Background Este es el primer post en el que me han ayudado tres usuarios residentes en la República Argentina. Los conejillos de Indias de la Banca Internacional que dieron un paso al frente mediante una pesquisa vía discord de mi parte. Bajo un acuerdo unánime y siguiendo el modus operandi de Banca Internacional, se los mantendrá en el anonimato. Los detalles sobre las transacciones, tarjetas y bancos de Argentina han sido posible gracias a ellos, inclusive del tacaño. Introducción Durante los dos últimos meses han cambiado montones de cosas en la República Argentina. De los eventos que son de mi interés, se han impuesto controles de capitales conocidos localmente como el “cepo cambiario” y mediante estos posts algunos usuarios han expresado interés en servicios, divisas o inversiones las cuales no están disponibles en Argentina. Más allá de los cambios a nivel económico, se han generado oportunidades de inversión local vía arbitrage. En principio de Bonos como el AY24 hasta que el Banco Central de la Republica Argentina actuó para mitigar el fácil acceso al yield que esta operatoria generaba. Luego, bajo una operatoria similar un gran grupo de usuarios se volcó a realizar arbitrage de crypto-assets. En general topándose con problemas de libre movimiento de capital desde y hacia los exchanges o viéndose forzados a pagar comisiones medianamente altas las que disminuían el yield de la operatoria. Este post, ofrece una solución efectiva a este problema de manera (esperemos) permanente. Otros usuarios han demostrado interés en poder resguardarse de una futura crisis en el Dólar Americano, vía depósitos en Francos Suizos, Yuan Renmimbi, Singapore Dollar, Euros, Libras Esterlinas y metales preciosos como el Oro y la Plata. Para estos usuarios este post también es relevante. Suiza Suiza, oficialmente La Confederación Suiza, país que se encuentra en el centro de Europa. Si bien su capital oficial es Berna, esta y Geneva son capitales (y centros) financieros globales. Zug y sus alrededores, se han (están en proceso con algunos setbacks) convertido en centros de desarrollo de crypto-assests, blockchain y fintech. No es parte de la EU, European Union, tampoco del EEA, European Economic Area o de la Eurozona. Pero participa del tratado Shengen(en parte) y del EU Single Market. Si bien la divisa nacional, tanto como la de Liechtenstein es el Franco Suizo (CHF), el cual posee un protocolo de pagos y transferencias propias también es parte del área SEPA. El CHF es también usado en otras zonas de Europa de facto o simplemente no oficial como Campione d’Italia. Campione, un poco off-topic, es un enclave Italiano dentro del territorio suizo en la costa del lago de Lugano. Utilizan el Franco Suizo ya que la mayoría de sus residentes eligen utilizar bancos Suizos. Campione, es un tax haven y los residentes fiscales tienen beneficios interesantes como poder hacer trade de bonos vía entidades Suizas libre de impuestos. Centro financiero mundial, las ideas asociadas con Suiza siempre son las mismas. Secrecía bancaria, lavado de activos, “cuentas numeradas” y similares fantasías perpetradas por Hollywood. Es verdad que en Suiza la evasión impositiva no es considerada un delito. CRS, Common reporting Standard, es una realidad inevitable. -Argentina es miembro- Las cuentas numeradas son una idea de los 60’s de las películas de James Bond. Y el lavado de activos, si Uds. Siguen estos posts saben que sucede a nivel global y es un mal que afecta a todos los centros financieros. Como en otras jurisdicciones a nivel global existen diferentes tipos de banca. Private Retail (No confundir con Privada), Privada, Transaccional, de negocios, Corporativa y de Inversión. Dentro de la banca de inversión existen brokers de prácticamente todos los instrumentos y commodities a nivel mundial. Los brokers de FX Suizos tienen una peculiaridad, siendo que bajo regulación del FINMA como requerimiento para brokeringFX se les exige una licencia bancaria. Consecuentemente los brokers de FX son a su vez Bancos que pueden funcionar como bancos retail. CRS: Si. Taxacion:
No residentes Dividendos: De 0 a 35% Intereses: De 0 a 35% Regalias: 0%
Controles de capitales: No. Dukascopy Bank S.A. uno de los gigantes suizos en lo que respecta a banca de inversión. FX, CFDs, Commodities y Cryptocurrencies. Las cuentas disponibles varían medianamente entre jurisdicciones pero en general existen por separado y en conjunto lo que genera una gran confusión al momento de intentar decidir a qué servicio o paquete aplicar. Operan en diferentes jurisdicciones bajo diferentes entidades y subsidiarias. Suiza, Latvia, Japón, Rusia, Ucrania y Hong Kong. Al que le interese hacer trading de FX, Dukascopy ofrece soporte para MetaTrader 4, JForex, JForex Web y aplicaciones móviles. Las cuentas disponibles son
Gold (es XAU no físico)
Standard Current account (Se puede invertir en oro directo desde esta cuenta)
Mobile Current account
Y mixes de las anteriores. En general hay una sobreposicion de servicios entre los ofrecimientos y es lo que genera más confusión. Diferentes jurisdicciones tienen productos iguales o similares pero bajo diferentes costos. Por una cuestión de simplicidad el post está centrado en Dukascopy Bank S.A. Suiza y no solo en esa entidad, sino en particular en el producto de nombre Mobile Current Account. Regulación:
En Suiza: FINMA, OFCOM, SBA, Swiss TV Broadcasting (tienen un canal de televisión).
En Japón: FSA, FFAJ, SESC, FINMAC.
Dukascopy Bank – Suiza
https://www.dukascopy.bank Licencia: Bancaria (Licenciado y supervisado porFINMA) Cuentas: Personal/Business. Deposito Mínimo: No requiere. Costo de mantenimiento: No. Tarjeta: Si, Visa física y virtual disponibles. No-residentes: Si, total soporte. Detalles: La Mobile Current Account ofrece acceso a depósitos en 23 divisas. Todos los IBANs son suizos, con lo que se puede recibir EUR y CHF vía Transferwise. Tiene soporte para enviar y recibir depósitos vía SEPA y SWIFT para todas las divisas. Pueden efectivamente hacer una transferencia desde su banco directo a Dukascopy. Suiza, por no ser Unión Europea permite la emisión de tarjetas de débito a no residentes en la confederación o la Unión Europea. Cosa que muchos bancos o EMIs con apertura de cuenta online no ofrecen. La tarjeta tiene costo.
Cargos relevantes(Para transacciones en EUR, para operaciones en otras divisas consultar el link)
https://www.dukascopy.bank/swiss/fees-limits/ Transferencias entre cuentas internas: Gratis Transferencias dentro Dukascopy Group: Gratis Depósitos a Dukascopy Card: Gratis Retiros de Dukascopy Card: Gratis Depósitos vía tarjetas de Crédito o Debito: 1.2% (En EUR) Transferencias SEPA: EUR 2.30 Transferencias SWIFT: EUR 20 Aviso: Existen más cargos no relevantes al post, otras opciones de depósito y retiro vía tarjetas de otros bancos, Neteller y Skrill. Lean los detalles antes de operar.
Cargos de la tarjeta Dukascopy
Costo tarjeta Dukascopy física: CHF 18.5 Costo mensual de la tarjeta Dukascopy física: CHF 1 Costo tarjeta Dukascopy virtual: CHF 5 Costo mensual de la tarjeta Dukascopy virtual: CHF 5
Depósitos per quarter: EUR 3000 Balance: EUR 50.000 Los límites se pueden ampliar hasta el 450% enviando documentación sobre su ocupación, ingresos y residencia fiscal. Los limites se resetean los 1ro Enero, 1ro de Abril, 1ro de Julio y 1ro de Octubre.
Registro y onboarding Dukascopy Bank(Mobile current account) con onboarding digital vía una app llamada Dukascopy 911, la cual es una especie de social network bancaria. Por registrarse vía esa app el usuario recibe 5 DKUs, un token de Dukascopy que tiene un (soft)peg al Euro. El chat de soporte y los webinars son vía esta aplicación. Una manera de generar extra DKUs es contestando preguntas y participando en la red social la cual dependiendo de la performance del usuario reparte tokens a modo de recompensa. La cuenta bancaria en si una vez registrada, si bien se puede operar desde Dukascopy 911 es preferible operarla desde Dukascopy Bank, otra aplicación. Desde esta última, pueden abrir una cuenta en EUR y hacer el funding inicial vía tarjeta de débito o crédito. Particularidades importantes En los fees se discrimina entre transferencias SEPA y Wires(SWIFT, de más alto costo) sin embargo en la aplicación solo existe una opción, Wires. Si el usuario elige EUR como divisa y utiliza datos bancarios de la Unión Europea, el banco detecta esto y hace la transferencia vía el medio más económico. Hay que prestar atención de usar los datos bancarios correctos de la entidad a la que se intenta hacer el deposito cosa de evitar a toda costa utilizar datos bancarios SWIFT en lugar del preferido, más económico y eficiente SEPA. Beneficios El beneficio principal se preguntaran…? Dukascopy acepta depósitos vía tarjetas de crédito y débito bajo una comisión de solo 1.2% (En Euros) y la cuenta móvil no tiene fees de mantenimiento. Se pueden hacer transferencias SEPA directo a exchanges como Binance Jersey la cual ya establecimos que tiene de los fees más bajos del mercado. Se han probado tarjetas de Argentina Visa y Mastercard de débito y crédito. Un solo usuario tuvo problemas con tarjeta de BruBank pero pudo utilizar su tarjeta de crédito y como beneficio sumar millas (en el caso del usuario el deposito fue tomado como compra y no genero gastos de adelanto de efectivo). El monto máximo que se ha podido autorizar con tarjetas Argentinas fue de EUR 1000 , sin embargo varios depósitos consecutivos de EUR 500 también funcionaron. Un usuario se comunico con Visa para autorizar los pagos y desde ese momento no tuvo más problemas. Lamentablemente depositos de EUR 1.7 han fallado... EDIT:El monto maximo depositado en las pruebas fue de EUR 1000 y no de EUR 850 como se habia posteado originalmente. Referrals Algunos usuarios me preguntan sobre referrals de servicios que he posteado en el pasado a modo de recompensa por el tiempo que invierto a nivel personal haciendo research y escribiendo. Si bien algunos de estos servicios ofrecen recompensas, no es algo que vaya par en par con mi moral. Desde que comencé a escribir sobre banca y servicios financieros, solo ha habido un solo referral, el de Binance Jersey. El cual visto las reglas no paga absolutamente nada, pero si me interesaba a modo de monitorear el nivel de suscripción. Desde mi punto de vista, los referrals, viniendo de mi parte son poco éticos. Se puede dar a entender que en lugar de informar sobre el mejor servicio, se comparte uno el cual beneficia al que refiere a costas de los usuarios referidos y es posible (muy) que los usuarios no estén al tanto de esta situación. Por este motivo desde este momento empezando desde el artículo titulado Digital assets C01 – JE | Offshore digital assets, al final del post se van a encontrar con una sección de Donations con 5 direcciones de crypto donde pueden transferir lo que les parezca adecuado. Los cálculos de retorno efectivo haciendo arbitrage de crypto utilizando los servicios de mis posts varían desde el 12% al 17%. Desde ya les agradezco por su generosidad y si ustedes quieren hacer referral de cualquier servicio por su cuenta me parece perfecto. Esta regla es pura y exclusivamente mía por una cuestión de neutralidad y ética. Desde ya muchas gracias por ofrecer el apoyo que ofrecen y los comentarios constructivos. Links de registro e información
This FAQ represents Q&A's over the last few days here. Fellow redditor u/iterateandgit was so kind to help me putting this document together. Big shout out to him please! The FAQ will be further extended over the coming days and weeks. Please keep the questions coming!
Sales, Shipping, Warranty
Q: Are you going to sell this on Amazon in the EU? A: We are working on getting the product up and running on Amazon. But our own BTO shop at www.bestware.com will always be our primary sales channel and will be the only one where you can customize and configure memory, storage, OS, extend your warranty and pick other options. Q: Do you offer student discounts or other sales compaigns like black friday? A: In general, we don't offer student discounts. Sales campaigns are planned just in time, depending on stock level and cannot be announced early. If you want to keep up to date about sales campaigns, please subscribe to our newsletter. Q: Do you ship to the UK? Can I pay in GBP? A: We ship to the UK - the pricing will be in EUR, so your bank will do the conversion. Warranty services will be available from UK, shipping to Germany. Currently, in the single markets, these resturn shipments are free for the end-user. In the worst case there might be additional customs fees for shipping. Q: What warranty options do you offer? A: All our laptops come with 2 year warranty. Warranty repairs in the first 6 months are promised to be done within 48 hours (+shipping). Both the "instant repair" service and the warranty itself can be extended to up to 3 years. Q: Do you sell outside of Europe? A: We are able to ship anywhere, but warranty for customers outside the region would always involve additional customs cost and paperwork for sending the laptop back to Germany in the rare event of an RMA. There is currently no agreement to let other Local OEMs (like Eluktronics in the US) carry the warranty for XMG customers and vice-versa. Some parts are customized (in our case the LCD lid and the keyboard) and it won't be easy to agree on how to share handling fees etc. - so I wouldn't expect a global warranty anytime soon.
