How to really trade a Casascius physical Bitcoin for U.S. dollars

It appears Coinbase paper wallet private keys are in a proprietary format, so my “easy” method won’t work. Here are instructions to really trade your Casascius physical Bitcoin for U.S. dollars.

  1. Obtain the private key. Carefully remove the hologram sticker from the back of the physical coin. A bunch of letters and numbers are printed on the back (example). Those letters and numbers comprise the “private key” for a Bitcoin wallet containing some amount of Bitcoin(s). Whomever possesses this private key may send any fraction (as little as 0.00000001) of the wallet value to another wallet.
  2. Create a wallet on Blockchain
  3. Import the Bitcoin to Blockchain. In your Blockchain wallet, click “Import / Export”, then paste the mini private key from your Casascius physical Bitcoin under “Import Private Key” and click “Add Private Key”.
  4. Sign up on Coinbase. Use this referral link and I’ll get $5 after you exchange 1 Bitcoin.
  5. Send the Bitcoin to Coinbase. On Coinbase click “Send/Request”, then “Request Money”. Leave the form blank and just copy the address. In your Blockchain wallet click “Send Money” and use the address you just copied.
  6. Sell your Bitcoin for USD. This part is pretty straightforward. Click on Buy/Sell to sell your Bitcoin and transfer the USD to your bank account.

How to get more information about a Seattle PD tweet

The Seattle Police Department has a great service called Tweets by Beat where one can freak oneself out at how much crime is occurring everywhere.

For example:

Notice no links are included. To get the details, visit police headquarters and ask for help. Have the information in the tweet handy–you’ll need it for the paperwork. Don’t mention “tweets” or Twitter or Tweets by Beat because you might as well be speaking Klingon. Just say you saw/heard something happen and want the 911 call and incident report. They’ll help you fill out the paperwork, and they’ll provide the relevant public records within 5 business days.

What’s the proper way to treat spam/phishing mail from a friend’s compromised account?

If a friend’s email account is compromised and used to send spam or phishing emails to my gmail address, should I click “Report spam” or “Report phishing” for those emails in the gmail web interface?

I’m thinking I should, but I’m worried it will mess up my friend’s email score/reputation/whatever and make it painful for them later if they recover their compromised account.


Then again, maybe that’s a fair consequence for letting their account get compromised. Unless of course their email provider was compromised, which would mean it wasn’t their fault (unless they chose a notoriously bad email provider).

(side note: when I notice a friend’s email account is compromised, I immediately contact them via some other means–for example: call them–and let them know)

protips: Tiny Tiny RSS on Bluehost

The Bluehost hosting account must be configured to use a recent version of PHP. After creating a subdomain, I had to delete the .htaccess file to make sure the latest version of PHP was used.

I used the periodic cron method to update my feeds. I used the “twice daily” common schedule. Here’s my command:

/usr/php/54/usr/bin/php-cli $HOME/public_html/ --feeds --quiet

The explicit path is required because tt-rss needs a recent version of php meant for the cli (for example, with register_argc_argv enabled).

Cloudflare might muck up the JavaScript or CSS or slow things down. I disabled it.

My Hadoop/MapReduce article in Linux Journal

I’m proud that LJ accepted my Hadoop/MapReduce article for the April 2013 issue! If you’re new to MapReduce and are interested in learning about same, this article is for you.


I’ll also be presenting a talk based on the article at LinuxFest Northwest 2013.

Google: Stuck on You

I require proprietary software to get through my day, but I like not being too dependent on it. With respect to that rule for myself and Google, I’ve failed.

I probably use the Internet mainly for search and email, and I need Google for both. Maps? All the time.

And there’s a doc I’d like to read now. The most important information to me is in the comments, but I can’t see the comments because this doc is “too popular”.

Google drive notice: file too popular


See also: You Can’t Quit, I Dare You

Books: Now Alive

More and more great tech books are marked-up plain text stored in version control and render-able to ebook/HTML/PDF.


Turns out many ideas in this approach are recycled. Heck, Knuth released TeX in 1978.

One new-ish piece is this GitHub thing. GitHub provides a social coding service based on a popular software development power tool called git. GitHub is spreading like wildfire. Sure there’s lots of code on GitHub, but lots of other stuff too. Bike paths, home-renovation projects, and all German law! Srsly. This is just fun.

Anyone seen any novels on GitHub? Cory Doctorow, are you listening? If anyone turns out a popular novel on GitHub, it’ll be you!

See also: