Bitcoin for Beginners – Definition, Storage, & Benefits

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Over a short period of time, Bitcoin has already gained a steady flow of mainstream acceptance. Currently, big brands such as Dell Computers, ESPN and The United Way have integrated the digital currency in to their business processes.

A recent study said that Bitcoin’s hold on the market will be stronger next year as they predict its price will reach $400 by 2016. The report based its results on the potential growth in digital payments and the banking sector, where the digital currency will be used by online payment systems (10%) and global remittance (20%).

Its continued popularity has led many people wondering whether Bitcoin is in fact a practical investment or not? What are the benefits of using and owning this currency? And, how is this different from physical currencies?

What is Bitcoin?
Created in 2009, Bitcoin (also called crypto-currency) is a global digital currency that bases its value on distributed computing online instead of in the form of gold or stored in banks. It works the same way as regular money, but in terms of online payments, it promises owners lower transaction fees compared to traditional online payment systems like PayPal and credit cards. Unlike the Euro and Dollar, no single brand, country, or entity owns or controls the currency. Bitcoin is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike the money issued by the various governments across the world.

Bitcoin, bitcoin coin, physical bitcoin, bitcoin photo
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Unlike other currencies, it has no physical form. Bitcoin comes in the form of balances that are associated with digitized private keys and addresses that are kept in a public ledger. It is then verified by various digital checks that look over all Bitcoin transactions worldwide.

Why you should invest in it now?
As it gains traction worldwide, you should start considering some of the benefits of Bitcoin if you want to invest in it soon.

• Low risk of inflation
The system is designed to make the currency finite by generating no more than 21 million Bitcoins worldwide to regulate itself. Mining of this currency is slowing down and is projected to stop at around 10 billion by 2050, where roughly every 500 people will own at least 1 Bitcoin.

• Simple and safe to own
It works similar to regular cash, but the transaction processes mean it’s easier to send and receive Bitcoin. Sending Bitcoin is cheaper as it comes with little to no service fees unlike the transaction fees that credit cards impose. The peer-to-peer transaction is seamless, safe, and is executed in real-time.

• Low risk of monetary collapse
Since Bitcoin doesn’t rely on a single government, there is little chance the currency will fail due to hyperinflation or see a complete collapse. For now, owners can rest easy as the virtual global currency has no dependency on any economic changes.

Bitcoin, bitcoin coin, physical bitcoin, bitcoin photo
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Storing your digital money
There are different ways of storing Bitcoin – whether it’s through online operators, your mobile device, personal computers, or many apps that can act as a type of digital wallet. Owners have the option to also combine various storage options to secure their currency.

• When choosing an online storage platform, you must only deal with trusted operators with good web server credentials to ensure you keep your money safe and secure. Read plenty of reviews online before making your decision.

• Create a strong password to protect it from being accessed by hackers. Never create a password that is related to you, such as your birthday or anniversary, as this can be easily hacked.

• Don’t be afraid to store your currencies online. The risks are the same as you’ll encounter with online banking systems. In fact, the benefits are vast with online storage systems, as accessing Bitcoins are more convenient.

For more security tips, read eSecurityPlanet’s list of ways to safely store your Bitcoin.

Bitcoins are also untraceable which can be a benefit and a risk for some owners. Since there’s no legal trace of your transactions, owners are safe from any organizations trying to watch their funds. But, similarly, the currency can attract other crimes – forcing governments to look for possible ways to outlaw Bitcoin eventually.

For now, there’s no stopping the crypto-currency’s strong traction globally. In fact, experts predict 2016 will be the year of the Bitcoin. Will Bitcoin be a great investment for you next year?

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5 Money Saving Tips Every Geek and Millenial Must Know By Now

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Forbes called the Millenials the ‘Money-Conscious Generation,’ as it appears that those under the generation Y prioritize saving over spending.

“They have a Depression-era mindset largely because they experienced market volatility and job security issues very early in their careers, or watched their parents experience them, and it has had a significant impact on their attitudes and behaviors,” said UBS head of investor insights Emily Pachuta.