Hardware, Specs, Thermals
Q: What is the difference between XMG FUSION 15 and other laptops based on Intel's reference design? A: The hardware of the barebone will be identical. Other Local OEMs might use different parts for RAM and SSDs. Our branding and service/warranty options might be different. We apply our own set of performance profiles in the Control Center. This will rebalance the differentiation between Silent, Balanced and Enthusiast modes. Q: What is the TGP of the NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q? A: Officially, it is 80W in Balanced profile and 90W in Enthusiast profile. You can toggle between these modes in real-time with a dedicated mode switch button. Inofficially, the TGP can go up to 115W in Enthusiast profile thanks to the Overboost mechanic, working in the background. However, those 115W may only be sustained until the system has reached thermal saturation, i.e. when the GPU is approaching the GPU Temperature Target of 75°C. Q: Can I upgrade the storage and memory after I buy? A: On storage: The laptop has two m.2 PCI-Express SSD slots. This will give you currently up to 4 TB of SSD storage. There is no 2.5" HDD slot available. Instead, the battery is enlarged to 93.48Wh. You can see pictures of the interior layouts here, here and here. On memory: the laptop has two SO-DIMM DDR4 memory sockets. You can chose during BTO configuration, if you want to occupy both of them when you order the product. We recommend running the laptop in Dual Channel for high-performance usage. Q: How easy is to upgrade and repair this laptop? A: Here are the key facts:
Only 10 chassis screws on the bottom plate.
All chassis screws are identical size and length. (no risk of mixing them up during re-assembly)
All chassis screws are directly exposed, not behind any rubber feet.
No "warranty void if seal is broken" stickers.
Bottom case can be removed very easily without any prying opening tools.
Keyboard does not need to be removed to access internals.
m.2 screws are already in their socket.
Battery is attached with screws, not glued.
Fans can be cleaned and (if needed) replaced without removing the heatpipes.
We would give this a solid 8 out of 10 which is pretty high for such a thin&light design. The 2 remaining points are substracted for BGA CPU and GPU, which is unfortunately unavoidable in such a thin design. Q: Does it support Windows Hello? A: A Fingerprint-Reader is not available, but the HD webcam comes with Infrared and supports Windows Hello. Q: Can I get a smaller, lighter charger for this laptop? A: XMG FUSION 15 requires a 230W power adaptor to provide full performance. If you max out CPU and GPU with furmark and prime, the 230W adapter will be fully utilized. There are currently two compatible 230W adapters. They have different dimensions but similar weight. Please refer to this comparison table: XMG FUSION 15 Power Supply Comparsion Table (Google Drive) Includes shop links. Will be updated with precise weight numbers in the next few days. I also included 120W, 150W and 180W in this table. They all share the same plug (5.5/2.5,, diameter, 12.5mm length). But 120W and 150W are only rated for 19V but the laptop expect 19.5V. Usually this will be compensated by tolerance but we haven't tested how a system would behave under long-term usage with such an adaptor. In theory, 120W to 180W are enough for charing the laptop and for browsing/web/media. Even a full CPU stress test could easily be handled. But as soon as you use CPU and GPU together, you'll run into the bottleneck and your performance will be reduced. Comparison pictures:
These 5 pictures show only the relevant 230W chargers.
Top: 230W Chicony A17-230P1A for XMG NEO.
Bottom: 230W FSP230-AJAN3 from XMG FUSION 15 (Intel Original)
Again, the weight is about the same. Q: Is it possible to boot and run the laptop while the lid is kept closed? A: Closing the lid under load is not recommended because it will limit the airflow and have a bad effect on keyboard and screen. The laptop likes to take air in from the keycaps. With lid closed, the performance might be limited due to reaching temp targets earlier. Q: Can I get the laptop without the XMG logo? I will be using it in public presentations and I would not like any brand names visible. A: We cannot ship without XMG logo, but you can use a dbrand skins to cover our logo. We have not yet decided if we want to invest into integrating XMG FUSION 15 into the dbrand shop. But you can already buy 100% compatible skins by using the page of the Eluktronics MAG-15 at dbrand. The chassis dimensions are exactly the same. Please be aware: you have to manually select the option "No Logo Cutout" if you want to buy these skins for your XMG FUSION 15. According to dbrand, there will be most likely no import fees when ordering from the EU as long as the order is below 100€. Check this thread for details. Q: Will you offer thermal paste upgrades like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut or Liquid Metal? A: Our ODMs are using silicon-based, high-performance thermal compund from international manufacturers like Shin-Etsu (Japan) and M.G. (USA). Intel is using MG-860 in this reference design. These products are used in the industrial sector, so they have no publicly known brand name. Nevertheless, their high thermal conductivity and guaranteed durability provide optimal and long-lasting cooling of your high-performance laptop. The thermal compounds are applied and sealed automatically by the vendor of the thermal components. They are applied in a highly controlled, standardized manner and provide the best balance of thermal performance, production tolerance and product lifetime. We are considering offering an upgrade to Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut due to popular demand. Will keep you posted on that. Q: Could you please provide an estimate for how much regular usage (~10 browser tabs + some IDE) battery backup would this have? Will there be any way to trade-off battery backup with performance? A: Battery life vs. peak performance can be traded off by using the "Silent" performance profile. You can switch between profiles using a dedicated button on the machine. Your scenario (10 tabs + some IDE) sounds like mostly reading and writing. I would estimate to get at least 7 hours of solid battery life in such a scenario, maybe more. We have achieved 8 hours in 1080p Youtube streaming on WiFi with 50% screen brightness. Adblock and NoScript helps to keep your idle browser tabs in check.
I/O Ports, Peripherals
Q: Why are there not more USB-A 3.1 Gen2 or even USB 3.2 Gen2x2 ports? A: USB-A 3.1 Gen1 is basically the same as USB 3.0. There aren't a lot of USB-A devices that support more than USB 3.0 speed. Faster devices typically use USB-C connectors and can be used on Thunderbolt 3, which is down-compatible to USB-C 3.1 Gen2. One of the USB-A ports actually supports Gen2 speed. For the following remarks, please keep in mind that I am not an Intel rep, so everything is based on our own experience. The mainboard design and the I/O port decisions have been made by Intel. Feedback and requests from LOEM customers have been taken into consideration. We would assume that USB 3.2. Gen2x2 (20 Gbit/s) was not considered to be important enough to safe space for 3rd party IC (integrated circuits) on the motherboard. Right now, all the USB ports and Thunderbolts are supplied by Intel's own IC, so they have full control over the hardware, firmware and driver stack and over power saving and performance control. The more IC you add, the higher your Idle power consumption will be, plus adding potential compatibility or speed issues as it often happens with 1st generation 3rd party USB implementations. I very well remember from my own experience the support stories during the first years of USB 3.0, before it was supported in the Intel chipset. On the one hand, Intel is aiming high in terms of performance and convenience, on the other hand: support and reliability still seem to be Intel's goal #1. Thus they seem to play it safe where they deem it to be reasonable. Intel is gearing up for USB 4.0 and next-gen Thunderbolt. USB 3.2 2x2 is probably treated as little more than a roadmap accident. Peripheral vendors might see it the same way. Q: Do you support charging over USB-C/Thunderbolt? Does it support docking stations? A: The Thunderbolt 3 port in Intel's reference design does not support charging. As you probably know, the 100W limit would not be enough to power the whole system and it would make the mainboard more complex to combine two different ways of charging. Intel consciously opted against it and will probably do so again on future high-end gaming/studio models. The USB-C/Thunderbolt port supports Dual-Link DisplayPort signals, directly connected to the NVIDIA Graphics. This makes proper docking station usage very convenient. The user still needs to connect the external power adaptor. Both ports (Thunderbolt and DC-in) are in the back of the laptop, making the whole setup appear very neat on the desk. Q: How many PCIe lanes does the Thunderbolt 3 provide? Are they connected to CPU or Chipset? A: XMG FUSION 15 supports Thunderbolt 3 with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0. The lanes come from the chipset because all of the CPU lanes (x16) are fully occupied by the dedicated NVIDIA graphics. We are not aware of any side-effects of running Thunderbolt from the chipset. It is common practice for high-end laptops with high-end graphics. The Thunderbolt solution is of course fully validated and certified by Intel's Thunderbolt labs. Q: Does it have a standby USB to power USB devices without turning on the laptop? A: Yes, the USB-A port on the left side supports this feature.
Q: Which LCD panel is being used? Are there plans for 1440p or 4K panels in the laptop? How about PWM flickering? A: The panel is BOE NV156FHM-N4G. It is currently not known if the panel will change in later batches. This depends on logistics and stock. At any rate, the panel key specs will remain the same. There are currently no plans to offer resolutions above FHD in the current generation of this laptop. There are very wide ranges on reports of Backlight Brightness PWM control on this panel in different laptops. Ranging from 200Hz to 1000Hz to no PWM at all - all on the same panel model number. Intel informs us that there are many factors (e.g. freq., display driver, BIOS settings implementation, type of dimmers & compatibility with the driver etc.) that impacts the quality of panel dimming performance. To Intel's knowledge, no kind of flickering has been reported during the validation process. Furthermore, first hands-on data from Notebookcheck indicates that no PWM occurs on this panel. With a DSLR test (multiple burst shots at 1/4000s exposure time) I can confirm that there is not a single frame of brightness dipping or black screen, not even at minimum LCD brightness. Hence, we can confirm: BOE NV156FHM-N4G in XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel) does not use PWM for backlight control. Q: Some BTO shops, for an additional fee, manually pick out display panels with the least back-light bleed. Do you offer that? Even better, do you do that without the extra fee? A: Intel has validated this design to avoid backlight bleed as much as possible. Currently no plans to do further binning. All dozens of MP samples we have seen so far have been exceptionally good. Q: I'm coming from a 13" MacBook with Retina display. How am I going to fare with this 15.6" FHD screen in content creation? A: If you got used to editing high-res visual content (photography, artwork) on your 13inch retina, things will change. On the one hand, your canvas will be larger and more convenient and ergonomic to work with. On the other hand, you will find yourself zooming in more often in order to make out fine-detail. Assuming that you have sharp 20:20 vision. As it is, the screen resolution and specs are not planned to change within the lifetime of this product. The first realistic time-window for a refresh would be whenever Intel is releasing the next "H" series CPU generation. But even then, an upgrade on resolution will not be guaranteed. Comparison:
Pixel per inch
13.3" MacBook Pro Retina (late 2013)
15.6" XMG FUSION 15 (late 2019)
To compare: 141.21 is ~62% from 226.98. This represents the the metric difference in pixel density and peak sharpness between these two models. If you know the diagonal size and resolution of your screen, you can make this comparison yourself with the DPI/PPI calculator.
Keyboard, Backlight, Switches, Layout
Q: What can you tell us about the mechanical keyboard of XMG FUSION 15? A: The keyboard has already been reviewed in our XMG NEO series as being more crisp than typical membrane keyboards. Most reviewers attested it a very good score, both for gaming and for writing long texts. The keyboard backlight can be configured per-key. Default mode is all white. Keyboard Switch Specs:
2mm travel distance
60g actuation force
1000Hz polling frequency
Rated for up to 20 million keystrokes
Having no frame around the keycaps actually helps the thermals. The fans can pull in additional air from the top. This improves airflow and helps to keep the keyboard temperature at low levels during gaming. It also prevents long-term RMA issues on the keyboard. This specific keyboard switch is already in its 3rd generation and very mature by now. Q: Is it possible to dampen the mechanical keyboard with o-rings? A: The switch design does not lend itself to further dampening. The switch mechanic is too complex and has more moving parts than cherry. The 2mm travel distance also plays a role in not allowing more dampening. For reference, please use this video (Youtube). We compared XMG NEO with another membrane-type keyboard. XMG NEO and FUSION share the same keyboard mechanics with the silent tactile switch and the same sound profile. Q: Do you have LED keyboard backlight on the secondary key function, like Fn key icons? A: Please have a look at this picture.
Taken with full keyboard backlight brightness
In totally dark room
Edited in Lightroom (reduced highlights) to reflect the way it really looks to the human eye
F10 seems to have a slightly different color temperature than F8/F9 in this picture. This is due to the angle, open aperature and chromatic abberation of my camera. In real-life, all per-key LEDs behave identically to one another.
Btw, my working sample has blank keycaps. I took the 3 printed keycaps (F8, F9, F10) from a different sample just to demonstrate the Fn lighting for this picture. Facts:
Fn modifier key is on the left between Ctrl and WinKey
the Fn function don't have seperate backlight, but they benefit from the main per-key backlight
the position of the LED is centered above the mechanical switch. That's why the upper portion of the key is brighter than the lower portion. That's why in our layout, the primary function of each key is always located at the center top.
In my assesment, the Fn function symbols are clearly visible from the backlight in a dark room. A user should have no difficulty to recognize the icon and reach its function. Q: Which keyboard layouts do you offer in the EU? A: The following layouts are available, in alphabetic order: Belgium, Czech, Danish, Dvorak German, Dvorak US, Estonia, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish for Typists, Portuguese, Russia Latin, Slovakish, Spanish, Swedish / Finnish, Swiss, Turkish, UK, US International (ISO)All these layouts are based on the ISO matrix. See differences between ANSI vs. ISO here.
Q: Do you support Linux and dual-boot on XMG FUSION 15? A: We are in discussion to sell XMG FUSION 15 over Tuxedo with official Linux support. It might take 1 or 2 months to get this running. Q: Which LAN, Audio and WiFi card vendors will be used? Asking for a friend. A: From our HWiNFO64 report. (Google Drive link) LAN: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 [PCI\VEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_15]Audio: Intel(R) Smart Sound Technology (Intel(R) SST) Audio Controller [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A348&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_10]WiFi: Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200 [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2723&SUBSYS_00848086&REV_1A], can be replaced. For more information, please check the linked report file.
Q: What would you say are the advantages and differences with other laptops due to the fact the laptop was designed in collaboration with Intel? A: Disclaimer: I am \not* an Intel rep. The following remarks are based on my personal experience and opinion.* Advantages:
Very strict quality control on all levels. I can't quote numbers due to NDA, but Intel NUC has extremely low RMA rates, compared to average PC mainboards and systems. Intel is driven by strict internal regulation that strifes for perfection - this applies to the whole chassis, assembly and firmware, not only the mainboard. There are also certain regulations in place, for example in terms of electro-magnetic regulation and skin temperatures. The rating label is littered with regulatory seals from every region of the world, making this laptop especially safe to use.
