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 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 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 minerd is obsolete, used for CPU mining.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:


2012 was a strong year for TD, despite ongoing economic challenges and market volatility. Our total adjusted earnings were more than $7 billion dollars — up more than $600 million, or about 10 per cent, from 2011.

-Colleen Johnston, Group Head and Chief Financial Officer, TD Bank Group

Through a generous contribution of $350,000, TD Bank Group is helping Aboriginal students at the University of Regina realize their educational potential.

$350,000 / $7,000,000,000 = 0.005%

Thank-you to TD Bank, generously sharing the wealth of their outstanding profits from oil and gas.
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Butt Activated Maple Money?

“I do think heat has something to do with activating the smell. … Scratching will create some heat friction but my friend’s warm butt is likely the activator.”

I enjoyed this story about supposedly scented C-notes. It doesn’t surprise me that warm polymer would have a sugary scent. The added imagery on the bills, and the psychological effect is strong enough to fool people.

The Audit With a Twist #cdnpoli

$3.1 Billion is missing according to a damning audit of the Harper Government. Let’s see what political pundits recently have said about audit failure:

Federal government audit ‘severely critical’

The Star headline

“The independent audit […] speaks for itself, and we accept its conclusions and recommendations,” said Jan O’Driscoll, spokesperson for the Minister.
[The auditor] called the lack of records “inappropriate for any recipient of public funds.”

The Star

“I cannot in my lifetime recall such a devastating audit. […] A stunning indictment.”

Ian Lee of the Sprott School of Business

“It just seems to be difficult to do the basics, and then that raises red flags […] for the government,”

Chuck Strahl

John Ibbitson said that the audit will be a smoking gun for people who those who criticize the [government] system.
Rob Silver said that even if the audit was leaked to discredit [a politician] doesn’t mean that it’s not important, and that it reads like any other audit of a government bureaucracy gone wrong.

Embattled Senator Brazman has an opinion:

“Just because [an audit is published], it does not mean money is well spent,” said Sen. Patrick Brazeau, a controversial and outspoken critic […]. “Where does the money go? Is it being properly spent . . . and more importantly, is it going to [where there are] needs?” “Accountability is a two-way street.”

The perpetually petulant Levant even gets in on the audit pile-on action: “Audit nightmare: The RCMP, […] should be meeting with [those involved]”

“If the people involved had Italian names and were from the Montreal construction industry, or French-Canadian names from Montreal ad agencies, […] there would be resignations and criminal charges flying.”

Wait a moment, there’s a twist. The above quotes are all real, but they seem so unlikely, don’t they? Well, that’s because they are not talking about the Conservatives’ most recent audit failure, they are talking about another recent audit of which they were more critical, over much less unaccounted-for public money. They said these things about much less than 3% of the unaccounted-for $3,100,000,000 Harper has frittered away without proper documentation.

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Don’t Care About Penny Salami Slicing

There’s a bit of hand wringing going on around Facebook amongst typically the anti-Harper crowd. Normally I’d join in, because it’s worth wringing hands over practically everything our Prime Minister has going wrong in our country. One thing he’s managed to not get wrong, is ending the penny. It’s a relic, and I’m very much for preserving history, but I don’t need to carry historical currency in my pockets when it is worth only a fraction of what a penny was worth when I was a kid in the 1980s.

Why shouldn’t you worry about retailers making at most a couple cents extra on a rounded final total, on cash transactions? Because those two cents are not that valuable to you, for one thing. Another, if you happen to use a debit card or credit card, you’re not affected by rounding yet. If you do use plastic to pay, you’re already paying upwards of 50 cents per transaction to the bank, while your retailer is also paying a fee to the bank plus maybe 2.5% of the purchase price (which they pass on to you through higher prices).

Long story short, if you have the opportunity to pay your retailer in cash, ask that they keep the one or two cents you might be owed, because both you and they are already more than 48 cents ahead of the game the banks are playing with us all.

P.S. And if you read the link at the top of this story, you should note that the Conservatives still haven’t managed to find Pierre Poutine with the help of the RCMP and Elections Canada’s 630+ day investigation. The Cons have moved on to lying about new robocalls though. Since a Liberal MP was fined $4900 for a robocall with a misleading identification, I guess the CRTC will be fining the Conservatives soon too for their “Chase Research” push poll.

ConCalls: Week of Hell #RoboCon

The Conservatives have had a (deservedly) rough week, and it’s about to get more rough next week. The Council of Canadians’ court challenge is Monday. The Prime Minister closed out the final news cycle hour this week by actually taking questions from the press, (which has hardly ever happened before). The Conservatives procedurally pushed a public petition calling for a Royal Commission inquiry into Robocalls, to next week. Will they prorogue first?

Coyne absolutely defines the Harper Conservatives, meaning I think to refer to the F-35 contemptuous boondoggle, but can be generalized to nearly any Conservative initiative.

When I say mess, I don’t mean to suggest charming ineptitude, but culpable incompetence, mixed with deliberate misrepresentation. What started with a catastrophic failure of oversight, progressed through many months of dishonesty, secrecy, and stonewalling, culminating in what can only be called electoral fraud — followed by still more dishonesty about everything that had gone before.

[emphasis added]
Yes, he actually pointed out the Conservatives were involved in election fraud following the fall of their government in 2011 due to contemptuously hiding the true F-35 figures from Parliament. Today we further learned that the PBO was correct and was unfairly smeared by the lying, bungling Conservatives.

So, what can we the people do before 2015? Plenty. First, this weekend in Regina is a C-45 protest on Sunday at noon, at the Legislature.
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Commodity In the Real World

I read Jackson’s comment about Maystruck’s presentation and “Brandwashed”, and it stuck out in my mind. It came back to me when Hedges talked about it last night, and I found the comment in a speech he gave at UofT almost two years ago, before Egypt’s uprising took place.

“Everything in our world is a commodity – everything is either bought or sold and will be recommended or not.”

“When your community physically breaks down”, people retreat into fantasy and magical thinking. “Miracles and magic” are desired. “Absurdist policies” rule the day. Military spending is rising, but people want government spending to be cut. Attempting to push people back into reality, brings a rage from those attempting to avoid the world that almost destroyed them. “The end of the world is no longer an abstraction” in Detroit as Hedges points out.

37:30 in the video:

“The rise of the commodity culture, where everything from human beings to the natural world have no intrinsic value, but are judged only on their monetary value.”

Hedges studied religion, and is of the opinion that the loss of sacredness, where people don’t hold certain things like the natural world and life at a higher value than money, is a crushing weight on preserving civilization.