But, a study featured by The Daily Cougar noted that Millenials are only practical when it comes to spending with their basic needs, but still lack money saving perseverance. In the same study, it appears that the generation Y had difficulties controlling their spending when it comes  to unnecessary items such as technology, smartphones, etc.
shiny penny
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Here’s a post to help every Millenial use their hard-earned cash wisely and save more for the future:

1. Organize your cash flow and cash out
The first thing you need to understand is how much you get monthly and where it goes afterwards. From here, most of the time, you will be surprised how much you spend in a month. Often, your earning goes to unnecessary expenditures, leaving your savings a few bucks to nothing. All you need to do is to list down your basic commodities, a budget for personal use, and a fixed amount for your savings. This will help you get started in saving money wisely in no time. Click here to read some of the top apps you can use to organize your money.

2. Change your lifestyle
In order to start saving money, you must change your lifestyle accordingly to your budget. Instead of going out daily to eat, start buying grocery items  and cook at home. The price of petrol is getting higher daily, so opt to use public transport or better yet, walk if it’s just nearby. It’s a win-win situation as you will be able to save cash and get fit at the same time. Change the way you spend and you will be surprised how much you can save daily.

3. Invest your savings
Keeping your money at home will not help it grow. Learn to invest it to something worth getting higher returns. It can be in an insurance plan for your retirement or educational plan for your children. Some also invest their money in banks or stocks that earn high interest. Others use it to put up their own business or help startups financially for future returns. Whatever your investment ideas will be, just make sure you understood all the angles of this new venture including the risks.
Piggy bank
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4. Think about retirement
Yes, you are still young to retire, but not too young to think about the future. As early as now, you must be prepared about your retirement. No one wants to work all their lives for nothing. It’s time you lay out your goals once you reach the retirement stage. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? By making your retirement your end goal, it will help you in saving early to reach your desired dreams come true.

5. Pay off all debts
It’s common that Millenials are still paying for their student loans until now, apart from their other personal loans and credit card debts. In order to keep your budget tight, you must pay off all debts, no matter how big or small. Do not be trapped in the thinking that a debt can pay another debt. Start paying those previous loans you had before slowly and soon you will be out of this financial burden. It’s the only time you will be able to live enjoyable and save up for your future.

How do you save money for your future?
For more money saving tips, read this Huffington Post on how to save $100s monthly.
We love hearing about your stories! Share your money saving tips below.

Changing the World, One Laptop at a Time

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Will technology really aid in the alleviation of low living standards in developing countries? One non-profit organization says yes.

(VIA http://one.laptop.org/)

Since its institution seven years ago, the One Laptop Per Child or OLPC has been at the forefront of the unwavering battle against poverty. The organization aims to provide technology to students in developing countries through durable but low-cost laptops. They believe that if every student is given an individual computer as his or her own, learning will be revolutionized, creating a domino effect which leads ultimately to a better living society.

There are arguments that provide valid insight against the project. One of which is the appliance of its program. Many areas targeted by the One Laptop Per Child are also areas where electricity is a major issue. Is it really a top priority, on a societal level, to hand out tech gadgets to children when the infrastructure in itself needs crucial attention?  Currently, the OLPC operates in familiar locations such as the suburbs of North Carolina to the outskirts of Rwanda and West Africa.

According to One Laptop Per Child’s Chief Financial Officer Robert Hacker, the most important thing about having these laptops is the capability to access the Internet. “When we think about the causes of poverty, access to information is essential,” said Hacker. “That opens up a huge resource for learning.”

The laptops being given to students are uniformly designed all over the world. The signature mint green color is used by almost two and a half million impoverished children spanning over 40 countries. Called XO Laptops or the Children’s Machine, these low-cost devices function both as traditional notepads or tablets. It has an open-source operating system which is compatible with a plethora of educational apps included in the Sugar software suite. Sugar is designed to be a tool to help students even without the aid of a teacher.

Until now, students are eager to use the XO devices thanks to its colorful design. There is a noticeable increase in engagement, according to OLPC’s Chief Executive Officer Rangan Srikhanta. He said that the young one come out of their shell because of the program. Confidence boosts and enthusiasm are undocumented educational benefits. In fact, the organization’s Nicaraguan operation successfully raised the school attendance and created a more favorable behavior in the student population when the laptops were handed out. Social benefits, even though sometimes under-appreciated, are as important as grades.

(VIA http://one.laptop.org/)

With advances in the field of social work and education technology like One Laptop Per Child, it’s difficult not to lose hope that someday, everyone is connected with knowledge and information.

21st Century Education: Integrating Apps in Learning

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There are different kind of students; the academe, over-achievers, jocks, queen-bees and happy-go-lucky types, who are too cool for school until it’s almost time for graduation. I can find one thing in common with them:

“these students spend lots of time with their mobile devices”

and so educators must learn to peak their student’s interest and alter their teaching technique that is best suited for the current trend in learning but at the same time still be in accordance to the school’s standards. 59 percent of students use mobile phones to study, while 93 percent of them use their Smartphone to access study apps, so why not start adopting a few changes in your teaching strategies?

Mobile Learning

Some teachers gave-in to the TechEd evolution and tried the following:

(1)  Spearheaded (BYOD) Bring Your Own Device programs

Encourage your students to use of their gadgets in class to boost their learning productivity. Involving these medium for learning will help them utilize and optimize their usage other than just for social media and communication purposes.

(2) Integrated mobile & desktop applications to their lesson plans

  • DropBox: Free online back-up storage you can use to save your documents, presentations, photos and other files. Compatible with iOS and Android devices.

To facilitate file sharing with ease; everyone needs to create their own unique user ID then share notes, review materials and even homework to your students online. All the stored resources can be accessed online and through any device as long as you logged in using your ID and by adding files in the “Favorite” labeled folder, saved files can still be accessed even when offline.

  • Haiku Deck: Presentation software that’s simple, beautiful, and fun. Works for all types of presentations including enliven a to-do list, tell a story with words and pictures, and summarize a discussion.

Create a stunning visual presentation using your iPad. Making visuals for your presentation can be a breeze. Choose from a wide selection of elegantly designed background slide themes, fonts and color palettes and share your presentation on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. You should also develop your student’s visual literacy by making them a critical viewer of the media.

  • Edmondo: A free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate

A must have app for very classroom where every member of can create their own profile very similar to Facebook. It is especially designed to promote teacher-student engagement. Sharing resources and connecting with the respective instructors is made easier and seizing each student’s performance can be done in real-time.

(3)  Implemented the use of classroom management tools and applications

  • Teacher Kit. Be future forward and go mobile with this free app previously known as the “TeacherPal” app. Available for iOS and Android.

Start being techie and organized. Move on from the old-school class records and use this app for creating class lists, taking attendance, entering grades, managing student data, keeping seating charts, monitoring student behavior in class and more.

Seeking for the right mix of strategy in choosing the teaching platform you want take can be a bit tricky! So knowing your students well can be a great help in planning how to go about your lessons. Try the ideas above or share something that worked for you.

Standout and Get Headhunted!

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Job huntingIn this very competitive job market, it can be stressful to apply for thousands of open positions. More than that, constantly getting rejection letters and not receiving call backs can get frustrating. Unknown to many, there is no need to look for jobs – jobs will come looking for you through the help of professional ‘headhunters’. They are tasked to search for the perfect fit for an unannounced vacant position in a company. Oftentimes, they contact someone via phone calls or e-mail. Part of their tactic is to be spontaneous and shrouded in anonymity to secure a face-to-face informal meeting.

Sounds like the perfect, non-stressful way to find a job, right? If you are looking to get ‘headhunted,’ here are some pointers on how to lure these headhunters.

