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1  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Mining (Altcoins) / Poll for using "ROI" versus "CR" (Capital Recovery) on: March 17, 2018, 05:21:15 PM
With respect to our discussion here, I'd like to poll the mining community here to find out their opinions on whether using "ROI" is just accepted slang, or makes you sound dumb.

Here's the original thread:  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3146608.0
2  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Mining (Altcoins) / Please stop using "ROI" when you mean Capital Recovery. it makes you sound dumb. on: March 17, 2018, 04:38:58 PM
I have a soapbox topic for today.

It's always bugged me that cryptocurrency miners have thrown around the term "ROI" (Return On Investment) as a euphemism for getting their initial capital investments in hardware purchases.  The correct term is "CR" or Capital Recovery.

When you see someone posting that they "got their ROI", or the "ROI on that GPU is 3 months", or "I've already ROIed so I'm hodling"... it makes them sound dumb.  I realize that using ROI as a stand-in for CR is probably just miner slang now, but in my opinion, words matter.  When you consider this is a forum where written words are the primary means of communicating ideas, then words matter.

Why is ROI an incorrect term?  It's incorrect because ROI is a simple mathematical formula to quantify the ratio or percentage of gains or losses based upon your capital outlay or investment.  You could have a negative ROI, but you don't really see anyone using that with the slang version of ROI used here.  They treat "ROI" as an absolute number, when the terms they really should be using are "CR" or Capital Recovery.


A simple example of ROI is this:  Miner A purchases a GPU for $1000, and over some period of time, that GPU mines $1000 worth of cryptocurrency.  Miner A did not "achieve" ROI... because the ROI is ZERO!  What did Miner A "achieve"?  They achieved a 100% "CR" or Capital Recovery.

Now, let's look at Miner B.  Miner B purchases a GPU for $1000, and over that same period of time, that GPU mines $1200 worth of cryptocurrency.  Miner B also did not "achieve" ROI.  The ROI is simply 20%.  Their "CR" or Capital Recovery is still 100%.  Both Miner A and B have "achieved" their CR, but their ROI is different.

Finally, let's look at Miner C.  Miner C purchases a GPU for $1000, and over that same period of time, that GPU mines $800 worth of cryptocurrency.  Miner C has an ROI of negative 20% (-20%), but their "CR" or Capital Recovery is still pretty good at 80%.


The above is a very simple comparison on why calculating "ROI" is not the same as CR.  There are actually several other factors to calculating ROI.  Time plays an important factor into calculating ROI, so it's never an apples-to-apples comparison unless all the same factors are considered.  In the case of physical capital like mining hardware, you also have to factor in your potential resale value if you choose to exit mining at that point in time.  It's rare to see anyone using ROI correctly, and it really has no meaning without all the proper context like time, resale value, and current coin pricing versus future coin pricing... so stop.



;TLDR
Simply put... stop using "ROI" when you mean "CR", as it makes you sound dumb.
3  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Mining (Altcoins) / Patience is a virtue... and the key to mining on: February 27, 2018, 05:24:29 AM
Just some friendly advice for new miners...

There are lots of threads where people are worried about "current mining profits".  There are lots of threads where people are searching for the "next big coin".  There are lots of threads where folks get kicks predicting the doom and gloom coming.  You are a miner, and just like real-life miners... there are periods of boom and bust.  I actually work for a company that produces mining equipment, so I'm familiar with these cycles.  The parallels are uncanny.

One of the lessons learned in the mining industry is that you have to be able to position yourself to be successful in the lean times.  You reduce spending where you can, you work on efficiency, and you prepare for the next boom.  This requires patience.  As a cryptocurrency miner, you are already familiar with certain types of patience.  You purchased mining equipment rather than a coin, so you are hedging your costs with the potential resale of the equipment.  Mining a coin and purchasing a coin have the same amount of risk.

Another type of patience you may have already, is watching a slow dribble of coins or "profits" come in over time.  It can be hard to watch this during the boom and bust cycles.  My suggestion for the bust cycles is stop trying to chase the hottest coin, and mine a solid coin.  Or, you can cycle through days or weeks of mining promising coins.

I'm not a fan of profit-switching... I can state my reasons if you haven't read those in other threads.  Chasing the hot coin will drive you crazy.

