Houston we have Block..Witness Update from me 👨🏼‍💻 @c0ff33a ☕️

in witness •  5 months ago

On the 6th June 2018 at around Midday UK time I resolved my first block as a brand new #Witness for the Steem blockchain. After one year and a few months blogging, reading and generally finding my way on this cryptocurrency backed social website I decided six months ago to commit myself to more then just reading and commenting on posts - by supporting this platform running a server that would contribute to processing every post, upvote, comment and resteem and help keep our favourite social blogging website running.
I worked really hard at researching, following guides, finding a suitable server capable of the heavy demands this rapidly growing blockchain based blogging site needs.

I have to confess

After all the testing, preparation and double checking I was sure I had everything on the server running smoothly - so on 28th May 2018 I announced my Intent to be a #Witness and started to gather votes. The support I received from the entire community of Steemit was overwhelming, so many of you without question gave me your #Witness vote without question even though I had not resolved a single block - and you could not even know if I ever would.

Starting out as a #Witness now is really so hard - you will not get the chance of even receiving a block to resolve until you have enough votes carrying enough Steem Power to move you up the rank list - https://steemian.info/witnesses this website developed by the #Witness @drakos clearly shows you all the Witnesses and their active ranks - the higher up the list you are the more frequently you will receive a block. I was sure after all the testing, preparation, reading and double checking my server was ready and running smoothly - but on Saturday Evening 2nd June 2018 I missed my very first block.

It is only in your darkest moments you will find the brightest light

I won't lie, that hit me hard. I was disappointed in myself and felt I had let every single person down who believed in me and gave me a Witness vote. I had to dig deep and accept after working on this for so long alone, I needed someone with experience to find out where I went wrong. When I prepared my #Witness application post, I read many from others - and I remembered in @enginewitty application he stated that #thealliance #Witness @jatinhota had helped him set up his server. I respectfully asked him for a little guidance and he was quick to respond, @jatinhota gave me a great deal of his time during Sunday to guide me and for that I am truly thankful - My own witness vote includes every one of #thealliance Witnesses - @enginewitty, @jatinhota, @guiltyparties, @sircork and @thekitchenfairy - they are all very active on Steemit and also always very eager to support and help anyone.

If at first you do not succeed, try and try again

Having a problem but with no idea what was wrong, I needed to find common ground. There are two main methods of running a Witness server, I had manually complied the Steemd process from GitHub but to gain support I would need to use the alternative Steem Docker approach - so from 6am Sunday Morning I wiped, reinstalled and updated the dependancies on my server and installed from clean my #Witness server using the Steem Docker method. After waiting for the blockchain file to download, I was finally ready to set my server off replaying it - but when I did an error I had seen before appeared

1986712ms th_a main.cpp:133 main ] Error parsing logging config from config file /steem/witness_node_data_dir/config.ini, using default config

This error message bothered me, to me reading that says the config.ini file I had carefully set up with my own Witness account name and public posting key - would not be used and a default instead. In my own twisted logic that would mean the process could not then resolve a block.

I had already found how to solve this problem, the config.ini has many nodes listed so if one can not be reached the next is chosen - listing only one node instead of many fixed this error - so to my warped logic it made the server work.

Who is more foolish - the fool or the fool that follows him

@jatinhota told me straight the config.ini needs multiple seeds so if one is down another can be used, and it is essential to check the ping's of those seeds and use only the one's that have the lowest latency (fastest response compared to my server location) because latency can cause missed blocks as well. Despite this I let the replay run and at the end my log's showed....nothing. I asked and this was definately wrong, the logs need to show transactions being processed for the Witness server to be working - after 24 hours and still no log activity I bowed to greater knowledge.

Missing a second block would be a total failure, so I reached the point I had two options - change my server host to one that a large portion of the #Witness community uses - or try changing my config.ini to include multiple nodes. I chose the latter expecting my next block opportunity to be days away still - if this failed I could still change hosting and get up and running again. With multiple nodes I got the dreaded error starting replay - but let it run. When it completed checking logs finally I received

231201ms th_a application.cpp:514 handle_block ] Got 96 transactions on block 23125052 by good-karma -- latency: 201 ms
234481ms th_a application.cpp:514 handle_block ] Got 53 transactions on block 23125053 by smooth.witness -- latency: 481 ms
237207ms th_a application.cpp:514 handle_block ] Got 55 transactions on block 23125054 by ausbitbank -- latency: 207 ms

I double checked with @jatinhota and this was exactly how my logs should look, my #Witness server was working correctly and just a few hours after I resolved my first official block and became an active Steem Witness.

And the moral of this story is

If it ain't broke don't try and fix it. I found no reference to this error anywhere in my research, when I mentioned in the Witness steemit.chat it is apparently a benign legacy message to be ignored - so if anything I hope this helps someone else in future, ignore the error and make sure your Witness config.ini has many seed nodes listed - even better only use the nodes that have the least latency when you ping them.

Future objectives as a Witness

Getting this far has been a long hard process, every single person that has voted for me as #Witness supported me without question and I strongly believe that as part of this I should give something back. I have been taking note of every vote I received, and will look to give something back to every account that has helped me. I vote for the full 30 Witnesses I can, and it is important we all give every vote we can to every Witness we see as helping support the Steem Blockchain. By rough calculation I would say every #Witness from 80 upwards is paying money to run a server that supports this blockchain - the server specifications are now so high to reliably run a Witness and the rewards when you do resolve a block few and far between. I am constantly looking now at the Witnesses I can vote for, and will be changing to support those with the best intention for this platform and the new entries starting out that could well be the future of all our stability in posting here.

Some of my previous posts you might have missed

My Happy Place with @c0ff33a

The C0ff33 Vlog 26th May 2018
Sublime Sunday by @c0ff33a ☕️

Kind thanks to @enginewitty for employing his Ninja graphic design skills and producing this 🔥 banner

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All photos are my own, taken with my iPhone. All my steemit posted pictures can be freely used by other Steemit users in their own blog posts - all I ask is that you follow me and credit @c0ff33a linking to my post you took it from. You can also follow me on Twitter

The picture to the right kindly sketched by the wonderful @bridget.art , be sure to check her incredible art out https://steemit.com/@bridget.art

The greatest challenge we face on Steemit is getting our posts seen, I have always believed the simplest and best value way of doing this is by commenting on the blog posts of others, the more you engage people and interact with them the greater the chance they will visit your own blog and return to the favour.

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Welcome done mate, we are going to the top.



Thank you very much, to be honest your guides were the best help for getting my server up and running - which is why you got my Witness vote. I also see you very active helping people in steemit.chat - you are working really hard best of luck getting towards the top of the ranks!


Glad to know it help you. I update the Witness Setup guide as much as possible, especially if requires new RAM or security updates.

I want it to make it as simple as possible for anyone who would like to setup their own witness server.

Cheers for now.

Congratulations! Is there some way to frame it and hang it up?


Thank you very much, I wish there was! The best I can do is:-



That belongs up there in the trophy room!

Thanks for all these updates and wishing you all the best for this witness role :D keep rocking


Thank you very much for your continued support.

Congrats on your new block! I don't know much about it, but I am sure it wasn't easy to get here.


Thank you very much, it was hard work getting the server running and it's an ongoing process of checking everything is working so I'm keeping tabs on it all the time at the moment.

I'm sure friends will be successful always because you can always be an inspiration for those read,☺️


Thank you very much my friend, your support is appreciated.

Congratulations on getting your first block!


Thank you very much, it seemed like so much work to get there but hopefully the worst is over!

That was a very hard exhausting journey @c0ff33a, but at the end you got the reward of confirming your very first block, so *CONGRATS FOR YOUR PERSERVERANCE AND YOUR FIRST BLOCK!!

@thealliance family knows you'll be a great witness for our community, so keep on working on your server and we'll be here to support you!!


Thank you very much, I really appreciate all the help and support everyone has given me. Now it's running smoothly finally I can get back to the serious business of commenting on posts!

Wonderful update post. Keep up the great work it’ll all pay off. Stay cool


Thank you very much, I think I did the hardest part now - after all the wiping and reinstalling I think I could set up a Witness server without thinking about it. It's now the hard job of pulling in votes so I can start to cover server costs.

Glad, Everything sorted perfectly and You produced your first block.👍 Ever need my help, Ping me, I will be there to help you at my best.


Thank you very much, it would not have happened without your help and guidance. I will try and give you a break for a bit after all the time I took away from you, it was very much appreciated though - very kind.


