8 Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin

What is an Altcoin? Bitcoin may be one of the most popular cryptocurrencies but believe it or not, it’s not the only one. Simply put, an Altcoin is a cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. Each one has its own unique mission that it hopes to accomplish. Whether it be speed, security, or uniting our complicated financial infrastructure, one thing is certain- cryptocurrencies are looking to change the world.

1. Stellar (XLM)

Stellar enables speedy transactions across the world with fees that are less than a fraction of a penny. The transfer of a Stellar Lumen only takes 3-5 seconds, while Bitcoin takes 10-15 minutes. Stellar has a vision in mind to unite the world’s financial systems with minimal effort and less fees.

I personally believe that Stellar has one of the most solid ideas out there. They aren’t playing around. If you sign up for Coinbase using this referral link, you can earn up to $50 of XLM for watching short videos about it.

2. Zcash (ZEC)

Zcash is a cryptocurrency that allows you to be fully anonymous. The amount sent in a transaction and the parties involved in are completely hidden.

3. Monero (XMR)

Monero is another Altcoin that was created around the concept of being anonymous.

4. Dash (DASH)

Dash got its name from the combination of “digital cash.” You can choose to make your transactions private and can also completely erase your payment history. The cryptocurrency also has an “instant send” feature, which does cost more in fees, that allows a person to instantly send money anywhere in the world.

5. Tether (UDST)

Tether’s mission is to protect its users against rapid changes in the market, causing the cryptocurrency to fluctuate in value. Each UDST is apparently backed by one U.S. Dollar but there is doubt of whether or not that is true.

6. IOTA (MIOTA)

IOTA is looking to improve where other cryptocurrencies have fallen short. Typically, when you send a payment in crypto, your transaction is validated by miners (random computers across the world which use a lot of energy and cost you in fees). When you send a payment with IOTA, it automatically validates two transactions prior to yours and costs you nothing in fees. However, unless tons of people are using IOTA, the processing time will be slow.

7. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin is one of the oldest Altcoins that was created. It’s a joke on the “doge” meme from 2013 and there isn’t a limit to how many coins can be created, unlike Bitcoin. Dogecoin is usually worth less than a penny in value. This makes it perfect for small transactions such as online donations to your favorite content creators.

8. Basic Attention Token (BAT)

BAT wants to create an online advertisement system that rewards publishers and users. Ads on websites nowadays use and share your personal information to provide content that is relevant to you. BAT wants to eliminate that and has set out to create their own types of ads.

First Picture of a Black Hole

Around 9am EDT on April 10, 2019, the first ever picture of a black hole was shown simultaneously at multiple press conferences. They were held in six different locations around the world: Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

There are actually two black hole photos to be shown- the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy and a larger, supermassive one in the middle of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy. Only one has been shown so far. The photo below is of the latter (M87).

This photo of a black hole was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope. Photograph: EHT Collaboration

This is the first time in history that any human has ever gotten to look at a black hole.

How was this picture taken? Observations from the “Event Horizon Telescope” were processed through computer analysis, taking roughly two years to complete. This “telescope” consisted of eight radio observatories located on six mountains and four continents.

5 Reasons to Go Solar

Going solar is not only good for the environment, but also for your wallet! While the upfront costs may seem pricey, you’re saving a lot of cash in the long run. Installing solar panels on your home will also increase your property value. Below, I have put together 5 Reasons to Go Solar.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

#1 Your Electricity Bill Will Decrease

No matter what, you will notice a decrease in your electricity bill. Depending on the type of solar system you choose, you may even eliminate your bill altogether.

Even if you could care less about the environment (which hopefully, you do)- your wallet will reap in the benefits. You’ll be spending less money on utilities and more towards what you truly want. If you ever sell your home in the future, having solar panels installed on your home will also increase its value. It will look great in a listing and will attract tech-savvy buyers.

#2 You Will Become Independent

By going solar, you will no longer have to fully rely on a utility company to supply you power. When installing your solar system, you can also choose to have an energy storing system alongside it. If you’re looking to go completely off-grid, this will ensure you have enough juice to power your home throughout the night and during cloudier days.