;TLDR - Patience grasshopper... there are no shortcuts in mining in real life or in cryptocurrencies.
4  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Mining (Altcoins) / [How To] Puwaha's Poor Man's Networked PDU: Using Smart Plugs and Awesome Miner on: February 02, 2018, 06:15:21 AM
I thought I'd share this with everyone since I think this is a problem we can all relate to.  While it would be nice to have a networked PDU, they are quite expensive... even on the used market.  So I thought about it and came up with this solution.


I'm sure we all have a rig or two where it may work fine, but every now and then it needs to be rebooted.  It always seems to happen at the worst of times... like when you are at work... or out of town.  Trying to get your spouse to reset a rig over the phone can sometimes be just as frustrating as when you are away and can't do anything about it.

I also use Awesome Miner, which is fantastic, and can do a lot of automation to keep your rigs running.  But if your rigs need a hard reboot, the only real solution is to "pull the plug" and reboot.  Awesome Miner has "rules" that you can define to watch for triggers like an offline miner, hashrate thresholds, dead GPUs, and a lot more... and then perform an action.  It's kind of like an IFTTT (IF This Then That) solution for mining.

IFTTT... hey wait a minute... I could use the online service IFTTT to control a smart plug.  I could have Awesome Miner watch for some condition, then send a signal to IFTTT, where in turn IFTTT could turn off and then on a smart plug.

I started out with a Wemo Insight smart plug that I had laying around, and after a bit of tweaking, I got this working well.  The problem is that the Wemo Insight smart plug is only rated for 120V, and all of my miners run off of my 24 amp 220V PDU that I got for real cheap off Ebay.  I then trolled around to find some cheaper parts to do a 220V equivalent to the Wemo Insight smart plug.




Puwaha's Poor Man's Networked Power Distribution Unit
(or PPMNPDU... nevermind, that's a bad acronym)

Parts you'll need:
  • Cheap 220V PDU from Ebay (I'll let you find these to suit your liking. You could even do this with 120V PDUs)
  • Cheapo 240V capable Smart Plugs like these at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078CPYQYS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    )
  • My PDU uses C14 connectors, and the Smart Plugs are 5-15P, so you'll need some good C14 to 5-15R adaptors like these at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OC579E/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Good quality 5-15P to C13 power cables.  These are your regular power cables that come with every power supply you've ever bought... you probably already have a few... so free!
  • IFTTT account (it's free)
  • Smart phone to setup the smart plugs (Smart Life app, and IFTTT app)... not free, but you probably already have one... so free
  • Awesome Miner... it's free for up to two "miners" to give it a go, but easily worth the license cost in other feature you need to cover all your miners

Note:  if your setup requires the C14 to 5-15R adapters, do not get the crappy 18AWG 1 foot "monitor extensions".
  The wires are not meant to carry high amperage that your rigs usually require.





Now, to put it all together.

First thing, go setup an IFTTT account.  You'll need that before integrating with Smart Life.

Let's go ahead and setup your first Smart Plug.  If you didn't pick the ones I did above in the Amazon link, just make sure they are compatible with the Smart Life app.  This is pretty simple to setup.  I suggest you do them one at a time so you can mark them with a pen, and edit the entry in the Smart Life app... like "Plug 1", and "Plug 2".

After setting up the Smart Plug in Smart Life, give it a few whacks to make sure you can turn it off and on.  In the Smart Life app go to Profile settings and click Integration.  Select IFTTT, and it will give you further instructions on how to integrate.  You'll need to sign in using your Smart Life account to integrate.  You can either use the IFTTT app on your smartphone, or the IFTTT web page... same results.

It's time to build the first IFTTT applet.  Go to your IFTTT app or webpage and click on "My Applets", then "New Applet".  You are now going to setup a trigger (the "This" in IFTTT), and then an action (the "That" in IFTTT).  Click on the +this logo... you will need to choose a service.  Type email in the search area and then click on the email logo.  Choose the "Send IFTTT an email tagged" option.  We want the tagged option, you'll see why in just a second.  This trigger will kick off when you send an email to the trigger@applet.ifttt.com with the tag that you supply.  Our first trigger we will setup will be #plug1off so put that in the field where it says tag, then click create trigger.

Now, we need to add an action to the applet... so click on the word +that logo.  Now search for Smart Life, and then click the Smart Life icon.  You'll see a couple of options to turn a device or group on, and another to turn a device or group off.  If you think about that for a moment, you may realize that you can group smart plugs together in the Smart Life app on your phone, so you could control multiple plugs with some of these steps.  But for now, we will just finish setting up the applet for our first smart plug.  Since our trigger tag was #plug1off, then we need to click on the option to turn a device off.  IFTTT then will present you with your drop down list of Smart Plugs that you setup in the Smart Life app.  Since this is our first one, we will select Plug 1 and click the create action button.  Finally, click the finish button, and you've just created your first applet in IFTTT!  Make sure it's turned on.

Repeat setting up a new applet in IFTTT, use the same trigger of "email" and use a new tag called #plug1on, and an action from Smart Life to turn on a device or group.  Select your Plug 1 device and finish the applet steps.



If you've never used Awesome Miner before, the bare minimums you need here are a pool, a managed miner, and a rig.  Once your rig is being controlled by Awesome Miner, you can automate it with a new user-defined rule.  There are some built-in rules to give you some ideas of what you can do, but for our networked PDU concept, we will create a new one.  First, go into the Options, and under the Rules section go to the Email & SMS section.  You'd want to setup your email account here anyway, for notifications from Awesome Miner in general, but the most important part is that you use the same email account that you used to setup your IFTTT account.

You see, the IFTTT applets you created are expecting an email from your email account.  If you use the same email account in Awesome Miner, then when you setup the user-defined rule to send an email... it matches... and the trigger is set.

Now that you have Awesome Miner setup to use your email account, go to the Rules section in the Options in Awesome Miner.

You'll give it a fancy name like Plug 1 Reset.  If you have more than one rig, then click the "only apply to selected miners", and select your rig that will be connected to the Smart Plug.  Now, add a trigger for this Awesome Miner rule.  If your rig crashes in a way so that it doesn't respond to pings, then make the trigger to be a Ping (on timeout) function.  In my case, I chose to make my trigger "activate" if the rig isn't responding to pings after 9 seconds.  There are other triggers you could use, and you can even stack them for different conditions, either selecting the "Match all" (for an AND function), or the "Match at least on" option (for an OR function).  Sounds complex?  Nah, it's easy.

Finally, you need to set an Action in the Awesome Miner rule.  In our case we are going to stack a bunch of functions to be run in sequence.   The first action is to send an email to the IFTTT email address (trigger@applet.ifttt.com) with a #plug1off in the subject line.  Then I put a Wait action for 10 seconds.  Then put another email action to send an email to the IFTTT email address with a #plug1on in the subject line.  Finally, I put 6 individual wait actions for 60 seconds each.  It basically runs like this:

If no response from IP address for 9 seconds then
    Send and email with #plug1off in the subject line
    wait 10 seconds
    send another email with #plug1on in the subject line
    wait for 60 seconds
    wait for 60 seconds
    wait for 60 seconds
    wait for 60 seconds
    wait for 60 seconds
    wait for 60 seconds

You need the waits in there between the off and on action to give your rig a chance to fully power down.  You also need the waits in there after the turn on action so that your rig has a chance to boot up and start responding to pings again.  I put six waits of 60 seconds each which is plenty of time for an SSD rig to boot up and start responding to pings... but it also means that the Awesome Miner rule won't run again for 6 minutes in case something is wrong.

Here's a quick shot of the Awesome Miner rule setup:



If you click the option in the Awesome Miner rule at the bottom to "Support manual activation" then you can run the rule actions at will from the main Awesome Miner mining rig list under the Actions dropdown.  And if you have a license that allows a web page interface for Awesome Miner, then you can remotely trigger this rule at will while you are away.  That's fine and all... and could be good for getting something unstuck.  

The whole point of using Awesome Miner is to allow your rigs to keep mining, and it allows some pretty incredible automation.  Couple Awesome Miner's already rich feature set for automation with Smart Plugs and IFTTT and you've got Puwaha's Poor Man's Networked PDU!


There's probably a lot to absorb here, so I'm more than willing to answer any questions or help you out.
5  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Mining (Altcoins) / Review of WWW.BITTAWMART.COM on: January 29, 2018, 12:12:48 AM
Hello everyone,

I wanted to take a moment and provide some information on a recent order I did through Bittawm's https://bittawmart.com/ storefront.  It's rare that you find an online store that gives excellent customer service like you would expect.  Pleasing the customer (or rather just providing lip-service to the idea) has been a lost art in today's business world.

On Jan 1st, I purchased two Baikal A2000 ASICs from bittawmart.com, in two separate orders.  One of the orders I had sent too low of a BTC fee, and had to scramble to find someone to fast-track the transaction.  Once done, the two orders were sent immediately, and I received them a couple of days later.

I promptly set them up and out of the box everything worked fine... until something strange started to happen.  It started with my Awesome Miner telling me that the ASICs were down.  I couldn't access the web interface of the ASICs and there was no response to pings.  I rebooted them, and everything seemed fine again.  Then about 30 minutes later, the same thing would happen.  I started some basic troubleshooting, all the typical stuff.  Re-seating all the cables, trying new ethernet cables, LAN ports etc... but anywhere from 15-45 minutes... usually averaging around 30 minutes the ASICs would go offline.

Now, this is a perplexing situation, and my fears were that maybe something happened to the devices in shipping.  I reached out to Bittawm via email, who was very prompt to respond and quickly helped me go through some other troubleshooting steps.  I have an old Baikal A900, so I was familiar with their devices.  We tried linking the two units together, using one Orange Pi Zero then the other, re-flashing both SD cards, and trying them in all the possible configurations.  Still the same thing kept happening... they would go offline around 30 minutes after booting.

I tried reaching out the Baikal support through email and skype, but they are hard to catch online.  The strange thing was that both Orange PI Zeros seemed to have the exact same problem.  You could expect that one might go bad, but two?

Bittawm was very attentive to this situation, and apologized for the inconvenience.  He offered to send me two new Orange Pi Zeros free of charge from his USA contact.  I'll leave the USA contact nameless unless he wants to be known.

The two new Orange PI Zeros came in a couple of days and I tried them again... only to find the exact same problem.  Now it was getting frustrating.  The USA contact figured out that it was me who was having the problem and reached out to me via PM here.  We then hooked up on WhatsApp to delve a little more into the problem.

The USA contact wanted me to try different configurations again, some new... I cycled through all four Orange PI Zeros, running in single board configurations, dual, quadruple... you name it.  Tried reflashing all 4 SD cards, new power supplies, you name it.  We spent a whole day troubleshooting.  The USA contact was patient and just as engaged as Bittawm.  If nothing else, I was pleased at the outstanding customer service that was happening.

Bittawm was great during all this troubleshooting as well and offered to send me back a refund equivalent to the revenue I was losing for all the days the miners were not working.  That's classy, but I really just wanted to get the ASICs working.


At this point, we had nothing else to try, and suspected maybe all four ASIC boards may have some problem.  The USA contact offered to send me two replacement A2000 units.  Even further, as it was a weekend and they wouldn't ship until Monday... he setup two A2000s from his personal collection and mine to my account for a couple of days to prove that they would work.  I monitored my pool account, and they worked as advertised.

The USA contact shipped these new A2000's out and I got them a couple of days later.  The USA contact also sent me a pre-paid mailer to send the old units back and the spare Orange PI Zeros he had sent.

When the new units arrived, I set them up and again... the same issue.  None of this made any sense at this point.  The PI would just stop responding after about 30 minutes.  This was kind of dismaying... thinking I had made a $4200 mistake.

On a whim, I logged into the pool, and saw that the hashrate had not dropped to zero.  This was confusing, because the PI does not respond to pings, the web interface was inaccessible... but there it was.  The hashrate was going just expected otherwise.  I let it run overnight, and in the morning checked the pool again.  Still no issue, but of course I couldn't ping the PI or access the web interface.


I reached out to the USA contact to give them the news, and to let them know I'm fine with the results of the tremendous effort in troubleshooting, all the anxiety that the potential bad ASICs had caused.  There must be something in my network that is causing the issue.  No other device has any problem, so it was easy to overlook the basics.  I still don't have a solution to my networking issue.  I'm looking through some Orange PI Zero forums to see if there is some configuration change I can do on the OS to resolve the problem.

I want to again thank Bittawm and the USA contact for their incredible attention to this strange situation.  The stupendous customer service is not one that I will easily forget.  When I do interviews in my day job, one of the questions I ask potential candidates is "Give me an example where someone has given you incredible customer service and how did that affect how you do it?"  If I ever get asked that question in an interview myself, I will point to this experience as the best possible answer.


Thank you for reading if you made it this far.

;TLDR
I would have no hesitation in ordering from or recommending that others order from https://bittawmart.com/ in the future.  The customer service is what sets them apart.

Thanks Bittawm and the USA contact!
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