A Crypto Security Lesson Worth $3800

While away from my keyboard, enjoying a trip to Hawaii, I lost ~$3800 in Crypto assets from my multisig wallet (app.safe.global).

I was eventually notified by my gnosis safe mobile app of a transaction moving some ENS out of my safe to an unknown address. Upon investigation I found my entire safe emptied.

The “attacker” as I’ll call them for now, began withdrawing funds from my multisig wallet on Ethereum at 0xec819F77d464aeeF84A204F88CA85284D96A3acF. The withdraws started the same day I left for my trip on the 16th of June 2023. Each day following around the same time another unique token in that wallet was moved to an address I was unfamiliar with (0x3851bb469Eb2fF35D3C8415d321a425e1E967858).

I was genuinely confused at first, because I am a very security conscious person and had no clue how one of my private keys associated with the multisig became compromised. Upon inspection I knew I didn’t own the address the coin was heading to and noticed the transactions were signed by my “backup” address (0xe0b4Ff23f7268508Eb5923C3Cb415F531110C42f).

I began wracking my brain while cruising threw the mountains of Oahu trying to remember everything I knew about how I setup this multisig safe and my “backup” wallet.

Mistake #1

When I created the safe wallet initially, mpoletiek.eth was the only address listed as an owner on the wallet and when I added the backup wallet I never adjusted the required number of confirmations for any transaction from 1 to say… 2. Had I done this, the “attacker” wouldn’t have been able to move the funds without an additional confirmation from my primary wallet.

I also remembered that I stored the private key to the backup wallet on a fully encrypted hard drive that could only be unlocked with a key stored on another fully encrypted device. That is pretty secure. Each device required physical access to read and I only ever imported the private key to the backup wallet once to validate it’s usability with the multisig safe. I used Metamask, which is a non-custodial wallet and immediately removed the wallet from Metamask when I was finished so even if my browser was compromised (It wasn’t) my private keys were safe.

Even after realizing my first mistake I was still confused as to how the “attacker” got ahold of my backup wallet’s private key. To be honest $3800 is not enough of a bag to tie up a ton of compute power to brute force so they must’ve easily nabbed the private key from my browser?

I did a ton of research as fast as I could. Were there any known security issues with Metamask? With Gnosis multisig wallets?? None that I could find. I don’t sign transactions at sketchy websites. I do a ton of research before hand and typically wouldn’t use my “secret” “backup” wallet to test a sketchy website….

Wait…. How did I even create this “backup” wallet? Since I was able to delete it from Metamask, I must’ve imported it, which means I didn’t use Metamask to create it….. Oh crap…. I’m such an idiot.

Mistake #2

While I don’t entirely remember exactly how I created this “backup” wallet, I definitely didn’t use localized software like ‘geth’ or even my Metamask plugin.

I most likely created this wallet a long time ago and stored the private key as a “backup”, but did so using some website like ethereumaddressgenerator or paperwalletcrypto.

The likelihood that small, simple websites like these are run by bad actors is very high. Additionally, it’s also highly likely that they are easily hacked without the owners knowledge and are stealing the private keys of any address created for later inspection.

Why I trusted this at the time is beyond me now, but I can only guess that in the past my involvement in Crypto and the amount of risk I was taking was relatively low compared to the $3800 I just watched vanish from my multisig. Still, probably chump change compared to the scores this individual is getting if this has been going on for as long as I can imagine.

While there wasn’t much I could do in Hawaii to validate the rest of my security profile, I did a little research into some of the addresses associated with the transactions that drained my multisig wallet.

I reached out to Gnosis Safe to validate that they didn’t see anything additional or had any other perspective on how these transactions were initiated. From what both of us could tell, it was and could only have been initiated from someone with the private key to my “backup” wallet.

Once I knew that I dug into the address the crypto was shipped to. At the time of this writing (06-25-23) the address (0x3851bb469Eb2fF35D3C8415d321a425e1E967858) still has all my crypto.

The “attacker” hasn’t moved the crypto out yet it seems.

I did some more digging and noticed an ENS address that was interacting with the address (0xtrippy76.eth).

Now I don’t want to make any claims that 0xtrippy76 is the attacker, but I will say that compared to other transactions this one is suspicious.

First, when knowingly taking crypto that wasn’t theirs, they spent a week withdrawing all the coin and have since held onto it for about another week. I’m comparing this to the transaction of almost 4billion PEPE from 0xtrippy76 and immediately shipping it to Uniswap (a decentralized exchange).

I did a quick search and found a twitter user by that same handle. If this is the attacker, that PEPE transaction must’ve been a mistake.

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask…..

They seem to be fairly active on twitter and a huge fan of PEPE so I’m hopeful they will reply. 🙂

Taking Action

So, I’m fairly certain I’ll never see that coin again, but am grateful for the lesson and have taken the following steps to ensure one of my multisigs doesn’t get compromised again.

  • Create a new multisig with wallets I created myself that requires 3 confirmations before any transaction is executed. To withdraw crypto I will confirm the transaction from 3 separate devices (this is probably overkill). Safe!
  • Isolate my wallets to the devices they reside on. No need to maintain 1 wallet on all of my devices. Crypto isn’t “spending” money yet in today’s economy, it’s more a store of value and an investment today (with more utility arriving daily), so we will “store” our crypto in our multisig and withdraw what we need, when or before we need it. Smart!
  • Setup notifications on etherscan.io. The Gnosis safe app was very slow to notify me of the transactions happening. With notifications from etherscan.io I would have caught the first transaction and saved myself ~$1500 in pain. Alert!

In the end 2 big mistakes lost me $3800 USD of crypto at the current valuation. The lessons learned lead to 3 big steps in improving my crypto security posture.

Sometimes we wish we didn’t have to make mistakes to learn our lessons, but I know better these days and while it hurts, it’s just money in the end and I didn’t get my lunch stolen. I have spent enough time in security to know that the paranoia can destroy ya so I quickly shift to hardening my posture and charging forward, better armed, and equipped to go farther and longer for my people.

May I share appreciations to my enemies for keeping me sharp and strong.

To be continued?…… We’ll see.

