Open Bitcoin ATM

Open Bitcoin ATM

This Open Bitcoin ATM might be a simply way to distribute Bitcoin in establishments that want to use it for sales. Just make sure no one walks away with the big box of cash.

“Open Bitcoin ATM is the worlds first open-source automated teller machine for education and experimentation.

Want to make one? Here’s a step by step tutorial. It takes about 7 – 10 hours to build with simple tools. Cost of components are less than $500 new but used parts can be purchased for even less on eBay.”

See the project Here

Securing Your Wallet

You should note that there aren’t actually any bitcoins stored in your wallet.

A bitcoin is really nothing more than a balance recorded in a publically shared ledger. Transactions are orders to the Bitcoin network to transfer some of your balance from your bitcoin address to someone else’s. The way you prove to the network that you own the bitcoins associated with a particular address is by signing your transactions with the private key that matches that address. Here’s what they look like:

Bitcoin Address: 12CbHSwuMVxbwdGzCZaiLnXgxFBj3YE2ax

Private Key: L32qYhUt93qg7MWUSYCUaPKS9qeaKEZquV566Qfh7wZfqqmvZZum

Without the private key, you can’t spend your bitcoins. It is this private key (or keys if you use more than one address) that is stored in your wallet. Needless to say, if your keys are lost or stolen, your bitcoins are gone forever. Hence, why you need to take precautions to prevent that from happening.

Hot Wallet vs. Cold Storage

In Bitcoin parlance a “hot wallet” is a wallet that is connected to the internet, while “cold storage” refers to wallets that are kept offline. The distinction is important because wallets that are connected to the internet are susceptible to being hacked and having the keys stolen. We’re going to talk about some steps you can take to prevent your hot wallet from being hacked, but it’s not possible to completely eliminate this risk. Cold storage, on the other hand, if done correctly eliminates the possibility that your wallet can be hacked.

As a general rule, you should treat your hot wallet very much like the real wallet that you carry around with you. You wouldn’t go walking down the street with thousands of dollars of cash in your pocket. To do so would just be asking to get mugged. Instead you might carry one or two hundred dollars tops. Certainly nothing more than you can afford to lose if you did get mugged. Hot wallets are the same way. Given the potential for theft, you don’t want to keep any more than a couple hundred dollars worth of bitcoins in a hot wallet. If you own more than that, the rest should be kept in cold storage and only removed when you actually need to spend the bitcoins. It may sound like I’m just offering up a suggestion here, but if you don’t want your bitcoins stolen, this practice should not be considered optional.

Securing Your Hot Wallet

There are three different types of wallets — software wallets, web based wallets, and mobile wallets. We’ll skip discussion of mobile wallets since they are a bit more experimental and I wouldn’t expect you to keep that many bitcoins on your phone anyway. Software wallets install on your computer and store your keys on your hard drive. For example, the windows version of the reference client, Bitcoin-Qt, stores the keys in a wallet.dat file located in the C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Bitcoin directory. Any hacker attempting to steal your keys will be looking for this file. We should note that, by default, this file in unencrypted. All it takes is for a hacker to copy this file and they have your keys. Wallets will typically let you encrypt this file to protect it. In Bitcoin-Qt you can encrypt it from the settings menu.

Bitcoin-Qt When encrypting your wallet make sure you use a strong password. As you hopefully know, a brute force attack becomes exponentially more difficult as the length of your password increases. Random passwords of 12 or more characters should take hundreds of thousands of years to brute force. Some people make the mistake of picking a long word then changing some of the letters to symbols in an attempt to create a password they can remember. For example: @r3V0LuTi0n#. The problem with these type of passwords is that there are algorithms out there that will pick a word from the dictionary and check 10,000 combinations of that word per second. So while you think you’ve got a strong password, it can be broken pretty easily. There’s no substitute for plain old random characters: 8t$e2%?U(qHr3t!

Unfortunately, even encrypting your wallet file isn’t going to completely protect you. If your computer gets infected with malware that logs your keystrokes, an attacker could get the password to your wallet and steal your bitcoins. If someone is capable of hacking into your computer and stealing the wallet.dat file, he’s also likely to be able to get your password. Installing anti-virus software and keeping it up to date can help, but it isn’t foolproof.

AuthenticatorAnother option you have is to use a web based wallet such as Blockchain.info. These wallets works similarly to a software wallet except the keys are stored on a web server rather than on your hard drive. Like a software wallet, the keys are encrypted and can only be decrypted with your password.

An additional security feature that web based wallets will frequently offer is two-factor authentication. The two most popular two-factor services are Yubikey and Google Authenticator. Yubikey requires a USB drive to use while Google Authenticator requires that you download an app on your phone. Setting up a wallet with two-factor authentication is extremely easy. It may take a minute at most. Once enabled, you will be required to sign in with both your password and the two-factor validation code. You can see what Google Authenticator looks like on the right. It refreshes the validation code every 30 seconds making it impossible to brute force. If you have two factor enabled, an attacker will not only need your password, but also your cell phone or yubikey USB drive to steal your bitcoins.

While web based wallets will offer two-factor authentication as an optional service, it is NOT optional if you don’t want to get your bitcoins stolen. The history of bitcoin is replete with people who thought they didn’t need two-factor only to lose hundreds of bitcoins. Don’t be one of them — use two-factor authentication.

Blockchain.info also allows you to enter a second password that will be used for making transactions (separate from the password used to log in). This password is entered using your mouse and an on-screen keyboard to avoid keyloggers. Again, never pass up an opportunity to increase the security of your wallet. It will be worth it even it is less convenient.

Also, there is a particular type of attack that someone could attempt which involves altering the javascript that your browser downloads when it connects to the site. When you sign in, your password would be sent to the attacker allowing him to access your wallet. To prevent this, Blockchain offers Chrome and Firefox browser extensions that can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store or Firefox add on manager and launched from the apps menu. The extension downloads the javascript onto your computer rather than loading it from the internet preventing this type of attack.

Browser Extension You can tell you’re using the extension because the Blockchain logo at the top of the page will have the Chrome logo next to it. If you don’t see the Chrome logo, don’t sign in! You really should never be logging in to your web wallet through the internet, only through the browser extension. Doing otherwise is unnecessarily putting your bitcoins at risk. Blockchain Chrome Logo On a final note, always backup your hot wallet. If your hard drive crashes or the server where your keys are stored goes down, you’ll lose your bitcoins. Most software wallets will have an option in the menu to backup your keys or you could simply copy the wallet.dat file to a flash drive, the cloud, or another computer. Web based wallets will give you an option to download a backup or have one emailed to you.

Cold Storage

Now we’re going to talk about how to securely create a cold storage wallet. Keep in mind it isn’t as simple as generating a new Bitcoin address, copying the private key to a flash drive, then deleting the key off your computer. If you do this while connected to the internet, someone could steal your keys in the window between when you generated the keys and when you deleted them from your computer. There are better options for doing this securely.

Option 1: This is the preferred method for creating a cold storage wallet. You will need a second computer that you are committed to keeping offline permanently. An old computer or laptop that you don’t use anymore will work provided that it isn’t liable to crash on you.

  1. Install the Bitcoin software on this computer.
  2. Unplug it from the internet or disable your WiFi connection. Be sure that you NEVER reconnect it after this point.
  3. Generate a new Bitcoin address and private key. With Bitcoin-Qt you can just delete the wallet.dat file and it will create a new one when you restart the software.
  4. Copy these keys to flash drives in case your computer crashes. Keep the flash drives in separate locations. You might want to hide one in your floorboards or put one in a safe deposit box.
  5. Send bitcoins from your hot wallet to the address you just generated.

By creating a cold storage address this way, you can guarantee that your private keys will never touch the internet, thus making it impossible for your keys to be stolen. That is, unless someone physically accesses your computer or flash drives. But that is why you encrypt them after all.

How you can generate a new key pair while offline. How do you know that the bitcoin address you generate isn’t already taken? The answer is there are so many possible bitcoin addresses that the probability you will generate an address that is in use by someone else (or vise versa) is remote. Put it another way, if you were generating bitcoin addresses non-stop every day, the Sun would turn into a red giant and engulf the Earth before you would stumbled across an address already in use.

Option 2: If you don’t have a second computer, there is another way of creating a cold storage wallet, but keep in mind this option doesn’t 100% guarantee that your keys won’t be stolen the way option 1 does.

  1. Disconnect from the internet and turn off your modem.
  2. Open the Bitcoin software and generate a new bitcoin address.
  3. Copy your wallet.dat file to a flash drive (or multiple flash drives)
  4. Delete the wallet file from your computer.
  5. Restart to clear your memory of any data that may be stored by malware.
  6. Reconnect to the internet and send bitcoins from your hot wallet to the new cold storage address.

While I’m not an expert on malware, I’m going to assume that it is possible for malware to copy your private keys (after you generate them offline) to your hard disk and upload them once you reconnect to the internet. I haven’t heard of this happening, but I suppose the possibility is still there.

It is possible to mitigate this risk if you want to go through the trouble of booting into another OS. If you are unaware, you can boot into temporary operating system directly from a DVD or USB drive without actually installing the OS on your computer. Doing so will isolate your work environment from any malware that you might already have on your computer. In my opinion, the best OS to use for this purpose is the Linux based Tails operating system. Tails is specially configured to not use your computer’s hard disk, only the memory. That means if you accidentally download malware while using tails, it will be erased when you reboot into your normal OS. This should prevent malware from copying your keys and broadcasting them when you finally reconnect to the internet. It may sound like booting into another OS is difficult, but it really isn’t. The Tails website has easy to follow instructions. It really amounts to little more than downloading an .iso file, burning it to a DVD, then rebooting with this DVD in your drive. It’s that simple.

I should probably also mention that Coinbase runs free hosted wallet service. They keep approximately 90% of the bitcoins their customers store with them in cold storage (safe deposit boxes to be exact) and about 10% in a hot wallet so they can spend them at their convenience. If you’re not comfortable making a cold storage wallet yourself, you might want to consider outsourcing it to them. Considering their livelihood is on the line if they fail to keep your bitcoins safe, I would say they are pretty secure. The only problem would be if the U.S. government decided to raid Coinbase, you would lose all your bitcoins. That wouldn’t happen if you store them yourself.

Paper Wallets

Instead of (or in addition to) keeping your cold storage private keys on a hard drive or flash drive, you can print them onto a piece of paper. Paper Wallet You could do this by using either options 1 or 2 from above. There are several websites that offer paper wallet generators. Blockchain.info, Bitcoinpaperwallet.com, and Bitaddress.org among others.

If you are going to use these services DO NOT just generate the paper wallet in your browser. You could be victimized by the same javascript attack I mentioned earlier. You can avoid this by using the Chrome or Firefox browser extentions if you are using Blockchain.info or by downloading the source code for the other sites from GitHub and running the script natively. If you’re paranoid that your roommate or a bank employee (if using a safe deposit box) might steal your paper wallet, you might want to consider printing it out with a BIP 38 encrypted private key.

Brainwallets

The only reason you actually need to store a private key somewhere is because it’s so difficult to memorize it. If you could memorize it, then you wouldn’t need to worry about your computer being hacked. Enter brain wallets. A brian wallet is a bitcoin wallet that is generated deterministically from an easily memorizable passphrase. For example:

Passphrase: Man made it to the moon,, and decided it stinked like yellow cheeeese.

Private Key: 5JhmqDih2bTprJLZJYwUgnsAiHNbU8DReuBFMKCq5nPAmj1PeYQ

Bitcoin Address: 1CeU9ugjwfsnzrhqjKy1HUBzXCCXVC76m1

So long as you can remember the passphrase, you can always generate the corresponding private key and bitcoin address at a time of your choosing. This would especially useful for people trying to smuggle bitcoins across international borders. You wouldn’t need to try to create a hidden partition on your hard drive or hide a flash drive on you somewhere. You could simply store your bitcoins in your head and clear customs with no problem.

Keep in mind, if you are generating a brain wallet, your passphrase needs to be much longer and much more random than a typical password.  Possibly a random sentence containing over ten words and a few unique spellings and avoid using sentences or quotes found in published literature. Also, considering adding a salt to the end of your passphrase to increase the security:

Man made it to the moon,, and decided it stinked like yellow cheeeesea4uMj92Hnlx.

Like paper wallets, there are websites you can use to generate a brainwallet: Blockchain.info, Brainwallet.org, Bitaddress.org. Just like before, you want to use options 1 or 2 for creating the brainwallet offline and either use the browser extension or download the source code from github when running the script.

Removing Bitcoins From Cold Storage

If you are trying to remove bitcoins from cold storage, you must spend the entire amount. There have been plenty of people have tried spending only part of their cold storage balance only to lose everything. To understand why this is the case, you have to understand how bitcoin transactions work. When you go to spend bitcoins, you have to prove you own the amount that you are trying to spend. Your wallet does this by pointing to a transaction in the blockchain where you received this amount bitcoins or more. This amount is considered to be the transaction “input”. As per the protocol, transaction inputs and outputs must be equal. So lets say you want to spend three bitcoins. Your wallet might use a prior transaction where you received 10 bitcoins as the input. Since outputs must equal inputs, your wallet will send three bitcoins to the destination and seven bitcoins back to yourself as “change”. Many wallets, including Bitcoin-Qt, will generate a brand new bitcoin address for the change rather than send the change back to the original address. This is considered to be an anonymity feature.

If you import your private key into your hot wallet from cold storage and make a transaction for less than the full balance, your wallet will send the change to a newly generated change address. If you assume the balance is still in your original cold storage address and proceed to delete the new wallet file, you will be deleting the keys to the change address leaving your original cold storage address with a balance of zero.

So to eliminate this possibility, always spend the entire balance from your cold storage address. If you want to keep some funds in cold storage, go through the steps for creating a new cold storage address and send the balance there. It may be more convenient to create multiple cold storage addresses, each with a balance of 5 BTC, say, rather than a single address with a balance of 100 BTC. That way you would only have to remove 5 BTC from cold storage when you want to spend it, rather than the full balance.

Offline Transactions

Instead of going through the hassle of completely removing funds from cold storage every time you want to make a transaction, there is an advanced feature that allows you to make transactions directly from cold storage. If you use a second computer for cold storage like described in option 1 above, this is how you would do it:

  1. Create an unsigned transaction sending bitcoins from your cold storage address to the destination.
  2. Transfer the unsigned transaction to the cold storage computer via a flash drive.
  3. Have the cold storage client sign the transaction using your private key.
  4. Transfer the signed transaction back to the online computer and broadcast it.

Doing it this way, you can make a transaction without exposing your private keys to the internet, eliminating the possibility of theft. Currently, the bitcoin wallet Armory is the only wallet with this feature.

Hardware Wallets Trezor

Finally, we’ll wrap up with a new technology that should be hitting the market very soon — hardware wallets. As you can gather from our discussion thus far, the most secure way to use bitcoin is to use a second computer for cold storage and offline transactions. The problem is that most people don’t have a second computer available and even if they do, it takes some technical skill to set it up properly.

A hardware wallet essentially serves as your second computer. Your bitcoin address and private key are generated entirely on the device and never come in contact with the internet.  When you want to make a transaction, the hardware wallet signs the transaction and sends it over a USB cable to your computer for broadcast. The image on the right is of the Trezor hardware wallet which is scheduled to start shipping in either October or November. Butterflylabs is apparently also working on a hardware wallet, but I’ll believe that when I see it. They are notorious for over-promising and under-delivering.

iPhone 6 parts surface on Twitter

iPhone 6 parts surface on Twitter, hint at a larger screen on the way (update: likely fake)

Lately it seems like Apple can’t build anything without a few prototype cases leaking into public view, and now we’re seeing pictures of what could be the next iPhone. Posted by a Twitter user earlier today and addressed to several Apple-focused websites, the “iPhone 6” shells look very close to current models, but are thinner and have space for a larger edge to edge-style display, which has been rumored before. Sonny Dickson, who has previously obtained iPhone and iPad parts prior to the launch of new devices, has also apparently received the same pictures and tells MacRumors they came from a source in China. Based on the ports, MacRumors says the parts here are 2.6-inches wide, compared to the iPhone 5s which is 2.31 inches. Are these pics the real thing, and if they are, do they represent what we’ll likely see from Apple later this year? Without any details to back them up we can’t be sure, but you can check out a few more pictures for yourself after the break.

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Best Bitcoin mining software

Best Bitcoin mining clients

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Are you thinking of joining the Bitcoin mining universe? In case you don’t know, you can either mine on your own or as part of a pool. In terms of profit, there aren’t really many differences: solo mining will give you large and irregular payouts, as pooled mining will result in small and frequent payouts. In the end, they both add up to the same amount.

Whatever your choice might be, remember you need to follow certain steps to successfully mine Bitcoins: get the right hardware, get the best software that matches your needs, arrange a way to receive the profits of mining and start solving algorithms.

This is where you stop and think: but what is the best software for me if I don’t even know them all? Well, let’s make a small list of the most used software and help you choose.

1. CGminer

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This software is, currently, the most popular GPU/FPGA/ASIC miner. CGminer is an open source GPU miner written in C available for several platforms like Windows, Linux and OS X. One of the things that make it extremely popular is the fact that it’s based on the original code Cpu Miner, which you can discover in Bitcoin Wiki.

This software includes overclocking, monitoring, fans peed control and remote interface capabilities. His other features include self detection of new blocks with a mini-database, binary loading of kernels, multi GPU support and CPU mining support. There are a lot of other characteristics you can discover here, at CGminer official forum.

Download CGminer here.

2. BFGminer

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This software is a derivative of the previous CGminer, designed specifically for FPGA and ASICs, but without the central focus on GPUs like CGminer. The latest update on BFGminer, the 3.1.1 version launched in April 2012, features dynamic clocking, monitoring and remote interface capabilities.

