Weekly publications digest – April 4, 2014

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. Hullcoin: The World's First Local Government Cryptocurrency? A forum at Hull City Council in the UK this month saw the launch of the very first UK local government operated cryptocurrency, dubbed HullCoin. The reason for this unprecedented technological act of local government is to tackle poverty, the council says, making it arguably the most worthy use of a cryptocurrency yet. 1262...

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Weekly publications digest – March 28, 2014

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. What is a Bitcoin Mining Pool? One of the first questions that anyone interested in mining cryptocurrencies faces is whether to mine solo or join a ‘pool’. There are a multitude of reasons both for and against mining pools. However, if the hash rate distribution across the bitcoin network is anything to go by (and it is) then most miners are opting to join a pool. Here’s what you need to know. 1017 words Cloud Mining – How to Mine Bitcoin without a Miner If you want to invest in bitcoin mining without the hassle of managing your own hardware, there is an alternative. You can use the cloud to earn your coins. Put very simply, cloud mining means using (generally) shared processing power run from remote data centres. One only needs a home computer for communications, optional local bitcoin wallets and so on. 1177 words What is the Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin? In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched bitcoin as the world’s first cryptocurrency. The code is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects. Many cryptocurrencies have launched with modified versions of this code, with varying levels of success. Litecoin was announced in 2011 with the goal of being the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’. 718 words How to Mine Litecoin – A Guide on Litecoin Mining and Other Altcoins While it is now considered too late for hobbyists without expensive ASIC processors to start mining bitcoins, many of the alternative digital currencies are still well suited for mining on your home PC. In this guide, we’ll take you through all you need to know to start digging up a few litecoins, feathercoins or dogecoins without any costly extra equipment. 1672...

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Weekly publications digest – January 31, 2014

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. How to Sell Bitcoin – A Guide to Selling Bitcoin Online or In Person Selling bitcoin isn’t quite as straightforward as buying bitcoin, but fortunately CoinDesk is here to help. This guide will give you all the information you need to cash out your digital currency. 1451...

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Weekly publications digest – January 10, 2014

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. Real time bitcoin calculator – Bitcoin Live Converter If you’re interested in Bitcoin, the question you’ll be regularly asking yourself is how much is it worth? We’ve just come across a Bitcoin price tracker for Windows Phone that gives you real time updates from most of the major cryptocurrency exchanges, and it’s called Bitcoin Live Converter. 348 words 5 Security Tips for Bitcoin Beginners Bitcoin makes moving money across the internet incredibly easy, but that ease comes with risks. 836...

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Slickwraps Nexus 5 wooden skin

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Slickwraps Nexus 5 wooden skin

Looking for Nexus 5 case, but don’t want the bulk of a case? Slickwraps might be an option, if you have the patience. Slickwrap is a new product that gives you hard-wearing skins that stick to your phone with “reusable” adhesive, that (allegedly) does not leave a residue on your device. My first impression upon receiving my Nexus 5 Slickwrap was “oh no, this isn’t a case, it’s a sheet of stickers!” Indeed, when you open the pack, you have a standard screen protector, and a sheet of stickers custom cut to the model of phone on the packet, in this case the Nexus 5. Oh and there’s a few ‘skins’ for the mains adapter too. My first impressions were reinforced when I had to start applying everything. Getting screen protectors on is never fun. However, Slickwraps do provide a cloth to clean the screen first, and then a stiff piece of card to push out air bubbles. Next was the (not so) fun process of applying the actual ‘wrap’ to the phone. In the case of the Nexus 5, it has the “nexus” logo embossed on the back. To match that, the back-skin has the letters cut out, so I had to make sure all it was perfectly lined up. Just as well that adhesive is reusable! There are also pieces to go around all the other faces of the phone too, all with appropriate cut-outs for buttons and ports. It’s advisable to watch the tutorial videos for your particular phone on Slickwraps’s website. Without having done so, I wouldn’t have known that the skins actually need some heating to shrink and “morph” to the counters of the phone. The company recommends a heat gun or hair dryer. Since I had neither, I went and held my phone above an (electric) burner on my cooker to provide the heat needed to mould the back-skin around the Nexus 5’s contours. I do not accept responsibility for how you apply heat to your phone or the results there of! The particular wrap I’d been sent had an ebony wood-effect. As well as mimicking the colours, it also imitates the texture of such wood. Seeing it all on the backing sheet looked very cheesy, and I was highly sceptical of the end result looking at all good. Now though, I’m starting to think that my Nexus 5 looks pretty sharp – much to my surprise! The texture of the wrap feels pleasing, and I don’t have to worry about scratching or scuffing it. Of course, a Slickwrap cannot protect against dropping the phone or something on the it! Given that I can feel the edges of the ‘wraps’, I was somewhat concerned that they would start to roll up and stick to pocket fluff. So far, after nearly 24 hours, it has been picking up some fluff and fibres, but nothing terrible. It will need more long term testing, which is why I haven’t tested Slickwraps’s claim that no adhesive residue is left on your phone and that the wraps can be reused. Check out Slickwraps...

