Chris Worfolk's Blog


Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

December 12th, 2017 | Books

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started with Bitcoin is a book by Christopher Nygaard.

I read the audiobook edition. It’s okay: you get a grounding in Bitcoin in under two and a half hours. There is some details on how to use it and very little technical details. Most of the book looks at the history, how it has evolved and where it is going.

The narration is odd. It’s by Skyler Morgan and he sounds like a robot. He has a website and offers royalty-split book details. I’m not sure whether he actually is a computer-generated voice, or whether he just has a voice that sounds a lot like a robot.

What Every Parent Needs to Know

December 9th, 2017 | Books

What Every Parent Needs to Know: The incredible effects of love, nurture and play on your child’s development is a book by Margot Sunderland.

I like it. It’s backed up by science. Most books never reference. Some books make provocative claims about what you should do as a parent in order to provoke a reaction. And still don’t back their claims up.

This book sets a good balance. There is some stuff you “don’t want to hear” in here. But pretty much everything is referenced. With real references. So, at worse, you can say Sutherland is misinterpreting or twisting the research. But she doesn’t seem to be just making it up or being unjustifiably offensive like others (*ahem* Penelope Leach *ahem*).

Most of it is straightforward: give your child lots of love and understanding. Be empathetic. Give them time, attention and cuddles. Don’t leave them to cry because you think it will do them some good and toughen them up. Nothing groundbreaking there.

She won be over by laying into baby DVDs. They’re nonsense. Don’t let your young children watch TV, regardless of what it is or how it markets itself as being good for them.

While it’s all good stuff, it remains to be seen how actionable it is, though. I would love to have initiate patience and give my daughter an endless stream of love. But, on the occasions when I do ignore her whining or become moody, it’s because I’m at the end of the very short string of calmness god gave me.

There are some very actionable things, though. Like long goodbyes, for example. A quick getaway is easier, but a long goodbye is better for your child because you don’t stress them out. I can afford to spend a few minutes getting Venla playing at daycare before dashing out of the door.

All in all, a good read for anyone on their way to becoming a parent, or anyone who as recently become one.

Mastering Bitcoin

December 8th, 2017 | Books

Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies is a book by Andreas M. Antonopoulos.

It’s published by O’Reilly and the cover features leafcutter ants. They farm. I learnt that from the book. I also learnt some stuff about bitcoin.

It’s a book for programmers and techies. It says the first few chapters are suitable for everyone, and they are, but why you would buy an entire book for two quick chapters I am not sure. Everything is technical and there are code samples everywhere. If that’s your bag, this book might be perfect for you.

I took me an afternoon to read it. It’s not particularly short, but I glossed over a lot of the technical details and code samples. Partly because I am not looking for that level of detail yet, though also because it’s very difficult to understand, even for a programmer.

It is written in an engaging way with plenty of examples to illustrate how everything works. However, it is a technical book and you won’t find any information on how to use Bitcoin in the real world. But, if you want an understanding of bitcoin and the blockchain, this a good place to get it.

Triathlon For Beginners

December 7th, 2017 | Books, Sport

Triathlon For Beginners: Everything you need to know about training, nutrition, kit, motivation, racing, and much more is a book by Dan Golding.

I was keen to read it to see how my current knowledge matched up. As it turns out, it matches up reasonably well. If you’ve been around the triathlon world for any amount of time, or done a few, you will probably know a lot of what is in the book.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Golding goes deeper into the science of each aspect so unless you really know your stuff, there is something to learn.

Take nutrition, for example. I knew we had around 90 minutes of glycogen. But, after that is gone, exactly how many kcals do I need to put in my body to keep going, and at what rate? Everyone is different, of course, but Golding provides a guide.

He also expounds on an important concept that books are picking up on more and more (including mine): you have to remind the reader that reading this book isn’t enough; they need to put it into practice, too.

How much this helps, I’m not sure. But the anecdotes about what happens probably do help. Between Golding’s recollection of being unable to get his wetsuit off, and my own experience of running out of T2 still wearing my cycling helmet, I think I’ll think I’ll be able to convince myself that transition practice is time well spent.

If you’re thinking about taking up triathlon, or you’re still in your first season, this book is worth reading.

Hairy Bikers Ride Again

December 6th, 2017 | Books, Food

The Hairy Bikers Ride Again is a cookbook by Dave Myers and Si King. They spend their time riding around the world on motorbikes, finding new recipes and cooking. And then distilling this into books and TV shows.

In this instalment, they go through India, Argentina and Morocco and Belgium.

Chorizo crumb fish

Spicy mash

It’s an okay cookbook. It’s not your usual type: it’s split between them talking about their travels and then there is a bunch of recipes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will come down to your personal preferences.

The recipes worked well. They felt a little safe but produced predictably nice food. Nothing has made it onto my “recipes to come back to” list, but both the vegetable and paneer curries are definitely close.

Baby carrier match

December 5th, 2017 | Photos

That awkward moment when you release your new baby carrier perfectly matches your t-shirt.

30 Days of Action: Day 30

November 30th, 2017 | Life

How fast time flies. We’re at the end of the 30 days. Although, of course, many people have banged out a novel in this time.

First, things I’ve done today: I finished closing down the Mountain Wallet website. I’ve upgraded all of my WordPress installs to the latest version. Hopefully, this will fix the image upload bug.