State of the World – July 2020

It’s Complicated

I’m going to mention up front that this write up will attempt to paint a picture or map of the current state of socio-economic and human issues that will include a brief history as well as a path forward.

First of all, considering how we prefer to communicate today, I need to warn the reader that it’s complicated. It’s a multivariate problem within a multivariate problem. Therefore, don’t expect any memes to help you along the way. Ironically, that’s a big player on the map we’re drawing today.

Some Assumptions

In order for this to work the reader and I have to agree on the following assumptions.

  1. Nothing is constant
    • Everything in this world is fluid. Nothing stays the same, even our most coveted symbols take on new meaning and the necessity for bedrock institutions wanes over time.
  2. Power revolves around the most basic commodities required by every individual in order to survive in the current system in which they operate.
    • Commodities are things like food, water, and oil which are basic necessities for an individual or a community to survive. Those who control the commodities ultimately have all the power.
  3. The powerful are not always interested in directly controlling individuals or communities, only the commodity itself.
    • Often what the majority of humanity believes to be the source of power or their interface for interacting with it is just a proxy for others who are actually in control.
  4. Like bullet #1 the commodities that are most important often change and those who control it as well.
    • Once the majority of humanity determines a new commodity is an absolute necessity, many will enter the struggle to control it. Control could be absolute or divided and contentious or harmonious, but it is always temporary until a competitor arises or the priorities of commodities shift again.
  5. Most systems evolve.
    • Systems created for any particular purpose are more likely to evolve and adapt than be replaced by another.
  6. When looking at a problem at scale, we must observe in generalities.
    • The universe is a complex and diverse place beyond what most can imagine. In order to attempt to understand it to a point, some stereotypes and generalities must be used. An example is that everyone who lives in a particular region belongs to and subscribes to the ruling government of that region. This is a fairly safe generality, but we are also aware that people move and at any point of time there will be foreigners who take up residence and don’t necessarily agree with the local government, support, or participate in it’s operations. Their impact on our analysis at the point we make the assumption, is immaterial.
  7. This is a ‘Western’ perspective.
    • This analysis only considers the historical perspective of the west. Everything that happens east of modern day Europe doesn’t play a role until much later. It is, however, more and more important as time goes forward.

A Brief History at a High Level

In the beginning we lived in tribes. The world was chaotic and dark. We worked together to get through the long cold night and depended on our elders to show us the way. They understood the changing of the seasons and the movement of the herds better than anyone and this knowledge was the most coveted commodity of the time.

It can be argued that it still is today, but we’ll get there.

They passed their knowledge down to the youth orally and used stories to transmit their message. These stories were useful in not only providing a basic understanding of the world around us, but a consumable explanation of chaos so that we could live in confidence and minimize fear.

Eventually we learned agriculture and animal husbandry. We understood the basics that allowed us to settle in our preferred area and grow wealth. This wealth came in the form of food, shelter, and ultimately safety.

As we evolved, not everyone rose at the same rate or held similar priorities. Armies were required to prevent other tribes from taking advantage of those who had what they needed to survive. Why hunt and gather when you can regularly take from others?

As things evolved, human’s still had the same basic needs; food, water, shelter, ect. However, the method to acquiring those basics were changing and the gatekeepers of those methods became powerful.

By this point it was the military. The west had often evolved to a point, only to be raided and brought low by a threatening empire from the east. Rulers were the generals of their armies and in Rome, still held the senate at the point of a sword.

Eventually one military general was able to control most of the known world at that time, but his kingdom wasn’t united. Constantine the Great recognized that the majority of inner conflict was due to individuals within his empire subscribing to various religions. His attempt to unite them eventually created the Catholic Church years later which ruled through the Pope as a living god for centuries to come.

At this point in our history, security was still the most coveted commodity around. Kings provided this commodity to their people, but ultimately were chosen and blessed by the Catholic Church via the Pope. Therefore the ultimate commodity was the Church’s blessing as it not only guaranteed a better life after this one, but allowed the Kings to operate outside of their borders.

Therefore, the way for a King to provide security for his people was to receive a blessing from the Pope. This is one example of the majority of people being ruled via proxy. The people were acutely aware that they were required to swear fealty to their king and obey all orders, but well understood the difference between a blessed king and one who might be acting outside of God’s favor.


We’re going to take a break here for a minute to discuss what life was like during these times as it will be important to understand later.

Feudalism is a well known, historic form of government where a class of nobility owned lands and infrastructure from the King and in return provided military service when demanded. Vassals were servants of the nobility and everyone else was known as serfs. In the end, the idea of ‘rights’ did not exist, but depending on your class you had more opportunities and freedoms within the system by which humanity was organizing itself.

Serfs mostly had no rights. Some have argued they were no better than slaves, however generally speaking they were free to move about the land and attempt to rise through the social ranks. However, movement up the social ladder was almost impossible due to the requirements to create value for one’s self.

One particular reason why this was so difficult is because humanity became dependent upon collective agriculture and animal husbandry to survive. Mills were essentially platforms by which anyone could come and leverage it’s services as long as they paid the tax required by the King in the form of milled grain or otherwise. The same analogy could apply to housing and education in most cases.

Peasants, whether serfs or otherwise, were also often required to use the fee-based services provided by the lord’s manor. For example, many manors had grain mills that could be used by the peasants to grind their grain products into flour, but these mills also usually required fees or surrender of some part of the flour produced. In a way, these mills represent a sort of local monopoly, in which the only options available to the peasantry were to use the lord’s mill and pay its fees or to use no mill at all. The latter “option”, although notionally possible in some circumstances, would be functionally impossible because flour was one of the few easily stored calorie sources.

Zach Scott, Digital Feudalism. How the data ecosystem is becoming medieval

A Power Shift

At this point the Pope ruled the western world through his proxy kings via blessings. Eventually this song and dance began to break down as the people became more and more exposed to the inner-workings of this relationship.

Niccolo Machiavelli, who infamously wrote about the political strategy of these times, coached Italian nobles on how this relationship worked.

With the security provided by the Kings, technology began to advance. Warring technologies saw rapid improvement during this time thanks to advancements in blacksmithing and other popular trade skills. For a King and his Nobility, life on earth was becoming quite comfortable.

On top of that, the Pope of Rome was mired in almost constant scandal. The ‘Holiness’ of the Pope and it’s Church was often called into question. It didn’t help that the Vatican City was struggling to feed it’s people. This was especially highlighted during the reign of Pope Alexander the VI, demonstrating to the world that a Pope is merely human and the church itself subject to the whim of France’s modern military.

Chaos began to creep back into the western world as Italian nobility went to war, France and Spain were at each other’s throats, and central control over the Blessings of the Church began to splinter.

Ultimately skilled labor, merchants, and those who facilitated trade became the ones who avoided most of the impacts of the new chaos. Eventually they began to organize and become a ruling class of their own.

Merchant Guilds were founded initially to educate and train new tradesmen in the various crafts needed to maintain infrastructure. Blacksmiths, carpenters, scribes, all kinds of guilds came and went, but the new demand was for the knowledge and experience generated by the guilds and their craftsmen. They controlled this knowledge through approved apprenticeships and seals that verified their work. The quality generated was coveted by Kings and Kingdoms that needed stability in their own infrastructure in order to continue to operate, but ultimately the Guilds were not as loyal to any particular King as they would like.

Merchant Guilds really shook things up for the majority of people as well. All of a sudden, there was a new path for serfs to rise in the ranks of society and carve out their own wealth and freedom. Having a Guild located within your Kingdom or on your lands provided an attraction for increasing your population.

The Guilds themselves provided an additional demand for traders and their goods from all over the world as it improved their craft and allowed them to compete with other Guilds.

Traders began to move across the land and as wealth grew and the influence of older powers waned, some major events took place which cemented the new order.

Amsterdam, a city founded mostly by foreigners attempting to escape from the rule of the Kings, dependent upon their own resourcefulness and trade relations, became the target of the King of Spain (Louis XIV) and went to war in the late 1600’s.

During this time the Netherlands was quickly becoming the center of the world. The people of the Netherlands held very liberal ideals for the time and welcomed foreigners from all walks of life to their city as long as they contributed in some way, shape, or form. Advancements in shipbuilding in the area lead to the Dutch East Indies Trading Company, which is arguably the oldest and most powerful corporation the world has ever seen. The first stock market was created in order to fund and incentivize men to dedicate years of their life to a single journey upon a ship that may or may not return at all. The women at home did most of the trading in the beginning.

This system required a new form of government or a modernized version of what the Greeks attempted before. Amsterdam became, arguably, the first global world power and Democracy. The Kings eventually lost their influence over the nobility who were tired of being stuck in modern feudalism.

The end of these times were also marked by the French Revolution and the rise of the United States of America which began as a colony of both British and French Kingdoms.

The fruits of global trade and democratic relations was no longer deniable and the general public demanded it.

Trade as a Commodity & World Wars

Trade at this point was global but still very unstable and risky. Pirates and poor technology often took their toll. As individuals and communities began to depend on goods from outside of their own nation, it was still very expensive and risky to provide.

People with the money to finance these operations and net new ones took huge risks and if they failed, often more than just their life was on the line.

In response people began to study economics. Adam Smith wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations’ and people began to focus on trade itself and the ability to finance it as a commodity. Financial ‘instruments’ were created to leverage what they had and mitigate risk. Central banks were created to attempt to control it, and stock markets went global.

Those who understood economics and controlled the flow of trade became the most powerful individuals and organizations the world had ever seen.

The Industrial Revolution

Eventually technology began to catch up with the economists and trade began to speed up.

At this point the world was still ruled by the financial organizations that governed it’s lifeblood (money), but via the proxy government. In order to facilitate this relationship clear lines were drawn as to the roles of corporations compared to governments. These definitions are still defended today however it only serves the majority who must work within the system and doesn’t necessarily apply to the corporations that fund it.

Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!

Mayer Amschel Rothschild

This disparity began to unravel when certain populations or countries became discounted by those who funded the system. Also, initially the definition of the role of government provided corporations the freedom to ignore their impacts on what are known today as Stakeholders (Employees, communities, environment, NOT Shareholders).

The economic system the majority of the west subscribed to (Capitalism) was studied by prominent individuals like Karl Marx and discovered to be potentially painful to the majority of people within it. At this point, general opinion over the role of government and corporations began to shift and other popular ideas began to take shape around the globe (Socialism, Communism).

On top of that the ability to trade became more and more dependent upon the industries created with our newfound technologies (Railroads, Ships with steam engines, Radio, ect).

The orderly world began to devolve again as the ability to conduct trade was determined by Industry and certain nations were better situated to solve their economic problems than others. In addition to the rift in economic theory, the problems created by financial institutions alienated a large populations of people who were living in worse conditions than ever before.

Germany was uniquely positioned at this time as arguably the center of trade. Being the largest, most central country in Europe, they indirectly controlled most of Europe’s trade and therefore a large portion of the world’s. They quickly took advantage of this by creating incredibly effective railroad systems that connected all their major and minor borders.

Leveraging the philosophical differences between capitalism, socialism, and communism, Germany jumped at the opportunity to dictate global trade with the greatest Industry the world has ever seen. They went to war.

Again, at this time, although they acted mostly independently, governments were essentially controlled by their ability to trade and therefore their corporations and financial institutions. When the world wars began, everyone was impacted. Trade was minimized, individuals received rations and governments battled for the favorable opinions of their people to push on in terrible factories for the victory of their Nation and ideology.

In the end multinational corporations had to play both sides to survive. Trade feeds, clothes, and provides shelter for the majority so it must go on. In fact, governments were so dependent on corporations that an entire defense industry and market was created. It’s arguable that some conflict after this time is related to corporations propping up their own supply and demand.

The Rise of International Institutions

After two world wars and over 100 million deaths the leaders of the remaining countries came together and decided an ulterior agent was needed to maintain peace in a world of global trade among differing ideologies.

The United Nations, World Trade Organization, and International Court of Justice eventually came to exist as global governments that would rule over those countries that subscribed to the charters put forth. These charters were written by the nations that won the previous war and it is argued that they intentionally left-out nations that weren’t necessarily viewed favorably by Democracies and Capitalists. Russia is one of those nations and the result of this plunged the world into what is known as the “Cold War”.

The most coveted commodity on the planet was still trade via industry, but after recognizing the role they played and ultimate indifference to the destiny of any particular nation, the new International Institutions established directly, in their own charters that corporations are not allowed representation.

This was a setback to those (mostly corporations) who would seek to control trade via industry. Now, their proxy governments could dictate how they conducted trade globally without the interests of the corporations at heart. This essentially democratized trade internationally and corporations were forced to adhere to the laws as they were dictated to them.

What is Trade?

Let’s take another minute and break this down because it’s important to understand the multivariate issue that is trade in order to understand what happens next.

Trade is essentially the flow of goods and services between individuals, corporations, communities, and governments.

In order to conduct trade you need investment. That is where the financial institutions and corporations that control investment come in.

In order to receive investment, a financial institution or corporation need to believe in your success. This can be achieved a number of different ways, but in reality there must be some form of Supply and Demand in this economic system.

Now, as much as we’d like to believe supply and demand to be naturally created things in a perfect economic model, it rarely is. Supply can be artificially limited or inflated which can have an artificial impact on Demand as well. Demand can be created where it never existed before through marketing. A lot of advancements in technology solve problems most people never knew they had. In order to create demand in this situation, individuals need to be enlightened to the problem before a Demand for the solution or Supply exists.

In this case one could use their investment to improve their products & services, or market to the people who need them, but ultimately with enough investment, this can be created where it doesn’t exist. Therefore the corporations that trade at the highest volumes become the most powerful as they receive more and more investment and can predict where the economy is heading in terms of Supply and Demand.

This becomes a feedback loop as corporations that control some of our most basic commodities like food, water, and oil are the ones that end up investing in the rest of the world. Financial institutions depend on them for returns and insights into whats happening in the economy so they can make smart decisions with their money and the resources of a nation’s worth of savings.

This idea was cemented in 2008 when America’s largest banks were ‘bailed out’ through investment from the government and it’s central bank when their financial ‘instruments’ failed them. The common defense for this solution was that these banks were ‘too big to fail’ in a market where Capitalism was supposed to be the guiding ideology.

The Current World Order

Okay, so at this point international institutions are dictating trade to the best of their ability via a democracy of appointed officials from their own local governments, ruling by a vote without allowing corporations representation.

This is a problem for corporations, mainly finance corporations that are unable to operate or invest where they please without a previous blessing by the World Trade Organization.

It’s only natural that instead, they attempt to influence the WTO via their ability to fund their own politicians.

Enter Political Action Committees. These are organizations that support the infrastructure required to run for any office in a modern government. The rules and regulations surrounding them differ depending on the country you’re in, but nonetheless corporations use them as instruments to ensure their interests will be highly represented in their local governments and abroad. The most interesting aspect of these committees and their counterparts is that the source and amount of funding is often unknown. This leaves the public, who ultimately chooses the politician, in the dark.

However, even among financial corporations and those who control the majorities of commodities, there is competition.

In order to create a more unified front internationally the largest corporations in the world got together and established the World Economic Forum where executives from other corporations are given titles such as ‘Governor’.

Established in 1971, the mission reads;

“committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”


Once again the most coveted commodities on the planet fall under centralized control. However, like before, there is no need to directly rule over people as government provides an effective tool.

The Rise of The East

After WWII the west continued to rule the world with it’s corporations and free trade, capable of placing a McDonalds anywhere in the world within a few months and enlisting additional countries as willing participants of our modern economy. The wealth generated by this system was impossible to deny. Even the most resistant to western ideologies gave in.

However, one nation still refuses to adopt it holistically to this day; China.

In the East, Hong Kong is the capital of Finance. When the British ended it’s rule due to colonial agreements in 1997 China promised to allow to operate and rule itself as it had up until then. The phrase was ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and one of the poorest populations on the planet finally began to benefit from free trade.

Chinese culture, however, did not change that much.

In the west, corporations are essentially independent individuals that can choose to operate almost as their own sovereigns complete with all the rights of a free individual within their country. In China, it’s well understood that corporations absolutely cannot exist outside of the government or free of it’s influence. For experts, it’s often very, very difficult to understand where the government ends and the corporation begins.

This creates a very unique situation where international trade is concerned. While western corporations govern themselves through a democratic World Economic Forum, Chinese corporations operate and act in a very communist manner.

Often corporations that wish to conduct business in China, must also conduct themselves within a communist system in order to succeed. This often puts them ideologically in dissonance with the west whose values are inherently different.

More often than not, corporations opt to establish a Chinese corporation and then feed it trade secrets and intellectual property in order to survive, essentially putting all other nations around the world in a precarious situation. Especially, when those trade secrets and intellectual property can become liabilities to national security.

However, as more and more Chinese are raised out of poverty thanks to investment from the west and a focused vision by the government, the potential for them to become the ruler of global trade and usurp the World Economic Forum is growing. The fear is that this will lead to China enforcing standards and values that are at odds with western values over the entire globe.

The World Economic Forum is reacting to this threat on many fronts as their influence is great.

The Rise of Tech Corporations

By the late 1980’s a new form of communication was created and began taking off. The Internet, or the World Wide Web, became something that everyone could imagine as a part of their daily life. People raced to invest and the result was the dot-com bubble of the late 1990’s.

People lost millions, but the genie was out of the bottle. Like the Industrial Revolution before it, the way people worked was changed forever. Computers showed up on everyone’s desk at work and home and people began dreaming of a futuristic world of hope and abundance in ways never imagined before.

As the technology began to infiltrate our lives, all forms of communication required updating in order to compete. Corporations that once ruled via artificial supply and demand were usurped by corporations that could transact faster and more transparently than before. Technology corporations showed up everywhere. Finance, Food, Transportation, and even the Military was impacted.