Access to high-quality material: we have not seen any Gaming Laptops based on Magnesium alloy yet, especially not in the ODM/LOEM ecosystem. The battery cells are also much more dense than what we usually see. Intel has the buying power and the vision to not settle for mediocre parts.
Down-to-earth design: Intel has made this reference design for the ODM/LOEM eco-system. The design does not try to follow any specific corporate identity, thus it does not have any unneccessary "bling bling" like all the others have. Even the Razer Blade with it's sleek shape is quite obnoxious (iny my oppinion) with it's big backlit green snake logo. With XMG FUSION however, we can continue our typical style of "Undercover Gaming".
Security: you can expect stellar support in terms of BIOS and Firmware (TPM, Management Engine) updates whenever any security issues are found. This might also apply to global brands, but ODM/LOEM systems have not always been so quick to react. This is due to the huge fragmentation/customizations in ODM/LOEM systems. Intel however does now allow any fragmentation: every LOEM partner is getting the same firmware. There are many hooks for configurations in this firmware, but the source code / binaries are always the same. This makes support much easier down the line.
I can't name many, of course. But I would say the strict validation also makes the partnership less flexible from a product management perspective. There is no plan currently to phase-in any 4K or 300Hz screen (FHD/144Hz ought to be enough for everyone this year) or any Core i9 in this system. Other ODMs might be more open for costly modifications based on low quantities. Intel however has streamlined their production and logistics in a way that gives us (the LOEM) very short lead times and competitive pricing, but will not allow any short-notice upgrades or customizations.
Q: Will there be a 17 inch version? A: We can neither confirm nor deny plans for a 17 inch version at this point. [to be continued]
That reminds me of a story. Once again, just to set the scene, this was back during my bright college days at the University of Baja Canada – Brewcity. A venerable state-system university set just lakeside in the heart of the Upper East Side of a northern North American city known for its German heritage, bratwurst, and beer. Lots and lots of beer. Back when I was in Grad School, pursuing my various Geology degrees, there was always this “friendly” competition between us, the venerable Rock Scientists (geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, etc.) and those ‘other’ guys. In particular: the Physics fellas and Chemistry cadre (although various denizens of the Clan Engineer snuck into their camp as well). They were always going on about how “Geology is just glorified stamp collecting”, “Geology isn’t a real science”, and “Physics/Chemistry are the original sciences” sort of crapola. Of course, you realize, this means war. Not with conventional weapons or heavy artillery (just yet), but ‘spirited’ interscholastic scientific competitions that have been held annually pitting the forces of good, stalwart, strong Ethanol-enhanced science against those spotty, pocket-protector sporting, sliderule-slipstick jockeys: the dark-world dwelling number-crunchers. You know, those that could only be enticed out into the field with the opportunity to prove themselves adept only if someone else provides their 3-point-2 beer, pilaf, and tofu. And we in the Department Geological were just such the team to rise to such an occasion. Tired of the elegiac whines and wails, not to mention derisive comments, of the Calculator Clan; years ago the Dean of the Mathematics Department (since everyone uses math in one way or another, he was considered necessarily impartial) was dragooned into drafting up a yearly competition between adversaries to settle the annual issue. He was handsomely rewarded for his efforts with free beer and lunches at the campus Gast Haus (all underwritten by the Geology department…no bribery here, think of it as ‘pump-priming’) for his dreaming-up and evolving what he thought would be a more-or-less equal scientific competition between our two somewhat fractious factions. These were historically some of the most fanatical, blood-thirsty and insanely-driven competitive tournaments between any antagonists since Alexander the Great took on the Cretans at Sparta (sorry, make that the Spartans at Crete). There was graft, corruption, dark-shadowing, subornment, shady dealings, theft of equipment and ideas. We in the Geology Department, on the other hand, just collectively cracked another cold beer. Now I’m not saying the Geology bunch always emerged victoriously; but when we won, it was by dint of our own work, efforts, and ideas. Also, those wins were always blowouts. The few Physics/Chemistry victories were Pyrrhic, somewhat suspect, and typically won by a mouse’s whisker-margin in the final summation. Well, I told you that story to tell you this one. The Geology Department back then was home to a load of real…’characters’: BSs, MSs, PhDs; all of whom will provide their own particular belvedere for this narrative. We all worked together, field-camped together, shared Grad-student offices together, drank excessively together, and basically saw each other more than our respective families or loved ones. We worked zealously and played even more manically. Each one of us was pledged to our own particular sub-discipline, so there was no small amount of well-intentioned (well, mostly well-intentioned) internecine rivalry. Hard rock vs. soft rock. Petroleum geologists vs. the Waterheads (Hydrogeologists). Extractive industry types (Coal geologists, Metals geologists, etc.) vs. Environmental geologists. Everyone thought his or her sub-discipline was superlative; nonetheless, there was the common thread of Geological Science that bound us all together into one large quasi-maladjusted scholastic family group. “They may be Waterheads; but God Damn it, they are our Waterheads.” We all came from disparate backgrounds: some locals, some from far afield (we always chuckled at the expense of the displaced Left Coasters when a brisk -250 C wintertime blizzard rolled around) but in one way or another, we were all brothesister Geoscientists. As such, indoor captivity, no matter how benevolent, was universally loathed. The supplier of much of the captive audience’s contempt were the gormless dorms on site at the university. They were unanimously detested. However, they were the only game in town for some of our less-than-local compadres as that whole Greek-Culture Fraternity and Sorority thing hadn’t really caught on here. Anyways. That is, until we discovered “The Farm.” “The Farm” was precisely that. A huge, 1880s vintage farmhouse which was ground-zero for the families that raised corn, cows and chickens there for nearly a century. Time and suburban sprawl reduced The Farm’s landholdings from the initial 8,000+ acres to a residual paltry ten fenced acres that surrounded the main domicile and the remaining outbuildings. The venerable family that had worked these difficult Pleistocene glacial grounds for all those years had diminished markedly through attrition and the younger set who resolutely declared that they wanted no part of being a ‘Son of the Soil’. The aged and sagacious patriarch of the family was well known throughout the whole southeastern region. When word got out that he was calling it a day and putting the old homestead out to pasture, we leapt at the chance. We approached the paterfamilias and explained that we were very studious, intent and committed college students pursuing advanced science degrees and were in dire need of new digs [pun somewhat intended]. We need space for our studies, our experiments and our sanity as our only option, the dorms, were crowded, noisy, old, and terribly claustrophobic. It was a wholly thinly-veiled tissue of white lies, sub-truths, and incredible circumstantial embroidery. However, it was all underpinned with the actual complications of too-close-for-comfort living, inadequate working space, and the retention of one’s marbles through bypassing traditional collegiate communal living. He was impressed that we were all such serious scientists-in-training and when we started dropping subtle geological-based observations of his landhold, he began thinking that we were also not worried about getting our hands dirty with real work; as the place would require some deft deep cleaning, re-painting, and structural repair. Also, we impressed him with our earnestness of both completing our various degrees, to go out and make the world a better place (and banking truckloads of money in the process…). As well as our deepest respect for his work history and contributions to the area he and his family had made for near the last near 100 years. Yep. He bought it. For the princely sum of $300 rent and utilities per month, we had procured “The Farm”, the surrounding 10 acres and the outbuildings for our antics. Initially, there were six of us, however, The Farm could easily have held, in comfort, double or even triple that amount (it had a full basement; but for like buildings that old, it was creepy and arachnid-infested so avoided until circumstances proved necessary). The initial Farm inhabitants were as follows: • Rock: your humble scribe. The Vertebrate Paleontologist who later transmogrified into a Petroleum Geologist. • Toivo: the Geochemist and Zymurgist Extraordinaire. • Hank: the Kung-Fu Structural Geologist (martial arts and faulted terrane guru). • Chuck: the ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ll go into teaching, right after this beer’ Generic Geologist. • The Wiz: the Geochemical Geophysicist and Ethanol Earth Scientist, and • Polack (his self-chosen nickname): the Clastic Sedimentologist and Taste Tester. This ragtag mob of assorted backgrounds and more assorted future plans rehabilitated The Farm over the span of a scant six weeks. We all had local ties, and questionable but usually serviceable transportation, so appropriation and relocation of needed materials did not pose much of a problem. Six of the dozen upstairs bedrooms were the first to be gutted, re-painted, re-carpeted and re-invented for the likes of our eclectic crew. Everyone designed their rooms to their own likings and proclivities. Everyone had small drinks refrigerators which were later made redundant by a house-wide pneumatic-hydraulic artesian tap beer delivery system. We all attacked the common areas: living room, kitchen, mudroom and dining hall; first with steam-cleaning, minor low explosives, and debris removal. Then a bit later, with off-cast freebie hallucination-inducing wallpaper, carpet remnants, and paint scrounged from the basements and garages of all who had family within 200 kilometers. Toivo’s father (headman of the previous Slip-Slidin’ story) had access to (read: a free hand over) an adjacent county’s stockpile of roadwork materials, fencing and other effects used to keep a rural county running. So we had a couple loads of surplus Sangamonian river-gravel delivered to re-rock the drives and pathways, several county warehouse pilfered traffic signs (for interior and exterior decoration), a thousand feet and posts of slightly previously owned cyclone fence (to keep out unwanted interlopers) along with various other necessities of pastoral living. We scrounged the university for various surplus scientific wallcharts and diagrams for covering up the goofs we made during our wallpaper fiasco (hey, it’s harder than it looks). We had, with permission, procured old and outdated Periodic Tables, ancient pre-world-war World Geographic maps, a veritable pre-metric shitload of varied geological maps of such far-flung arcanities as “The Groundwater Resources of the Pike’s Peak Quadrangle, Colorado”, “The Oligocene White River Badlands of South Dakota”, “Seismicity and Tsunami Danger in and Around Mauna Ula Volcano, Hawaii”, and, of course, basement and surficial geological maps of our own beloved home states. Call the decorating style: “Early Museum”. As time progressed, a university-quality chemistry laboratory-grade three-tower continuous distillation unit somehow made its presence known. Constructed of nothing but the finest industrial-grade borosilicate glass, with commercial-grade evaporators, condensers, water baths, electromechanical stirrers, and timer-controlled thermal regulation, it was a veritable boon to our beleaguered student wallets. It was the more or less exclusive domain of The Wiz. He kept it up and running; ostensibly for the various experiments regarding the deep and vexing inquiries regarding high-quality, high-proof ethanol deliverability from innumerable and varied types of grains, fruits, and other fermentables. Just a note to novice distillers: skip figs. They ferment, but the distillate of their sugary offerings are nauseating. The Wiz’s finer offerings to our communal lifestyle included a very serviceable potato vodka, a decent non-Napoleonic brandy, some damned fine rip-your-lungs-out backwoods-style moonshine, a very passable rye whiskey, and a gin that would truly hurt if one were to shave one’s ass and sit in a bowlful. His crowning achievement (some said it couldn’t be done; others said it shouldn’t be done) was a triply-distilled Mad Dog 20/20. All of this, at the time, was illegal as hell. But since we didn’t mind and figured as long as one of us was being reasonable… With Toivo’s expert help, we cleared and leveled a section of the dirt-floored basement and laboriously poured a 5 x 6-meter platen of concrete. We also piped it up for the delivery of fresh water. We similarly somehow took possession of some old grocery store shelving and set up our basement root cellar, food preservation area, and crock-station. Conveniently a cool 550 F throughout the year, well ventilated (once I blew a small hole in the fieldstone basement wall (we had the owner’s permission…for SCIENCE!)). So once we ran check-valved aeration piping to the surface, it was a fine place to locate our ‘obtained’ ceramic 40-gallon crocks. There we practiced the age-old tradition of taking full advantage of Farmer’s Markets, railroad salvage, and other cheap dispensaries of surplus vegetal matter. It was initially used for our creation of sauerkraut, dill and sweet pickles, and various attempts at hot sauces (some more successful than others). Over time, as The Farm’s indigenous population swelled to include international geoscience students; we added kusaya, kimchee, and tofu. For the latter, no one knew why… We also became dab-hands at making cheese: Mozzarella, Brick, Smoked Gouda, a holey Swiss-type, some sort of sharper-than-a-serpent’s-tooth cheddar…Hell, we were in America’s Dairyland, for Christ’s sake… Our greatest achievement and most prized cellar possession was the development of our basement in-house brewery. We assembled a mash tun, brew kettles, fermenters, bottling buckets, keg-station, CO2 tanks, bottling and capping station (most equipment sponged and wheedled from some of the many local in-town breweries). Finally, we were blessed with an old Roper gas stove misappropriated from someone’s grandparent’s basement. Odd, much of the necessary tubulars, check valves, and other brewery appurtenances were exactly like those found in a university chemistry lab supply room. Yes. Odd that. Not yet embroiled in all that pumpkin, blueberry and other ick-flavored craft-beer craziness that would come to blossom over the next decade or so, we produced some generically fine, high-octane lagers, ales, stouts, and porters. Some were even fortified with the end results of our in-house distillery; aptly named “Hangover in a Mason Jar.” Again, over time as our population swelled with the addition of a more international crowd, we branched out trying (though not always succeeding) to create kvass, kumiss, and kefir. Acquired tastes, to be certain. The one thing we never tried was our hand at making wine. First off, no one here was an oenophile. We were a tried-and-true brew-crew. The Foam Town team. Second, wine is fussy and all that pedigree nonsense about the soil, region, vintage, and associated crapola was a closed book to us. Closed, burned and buried. Finally, wine took too long to make. And no, making wine from raisins doesn’t decrease aging time. Now, with the in-house necessities handled, we focused on the outbuildings. Erstwhile chicken coops, sheds, and barns were all fumigated, cleaned-out and repaired for us as our individual labs. We set up a communal hardware shed for our lawnmowers, snowblowers, shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, hand tools, power tools, a workbench and the like. Everyone who was so taken could set up their personal shop in one of the adjacent outbuildings. The furthest outbuilding, a large concrete-walled above-ground cistern-like structure, was converted into a makeshift communal armory. Where else could I store my cannon, dynamite and blasting caps, and Toivo his SeismoGel? My lab was the quintessential rock lab. Rock tumblers, rock saws, rock polishers, lapidary equipment (all donated by my grandfather who grew weary of his hobby), thin-section equipment, a couple of questionable-origin petrological polarizing stereomicroscopes, a lap table, desk, cadged leather swivel chair, Ham and shortwave radio set-up, coffee pot and a Radio Shack stereo. It was my sanctum sanctorum. Others designed and decorated their own labs in a similar personal style. The Wiz had created a fairly creditable chemistry lab of, again, dubious origin. Toivo set up shop with more county-surplus equipment for doing whatever struck him at the moment. Polack set up a sedimentology lab with rock crushers, a full Ro-Tap sieving setup, settling tubes and other equipment that made him grin. Hank set up his lab to include an area where he could store all his weird martial arts weapons, practice all his weird martial arts, and study for exams. We all had full run of each other’s labs as long as we replaced any used consumables and occasionally took out the trash. We were all just one, big ethanol-fueled semi-dysfunctional family. Now, back to our original story. The Physics farts and Chemistry clowns were especially pernicious that year. The taunts were seemingly never-ending, the insults grew more pointed and I think Hank politely offered to Samurai-squeeze a couple of their heads off once or twice. But, we are scientists and not wont for physical encounters (there would be a high number of vacant Physics and Chemistry departmental vacancies if we were). In the dead of winter, we approached the Dean of Mathematics and demanded honor on the field of technical battle. With that, the great Rocket Fuel and Flight Face-Off began. In precisely two months, the disparate groups would meet on a section of secluded beach, south of the local nuclear plant, on the bordering Great Lake to see who would take top honors in rocket design, rocket fuel development, and rocket flight. Points would be awarded by an impartial panel of shanghaied scholastics from various non-scientific (mostly Liberal Arts) disciplines and their verdicts were to be final. Simply put, it was a binary decision gate; the highest score grand total won. It was decided that since the Physics bunch knew doodly-squat about rocket fuel formulation and most Chemists couldn’t build a stable Jenga tower out of Legos, these two clans would be subsumed into one group for the purposes of the competition. Since Geology embraced Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geodynamics, our clan was slated to be the other team to go up against the chemical and slide rule crowd. “You have sixty days from…right now. See you back here then, 0800 sharp.” decreed the Dean of Math. Let the maps of war be drawn. Luckily, this was during the winter doldrums down-season of exams and other sorts of scholastic folderol. Most of us in the geology crowd had already completed our course work, experimentation and data futzing; so were just (…just…) grinding out theses and dissertations. This gave us a fairly large-sized chunk of time to work the problem and come up with our solutions. The brewery and distillery were cranked into emergency-level overtime as we assembled over cookies, cigars, vodka, and beer to plan out our strategies. Ideas were flung about fast and furiously. What were we going to use for construction materials? What kind of fuels would work the best? How were we to handle the questions of aerodynamics? What about this…? And how about that…? And, yes, another round for all. I suggested that instead of redesigning the metaphorical wheel, we should look instead to what was readily available. Many hours were spent looking into the availability and viability of aluminum, mild steel, galvanized steel, titanium, cast iron, propellants, oxidizers, chemicals, and machining, welding, brazing or otherwise making stout connections. Several hours later, we still didn’t have a reasonable plan and enthusiasm began to falter slightly. Then, Toivo had an inspiration. He reminded us that a while back several of our cadre had worked for a time at a local machine shop. It was a successful local shop devoted to designing, creating and machining of stainless steel products for the dairy industry. Besides that, we all left amicably due to educational concerns; perhaps, we would be welcomed back. A few of us made the pilgrimage and were heartily welcomed by Leon and Charlie, the owners and chief machinists of the business. We brought along several bottles of our homebrew beer and liquors, as well as several examples of our fermented and Mason-jarred sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchee; just to grease the wheels, as it were. They were most pleased to see us and even more pleased with their free food and high-octane beverages. Over toasts and noshes, we explained our predicament. “Well, fellas. Remember? We always have a large supply of off-cast stainless tubulars, sheets, and bar stock. We report them as damaged or destroyed, are compensated by the steel mills and usually just wait until we have enough of a pile to drag off to the scrapyard. You’re more than welcome to scavenge anything you need for this little adventure” proposed Leon. “Whoa, thanks much Leon. However, we still have a bit of a hitch when it comes to dealing with machining and welding stainless back at The Farm”, I replied. “Hell, you guys were pretty damned good machinists for college boys,” noted Charlie. Not to brag too much, but I was a virtuoso on both the Ghisholdt Cridan-B turret lathe and Hardinge AHC automatic chucker. Leon continues: “Tell you what, since you helped us out with Fred (the new warehouse building) back a few years (which required a lot of free-overtime doing loads of dangerous scutwork), you can build your gizmos here. In fact, I’ll get some of the older guys here to give you a hand with the welding and fabrication. They’ll love something different to do for a change.” We were off to the races. The Wiz spent much of his time in the library boning up on rocket propellants. With my explosives background, I aided in his research. Several of us made field trips to the shop trying to figure out what would be the best design for our rocket. First, we went through the scrap pile to see what was available for this project. We ended up with loads of various diameters, metallurgy, and wall thickness stainless steel tubing. Buckets of bar stock, heaps of hex stock and varied valves, milk weights, and innumerable other odds-and-bobs from the machine shop reject pile. We decided that since we had a variety of diameter and thickness stainless tubing, we should construct a multi-stage rocket. We would worry less about the electronics, guidance, and telemetry, and more on the brute-force of having the rocket fly more or less straight as one stage ignites the next. Simple timer circuits and hard-wiring of events were chosen over late-last century computer thingamajigs. A sound application of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle. Since I had worked at the local museum (back during my Goldie <sniff> period), I remembered that the sub-sub-sub-basement was used as a Midwestern storage facility for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions data. There was container after container after container of reports, schematics and documents from these programs, presumably sent here for storage and archival. I approached the Head Curator of the museum; he remembered me well (I wasn’t certain at the time if that was a good or bad omen). I asked if it would be possible to go through the manifests of said containers to search for pertinent information. He thought I was referring to some form of geological information, but I had other ideas in mind. He told me that there was no problem, but everything must remain intact; however, copies of any documents would be fine if I was willing to pay for the reproductions. Thus round two of our Race for Space began. A week or so into this little project, it became apparent that everyone involved had different ideas of how to proceed. A little scientific rivalry erupted between geoscientists. Hank and Polack were sold on solid-rocket boosters. He maintained that we should build a rocket with one massive central solid-fueled rocket and several bolt-on outrigger boosters. These could be fired first, detached, and then the central engine could be lit-off for parts unknown. Since brewing up the propellant was a cast-iron cinch: whip it up as a liquid, pour it into the reaction chamber and wait until it solidifies, this was obviously the way to proceed. Chuck and The Wiz campaigned for ultra-pressure cold gas propellant. They noted the lack of fire hazard, the ability to shut it down in case of emergency (as opposed to solid fuel; which once started, could not be shut down), relatively lower cost and somewhat lower danger level. True, it was lower in effective thrust than other forms of propulsion, but we could fabricate a large series of interconnected tanks for the rocket stages. Toivo and I were dead set on liquid-fueled propulsion. True, it was more exotic, more expensive, more dangerous, and therefore much more fun; but it, too, could also be shut down in case of emergency. There were many more possibilities of developing a workable mixture given the myriad types of oxidizers and propellants which were tried and previously proven reliable. The debating and arguments waged well into the late-night until Polack came up with the brainstorm that saved the day. We should make a 3-stage hybrid rocket, each stage featuring one of our preferred propellants. Brilliance! Hours later, once the toasts died down, we now began to argue over whose fuel would go where. Employing the scientific method, and lots of vodka, cigars, Chicken-in-a-Biscuit, and beer; it was determined that the first stage would be the cold-gas ultra-pressure liftoff stage. Though it produced the least amount of thrust of the three methods, we could fabricate (according to NASA data) a double-walled Dewar cryo-containment system out of stainless steel with enough oomph to initiate liftoff. We would get off the pad, then fully airborne, build some velocity, and put the next-in-line flammable nasties out over the lake. Side Note: the launch pad was on a fairly secluded Great Lake arenaceous beach, out of commercial, military, or UFO flight paths. It was also during the season of zero swimmers, even less pleasure boating, and broken patterned ice floes; fully 160 km (100 miles) from the opposite shore. The second stage was the solid-fuel section. There would be a central solid-fuel core and 8 detachable smaller-diameter exterior solid-fuel rocket boosters. Plans were, once the craft was airborne with some velocity, to dump the first stage, ignite the external boosters, and burn them to termination. They would then be jettisoned, where the central core power plant would be fired off. With this, we would be able to extract the most height and velocity for those two stages and set the stage for, if you’ll pardon me, the next stage. The penultimate stage was to be our liquid-fueled system. This was due to the inherent instability of trinary liquids, heightened danger level of catastrophic failure, and would put the contraption as far away as possible when the stuff finally lit off (pre-designed to be hypergolic, ignition was not necessary). Also, if all this did work, it would provide the highest degree of thrust impulse of all the fuels and push our project closer to Angel’s Eleven. With that, we had to construct a hybrid power plant consisting of two resilient tanks of fairly vicious chemicals: one of the oxidizer and one of the bipropellant. From this, we needed to fabricate the various plumbing and other bits and pieces to make this thing work. This would take us to the final stage. The ultimate stage was one of my own design but heartily approved and applauded by all involved. It was to be a deftly machined stainless steel nose-cone tightly packed with some seriously high-explosives (probably C-4, gelignite, and primacord) along with copper, magnesium, aluminum, and iron powdered-metals. It was intended to be a blazing deafening and polychromatic finale of our attempt at geoaerodynamics and supersonic flight. No matter how you sliced it, this was truly going to be a one-way trip. No need for parachutes, recovery systems, or any of that tat. Simplifies everything. With that, construction began on everyone’s own particular stage. The first stage was built of stoutest 20” OD (outside diameter) martensitic stainless grade 420. An internal pressure vessel of 18” OD was fabricated at the machine shop. All this was mated together, with precision valves and nozzles for optimum propulsion. Thanks to NASA schematics, stainless coupling rings and reducers were fabricated for each stage. “How are you going to separate each stage? You’re keeping the build to bare bones, so is it going to be mechanical or electrical?” Zeke, an old-time machinist asked. “It’ll be both. How about we fabricate some exploding bolts?” “Now, that sound like fun” came the reply. Drilling out the fasteners was a mere dottle. Finding the right amount and type of explosives to achieve separation and not obliteration, was a little more trial-and-error. Note: gelignite and primacord is not a good idea… We decided to try certain easily available compressed gases to power the first and largest stage. (Note: I’m not about to get into any real specifics of the build for fear of cranky foreign countries appropriating our ideas and to wait for the statute of limitations to expire). That being said, it was the result of more trial-and-error experimentation, but finally, our best outcome was established with ultra-insanely-compressed [BLEEP] gas. Still, worry pervaded that this wasn’t going to be enough oomph to get the final monstrosity of the launch pad. The second stage was more straightforward. Thanks to NASA documentation, we opted for a fairly easily concoct-able mixture of common, easily obtainable (if you have access to a university chemistry storeroom) constituents which were not terribly toxic, somewhat stable and meted-out mega-newtons of thrust. The central solid-fuel core was an easy construct (though we had to use dual insulated heavier-wall tubing internally so we would not experience a catastrophic burn-through) but the external SRBs (solid rocket boosters) were trickier to construct. The needed to be light, strong and thermally stable. Temperatures in excess of 12000 C were going to be generated and stainless would be mostly metallic mush by the time the external SRB was half-way through a burn. One of the old-timers with the shop, who really liked free beer and my cigars, rescued us by pulling a few strings, calling in some debts and procuring for us aviation-grade titanium tubing. We didn’t ask how, we didn’t ask where, but we were most appreciative and kept him swimming in homebrew until the end of the project. We also decided that since we had ample supply, we’d outfit the first stage with eight or so external SRBs, to give us the necessary initial push off the pad. These we welded on, as they were never intended to be removable like those on stage two. That left the fabrication of Toivo’s and mine seriously evil near-final stage. Stage 3, liquid fuel, potentially the greatest thrust and certainly the greatest danger. We scoured the NASA documentation and couldn’t find one recipe that was within our reach. I decided to call NASA (I had some contacts at the Lunar Receiving Laboratories), explaining our predicament, but all I received were pointed and brusque return phone calls from the FBI, the DOD, and FAA. I was able to convince them that this was a special project for our university, we were student scientists, and there was nothing untoward. The let us off with stiff warnings and remarks that our conversations would forever be noted in their files. Thinking back, it was probably a good thing the ATF never got involved. They’d have wet themselves copiously and in unison over our distilling-brewing operations. Resigned to our fates, we tried every sort of concoction upon which we could lay our hands. Little success and less progress. On to Part 2...
Bitstamp works with leading online banking in Switzerland to achieve bitcoin (BTC) financing and withdrawals——GoDapp
Bitstamp works with Dukascopy Bank to provide encrypted funds to bank customers. The bank is Switzerland's leading online bank, and its customers can now send Bitcoin (BTC) to their accounts to convert cryptocurrencies into US dollars, which they can use to trade on the Swiss foreign exchange market. Dukascopy customers can also withdraw funds back to their wallets in the form of BTC. Bitstamp will facilitate the exchange of legal and cryptocurrencies. The Bitstamp team explained in the announcement why this partnership is the key to moving forward for cryptocurrency. This partnership has taken us one step closer to the goal of narrowing the gap between cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Further proof that our efforts in compliance and regulation continue to yield results as the cryptocurrency industry matures rapidly. The Geneva-based Dukascopy Bank offers traditional banking services as well as cryptocurrency trading services, forex and binary options trading to retail and institutional investors through CFDs. The bank explained that trading account financing using cryptocurrencies is subject to the following conditions: Deposits and withdrawals from trading accounts currently only accept bitcoin After transferring the BTC, the bank immediately converts it into US dollars and deposits it in the customer account. At the time of withdrawal, the dollar amount from the customer's account is converted to BTC and transferred to the Bitcoin wallet associated with the user's account. The base legal currency is the US dollar The maximum net deposit that can be deposited is $50,000 (total deposit minus total amount drawn) Bitcoin deposits are not processed immediately. Therefore, the trader must accept the possibility of loss due to changes in the BTC / USD exchange rate during the conversion period. BTC deposits and withdrawals are only processed within the working day associated with the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland As mentioned earlier, Dukascopy does not provide direct transactions for cryptocurrencies. Bank customers can conduct cryptocurrency transactions through CFDs (CFDs) based on price movements of cryptocurrencies or their derivatives. ——www.GoDapp.com https://preview.redd.it/xulkm9j5xwc21.png?width=670&format=png&auto=webp&s=f1a209feace4fd46c9b9cad90a179c21e8cba375
BJP Government Performance Analysis: Administration & Governance
This is my 2nd article in the series of articles which analyse the work of Modi government starting from 2014 till present date. This one is about administration and governance. Unlike the first one on defence, it is not that binary and there are quite a few gray areas and is subject to opinions as much it is to facts. For example, I like how NGOs have been brought under tougher checks and a lot of such organisations have been forced to shut shop. But quite a few people view it as unfair. BJP Government Performance Analysis: Defence Issues Blog Link Reddit Link Additionally, there is an overlap between governance issues and various others like economy, foreign policy etc. In this article, focus will will be on the work done or changes in way of working of central government ministries and departments. Some of these will be mentioned in next article which will be about economy issues. 1. Steps for leaner, responsive and more efficient government. This is the most obvious, yet hardest things to do for any regime. All the decisions made by the politically elected government are implemented by officials who usually see multiple such governments come and go through their service. It is next to impossible to fire or even penalise them for even gross incompetence. Any reform in their way of working is extremely hard and takes years of sustained effort. Political and ideological differences even among ministers also play their part. Then there are politicians who have a mutually beneficial nexus with such officials even when they are out of power. Some of the first steps taken by Modi regime was to break this nexus and it seems to have succeeded partially. But there is still a long way to go. GOOD
Officials working for central government have been forced to work much harder, so much so that many now view these prestigious jobs as punishment postings. Many non-performing officers have been disciplined and even sacked, a first. 1* 2* 29* 68* 112* 118* 132*
Even serving ministers have been forced to adopt austerity measures. Some examples are no new vehicles, reduced travel expenses 1113 71* 125*
Influence of foreign interests, corporates and their lobbyists has been severely curtailed. Many “powerful” people who had a lot of influence in various ministries and govt departments now don’t have insider knowledge or influence over decision making. 26* 63* 75*
Many politicians squatting on government properties have been forced to vacate them. List of more than 1500 such squatters includes many former ministers, MLAs, MPs and many so called artists, inetellectuals who have been staying in govt allotted properties long after their time was over. Even BJP run state governments have evacuated have evacuated former CMs and MLAs. 61* 65* 104* 108* 109* 113*
Business of paid for postings and transfers in many central govt departments has been severely curtailed. 7* 105*
Many useless posts have been abolished and major departments downsized and streamlined. Often posts like this were used to accommodate officials in high paying post-retirement postings.4* 117*
There is much greater communication between government and people. Many ministers and even PM office interact with common citizens on Twitter among other platforms. 124* 119*
Options opened for direct entry of domain experts in to government departments. 133* 134* 135*
Various measures taken to improve business climate like curtailment of harassment by various inspectors, passing of bankruptcy law, steps to improve ease of doing business among many others. It resulted in India making a record jump in ease of doing business index in 2017 and broke in to top 100 for first time. 3* 10* 12* 23* 46* 59* 66* 72* 154* 155* 156* 158* 159* 160*
A very large number of old, archaic laws removed. Latest one under consideration (July 2018) in Supreme Court is article 377, removal of which will lead to decriminalisation of homo-sexuality. 1159 such redundant laws removed in just 2 years. 42* 163* 164* 165*
Attempts to clean up bureaucracy and red tape need more will. In 4 years, there have not been many deep reforms in functioning of most govt departments, as far as corruption and delays are concerned. Then there have been some seemingly counter-productive measures like the one which makes it harder to investigate a govt servant.
For most part, BJP ruled states have not shown enough initiative and willingness for reforms as was expected of them.
SCORE: 6.5/10 2.Corruption and black money. Before anyone starts “where are my 15 lakh which Modi promised”, kindly watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOa04NN1M_Q Recovering black money was one of the major poll promises of BJP and they have made fairly good progress on some fronts while it lacks on others.. As it happened, cleanups also unearthed huge scams in bank loans in which UPA regime gave away loans to numerous people who never meant to pay those back. This has proven to be one of the biggest scams in history and many big industrialists and UPA politicians including former Finance Minister Chidambaram have been implicated. Many of them have ran away from India to escape persecution. Apart from that, even after their best efforts, all the opposition parties and their followers have been unable to find a single corruption charge against Modi regime till date. Demonetisation, however controversial it may be, has enabled recovery of untaxed income worth thousands of crores which would have never happened except for drastic measure like this. Implementation of GST was not perfect, but it has led to streamlined taxation process with reduced leakage, This link contains list of some income tax raids done immediately after demonetisation. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRovmVA_9x7NoyJHFLFZ7pA1Mi7gUYB6_OuGHgQA0pFLc9qQ1xTGMClqpGrudmZJ7YrBcg1n-VguZBi/pubhtml?gid=1658058173&single=true GOOD
Huge scam in banking sector in which loans worth thousands of crores were given away without proper checks under influence of UPA ministers unearthed. Number of industrialists, bank officials and politicians are implicated. Many of these industrialists are being forced to give back that money. Legal actions being taken against others, some of which have fled India and some politicians and their associates. Banks starting to show gains after sustained recovery efforts. 120* 131* 136* 137* 138* 139* 140* 141* 158*
Many politicians jailed or under investigation for various corruption issues including former CMs and central ministers. 130* 142* 143* 144* 149* 150*
Many dubious NGOs, many of which have shady backgrounds have been forced to shut shop or forced to reduce their operations. Among the benign ones, many of such organisations were front for money laundering and payment of lackeys. Others were foreign sponsored fronts for mass scale conversions of Indics, anti-India propaganda and terrorism. 5* 9* 21* 91* 115* 126* 127* 145*
A large quantity of black money from foreign bank accounts successfully recovered. Treaties signed with Switzerland (among other countries) under which Swiss will share details of Indians owning bank accounts in Swiss banks. 103* 122* 128* 129* 146* 148*
Large increase in number of people paying income tax after rules like Aadhar verification, demonetisation, GST. Huge amounts of money recovered in income tax raids. Properties of gangsters targeted. Lakhs of shell companies closed down. 101* 121* 123* 128* 129* 147* 151* 152* 153* 161*
Stronger laws passed against corruption and tax evasion. Top level corruption reduces significantly. 33* 75* 93* 101* 102*
Modi regime perhaps underestimated how difficult the recovery of black money from foreign accounts will be. Although a huge sum of money has been recovered, the whole process will take a lot longer and most likely will fall short of hype during election campaign.
A number of bank loan defaulters managed to evade authorities and escape to foreign countries. If they had been arrested earlier, then loan recovery would have been a lot more easier and faster.
Implementation of GST was not up to par. Numerous issues still exist which will take atleast a few months to be sorted out.
Although I personally support demonetisation, it was not as well planned as it should have been. Very large number of people faced inconveniences for quite long time due to shortage of currency. Strangely, number of currency notes in circulation has reached back previous levels.
Even if corruption at top levels has been reduced, grassroot corruption still seems to be as bad as it was earlier. Problem of citizens dealing directly with govt departments have not eased much.
SCORE: 6.5/10 The actual score would have been a 6. Extra half point is due to clean image of almost every minister and no scams yet. Opposition parties have tried their best to make up scams like the one for Rafale planes, but their attempts have been laughably stupid. 3. Programs for citizens. Energy savings with new policies https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/powehow-modi-governments-led-programme-hopes-to-emerge-as-a-win-win-from-consumer-point-of-view/articleshow/52592189.cms Reforms in electricity This regime seems to have better reach out programs for general public which are meant to make their lives and interaction with government machinery easier and fruitful. In addition to big steps like Jan Dhan bank accounts, Mudra Yojna, free LPG for poor, there have been number of measures implemented to make government departments more responsive and approachable. Some of these points have overlap with economy and infrastructure issues, but they are mentioned here because they affect lives of citizens directly. and profoundly.. Some of these will be explained in detail in later posts. GOOD
Red tape cut across various government departments. Steps like digital locker, self-attestation of documents and a few others meant to reduce paperwork, unnecessary delays and corruption implemented. 47* 62* 66* 67* 72* 107*
Jan Dhan Yojna brings banking to the poorest and enables direct transfer of funds for subsidies and other welfare programs. This is one of the best measures in quite a long time meant for direct benefit of the poor. Reduces delays and corruption. 167* 168* 169* 170* 171* 172* 173* 175*
Passport issue and re-issue process made much easier and faster. 110* 166*
More platforms for feedback about government departments and policies created. Emphasis on transparency in governance and grievance redressal mechanisms. 79* 124* 116* 119*
Steps taken to solve some employee issues related to Provident Fund, pensions and others. Lot more reforms still needed. 6* 18*
Swachh Bharat Mission despite problems is showing some results. 85% of population now has access to toilets, compared to around 40% at start of program. According to WHO, 3 lakhs deaths caused by diarrhea were averted between 2014 and 2019. A lot of public places like railway stations are much cleaner. 175 * 176* 177* 178* 179*
Ujwala Yojana, a scheme meant to eradicate use of polluting fuels like wood, coal, dung for cooking proves to be a good success. 5 crore new connections allotted ahead of target. 180* 181* 182* 183*
While many countries struggle with it, India implements strong net neutrality rules. 184* 185*
Multiple steps taken to improve conditions for farmers. Extra impetus on reducing malnutrition and increasing availability of nutritional food to citizens through various schemes. 186, 187, 188, 189 205* 206*
Excellent work so far by power ministry bringing even the remotest places in India on electricity grid. A number of villages which had remained outside the grid now have electricity. Additionally, electricity production and distribution is much better. India has a power surplus and is 3rd largest electricity producer in world. Most of issues still remaining are more often than not due to inefficient and corrupt state electricity corporations. Cheap LED bulbs help in reducing power consumption. 190, 191 192* 193* 194* 195* 196* 197* 198* 199* 200* 201* 202*
Much needed push for solar power with huge new solar power plants coming up. 203* 204*
Pace of road construction across the country has picked up substantially and it has been the highest till now. Many remote regions have new connectivity and existing highways in most regions have been upgraded, 207* to 232* 26 \
Inspite of all the schemes and subsidies, Indian agricultural sector suffers from various issues which will need a lot more work and better implementations. There has been no obvious solution of issues arising due to small size of land holdings, mimimum support prices and bureaucratic red tape.
Swach Bharat mission has been partially successful at best.
Implementation of digital measures meant to reduce red tape have had limited effect till now. Many people and govt departments remain unaware and disinterested in these changes.
SCORE: 7/10 If it was just the intention of projects mentioned here, this would be a full 10. But meaningful implementation of many of these projects is hampered by numerous factors like inefficient, corrupt bureaucracy, infinitely stupid and large population as well as mediocre planning. Some of these projects are longterm and the effects will be visible only after a certain amount of time. FINAL SCORE: 6.6/10 If compared with UPA regime, this one is miles ahead in almost everything. But this is not a good enough standard to improve upon. There have been some good efforts from top, but on ground implementation has been good in only a few. Some of the long standing issues like reforms in bureaucracy, agriculture and a few other fields which will take more than just good intent and announcement of schemes. LINKS:
Daily analysis of cryptocurrencies 20191009(Market index 37- Fear state)
https://preview.redd.it/hwli4i9v7ir31.png?width=432&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f3f41350dcae08c3b6e55744d86d701fac988ec Daily Active Users Of EOS, Ethereum, IOST, And TRON DApps Totaled 137087 On Oct 7 Citing data from DApp Total, as of 00:00 (UTC+8), October 8, EOS, Ethereum, IOST, and TRON DApps recorded 137,087 daily active users (DAUs), 50.53% of which were EOS-based. 1. Number of users: EOS (69,269) > ETH (44,088) > TRON (23,730) > IOST (3,350); 2. Number of transactions: EOS (3,147,112) > TRON (923,074) > IOST (171,596) > ETH (150,730); 3. Trading volume: TRON ($10,356,177) > EOS ($5,251,676) > ETH ($4,935,403) > IOST ($930,711). In addition, across the Ethereum, EOS, IOST, and TRON blockchains, the top 3 DApps by user number are: Hash Baby (EOS), Xdapp (EOS), and Dice(EOS); the top 3 DApps by transaction number are: Dice (EOS), WINk (TRON), and Gako Binary Option (EOS); the top 3 DApps by trading volume are: WINk (TRON), Newdex (EOS), and EOS REX (EOS). Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Ministry To Legalize Cryptomining Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Ministry plans to legalize cryptocurrency mining or cryptomining in Ukraine within two or three years. Libra Could Be A ‘Systemically Important’ Payment Platform, Says Bank Of England In a statement made on Oct 8, the Bank of England (BoE) said that Libra is potentially a ‘systemically important’ payment platform, adding that it needs to be a regulated one as well. The central bank’s Financial Policy Committee has pledged that British regulators will look into the functions of Libra and other payment firms, and address the question of applying traditional regulations to them. According to the committee, “The resilience of the proposed Libra system would rely on the stability of not just the core elements of the Libra Association and Libra Reserve but also the associated critical activities conducted by other firms in the Libra ecosystem such as validators, exchanges or wallet providers.” Libra Association Considering “Step-Ladder” Approach To KYC Regulations The Libra Association is thinking of radical approaches to reach the unbanked in certain locations, including a “step-ladder” approach to know-your-customer (KYC) regulations, according to a recent report by CoinDesk. Per the report, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it is open to working with Libra about potentially building new forms of digital identity. The report also revealed that Libra believes blockchain forensics firms like Chainalysis, Elliptic, and Coinfirm will help strengthen the case for “tiered KYC” by monitoring wallet profiles and transaction histories. Besides, non-profits in the Libra Association like the Kiva Foundation may play a key role. Swiss National Bank and Swiss Stock Exchange Team Up On Central Bank-Backed Digital Currency The Swiss National Bank (SNB) and stock exchange SIX will jointly explore how to make central bank digital money available for the trading and settlement among financial market players. The buying and selling of assets based on digital ledger technology has the potential to reduce counterparty risk and create “significant” economic opportunities, SIX said in a statement Wednesday, October 9. The initiative is part the innovation hub for financial technology the Bank for International Settlements announced it was setting up earlier this year with the SNB. Other hub centers will be based in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Encrypted project calendar（October 09, 2019）
CENNZ/Centrality:Centrality (CENNZ) will meet in InsurTechNZ Connect — Insurance and Blockchain on October 9th in Auckland.TRON (TRX):Next Wednesday, Oct 9th at 11am PDT I’ll be hosting another@PeriscopeCo/@YouTubeLivestreamiExec RLC (RLC):09 October 2019 Osaka Meetup “An evening of quality food, free-flowing drinks and good company — just across the street from the conference!”Binance Coin BNB:09 October 2019 Riga, Latvia Meetup “October 9th we invite you to visit our first Binance meetup in Riga, Latvia!”Pundi X (NPXS):09 October 2019 Beyond Consensus “Beyond Consensus — Crypto in Asia” from 6–10 PM (JST).Chainlink (LINK):09 October 2019 Chainlink Happy Hour “Come to the #Chainlink Happy Hour on Wed Oct 9th right next to the #Devcon5 conference on the Hyatt Regency rooftop!”BTC Lite (BTCL):09 October 2019 DEX Listing BTC Lite (BTCL) will be listed on a decentralized exchange.BitTorrent (BTT):09 October 2019 Live Product Update “Remember to join our CEO,@justinsuntron, on Oct 9th at 11am PDT for a product update live stream on BitTorrent Speed, BTFS, and BLIVE!”
Encrypted project calendar（October 10, 2019）
INB/Insight Chain:The Insight Chain (INB) INB public blockchain main network will be launched on October 10.VET/Vechain:VeChain (VET) will attend the BLOCKWALKS Blockchain Europe Conference on October 10.CAPP/Cappasity:Cappasity (CAPP) Cappasity will be present at the Osaka Global Innovation Forum in Osaka (October 10–11).TrueFeedBack (TFB):10 October 2019 (or earlier) Application Release New version of TFB application and TFB bounty application.Sparkpoint (SRK):10 October 2019 4rth Quarterly Burn SparkPoint ( SRK) will execute its 4rth quarterly burn on October 10, 2019.Insight Chain (INB): 10 October 2019 Mainnet Launch “The Mainnet for INB Public Blockchain Will be Launched on October 10.”Celer Network (CELR)and 4 others: 10 October 2019 Layer 2 Meetup Osaka “Join us at Layer 2 Meetup for fruitful networking, chilled atmosphere & sushi on October 10, 2019 during the DevCon in Osaka, Japan.”Cappasity (CAPP):10 October 2019 Global Innovation Forum Cappasity presents at Osaka’s Global Innovation Forum in Osaka.ThoreNext (THX):10 October 2019 Submission Last Date “$THX #THX Swap #Update Submission Last Date 10–10–2019”
Encrypted project calendar（October 11, 2019）
OKB/OKB:OKB (OKB) OKEx series of talks will be held in Istanbul on October 11th to discuss “the rise of the Turkish blockchain.”Aragon (ANT):11 October 2019 Osaka DAO Party “We are excited to invite you to our@EFDevconAragon Dream DAO Party — DAICO Edition in Osaka on the evening of October 11th!”BitTorrent (BTT)and 1 othe: 11 October 2019 Airdrop “On October 11th 00:00 UTC we will initiate our ninth $BTT airdrop and reward TRON $TRX holders with 990,000,000 #BTT!”Zilliqa (ZIL):11 October 2019 Dev Call “The Aztec Protocol team will be joining our 4th Dev Call this Friday at 2pm EST. We will be having interesting conversations aboutFOAM (FOAM): 11 October 2019 Osaka Happy Hour “Join FOAM and@3boxdbfor a #DevCon Happy Hour in Osaka this Friday at Runway lounge.”
Encrypted project calendar（October 12, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2019 Global Mining Leaders Summit will be held in Chengdu, China from October 12th to 14th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 14, 2019）
BCH/Bitcoin Cash:The ChainPoint 19 conference will be held in Armenia from October 14th to 15th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 15, 2019）
RUFF/RUFF Token:Ruff will end the three-month early bird program on October 15thKAT/Kambria:Kambria (KAT) exchanges ERC20 KAT for a 10% bonus on BEP2 KAT-7BB, and the token exchange reward will end on October 15.BTC/Bitcoin:The Blockchain Technology Investment Summit (CIS) will be held in Los Angeles from October 15th to 16th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 16, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2019 Blockchain Life Summit will be held in Moscow, Russia from October 16th to 17th.MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on the theme of “Technology Problem Solving and Testing IoT Devices” at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on October 16.ETH/Ethereum:Ethereum launches Istanbul (Istanbul) main network upgrade, this main network upgrade involves 6 code upgrades.QTUM/Qtum:Qtum (QTUM) Qtum main network hard fork is scheduled for October 16.
Encrypted project calendar（October 18, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The SEC will give a pass on the VanEck/SolidX ETF on October 18th and make a final decisionHB/HeartBout:HeartBout (HB) will officially release the Android version of the HeartBout app on October 18.
Encrypted project calendar（October 19, 2019）
PI/PCHAIN Network:The PCHAIN (PI) backbone (Phase 5, 82 nodes, 164, 023, 802 $ PI, 7 candidates) will begin on October 19.LINK/ChainLink:Diffusion 2019 will be held in Berlin, Germany from October 19th to 20th
Encrypted project calendar（October 21, 2019）
KNC/Kyber Network:The official online hackathon of the Kyber Network (KNC) project will end on October 21st, with more than $42,000 in prize money.
Encrypted project calendar（October 22, 2019）
ZRX/0x:The 0x protocol (ZRX) Pantera blockchain summit will be held on October 22.
Encrypted project calendar（October 23, 2019）
MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 23rd at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles with the theme “Connecting the I3 Market and Experiencing Purchase and Sales Data.”BTC/Bitcoin:The WBS World Blockchain Summit (Middle East) will be held in Dubai from October 23rd to 24th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 24, 2019）
BCN/Bytecoin:Bytecoin (BCN) released the hidden amount of the Bytecoin block network on October 24.
Encrypted project calendar（October 25, 2019）
ADA/Cardano:Cardano (ADA) The Ada community will host a community gathering in the Dominican Republic for the first time on October 25.
Encrypted project calendar（October 26, 2019）
KAT/Kambria:Kambria (KAT) Kambria will host the 2019 Southern California Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Conference in Los Angeles on October 26th with IDEAS.BTC/Bitcoin:CoinAgenda Global Summit will be held in Las Vegas from October 26th to 28th
Encrypted project calendar（October 28, 2019）
LTC/Litecoin:Litecoin (LTC) 2019 Litecoin Summit will be held from October 28th to October 29th in Las Vegas, USABTC/Bitcoin:Mt.Gox changes the debt compensation plan submission deadline to October 28ZEC/Zcash:Zcash (ZEC) will activate the Blossom Agreement on October 28th
Encrypted project calendar（October 29, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2nd World Encryption Conference (WCC) will be held in Las Vegas from October 29th to 31st.
Encrypted project calendar（October 30, 2019）
MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 30th at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on the topic “How to store data on IOTA Tangle.”
Encrypted project calendar（November 1, 2019）
INS/Insolar:The Insolar (INS) Insolar wallet and the redesigned Insolar Block Explorer will be operational on November 1, 2019.
Encrypted project calendar（November 6, 2019）
STEEM/Steem:The Steem (STEEM) SteemFest 4 conference will be held in Bangkok from November 6th to 10th.
Encrypted project calendar（November 8, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2nd Global Digital Mining Summit will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from October 8th to 10th.
Encrypted project calendar（November 9, 2019）
CENNZ/Centrality:Centrality (CENNZ) will meet in InsurTechNZ Connect — Insurance and Blockchain on October 9th in Auckland.
BTC — Yesterday to this day, the BTC has been shaking slightly and is still hovering around $8,200. In the past 24 hours, the net inflow of BT funds is less than 40 million US dollars, and the market inflow of funds is gradually shrinking. Yesterday, BTC rose to around $8,400 and then withdrew. The rise was weakening. In the short run, it was still mainly a volatile market. It was more difficult to break through the bottom volatility directly. However, in the medium-term trend, BTC is currently under construction. Market sentiment is gradually warming up, with the following focus on the important support of $7,800. Operational aspects, close to $8,000 can be considered to buy appropriately, if the follow-up can again explore the support level, may usher in a more appropriate warehouse building opportunity. Review previous articles:https://email@example.com Telegram： https://t.me/Lay126 Twitter：https://twitter.com/mianhuai8 Facebook：https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100022246432745 Reddi：https://www.reddit.com/useliuidaxmn LinkedIn：https://www.linkedin.com/in/liu-wei-294a12176/
Off Base Once in awhile, when the stars align, you are allowed off base in AIT. Since I was a barracks rat, this prohibition on fun didn’t really affect me all too much. Fort Gordon, for those of you blessed enough not to know the area, really offers only three venues for soldiers – the mall, the tattoo shop, and the bar. There are eateries on base - a Waffle House, Popeye’s and a Taco Bell, but they usually involves people who outrank you. I am an E1, everyone outranks me, no thanks. The mall is where you go to see Privates in the wild. If you’re ever around an AIT base, you’ll know it in a heartbeat. Go to a mall on a Friday around 6.30 and sit down in the food court. About five minutes in, you’ll see what you swear is a community college brochure come to life. You’ll get a black guy in a Bulls jersey joking with a white guy in cowboy boots, with an Asian guy in a button-up right behind. There are no “work-friends” anymore. Training is temporary, and time out is oh-so limited, so friends are your fellow soldiers, period. One thing the commercials get right is the diversity in the Army. One way diversity shows up is how everyone dresses. Everyone’s got their own style, and when you’re “back on the block” you usually hang out with people with the same clothing style. Thing about the Army is, you have no idea what people wear other than the uniform. I honestly forgot jeans were a thing until after Basic. As such, you make friends without knowledge of their style - almost like we’re human beings. Normally, if you approach me in a Tap Out shirt, cargo shorts, a backwards hat, flip flops and some sort of ill-fitting costume jewelry, I might avoid you. I’m sorry. Likewise, if you are just vehemently anti-flannel, we might have to be in different social circles – it is what it is. No love lost. So, the Augusta Mall, about ten minutes by taxi out of the gate, was where these packs of wild enlisted would roam - always in threes. Now, this mall had the typical amenities - a Gamestop, clothes and sporting goods stores, a food court and around seven Lids stores. Seven. One style I inexplicably picked up in the South was wearing those flat-billed hats - truly one of my biggest regrets in life. To be fair, I shaved my head every two weeks, so stupid hats made me look a bit less like a skinhead. The real problem arose when I maintained this haircut after getting home, because I’m a cheap bastard. It wasn’t until a woman pulled her child out of an aisle I was shopping in I that I connected the dots - shaved head, blue eyes, leather jacket, motorcycle hel- … ohhhhhhh shit. Nobody ever told me either, they had me looking like the Nazi Youth for a solid year. Anyway, that’s the mall. However, the Augusta Mall, like all shopping centers around military bases - cater to stupid eighteen year olds with lots of cash. Now, everyone loves payday. For most of the world, it’s the time you can pay off enough of the bills to keep the lights on and buy yourself a celebratory Happy Meal. For soldiers, all Hell breaks loose. Now, we’ve established my conservative tendencies, but most of the armed forces does not agree with my frugality. We live on the “edge,” and most motherfuckers spend their paychecks on weekends and lady friends – I can’t blame them, honestly - nothing beats some good ol’ fashioned,booze-fueled, consensual sex. I understand it now, I didn’t then. Now, as an E1, you're looking at maybe $600 a paycheck on the first and fifteenth. This is big money for a guy whose only previous job experience involved directing parking every summer at county fairs. One thing about my upbringing, is that I’ve never been “rich.” Of course, I always had food to eat, and a roof over my head, but that’s because my parents worked multiple jobs, and undeniably busted ass for us kids to get where we got. Being raised in this environment though, meant that you’d grow up to be frugal motherfucker – which I am to this day. I spent about 15 dollars a week during training, and came home with 10 g’s. Some guys were broke by day three. Why? Because we’re fucking kids, that’s why. I had a roomie buy a 600 dollar knife, multiple times. Privates were buying cars, and jewelry, and whatever the fuck else teenagers buy. Meanwhile, I was shaving my head every two weeks to save the seven dollars from the barber. My biggest purchase? Skyrim, the day it came out, and I was entirely too stressed over the purchase … with thousands in the bank. There’s a reason you find a lot of homeless vets - there’s not a ton of fiscal training, and the only repercussion for spending all your cash in Active Duty is not being able to go out anymore - rent and food is paid for. Anyways, at least partly responsible for this financial shitbaggery are the predatory merchants everywhere around bases. The worst are car dealerships - offering you automatic loans solely for being in the military. The problem that many of my fellow soldiers discovered is that while twenty bucks a month for an iPad may seem like a good idea, the final price was somewhere around 2500 bucks - the Mustang everyone somehow buys winds up being in the 60’s. Plus, attractive chicks aggressively try to sell you jewelry “for your girl back home.” Even outside of the PX, there’s a couple guys trying to sell you a fucking claymore sword with your “family crest” on it for about a thousand dollars. A claymore, for those of you who haven’t seen Braveheart, is a 5-6’ two-handed sword. Where they thought we’d be stashing these massive melee weapons I don’t know. One kid actually bought one, and when he tried to bring it up into the barracks, he was sent directly to the post office to send it home. If they don’t let us keep Swiss Army knives in our rooms, I don’t know how he thought they’d let this William Wallace monstrosity through the doors. Whatever, this was shopping, one of the three venues. The next hotspot was the tattoo parlor - there are more tattoo shops around an Army base than Starbucks in Orange County. Trust me on this. There’s a few ways to tell someone’s in the military when they’re outside of uniform. If they are really playing up the “Army” aspect at a bar, you’ll probably catch some dog tags around their neck – you’ve found yourself a Private. Just as obvious, for males, is the haircut. Again, if they seem to be surrounded by people with similar haircuts, but in vastly different clothing styles, you might have a winner. If you’re in California and hear a country drawl, there you go. When that fails, check for that tattoo. Tattooing is almost synonymous with enlisted soldiers. It’s a rite of passage. Having one bad tattoo, bringing home a “4,” waking up hungover and missing pants – everyone’s got a story. I, of course, wanted to be no different. As soon as you graduate Basic, you have a honeymoon period with the Army. You’re a “real soldier” now, part of the team – completely unjaded. 18 year olds also find themselves with some real dough for the first time in a while. What does unbridled patriotism, a heightened sense of toughness and a couple thousand dollars equal? A tattoo. A terrible, terrible tattoo. For a lot of reasons, the Army is like high school. The jocks (infantry) look down on the junior varsity (other combat arms) who finally look at everyone else like they’re the founding members of the Scrabble Club. As the founding member of my high school’s Scrabble club, it was offensive, but entirely deserved. Another high school attitude in the military is that being too “in to” something is lame. Unlike that kid who only watched anime and ran through the halls with his wheelie backpack, you gotta blend in. The problem is, is that tattoos are supposedly a permanent art form. The thing is, when you were drunk on “hooah,” all these privates went out and got the American flags, the Iwo Jima picture, maybe an eagle. Now, there are tons of excellently done patriotic tattoos. However, some are essentially the “tribal tattoos” of the Army. “One shot, one kill” for example. You’ve got “Death before Dishonor.” One poor kid got the whole soldier’s creed on his ribs. But none hold a battery-operated church candle to one proud private. Down his arm, from shoulder to elbow was “Hooah!” in Army script. I’m sure he regrets that now. Be smart about your ink everybody. So, about four or five times over the months of AIT I’d go with a buddy while they got tattoos. Of course, I was pretty uncomfortable in the tattoo parlor we frequented - the dude at the front literally had flames tatt’d from his eyebrows to the back of his head, with spacers in his nose. You weren’t finding the social upper crust in downtown Augusta, that’s for sure. Anyways, some guys get tattoos as often as people go to the movies - with the same amount of forethought. “Wanna see a movie?” “Yeah!” “Wanna get tatted?” “Sure!” So I had my sleeve-length tattoos all drawn out - yeah, sleeves. Plus I had all the upper arm and chest tatts I drew on myself once in Sharpie - It took a week to wash off, and I had to be careful no one saw me in the shower, because that’s how you get nicknames. At the end of the day, I ended up bitching out, which I’m glad I did, or else I’d be explaining a few lewd tattoos to a grandkid a few years down the line. The third venue that we trainees frequented was the bars. I never went - I hadn’t so much as sipped a beer until my first time home on leave. However, it was always evident who went out during the recall formation. Every weekend night, there would be an accountability formation held at 11 PM, and you had to have your ass back there. Warning - here comes a rant. We weren’t allowed weekend passes like other companies, couldn’t buy a vehicle like other companies, and couldn’t live off post like other companies - despite these privileges being authorized by the Post Commander. Now, I have yet to be disparaging about any officers, because that’s not how I do things. Thing is though, in training companies, officers are attached there temporarily - so they don’t really give a shit about their soldiers since they are already on their way out the door. The problem with this is that officers will arbitrarily restrict soldiers’ activities in order to make themselves look good. It was constantly brought up that our company had no drug, alcohol or violence issues in something like 500 days - a battalion record for which the CO, not the soldiers, got the recognition. While the CO got another bullet point on the performance review, all 300 soldiers slowly went stir-crazy at our confinement. My battle buddies from other companies were having hotel parties,or driving home for the weekend. while we stood in the cold for role to be called. Rant over, but it was some real horseshit. To all future leaders, look out for your soldiers, and your soldiers will look out for you. We’re not stupid, we know when you’re playing games. Anyways, because soldiers drink like … soldiers, half the company was blitzed out of their minds at recall. I normally had no issue with this - do what you do. The issue came about when drunk people, as drunk people do, decided to run their mouths at inopportune times. Before you were allowed to head inside the barracks, an alphabetical roster had to be read through and then your ID had to be checked at the door. The poor bastards at the end of the roster knew their time wasn’t coming for a while, and so would chatter and yell through the whole thing. Some duty sergeants - pissed that they didn’t get to be buzzed on a fine Friday evening, would stop role entirely until the commotion died down - it didn’t. They’d yell “Abner” or “Alvarez” and the peanut gallery would scream “AWOL!” or “He’s dead!”and laugh and laugh. By the third or fourth name, the especially ornery NCO’s would put everyone in the front-leaning rest until it was over. All in all, weekend bed check normally took an hour at the earliest, up to two at the worst. So, I’m “M,” middle of the pack regardless. I’d go inside, brush my teeth, and watch a little TV in my room, then rack out. The inebriated folks would run through the hallway screaming, or kicking in doors, or lighting shit on fire until the duty NCO came upstairs, yelled, and sent everyone to bed. This was life for nine months. My weekends usually went a bit differently than the drinkers. Now, I’ve since had my “drink, get into shenanigans and generally live an entirely unsustainable lifestyle” phase. Hell, I lived in a frat house. I’m 23, and if I make it to 30, it is a gift from God. Anyways, my AIT Fridays, in contrast, were some depressing shit. There’s no food allowed in the barracks – none. Seriously, Sergeants would open ceiling tiles and flip lockers to find some Poptarts (Hint - hide them under layers of civilian clothes or in ziploc bags in the latrine ceiling.) Fortunately, about a hundred yards away from our barracks was the “IET” Initial Entry … something, essentially a rec room with a pool table, a couple tv’s, a coffee shop and a mini Domino’s Pizza inside. I was a regular, because NCO’s weren’t allowed in - not that they’d want to be in there anyway. I had a very rigid weekend schedule. Fridays, we got off at five, so I went to chow with buddies, returned to watch How I Met Your Mother until 8, then off to the IET to buy cheesy bread and a Sprite. Return by nine, watch a movie until recall, then sleep. Everyone else got their drink on while I patiently waited for Ted and Robin to hook up. I finished that show four times - this was before the horseshit final season. It was one of the only shows on my hard drive. Saturday and Sunday I’d form up at nine, and get that beautiful breakfast chow, Now, it’s a proven fact that breakfast food is the best food. If Ron Swanson says it, you live it. Breakfast is the best part of the Army - by far. Maybe it’s just so we don’t have even more reason to kill ourselves, but, again, Army food isn’t bad. Seriously. So, every day we’re not in the field you get some powdered eggs, some bacon or sausage, and biscuits or something - they even had some fancy parfaits if you were feeling especially dainty. Bomb-dig spread there, Army. Plus, I’d fill a couple cups with ice, then throw the coffee on, mix in some chocolate milk - boom. You’d think I was Bobby Flay for thinking of making iced coffee. There was no rational reason for missing breakfast chow. Plus, you knew that PT is over for the day, and that makes the occasional pancake so much better. After lunch, it was either the mall or the px, be back by dinner, watch a movie, then get to recall. I was a real party fucking animal. This would go on for months. Nine sad, long, unchanging months. I stopped going on Facebook because people back home having fun made me sad. Not quite sad enough to kill myself though, that would be another guy. The Classroom When we weren’t busy raking lines in dirt, eating breakfast, or killing ourselves, we went to class. This was the entire point of being at Gordon - learning our specific job. Really it’s where we spent months in a windowless room with computers, only to venture outside to step inside bigger computers with satellite dishes. Before you ask, there was no internet on the computers, and we could not have our phones on us from 7 AM until 5 PM. For the thousands of hours I spent in Sierra training, I have almost nothing funny to contribute - it was by far the most brain-numbingly boring activity I think one can complete. They spent a week teaching us binary, for really no fucking reason. It took me about a month of class before I asked when we’d learn about the drones my recruiter had promised me, and the instructors laughed their asses off. It was then that reality sank in - I was in for a rough year. My job, as a 25Sierra, is essentially being the Army’s wifi - I turn on my equipment, hit a few buttons, and blam, I’m done. Really, the training could have been thoroughly completed in two weeks. The shit we were trained on - for months - isn’t even in use anymore. I got to my unit after training and they said they hadn’t used the equipment I’d been trained on for over a decade. Half our training was on “satellite theory” - as if we fucking needed to know about geosynchronous orbits and signal polarity to make the antenna autotrack. I got so bored I created a lavish beach scene out of router connections and modems on the training module - I spent three whole days on it - until I was discovered and smoked accordingly. They were even less impressed when I made the giant robot attacking it the next day. I’m hoping it’s still lurking in some database somewhere in the schoolhouse - I put a lot of work into it. I think the most important lesson learned in the schoolhouse was the danger of wearing civilian clothes, as an instructor, to the schoolhouse. We had one instructor, who thought he was the House, MD of satellite communications. He was always yelling, and tried his damndest to ensure that we, the peasants, feared him. He was moderately successful with his ruse until he showed up on his day off, and we lost all respect for this dude. There he stood, with some Beatles glasses, a billowing Red Wings jersey, baggy cargo pants, and TOE SHOES. Yeah, those goofy fucking toe shoes! Man, it was tough to listen to the guy after that. Note to all you future leaders out there - stay in uniform. I'm not sure how it worked in other training schools, but in AIT, when we got to class, we had to form up and sing the "Army Song," “The Signal Corps March,” and recite the "Soldier's Creed." Every day. This daily routine is performed by a soldier pulled - at random - from the formation. Now, this was before my vocal smart-ass phase, so I was not on the leadership’s radar. (Instructors at the schoolhouse are different from those who are responsible for you at the barracks. Think of your grumpy landlord versus an equally alcoholic professor.) So, since I was Non-Descript White Private #6, I blended in. I hadn't said a word to any of the instructors outside my classroom, so they didn't know how my voice sounded. This went on until the last fucking day, seriously the last fucking day of class. Out of the blue, I get called up to sing it out. However, the end was in sight - I could see the light. So, I thought, fuck it. Now, due to my complete lack of athletic ability, general intelligence, or prowess with the ladies, I've had to develop a special set of skills. While rescuing chicks on boats and karate-chopping Albanians would be my number one choice, I had to settle for the fact that I can make a lot of different "voices" - my favorite being a pretty good imitation of the old-school Batman narrator. So I take my place at the head of the formation, and I belt out the "Soldier's Creed" in the voice, straight-faced. The soldiers in formation started laughing, but the leadership didn't really respond - maybe this kid is just fucking retarded. I get through all the songs n' such, and it comes time to march us in for another riveting day of bullshit. When you march in a formation ("File from the left, column left!") the first soldier in each line yells something to their line (either "stand fast" or "forward") What these cheeky bastards did was copy my voice as best they could. Not cool guys. And at that moment of realization, the head instructor sprinted over, nose to my cheek, and screamed "What the FUCK do you think you're doing, Private?!" Well, for one, he was the guy walking and talking on his phone in front of everyone’s formation during the Creed. One, walking and talking on a phone isn’t allowed - and this is the fucker that would yell about regulations and stray boot laces. Two, it’s definitely disrespectful to mosey around in front of any formation, anywhere, and it was just the tip of of this guy’s sheer patronizing asshaterry iceberg. I was having none of it. So, with a rogue wave of self-righteous indignation, I screamed back - "I’m using my COMMAND VOICE, Sergeant!" So, he lost his fucking mind, sending everyone scurrying into the building, while screaming at me. He attempted to give me an “Article 15” (an Army punishment that can strip pay and rank - a big deal.) Luckily, my First Sergeant was having none of it and it didn't go through (since apparently Schoolhouse Sergeant didn’t have the authority give me one.) He asked me to demonstrate the voice, which I did, and he thought it was hilarious. Top, if you’re out there reading, thanks for looking out. I’m actually scared to mention you by name, but I hope