Besides being a super versatile program, BFGminer has really interesting features: vector support, integrated overclocking and fan control, ADL device reordering by PCI bus ID, support for mining with free Mesa/LLVM OpenCL and for getblocktemplate decentralized mining protocol and also crypt mining support for both CPU and OpenCL (GPU).

A little reminder: if you’re mining with a ModMiner, X6500 or ZTEX devices, you need to download bitstreams to make sure BFGMiner 3+ works with your device. You can find them in the official BFGminer forum and check BFGminer’s official website here.

Download BFGminer here.

3. BitMinter

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We can say that, although BitMinter might not be the most popular mining software, it’s certainly one of the best when it comes to connect with users and potential “clients”. The software’s official website is quite complete and straightforward: for the creators of the program, it’s all about making Bitcoin mining “easy” and winning “high payouts”.

BitMinter is different because it’s a software that belongs to a mining pool, so your initial step is to register and fill in the pool sign-up form. So, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a simple installation.

Besides being available for operative systems like Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, BitMinter assures a good mining speed and long polling in order to reduce stale work. It also allows you to mine on OpenCL-compatible GPUs or ASICs/FPGAs (BFL, Block Erupter and other Icarus-compatible). The official BitMinter forum can be found here.

4. BTCMiner

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This open source Bitcoin mining software for ZTEX USB-FPGA Modules 1.15 runs on the operative systems Linux and Windows. Yet, Windows users need to install the libusb driver first, which you can find here. The FPGA boards supported by BTCMiner (USB-FPGA Modules 1.15b and 1.15d, USB-FPGA Modules 1.15x and USB-FPGA Modules 1.15y.) have a USB interface, which can be used for communication and programming, allowing the user to build low cost FPGA clusters with standard components (like USB hubs, for instance). In practical terms, this means no JTAG programmer is required and the program allows to run large mining rigs from just one software instance.

The software features a ready-to-use Bitstream, which doesn’t require any Xilinx Software or a license, so this is an advantage. However, its dynamic frequency scaling is based on error measurement: so, BTCMiner automatically chooses the frequency with the highest rate of valid hashes. You can find BTCMiner official website here and discover more about this mining software.

Download BTCminer here.

5. Poclbm

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Poclbm is a python GPU Bitcoin mining software, which uses the OpenCL framework to perform the hashing computations in a quick way. This framework, which allows programmers to write code that will work across a big variety of hardware, reveals all its potential when used with a modern GPU, producing hash rates of higher magnitude than what can be achieved with a normal CPU.

The program works perfectly with AMD – 4xxx and up, as well as with Nvidia – 8xxx and up (also video cards). According to some users talking in the official Poclbm forum, the software is great for experimentation and also multiple machine mining (not so good for the masses).

Download Poclbm here.

6. DiabloMiner

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This program is a Java GPU Bitcoin miner that uses the OpenCL framework, like Poclbm. This way, DiabloMiner also allows its users to quickly perform the hashing computations. The software, which is a command line kind of program, works on current Nvidia drivers and ATI Stream SDK 2.1. This characteristic means that the users need to open a terminal (cmd.exe, Terminal.app/iTerm2 or xterm, among others) and run the program from there.

If you’re mining in multiple pools, it’s important to know that DiabloMiner supports unlimited pools and is able to switch to the next pool on connection failure, returning to the first one every 60 minutes, according to information available on the software’s website. To read some opinions of users go to the DiabloMiner official forum.

Download DiabloMiner here.

 

After presenting you these different software miners and its characteristics, it’s safe to say one thing: more important than rating them and placing them on a podium, you need to know them to correctly choose the one that’s better for your needs and already available hardware. If you’re looking for a technical comparison, check these tables at Bitcoin Wiki. Good mining!

Bitcoin ATMs Coming to the U.S.

 Bitcoin ATMs Coming to the U.S. BY Will Yakowicz

Austin and Seattle will get the first machines later this month, making it easier for consumers to use the virtual currency and benefiting companies that accept it.
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Bitcoin automated teller machiness will soon become available in the U.S., potentially increasing the customer base for businesses that accept the digital currency.

Robocoin, a Las Vegas-based startup, announced on Tuesday that it will install the first ATMs in the U.S. in Seattle and Austin by the end of February–eroding a major barrier to the virtual currency’s mainstream adoption.

The company installed the first two Bitcoin ATMs in the world last year in Vancouver and London. It plans to install additional machines this month in Asia, Canada, and, Europe, Reuters reports.

According to the wire service, the kiosks are similar to conventional cash ATMs, but instead of reading debit cards the machines scan government-issued identification cards like driver’s licenses or passports to confirm users’ identities.

Users will be able to exchange Bitcoin for cash, as well as to deposit cash to buy Bitcoin. To transfer and hold funds, users need to have a virtual wallet on their smartphone.

It’s still difficult for the average user to buy, sell, and use Bitcoin. But as startups race to make the virtual currency easier to use and popular e-commerce sites like Overstock.com–which has recorded $1 million in Bitcoin sales–start accepting it, wide adoption may be within sight.

Scott Robinson, the founder of the Sunnyvale, California-based Plug and Play Bitcoin Accelerator, says the Bitcoin ecosystem today is in a similar state to the Internet’s infrastructure when it was being built two decades ago.

“In more than one way, this is entirely paralleled to the Internet in the 1990s,” Robinson says. “If you can, remember how hard it was to just connect to the Internet in 1993: Set up an Internet provider account, buy a dial-up modem, download a browser, use the browser to find a search engine, or go straight to AOL’s homepage.”

The news of Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. comes after a hectic period for the virtual currency, with one of the largest exchanges, Mt. Gox, freezing withdrawals due to a security breach. The price of Bitcoin plummeted from nearly $850 early in February to less than $580 on February 14. As of Tuesday morning, Bitcoin is hovering around $620.

