Dec 102012
 
LTCBTC

A while back I posted on my first experiences with Bitcoin. Now, some time later, here’s a small update.

Since the rise of Bitcoin, and its respective increase in difficulty to mine bitcoins, a few other so called “Crypto currencies” have appeared. One of them, I’d say one of the most known, is LiteCoin.

According from the Litecoin website, there are quite a lot of similarities from Bitcoin, but differs in the following characteristics:

  • Higher Speed when Mining on GPU
  • Smaller Blocks, resulting in faster Coin Generation

These advantages over Bitcoin result in it’s main downside, a lot less value of each coin as compared to Bitcoin: LTC/BTC 0.00596, making litecoin the eSilver equivalent to Bitcoin’s eGold.

Therefore, depending on the time you have on your hand and the hardware you have available, it’s up to you to decide. At the moment, it looks like Litecoin is a more speculative currency, there is still quite some uncertainty on the values while Bitcoin is getting more and more stable over time.

In my case, since I found that just CPU mining bitcoins did not get me a lot of benefit. I’ve been wasting quite a lot of CPU time (approx 2 weeks) to get approx 0.2 BTC. I’ve tried mining Litecoins for 2 weeks too now, and managed to get approx 4 LTC in two weeks (about 6-8 hours a day). This translates to 0.312 BTC. Quite a bit more profitable. (values on the time of writing)

Looking at a value chart from litecoinpool.org, you can see that the value of both the LTC and the BTC follow a very similar curve:

Litecoin and Bitcoin Value Chart

Litecoin mining works in a similar way as with bitcoins. You can mine solo, or join a pool to gain benefits of working together with multiple people. The results above where obtained while mining on Burnside’s Litecoin Mining pool. To get started, it is as easy as installing the Litecoin Wallet/Client, that as an advantage over Bitcoin, includes a Mining interface that you can use once you place the minerd.exe CPU Miner [Download: Windows/ or Linux] in your Litecoin program folder. The included client works both for solo- or pooled mining.

* Make sure you let your antivirus software know that this is not a trojan. Many antivirus programs pick it up as such.

Here’s listing of some resources that might help you understand the phenomenon and if you are interested, help you on your way.

Bitcoin Resources:

Tools

  • InstaWallet. Instawallet allows you to set up a temporary wallet to receive bitcoins. You can transfer from there to your wallet. The advantages are that you do not need to publish your wallet address anywhere
  • BitSpend. Allows you to add bitcoin trading capability to your blog, online shop etc. Pais in BTC, USD and EUR
  • Bitcoin Monitor. Live Tracker of BTC VAlue
  • BitCoinTools. Allows you to set-up alerts on value changes on MT.Gox

 Value Charts and traders:

BTC-e Exchange

MtGox

Charts on litecoinPool.Org

(Almost) Free Bitcoins:

Free bitcoins might sound great, but unless you have absolutely nothing to do in your life, this won’t make you rich (but then again, what does?) You can participate in various activities that will send you minimal payouts (between 0.00005 and 0.0002 BTC Imagine what it would take to earn a single Bitcoin.

Anyways, it might be a way to get you started to get that first coins with wich you can start a trade.

  • http://netlookup.se/free-bitcoins/134247 Netlookup actually just gives them away. Enter your wallet address and they’re yours.
  • freedigitalmoney.com gives you bitcoins for completing simple tasks, like watching a video or playing a game. Do not forget to change the receiving address to your own.
  • iWantFreeBitCoins.com gives you bitcoins for taking offers.
  • freebitcoins.org gives you bitcoins for various simple tasks, mostly filling out surveys.
  • Earn the Bitcoin will give you 0.01 BTC just for signing up. You can earn more by completing free offers.
  • Rugatu is a Q&A community where you can earn BTC by anwering questions and doing simple tasks.
  • CoinWorker will pay you for doing online “work”, like categorizing twitter users.
  • the Bitcoin Faucet will give you 0.005 BTC, but only once.

Be aware that some of these links contain Referral ID’s that help me earn some mBTC’s.

