I was nearly rich…

If you haven’t paid much attention to bitcoin, I can’t really blame you. I have been ignoring it for years. At one time, however, I was curious enough about the idea of digital currency that I played with some mining software on an old CPU that I had in my apartment.

It was late in 2013 that I decided to spend some of my time running this code that I downloaded from the internet. It was written for the Linux Ubuntu OS, and I happened to have a desktop that I wasn’t using, so I let it run for a few days hoping to “mine” some bitcoin gold. As far as I remember, it seemed to take up a lot of disk space and never really produced anything that I could tell. But I wasn’t really sure…

Now that I’ve moved out of the apartment, that computer (which has been off for several years) which I had to physically move, reminded me of when I played with bitcoin for a short time. Since bitcoin is over $15,000 per coin, it was definitely worth taking a look to see if I did mine anything.

The first step in the process was to bring the old beast back to life. Unfortunately, the motherboard refused to boot, and instead of spending more time on trying to fix a piece of hardware that I will never use again, I stripped the hard drives out of the machine and bought a SATA to USB 3.0 adapter. I purchased the adapter below because it is very flexible and will also handle PATA drives (which I have in my closet somewhere as well).

Sabrent USB 3.0 TO SSD / SATA / IDE 2.5 / 3.5 / 5.25-INCH Hard Drive Converter With UL Power Supply & LED Activity Lights [10TB Support] (USB-DS12)

Once the adapter arrived, I attached it to my laptop (which dual-boots Ubuntu and Win 10) and Linux immediately recognized it as a Windows drive and allowed me to copy files if needed.

At this point, I’m sure you can see that recovering files from old hard drives is pretty trivial with something like this – so be aware when you throw out old computers to destroy your drives, or you could just be giving your information away to anyone.20180104_143522

I knew the drive with Windows on it (the first one I tried) wasn’t what I was looking for, so I mounted the second drive and looked for my old home directory.

After doing some sleuthing on the net, I discovered what I had to do was find the .bitcoin directory and look for a wallet.dat file. This file would contain any mined coins – if there were any. Sure enough, there was a .bitcoin/wallet.dat file – right where it was supposed to be! Ok, this was starting to get exciting! At the time, mining just one bitcoin block (a list of transactions with a proof of work) would be rewarded with 50 new bitcoins. I’ll let you do the math.

So the next step is to download a modern bitcoin “core” wallet and let it synchronize with the network. What this process does is load all of the known transactions since the start of bitcoin, on to your computer and allow you to hold, receive and transfer bitcoins, which is why it is called a digital wallet.

You can find the core software here: Bitcoin-core. Make sure you go to Bitcoin.org, the .com address had a couple of questionable links according to McAfee and doesn’t have the software we want. After you have downloaded and extracted the software, you need to find the executable named bitcoin-qt.exe and run it. For my installation, I extracted the files in my download directory, and the path to the executable looks like this F:\Downloads\bitcoin-0.15.1\bin.

While you are loading the bitcoin core software, I would suggest you pay attention to the step where it asks you where to put the stored blockchain. The directory that you choose is where your new empty wallet is, the file that you will need to replace.

This downloading and synchronizing the blockchain, as it is called, consumes about 180 gigabytes of space on your hard drive (as of today Jan 2018), so I needed to do this experiment on a different laptop, not my little note taker that you see in the picture.

You can see how complicated this is getting…


The screenshot above is what I saw for about 10 hours while the software synched to the network. It is a slow and painful process, but I had decided to wait for the network to synch before replacing the wallet file. As it turns out, that may not be necessary if you just want to see if there is anything in the wallet you are testing.

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If you look at the directory listing above, you will see that F:\bit is the directory that I specified for the blockchain, and it is where the wallet.dat file is also stored. At this point, you just need to close the bitcoin core wallet, open the directory, rename the wallet.dat file that is there (if you care about it) and copy the new wallet.dat file into the directory.

When you open bitcoin wallet software again, it will go through a maddening resynchronization process, which took about an hour on my i7 laptop. After that, you will finally see what is in your wallet.

In my case, I had a completely blank wallet. Zero bitcoins. Damn. Well, it was fun thinking that there might be something there!

If this was useful and you want to see more content like this, please like this article and let me know what you think.



The Rational Male

I’m sitting here reading a really good book on male-female relationships, while this cyclone bomb of a snowstorm is raging outside.

At first, I was a little turned off by his writing style, but now that I’m halfway through the book it is becoming harder and harder to put down. Here is an example of the wisdom you’ll get if you decide to invest the time:

We get frustrated because women communicate differently than we do. Women communicate covertly, men communicate overtly. Men convey information, women convey feeling. In relating information, men prioritize content, women prioritize context.

Rollo Tomassi has distilled a dozen years of blogging, community interaction, men’s online forums, to create the bible of Game. If you have ever wondered why women act the way they do, and why it’s always the jerks that women fall for, this book will give you insight as to what dynamics are at play. There is a lot more to the Rational Male than this, and I believe that knowing more about our society and how people interact with each other pays dividends in all aspects of our lives.

Highly recommended reading. Personally, I’ve taken the red pill.

The Rational Male https://www.amazon.com/dp/1492777862/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_taa_Z0StAbH4A5RGY

This is just the begining

Tell your stories…

In the past, men and women would share their life experiences through stories. Sometimes they would be written down, and sometimes it was just listening to your grandparents talk about how hard they had it in the day.

My father used to tell me how poor they were when he was growing up, and he had a favorite story to illustrate the point. This is what I remember of his story…

My father grew up in Belmont Massachusettes, in a small 2 bedroom home that reminded me of a row house – only detached from the houses near it on the smallest piece of land you can imagine. He was one of 3 boys in this small house. My grandparents were very nice people, but they were chain smokers for as long as I knew them. The story that my dad would tell (he hasn’t mentioned it to me in many years, but I remember it vividly) is that he and his brothers would have to walk to school every day no matter what the weather, rain or shine, including the brutal winter days. According to my dad, his mother would pack a baked potato for his lunch on most days because that was all they could afford. His mother would get up early each morning and bake the potatoes for the kids, and send them out into the cold with a nice warm lunch, and hand warmer.

My dad told me that story for years, usually after I asked him for something and complained when I didn’t get it. He was trying to tell me that things could be worse and that I’ve got nothing to complain about. He was right of course, but it was hard to see that then.

Tell your stories to your kids. Let them laugh at you until they get older and finally “get it”. It will all be worth it.