Getting started with buying and owning cryptocurrencies


This is a short introduction post for my friends that would like to get started with owning some crypto coins. The idea is to provide a simple guide with the minimal steps and some goto places. This post is not about opinion, advice, bubbles, or predictions but only to help you get started on the practical part of buying and safely storing your crypto coins. If you have decided to invest some of your money into it, this will bring you up to speed.

There are over 1300 different cryptocurrencies available at the moment of this writing daily new ones are emerging. For now, you don’t have to worry, nor understand too much about them. We’ll come to that later if you want to do some trading and speculation. But we start with the beginning and that is by converting some of your cash into crypto. I would advise picking an amount that you can miss and loose (because it is a big gamble), but still decent, for example, 1000 Euro.

From your ‘real money’ to ‘crypto money’

Let’s buy some Bitcoin. This is simple. Go to Coinbase – the largest platform I believe with millions of users – and sign up, connect a credit card, or wire some money. (if you use this link we both get a small reward for the referral). You have to go through some identification processes which is normal. Once you have your money deposited you can buy your first coins which will be stored in your account.

If you only want to own some Bitcoin (or Ethereum) you don’t have to look any further than this website. You can sell them anytime you like and the money will be deposited back into your bank account.

That’s it. It is that easy. You own your cryptocurrency. Stored in digital wallets. You can just sit it out and see in one year how your investment has grown (or disappeared). You can also send (and receive) from your account to other wallets if you like. But if this purchase got you excited there is a whole lot more to discover. Prepare yourself for going down the rabbit hole and enter a fascinating and complex world that touches every corner of society.

Monitoring your investment using this app

Unless you want to buy and forget it can be a lot of fun keeping track of the return on your investments. For that, I recommend installing the app called CoinCap. Download here for iOS  and here for Android. It shows real-time prices of almost all coins and you can create shadow portfolios where you can enter your own positions.

Exchanges: buying other cryptocurrencies

You might have seen that on Coinbase you can only buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The crypto-coin-world is much larger than that and even though Bitcoin is still dominating, other coins are interesting as well. When you go to Coinmarketcap.com (great site)  you see the different cryptocurrencies sorted by market cap. If you want to buy some of those coins you will have to dive one level deeper and move towards exchanges where cryptocurrencies are traded for other cryptocurrencies and no longer for Dollars or Euros.

The first exchange I signed up for was Poloniex – which is still one of the biggest. I would have stuck to that one only were it not for the fact that some coins are only tradable through specific exchanges and so, unfortunately, I could not avoid signing up for others too.

Exchanges work in a funny way that you have to first deposit some of your ‘standard’ cryptocurrency – such as Bitcoin – to your exchange-wallet before you can trade on their platform. The coins you then purchased are also stored on their platform until you transfer them to another place. Before long you end up having your coins all over the web on those exchanges. Make sure you don’t lose your passwords!! Another problem, but that I will explain later, is that leaving your coins there comes with a risk because when an exchange would get hacked there the possibility you loose your coins. There is no middleman like with your traditional bank.

 

 

I rejected the Apple watch before but 2 years later I bought a series 3 for a single reason (and not what you think it is)


When the first series came out I bought one through the company. As we were building apps it seemed relevant to me to get familiar with the device and find out if we could use this for our business or customers. Back then, the first days it was great, but mainly because it was new and it was a nice conversation topic. However, I wasn’t convinced and after some weeks I passed it on to a colleague.

Why I don’t like the Apple Watch

The reason I didn’t like the watch was the following. It was yet another device that distracts you.  If you want to get things done it is important to do this focussed and single minded. This device was not helping me getting things done. On the contrary. I’m the type that gets distracted already too quickly anyway.

Also, I notice people wearing the watch are really watching the thing with every notification. Particularly when you are in a conversation with them, it comes across as nervous and slightly rude. They aren’t even really aware of it themselves anymore I think. Again, I don’t think it increase productivity, it just seems they’re less engaged in whatever they are doing. I’m talking here in office contexts. I think if you use if for sport it could be more useful but then again, there might be better devices for that on the market. Also, I don’t really do sport.

Now, with all that in mind I removed the watch from my list of useful items. Until recently.

Why I did buy one today

In my new job there are a lot of meetings. At least 5 a day, often many more. Meetings which are part of the job – we can’t avoid them. I’m glad most of them are about the products and decision making. Our company culture doesn’t do meetings for the sake of it. We have – thank goodness – a culture of getting things done at high pace.

But in between meetings I have to produce work. And when doing this I loose track of time (who is watching his calendar constantly?). Sure my Mac gives notifications in the top right but they come in at such high frequency that I kind of filtered them out. Besides these notification aren’t only for my meetings (yes I add reminders in there).

So, what happens, I tend to miss meetings or come late. Which is very unprofessional so I figured: Let’s see if Apple Watch can solve my problem. I’m under the assumption that I can turn off any notification (WhatsApp, messages, mail, Telegram, Slack etc.) except a little buzz just before I have to move to a meeting. Let’s assume that I am prepared already because those things I plan ahead of the meeting. It’s just in the moment that I have to drop my things.

Today walked to the App Store and bought myself a aluminium black one. I never considered them as stylish necessarily, but I must admit I could barely hold myself back buying the steel version with brown leather wrist band. It looked gorgeous. Being a sucker for all that looks nice it took me a couple of minutes to settle my internal dialog and decided not to pay 400 bucks more for it. I got the black one. After all, when it comes to wearing a watch for its looks, I’ll take out my beautiful Swiss one. The Apple Watch (for met at least) is supposed to be an office watch.

Oh, and referring to the title of this post, I think a lot of people are buying series 3 for the cellular data option. I did pick it (you can see it by the red dot on the wheel of the watch) but it won’t be functional before. – but I guess I need to buy some wireless AirPods too.

Now, for the first test

So after the initial setup – which like always is a breeze with Apple products – I started fiddling with the settings. I choose for a modular face for at the office. It seems that it offers me the best layout. Besides the date-time, it has a large middle area for my upcoming calendar event – then 3 smaller quick-links to apps.

For those last 3 I’m still trying to find out what to put there. For now it is Breath (an app which I didn’t know that came installed that helps you do 1 minute of mindful breathing. Who knows).

Then I added Remote and Maps. I might want to change them tho. Maybe UBER would be a nice one if I could get it to work.

I think I turned off all notifications except the Event ones. As my agenda was completely empty this afternoon I added a fake one that will be in about 10 minutes from now to build up tension. I added a reminder ‘at the time of the event’.

When it turned 18:00 I was excited to get a friendly subtle tap but on my wrist but… nothing… Not a tweet, ping, tap or any sign of life. Both on my iPhone and on my Mac the notifications did show up. Hmm… I must have done something wrong.

The settings seem to be correct, I have upcoming Event Alerts ticked to ‘on’ and both Sound and Haptic are as well.

Strange. A google search led to this topic in Apple support, someone complaining about missing haptic on calendar events. I got nervous.

The support guy said something about your phone being locked in order to make it work. So, I rescheduled my fake appointment and repeated the exercise. Some of my excitement was replaced with ready to be annoyed-emotion but then it turned 18:15 and there it was… A ping and a por. It works. Relieve.

If it will really solve my problem I will only now by the end of next week. Meanwhile  I’m going to find other wrist bands because the default one I find rather ugly and the rubbery silicon feels funny!

The Apple ones are expensive but here is a huge market I noticed. Monowear Design for example, which seems to offer quite cool leather bands. And this strap seems interesting – leather from the outside with some other material on the inside so it won’t get smelly native union.

Points the App for people that like to remember places


I’ve been working on a private project called Points. It’s an app that help you remember and organise places that matter to you. Contrary to for example TripAdvisor, this app focuses on private persons rather than the crowd to inform you. First it is about you and your places, and secondly you want to be recommended by people you know, and by people that know you.