I’m really enjoying this “treasure hunt” in the Virtual Currency world, and will keep this post updated with my findings.

Finally, I’d like to invite you to sign a petition for the inclusion of the Bitcoin curreny symbol in the ISO 4217 Standard

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Oct 072011
 

A while back (about a month or two) I started getting interested in the Bitcoin phenomenon. This was mainly caused by someone having all his money stolen, which got a lot of publicity.

I read about Bitcoin quite some time back, but now the global economic situation is going mad and a lot of questions are raised about the “trustworthiness of the monitary systems” I started to be curious and decided to have a look.

After a bit of reading, I installed the Bitcoin application. I now had a wallet, and an application to send and receive Bitcoins with. As simple as that.  I’ve added a couple of options to this site, the possibility to donate just in general or donate for the download of my Lotus Notes troubleshooting document. I’m not expecting a lot of activity from those sources because I don’t recieve thousands of visitors a day.

I then started reading about Bitcoin Mining, the process of using CPU or Graphics card GPU to try to produce a valid block (part of the transaction verification process), and as a result ‘mine’ some Bitcoins. I won’t get into detail here, as there is a lot of info on the technical details already. Depending on the hardware available, this is a task worth spending some electricity on or not.

The laptop I tried this on is running a Pentium Core2 Duo on 2.4 GHz. I get a mining rate of approx 5.5 Mhash/s. This results in approximately 1 Bitcoin in about 200 days. If, however you use a PC with a powerful (and compatible) graphics card, you can get mining rates up till 700Mhash/sec, making this one Bitcoin in less then 2 days.  Here’s a hardware comparison chart so you can check how your current hardware will or could perform.

The value of a Bitcoin is decided on several factors, one of the main ones being the amount of money on the market. There are several Exchanges available that will give you the value in a real currency and there are sites that will allow you to cach-in your bitcoins. Because of the growing amount of usage, some sites already accept payments for products directly. Since the hack (if you can call it that) mentioned at the start of this article, the value of the bitcoin has dropped significantly. Before that event, the value of one bitcoin was on approx 17.50$ USD, the days after it dropped to nearly 0 and it is coming back up slowly. The current value of one bitcoin is approx 4.50$ USD.

Taking the mining rates and the current values in mind, it would take me 200 days of a running machine to “generate” 4.50$. This is obviously not a very profitable business. However with the right set-up, using its idle time (when you’re not doing anything), you can actually make quite an “income”. you can calculate how your hardware would perform with this calculator here.

Another way of making money out of the Bitcoin currency is trading on virtual Stock markets. since the price is fluctuating a lot, there is quite some “money” to make for people who trade smart. I did not have a look at that yet as I like this to be a completely free experiment and I don’t feel like buying Bitcoins. A good list of the different stock markets and how they differ and change here.

For now, I’m still mining, even though at a very slow rate. I might start using several machines to mine so the rate multiplies and ideally to one day have a single coin I can do something with :)

To be continued…

Technorati Tags: ,

Oct 062011
 

Bits Of Freedom, a Dutch organisation working in favour of Internet freedom and Protection of privacy has started a fundraising action to be able to continue their good work.

One of their main achievements has been the pressure to make the Netherlands the first country to have a Net Neutrality Law.

It is a pity that most of their site is only available in Dutch and since they server their pages over an HTTPS link, this cannot be translated by Google. Some stuff is in English though and I’m sure you’ll get the point.

If you believe the the defense of civil rights online is an important objective, I’d like to direct you to their page where you can make a donation [Link] or scan this QR.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Feb 152011
 

Spain finally has its anti-piracy law. After quite some resistance in government, this week, congress approved the now famous as Sinde-Law anti piracy regulations.

 

Since one of the detractors, Alex de la Iglesia, Director and producer of quite some important films in Spain the last 20 years, even decided to resign from being the president of the Spanish Film Academy after the failed negotiations with movie industry-representatives, the government and internet users’ associations.

