Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Walking Dead Premiere at Madison Square Garden

I was lucky enough to get a press pass to attend Friday night's "Walking Dead" extravaganza at Madison Square Garden. You can read my piece on it for the Journal here. But, I took a bunch of photos, most of which we couldn't use for the post, so I thought I'd share those here.

I will say, personally, it was a blast. It was very unusual to watch a TV show in a theater setting, with a huge high-def screen and pounding sound system. With more than 10,000 other fans cheering and screaming, it was unlike almost anything else I've ever experienced.

They really did a great job of creating the right atmosphere. They had people shambling around dressed up like zombies:

And they even trucked in the Governor's aquarium:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Home Movies Will Never Be the Same

Back in the spring, when I went to South by Southwest, I met up with Sean Ramsey, a Toronto production guy who had ditched his production company to start a new company building 360-degree cameras. He called it the bublcam, and that day he gave me a little demo of it.

This month, the company sent me one to test out for myself, which I've been doing. Here are some of the photos I've taken. It's not quite as easy as shooting with your cellphone, but your cellphone can't do this.

I was in Washington on the 10th for a conference, and took a little time to walk around the Mall.

The Washington Monument:

Lafayette Square:
The Lincoln Memorial:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bitcoin at OnCue

I should've put this on here a while ago. It's the talk I did with Mike and the Economist's Matthew Bishop in June at the OnCue2015 conference in Boston. This panel was held in the Memorial Church at Harvard.

It was shot with a VSN Mobil 360-degree camera. I just placed the camera on our table, and let it run. The way the software works, it cuts the video in half for viewing in these kinds of environments, but if you watched this with virtual-reality goggles, you'd get the full 360-experience. It's kind of wild.

My 1914 Penny

UPDATE: So, my 1914 penny is not a 1914 penny, and it's not worth much more than a penny, either.

Took it to an appraiser in midtown, who took one look at it with a magnifying glass, said it was a 1917 penny, and mumbled something about its worth.

"It's what?" I said.

"A penny, a penny," he said real fast, not wanting to waste one second on it. "It's a penny and it's worth a penny."

Here's the original post:

This morning I was pulling some change out of my pocket, to dump into a little coin jar we have in the house. I'd just come back from grocery shopping. As my hand was going toward the jar, I just happened to notice that the penny on top - back side facing up - had wheat leaves on it. That automatically means it's an older coin. They stopped the wheat leaves design in 1956.

It first, I couldn't even make out the year, so faded were the numerals. I had to actually take a picture of the coin, and magnify the picture. As you can see, it's seems to be "1914."

I did a quick Google search, and found a pretty good piece about 1914 pennies. The bottom line is I don't think my penny is worth all that much more than a penny.

There were three series that year, from mints in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The Denver pennies have a D under the year, and are the rarest. They have the most value. The San Francisco pennies have an S under the year, and are also valuable. The Philly pennies don't have a marking, and are the least valuable.

It's possible that my penny has an extremely worn D or S on it, but I can't see it at all. Which would make it a Philly penny, and worth about 60 cents. I also found a coin appraiser just a few blocks from my office, so I'll bring it over there just out of interest.

Still, it is absolutely wild to me that this penny is 101 years old, and that it's been in circulation all that time and is still in circulation.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

We've Gone to Bandcamp

We've gone to bandcamp. Really.

Bandcamp is an online site, for musicians mainly, a sort of sales platform and social network rolled into one. Artists can sell their music, set the prices, talk to fans, follow other artists, and so on. The website is good, and the mobile app is even better. They have a nice product for musicians, and have managed to sell a good number of albums over the years.

They've recently expanded into audiobooks, and the publisher of our audiobook, Gildan, suggested that we put the book on there for sale. I met the team running the site when we were out in San Francisco (they were literally a few blocks north of 20Mission, on the top floor of the US Bank building in Mission District, I think it was the 13th or 14th, in this big open office space with giant plate-glass windows and a phenomenal view of the city. I can't believe I didn't take a single picture.)

Not sure that I actually had much choice in the matter, but I was impressed by the site, and what they were building, and agreed that we should put the book up there. So we did. The player above provides an excerpt from the audiobook, narrated by Sean Pratt, and will take you to our page on Bandcamp.

Give it a shot!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The New York Times Review

Can't believe I didn't post this earlier, but the New York Times reviewed The Age of Cryptocurrency in its March 22 edition, in a piece written by Columbia University's Emanuel Derman, who called it a "thorough, timely and colorful book."

It's going to sound kind of silly, but to be blunt this is something I've dreamed about for decades. To have your book reviewed in the Times? There just isn't anything that tops that. I'll be honest with you, I get a just a little bit emotional even thinking about it.

This whole past year has been like a storm with this book. It's been a mad dash, and massive undertaking, like trying to run a two-hour marathon, and we never really had time, well, I never did at least, to sit back and just reflect on what it all means. Seeing the book on a bookshelf for the first time was one big moment, like a musician I'd imagine hearing their song on the radio for the first time. It's hard to explain exactly the feeling.

The other big moment is picking up the Sunday Times, and seeing your book reviewed there.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bitcoin and the All Out Show

That's us with Lord Sear.

No doubt, the most fun we've had doing an interview so far was the half-hour we spent two Friday's ago on the All Out Show on SiriusXM. It's an uncensored (Sirius, after all) hip-hop interview and talk show.

This show was very different from all the other shows we've done, which have mainly been business-oriented outlets like CNBC and Fox Business. But these guys, Rude Jude and Lord Sear, gave us a lot of time to explain bitcoin. Sure, they ripped us bit here and there for "all your big-ass words," but they were genuinely interested in talking to us, and hearing what we had to say. It really did turn into, at least I thought so, a really good, informative interview.

We also took calls from listeners, which was rather interesting, to say the least.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Age of Cryptocurrency, the Trailer

Mike and I made a trailer for The Age of Cryptocurrency. Book trailers have gotten pretty elaborate over the past few years, and it's no surprise. While once upon a time it didn't make sense to make a trailer to sell a book, the rise of YouTube and social media have opened this up as a new way to market your book. It's not a must have yet - I haven't seen any trailers for Stephen King books - but it's quite nearly mainstream.

There are an awful lot of trailers out there now, and some of them are quite elaborate, clearly made by professional production companies. B.J. Novak has a slick one for his collection of short stories, "One More Thing." It helps, of course, to have friends like Mindy Kaling and probably everybody who knew from "The Office" to help you with your trailer.

Then there's this one for Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story." Again, it doesn't hurt your trailer's chances if you can get James Franco to make a cameo as himself. Or Jay McInerney.

We didn't have access to Mindy Kaling. Or Jay McInerney. Or James Franco. Or Satoshi Nakamoto, for that matter. What we did have access to was Times Square. So Mike and I waited for one sunny afternoon and took our iPhone out into Times Square and asked people one simple question: "What is bitcoin?"

It's really the crux of the entire book, to answer the question, "what is bitcoin?" It's the question that got Mike and I interested in the first place. It's the reason we dug into the history of cryptocurrencies, and cypherpunks, and the history of money, and why we went to China, and Silicon Valley.

What is bitcoin?