BY Will Yakowicz

12 tutorials for taking your Raspberry Pi to the limit

 

You’ll find that you can automate your home, design your own devices, and perhaps even save a lot of money (that is, if you don’t suddenly feel the need to buy twelve new Raspberry Pis). 

Overclock Your Pi

Normally overclocking, the process of making a computer operate more quickly or powerfully than recommended by the manufacturer, is not advised. But the Raspberry Pi Foundation knows its users too well to forbid it, and even offers suggestions on how to do it without voiding your warranty. This tutorial shares the frequencies you’ll need to know to get going.

Synced Music And Christmas Lights

A programmer known as ChivalryTimbers programmed his Raspberry Pi to synchronize MIDI music and his Christmas lights. The programmer has since linked a way to do the same process, but with the more common mp3 music format. The thorough tutorial includes everything he needed for the project, including no less than 50 feet of electrical wire. 

You can see his lights flashing to the tune of Star Wars in the video:

Humidity And Temperature Sensor

Chris Baume quickly discovered that home brewing your own beer is pretty difficult when you don’t have a thermostat in your house. So he connected his Raspberry Pi to a $2 DHT11 sensor. Now even when he’s not home, he can check the exact temperature and humidity in his brewing room via an Internet address—though, sadly, that doesn’t necessarily mean he can do anything about it if the temperature starts fluctuating.

Adafruit, an online electronics-education and parts site, also offers a tutorial for more generalized Pi humidity sensing

Weather Station

Why stop at humidity and temperature? Here’s a tutorial for programming your Pi to record everything from rainfall to wind speed by rigging it up to a Maplin weather forecaster. From there, you could even program the Pi to automatically update a website with the weather conditions. Combining both science and tech, this could make an ideal school project. 

Digital Picture Frame

  Andy Jagoe's Raspberry Pi digital photo frame. Andy Jagoe’s Raspberry Pi digital photo frame.

Instead of buying a pricey digital picture frame at your local electronics store, you can make one for half the cost and double the features with Raspberry Pi. This Instructables tutorial outlines a frame that displays not just photos, but also movies, musics, and weather reports. Better yet, project author Andy Jagoe said he built it in just a couple of hours.

Gaming Device 

First, a caveat: It’s quite illegal to emulate licensed games—and developers like Nintendo take it very seriously. But if you’re interested in playing free indie or fair use games, it’s easy to set up your Pi as a gaming console. Here are just a few free games you can legally download.

Mobile Robot

Ordinarily, getting into robotics can be a huge monetary investment. But with Raspberry Pi, you can build your own remote-control robot for $150 or less. Linux User offers detailed tutorials on both building the robot using Linux—and then writing a Python program to control it from any Internet connected device. (A digital copy of the magazine tutorial will set you back about $6, though.)

Don’t want to use Linux? Instructables offers tutorials for building Pi powered robots in both Python and ROS (Robotic Operating System). 

Supercomputer

  A Raspberry Pi supercomputer. A Raspberry Pi supercomputer.

A single Raspberry Pi is about as powerful as a Pentium 2 with graphics on par with the original XBox. Connect 64 of them together, like one University of South Hampton professor did, and you have some serious power at your fingertips. 

Professor Simon Cox put out a tutorial on how to make a 64-node (or more) supercomputer by racking that many Raspberry Pis. One recommended technique: Build your racks from Legos.

Home Automation System

Combine a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino, and a Node.js program, and you’ve got an efficient way to control and monitor any device in your home that runs on AC power. You could turn your lights or TV on and off, or if you want to get more advanced with parts and programming, set up the Pi to turn lights off when it senses a temperature shift.

Digital Camera

Build a digital touchscreen camera for $126 and only four pieces of hardware (including your Pi) with Phil Burgess’ video tutorial on Adafruit. It’s held together with rubber bands and not exactly slick, but what’s that compared to using a camera you made with your own hands?

Touchscreen Tablet

Who needs a pricey iPad when you can build a Raspberry Pi touchscreen tablet to your exact specifications? Andre Hitchman wrote a complete tutorial for doing so with a Chalkboard Electronics touch screen. Amazingly, there are only seven steps—though, to be fair, the resulting “tablet” isn’t exactly portable, festooned as it is with lots of dangling wires and loose components.

Landline 

Why pay for a landline when you have a Raspberry Pi? That’s what this tutorial argues, and it shows you how to substitute Pi and Google Voice for your current landline provider. You can make free calls, but it’s important to note that you won’t have the ability to make 911 emergency calls with this tutorial. But that’s what your smartphone is for.

More Instructables/Raspberry-Pi-Projects/

So you got a Raspberry Pi: now what?

got a Raspberry Pi: now what?

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When the Raspberry Pi was released earlier this year, the credit-card-sized Linux machine became an instant hit. The night it became available to order, both Premier Farnell/element14 and RS Components, the official distributors of the Pi project, exhibited the signs of a late ’90s Slashdot effect: you could barely even get the two sites to load. Fast forward to today, and you can finally get your hands on one within three weeks. The Raspberry Pi is truly the Linux device of the year, if not the past decade. Follow past the break and we’ll show you how to set yours up now that you’ve actually succeeded in snagging one.

What is the Raspberry Pi?

Initially, the Raspberry Pi was seeded out as an early developer release, with hopes of gaining early support from the development community. However, on the night of release, all distributor sites where slammed with a glut of requests. If you were lucky enough to nab one of the first units, odds are you were either amazed or utterly disappointed by what arrived in the mail.

If you were underwhelmed by the Pi, it might be that you got it for the wrong reasons. Let’s be honest: the Pi is really an educational device, meant for hobbyists and aspiring youths out there to learn about programming. It’s not meant to replace that powerhouse Linux desktop you built last summer with your savings.

Sporting a meager 256MB of RAM and a 700MHz ARM-11 processor, the Pi is a modest piece of kit. Keep in mind this chip’s main purpose is to power a cheap computer with a basic level of functionality, mainly geared towards education. The Model B also sports two USB ports, HDMI out and a 10/100 Ethernet port. For your audio needs, you’ve got a 3.5mm audio jack and that HDMI output, which also supports audio transmission. The Raspberry Pi’s GPU boasts 1 Gpixel/s, 1.5 Gtexel/s or 24 GFLOPs of general purpose compute power and is OpenGL 2.0 Compliant. In other words, it’s got the graphics power of the original Xbox.

In this article we’re going to take you through the setup steps to get your Raspberry Pi Model B up and running with Raspbian, the Debian-based Linux distro used here.

Getting your hands on one

Right now, there are two versions of the Raspberry Pi for sale—Model A and Model B, though neither is newer than the other. Model A, which is $25, lacks Ethernet capability, has a single USB connecter, and 256MB of memory. Model B, which is $35, has double the memory, Ethernet, and a dual USB connector. The B is not an improvement on A, and in fact was available first; the A is just a lighter, cheaper version. The Foundation hasn’t ruled out an eventual, more powerful Model C, but probably not for at least “two to three years.

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To support the wonderful cause of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we encourage you to grab yourself a $35 Model B Raspberry Pi from one of the distributors: Premier Farnell / element14 or RS Components.

You’ll also need the following:
▪ One SD card
▪ An SD card reader so you can write the OS image to your SD card
▪ A means of supplying power to the unit (we use an old Android phone charger). At the very least, you’ll need a 5v micro-USB adapter.
▪ An HDMI cable and HDMI-to-DVI converter if you’re using a monitor instead of a high-definition television. If you’re just using a TV or a monitor that supports HDMI, you won’t need an adapter.
▪ A USB mouse and keyboard
▪ An Ethernet cable

Optional items:
• A case to hold your Raspberry Pi
• A USB Hub if you plan on using the USB ports for more than just a mouse and keyboard

What we’re using, in case you’re wondering:
▪ A Model B Raspberry Pi
▪ A 16GB Class 10 SanDisk Ultra SDHC card (rated at 300 MB/s)
▪ An old HTC Inspire power charger
▪ A wireless Logitech K260 keyboard and mouse combo. (It only uses one of the two available USB ports.)
▪ An RJ-45 cable

Setup

Once this awesome little device arrives at your door and you’ve gathered all the necessary gear it’s time to get this Pi baked. Let’s get started.

Installing the Raspbian image to an SD Card

Now that the Raspberry Pi has been out a while, there are quite a few methods for writing the Raspbian image to your SD card, regardless of whether you’re using Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. For the purposes of this article, however, we’ll stick to the more generic methods. Specifically, we’ll be using the dd tool on OS X and Linux, and Win32DiskImager on Windows.

If you’re using a Mac:

For simplicity’s sake, we recommend you clear your Downloads folder before beginning. Then, grab the Raspbian .zip file from here. You want the latest direct download of Raspbian. You can also choose to obtain the .zip via torrent — remember to be a good web citizen and seed for a while.

Once you’ve unzipped the folder containing the software image, you’ll need the Terminal app. Assuming you’re using OS X 10.7 or later, you can launch it from Applications, and then either click Utilities (in 10.7) or Other (in 10.8). Once the Terminal App is up and running, navigate over to your Downloads folder via the command “cd ~/Downloads”:

You should now have at least two items in your Downloads folder. Verify that there’s an “.img” file as well as a “.zip” file by typing “ls”.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Now let’s focus on getting that extracted image file onto the SD card and no, you can’t just drag and drop it onto the drive. First, we need your device layout before we insert the card. So if you jumped the gun and put your card in your Mac, take a moment to remove it safely.

In the Terminal App, type: “df -h”. You should see some output like this:

Setting up your raspberry pi

Now insert your SD card and run the above command again, and note the new “/dev/disk1s1” line. Keep this handy — you’ll need to convert this to a raw disk name.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Next we need to unmount that volume so the “dd” tool will be able to write the image to the SD card. Do this via the command “sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s1”. You’ll get prompted for your system password, so enter that when asked.

Setting up your raspberry pi

You should now see the last line “Volume XXX unmounted” with “XXX” being the name of your card. Now, without further ado, we can finally write the Raspbian .img file to the SD.

Remember that part where we told you to keep the disk name of your card handy? Now’s the time for the conversion. Whatever your disk was named (e.g., /dev/disk1s1), remove the “s1” and add “r” in front of “disk” so that “/dev/disk1s1” becomes “/dev/rdisk1”.

So, for instance, “/dev/disk1s1” = “/dev/rdisk1”. Make sense?

Then type the following: “sudo dd bs=1m if=2012-06-15-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/YOURDISKNAME”. Replace with your actual raw disk name — more than likely this will be /dev/rdisk1.

Setting up your raspberry pi

This will take a moment to complete. Once the “dd” command is done, safely unmount your SD card by dragging the disk image now showing on your desktop to the Trash bin.

Our prep work is finished! Skip ahead to “Booting your Pi for the first time.”

If you’re using Linux

Whichever Linux distribution you’re using, ensure you have the “dd” tool which you should have installed by default, regardless of the distro.

Some assumptions we’re making here:

1) You have sudo configured and are familiar with it.
2) You have fdisk installed (installed by default on most Linux distros).

We tested this on Ubuntu since it’s such a popular distro, and both of these are indeed present by default.

Start out by downloading the Raspbian .zip to your home directory from this location. Again, you want the latest direct download of Raspbian. Here, too, consider seeding the torrent for karma’s sake. Once you’ve downloaded the .zip file containing the Raspbian image, you’ll naturally want to unzip it.

Fire up a terminal on your Linux box and cd to your home directory via the “cd ~” command. Type “unzip imagename.zip”, replacing “imagename” with the actual image you just downloaded (obviously).

Setting up your raspberry pi

Next we need to determine the device name your SD card currently is using. Insert your SD Card and type “sudo fdisk -l”.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Notice the devices listed; more than likely you’ll see something like this.

Our device is “sdb,” the one with 15.9GB of space. (Obviously, it’s not our main 250GB hard drive.) Make note of the devices listed under “/dev/sdb”, as you’ll want to unmount them prior to writing the image for safety. In our case we see “/dev/sdb1” and “/dev/sdb2”, so we’ll run:

sudo umount /dev/sdb1
sudo umount /dev/sdb2

Setting up your raspberry pi

Now let’s write our image with “dd”. Type “sudo dd bs=1M if=2012-08-16-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/sdb”. As we warned in the Mac how-to above, this will take a few minutes to complete.

Setting up your raspberry pi

If you see a successful write as illustrated above, move on to “Booting your Pi for the first time.”

If you’re using Windows

If you’ve got a Windows system there’s a nice little application called Win32DiskImager, which you can download here or here. Once you’ve done that, grab the Raspbian image from here. Choose the latest direct download of Raspbian.

Once you’ve downloaded both Win32DiskImager and the Raspbian image, we’ll need to unzip them. To keep things simple, extract everything to the desktop, or a folder located there, in easy reach. Unzip both win32diskimager-binary.zip and 2012-08-16-wheezy-raspbian.zip.

Then insert your SD card into your reader. Make note of the drive letter. After unzipping those files and connecting your card, double-click the Win32DiskImager binary to load the program.

Setting up your raspberry pi

As soon as Win32DiskImager loads, you’ll see an error (in Windows 7, anyway).

Setting up your raspberry pi

We found this safe to ignore. Click OK and the Application will load.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Click the blue folder icon in Win32 Disk Imager and select your Raspbian image file, and ensure the Device listed is the same drive letter as your SD Card.

Once you open your image, click “Write”, click “Yes” to confirm the write and go grab a cup of coffee.

Setting up your raspberry pi

When the writing has completed, you’ll get this message, at which point it’s safe to eject your SD card.

Setting up your raspberry pi

If you happen to get stuck writing the image to your card, we recommend you head to the excellent beginners wiki found here.

Booting your Pi for the first time

The first time you boot the Raspberry Pi you’ll see a configuration tool called “raspi-config.” (If you ever need to revisit this configuration screen again, you can always call the “raspi-config” command from the terminal of your Pi.) While you’re there, you’ll need to change a few options.

Setting up your raspberry pi

First off, we need to select “expand_rootfs”. What this does is expand the installed image to use the maximum available size of your SD card. If you are using a larger card (16GB, say), you’ll definitely want to make sure you can use the full capacity, since the install image is only about 2GB.

Highlight that “expand_rootfs” option and press Enter. You’ll then see the confirmation below, at which point pressing Enter will take you back to the main raspi-config screen.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Next up is the overscan option. If you notice, the screen is not taking up the entire real estate afforded by your monitor; it’s best to disable overscan so that you can utilize your monitor or television to its entirety. If your screen looks fine, though, you can skip this step. In any case, assuming you do go through with this step, select “overscan” and press Enter.

Here you get the option to disable or enable. If you ever upgrade to a new monitor or television you may need to re-enable overscan at a later point.

Setting up your raspberry pi

After that quick step, now we want to verify our keyboard settings. If you are in America you want to change this; if you’re in Great Britain these are safe to leave at the standard config.

Select “configure_keyboard” and press Enter. Then you’ll be presented with a very long list of keyboard options. If you know your keyboard setup, select it in the list, otherwise you’ll be fine with the default 105-key option.

Setting up your raspberry pi

After selecting your keyboard type, you’ll need to specify the layout. There’s a good chance you want a different layout than English (UK), so choose “Other” and select the most appropriate option.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Setting up your raspberry pi

You’ll then be asked about modifier keys — just choose the default here, as well as “No compose key” on the next screen. If later you find you need a compose key to create alternative characters, you can return to this configuration screen by running “raspi-config”.

The last option you’ll need to set in the Keyboard configuration is the ALT / CTRL / BACKSPACE feature to kill X11. We recommend you enable this, so that in case your GUI ever crashes you can safely kill it without rebooting.

Back at the main menu, the next step is to set a user password.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Select “change_pass” and press Enter. After a confirmation screen, you’ll be prompted to choose a new UNIX user password.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Almost done now. Let’s set your “locale,” which is the general character set used by your native language. Again, if you don’t live in Great Britain, you’ll want to change this to your local character set. If you’re in the good ol’ US of A, you want en_US.UTF-8. Scroll down to your locale of choice, and de-select the en_GB option on your way. In our case, we’ll be enabling en_US.UTF-8

Setting up your raspberry pi

The next dialogue window will ask you to choose a default locale, select the locale you just chose on the previous screen and press Enter.

Back on raspi-config’s main menu, set the appropriate timezone by selecting — you guessed it — the “change_timezone” option. You’ll be presented with a list of regions first.

Setting up your raspberry pi

The next dialogue will show you a list of zones within that region. We think you know what to do here.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Back at the main setup, you can safely ignore the remaining options for now and select “Finish.” You’ll be prompted to reboot to make changes; do so. Once your system is back online, you’ll get a login prompt like so:

Setting up your raspberry pi

Your login is “pi” and the password will be what you set it to earlier.

Using your Raspberry Pi

Now that you’ve logged in to your freshly baked Raspberry Pi, the first thing you want to do is type “startx” to get your GUI environment loaded, which from here on out we’ll refer to as your Window Manager.

Setting up your raspberry pi

After a quick screen flicker you should end up with this (minus the terminal window):

Setting up your raspberry pi

Welcome to the LXDE Window Manager. LXDE is a very lightweight, full-featured UI that runs pretty well on the Raspberry Pi. If you’ve never used LXDE before, it drives very similar to Windows. If you click the lower left icon, you’ll see an application list. It works exactly how you’d expect it to.

Now what?

After you’ve got your Pi powered and the LXDE WM up and running, you essentially have a full-fledged Linux box running Debian. At this point you can browse the web with Midori, setup a webserver, or do general computing tasks.

But first, let’s talk about some utilities that are focused around what the Raspberry Pi is all about: education. Specifically, software development education.