 

Alex de la Iglesia, who did his last speech as director was very critical and can be found in English here: http://www.altfg.com/blog/movie/alex-de-la-iglesia-speech-goyas-2011/

 

The Goya awards, the Spanish version of the Academy awards, have been surrounded by polemics generated by this new law, there was quite a numerous protests, even though this was kept out of the mainstream news very well.

 

Aside from the expected egg-throwing (which the minister-with-umbrella was obviously prepared for), one of the protests consisted in a leaflet that was spread around the Goya award premises containing the direct download links to nominated movies: (which, with the new law, I am not allowed to show you;) )http://sinasterisco.imgur.com/acerca_del_folleto

 

I’d like to share the last part of his speech with you:

 

“…I want to say goodbye in my last ceremony as president by reminding those present and the nominees that there’s nothing better than to be free to create. We must be up to this privilege that society offers us. If we want them to respect us, we must respect them first. I want to say something to the next president of the Academy — and I don’t know yet who that is: these have been the happiest two years of my life. I’ve looked at problems through other points of view and what’s more important, my friends: twenty-five very good years have passed; but many more await us and I’m sure that they’ll be the best…."

Twenty-five years ago, no one in our industry could have imagined that something like the Internet would have revolutionized our industry. The Internet isn’t the future; it’s the present and the way for hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy movies and culture. The Internet is the salvation of our cinema."

"Web surfers don’t like to be called that; they’re actually people, the public. The public that we have lost because they don’t go to the movies anymore because they spend their time sitting in front of a computer screen. Change is needed to come up with a new model for the film business. We have a moral responsibility to the public. We make movies because citizens allow us to make them and we owe them respect and our thank you."

"I want to say goodbye in my last ceremony as president by reminding those present and the nominees that there’s nothing better than to be free to create. We must be up to this privilege that society offers us. If we want them to respect us, we must respect them first. I want to say something to the next president of the Academy — and I don’t know yet who that is: these have been the happiest two years of my life. I’ve looked at problems through other points of view and what’s more important, my friends: twenty-five very good years have passed; but many more await us and I’m sure that they’ll be the best.”

Source: Altfg.com Thanks for the translation!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Jan 252011
 

Bad news for free speech online. The so-called Sinde-Law, named after the minister who put this law up for voting and that was rejected in congress last week, has now been approved after the PP, the only resisting party agreed on some minor (and possibly worse) changes.

Since there’s loads of information on this law, I won’t go into it in depth. Here, I’ve listed some interesting (English) reads:

  • Right after rejecting the Law, the ruling PSOE party, in favour of this law, already said it would make sure the proposal would go through anyway: “Sinde law” will pass, say Socialists

This of course only summarises what’s going on. At the moment, there are several protests planned. From signing a petition for the Minister to resign to not voting for any of the supporting parties in the upcoming elections.

My view on this? well, this morning the first image of the Miss. Sinde I saw on the news reminded me of somebody…. (I know, paint.net is not my strongest)

From Vigo to Sinde from Professor Snape to SindeAngeles Gonzalez Sinde

combining:

from Vigo to Snape to Sinde

Technorati Tags: , ,

Jan 132011
 

In an open letter to the “the Atlantic” Steve Wozniak expresses his opinion on Net Neutrality.

 

“…Imagine that when we started Apple we set things up so that we could charge purchasers of our computers by the number of bits they use. The personal computer revolution would have been delayed a decade or more. If I had to pay for each bit I used on my 6502 microprocessor, I would not have been able to build my own computers anyway. What if we paid for our roads per mile that we drove? It would be fair and understandable to charge more for someone who drives more. But one of the most wonderful things in our current life is getting in the car and driving anywhere we feel like at this moment, and with no accounting for cost. You just get in your car and go. This is one of the most popular themes of our life and even our popular music. It’s a type of freedom from some concerns that makes us happy and not complain. The roads are already paid for. You rarely hear people complain that roads are "free." The government shines when it comes to having provided us pathways to drive around our country. We don’t think of the roadways as being negative like telecommunication carriers. It’s a rare breath of fresh air.

 

I frequently speak to different types of audiences all over the country. When I’m asked my feeling on Net Neutrality I tell the open truth. When I was first asked to "sign on" with some good people interested in Net Neutrality my initial thought was that the economic system works better with tiered pricing for various customers. On the other hand, I’m a founder of the EFF and I care a lot about individuals and their own importance. Finally, the thought hit me that every time and in every way that the telecommunications careers have had power or control, we the people wind up getting screwed. Every audience that I speak this statement and phrase to bursts into applause.

 

That’s how the people think. They don’t want this to encroach on their Internet freedom."…”

 

Read the whole letter: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/steve-wozniak-to-the-fcc-keep-the-internet-free/68294/

Technorati Tags: , ,

Dec 032010
 

After Amazon rejected the wikileaks site on their cloud-hosting due to hard governmental pressure, now due to the continuous DDos attacks, the DNS provider that wikileaks was using in the US (everyDNS.net) is also terminating its services for Wikileaks.

 

They host about half a million DNS entries for different sites that, according to them, would be in danger due to the attacks.

 

This means that the wikileaks.net site is unavailable, at least for US Internet users. And

currently, from Spain, wikileaks.net does not get resolved at all.:

image

 

From the Wikileaks twitter:

"WikiLeaks,org domain killed by US everydns.net after claimed mass attacks KEEP US STRONG https://donations.datacell.com/"

 

The last update from their twitter account is that the site has been moved to a Swiss provider:image

http://wikileaks.ch

 

Now the main fear is that US politicians will start putting pressure on the press, putting forward new legislation that would make it a federal crime for anyone to publish the name of a U.S. intelligence source. (read: wired.com).

 

Living in Europe this is treated in a slightly different way than in the US. Mainly because of the “other side of the coin effect” that the leaking of this information has here. Many (Spanish/European) politicians went into mute mode when things started getting public, instead of the American Attack mode.

 

This is due to the fact that the US here was the commanding party. “..You do this..”  “…tell them that…” and “…get me this info…” and the European leaders followed.

An example would be the political pressure that the ruling Spanish socialist party received to hide or block the case of José Couso who was killed by “friendly fire” in Iraq.

 

This is a story that will have a tail, a long one I hope and maybe, just maybe, people and politicians will learn from this. I seriously believe that transparency is key here. As mentioned in previous articles, Many people do not agree with the amount of detail that the documents provide, putting lives at risk. However, with a more transparent government these leaks would not be necessary or would not have the interest of the public it is getting now.

 

In the 2.0 world we live in, it is now proven that secrecy is very hard to maintain. Governments should now choose; fight this battle, or shape up. The question for them probably is if this is a battle that they can win. And that is up to … us!

Technorati Tags: ,

Nov 302010
 

red neutral Manifiesto por una Red Neutral

Tomorrow, the Spanish Senate will treat for the second time the motion in favour of Network Neutrality.

 

A lot of Spanish internet users, Bloggers and online companies (ex. idealista.es) are echoing the below Manifest for Network Neutrality in the hope to put pressure on the political parties deciding on this.

 

If you’re a Spanish resident this affects you. Please publish this manifest using your blog, twitter or facebook.

 

Los ciudadanos y las empresas usuarias de Internet adheridas a este texto manifestamos:

