A gripping tale of lost Bitcoins

I’m just glad this wasn’t me. You probably won’t be disappointed reading this tale of a man losing his Bitcoin recovery information, and the low-tech, and high-tech means he tries to recover them from the ether.

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More Vague First World Problems

I made a large purchase last week Tuesday, and have had problems paying for it. Oh, I’ve got the money, I mean I’ve had some difficulty sending it to the seller. I put a deposit down instantly over the phone by credit card, that was easy enough, but sending the bulk of the funds due has required over a week. This is in part due to the seller’s sluggishness in contacting me with payment details, and partly due to how modern banking is set up.

My smaller bank, which is actually a part of a Big 5 big Canadian bank, doesn’t have a SWIFT code to send wire transfers, so I had to select a bank draft option for $10. It was that, or wait 2-3 business days to move the money electronically to another bank, to pay them $50 to wire it. Then they couriered me the draft (couldn’t send it directly to the seller, oh no). Purolator didn’t leave a delivery notice, or a bozo stole it, or the wind blew it away, so I waited an extra day before complaining to the bank about the slow delivery. They gave me the tracking number and said it was in the city. I picked it up, and turned it around back into the system for almost $25 to be at the seller by next day.

Why not Interac email? They’ve a $3K/day limit, and the seller only wanted wired money, or a bank draft (certified cheque). Why not credit card? Something like a 2.5% merchant fee, so the seller would take a few hundred dollars hit. Why not Bitcoin? Because they’ve not set up to take it, and convert it into dollars at their end (or hold it, more sensibly). It could be a lot easier than multiple phone calls to banks, and an early morning trip to the industrial side of town where Regina doesn’t even have sidewalks or bike lanes to get there.

#BlackFriday Is So Very Offensive

A few years ago when the media started buying into the spindoctors’ PR BS about “Black Friday”, in the USA, I was severely disappointed. I’ve let that grow into a healthy disgust for what’s now an extra week of consumer manipulation perpetrated even on the supposedly “ad free” CBC Radio.

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#BlackoutBlackFriday is a counter effort, possibly coordinated by AdBusters, to both fight racism, and redefine consumerism as an unacceptable, and immoral economic strategy. While our planet’s resources dwindle, the grab we’re collectively making at things we know are making the planet uninhabitable, is unethical. Yet 2/3rds of Canadians don’t really accept that our country is a laggard on the Climate Change problem, and consumer debt has never been higher, so how could we possibly change minds about sexy consumerism? I just feel bad about destroying the future, sorry. I think that’s a much more Canadian attitude.

If you’re going to shop anyway, at least disrupt the US$ and C$ a little.

Check out Taneal’s rant against Black Friday also, she makes great points.

Bitcoins – How to Start Mining

This guide describes an indirect way to mine Bitcoins at home. You’ll need to understand how to edit a batch file and run it in the folder with a program you’ll also download.

It’s become unrealistic to discover Bitcoins before specialized ASIC miners find them, so to get around this problem you can mine Litecoin-derived coins and automatically exchange them for Bitcoins. You’ll need a newish gaming computer in order to use this method. A cheap Walmart laptop will not suffice, nor will a low-end office or home desktop. You’ll need an OpenCL or CUDA capable video card (GPU).

First get a free wallet to store bitcoins. Blockchain.info is a good site I’ve been using for months, and they have an Android app if you want too. It takes about 5 minutes to set one up, and write down the important password that cannot be forgotten or money saved in the wallet will become lost.

Then go to:
http://www.middlecoin.com/ where you will see instructions on how to configure your batch file.

Download cudaminer (works with NVidia video cards) (64 bit version, if your Windows version is 64 bit) and put your wallet’s address (starts with the number 1) where it says in the command line inside a batch file, with a made-up password.
If you have a Radeon ATI/AMD card, use cgminer instead. Note that it’s a different program from cudaminer, so it’s “arguments”, the commands following dashes in the batch file, do not match cudaminer’s arguments.
(Bitcointalk.org is a major website, but appears to be down this afternoon.)

This is an example batch file
to start the cudaminer program. You have to change the mining4all.eu address and port, to the middlecoin address instead.
Please leave questions in the comments section.

I also wrote this other beginner’s guide last week that you might want to check out.

If you liked this beginners guide, Bitcoin tips would be appreciated at this wallet address:
17ypGH6vUrowdyvUthgQ87wzdq9d8egQta

Bitcoins – Where to Start?

Someone recently asked me (okay, multiple people did) where to start to learn about getting Bitcoins?
You can start here at my blog, now. A better place to look will be at one of the links below in my 15 minute introduction. Don’t put off learning, it’s the Napster of the financial world, it will change how we do banking, like Napster changed how we get and share music.

You could download the bitcoin.org client first. It’s an easy install, it’s where I began, but stalled out… 2 years ago. What’s easier I think is getting a wallet at blockchain.info instead. Make a secure password 6 words long with punctuation. Write it down, and put the password in a safe place like cash! Maybe with your insurance papers, your will, or your passport. If you croak, your family will need this password to get access to your bitcoins.

Once you have a wallet (your Bitcoin address), share it with someone who has bitcoin so they can send you some in exchange for something.

To learn how to mine bitcoins, start out trying to mine litecoins first, they are basically the same technology, so learn once, and the skill works both they basically use the same programs. minerd, cgminer, cudaminer are example program names you may use. minerd is obsolete, used for CPU mining. CUDAminer is for computers with NVidia graphics processing units (GPUs), and cgminer is specialized for ATI Radeon GPUs. You can start each of them with a .bat (batch) file with the website address of a group or “pool” of other miners like you.

It’s hard to explain any more by typing a short guide, but that should keep you busy for 15 minutes, and give you a starting point.

Also follow @jkozan and @jeffcliff1 for local & Canadian crypto-currency updates on Twitter.


If you liked this beginners guide, Bitcoin tips would be appreciated at this wallet address:
17ypGH6vUrowdyvUthgQ87wzdq9d8egQta