1. Attend the right gatherings

Logically, the easiest way to get on someone’s radar is to shine the brightest. Although getting yourself known is a lot harder than it sounds, making a name for yourself is a guaranteed way to get headhunted. Start by being visible and active in the industry. Attend conventions, conferences, and important gatherings where industry experts are present. Make sure you enlist your name and company on the guest list. To push it a step further, research about the recruitment agencies and consultants in your industry; and look for their sponsored events.

2. Use the Internet to widen your reach

Online is where all the networking happens. Get yourself familiarized with the ins and outs of LinkedIn. Have an active profile in both Facebook and Twitter. Connect with the headhunting firms in your industry sector. How2Become director Richard McMunn explained that to gain exposure and interest, establishing profiles in all major social networking platforms is imperative. “You want the content you share between these three networks to be consistent,” he said.

One more tactic to increase online presence is through writing guest posts on relevant websites. Link them to your social media profiles to create a digital CV impressive enough to get noticed by recruitment firms.

3. Manage your online presence

Part of social media management is to have extra care in proofreading all your posts. Never say anything that will be considered tactless or unsavory. Remember that anything you post on the internet, even the comments on random sites, are public domain and can be traced back to you. There are laws preventing discrimination in employment from social media, but that doesn’t mean that you can post anything you want out loud. Be responsible of your actions, and manage your online presence.

Do a vanity search on Google. Find out all the negative searches and find a way to clean them up. Untag yourself from pictures that might put you on a bad light.

4. Create a connection with headhunters

Usually, there are only a handful of headhunters in a sector. They are the go-to source for many companies in a certain field to find a candidate for specialized job openings. Creating a connection with them can make you standout. Of course, part of this networking is to get on their good side. Start out by helping them find a right fit for some spots that you have no interest in. Tell them about your agenda and when the time comes that an opportunity arises, you are among the first in line.

5. Keep your online resumes up-to-date

Sure, headhunters won’t really scour the job databases for millions of online CVs. However, general recruiters will, and you will have higher chances of getting noticed if you have an up-to-date resume on all related job search engines available. Middle-level spots are being offered there as well, and although not as lucrative as those offered by headhunters, they are definitely great offers. Jonathan Krogdall, a headhunter at the Curzon Partnership, said that “recruiters working on behalf of an agency tend to be quite reactive and search existing CV databases, so it’s worth keeping yourself in the loop.”

You can also use middle-level employment as your springboard for higher spots. In fact, headhunters would prefer those who are currently employed rather than jobless applicants.

Have you been headhunted? What is your plan to get these headhunters going your way?

 

 

How-to: Setting up a Surround Sound Home Theater System

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Home TheaterYour home theater experience will never be complete without the surround sound system in your living room. However, installing it is the most challenging part about this beautiful tech creation. Usually, people spend cash to ask assistance from others to install their sound system at home. But there are also companies who offer these services for free and other item movements in your living room to make the home theater experience more conducive. In the United States, Verizon provides furniture assembly including installation of speaker pair for their FiOS subscribers.  But, if these services are not offered by your provide then here is an easy step-by-step procedure in mounting your home theater system.

General Setup

In a general setup, there is a total of 6 speakers including one center speaker, a left and right front speaker, two surround channel speakers, and the subwoofer. The speakers are illustrated below.

Side Speakers

Sound coming from both ends of the setup are highly localized and streamed directly to the listener’s ears. Level the height of the speakers to ear level while watching for a maximized viewing and listening experience. Also, both left and right speakers should be full range. Take note to not mount the side speakers and instead, ensure that the distance between the left and right relative to the center is equal. Placing them on stands will be the most practical way to set them up.

Center Speaker

The best possible locations of the center speaker include just above the television screen or mounted directly above the wall of the video source. As with most, aiming the speaker towards the viewers’ ear level will grant the best sound experience.

This set up is the one being mimicked by gadgets such as Kindle’s five-antenna virtual surround sound or apps for upcoming iOS devices.