There was a new commodity on the block, and that commodity was data. With data corporations could know more about themselves, their competition, economic trends and investment opportunities faster than ever before. They could outpace their competition with enough data and the right analysis. They could make smarter decisions and more accurate risk analysis. Corporations could target their market better and had more power to influence buyers based on the results of their analysis.

Ultimately corporations could make smarter trades and investments and like the feedback loop from before, invested more and more into technology companies above all others.

Unfortunately for corporations, the skills required to leverage the latest technology were in low supply. At the time, a great understanding of mathematics and engineering were required and the western world was more infatuated with liberal arts over the sciences.

In order to keep up with demand, Tech Companies began employing individuals from the East, leveraging mostly China and India as their source of labor. Often providing Visas to those workers to move west. We’ll come back to this.

For some reason the text stops here. I don’t remember where this was going, but didn’t want to lose the effort.


Mastodon RSS Bot

I wrote a Mastodon RSS bot in Python today.

The script reads a CSV file of RSS feeds and checks each feed’s entries for the latest entries compared to the last time the bot posted.

Once a collection of new toots is created, the bot attempts to toot separating each post by 20 seconds.

run.sh runs the bot repeatedly, once a minute.

Posts are easy to create. I started with the entry title and link with some hashtags at the end.

Trillion Dollar Coach

Written by modern leaders of industry, this book shines a light on the possible source of many cultural trends found in modern IT organizations or most corporations in America today.

The book itself is a tribute to Bill Campbell, a well known corporate coach who was well connected among technology executives. It opens with comments about who attended his funeral in 2016.

Organizing Bill’s coaching method in 6 chapters of stories and examples which do a great job of helping the reader get to know bill who sounds like a walking controversy, the book tells tales of Bill from his early football days before diving into how he approached teams in corporate America.

As it’s told, Bill seemed to naturally understand or Intuit what is taught today in modern IT organizations as Servant Leadership. As the leaders at google understood on the surface, Bill understood that winning teams make winning organizations and a coach is required to help unite and guide them to make decisions on their own. Bill was also able to lead people, because he genuinely cared about the people he was working with.

A common theme throughout the book was “your title makes your a manager, your people make you a leader”. This was reiterated throughout and became a dependable metaphor throughout the stories.

Bill’s efficiency was in his ability to focus on the human challenges that presented any team. Top performers often have conflicting views on the right direction of a project or any other decision. Bill would quickly discover who or what was causing tension and bring it front and center for the group to deal with. This expedited decision making and solidified key relationships for continued success.

This book solidified a lot of the lessons I’ve picked up and would categorize under Servant Leadership. However, I got the most value out of the stories. They served to demonstrate how powerful some of these basic principals are when applied consistently.

In fact, consistency is when these principals begin to have their most power. When the people around you begin to depend on you to be a servant leader. Bill was able to be consistent and dependable when applying his natural talents which lead him to be trusted by some of our titans of technology.

Social Media, Platforms, Government, and the New Frontier

The Beginning

In the beginning the Internet was full of promise. With the advent of the Internet, Humanity began connecting and communicating in ways that were never available before. Individuals from across the globe with various backgrounds and casts, were able to meet each other, share ideas, and get exposed to things that inspired us to reach for the stars. 

Innovation exploded. Open Source projects that allowed practically anonymous contributions from millions around the world and accepted based on quality, escalated our technology to levels only dreamed about in science fiction novels. 

A new frontier was discovered and every generation that followed jumped head first into the future. 

The Challenge

Over time, it became apparent that the greatest value this new technology provided was communication and the ability to share ideas and content. Developers built platforms that enabled them to communicate quickly and efficiently in order to make changes to their source code as fast as possible. However, the rest of the world was still operating outside of these systems and needed to communicate more subjectively.

There was no formula yet for how the average person would communicate with the rest of the world, and many platforms were created to solve this problem. MySpace started out as a place for musicians to share their music. VampireFreaks began as a place for alternative culture to connect and share interests specific to them. Forums for everything from body-building, to photography popped up on the internet. Still, it took a while for a platform to be created that could be a place for people from the entire spectrum of personalities and interests to be created. Even in its beginning, Facebook targeted university students. 

Eventually Twitter allowed people to connect with each other using keywords known as hashtags. This became the first place where individuals could show up en-mass and self-organize and communicate about what was important to them. The end result was a demonstration of it’s power and the world witnessed its catalytic powers during the Arab Spring.

Following Twitter, Facebook allowed the use of hashtags as well, and create user-groups that could promote and speak for themselves. 

This newfound technology, now known as Social Media, became so popular that it is now the primary method of human communication for everything from news, to business, to keeping in touch with family and friends. 

The Problem

To deliver this technology to the people all over the world, these technologies needed corporate sponsorship. 

Companies were created that could satisfy humanities demand for the instant, global social network that would catapult social issues and injustices into the forefront of business, politics, and local & federal governments globally.

These companies still operated within a traditional economy and were required to generate a profit. Even the most benevolent of organizations can’t operate with their books in the red forever. 

To corporations the caveat was that the market was already used to the experimental nature of internet engineers, and the Open Source philosophy. Even though users never stopped to think why they could access these platforms for free, while every other service in the traditional economy had charged a minimum, they never questioned what they were signing up for. Corporations couldn’t begin to ask for payment for using their platforms, and instead asked for ownership of the data users generated on their platforms. 

Often these demands were buried in long, complicated, and cryptic legal Terms of Service & Privacy Policies. The details are the subject of a complex, evolving debate in current times. However, to the general public it’s assumed that essentially every piece of information created on these platforms, unless explicitly stated, are property of the platform owner and they can do with it whatever they please.

This gave the corporations owning these platforms a business model. They could now essentially sell either the data itself, or access and insights into what the data says about their users. With ownership of the data, platforms began adjusting strategies to compete for users by providing them the most personalized and addicting experience possible.

Users were no longer aware of how their data was being used as they became more and more intimate with their choice of platforms.

The insights gleaned from hundreds of millions of individuals and their intimate lives were powerful. Demand for these insights grew exponentially outside the realm of the basic goods & services economy. Over time other stakeholders became interested in the power of these insights. Governments and stock markets readily paid for access to individuals in their most intimate moments.