Writing your first program on the Raspberry Pi

Raspbian comes preloaded with Python, the official programming language of the Raspberry Pi and IDLE 3, a Python Integrated Development Environment. We’re going to show you now how to get started with IDLE and write your very first, albeit simple, Python program.

When learning a new language, it’s very common to create the classic “Hello World!” program, which is what we’re going to show you how to do, but with a small twist. This Python program will ask for your name and introduce itself to you.

First, load up IDLE 3 by double-clicking the icon on your LXDE desktop.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Click File > New Window, which will then bring up a new blank window which you can type in.

Then, type the following in your new window:

#my first Python program
username = input(“Hello, I’m Raspberry Pi! What is your name? “)
print (‘Nice to meet you, ‘ + username + ‘ have a nice day!’)

Setting up your raspberry pi

Now click File > Save As and in the new dialogue window that pops up, call your file “hello” and click “Save”.

Let’s run that program you just wrote!

Click Run > Run Module or simply press F5.

When you get prompted “Hello, I’m Raspberry Pi! What is your name?” in the IDLE 3 window, type your name and press Enter. You’ll see the Raspberry Pi responds. Et voila! Not much else to it.

Setting up your raspberry pi

Wrap-up

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Your first Raspberry Pi program is, quite frankly, a very trivial start. Many more powerful applications can be written using the Python programming language. From here we recommend you take the Python tutorial over on the official Python site. If a seven-year-old can write a game on the Pi, surely you can.

When you get tired of learning Python, you may want to relax and kick back with some retro gaming. You can configure your Pi to act as a MAME Arcade Emulator and connect it to your television, as shown here. Then, once your thumbs get sore, why not head over here and install XBMC? Since the Pi is capable of playing full 1080p video, it can act as a fairly decent media center once connected to an HD television.

Of course, if you just want a cheap $35 Linux machine, the Raspberry Pi works great for that too. You’ll find it’s truly a joy to use — a hacker’s dream device with enormous possibilities. We expect to see a lot more applications for the Pi in the coming months, especially now that the Gertboard has been announced. Hopefully this article will inspire you to pick up one up and give it a try.

Financial Stability Vs. Financial Freedom

 

 

50_euro_money-1920x1080 Until a couple of years ago thought that economic stability was equal to financial freedom. And when listening to appoint Financial Freedom thought it was to have a stable job and a good salary every month secured .

A day looking for marketing books fnac I came across one that caught my attention , ” Rich Dad , Poor Dad . The rich teach their children and the poor . ” The title seemed quite sensational so do not give much credibility but how it all began to browse . In the book the author ( Robert Kiyosaki ) recounted his personal history and as since childhood was influenced by the teaching of two parents, one rich and one poor so I found attractive and I bought it .

This book has been one of my best investments . Thanks to him I learned the abysmal difference between financial stability and financial freedom , which is an asset and a liability , how the money, the importance of good training on finance and most importantly how to make the money work for you, and not vice versa.

Then I explain what is stability or financial freedom.

 

ECONOMIC STABILITY .

Throughout your life you’ve been preparing ( and you have educated ) learn to be a good employee. Learning a profession, pursue a career , making a specialty all to qualify for a good job ta do earn an excellent salary . With luck, and if you ‘ve done well today you’ll be enjoying your dream job and salary.

Spend an average 8-11 hours a day you work for the company in exchange for a fixed monthly salary, and hopefully when you ‘re 65 you will retire by staying a paid retirement.

This is more “comfortable” system we have been accepting since the industrial revolution. Just worry about fitting in and being part of the system to feel stable. You just have to turn around an economic hub ( company to work ) for 40 hours a week to have a fixed monthly salary.

Estabilidad Esconómica

Now I wonder what happens if you leave your job for a month or two , and what happens if you change your city or country ? What if your company fires you , and what happens if your company closes or goes bankrupt? . The answer is simple , LEAVE TO COLLECT YOUR MONEY . In the best case you can quickly find another job before your savings run out ( if you have them ) .

FINANCIAL FREEDOM

This concept but may be similar to above have great differences.
Imagine you have several real estate leased you generate a monthly income and a business which has delegated a team of professionals that keep working 40 hours a week to generate money.

It is this example the money revolves around a single axis, YOU .

Libertad Financiera

Now I ask you , What if you take a vacation of a month or two , and what happens if you change your city or country ? , What if one of your sources of money bankruptcy ? . Very simple also STILL WINNING MONEY that the worst may have to reinvest in creating or buying another source of money.

MILLION QUESTION : Financial Freedom ?

In this life to choose any of the two options is as simple as studying , learning and working to achieve it. The key to getting either situation is to ask the following:

What I really want , Economic Stability and Financial Freedom ?

When you have decided to have clear and reached 50% of your target.

If you’ve opted to Financial Freedom , the first thing you have to know is that it is an asset and a liability and know how money works . I can assure you that it is easier than you think.

Twitter Follow Button on WordPress

In any blog worth its salt is advisable to display a button ” Follow me on Twitter ” which is visible in the sidebar. Depending on the platform you use management blogs there are several ways to do this , for example, there are WordPress plugins that handle this task automatically. However, Twitter itself gives us an option to insert HTML as text widget in any sidebar. I use WordPress for many reasons, and how to insert is as follows ( in other platforms is very similar):

To get your custom button ” Follow me on Twitter ” follow these steps:

1. Access to this link to generate the HTML code for your button.

https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons

2. Select the type of button ” Follow “.

 

 

botón twitter

3. Enter your username and select the button appearance ( I like my user appears and the button is large) and language .

botón twitter 2

4. Copy the HTML code that is generated . Look at the preview of how it will look .

botón twitter 3

5. Access your blog and paste to a text widget in your sidebar (or wherever you want to include in your site / blog). This is done in WordPress:

botón twitter 4

Ready !

Look at the sidebar of my blog , just below my photo , how would . I advise to use this system because the button is quite striking , but if you see that does not work try with this code replaces ” youruser ” for your Twitter user :

Follow  @youruser”><a href=”http://twitter.com/youruser&#8221; data-show-count=”true”> Follow @ youruser < / a>