Surround Speakers

A modest amount of two surround speakers is enough for a small home theater setup. Larger living rooms or private theaters could add four, six, eight or more surround speakers behind the viewing audience. The placement of the surround speakers will bring out the necessary depth in the audio playback. It’s no longer a left-right audio love affair, there’s also the back sound which is especially thrilling when watching action packed films, etc.  Adding a back center speaker within six feet of the left and right surround speakers is a great idea, according to CNET.com.

Subwoofers

Subwoofers are complete loudspeakers and are famous for creating the wonderful low notes of the bass. Most available woofers on the market are floor mounted. What’s cool is that you can customize which part of your setup receives the low bass accents made by subwoofers. You can place them to complement the full-range speakers at the front. You can also set it up so that all bass sounds will come from the woofers, which they call bass management.

Keep in mind that if you purchased those all-in-one instant home theater package deals, then you might be the one who will purchase the cables that will be used to connect all these. Although it’s really easy and doesn’t need anything more than common sense, make sure you buy the cables that will match the receivers and the speakers.

Mobile Learning as an Effective Training Tool for Employment

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mlearningThe paradigm has shifted – access of information through mobile is considered as the driving force of many important industries across the globe. The advent of wireless fidelity, long term evolution, 3G and similar innovations created an omnipotent portal to knowledge.

Communication is made much easier; the world is continually shrinking, and the human connection is no longer measured in degrees of separation but friend requests, circles, or follows. Kristine Peters, a researcher from Flinders University in Australia, noted that “mobile information and communication technologies are important enablers of the new social structure.” She said that society is experiencing the ongoing rise of truly “portable” ICT (information and communications technology) driven by the consumer’s fancy of mobile gadgets such as tablets and iPhones. In the United Kingdom, news reports still show that sales of the iPhone 5 remain unfazed, driven by deals offered by network providers.  In fact, O2 is continuously attracting more iPhone 5 fans daily, especially with their current drop of prices.

Omnipresence

One of the greatest advantages of this shift to mobile is the decreased dependence to fixed work and to learning places. Data transfer through wireless networks paved the way for a more flexible working condition, and relaxed definition to the term ‘workspace.’ This affects all aspects of the business system – including training. Mobile learning is gradually being considered as a standard method or practice in many institutions.

In the past, corporate and academic training never meant teaching in the most classic set-up possible. Face to face meetings and online aids accessible at home used to be the standard practice. Training Magazine said that almost everyone has access to internet via smartphones and tablets, anyone can train on the go. The most effective training method today is the one that offers the least intrusion to a trainee’s schedule, the magazine added. What this means is that mLearning is the best possible way of training people. Training need not be scheduled at a certain time or day. Ubiquity means training is anytime, anywhere.

Network

School of Economics of London study concluded that technology widens the barrier between generations. This ‘generation gap’ demonstrates one of the key points against mLearning as an effective training method. The trainer – trainee relationship might not go well smoothly when the trainee has more knowledge than the trainer. A separate research featured by FlexibleLearning.com found out that even if trainers use mobile technology for clerical tasks respondents said that they would very much prefer if they used the mobile device as a teaching tool instead. Fannon, the author of the said research, even said that almost half of the respondents were willing to be trained only with the use of a smartphone.

Smart Search

Mobile applications usually gather personalized information regarding the user such as current location, time, and status. GPS detection by apps created a very personal cloud of information that is as unique as the DNA makeup of its user.

As far as training in the workplace goes, a context sensitive device is practical when gathering data. Being ‘context aware,’ mobile learning is made extra dynamic. “When using applications in these [context aware] settings, a user has much to gain by the effective use of implicitly sensed context,” said Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd in their research paper about context and context awareness. Apps that are considered smart or contextually optimized provide invaluable task-relevant services and information to every trainee.

In conclusion, mLearning is the most practical and logical method in training people in corporate, academic, or institutional setting. The advent of new technology and the continuous upgrading of the human capacity to gather information have led to an era where learning can be made to measure. Clearly, the educational use of mobile technology brings many incentives, which traditional training methods cannot provide.