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Weekly publications digest – December 13, 2013

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. Astrophotography with the Nokia N8 and Lumia 925 1492 words

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Weekly publications digest – December 6, 2013

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. UK Banking Safeguards: Can They Protect Bitcoin Consumers? Storing personal wealth in bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency, is clearly revolutionary. So much so, it’s going to take a long time for mainstream consumers to actually understand the concepts and potential behind these currencies. 1044...

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Weekly publications digest – November 29, 2013

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. McxNOW Cryptoexchange Suspends Trading Following Support Request Overload Digital currency exchange mcxNOW has announced it will suspend trading for the next few months, due to overwhelming support requests. 686 words

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Weekly publications digest – November 15, 2013

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Here are my latest publications from around the web. Bitcoin in the UK: HMRC suggests bitcoins are 'taxable vouchers' Bitcoin faces many hurdles before it may become an everyday currency. For businesses, one of these hurdles is the uncertainty surrounding its tax status. 694 words

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Review – Wireless Portable Charger Plus

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Review – Wireless Portable Charger Plus

The third in my series of device reviews from Mobile Solar Chargers (MSC) is a portable wireless charger. The “Wireless portable charger plus” to be precise. If you have a Qi enabled device and want to charge up when away from a socket this 5,450 mAh charger is a compelling option. Earlier this year, I had never heard of a wireless (Qi) charging pad with a built-in battery. I got thinking that such a thing would be very cool and started searching eBay for the typical set of electronic curiosities that are exported from Hong Kong. What I found was the charging pad I’m talking about today from MSC’s eBay store. MSC actually sell three wireless charging pads. The one I’m reviewing in this post has no power-out ports, just a Micro USB input for charging its internal 5,450 mAh battery. Additionally, there is a 4,800 mAh portable charger with a wireless charging pad and a USB output port that costs £30. Then there is a mains-powered pad for £25. As described, the pad in this review only charges Qi enabled devices, it has no USB output, but it has the largest of the two capacities available. That means it’s a very featureless device to look at. On first impressions one could be forgiven for not being able to guess its purpose; which is exactly what I’d like to see from future tech! The base of the device has a rubber ring to keep the device stationary on a table. The base also features a button, which when pressed illuminates the charge indicators on the end of the device. There are four blue LEDs for charge level, a green LED to say that it is charging, and a red LED to let you know that the device is charging from its USB input. The charger is encased in glossy white plastic which makes it look modern and stylish. However, this also means that it’s possible for some devices to slip out of place. Alignment is the enemy wireless charging, so this lack of stability between charger and device is sometimes a problem. It really depends on your device. For example, the Nexus 4 has a perfectly smooth glass back and can even seem to slide off horizontal surfaces. Whereas something like a Nexus 5 or the charging jackets that can be added to numerous phones will have much more friction and will stay in place. The charger is supplied with a one inch diameter sticky rubber pad in an attempt to cure the slippage problem. This is a reasonable engineering solution. However, it ruins the look of the device, and it wouldn’t last very long as it would pick up dust and bits from everywhere and quickly lose its sticking power. The charger beeps once when starts charging. This is a nice touch as there are no physical guides for getting the alignment right. So having an audible alert saves having to dip your head down to look at the LED indicators. Of course, a wireless charger won’t charge your device while in a pocket or bag, so this gadget is restricted to desktop usage. The type of scenario I imagine this would be used in is if your desk at work or coffee table at home don’t have...

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