I call this the SOAR blog, to stand for the “Strange Obsessions of Alan Reiner.” This is not only a convenient acronym, but appropriately captures the way I explore new things: obsessively, until I fail or conquer them. And many such obsessions are based around strange an unusual things, sometimes because not many people are exploring it and I want more information. Or sometimes because I just like the challenge of trying to master new things.
I recently reached a critical mass of live events and such obsessions which resulted in a friend recommending I start a blog. This wouldn’t be the first time I pondered a blog, but it is the first time the topic has come up since I left the fast-paced world of Bitcoin. Having been a high-visibility thought leader in the Bitcoin space for so long, and having a pristine reputation to maintain as the CEO of a security-oriented software company, I never felt it appropriate to ramble to the world about my life and my hobbies. I never really had time for it, anyway…
That all changed recently with the wrap-up of Armory Technologies Inc. and my subsequent move back to the worker-bee lifestyle at a local cyber-security company. Not only has my stress meter stopped overflowing, but I have free time again. Although it’s sad to see my business fail, it’s a huge relief to be able to focus on things that interest me outside of my job, and even have time to write about them!
For anyone not familiar with me, I am a mathematician and software developer. I am a highly analytical person who enjoys solving tough problems, building cool things, and obsessing over things I find fascinating. This is how Armory Technologies Inc. was started: I mined some Bitcoins and wasn’t satisfied with existing software for protecting them. So I wrote a desktop wallet application in my free time called “Armory” which solved my security and usability problems. Predictably, other people found this software valuable, and I received investment money in 2013 to try to build a business around it. (However, the subsequent story of Armory Technologies will be withheld to keep this blog PG-13).
Armory is just one example of my need for intellectual stimulation outside of my job. I love programming, and am particularly interested in pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms. I have used it to play online poker, and evaluate creditworthiness of borrowers on LendingClub.com. I have a 3D-printer, and I am always trying to find problems to solve with it (I post all my designs on the Thingiverse). I also love learning about different ways to use or improve your body. My latest obsessions are Wim Hof (Iceman) meditation the Fasting-Mimicking Diet (FMD) and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). All of these are fascinating, and I plan to bring a data-driven, first-person account of them. Along with anything else I find interesting in the world of computers or general nerdiness.
Bear with me as I figure out this whole “blogging” thing. My first few posts will be about the Wim Hof Method (WHM), which I have been actively obsessing over with my last two weeks before I start my new job. I have been collecting data during meditation that I want to share and discuss. Even if you’ve heard of Wim Hof before, you should definitely check out the wonderful VICE documentary about him on his webpage.