you’ll find out somehow. Anyway I was now authorized to use my narrator voice when the new Privates were getting in trouble. "Loook ouuuut Privates! Platoon Sergeant's coming! “Meeeaaanwhile, in the hallway!" Plus, the next time we saw Instructor Asshat on a company run, our 1SG made him do push-ups while we jogged in place. A little extreme, but hey, Army is Army. Sometimes I get in trouble even when I don’t open my mouth. Like I said, the Army is super uptight with all the PC stuff. The problem is, is that most current leadership is from the “old Army,” where every non-alcoholic is a “faggot,” and a woman’s worth is based solely on the shapeliness of her ass. So, to compensate, some of the old timers have swung hard to the opposite side of the spectrum. Only some though, the rest go even harder to compensate. Another fun Army rule, is that you can never have your hands in your pockets. Need to grab your keys? Your hand better hurry the fuck up. No dilly-dallying in there either. Is that a limp wrist? Police yourself, Soldier. Anyways, so without pockets, you really do have a limited option for idle hand placement. Usually, you default to “at-ease,” but once in awhile you switch it up. My personal favorite is the “John Wayne.” The JW involves you hooking your thumbs through the belt above your pelvis – it’s comfy and natural, whatever. This pose was completely unacceptable to one random sergeant, as I was once “verbally counseled” for sexual misconduct. The reason? “I was bringing attention to my genitals.” I think the real problem was that a certain staff sergeant’s genitals weren’t getting any attention. Another constant in the Army is good ol’ AR 670-1. This Army regulation dictates all appearances you as a soldier are authorized to have. On and off duty. This includes haircuts, length of fingernails, and the acceptable state of repair of one’s blue jeans (seriously.) Some make sense - dudes can never have earings, you dirty hippies. Some make less sense - no super cool mohawks allowed. Some make no sense - you can not have any object on your dog tag chain unless it is religious. This is a problem, because we need to have our locker keys on us at all times, including in our decidedly haphazardly pocketed PT shorts. Now, the drill sergeants in Basic, being the pragmatic DGAF individuals that they are, instructed us to attach our keys to our dog tags. But oh no, in AIT we had to abide by garrison rules - which means no keys allowed. However, leading a successful insurrection, I drew a cross on my key, thus making it the sigil o’ Christianity. The instructors were less than impressed with my manipulation of the system. This is about the extent of my raging against the machine, but it was a sweet campaign that the bards will sing of for centuries. Slumber Parties with Spiderman Very, very few times in life, being inept can work out in your favor. I cannot make a bed to military standards. I can’t fucking do it. Really, I’m sorry. In Basic, I slept underneath my bed as much as possible. It got to the point in AIT, that I had my room flipped so often for having incorrect hospital corners, they got tired of trashing it, and authorized my ass to get civilian sheets. Now, choosing your own sheets in the real world might not seem like a big thing, but when you’ve been forced to sleep on top of an itchy, wool blanket from World War 2 for 25 weeks, your own comforter is a great thing. Being the immature assholes we are, soldiers never get your typical, adult sheets. Oh, no, we were men in twin sized beds that would never be seen by a woman. So, we got ridiculous. We had guys with Dora the Explorer, Transformers, and Thomas the Tank Engine – I decided on Spider Man. Yes, I would return from a full day and collapse on my crisp, blue, Spiderman sheets. It was truly a great time to be alive. We did have a particular NCO who had one strict rule when it came to our rooms - only one. Because of the longevity of our training, soldiers were able to get to know their NCO’s real well – almost developing a clearly hierarchical, but still sometimes amiable, verbally abusive step-parent relationship. Now, I sure as shit did not, which is for damn sure. They didn’t learn my name in 9 months, and I’m totally cool with that. Sure, a couple knew my face, but also thought my name was “Private.” It worked just fine for me. One of the things about working alongside these fine non-commissioned officers, is you realize that they too, are almost humans. One’s from Texas, one enjoys LARPing, one is a female – real deep shit. One such quirk we realized is that a certain SSG Bueller HATED Pokémon. Absolutely hated anything pocket monster related. Any such contraband would be tossed out of a window. Why? Well, dear reader, poor SSG Bueller had spent 18 months in Iraq in the most hipster way possible – he got there before it was cool. This meant that there were no significant bases, no infrastructure, no massive tents to go watch Shania Twain on her golden guitar. No, this meant, the only thing you could entertain yourself with when not getting shot at was whatever you carried with you. For some soldiers, they carried sketchpads, journals, or letters from back home – real Band of Brothers-type shit. But SSG B was having none of that. Oh no, SSG B had a motherfucking Game Boy, with motherfucking Pokémon Gold. The problem was … that was all he had. I don’t know how to tell you guys this, but a handheld game meant for twelve year olds can be completed pretty succinctly in twenty or so hours – more if you were that one asshole who actually tried to catch them all. Thing is, poor B had this game – and only this game – for a year and a half. Yeah, 500’ish days of a game meant for Japanese schoolchildren. Needless to say, when he got back home, SSG hated anything and everything Pokémon. This was in fact, his only rule implemented, and I quote, “No Pokémon shit.” That’s it. Of course, as the giggling manchildren we were, we thought this request was hilarious. We didn’t take into account that maybe a grizzled veteran wouldn’t like to be reminded of one of his many tours every fucking day while sloughing through another equally-as-shitty Georgia day. No, we wanted to be cute. And so we did - Pokemon sheets, Pokemon dolls, people would even mail him Pokemon dolls after they’d left and we’d laugh and laugh while he died a little bit inside every time. Sorry, SSG B. Hope you catch ‘em all someday. Newbies I have a particularly long MOS, so I was in AIT for around eight, nine months. The thing with training companies, is that there's an influx of new soldiers as soon as an old class graduates. Of course, as soon as I get to the party, it's decided to funnel all the newbies to other companies. This means that there becomes slowly less and less soldiers in my company. This sucks. Why? Well, reader, there's a thing in the Army called "fire guard." This is usually a two, four, or six hour shift of you wrestling errant flames. (Not really, you sit at a desk, and try not to sleep.) The problem is, is that this duty is bequeathed by alphabetical roster. Month by month it got smaller and smaller - by the end, we went from 300 soldiers to 50, split between the day, night, and swing shift. This meant guard duty every night, and cleaning the barracks was a bitch and a half. Luckily, two days before my class shipped home, we got fresh meat. You forget how lost in the sauce you are getting to AIT fresh out of Basic. Where you had every second of every day planned, there was now a bit of leeway. So, like the good soldiers we were, we fucked with them. Another bullshit fact in training is the "bed check." This entails grown-ass men waiting outside their doors at 9PM in order to ask permission to go to sleep. If the duty sergeant starts at the other end of the building, you're fucked. However, the new bloods don't know this - they just see "Bed check 2100 (9pm) for all new soldiers." At 8.55, all of us older cats start freaking out around the privates. "Guys! What the fuck are you doing?! It's almost bed check! You better get down there ASAP!" They freak out and start hauling for the duty desk until we stop them. "C'mon guys, it's bed check! You have to get your mattress cleared your first night in the barracks. Hurry!" So these poor kids all grab their mattresses and one of them even managed to get it out a door by the time sergeant got upstairs. "What the fu- what is this happy horse shit!? Who the fuck are you?! He pops his head in the room to see the new guys confusedly grasping at their twin-sizes “Wait, there's more?! Goddammit!" Anyway, these guys spilled in right before we left on our final AIT FTX. This FTX was to be a five day long FOB (Forward Operating Base) scenario - like” little Iraq.” For the first time, we were mixed with soldiers who weren’t satellite peeps. I thought we were idiots, but apparently, we’re the fucking cream of the crop in the commo community. Some of the people assigned with us were Limas - the guys who essentially just plug shit in. They were at Gordon all of six weeks, and were bitching about how long they were there. These guys were the GED fuckers I thought I’d left behind in Basic. Now, I mean no offense to the Limas of the world, as it isn’t a fair representation of all y’all, but the kids we were stuck with were some real goobers. Anyway, the cadre at the FOB took their job entirely too seriously - trying to be drill sergeants when they weren’t. I guess it made sense for the guys who have only been out of Basic for a month, but for those of us who’d been at Gordon a while, we were thoroughly unimpressed. They screamed and yelled and dumped our shit on the ground, and divided us all into different musty tents. The week comprised of marching around, playing Army, and getting “bombed” every couple hours. Being bombed meant that a siren would play in the middle of the camp, flashbangs would get thrown, and we’d all hustle out to squeeze into some bunkers - simple enough. At night, because some people decided to change clothes for some reason, the only required equipment was your helmet, body armor, and weapon - too easy. Because I am a dirty nasty, I didn’t change for the entirety of the op, because it usually paid off. There were no ladies to impress, so who cared that I smelled like a JV locker room. One night, a buddy and I were coming off guard duty at 2 in the morning, after an exciting “attack” (us two gate guards shooting blanks at bored instructors being “OpFor.”) We hadn’t been fake bombed all night, so I knew for a fact that we were going to be hit soon. I walked into the tent, stripped off my armor, helmet, and blouse (for a pillow) and laid there. My buddy laughed at me for never taking off my boots. Five minutes later, we get “hit.” This was towards the end of the exercise, so they threw tons of shit at us. Explosions and sirens everywhere. I laughed the whole way to the shoddy pallet stack that was our “bunker.” Within two minutes, the rest of the twelve man tent has slid in, in various forms of dress, but with the three required pieces. At least, we thought we had everyone. Private fucking Snarf, a Lima who would lose Trivial Pursuit against a bag of potatoes, was nowhere to be found. An instructor stuck his head in - “You guys up?” (meaning “is everyone accounted for, and uninjured.”) We just stared at him until somebody nodded. He left to check on everyone else. At this point, everyone around the FOB is done hustling and bustling, the siren has stopped, and Snarf still didn’t show up. Then, in the distance, we hear … slapping? But it was getting closer to us. Closer. ...Closer. The dude closest to the bunker entrance stuck his head out, and just whispered “Oh, Goddamnit.” In slides Snarf, wearing just PT shorts, a helmet, and ... flip flops. Nothing else. “Did I miss it?” Ten minutes after the “raid,” the entirety of our bunker stood at attention while Snarf did some push-ups. Whatever, it didn’t matter, because graduation was a couple days away. There was, however, a bullshit scavenger hunt type check list before you were allowed to leave Gordon - including another CIF turn in and even making sure you didn’t have any outstanding fines at the library. Ha - library. I had been in maybe twice, and only then because it was the only spot with wifi. You’d think the Army’s communications headquarters would have some wifi, but you’d be wrong. Our company had three computers with internet in the day room, for three hundred of us. Yeah, welcome to the Army, asshole. Graduation AIT graduation is a lot less pomp and circumstance, and more just an annoyance to everyone. No one really gives a shit, but this is the Army, damnit, so we’re gonna play some brass instruments and put on fancy clothes. The fancy clothes, or dress blue’s, had to have our new ranks sewn on, be pressed and perfect to the centimeter - there were inspections. About two months before, a large group of us E-1s were promoted to E2. Does this change anything? Not really - you are still called “private” and are treated no differently than you were before. However, in AIT, it was a big fucking deal. The rank structure in initial training is so fucked. PFC’s actually commanded respect, and junior privates had to listen. Specialists were just untouchable. In reality, being E1-E4 doesn’t change jack shit - everyone’s mopping the same bathrooms together. This being the case, getting promoted was just the tits. Now, we, as E2’s, got to look down on the peasants that were the E1’s - I think it’s literally the least amount of power that can go to one’s head. We’d call them “fuzzies.” Because E1 has no official rank designator, the velcro patch on their chest would be left blank, or fuzzy. It’s jarring to see one now, It’s been a solid year since I saw a buck private. Anyways, we got the stupid “mosquito wings” sewed on our blue’s for graduation. The ceremony itself was pretty straight forward - you walk across the stage into a spotlight, say your name, MOS, and where you’re headed (I was tempted to say “Fort Couch,” but I didn’t want to push my luck.) Of course, for the slower soldiers, this became a herculean task. Three things guys, three. Plus people got confused on exactly where to stand, so bewildered NCO’s literally ran masking tape arrows across the stage. We had to practice five times. Anyway, so the day before shipping out of Gordon, we had the graduation. There was really only twenty family members who showed up - half of us were flying home the next day anyways. I’m not going to lie, I was excited to march over to the graduation venue that morning. We passed by the chow hall, in our blues, which told all the other companies waiting for grits that we were done. Fuck y’all, we’re out (except for the one poor bastard who got stationed right back in Fort Gordon.) So, we have the ceremony - and yes, people still fucked it up. Afterwards we headed back to the barracks and some people went out to go party for the last time. I did not, because tomorrow was the flight home. So, of course, I spent the night packing, right? Wrong. We had an exit locker inspection to keep us from maybe having a smooth exit the next day. Ship day was nuts. Breakfast, and then we lucky reservists had a brief with the National Guard liaison on what to expect back home, and who to report to as soon as we got there. Blurbity blah blah. The Active Duty members of our class had an additional two weeks of instruction ahead of them. We were not subtle with our smugness. Our Gordon departure times were kept a secret until we got back to the barracks - where we discovered that nine of us had to be on the road in twenty minutes. We had 1200 seconds to pack everything we owned, throw away the rest, and say goodbye to the people we’ve spent 80 hours a week with for almost a year. The bitch of the bunch is you are only authorized two army green duffels for travel - one of which is completely filled with your uniforms, boots, and the like, the second which is also about half full of armyness. Most my clothes, a couple boots, my beloved Spiderman blankets, and a sweet lcd monitor I found in the hallway all got the boot. I gave the monitor to some new Privates, which now that I think about it, is the opposite of hazing. Anyway, the good part is that there wasn’t any time to say a long, awkward goodbye to anyone. Just a quick handshake and a nod with about ten people, then we piled into the van. On the final check-out, my platoon sergeant didn’t even know who I was, despite me seeing him every morning for forever. Whatever, I really didn’t give a shit about him, just my buddies - it was a bittersweet morning. I’ve only seen three guys since - one in Kansas, and two in California, out of the 300 I started with. CONTINUED IN PART SIX
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