For my own sake, I’m also going to review what I have achieved in the past 30 days.

What I’ve done this month

I finished writing, editing and producing my new book, Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. It’s now available in paperback, Kindle and iBooks edition.

In fact, this is only one of two books I published in November, as I also released the book edition of the IT Contracting Master Class. Unlike the Skeptic’s Guide, nobody has bought a copy yet. But, at £75 a copy, who can blame them.

I’ve released a new course, Mindfulness for Social Anxiety. I’ve also given my existing courses some love by fixing the audio on Get More Restaurant Customers and adding captions to all of the lectures. I’ve also taken Running For Anxiety out of private beta and launched it to the public.

I’ve got a lot of content writing done for WAM. At least six new blog posts. I’ve also released five new videos and reached out to a number of guest posting opportunities, of which one was accepted. There has also been some behind-the-scenes work too, fixing Search Console errors and adding the new image search to the CMS.

I launched the personalised reports on WAM, too. These have already shown themselves to be a good potential avenue for bringing in new leads.

I’ve attended my first business networking event in the form of WapenTalkie.

I’ve also taken some of the hard decisions such as cancelling my 5000bc and Audioblocks memberships. I’m normally pretty bad at taking action here, but it had to be done.

What are the outcomes?

Much of what I have done will have benefits further down the line than can be seen immediately after. However, there are some promising indicators already:

I’ve had my best ever month selling courses. In fact, a few more sales today and I will have generated more revenue this month than the last six months combined.

Book sales are looking up a little, too. People are already buying Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy and a lot of people have bought How to Exit VIM, too.

Traffic on WAM is up approximately 20% between October and November and I’ve generated around a dozen potential new leads in the first week or so of the personalised reports going live.

Review of outcomes

There has definitely been some success this month, and avenues to explore further.

But, overall, it’s nowhere near good enough.

Productivity this month has been good. But it hasn’t felt that way: it feels like I’ve spent far too much time being ill, or looking after Venla. Fatherhood is rubbish because none of this is quality time, it is dealing with problems.

Secondly, the outcomes have, so far, been pretty poor, too. Sure, it’s better than I was doing. But it’s not paying the bills. Unless I can 100x the effectiveness of what is happening, it’s not going to be funding my Lamborghini anytime soon.

30 Days of Action: Day 29

November 30th, 2017 | Life

Still ill yesterday, so I struggled through my full day of uni and then went home. Still a bit of process, though.

I finished writing a blog post on mindathlons, and I started drafting a new blog post on the physiological affects of anxiety.

I have also submitted an updated description to iBooks for Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy.

As of today, men have done a full year’s work

November 29th, 2017 | Religion & Politics

10 November is Equal Pay Day. As reported by The Telegraph, women, on average, earn 14.2% less than men, so effectively, after 10 November, they are working for free for the rest of the year. If men quit their job on that date, it would take women the rest of the year to catch up.

I like the initiative. It draws attention to the gender pay gap in a clever way.

Like all such initiatives, it misses the fine detail of the discussion. The nuances of the argument. Nobody can blame it; it’s just an advertising slogan. But, when we get down to fixing it, we need to keep those nuances in mind.

The gender hours gap

One of which is that, as of today, men have done a full year’s work. On average, they have worked so many more hours that even if they quit their job today, it would take women the rest of the year to catch up.

It’s not a small difference. Forbes reports that, on average, men work 42 minutes more per day. That’s 3.5 hours per week, 14 hours per month, or an entire month’s worth of working hours by year’s end.

Okay, but why is this relevant?

It is relevant because it shows we have a holistic social problem, not just something that affects women. We’ve built a society in which men are expected to work more and to be paid more.

It is possible in theory, though unlikely in practice, that we can solve the problem by only looking at one side of it. Until we accept that we need a fundamental change in the views of our society, not just a quick fix or call for the problem to magically go away, it seems unlikely we’re going to make more significant progress.

What do we do about it?

We need to change the nature of the debate from “why do women earn less?” to “why are there differences between genders?” Once you look at the whole picture, we become better able to deal with the situation and therefore make a fairer world.

Take maternity pay, for example. Elina and I were planning to split the childcare. But, when we ran the numbers, it was just unaffordable: Elina’s wage would be partially replaced by maternity pay and mine would not.

Aviva recently announced that they would now offer up to six months full pay for any parent, regardless of gender. It will be interesting to see how this changes the progression of women through the company.

But, more widely, we need to change the culture of men go to work, and women raise the children. That won’t just be measured in wage gaps or boardroom quotas, but in whether all genders are free to choose working hours, childcare responsibilities, occupations and a range of other factors.

30 Days of Action: Day 28

November 28th, 2017 | Life

Today has been an absolutely miserable day. Venla has passed her cold on to both Elina and I. Elina is really suffering and I had to continue on regardless as I had an exam. So, it’s been shit.

I have got two things done:

First, I’ve added an image search to the WAM CMS. This isn’t public facing, but it is useful for me.

Second, I’ve added the new videos to the blog posts. So, anyone reading the blog post can now watch the video instead. It’s been frustratingly complex because YouTube has changed their embed options so you no longer have a size option.

I’ve also spent some time trying to fix WordPress. Version 4.9 seems to have introduced a bug which prevents images from being uploaded. No luck there, though.