  1. Que Internet es una Red Neutral por diseño, desde su creación hasta su actual implementación, en la que la información fluye de manera libre, sin discriminación alguna en función de origen, destino, protocolo o contenido.
  2. Que las empresas, emprendedores y usuarios de Internet han podido crear servicios y productos en esa Red Neutral sin necesidad de autorizaciones ni acuerdos previos, dando lugar a una barrera de entrada prácticamente inexistente que ha permitido la explosión creativa, de innovación y de servicios que define el estado de la red actual.
  3. Que todos los usuarios, emprendedores y empresas de Internet han podido definir y ofrecer sus servicios en condiciones de igualdad llevando el concepto de la libre competencia hasta extremos nunca antes conocidos.
  4. Que Internet es el vehículo de libre expresión, libre información y desarrollo social más importante con el que cuentan ciudadanos y empresas. Su naturaleza no debe ser puesta en riesgo bajo ningún concepto.
  5. Que para posibilitar esa Red Neutral las operadoras deben transportar paquetes de datos de manera neutral sin erigirse en “aduaneros” del tráfico y sin favorecer o perjudicar a unos contenidos por encima de otros.
  6. Que la gestión del tráfico en situaciones puntuales y excepcionales de saturación de las redes debe acometerse de forma transparente, de acuerdo a criterios homogéneos de interés público y no discriminatorios ni comerciales.
  7. Que dicha restricción excepcional del tráfico por parte de las operadoras no puede convertirse en una alternativa sostenida a la inversión en redes.
  8. Que dicha Red Neutral se ve amenazada por operadoras interesadas en llegar a acuerdos comerciales por los que se privilegie o degrade el contenido según su relación comercial con la operadora.
  9. Que algunos operadores del mercado quieren “redefinir” la Red Neutral para manejarla de acuerdo con sus intereses, y esa pretensión debe ser evitada; la definición de las reglas fundamentales del funcionamiento de Internet debe basarse en el interés de quienes la usan, no de quienes la proveen.
  10. Que la respuesta ante esta amenaza para la red no puede ser la inacción: no hacer nada equivale a permitir que intereses privados puedan de facto llevar a cabo prácticas que afectan a las libertades fundamentales de los ciudadanos y la capacidad de las empresas para competir en igualdad de condiciones.
  11. Que es preciso y urgente instar al Gobierno a proteger de manera clara e inequívoca la Red Neutral, con el fin de proteger el valor de Internet de cara al desarrollo de una economía más productiva, moderna, eficiente y libre de injerencias e intromisiones indebidas. Para ello es preciso que cualquier moción que se apruebe vincule de manera indisoluble la definición de Red Neutral en el contenido de la futura ley que se promueve, y no condicione su aplicación a cuestiones que poco tienen que ver con ésta.

 

La Red Neutral es un concepto claro y definido en el ámbito académico, donde no suscita debate: los ciudadanos y las empresas tienen derecho a que el tráfico de datos recibido o generado no sea manipulado, tergiversado, impedido, desviado, priorizado o retrasado en función del tipo de contenido, del protocolo o aplicación utilizado, del origen o destino de la comunicación ni de cualquier otra consideración ajena a la de su propia voluntad. Ese tráfico se tratará como una comunicación privada y exclusivamente bajo mandato judicial podrá ser espiado, trazado, archivado o analizado en su contenido, como correspondencia privada que es en realidad.

 

Europa, y España en particular, se encuentran en medio de una crisis económica tan importante que obligará al cambio radical de su modelo productivo, y a un mejor aprovechamiento de la creatividad de sus ciudadanos. La Red Neutral es crucial a la hora de preservar un ecosistema que favorezca la competencia e innovación para la creación de los innumerables productos y servicios que quedan por inventar y descubrir. La capacidad de trabajar en red, de manera colaborativa, y en mercados conectados, afectará a todos los sectores y todas las empresas de nuestro país, lo que convierte a Internet en un factor clave actual y futuro en nuestro desarrollo económico y social, determinando en gran medida el nivel de competitividad del país. De ahí nuestra profunda preocupación por la preservación de la Red Neutral. Por eso instamos con urgencia al Gobierno español a ser proactivo en el contexto europeo y a legislar de manera clara e inequívoca en ese sentido.

Si te sientes representado por este manifiesto te pedimos encarecidamente que lo copies y lo publiques en tu blog o que lo menciones en tu cuenta de Twitter o en Facebook usando el hashtag #redneutral. ¡Muchas gracias!

 

Even though the proposal is solid, many fear that due to the lack of knowledge in the matter (Some senate members where unable to define the internet any further than giving a definition of facebook) this motion will fail again.

Technorati Tags: