There’s been a lot of talk in the new lately about the pressing security concerns involving Bitcoin users being hacked and robbed. With no FDIC insurance, minimal regulations, and an ever evolving system of management, it’s no surprise that unprepared accounts are, on occasion, broken into and emptied, especially as new vulnerabilities are discovered and repaired. However, these minor speed bumps are no reason to start ignoring the cryptocurrency that has piqued interest by numerous members of the global economy.
One of the commonly ignored aspects of the Bitcoin system is the ability to store coins on a local hard drive, like the one in your computer right now. Although the vast majority of storage and transactions in the world today currently utilize online wallets, which are open to attacks and thievery, the only way to compromise Bitcoins stored on a “cold storage” hard drive is to physically steal the drive itself. Anyone planning to store large amounts of Bitcoins, or even small amounts for extended periods of time, needs to be aware of this viable option. For everyone else, it still makes a lot of sense to keep the coins local.
The reason cold storage works is because the hard drive is not connected to the Internet. Whether it is in an offline computer server or a portable, USB, drive, no hacker can access the data no matter how able they are to enter your network. Of course, once your Bitcoins are kept in a cold storage drive, it can be inconvenient to easily access them and spend the cryptocurrency, but most security comes at the expense of leisure.
Setting up and using a local hard drive for Bitcoin storage is pretty simple task, if you’re already familiar with computer protocols, and many guides and how-tos can be found with a quick search on Google. If you’re interested in using Bitcoins but are worried about the security risks that the media loves to focus on, consider trying out a local wallet and witnessing first hand how safe the future of currency can be.
The world of crypto-currencies is getting crowded, with more than 100 different currencies traded on Cryptsy.com with more added nearly every month. The concept is no longer limited to Bitcoin or Litecoin, the most widely traded currencies. Bitcoin’s open source code has been tweaked by software programmers the world over to deliver a wide range of different functionality. In a short time, this great experiment in cryptography and money has captured the interest of major government players around the world, including the Chinese government, the US Federal Reserve, US Congress, and central bankers, among others who are watching the progress with wary interest.
With so much mainstream news attention being devoted to Bitcoin, is has been difficult for newer coins to get their day in the the limelight and to be understood for their unique qualities. Many are simply dismissed and waived off as “clones.” While some new crypto-currencies are attracting community support and backing, others are been revealed as scams that have have flared up, only to see support evaporate as problems technical or moral problems are discovered with the coins.
A coin that has been attracting attention and investors as it becomes more well known is Unobtanium, which trades on exchanges as UNO. Named for a conceptual element that is difficult or impossible to obtain, Unobtanium looks at first like any other Bitcoin clone software. On closer examination, there are some characteristics that make Unobtanium among the more interesting experiments on the crypto-currency landscape, and one worth watching closely.
Unobtanium’s developers launched the currency publicly, giving everyone who wanted to participate advance notice of the coin’s launch. This is called a “Fair Start” in the parlance, and is actually quite a rare occurrence for new coins. “Pre-mining” occurs when developers or a select group of people have an unfair opportunity to acquire coins through the software mining process before the general public has the same opportunity. Many popular and failed coins have been pre-mined. The arguments for pre-mining include the idea that a certain percentage of the total coins should be held back to compensate developers, reward developers who bring new services online with the coin, and to market the coin. Some argue that pre-mining is unethical, creating the potential for a small group to acquire vast numbers of coins, enabling them to artificially manipulate the price of the coin.
Another distinction of Unobtanium is it’s scarcity and limited issue. Only 196,875 Proof of Work Un will be minted before .0001 minimum block subsidies take effect at block 612,000. The maximum number of UNO coins that can be issued is just 250,000 UNO.
Only 196,875 Proof of Work Un will be minted before .0001 minimum block subsidies take effect
The block reward is the amount of UNO that miners are paid for mining UNO blocks. The reward halves every 102,000 blocks. As of this writing, UNO is closing in on block 204,000, after which the reward will fall to .25 UNO.
This idea of falling availability with rising difficulty and decreasing reward will be interesting to watch as it plays out. Investors on discussion boards believe that this could result in a rapid rise in the price of UNO. While there is still time to obtain some Unobtanium, the falling block reward will mean that supplies could indeed dry up fast as miners have less UNO to offer for sale on exchanges.
Today, UNO is trading at around $4 per KG (coin).
It remains to be seen if scarcity, a fair start, an an active community will be enough to set UNO apart from other coins. As DOGE coin has proven, making it easy to acquire vast numbers of coins has the psychological effect of making its owners feel wealthy! If UNO even captures a small part of the cryptocurrency mindshare, and becomes as rare as it’s community believes it will, acquiring a full UNO KG will become increasingly difficult as rising value fractionalizes the coins.
Where might UNO succeed?
In the near future, it may be possible to integrate alternative coins like UNO into traditional online shopping carts, much the way that some sites can display prices in different fiat currencies. Yet, the UNO community isn’t really focused on promoting as a b2c or b2b settlement tool.
Where UNO may succeed, and would appear to have a strong natural advantage, is as a crypto-bullion. Just as gold is in limited supply, and has been desired as a store of wealth, UNO is in short supply. Yet gold is difficult to store, protect and transfer, UNO is simple to transfer and can be easily hidden with encryption. While gold has a luster that gives it utility, a cryptocoin like UNO would need to be transferred to a physical form to be able to provide an experience anything to close to real gold; while possible, it’s not really altogether practical at this time. The fair start of UNO should not be underestimated as an attractant to investors, since fairness strikes at the heart of credibility. Fairness is a topic where UNO has a distinct advantage over gold and many other crypto-coins When you own 1 KG of UNO, you know what you have, and that it was mined fairly by the UNO community. If you purchase a KG gold, it’s not always completely clear if the coin you are holding has been debased.
As a store of wealth, UNO has the advantage of being extremely limited, with most coins being produced in the first year, dwindling availability through mining, and (importantly) a fair start when the coin was launched.
These traits set UNO apart as a rare coin in the world of crypto-currencies.
To see documentation of UNO’s fair start, you can examine this chart which analyze the UNO block chain. Pay attention to the “minted currency” chart which shows dwindling supply, and the “total supply” chart, which shows an upward slope toward the right. Compare that to the pre-mined Feathercoin, and you can understand the difference between a fair-mined coin and a pre-mined coin.
UNO is scarce for two basic reasons. First, the number of coins is scarce. And second, being a fair-mined coin is a scarce crypto-coin quality today.
If there’s a ghost in your past, chances are pretty good that someone looking for it is going to find it. Vendors on the internet offer a myriad of information on each of us, and it’s available to those who are willing to pay for it. Many of these sources of personal information are free, or come from public records that have been organized and are searchable in such as manner as to be accessible to virtually anyone. Information that used to be public, but not very accessible unless you traveled personally to the county courthouse to request it, is now available for a fee online.
There are two sides to the privacy/background check debate. The argument against it comes from those who believe that a society that does not “forget” is also a society that does not “forgive.” Should the mistakes of our youth follow us the of our lives? Is a 50 year old man the same person as that 15 year old boy who committed some minor offense?
The other side of the debate argues that a person’s history predicts to her future actions. Why shouldn’t an employer be able to prefer an applicant who has kept her nose clean and played by the rules over another with a history of financial mismanagement, late rent payments and a petty criminal history?
It’s not difficult for someone to check the background of anyone else. There are many background check services on the internet, some more reputable and complete than others. One of the more successful and easy to use background checkers is eVerify. Not only can you check a person’s criminal background and credit history, but detailed reports also include:
Credit agencies use services such as eVerify to locate people who are trying not to be found or hiding assets. Landlords use them to check the creditworthiness and rent payment history. Employers use them to check on past job history.
Although there is a huge amount of information available online about all of us, government regulations have not kept pace with technology. Woefully inadequate statutes are in place in a feeble attempt to balance our right to privacy with the rights of others to investigate us, and the investigators are winning. While accessing a person’s private information implies responsibility on the part of the investigator, the fact is that there remains a mishmash patchwork of federal, state and local regulations that are difficult to enforce. At this time there is no single comprehensive privacy statute that covers all information, and enforcement of your rights may be a difficult civil endeavor.
Until the U.S. Congress gets it’s act together to provide comprehensive protection for your private information, the best course of action would be to manage what you share. Don’t voluntarily offer up information in surveys, telephone call polls, or to solicitors. Request an annual free credit report. Sign up for a service like eVerify an become familiar with the information that is available about you online, and which others can easily find. Be careful about what you share on social networks like Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.
Building an awareness of the type of data that is available about you, and what that information reveals, is the first step toward taking back control of your privacy.
In this post-Snowden world, there’s lots of reasons why you should migrate your website from unencrypted http to a fully encrypted https site. There’s a lot of things to consider when making such a move. This article focuses primarily on the SEO aspects of such a move. How will Google view your site after it goes HTTPS only?
We recently helped a client make such a transition. We learned a few things along the way and wanted to share them with you to help make your move as painless as possible.
Step 1. The first thing you’ll need to do is acquire a strong SSL certificate and configure your webserver correctly. There are different levels of certificate authentication. The Extended Validation or EV certificates are the most expensive, but convey the most trust to your visitors. If you’re willing to spend the extra dollars and time to acquire an EV certificate, we would highly recommend it. Although I have not yet seen empirical data that proves an EV certificate will outperform a standard certificate in SEO, it is perfectly true that the EV conveys a higher level of trust that can only send a positive signal to search engines. If you can afford it, get the EV certificate.
Ask your system administrator to configure your cryptolibrary suite so that you obtain a A rating from SSL Labs server test. A misconfigured server can provide weak SSL connections, which is a poor signal to anyone who bothers to check it.
When all is configured correctly, go ahead and turn on the SSL version of your site. Do not index the https site with Google at this stage.
Step 2. Next, add a canonical tag to every page in your http site that tells the search engines that you prefer the HTTPS webpage. A canonical tag is placed in the header of the http webpage. It will look something like:
Step 3. Change your internal link configuration to support https. Many web browsers will complain to their users about “unsecure content” or “mixed content” if a https website has any links to http (unsecure) content. The last thing you want is your users or Google being warned by their web browser when trying to access your site. It’s critical that you remove ALL http internal links on your website. It would seem that this chore could easily be accomplished by a simple find and replace http > https. Yet it is never quite so simple.
If you have a sitemap or a ror.xml file, be absolutely certain to update these files to https as well.
Step 4. Add the https version of your site to Google Webmasters Tools and Index The HTTPS Site. Google sees your http and https sites as separate. Adding your https site to GWMT will give you a view into the progress you are making as the switchover happens.
After you add the canonical tag and add the https site to GWMT, it’s time to index the HTTP version of your website. Do this from Google Web Masters Tools. Continue to operate the http and https website together for about one month, or until you see a rapid climb in search queries for your HTTPS site in Google Web Masters Tools. What you will expect to see is that your links and queries will decline on your http site while they begin to climb on your https site in GWMT.
Step 5. Finish off the HTTP Site
When you see that Google is now serving your https site most often, and you have noticed a large decline in the http stats in Google Web Master Tools, along with a large rise in your https site, then it’s time to take the final step and turn off http. Your server administrator can do this for you. He or she must create a server side rule that will rewrite all http requests to https, providing a 301 redirect response. The 301 response is critical, as it tells the search engine that the page has permanently moved to the https site.
Does this work?
Yes, it worked for us! I hope it also works for you. I expect it will. Below are the results for the website we worked on. What you are looking at is the Google Webmaster Tools query graph first in the HTTP website, and then in the HTTPS website. Notice the decline from HTTP and the rise in the HTTPS site.
The dip you see on the https graph was a seasonal Christmas traffic dip. We did make this change during a very busy seasonal period, which we advised against. But the customer was ready, and was not a B2C business that would be impacted by the Christmas sales period. Still, we would have waited till January if it were up to us. Where we anticipated some risk, the customer expected slow seasonal sales and down time.
We hope this article helps you make the switch to HTTPS. Its very important to configure your webserver correctly. Run a SSL Labs server test against https://lockbin.com if you want to see a server that has a very strong configuration for it’s crytolibrary suite, and feel free to copy their prioritization. If you’re going to make the move to HTTPS, it’s very important to get the settings correct so that your server always begins negotations with your customer’s web browser using the strongest encryption possible.
Putting a premium on your customer’s security and privacy is a great signal to send to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and other search engines. It’s also a pretty good signal to send to your savvy visitors. If you have anything to add, feel free to put in the comments below.
Although Firefox is only the third most popular web browser, it continues to win industry awards for being one of the best browsers in terms of both speed and efficiency. And that’s a reputation well earned by Firefox, with new releases the browser almost always marking notable improvements in the performance and functionality. If you’re one of the nearly half billion people who use Mozilla Firefox, here are seven tips and tricks you need to know about.
Increase Screen Estate
If you’re looking to squeeze every bit of functionality that you can out of your screen, you can make your Firefox icons smaller through View > Toolbars > Customize > Use Small Icons. You can also use this menu to add or remove icons in order to improve functionality or remove clutter from your toolbar, including the potential additions of a cut/copy/paste button, a bookmarks button, and a new tab button.
The next time you’re heading to your favorite site, instead of typing prefixes like “www” or affixes like “.com” you can use Control + Enter to automatically apply both to whatever you type in the address bar. And if you’re headed to a .net address, the shortcut still works with Shift + Enter.
If you’re an advanced Firefox user, you can launch the deep Firefox configuration menu by typing about:config into your address bar. Although this offers intensive customization opportunities, as a fair warning, this window should be strictly avoided unless you’re an advanced user.
If you’d like to make your bookmarks more accessible, you can bind them to keywords in order to make them easier to launch on command. Just head to the bookmark bar and right click on the page you want to create a keyword binding for. Select the properties option and write a short keyword in the keyword field. Once completed, you can type whatever keyword you used into the address bar to load the associated bookmark on command.
If running multiple Firefox tabs causes your computer to run slow, it’s possible for you to limit the amount of RAM that your system allocates to Firefox. Head to the About:Config menu (see Advanced Support above) and search for “browser.cache.disk.capacity.” By default this figure should be set to a number around 50k, but it will vary depending on the amount of RAM available to you. Simply decrease the number to reduce the resources available to Firefox. For anyone on a device with 1GB ram or less, a good baseline figure is 15,000.
Reduce RAM Usage
You can also reduce the RAM that Firefox consumes while minimized in the about:config menu. Right click anywhere in the menu and select New > Boolean. Name this Boolean “config.trim_on_minimize” and set the value to true. Once completed, you’ll need to restart Firefox for the effect to take place. Best of all, this should cause essentially no noticeable difference in Firefox’s performance.
While the various changes Google has made to its search algorithm in recent months and years have caused a stir, one thing that has been achieved is that, perhaps for the first time since SEO became an industry, there’s near universal agreement on the best attitude to take towards link building.
Analysts of the industry would probably point to things like Google Penguin and say that it’s unfortunate that such strong action had to be taken. At the same time, they would likely understand that if a system is open to abuse, then it will be abused.
This was clearly the case when it came to link building, and clearly, Google had to do something about it.
Playing by the Rules
Whatever you think of Google, the reality of life when you’re a webmaster or an SEO professional is that you need to listen to what they say, and play by their rules. If you don’t, then a penalty or possible exclusion from the search results is the price you’ll pay.
When it comes to link building, this means doing so to generate traffic from the audience on the site where you build your link, not just doing so to enjoy the SEO boost. For those who have been around the industry long enough, they’ll remember way back when that’s what links were, a way to share great content and direct users to value, rather than a means of manipulating the search engines.
Using Analytics Software
Checking to see whether your link building is successful in the way you want it to be is easy when you use analytics software. As soon as you know a link is live, that you’ve built yourself or notice that you’ve earned within your Google Webmaster Tools account or by analysing data from sites like Majestic SEO, you can look at your analytics and keep track of how much referral traffic you’re getting from there.
How to Interpret the Data
Where many people get hung up when it comes to referral traffic is that they don’t know what a good number looks like. For example, getting one website visitor from each link every day will probably make you think link building is a waste of time.
However, when you think about this more closely, you’ll realise that, if you’ve built links properly and targeted highly relevant websites, each one of these referrals is a valuable link. They aren’t people who are likely to bounce from your site and head elsewhere, they are people more likely to engage and make a purchase.
The point of a link is to encourage visitors to check out some quality content on your site and want to discover more about who you are. If your links don’t achieve this, even to the tune of only one visitor per day, then they aren’t worth having.
This is a rant of sorts. Why is Microsoft struggling to sell Windows 9 on touchscreen laptops? According to IDC analysts, only 10-15% of the laptops sold in 2013 will have a touch screen.
Reasons cited for this apparent rejection of the touchscreen laptop is the higher price, sticky fingers gunking up the screen, and old habits.
Touch isn’t just a feature. It’s obviously a new way to work, a new language that we have learned. We will all adapt, and will soon come to expect that when we touch a screen, any screen, that something will happen.
I’ve bought two Windows 8 touchscreen laptops so far this year for my teenage daughter and son. They absolutely love them. Two years ago in our house, everyone was fighting over the iPad. Despite the addition of a bluetooth keyboard, we always struggled to use the iPad to do input intensive interaction. It just wasn’t conducive to doing any “real” work. While the iPad remains a fun toy for playing Word With Friends and Minecraft, when it comes time to sit down and write a report for school, the iPad was losing out to my laptop computer. To be able to wrest my own laptop from my kids, I bought them each a refurbished Asus Windows 8 touch laptop from TigerDirect. The price for 4 GB ram and 500 GB storage, a touch screen, Windows 8 64bit, and a backlit keyboard was only about $500.
My kids have really taken to the touchscreen laptops. Nobody wants anything to do with my old fashioned “point and click” laptop any more. The kids have also migrated many of their games to their laptops (Minecraft again being the favorite). I’m actually quite envious when I see my kids swiping and pressing and scrolling and otherwise navigating their touch laptops with an efficiency and ease that eludes my old device.
I’ll so mention that on my old HP laptop, I installed Windows 8 last year. I absolutely hated it, although I have come to tolerate its presence. The Metro interface completely got in my way. Treating the desktop like “just another app” was a huge miscalculation by Microsoft. I prefer to work off the desktop. I had to actually find a Youtube video to show me how to turn off my laptop in Windows 8. But Windows 8 makes perfect sense on a touch screen. Unfortunately for MS, there just weren’t any. But what comes first, the OS or the touch screen? In the case of touch tech, Windows 8 needed to come first. It’s just that Microsoft’s roll out was incredibly flawed; inserting a touch interface between a user and a computer where no touch screen is present was simply stupid.
My kids are multi-device educated. They have android phones, iPods, they have access to an iPad, and even a Chromebook laptop. They prefer the Windows 8 touch screen, bar none. As shipments of touch laptops continues to grow, so will people’s affection for them and the expectation of touch.
While the IDC analysts may be duly correct that in 2013 Windows 8 struggled to find a purpose on non-touch laptops, my prediction for 2014 and beyond is much rosier. As we are now seeing many more laptops with touchscreens hitting the Market, people are going to love them. Touch isn’t just a feature. It’s obviously a new way to work, a new language that we have learned as society. We will all adapt, and will soon come to expect that when we touch a screen, any screen, that something will happen.
So you need to remove your website from Google? You want to remove your site entirely from Google’s index and not be listed in their results any longer? Ok, here’s how to do it!
First thing you’ll need to do is register for a Google Webmaster’s account. Add your site to Webmasters. This will involve confirming your site by uploading a file from Google to the root of your website. Google will not remove any site from its listing where it is unable to verify your ownership of the site. Wait several days for the results to appear in Webmasters.
Next, go back to Webmasters Tools and navigate to Google Index > Remove URL’s.
Click on it, and this will take you to the URL removal tool. You can use this tool to remove a single URL, or your entire site. To remove the entire site, enter / in the field and submit.
Google will confirm that this is what you want to do.
Once your request is complete, Google will queue it for action. Removal of your site from the index is not instant, and may take a few weeks.
A final important step is to change your robots.txt file in your website’s root directory to disallow Googlebot. If you don’t, Google will simply re-index your site the next time it visits. A robots.txt file is simply a text file that sends instructions to spiders that come to your site to index it’s contents.
Your robots.txt file should contain this line of code:
That’s all there is to it! Soon your site will be relegated to Google’s trashbin and nobody will ever find your website again. Enjoy!
With all of the recent news about NSA spying, I decided to look into email encryption for Microsoft Outlook 2013. I’ve been an Outlook user for many users. The first question I had was, “Where is the encrypt email button?”
It look me awhile, but I finally found it. It’s not enabled by default. Here’s where you’ll find it.
If you’re in Outlook 2013, first click the File Tab. This will bring you to Account Information. Now click on Options.
Now click on Trust Center, then Trust Center Settings
Once you’re in the Outlook 2013 Trust Center, choose “Email Security.
Congratulations! You have arrived in the hidden part of Outlook where you can import a certificate and adjust your settings.
To import your digital certificate, click the Import/Export button.
Navigate to your certificate and import it. So where can you get a digital I.D. certificate? There are many different resellers who will give you a certificate for a fee. Some of them will give you a weak certificate at no cost. I hesitate to recommend one, since I don’t really trust this method of encryption. These certificate authorities are subject to U.S. laws, and may be forced to hand over your private key to the Government. But if you do a little searching, you’ll find many different “trusted authorities” who will gladly issue you an email encryption certificate. Be aware that many of these authorities issue certificates for all kinds of other uses, such digital signing of software. Be certain to get the certificate you want.
Ok, so now you have imported your digital I.D. into Outlook 2013. You’re ready to encrypt an email. You won’t be able to until someone else has set up a digital id, and has sent you their I.D. You will also need to find the encryption button in your MS Outlook email window. Unfortunately, this button is turned off by default, because clearly Microsoft has no interest in making this easy for you.
At this point you might want to check out some different add-on software for Outlook 2013 that makes it easier to encrypt emails, such as the one provided by Lockbin or GPG.
We hope this has been helpful. Please leave your comments below!
BitCoin mining is a fascinating new practice that provides the backbone for the entire crypto-currency’s existence. By slowly and meticulously calculating out complicated algorithmic equations, a computer processing unit can be used to generate a certain string of code that, according to some, is worth a certain value. While there is a potentially large supply of this code available, the rate at which this code can be generated is very tightly restricted so that the complete volume will take over a century to completely generate. Furthermore, due to the constantly rising levels of mainstream technology, the difficulty challenge of creating this code, known as BitCoin, increases constantly.
When BitCoin mining first began, it was plausible to mine the block using a primary CPU. However, as it became more difficult, a high end graphics processing unit is mandatory to see any results. Still, even those will soon become obsolete due to the advent of ASIC rigs that are specially built to achieve the maximum BitCoin output per energy input possible. As these types of mining rigs become more popular, it will become more and more difficult for a new miner to enter the game and see profitable returns.
To start mining, a primitive computer with any PCI slot is required. Next, acquire an ATi GPU with OpenCL and connect it to the motherboard. As long as everything works properly, using a client such as GUIMiner to join a mining pool is quite simple. Of course, some miners like to make things much more complicated by linking several, if not dozens, of graphics cards together with outrageous yet super effective cooling methods to reach higher hashing rates and observe greater profits.
Joining a pool is practically a requisite for any miner. Working as a team with multiple other miners to churn out more BitCoins at a faster rate provides numerous advantages. Some pools collect a fee to cover expenses but others work pro bono. By joining a pool, it is possible to get many more coins than it would be by working alone. Additionally, some pools even put a portion of their resources into alternative crypto-currencies to diversify the pool’s interests. Finding a pool that meets your needs isn’t difficult.
Currently, it is still possible for a light hobbyist to get into BitCoin mining with a simple rig and see some encouraging results. Hopefully, despite the power and efficiency of ASIC rigs, they will be obtainable by entry-level miners on a realistic budget. If this is the case, we can hope to see the rate of BitCoin mining increase exponentially due to mainstream demand and availability. Putting commercial mining power in the hands of individuals will only help the BitCoin community grow and prosper.
An interesting and novel approach to entry-level mining that has recently emerged is the use of tiny USB powered rigs that, while not being able to achieve the raw power of true ASIC rigs, can reach impressive hashing levels and offer a cheap method of mining a respectable level of BitCoin. One of their key advantages is a minimal use of additional power over what the host computer is already using. A problem that often occurs with cheap mining rigs is a waste of power that outweighs any profits from mining but these USB units run smooth and efficiently.