat the consumer), it’s useful to have a record of conversation. If that 3rd party tries to go back on their word, you’ll have a recording.
  2. I have a terrible memory. It’s useful to be able to go back to a particular call and hear again, in case you need some crucial detail.
  3. It’s so easy, so why not?

BTW, as far as I know, there is no legal issue here – you’re allowed to record conversations that you are a part of – it’s not considered to be eavesdropping (but IANAL).


Now, that I look at the above list … it’s not really convincing. Reason #1 is quite useful, but does it really mean it’s ok to record everything? I could take the small effort and start recording only when there’s a potentially relevant phonecall. I think the main reason I chose to auto-record all my calls is because it’s so damn easy, and I couldn’t find a good enough reason not to do it.

When I give it a second thought now … I think the creepiness factor is just a bit too much. I personally don’t really mind if people record their phone calls with me, but I’m not everyone … and other people might have different sensitivities than me.

As technology gets more miniature and prevalent, these kind of dilemmas will show up more and more. In the future, it’s likely that all shreds of personal privacy will be stripped away anyway … but I can do my bit and not contribute to this wholesale invasion of privacy. Perhaps, like Google Chat History, automatic call recording will become the norm, and when you want to go off the record, you’ll need to explicitly ask for it (and trust the other participant in the call to honor your request).

Anyway as for me – right now I disabled the “auto record everything” setting, and will only record conversations with “potentially evil 3rd parties” – I will not record conversations with my friends, and if I change my mind for any reason, I’ll post here before doing that.

What do you think? Would you auto-record every phone call? Do you think that someone doing this is doing something wrong?

P.S. the first thing my wife said once I installed the app – “you had better not record phone calls with me”, so I added her to the app’s “ignore list”. I think her concerns are valid and some of you might share them, and this is why I’m stopping to use it wholesale.

Pro tip – define your log repository as a Chrome Custom Search Engine

If you have a production app, you should be using some log repository (we use Splunk at Commerce Sciences).

Now, Splunk is great, but it’s causing us a bit of a headache – whenever we access it, we have to go through a few pages of login (not really needed), and a page requesting we upgrade to the latest version (we usually ignore it). All and all, it takes too much time and friction to search for logs.

Today, I had a cool idea – why not configure a Chrome Custom Search Engine and save us the trouble? It turns out it works and it’s awesome (it makes your log just a CTRL-L away). Just add a new Splunk search engine (read the help if you need), enter your favorite keyboard shortcut (I went with “spl”, but you can use “log”) and as a URL enter

That’s it – you just made your logs a whole lot more accessible. If you try this on another log repository other than Splunk, please post your own URL as a comment. Enjoy!

On the importance of using your own domain, as a blogger

TL;DR – who owns your content – you, or your platform?

Via Bogen

Wanted: CTO

Want to be the CTO of a new Israeli Bitcoin Startup?

Head over to and learn more.

Things are moving.
Teams are assembling.
Join the revolution!

(Even if you’re not familiar with Bitcoin, but looking for an interesting CTO position, feel free to approach – we’ll teach you all you need to know about Bitcoin)
(Even if not relevant to you, we’ll appreciate a like/share/referral)

Internet freedom is under attack in Israel

Do you care about a free, open internet?
Do you care about Israel?

If so, please head over to, and help.

netneutral is a new site that I created, under the banner of the Israeli Pirate Party … but forget your politics for now (the site is not affiliated with IPP, it’s independant). A paralemnt member by the name Yaniv Levin has proposed a new law. Roughly translated, it reads:

If a police officer has reason to suspect that a website is used to commit a felony, that police officer has the authority to issue a warrant limiting access to this website. ISPs will have to respect this warrant and block the said website.

If you see yourself as unjustly damaged by this warrant, you can appeal it in a court of law.

Now tell me, how is Israel different in this aspect from Iran, China, or even U.S for that matter?

This law makes it so the mere accusation is enough. Regulating illegal activity should be a matter for lawmakers and courts, it’s not right that every police officer will have this much power.

Do you have anywhere between 2 seconds and 2 weeks to help?

  • Got 2 seconds only? Please share this post and
  • If you have some more time, please head over to our github. There are tasks there for designers, marketers, coders … whoever can contribute.
  • Do you know key people in the Israeli startup industry? We would appreciate if you let them know what we’re trying to do. Internet companies had a major role in defeating SOPA, we will need the help of Israeli startups as well.