Bitcoin, Hype & Fascination

This is truly the first time I follow the full cycle of a revolutionary new technology. I was around when the internet went through the same cycle, but I wasn’t aware of the impact it would have. This time I am, and it’s fascinating.

The price for a bitcoin climbed well above 11,000 USD yesterday, everybody starts talking about it and suddenly you’ll see an army of self-claimed bitcoin and blockchain experts out there, mainly talking about the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While the price is surely impressive, the technology and how I think it will change all our lives is far more impressive. I’ve been hooked for a little more than a year now, reading and learning every single day. As an engineer with a background in signal processing and an understanding of the mathematical fundamentals, I didn’t have worst start conditions. Yet I am far from having a full understanding of this topic. It’s complex. But every single day I learn something new and every single day my fascination grows.

The bitcoin people are talking about is an implementation of the bitcoin protocol, which Satoshi Nakamoto described in his publication “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System “. Using it as a currency is the first and most obvious application. Satoshi placed a message in the first block (Genesis Block) of the bitcoin blockchain: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”, making it obvious which industry he was after. However, the bitcoin protocol and the blockchain technology have the potential to revolutionize whole industries and societies. Because it removes the trusted third party from the equation. The weak spot, the human factor. It’s a system based on mathematics, trust-less and decentralised. I don’t want to dive into the details, as there are people who can explain this a million times better than. More on that later.

The first application is digital money. Decentralised, trust-less, not goverment controllable, independent money. You don’t need a bank to transfer bitcoin directly from one person to another. You don’t need to trust anybody. You control your money with your private key. You decide what you’re doing with your money and where you are sending it to. From anybody to anybody, anywhere on the planet. Instantly.

There are the five stages of grief, which Andreas M. Antonopoulos keeps describing in his talks: “Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance”. Similar to Mahatma Ghandi‘s quote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Sometimes the stages overlap. For a long time bitcoin was simply ignored, some people deny it as “scam”, other entered the phase of anger. For example Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, who said investing in bitcoin is stupidand he would fire any of his traders if they’d invest in bitcoin. Around the same time, his bank was buying bitcoin. At the same time most banks are heavily invested in blockchain projects, trying to get into the boat (the bargaining stage). Some of them may have already realised the true potential of the technology and probably start panicking by now. They want to at least be part of the game, so futures will soon be tradable at NASDAQ.

Don’t get me wrong, we are still far away from mainstream adoption and ease of use. As Ari Paul, CIO of BlockTower Capital, pointed out: “It’s 1994 in Cryptocurrency”. These days, we are experiencing a major hype cycle. We are seeing a lot of new money floating into cryptocurrencies. While the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies was around 15 Billion USD in early 2017, the market crossed 300 Billion recently. I do believe that we are in a hype cycle these very days. A lot of people will invest money and many of them will get burned. Make no mistake though, the market will correct, but it will grow even faster in the future. This is just the beginning.

Remember, you can’t compare bitcoin to a stock and declare it to be too expensive. People have done that for many years now. Yet only a fraction of the capital in the market moved into cryptocurrencies. Currently bitcoin is mainly a store of value, some people compare it to gold. There are other currencies, each have their pros and cons. If there is a reliable, independent and flexible way to store wealth, which allows people to be in full control, people will use it. bitcoin is there since 2009 and it has not been hacked. Centralised exchanges have been hacked, people’s computers may have been hacked, maybe because their private keys weren’t in a safe place, but nobody hacked the bitcoin blockchain. And that while being the biggest target for attacks on the planet.

If you are fascinated or just curious and want to learn more, I highly recommend to start with watching presentations from Andreas M. Antonopoulos on his Youtube channel. Nobody explains this topic better. Start with his “Introduction to Bitcoin”. He also published great books on the topic, all available on his website. In order to understand the range of potential applications, I do recommend reading “Realizing the Potential of Blockchain”, available on the website of the World Economic Forum. Be careful though, there is a good chance you’ll get hooked, too 😉

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Haivision and Wowza form Open Source SRT Alliance

At IBC 2013, we demonstrated the first early preview of a new network protocol called SRT in the HaiGear corner at our Haivision booth. While HaiGear demos are always very forward looking and often just proof of concept or design ideas, this one went a long way.

Doing live interview filming in a hotel suite outside the IBC complex, we transmitted the live streams over the public internet onto the show floor, displaying it on a TV at our booth. In order to achieve this under extremely challenging network conditions with over 5% packet loss, we combined our brand new network protocol SRT with the not even yet standardized HEVC video codec. Combining both technologies proved to be the perfect combination to get around first mile issues under extreme conditions often faced in live event productions.

Coming from a protected network world and typically utilizing the UDP protocol for lowest latency transmission of high quality video over local area networks, Haivision’s move to multi-site enterprise installations required a new solution to take care of packet loss, jitter, delay and security when trying to send those streams from one site to another one over the public internet.

SRT – Secure Reliable Transport – is a Reliable UDP based and completely content agnostic network protocol for low latency audio, video and general data transmission over unreliable networks such as the public internet. It recovers packet loss up to very high rates, encrypts the stream with standard AES 256 (or 128) and carries real-time behaviour from the sender to the receiver, which is extremely important when streaming variable bitrate streams, as often used for video transmission.

SRT is implemented as low level C/C++ library, builds on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, has a very low footprint and can therefore be used on a wide range of platforms, including embedded devices, mobiles phones as well as workstations or servers.

At NAB 2017, we announced the SRT Alliance, initiated by Haivision and our friends from Wowza with the goal to thrive the adaption of the protocol, get the attention of the Open Source community and utilize the creative energy of talented developers out there.

The amazing feedback we received from the industry during the show surpassed our expectations and is super exciting to everyone involved 🙂 What a ride so far!

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Haivision 4K Encoder Wins NAB Best of Show Award

Haivision, a market leader in enterprise video and streaming solutions, announces that the company’s newest product, the KB 4K Encoder, is the recipient of one of the industry’s most prestigious technology honors, NewBay Media’s Best of Show Award, presented at the 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas by Video Edge.


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Haivision Announces Live 4K HEVC Encoder

Leveraging Intel’s CPU/GPU architecture, Haivision’s software-based solutions give organizations more efficient and cost effective ways to distribute video, without compromising on quality:

Also check out this blog entry:

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New Szalóky Arrows

When you are an Archer, you frequently need new Arrows. Things just happen. In the optimal case, you learned and find the time to make your own. No doubt. If not, as we me so far, you need to find your sources.

I tried a lot of arrows, cheap ones from eBay, real medieval original style handcrafted Arrows from the Viking Market in Schleswig or Haithabu (Hedeby) for 25 Euros a piece and mid-priced Arrows from other markets. To make this clear first, the original style handcrafted in Germany ones totally rock. But I don’t want to use them for my everyday training, as every breaking Arrow makes you cry …

Aside of my Longbows, I built a couple of Bows for Kids. Mathis has his own collection of Arrows and most of them are relatively new. There is a single one though, which we have for a lot of years now and it just won’t die. On the Shaft, there is an Inscription saying “SzalĂłky Kelemen“.

Yesterday on the Medieval Festival in Hohenwestedt I found a Booth with a Guy from Hungary, selling SzalĂłky Arrows. I had a quick look and the quality is the same awesome quality of the old one we got. I grabbed five for me and one for Mathis. I paid 35 Euros all together!

Coming home and shooting them a couple of times, I slapped myself not to have taken two dozen of them home …

No, it’s not the 25 Euros Viking Arrow quality we are talking about, but we are talking about 80% of the quality for 6 Euros! I’ll try to collect more of the high end ones over time for the days when I dress up and go to Viking events, but for my daily training, I’ll go for SzalĂłky from now on.

Ok, ‘nuff said, here are some pictures (Click on them for High Res):


The Kids Arrow in the top left picture is the old one we used for quite a couple of years. The one below is one of the new Adult Arrows with self-nock.


Getting Ready to try them with the English Longbow Smile


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Individual Maple Longbow

I just put linseed oil and beeswax on my individual version of a longbow, made from maple wood.

The wood is far from perfect, but that’s the fun when it comes to bow building 🙂


The tiller is a bit too stiff on the right side, but I had doubts to weaken the knot regions more.


A lot of knots on the right side.


And some nice color transitions.


Some knots on the left arm.


I am using a hold without leather here.

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