Get started with crypto – a How to guide

Photo by Pierre Borthiry on Unsplash

As most of my friends and family know, I’m quite the crypto enthusiast and have been for several years. Since I’ve gotten a lot of question on how to get started with crypto, I wrote this article as a “getting started” guide for all of you that share my passion for crypto.

Disclaimer:

The contents of this post is not financial advice, but purely for educational/informational purposes (and to save me some questions about crypto). I’m not a financial advisor.

Getting crypto without investing your own money

Granted, these options will be slower than investing into crypto coins or tokens, but it does allow you to legitimately get crypto. This creates the opportunity to fiddle with it without putting your own hard-earned cash at risk.

1. Coinbase Learn and Earn


Learn and Earn is a section within Coinbase that is lesser known, but very interesting. Basically you get served 3 instructional video’s, each followed by a single question. For each correct question, you’ll receive an amount of crypto in your Coinbase wallet. Usually this varies between $5 to $10 on a monthly basis. And did I tell you creating an account at Coinbase is free?

2. using the Brave browser

Another means of getting free crypto is by installing and using the Brave browser. This browser comes with built in ad- and malware-blocking functionalities. It also has the Brave Rewards program, that gives you selected ads on new tabs you open, for which you’ll receive a reward in BAT (Basic Attention Token). These rewards are payed out on a monthly basis.

3. Publish0x – Get Crypto for blogging

Publish0x is an interesting blogging platform where you can get rewarded by readers for posting content. These rewards can than be transferred to your personal crypto wallet at for example Coinbase. Your mileage may vary here, but people that post often seem to easily get $2.5 to $10 per post.

Another alternative is Read.Cash. This is in essence the same type of platform as Publish0x. Or you can just publish your content at both.

Prefer shorter messages?

However, should you be more of a Twitter person, hence more active with short messages, then Noise.Cash might be a good alternative for you. Or take a look at HellaDoge, which is a brand new platform just getting started.
And of course you can use these to share links to your content on Publish0x or Read.Cash.

Buying and staking crypto

If you are looking to buy crypto, you’ll probably be easiest using a crypto exchange. You could compare it with a bank where you purchase stocks.They will provide you with a wallet (comparable to a savings account) where your crypto will then be stored.

I personally use Bitvavo as my Exchange as their fees are really low and they provide staking abilities on a large number of crypto assets. And if you use this affiliate link you will not have to pay any trading fees on the first 1000 euro during your first week.

So what is staking?

Staking can be compared to interest on a savings account. You leave your purchased crypto tokens or coins in your wallet on the exchange and you’ll receive a staking reward on this amount, usually paid out weekly.

Bitvavo currently offers staking of these crypto tokens and coins:

As you can see, the percentages vary quite a bit. Do note that these can also change per coin/token with changes in the market. But getting (for example) 7.5% on ICON (ICX) is much better than what most banks have to offer nowadays.

At any giving time, at least 25% of my portfolio is being staked. I’m invested in Cardano (ADA) and VeChain Thor (VET) at Bitvavo.

Should I rush into buying and staking?

No. Just like with stocks, this isn’t without risk. So I would suggest investing carefully. I myself tend to invest a very limited amount. In essence, it’s like the stock market: only invest the money you can afford to loose if things turn really bad.

Or you can just get started using the free crypto you’ve gained with the means indicated earlier in this blogpost. Creating an account on Coinbase and Bitvavo is free of charge and nothing is stopping you from moving rewards from Coinbase’s Learn and Earn towards Bitvavo to stake them there.

Want to learn even more?

If you want to learn more about market movements and technical analysis, I’d suggest following Benjamin Cowen’s channel on YouTube for unbiased information. I’ve learned quite a lot myself thanks to his in-depth analysis.

  • Bitcoin
  • Cardano
  • Bitcoin cash
Scan to Donate Bitcoin to 3LjxyE65pdkeToUeEr3GLFfAavRmBB5abH

Donate Bitcoin to this address

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin

Scan to Donate Cardano to DdzFFzCqrhsm5HqsPfNe1p6y9z27ugqHCLMjpjzVJAsug5uWXBNWuxxX2y6wC1nqHsg3j15KDfqbWcvkNhz9gG3bpc3fpq49bTU5ysmB

Donate Cardano to this address

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Cardano

Scan to Donate Bitcoin cash to bitcoincash:qqjqra77kxe97gu9n620fkj8q62qq4ftdy6zwm24zc

Donate Bitcoin cash to this address

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin cash

Audi Electric Kick Scooter Review

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity of testing the Audi Electric Kick Scooter for about 1,5 days (mostly due to the bad Belgian weather), thanks to HLN Drive. Since I had prior experiences using sharing platforms like Dott and sincerely liked using their kick scooters, I was very curious about Audi’s take on an electric kick scooter…

Hardware

First, let’s look at some of the specifications:

Maximum speed: max. 20 km/h
Range: around 65 km
Weight: 19,1 kg
Max Load Weight: max. 100 kg
Size: 116,7 × 47,2 × 120,3 cm
Size (folded): 116,7 × 47,2 × 53,4 cm
Battery:  551Wh Lithium Battery

The Kick Scooter

Honesty requires me to indicate that this kick scooter isn’t fully built by Audi, but it’s a cooperation between Audi and Ninebot by Segway. The Audi Electric Kick Scooter is actually a rebranded/redesigned version of the Ninebot Kickscooter G30. They’re also totally not hiding this, as can be seen on the information plaque of the scooter I tested:

Now this begs the questions: is this a bad thing or not? And in my humble opinion, it’s the best choice Audi could have made. Ninebot by Segway can tap into years of experience in making electric personal mobility devices, while for Audi, this would be like exploring a whole new product niche. As Audi is known for a certain level of quality and a satisfying experience (the fun/thrill driving their cars), you immediately understand that anyone buying this kick scooter from Audi will have those same expectations. I assume the average customer looking at this kick scooter will do so, or at least I did.

When looking at the materials used, the Audi Electric Kick Scooter absolutely delivers. It feels solid but isn’t lightweight because of it, coming in at just over 19 kilograms. You’ll definitely feel it when having to carry this for longer periods. Then again, due to the weight, it feels like driving a small tank. At no point was I scared to scratch/damage/break the kick scooter. It feels really well built. And I’ve really put the Electric Kick Scooter through its paces, driving on asfalt, gravel/grid, dirt roads and through a forest with no hardened roads.

It’s also undeniably an Audi. Sleek lines and a great color scheme give it the “Audi look and feel”, complimented by the 4 white rings on the (bottom) front of the steering column:

Another very nice advantage of the Audi Electric Kick Scooter being based on the Ninebot G30 is the fact that, opposed to most electric kick scooters, you do not have to be dragging along a charging brick. It is completely built into the kick scooter itself.

The charging port is conveniently hidden between a small hatch

This built-in charger will completely charge the battery in about 6 hours. That 551 Watt hour battery is claimed to be good for about 65 kilometers in range. In my personal experience, this is fairly accurate, but will vary depending of the chosen driving mode of the kick scooter.

In this case, there are 3 different driving modes:

  • Eco
  • Standard
  • Sport

Eco will limit your speed to about 15 kilometers per hour, but it will also give you the longest range.

Both Standard and Sport will give you a speed of 20 kilometers an hour, while the Sport mode gives you faster acceleration as opposed to the Standard driving mode.

And this also gives us a major difference with the kick scooter it is based upon: the maximum speed is limited to 20 kilometers per hour, where the Ninebot G30 is able to achieve a higher maximum speed. The advantage is of this lower limit is that, at least here in Belgium, this makes the Audi Electric Kick Scooter “street legal”. Being limited to 20 kilometers per hour, the Electric Kick Scooter is considered as a bike (source: https://www.politie.be/5415/vragen/verkeer/welke-regels-gelden-voor-de-e-step).

The steering column

As your main interface with the kick scooter, the steering column also has that “Audi-touch” with the logo at the top. Using the scooter is really easy. There’s only one button on the steering column (when you leave the brake-levers out of consideration). This button is used to power on or off the kick scooter, but also to select the driving mode.

Bluetooth

There’s also the option to connect your Audi Electric Kick Scooter to an app via a Bluetooth connection. As the kick scooter I got to test was already registered to someone’s account, I wasn’t able to test these abilities and extra functionalities. That is why I can’t provide you with an opinion about these options, my apologies.

Pro’s

  • Looooooooooong range at around 65 kilometers on a single charge
  • Built in charging brick, only need to take along a charging cord
  • The Audi look and feel

Con’s

  • Rather weighty at 19.1 kilograms
  • Large, even when folded (you’ll need quite a wide trunk to transport it/take it along on your holiday)

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for an electric kick scooter that is street-legal, allows for home-work transportation and also looks great, the Audi Electric Kick Scooter is certainly one you’d need to take into consideration. If you only plan on using the kick scooter for short range transportation and carrying the scooter around often, the weight and size of the Audi Electric Kick Scooter might be a disadvantage for you. And of course, if you’re an absolute Audi fanatic, there really isn’t any other choice but to go for the Audi Electric Kick Scooter.

I’d like to express my gratitude to HLN Drive and Audi for allowing me the opportunity to test the Audi Electric Kick Scooter. All opinions here are my own. No-one previewed or redacted this review before I published this on my blog.

Bonus

Here’s my video on the Audi Electric Kick Scooter on Youtube:

Improving WordPress security with the .htaccess

In this article I’ll share some of the security tweaks I tend to add to the .htaccess to improve security of the WordPress-installation.

Hide the wp-config.php file

Since the wp-config.php file contains our database credentials, we do not want this file to be accessible, PERIOD. So by adding this snippet to our .htaccess file we can prevent access to it:

#hide wp-config file
<files wp-config.php>
order allow,deny
deny from all
</files>

This rule will prevent that the wp-config.php is accessible.

Hide the .htaccess file itself

Preventing abuse by adding rules to our .htaccess is only useful if the .htaccess can’t be compromised itself.

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A small bash backup script for WordPress

As most of you know I work as an Escalation Engineer at Combell.com. Recently I crafted a tiny backup script that makes backups of my own site. While this script is optimized for use on shared servers at Combell.com, it can easily be adapted to be used anywhere.

#!/bin/bash

#### Settings ####
NOW=$(date +"%Y-%m-%d-%H%M")
FULL_PATH=$(pwd)
BACKUP_FOLDER=$FULL_PATH/data/

#### Site-specific Info ####
SITE_PATH="www" #Could also be subsites/subsitename
DB_NAME=`cat $SITE_PATH/wp-config.php | grep DB_NAME | cut -d \' -f 4`
DB_USER=`cat $SITE_PATH/wp-config.php | grep DB_USER | cut -d \' -f 4`
DB_PASS=`cat $SITE_PATH/wp-config.php | grep DB_PASSWORD | cut -d \' -f 4`
DB_HOST=`cat $SITE_PATH/wp-config.php | grep DB_HOST | cut -d \' -f 4`

#### Files backup ####

function files_backup {
    zip -r $SITE_PATH.$NOW.zip $SITE_PATH
    mv $SITE_PATH.$NOW.zip $BACKUP_FOLDER
}

#### Database Backup ####
function database_backup {
    mysqldump -h $DB_HOST -u$DB_USER -p$DB_PASS $DB_NAME > $DB_NAME.$NOW.sql
    mv $DB_NAME.$NOW.sql data/$DB_NAME.$NOW.sql
}

#### Runner Class ####
files_backup
database_backup

This script can be run automatically on a Combell-server by adding a cron for this script. You can do this in /etc/crontab by adding for example this:

0 */6 * * * /bin/sh /data/sites/web/youraccountname/backup.sh

The cron above will create a backup every six hours. Do not forget to put this backup.sh script in the root of your account.

Hope this helps you guys.

PS: the FULL_PATH variable is already included since I’m planning to iterate on this script and add more features, even though it’s currently only used to declare the backup directory path.

Using WordPress as a static site generator

This weekend I spoke at WordCamp Nijmegen in The Netherlands. Below you can find my slides for that presentation.

Using WordPress as a Static Site Generator from Brecht Ryckaert

An intro to the command-line for WordPress – Part 1

Working with WordPress on a daily basis at Combell.com (a Team.Blue company) means I get to see, optimize and debug a ton of WordPress sites each single day. This also means I sometimes need things to be dealt with quickly. And that’s where the command-line comes in…

So why won’t you use WP-CLI?

Of course I use WP-CLI too. It’s a great addition to the toolkit of any user/developer/hoster. But there are (quite often) times when WP-CLI is just not an option or too slow. And that’s no complaint or insult towards WP-CLI by the way. Let me explain by some examples:

  • When WordPress core, a certain plugin or a theme causes a fatal error, WP-CLI is rendered useless.
  • I’ve seen cases where a very poorly optimized query caused such a slowdown on WordPress that any wp-cli command, for example a wp user list, took more than 5 minutes to complete. This was solely caused by a plugin, not by WP-CLI, but it did impact WP-CLI.
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