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Monday links

Once more in the realm of the (alleged to be) normal …

  • Happy 28th birthday, WWW. On this day, the Web’s creator, Tim Berners-Lee talks about its three biggest threats.
  • “Purple America” has all but disappeared.
  • Vin and Cat want us to know that their ABE storefront now offers collated collections, with categories including “Comics and Graphic Novels” and “A Hit Before Your Mother Was Born.” (NFI on my part.)
  • Can any of you bitcoin people vouch for this outfit? I’ve heard it’s a reliable way to buy and sell BTC. But with bitcoin, yesterday’s solid-as-a-rock exchange often seems to be today’s exposed-as-a-fraud or ripped-off-to-the-tune-of-billions loser.
  • Kim du Toit writes poignantly about how mourning has broken him.
  • In your awwwwww news of the day: a blind dog, missing for a week in difficult terrain, is found and rescued by a good neighbor.


  1. Brad R
    Brad R March 13, 2017 8:44 am

    Re., you’re probably ok in a first-world country, but there have been stories of people getting ripped off elsewhere. If you find someone local to do an exchange, get a recommendation for that person, and if a meeting is required, meet in a public place.

  2. Claire
    Claire March 13, 2017 8:48 am

    Thank you, Brad. I know I’m not the only person hereabouts puzzling over how to safely use BTC. You’re a brick.

  3. larryarnold
    larryarnold March 13, 2017 8:54 am

    Of course, for those willing to spend dollars on custom ads, yes, Facebook says it can turn an election. It’s this point that worries Berners-Lee: “Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?”
    In order to “turn” an election, F^c*b##k would have to change people’s v*tes. But they are talking about targeting conservative ads at conservatives, liberal ads at liberals, libertarian ads at libertarians, green ads at greens, and so forth. That would make it more likely that people would v*te their original preference, instead of changing.
    And even that presumes that people pay attention to political ads.

    Regardless, it’s startling to think we’ve only had the internet 28 years.

  4. Chris
    Chris March 13, 2017 12:44 pm

    localbitcoins is about the only way to buy BTC without doing that whole know your customer BS that coinbase and most other exchanges use.

    Don’t think of LocalBTC as an outfit, think of it more as craigslist for buyers and sellers.

  5. Claire
    Claire March 13, 2017 12:54 pm

    “Don’t think of LocalBTC as an outfit, think of it more as craigslist for buyers and sellers.”

    Ah, yes. Good way to look at it. The person who donated BTC to me said that it’s best that if you find trading partners through that site, you meet them in person, both of you with your laptops or other transaction-ready equipment.

    In my area, just as with Craigslist, most of the potential trading partners are actually hours and hours away. I’m fortunate enough to know a few BTC users online who I’d trust implicitly.

    But for sure, BTC has a ways to go before it’s ready for prime time.

  6. Brad R
    Brad R March 13, 2017 3:45 pm

    Yes, LocalBitCoins is just a database attempting to match buyers and sellers. I don’t know if they have any kind of rating system. Honest people can use it, and so can scammers.

    I once used a similar database,, to find retailers in Canada who accept bitcoin. The first I tried was a scammer, took my BTC and disappeared. I — and others — did notify, and they dropped that listing from their database; they also said they were trying to implement a rating system. I don’t know if they ever did. (Full story here: )

    Before considering any bitcoin retailer, do a Google search. (Searching for “{dealername} scam” is also useful.) A reputable outfit should have favorable reviews on several bitcoin forums, extending back a few years. (But if you’re looking for someone local to change BTC to FRN, you probably won’t find such comments.)

  7. Jackveggie
    Jackveggie March 13, 2017 7:42 pm

    I buy bitcoin at . If you can email you can do Bitcoin. Just think of a wallet as an email account. Craigslist “relationships” section is the level of trust localbitcoin achieves for me.

  8. Desertrat
    Desertrat March 14, 2017 5:06 am

    Lessening purple? Several factors. Some of it is rural conservatism vs. urban liberalism. That’s obvious from the color map of counties. Some of it is working folks vs. welfare recipients. Some of it is political philosophy, capitalistic views vs. socialism. Some of it is Joe Sixpack trying to protect his billfold.

    Trump got many nose-holder votes from those opposed to the vote-buying offers during the campaign months and from those fed up with business as usual.

    It all seems pretty obvious, as long as it is realized that there are quite a few different reasons within the voting groups.

  9. Brad R
    Brad R March 14, 2017 7:45 am

    I have been informed that, for customers in the U.S., there is some kind of an escrow service available through LocalBitCoins. Possibly not as useful for a PayPal exchange, because PayPal payments can be reversed for some time after. I think it’s intended more for cash exchanges. And now you know as much about it as I do; a starting point for further research.

  10. Alan
    Alan March 14, 2017 8:21 am

    I’ve been using Coinbase and for bitcoin and Amazon purchases.

  11. Brad R
    Brad R March 14, 2017 3:36 pm

    I’ve been told that Coinbase, to comply with “Know Your Customer” laws, requires you to submit a government-issued photo ID to open an account. And your Coinbase account has to be linked to a bank account. So, probably not the best choice if you’re interested in privacy.

  12. Claire
    Claire March 17, 2017 7:23 am

    Thank you Brad (and Wendy!) for the continuing good info on BTC.

    And — ugh! — thank you both for the heads-up on these creeping ID measures infesting the bitcoin world.

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