4 Ways To Own Bitcoins – A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by Harshad

4 Ways To Own Bitcoins – A Beginner’s Guide

4 Ways To Own Bitcoins – A Beginner’s Guide

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

The days of striking gold with Bitcoin are probably long past, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no reason at all to get into Bitcoin. There’s a growing Bitcoin infrastructure, including regulated and audited exchanges, Bitcoin ATMs and so on; some retailers such as Overstock even take advantage of Bitcoin’s lower fees to offer discounts for Bitcoin purchases. Plus, Bitcoin seems to have weathered the storm triggered by Mt. Gox, showing a surprising maturity that might not have been present in years past. All these things hint that there may indeed be a future where Bitcoin is more than just a speculative plaything.


If you’re excited, or even the very least intrigued, by Bitcoin, you’ve probably thought once or twice about getting your feet wet and delving into the world of Bitcoin. There are a lot of things to be aware of before you take the plunge, but the first and most obvious question is, of course, getting your hands on the Bitcoins themselves.

Here are more Bitcoin-related posts you should also take a look at:

There are four ways to get your Bitcoins, and we’re starting with buying them.

1. Buying Bitcoins

The most common way to buy and sell Bitcoins is on Bitcoin exchanges. This is probably the way most of you will want to get your Bitcoins, since there aren’t any extra costs and, barring a major crash, you’ll probably be able to make your money back if you choose to sell. Also, it’s worth pointing out that you can buy fractions of Bitcoins, so you don’t have to commit $650 or so to buy one Bitcoin.

Buying Bitcoins
(Image Source: Bitcoin Rumors)

Buying Bitcoins from exchanges is a straightforward process: make sure you have a Bitcoin wallet and then just create an account on any of the exchanges. Some may also ask for copies of personal documents and even utility bills in order to verify your identity.

There are two types of exchanges, fixed rate and real time exchanges:

1. Fixed rate exchanges: exchange sets the value, and all sales and purchases are conducted according to this fixed value. e.g. Coinbase

2. Real time exchanges: facilitates buying and selling by letting buyers and sellers set the maximum price they want to pay and the minimum price at which they want to sell. e.g. Kraken and Bitstamp


There are a lot of options out there, so here are a few tips on selecting an exchange:

  • It’s best to choose an exchange that supports your preferred currency, so as to avoid having to convert your money twice over.
  • If you’re patient and diligent, real time exchanges can get you much better deals when buying and selling Bitcoin.
  • If speed is an issue then fixed rate exchanges might be preferable.

Bitcoin ATMs And LocalBitcoins

You can also buy and sell Bitcoins at the Bitcoin ATMs that are starting to gain traction in North America. Robocoin, for instance, has a few ATMs scattered across North America, and is expanding into countries such as Singapore, Australia and Italy this month. Lamassu also has a Bitcoin ATM in the works, although it has yet to be deployed.

Robocoin ATM
(Image Source: Vancouver Sun)

If you don’t want to risk having your Bitcoins in an online exchange and there aren’t any Bitcoin ATMs near you, you could try looking on LocalBitcoins to see if there are any individual buyers or sellers based in the same city or country.

2. Mining Bitcoins

An alternative to buying Bitcoins directly to mine Bitcoins yourself. It’s an incredibly competitive endeavour, so you should only consider this path if you’re in it for the long term and are willing to keep upgrading your hardware.

(Image Source: Fotolia)

Mining will also eventually be made redundant by the fact that there will only ever be a maximum of 21 million Bitcoins in existence. This limit won’t be reached for a while yet, but it is something to bear in mind.

Mining Machines

Bitcoin mining is all about dedicated – and expensive – ASIC-based mining machines. There’s a large range of power available for potential purchase, from a relatively-entry level 5 gigahash per second (GH/s) machine such as the Bi•Fury to 2 terahash per second (TH/s) monsters like Cointerra’s TerraMiner IV. The TerraMiner IV, for instance, will mine about 1.8 Bitcoins a week at the current difficulty.

Cointerra TerraMiner IV

That may seem like a good deal, but be warned, Bitcoin mining difficulty is constantly increasing, and machines will mine less and less Bitcoins as time goes on.

Mining Costs

When mining Bitcoins, extra costs such as electricity have to be taken into account. The TerraMiner IV consumes roughly 2,100 Watts of power. Add that to the initial $5,999 cost of the TerraMiner IV and that 1.8 Bitcoins a week doesn’t seem like that much anymore, does it?

The biggest danger, though, is simply the risk of machines not getting delivered at all. The Bitcoin mining hardware marketplace is rife with scams and undelivered promises; if you’re adamant on buying mining hardware then you will definitely have to research all the available choices thoroughly before making a decision.

Cloud Mining

There’s another way to mine Bitcoins that doesn’t involve buying and running expensive Bitcoin mining hardware: cloud mining. As of now, the only site offering this service is CEX.IO. Basically, CEX.IO is a market that lets you buy and sell processing power in the form of GH/s.


The GH/s you buy mines for you, and all you need to do is to pay for the upkeep. It’s an interesting solution, and probably worth looking into if you want to avoid exchanges but don’t wan’t to buy your own mining hardware.

3. Exchanging Altcoins For Bitcoins

Option 3: Instead of buying or mining Bitcoins outright, you have the option of mining or buying Scrypt-based altcoins (such as Litecoin) and then trading those altcoins for Bitcoin on an exchange like Cryptsy or Bter. This method does mean you’ll have to keep track of the exchange rates quite dilligently, and act fast when the exchange rates are favorable.

Scrypt-based coins are comparatively much easier to mine than Bitcoin, and can even be mined using off-the-shelf AMD GPUs. They’re also relatively cheaper at the moment.

The current AMD flagship GPU, the R9 290X, costs upwards of $599, and you’re definitely going to need more than one as 1 R9 290X will only mine about 1 Litecoin a week, which at the time of writing, is only worth about a fraction of a Bitcoin (0.028 Bitcoin).

You’ll definitely need more than one card, and an increase in the number of cards comes with an increase in power consumption and heat.

Litecoin Mining Rig
(Image Source: LitecoinTalk)

There’s nothing that says you have to mine Litecoin, although it would probably be optimal to choose one particular altcoin and stick with it if you want to go down this path. At the time of writing, Dogecoin seems to be the altcoin to go for, but as with everything in the cryptocurrency landscape, this can change in the blink of an eye.

4. Free Bitcoins

If you just want to mess about and see what the fuss is about, ideally without having to spend a single cent, then some of the Bitcoin faucets might be of interest. These faucets give away a small number of Satoshis on a set schedule, maybe once a day or once every few hours. Some also encourage you to play games in order to win free Bitcoins. Examples of these Bitcoin faucets include Daily Free Bits, Bitcoiner and FreeBitco.in.

Daily Free Bits

Don’t get overly excited, though; Satoshis are the smallest fraction of a Bitcoin, equivalent to 0.00000001 BTC. Daily Free Bits, for instance, gives out a maximum of 1200 Satoshis on a six-hour schedule. These faucets probably won’t help you buy that cool TV you’ve been eyeing on Overstock, but they’re a good way to get some Bitcoins to play around with, just to see what the fuss is about.


The method you choose will almost entirely depend on how much money you’re willing to spend, and how ready you are to commit to the cryptocurrency. Mining for Bitcoin is strictly the reserve of the dedicated, but Bitcoin exchanges and faucets provide a way for almost anyone to get in on the action. It’s not such a bad idea, really; when someone like Google’s Jared Cohen throws his weight behind the idea of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, you know that there’s probably something to all the madness.


A Look Into Atom: Github’s New Code Editor

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Github, a popular git repository that hosts a ton of open source projects, has recently announced a new code editor called Atom which shook the “code editor battlefield”. The official announcement stated that Atom began as an experiment – likely 6 years ago according to this tweet by one of Github’s founder – which then became part of the internal tools in Github; in fact Atom is built using Atom itself.

Atom is claimed to be extremely hackable, extensible, yet could still be user-friendly to entry-level users. At the time of the writing, Atom is still in beta stage and available as an invite-only app. It is also currently only available for OS X platform – though the Windows and Linux version is reportedly in progress. I’ve got my hands on it, and I would like to walk you through through this app, see what that it has to offer.

Let’s check it out.


If you are a die-hard Sublime Text user, the first thing that may raise eyebrows when Atom is launched is the UI. Take a closer look at the following screenshot – can you spot which one is Sublime Text and which is Atom?

Answer: The left is Sublime Text, and the right is Atom.

Aside from the look, Atom has also borrowed some Sublime Text’s symbolic functionalities that you may be familiar with, for instance: Command + T will allow you to switch between files, and Command + Shift + P to launch Command Palette.

You can also do a so-called auto-pairing quote and parentheses to select code block, and selecting multiple-line simultaneously, just like in Sublime Text.

But, I found that Atom is not yet capable of enclosing tag automatically. Sublime Text is quite smart, it can find matching tags to close just by typing </. Another feature that also I caught absent from Atom is Wrap Selection, where you can press Control + W and define the tag to wrap selected area, or Control + Shift + W to automatically wrap it with a p tag.

Language Support & Syntax Highlighting

Code Editor is created to help developers write codes correctly with the help of proper code syntax highlighting. Without this capability, a code editor is nothing more than just a Text editor, which is pretty pointless.

Atom supports many prominent programming and web languages including Sass and LESS. In Sublime Text, we would have to install third-party packages, before it can handle these two.

To view all in the list, click on the Language indicator of your current document at the status bar, as shown below.

Atom Packages

Atom is extensible with Packages. Each week the number is growing fast; it has more than 500 packages at the time of this writing. Below are my top 5 packages to get:

  • Color Picker – a color picker that is able to generate HEX and RGBA color.
  • JSHint – an inevitable tool to make your JavaScript code "error-less".
  • Autocompletion – it is a surprise that this kind of functionality is not integrated in the core.
  • Prettify – code also should look pretty.
  • Rdio – listen to the Rdio with it.

Installing Packages

We can install Packages through Atom; launch Package Control, then search Install Package. Unlike Sublime Text, which load and show Packages at the same dialog window, Atom will redirect you to a new screen.

In the new screen, you can see the Packages shown like in the App Store or Google Play, each with an Install button. Atom features a few of the Packages, but you can search for the rest through the search box.


Github is built around Markdown. The first README file that would be picked up and shown in the repository is one that is written in Markdown. Github Pages is built with Jekyll, and Markdown as well. So it is reasonable to integrate Markdown into Atom.

You can try writing a few lines of Markdown syntax, hit Control + Shift + M, and you will see how the syntax will turn out.

Git Integration

Atom added a few helper functionality for those working with git. As you add some additions, or make changes in your git project, you will see a color mark as shown below (it’s barely noticeable). In Sublime Text, this kind of feature can also be achieved using a plugin named GitGutter.

I’m expecting Atom to be tightly integrated with Github in the next few releases so we might be able to perform Commit, Pull, and Push git repository right from Atom – that would be a really nice feature addition.

Chrome Dev Tools

Atom is built around Web technologies – HTML, CSS, and JS – and is designed to build the Web. So, why not add Web Inspector in it too. If you hit Alt + Command + I, you will see the Chrome Dev Tools.

These Dev Tools could help you customize Atom as well as develop themes or packages for it.

The Settings

The Settings in Sublime Text, which irks many people, is done through plain JavaScript objects. Despite the very close resemblance to Sublime Text, Atom offers a nice GUI when it comes to Setting configuration, as you can see below.

You can change the font size, the theme, the color highlighting scheme, and even personalize the keybindings.

Final Thought

Atom looks really promising, and I can see it could be a serious contender for Sublime Text. By having similar UI, features, and keyboard shortcuts, it should not be difficult for people to switch over to Atom.

Interested to try Atom? Grab your invitation in Atom.io, or mention me in Twitter @tfirdaus, I have 2 invites left.

Lastly, I’ll look forward how Atom goes in the future. Will it be the next great code editor to replace Sublime Text?


Create Beautiful Presentations Easily With Slidebean

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

Presentations are part and parcel of our lives. Whether it’s a university assignment, monthly sales meeting or pitching a product to potential investors, a presentation has to look good and have great content. But there are always times when it’s difficult, if not impossible, to balance the two. Maybe you just don’t have an eye for design, or maybe you don’t have enough time to get both the content and design of your slides up to par. Well, that’s all a thing of the past with Slidebean.


Slidebean is a cloud-based app, currently in beta, that lets users create beautiful presentations quickly and easily. Slidebean changes the way you create presentations, by encouraging users to focus solely on the content, while the app handles the design side of the equation. No more having to worry about trying to balance content and design. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in using, read on.

Getting Started With Slidebean

As usual, the first step is to register with Slidebean. You can either create an account or log in using your Facebook or Twitter account.


A nice touch is the fact that registering also logs you in instantly, without having to wait for a verification email or anything of the sort. Once you’re logged in, you’re taken to your Dashboard, which is where you create new presentations and manage the ones you’ve already created.

Slidebean Dashboard

Creating A Presentation With Slidebean

Slidebean makes creating a presentation very easy. Clicking on Create new presentation in the Dashboard will begin the creation process.

The first thing you’ll be asked to do is to input the title of your presentation.

Presentation Title

Then, Slidebean will ask you where the presentation is taking place. You have a choice of One on One, Classroom, Meeting, Auditorium or Online.

Presentation Location

If you choose Classroom or Auditorium, there’ll be an additional screen where you’re asked to input the name of the institution where the presentation is taking place.

College Or Academic Institution

Once you’re done inputting this basic information, it’s time to get started on the content.

There are six types of slides that you can insert into a Slidebean presentation. They are:

  • Header
  • Text
  • Bullets
  • Quote
  • Image
  • Video

There’s also a Chart option available in the slide creator, but this slide type isn’t available yet.

Adding content to your presentation is simply a matter of selecting a slide type and inputting any required information. Here’s what inputting content into a Text slide looks like:

Text Slide

You have a few options when it comes to inserting images into your presentation. You have the usual options to upload your own images or link images already online, but Slidebean also has an image search function powered by 500px. If you don’t have the image you need with you, you’ll probably be able to find something suitable using the search function.

Image Slide

Designing And Presenting Your Presentation

Once you’re done creating the content of your presentation, it’s time to select the design. Just click on the Continue To Design link at the bottom and you’ll be taken to the design screen. You have a choice of six different designs and 11 different colour schemes to fit any situation.

Presentation Design

After you’re satisfied with the content and look of your presentation, you can either download the presentation or present it directly from Slidebean. At the Dashboard, just mouse over a presentation and click on Present if you want to present it straight from Slidebean.

If you want to download it, click on More then click on Download. Slidebean will send you a link to a .PDF download. Be warned, though, that the .PDF will not contain any videos, animations or stock photos from 500px.

Presenting And Downloading Presentation

You can also share your presentation online. Just press the Share button and you’ll be given a public link, as well as buttons for sharing your presentation on Twitter and Facebook.

Sharing Presentation


Slidebean is a great tool for creating beautiful presentations without the headache of dealing with a complex interface or having to come up with a great-looking design. Slidebean is free to use, but there’s also a paid plan that adds support for secure private presentations as well as the ability to present offline. The paid plan costs $4.99 a month.


How to Create WordPress Custom Fields The Easy Way

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 12:01 AM PDT

WordPress provides the essential fields that allow us to publish posts and pages. A few of these fields include the Content Editor, Category Options, Tags, and Featured Image.

These fields, however, are not sufficient to accommodate certain cases. Let’s say you build a Book Listing site that will show the book author, the ISBN number, and the publisher. You will need some extra fields to input the extra information.

Luckily, WordPress is now quite extensive, it gives developers the ability to create custom fields to cater to any website needs. These custom fields could be a general text input, a textarea, a dropdown option, a color picker, calendar, and even an image uploader. In this tutorial, we show you how to create WordPress custom fields the easy way. Let’s get started.

Advanced Custom Fields

To give you a real example, let’s try building a book listing site. To create our custom fields easily, we will use a plugin called Advanced Custom Fields by Elliot Condon. With it, we won’t need to touch the code too much for creating the custom fields. However, some code-level editing in the theme files is required to display the data that we have entered into the fields.

Once we have installed it, it adds a new side-menu called Custom Fields. Go to this menu, click on the Add New button, and name the Fields Group. For example, "Custom Settings" (see shot).

Click on the + Add Field to create a new custom field, and we name the field label as Author. Below it, set the Field Name simply as book_author, which we will use to call out or display the data of Book Author. You may also set Field Instruction, and the Placeholder Text, but those are optional.

Then, we can create a set of other fields as in Page Length, the Publisher, and Book Language like so.

Next, we need to assign the field group to display it in a particular Post Type. You can assign it with Post, Page, Page Template, Attachment, or set rules that involve several Post Types altogether. In the following example, I would like to display the fields to Book Post Type, which you can easily create on your own with this handy tool, GenerateWP.

Then we head over to our Book Post Type editing screen, and fill it up.

Displaying the Data

Before proceeding, since we assigned the fields to Custom Post Type, we need to create a new file to display the content called single-book.php (have a look at this page for reference). We will also put our codes in this file.

Once all our custom fields have been populated, we will display them in the front-end by using the_field() function followed by the field name. For example, this code below displays the data from the Author Book field that we’ve created above.


It’s really that easy. Furthermore, if you want to make sure that it should only be displayed when the data is present, you can wrap the code with a conditional statement. For example:

 if( !empty(the_field('book_author')) ) : the_field('book_author'); endif; 

And below you will find all the codes that we put in single-book.php to display our book.

 <div class="entry-content"> <?php if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) { echo '<figure class="book-thumbnail">'; the_post_thumbnail('book-thumbnail'); } echo '</figure>'; ?> <div class="book-info"> <h3 class="book-title"><?php the_title() ?></h3> <p class="book-description"><?php the_content() ?></p> <h4 class="book-details-title">Book Details</h4> <div class="book-details"> <ul> <li class="book-author"><span class="label">Author:</span> <?php the_field('book_author') ;?></li> <li class="book-pub"><span class="label">Publisher:</span> <?php the_field('book_publisher') ;?></li> <li class="book-pages"><span class="label">Length:</span> <?php the_field('book_pages') ;?></li> <li class="book-lang"><span class="label">Language:</span> <?php the_field('book_language') ;?></li> <li class="book-pubid"><span class="label">ISBN/ASIN:</span> <?php the_field('book_isbn_asin') ;?></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> 

With a little bit of styling with CSS, we can achieve the following neat and subtle result.

Final Thought

In this tutorial, we’ve shown you the very basic example of using Advanced Custom Fields plugin to create your own a set of new Text fields and assign them to a Custom Post Type easily.

Apart from that, this plugin provides a number of custom fields to enhance our website including WYSIWYG Editor, TextArea, Dropdown, User List Options, Google Maps, and many more. You can explore the plugin further and see what cool things you can come up with.



Post a Comment