I had this need already since years, and had the idea to build and app for it. However, like with many ideas, for whatever excuses, they often are just that; ideas. It took a long time before I took the first step to actually bring it to life. Several reasons put me to that point. One was that I have been making apps for corporations (as product owner/ product manager) for many years and I now finally wanted to make something for myself. A project where I can make my own decisions (and mistakes). A project where I can do exactly as I want. A second reason is that I can use this project as a learning vehicle. I can test theories, and play with tools that otherwise are left untouched. In this blog I will discuss some of the experiments and some of the tools I use for the sake of sharing. Another reason, I won’t lie, is that maybe, just maybe, the product becomes a big success and with the funds I can work on more of my ideas. Currently I have financed everything myself, and for corporate amounts it might be a silly amount but when it comes out of your own pocket every thousand dollar is a lot. It forces you – which is a good thing – to be very critical in decisions you take in terms of feature development, and you have to become very resourceful. You have to trim your product of all fat, slash off parts wherever you can. Saying NO when it comes to product strategy is twice as important now, because mistakes are very expensive. Now the MVP is in the app store. I must admit, it is not yet optimal, and I’m not sure if I made all the right decisions. But this doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that it is out there now, and I learn from people using the app.

As you can see, the last post I did on this blog was in 2013. However, now I think I have something fun to share again. Getting some insights in the path of new product on its way to great successes 😀

Here is the website, www.pointstheapp.com

 

Elon Musk is back with an high speed transit-system he calls the Hyperloop!


You know by know that Elon Musk is one of my favorite mad individuals. A couple of days ago he launched a global discussion with the following tweet:

Musk published a 57 page paper outlining the Hyperloop proposal. The Hyperloop is a concept mass transit system that could become a fifth mode after plains, trains, cars and boats. Its fast (extreme fast), safe, cheap and self-sustaining regarding the energy usage. He is giving the idea as open-source to the community hoping that it will be improved and eventually picked up by entrepreneurs or governments. Musk himself is currently to busy running the other companies.

It’s Musk reaction to the approval of a already horrible delayed and super-expensive project bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles US. According to Musk (and I agree) there is a better, faster, environmental friendlier, cheaper and more comfortable way.

The Hyperloop in a nutshell

The basic idea is to have a tube on pillars with reduced air (not near vacuum as many articles claim) shooting small pods for 14 people (or larger versions that can contain cars) through it every 30 seconds at maximum. It will use electric engines (adjusted Tesla engines), magnetic fields and an air-floating system to minimise friction to get the pods going.

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The air in front of the pod is sucked up by a van, compressed and pushed out of the back and through little holes in the skies which will lift the pod (compared to air-hockey, except the air is coming out of the pod (puck) and not the tube (table) making sure the tubes remain relatively inexpensive).

hyperloop

The pods will reach speeds of 800 miles an hour with only some downforce on the passengers whilst travelling because the pods will bank in the corners (think of bobsleds).

An artist's impression of the Hyperloop pod

Why wouldn’t this work?

Technically I’m not advanced enough to truly judge weather or not this is feasible but I tend to blindly believe Musks claims. I also believe that there will be some engineering challenges, and maybe it will be a bit more expensive than he claims but who cares. It most probably still be much cheaper than the intended ancient-train. And its a cool project!

Some nay-sayers already claimed that there will be a heating problem due to the air-compression and friction. Others say that it will politically impossible.

He made it snow in summer!


Edward Snowden deserves a spot on this website. After all, this is about mad individuals  leaving their mark on the world. Individuals who dear to stick their neck out. This certainly is the case for, the by now very famous, Edward Snowden. This hero couldn’t take it anymore and decided to show the world some unacceptable activity done by the US.

As we all know by now, the world was shaking for a while. Everyone is upset and the US is preparing a official statement about the subject, to ensure their allies (and enemies) that this is all a big misunderstanding.

At this very moment of this writing, Snowden sits around somewhere in the Moskou Airport becoming another Tom Hanks case, like in the movie The Terminal (great one by the way). The only difference now, is that in our case the whole world is watching. First we learn that the US is tapping us all. Not Americans on their own soil (because that’s agains their law), but basically, including their closed allies, the rest of the world.  It’s no longer only about the ‘enemies of the free world’ but also about you and me and our little home Apple.

The whole world is raging about it and obviously, the US is a little annoyed by him. They would love to get their hands on him to make him stop leaking.

Who will let him in?

There is a lot of pressure on Snowden. It’s good that he put his face out there. At least he is safe for the moment. The question is, will a government stand up and be grateful what he did. The people all over the world most definitely are. But who will take care of him?

Here in Europe, nobody wants to make the US angry. Ecuador I believe is still (or back) in the picture. Putin is also politically pulling back. I wonder who will be brave enough to let him in and protect the guy who was brave enough to stand up. Will be remain on his own?

Impact of his deeds

We don’t know yet what the total impact of Snowden will be. If it escalades and it backfires America, it could mean a global power shift. Already its getting pretty sensitive here and there. If the dollar ends up falling (not much for that needed), America as economical leader is out of the picture, ready to be replaced by China, Japan or Europe (if we ever get our EU government in order). Unless, they decide to become military leaders. Than we have a problem.

 

 

Gangster gardener Ron Finley


I always wondered why there weren’t any fruit trees growing randomly in the streets. Why is the only place you can buy an apple in the store? Plant a tree, and it will give fruit for free for ever. Isn’t this weird? It’s like the farmers or supermarkets have a patent on growing food.

Meet Ron Finley and his inspiring vision of repurposing unused the 26 square miles (!!) of open space with his group L.A. Green Grounds.

Guerilla gardening

pothole_garden_01

Guerilla gardening is a global trend. More and more people start to grow their own food and make the city a better place to live in. With a little creativity of vision, and willingness to get our hands dirty, we can remake spaces defined by asphalt and dead grass into productive places of beauty. Rooftops are also a beautiful place to grow your own food!

Extreme rare books for sale


It’s always nice to have special- and rare editions of things. Especially when those things had impact on all of us. With some books that is definitely the case. Well, At The Jones Brothers you can find supreme rare versions of those books. First and signed editions of The Great Gatsby for example. Or copies of the BOND books.

Secure your copies to fill a book shelf and be ready to impress (and leave the cheesy versions for the e-reader). They will look great next to your vinyl collection.

Or, if you want to do your own digging, have a look on Ebay & Co. For example, I did some searching regarding the first edition (first print, first issue) of The Great Gatsby and there are some versions available. I believe the originals go for about USD 3,000 and up depending on the condition. All without the original dust jacket. Those alone go for a whooping USD 150,000 and up on auctions.

 

The ultimate nap-couch.


Jump into your couch. Literally. Camp Daybed by Stephanie Hornig

Clean alternative to Lorum Ipsum


If you don’t want your clients to be asking what “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet” means, this might be a good alternative. Download Blokk Font for free. For me, I prefer the Lorum Ipsum. It has some character.

Coming Up: Launching soon (with LaunchRock)


As I said in a earlier post, we are working on a new project called Coming Up. The product is still in development, but thanks to the guys from LaunchRock we already have a ‘launching soon’ website in the air.

LaunchRock offers a tool to quickly set up this page! The concept is great, though there are some bugs in the software. For example, the site is not responsive so it doesn’t look good on my mobile phone, and there are some tiny things regarding the sharing on Facebook. The support team is adequate and they are responding in a great way to my emails. At LaunchRock you can see who signed up and by whom they are referred. There are some other statistics like who referred the most people so you can reward them if you like. Obviously, you can export the users to have your mailing list by time you need to warn them.

Coming Up

Coming up is an app that will help you to get together with your friends in real life! Plan something spontaneously, invite friends to join or just see what they are up to (but only if you are invited, or their plans are public).

Pre signup here, we will let you know the moment we launch!

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