I got a block early on too - nothing since (other than 84 BTC)...
erm apologies for the outburst - in order to acquire the 84 BTC number I quoted above, I had to log into the account control panel.... where I found that rig 5 card 2 has the number '1' in the 'Found blocks' column!!!!
So that's two blocks to me!!! Well chuffed, that's a good start for a Monday.
And, thinking about it, not a bad return given that solo mining would have *presumably* given me 100 BTC, whereas mining with Slush has given me 84 BTC - but my mining exploits started off very small and took a while to get to the current 5-board setup (I've got around 4.88 gigahash/sec in total).
Also, the upgrade to full precision payouts must have helped somewhat.
I'm happy, let's put it this way. I've got no plans to move mining pools - I'm a pretty hard-nosed businessman when it comes to business (yeah, duff sounding sentence) but I simply haven't had any bullshit with Slush. So I've got no reason for mistrust, and the payments have all come in properly. Equally, I'm not feeling like a leecher now because I've contributed a couple of blocks to the pool
As to functionality etc. - the only thing I'd appreciate adding would be the merged mining with Namecoin - but *only if* there's any financial value in doing so. If the hashing that we all do can be applied to both blockchains for no additional cost (other than perhaps Slush using more CPU / network), *and* if the accumulation of 'namecoins' is valuable (i.e. I can spend them, or convert them to additional bitcoins), then I'd be asking for it.
I don't know anything about Namecoin other than the distributed-DNS concept. I can't say that I see it as being as important a development as Bitcoin - there's one hell of a difference between a government controlling your *means of exchange* and a government controlling your *address lookup*. If the USA made DNS hard to work, then I could still access servers I knew via IP address. If the USA makes dollars worthless then, well we all know about hyperinflation.
I also don't know how large the Namecoin movement actually is. Presumably there are some serious enthusiasts, on the political side of things - but merged mining would risk making Namecoin irrelevant, no? If most miners acted like me, and immediately exchanged any mined Namecoins for Bitcoins instead (since we joined Slush's pool to mine Bitcoins, no?) would it not trash the value of Namecoins? The market would be mostly sellers, hence driving prices down.
But if merged mining can give me either additional valuable cryptocurrency (that I can actually *use*), or simply boost the number of Bitcoins I receive, then surely it's a no-brainer to add the functionality?
Slush - not sure if you'll answer this directly - but what would it cost you to implement merged mining? Obviously your servers will need to check the hashes we produce against two chains instead of one; is this purely additional load on your CPUs? And are your servers currently CPU-bound? If the only additional cost would be CPU cycles, and you've got loads to spare already, then I vote 'yes' (if there's a market for these namecoin things, of course).
Finally - haven't said this yet, but THANKS to Slush for maintaining the pool. Yes, I'm sure you're making money, old chap - but so am I. And I wouldn't have waited this long for my second block if mining solo - I wouldn't have risked the capital on hardware given likely time of payback. The regular payments from your pool kept me keen, and whilst most would say that 84 BTC isn't that much money, it's more than the electricity and the *new dedicated hardware* cost... and since I invest the BTC into another investment which has risen in value, this is good.
There's plenty of competition for pools, but I'm sticking with Slush. Fancy mining software and front end stuff means nothing to me - I've coded up my own monitoring system and have found that plain old Phoenix with phatk and the latest drivers (on Linux headless) give me higher hash rates than most other miners. Perhaps they're using Windows or sharing the machine with general computing needs? I'm using Macs for my business, the mining rigs are built from spare hardware and I don't use them for anything else.
So a hip hip hurrah for Slush's pool (ok, I'm a bit light-headed from getting another block, hahaha)