The individual was powerless and had absolutely no rights to say how their data was used once it was created on the platform. This created a situation where a digital form of feudalism became the norm. Serfs (the lowest class of a feudal society) had no way of operating outside these platforms and had no rights to the value they generated. That value (information) was now the most coveted commodity on the planet.

The Response

While the economy and supply chains were going digital, innovation was now being funded by large corporations and financial institutions. The most desired commodity on the planet shifted from food and energy, to information and the users that create it. 

The new market demanded for individuals to contribute globally, by generating information as value instead of goods and services. Ultimately, this created a social and economic rift between the resourceful and the general public who’s only method of sustenance was a traditional economy. 

Job creation slowed as automation creeped into every part of the human supply chain. Investments shifted from traditional businesses to technology first businesses. Very few new jobs replaced the old ones. Platforms that were supposed to distribute global audiences, instead funneled them to a few particular platforms where content was created and shared. 

Diversity slowly gave way to algorithms that suggested what the majority of people would consume, instead of letting the individual explore on their own. These algorithms were created using the data generated by the users they fed suggestions to. The end result was a feedback loop that resembled an exponential echo chamber. 

The individuals who felt the most pain and suffering were the ones prevented from interacting in this new world. Instead their rhetoric devolved into extremist ideals that were nurtured by organizations that depended on the sensationalism to further their own agendas. 

The rise of populism began prior to 2016, but was cemented with social shifts in governments around the world.

Out of fear, the individuals and corporations that controlled the platforms began to censor their users. This reaction resulted in ostracizing half or more of humanity against itself. Both sides refused to allow any healing to be accomplished on unselfish terms. 

The ideals of democracy, free speech, and other civil liberties gave way to the desire to absolutely destroy anything that didn’t resemble one’s self, experienced and expressed within that exponential echo chamber.

Ideas like Privacy, which were once discussed as a common knowledge, have become all but synonymous with heresy. Fundamental truths about nature and how the world works are targets for identifying one’s enemy and providing all the excuse needed to continue to enforce global ostracization. 

Without access to the platforms needed to continue to progress as a species, essential organs of the larger body are completely incapable of functioning.

With the platforms controlled by a central authority, it’s impossible to make the right decision for the whole. 

The greatest gift of communication humanity has ever been given, has become the source of it’s most critical illness. A new balance must be discovered if it is to survive. 

The Solution

Even though the political and societal issues of the day are daunting and infect everything an individual does, the communities that began this innovative wildfire still exist today and continue to produce valuable, quality products that augment and improve upon the solutions in production. 

Today, technologies exist that allow platforms humanity depend on to be decentralized. Democracies can be re-established in the digital landscape, with new borders that enable users to be heard louder and clearer than ever before. 

We don’t need to submit indefinitely to the kings of the current platforms. We can build our own, or shift the architectures of the current to allow for individuals to own their data and take back their rights. Also, users can dictate how, where, and when their data is used on the platform. 

A decentralized platform can serve the people better than any centralized one ever could. Resources to produce and provide the platform can easily be generated by the users simply using it. 

These new decentralized platforms could not only become self-governing, member-owned organizations, but complete digital sovereignties that can serve the larger body of humanity by informing and acting on the behalf of its members. 

The Dream

To start, the first member-owned, decentralized platforms will provide its users with everything they need to communicate as normal. This will include the privacy, security, and stability of their corporate, centralized counterparts. 

These platforms will evolve over time to provide the fundamental framework for others to create their own platforms and groups to connect and establish identities that align with the desires of the whole. 

They will govern themselves, and exist as long as they are relevant. Empowered individuals will come and go as they please, generating value where they see fit, to satisfy their own demands and therefore the demands of others. 

These platforms will become the modern form of human organization and governance, superseding states and corporations in the long run.

Run Your Own VPN using Google Cloud & OpenVPN

Securing your connection to the internet is no longer something that is reserved for hobbyists who fit the paranoid, tin-foil hatted stereotype. Today, with the majority of our interactions involving some form of digital support, the opportunities for simple, pick-pocket level hacks that take advantage of unsuspecting victims are immeasurable.

While most services that individuals use are natively encrypted, its no longer necessary to see that user’s traffic in order to know what they’re doing. Simply knowing the destination of the traffic is enough to profile a target and increase the attack vector. If you know the target is going to facebook or twitter or similar platforms, its easy to find even more information.

On top of that, the websites we all visit today are selling our information to whomever asks for it. There are entire organizations dedicated to modeling our behavior online and identifying us as targets for all sorts of reasons. Those models could also be available to the highest bidder.

The reality is such that a number of companies are making a lot of money selling VPN services, currently for ~$100 per year. The value goes beyond security. Users are capable of masking or changing their geolocation, essentially deciding to enter the Internet from any location where the VPN service has a server.

I’m here to argue that VPN services are simple enough to setup nowadays, especially with the advent of cloud computing, that almost any level of hobbyist can do it. Especially if the hobbyist already has a presence on the internet.

Setting Up the Server

I chose Google Cloud to host my VPN server and have other things setup that make this overall process easier (like DNS and SSH), and there are a ton of articles that explain how to do this. The most important callout on Google Cloud is that the VM must be created with Port Forwarding enabled on the network interface. This option can’t be changed after the VM has been built. This took me a while to figure out and I owe my knowledge to the following article: https://medium.com/teendevs/setting-up-an-openvpn-server-on-google-compute-engine-9ff760d775d9

I used Ubuntu on my VM and followed this guide to set up OpenVPN as a server. https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-set-up-an-openvpn-server-on-ubuntu-18-04

By the end of that article you should understand how OpenVPN authenticates its clients, how to generate a Certificate Authority and sign certificate requests to create new client keys.

