Speaking of bitcoin - I got bored today and started actually reading some of the info on what it takes to install and run the various pieces of bitcoin software. I gotta say, this is yet another typical open source geek fest - with arcane instructions that have you going from site to site reading wikis, faqs, readme files, etc, etc. There is no freaking way the average person could figure this stuff out. Just doing the first step - installing bitcoin-qt and a wallet client is simple enough - but once you start it running, it takes hours for it to perform the first sync to the bitcoin network so you can become a node. Apparently, it has to download every transaction - the entire block chain - before your node can become active. My old laptop has been grinding away for the last 8 hours, and I still have 49 weeks of transactions to go. This has nothing to do with mining - this is just what is necessary to create a node so you can send and receive bitcoin payments.
Now, I know I could have just used one of the bitcoin cloud services to hold the wallet, and I suppose that's what the average person would probably do - but c'mon, I want to be "part of the community" like all the cool opensource guys, right? I guess what I'm saying is that this stuff is a looooong way from the ease of just using a credit card to place an order on Amazon or using Paypal. I'm only doing this to see what it takes - I'm not actually going to use it.