Hey, Mate, you didn't take any time from me mate. As a Good Friend, Witness and community member, It's my duty to help you.
Thanks for your appreciation.

If at first you don't succeed... I am very happy you got everything situated brosef. Told people to go vote for you on PYPT tonight too :P


Thank you very much, you have been a great help and inspiration for me so hopefully if I can be half as good a Witness as your it will have been worth it.


You already are my man, know that. Lot of people look up to you and I'm sure you are an icon of Steemit for many - myself included. When you said you were going to be a witness I was all "YES!"

Anyone who knows you, Rob, would not fault you and know you give your all. So happy everything worked out in getting your first block. It’s onward and upward now! 😊 ❤️


Thank you so much, well I have it my all and then borrowed someone else's all and we got there in the end! It's going to be a long haul, but at least I feel I am doing something towards supporting the Steemit and it's community.

voted <3


Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support.


Always <3


Your balance is below $0.25. This is your first notification that your account is running low and should be replenished.

Wow finally you are to be a witness, yeah I think it's so hard, I hope you can do the best. I will vote for you.


Thank you very much, it was hard work at the start but I am finally over the biggest hurdle so just need to keep pulling the votes to climb the ranks. Thank you for all your support, and being such a fine member of the community. Next time you head in #thealliance discord @hananan is there and we have an Indonesian channel you can all chat in.


Yeah of course I support you, you are the best supporter. It have been long time I didn't active in discord, but I will come as soon as possible.

Happy that everything worked out at the end for you! :) 🤜🏻


Thank you very much, it's been a bit of a trial but I feel now I have got passed the hardest hurdle.

Hey, congrats!

And thanks a lot for the whole story. I feel with you totally :)

Ps: can you share with us your server's hardware and software configuration? thanks in advance!


Thank you very much, you can find the full server specification in my Witness Application post


I'm running the bare minimum ram - 32gb so the system is making heavy use of swap, the comfortable ideal is 64gb I'm working toward doing that eventually - for now I just spend every waking moment checking the steemd process is still running! It tends to crash often when it hasn't got very much ram to work with.


Thank you for the reply. I could look up your post myself, couldn't I? :)

I have selfish reasons for asking you. I will step into witnessing shoes in August. I plan to rent a 64GB server with @privex.

Ps: you have one more witness vote ;)


Thank you very much for the Witness vote, that is a massive help for me and as soon as your server is up and running be sure to let me know and you will have one back. The best guide so far is by @yehey https://que.com/howto-setup-witness-node-by-yehey/ because it is upto date - most steemit guides fall out of date because they can not be edited after 30 days.


Thanks for the link. The guide looks like the perfect recipe for setting up the witness node.

I'll first try it out on my home setup to learn the procedure. Then I'll repeat it on the leased server.

By the way - is it possible to pause the node? To perform maintenance or migration without missing the block? Thanks!

Ps: Yes, I share your frustration with the lack of proper documentation.

Wow! So that is why you have not been making so many of your own posts lately! You have been very busy! When I get to my computer later, you will have my vote! Congratulations! 🎉


Thank you very much, it is the start of a long journey but I enjoyed learning more about how the blockchain works as I built up the application and ran it from scratch.


I was asking my son a few minutes ago if he thought government could ever control crypto, and he said that no one can control the blockchain, which of course I knew. I just don’t have that deep understanding about how the blocks work. That must have been a fascinating journey for you!

You can count on my vote. I like what you stand for! Sorry that I didn’t get to it yesterday! I did Resteem your post so that I would be reminded today! 😊

The reason that I didnt see your original post on May 28th is that I was out of town for a couple of weeks and only checking and commenting very infrequently. I did no posting during my time away. I’m happy I found this post!!!

Congrats buddy. You're doing fine. Keep up the great work. We totally believe in you :)


Thank you very much, I really appreciate all the support everyone has given me.

I am glad you've gotten it worked out! You deserve to be on top list :-)


Thank you very much, all the support I have received from everyone has been fantastic and I really appreciate it.

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Something wonderful and very beautiful
Really great updates have been made
Thank you for your special article

Very beautiful post 📷📷

You have a minor misspelling in the following sentence:

I asked and this was definately wrong, the logs need to show transactions being processed for the Witness server to be working - after 24 hours and still no log activity I bowed to greater knowledge.
It should be definitely instead of definately.