My server.conf ended up looking like the following:

port 1194
proto udp
dev tun

ca skylaski/ca.crt
cert skylaski/skylaski.crt
key skylaski/skylaski.key  # This file should be kept secret
dh skylaski/dh.pem

topology subnet
ifconfig-pool-persist /var/log/openvpn/ipp.txt

client-config-dir ccd

push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp"
push "dhcp-option DNS"
push "dhcp-option DNS"

keepalive 10 120

tls-auth skylaski/ta.key 0 # This file is secret
max-clients 10

user nobody
group nogroup


status /var/log/openvpn/openvpn-status.log
log-append  /var/log/openvpn/openvpn.log
verb 4

explicit-exit-notify 1

Setting Up the Client

The client will be unique to the device connecting to the VPN. Most of the value-add for VPN providers is their client. However, basic networking knowledge is all thats needed to get an OpenVPN client working. One thing that helps is to create a single ‘.ovpn’ file with all the authentication information inside that file.

On Android I used the official OpenVPN client and created my ‘.ovpn’ to look like the following…

dev tun
resolv-retry infinite
key-direction 1
verb 1
keepalive 10 120
port 1194
proto udp
remote-cert-tls server





These are some of the simplest configuration files I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve tested this client configuration on the OpenVPN Client for Android AND Windows 10.

This is just one example. There are a number of ways to do this today and hosting in general is relatively inexpensive. DigitalOcean has a 1-click deploy option for an OpenVPN access server for relatively cheap as well. https://marketplace.digitalocean.com/apps/openvpn-access-server

Gentoo Laptop

Razer 15 mid-2019 Advanced :: RZ09-03017EM8

We’ve made it far enough. I’ve lost the ability to count the number of times I’ve installed Gentoo in the last month.

For some reason when I first began my journey down the Open Source Rabbit Hole, I started with Gentoo. I was obsessed at the idea of efficiency. Something about being able to make a decision at every step in the process of setting up a Gentoo system meant power to me. The idea that I could “tune” the code, pre-compilation to harmonize as much as possible with the tools I was working with, was important to me at the time. Harmony was and always will be important.

However, this was my personal harmony. Not exactly harmony with the rest of the internet which was standardizing and promoting mass adoption. That wasn’t a problem for me at that time either. During highschool from 2000-2005 the internet was still a very democratic place.

I digress…

Recently I required a new personal laptop. I had not owned one for some time. My 2 in 1 Asus Transformer had served its purpose getting me through school and I am still using an Intel NUC connected to my TV for everything else (watching hockey mostly).

We’re back and getting it on with a Razer 15 Mid-2019 Advanced.

It was a trip just getting my hands on this hardware.


In order to get the correct drivers for installing from scratch say;


I’d say setting up pro and moving about Windows 10 is a walk in the park these days. Had to install without internet, but that wasn’t a big deal with the link above.


Never skip the handbook: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Handbook:AMD64

Major props to the initial author of: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Razer_Blade_Pro_(2019)

The kernel configuration alone is invaluable.

I had to perform the following to get a Gentoo Kernel I could load the proper Wireless drivers on.

Kernel (Gentoo-Sources)

I needed a Linux 5.x kernel to get the wireless to work

echo "sys-kernel/gentoo-sources ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords/gentoo-sources

Once the kernel was setup with ‘iwlwifi’ I still had to force build the right driver from ‘sys-kernel/linux-firmware’.





Nvidia card is working. Offloading is still a bit messy, so I’m making the GPU run the display manager (lightdm) and desktop environment (cinnamon/fluxbox).

Learned a lot from here: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/NVIDIA/Optimus

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier     "Layout"
	Option		"AllowNVIDIAGPUScreens"
	Screen      0  "nvidia"
	Inactive	"intel"

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"intel"
	Driver		"modesetting"
	BusID		"PCI:0:2:0"
	Option		"DRI" "3"

Section "DRI"
	Group		"video"
	Mode		0666

Section "Extensions"
	Option "Composite" "Enable"
	Option "RENDER" "Enable"

Section "Screen"
	Identifier	"intel"
	Device		"intel"

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"nvidia"
	Driver		"nvidia"
	BusID		"PCI:1:0:0"

Section "Screen"
	Identifier	"nvidia"
	Device		"nvidia"
	Option		"AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "Yes"

Sound & Bluetooth

Followed the ALSA & Pulseaudio guides for sound.

Alsa: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/ALSA

PulseAudio: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/PulseAudio

Installed ‘pavucontrol’ for managing sound levels.

Using Bluez & Blueberry for Bluetooth.

Bluez: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Bluetooth

Bluetooth Headset: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Bluetooth_headset

Gentoo Specifics:


# make.conf

USE="lm-sensors theora native-headset abi_x86_32 client networkmanager xkb dhcpcd bluetooth bluetooth-audio png jpeg ffmpeg gtk3 gtk introspection gnome-keyring pulseaudio elogind mount cairo python cups dbus opengl text ssl icu minizip inspector sqlite secure-delete postproc apng xorg udev X alsa"

COMMON_FLAGS="-march=core2 -O2 -pipe"

# NOTE: This stage was built with the bindist Use flag enabled

# This sets the language of build output to English.
# Please keep this setting intact when reporting bugs.

INPUT_DEVICES="libinput synaptics"


I am running elogind, which has forced me to mask a lot of packages with USE=”-consolekit”. So far this hasn’t been a problem, even though I also run consolekit for PulseAudio.

Additional Props:

Discord – Linux Blade: https://discord.gg/T8pJbz

The Tao of Internet Relay Chat

Found here: http://www.irc.org/history_docs/tao.html

 The Tao of Internet Relay Chat 
Something is formed by the electrons, born in the silent cable. Shaping and growing and ungrowing. It is there yet not there. It is the source of Internet Relay Chat. I do not know the name, thus I will call it the Tao of Internet Relay Chat.
If the Tao is great, then the IRC is running ceaselessly. If the IRC is great then the server is running without ever stoping. If the server is great then the client will always be the server. The luser is then pleased and there is Chat in the world.
The Tao of IRC squits far away and connects on returning.
The genetic potential of birth, a lot to know, yet unknown.
In the begining there was nothing.
Out of nothing the Tao gave birth to tolsun.oulu.fi. tolsun gave birth to OuluBox.
OuluBox gave birth to rmsg.
rmsg was not Tao, so MUT gave birth to IRC.
No one knows when IRC came into existance, the mighty master WiZ have it to be at the end of the eight month in the year of the Dragon.
Each channel has its purpose, however humble. Each channel is the Yin and Yang of IRC. Each channels has it's place within the IRC.
In the beginning there was only channel 0, thus channel 0 is the soil of IRC.
Channel 1 to channel 10 then was open as the sea. Channel 11 to 999 was the trees and forests of IRC. Channels above 999 should not be mentioned, and channels below 0 were unborn and contained many secrets.
This was not the right Tao, so IRC gave birth to +channels.
+channels had the yin and yang. Mode does not.
This was not the right Tao still, so IRC gave birth to #channels.
#channels have the yin and yang.
Only channel 0 is the right path to Tao, but avoid speaking on channel 0.
There was a great dispute among the Broom-Walkers of the Relay. Some of them wanted neither yin nor yang. Out of this Eris came into existance. Some of the Broom-Walkers then created Eris Free-net.
This was the right Tao.
Kind Gentle and Boring Net was another wrong path to the Tao of Internet Relay Chat.
Some time later there was a quantity of some lusers who wanted to be Broom-Walkers also. The Eris Free Broom-Walkers did not agree with them, thus a new IRC was born. This IRC is called the Undernet.
But this is not the right Tao, either.
There will always be disputes among the Broom-Walkers of Internet Relay Chat.
This is the very nature of the IRC.
Lusers that do not understand the Tao is always using the yang of Mode on their channels. Lusers that do understand the Tao are always using Ignore on their channels.
How could this not be so ?
The wise sage luser is told about the Chat and uses it. The luser is told about the IRC and is looking for it. The flock are told about the Tao and make a fool of the IRC.
If there was no laughter, there would be no Tao.
The master says: "Without the Tao of Internet Relay Chat, life becomes meaningless."
The Relay of the old time was mysterious and sacred. We can neither imagine its thoughts nor path; we are left but to describe.
The sage luser must be aware like a frog crossing the highway.
The great master Wumpus once dreamed that he was an automaton. When he awoke he exclaimed: "I don't know whether I am Wumpus dreaming that I am a client, or a client dreaming that I am Wumpus!"
So was the first Automata born.
The master Nap then said: "Any automata should not speak unless spoken to. Any automata shall only whisper when spoken to."

Many lusers have fallen into the clutches of ethernal damnation. They where not following the Tao.
There once was a luser who went to #BotSex. Each day he saw the automatons. The luser decided that he also would have such a automata. He asked another luser for his automata. The other luser gave his automata away.
The luser was not within the Tao, so he just started the automata. The automata had only Yang inside so all the lusers files where deleted.
Some moons laither the same luser then had become a sage luser, and did create his automata from the very grounds with materials found inside the IRC. The luser was now within the Tao and his automata lived happily ever after.
There once was a master who wrote automatons without the help of master Phone. A novice luser, seeking to imitate him, began with the help of master Phone. When the novice luser asked the master to evaluate his automata the master replied: "What is a working automata for the master is not for the luser. You must must BE the IRC before automating."
Master BigCheese gave birth to master Troy; his duty clear. Master Troy gave birth to master Phone, for the Tao of Irc must be eternal and must flow as the ceaseless river of Time itself.
Master Phone once said about the ircII client: "public_msg is for a message from someone NOT on the channel public_other is for a message on a channel that doesn't belong to a window. public is for a message on a channel that belongs to a window!"
Out of this raised the mighty chaos.
The sage luser came to the master who wrote automata without the help of master Phone. The sage luser asked the master who wrote automata: "Which is easiest to make. A automata with the help of master Phone or an automata made with the help of a language ?"
The master who wrote automata then replied: "With the help of a language."
The sage luser was disapointed and exclaimed: "But, with master Phone you do not need to know anything about the soil of IRC. Is not that the easiet way ?"
"Not really" said the master who wrote automata, "when using master Phone you are closed inside a box. For sure, it is a great box for the lusers, but the master will need more power, thus a language is the only path to go. With the language the master will never have to limit himself. When using such a language the master will seek the best between the need and the availibility."
"I see", said the sage luser.
This is the essence of Tao of IRC automatas.
A client should be light and be used for communication. The spirit of a good client is that it should be very convinient for the luser to use, but hard for the luser who want to create automata. There should never ever be too many functions or too few functions.
There should always be a ignore.
Without ignore the client is not within the Tao of Chating.
The client should always respond the luser with messages that will not astnonish him too much. The server likewise. If the server does not, then it is the clients job to explain what the server says.
A client which fails this, will be useless and cause confusion for the lusers. The only way to correct this is to use another client or to write a new one.
A luser asked the masters on #IrcHelp: "My client does not work". The masters replied: "Upgrade your client". The luser then wondered why the master knew. The master then told him about the Protocol.
"Your client does not work beaucse it does not understand the server. Why should it always work ? Only a fool would expect such. But, clients are made by humans, and humans are not perfect. Only Tao is.

The luser came to the masters of #IrcHelp, asking about the Tao of IRC within the client. The masters then said that the Tao of IRC always lies inside the client regardless of how the client connects to the server.

The master then was quiet for a long time and said. "Please leave, such questions are not within the Tao of IRC".
The master says: "Without the Protocol of TCP the messages will not travel. Without the client, the server is useless."
There once was a luser who used the ircII client. "ircII can do anything I ever need for using IRC" said the emacs client user, "I have /ON's, I have assignments, I have aliasing. Why don't you use this instead of the huge emacs client, which also has a messy screen?" The emacs client user then replied by saying that "it is better to have a scripting language that is the client instead of have a client that has a scripting language." Upon hearing this, the ircII client luser fell silent.
The master Wumpus said: "Time for you to leave. I did, now I'm happy." The master Gnarfer replied: "Use, but never overuse IRC, then you will also be happy within IRC"
A luser came unto the masters of #EU-Opers and asked, "How can I be, yet not be, a user@host within the IRC?" The masters of #EU-Opers replied: "To be Tao is to be ones true self. To hide ones self is not Tao, and is not IRC, you have much to learn before you shall be at rest within the Flow of Irc. Please leave"
Ove Ruben R Olsen