If you still want to be connected to the grid, you can opt-out of having an energy storing system. If your solar panel system isn’t generating enough electricity for your needs, you can borrow some power from your utility company. Some may even pay you if you generate more power than you use and supply it back onto the grid. Either way, you are still coming out ahead with generating your own electricity!

#3 Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Your carbon footprint will be significantly be reduced when you choose to go solar. Around 40% of all carbon emissions in the United States are due to buildings. You will be helping out the environment and sustaining a better future by relying less on the grid.

#4 Solar is Dependable and Reliable

You may have been led to believe that solar power can only be used when the sun is shining. However, that is not entirely true- if you choose to install a battery system alongside your solar panels, you can store energy for when the sun isn’t at its fullest potential.

Your solar system will begin generating electricity as soon as you can see sunlight. Whether to sun is rising or setting, whether it is raining or snowing, you will be generating electricity for your home. Solar panels also last a very long time and hardly ever need to be maintenanced. Once your system is installed, you’re ready to go for a long time.

#5 You Will Feel Amazing

I don’t know about you- but knowing that I have solar panels on my home is an inspiring feeling. I not only feel great about myself for making a step into the future, but for the environment. I find it fascinating that we can now harvest energy from the sun and use it just as plants have been doing for billions of years.

So what do you think? Are you going to go solar? Let me know in the comment section below! It may cost a bit to install your new solar system upfront, but the benefits are well worth it. You can become energy dependent, reduce your carbon footprint, and end up saving lots of money in the long run. Personally, I also enjoy looking at the statistics of my solar generation and consumption each day- it’s fun to me.

Whether you choose to go solar now or not, just keep it in the back of your mind. I wish you the very best in your journey! 5 Reasons to Go Solar is all you need.

Aspiration: Do Well, But Not So Good

About a year ago, I opened a bank account with Aspiration. They seemed to have a purpose in changing the way of how banks dealt with your deposits. Aspiration doesn’t use your money to support pipelines and oil drills- stuff of that nature. They still have this same motive, but it seems that the consumer is no longer as important to them as it once was.

One major feature that I enjoyed about Aspiration was how easy it was to deposit physical cash into it. Most online banks do not offer this and in my opinion, it makes you feel isolated from the online bank itself. However, Aspiration no longer offers physical cash deposits either.

I contacted Aspiration via Twitter regarding this issue. It seems that they have no plans in bringing back physical cash deposits.

According to Aspiration, this feature was “lost along the way” during their transition to a new partner bank. Previously, their partner was Radius Bank. It is now Coastal Community Bank.

I am a strong, avid believer in the concept that features should never be taken away. It does not matter if you add a few more, a feature should never be removed. I recently discussed this in Walmart’s decision to discontinue their Savings Catcher program.

Aspiration should have thought more of the consumer when making the switch from their previous banking partner. Cash deposits are an important thing in the lives of some people, as I have seen in numerous posts on Twitter. The switch should not have been made unless all previous features could have been preserved.

I’m all for new features, but when features that have existed before are completely removed, it just gets me fired up. Even more so when there are no plans at all to bring the feature back. I’m disappointed in a bank that I once cherished. I personally have been using Discover’s online checking account more since Aspiration has made their “transition.”

Discover’s online bank has no monthly fee, first fee forgiveness, a cashback debit card, and a savings account that earns a whopping 2.10% APR. Although they do not offer cash deposits either, I’d highly recommend checking them out. They have more experience in the banking business and actually know what they are doing.

What Exactly is Article 13?

Article 13 (renamed as Article 17) is within the Copyright Directive approved by the European Union. But, what exactly is it?

Also known as the “Meme Killer,” Article 13 covers how online content sharing services have to handle copyright-protected content. It is very controversial as it holds sharing services (such as YouTube and Google) accountable for all copyrighted content.

Content-sharing services must license copyright-protected content from those who hold the rights to the content itself. This means that they must do their best to keep the material from being published online or ensure that a license is properly obtained beforehand.

Article 13 can sort of be seen as a kind of online censorship, due to its restrictive nature. It leaves a large gray area where there is simply no telling of what is legal and what is not.

There are some exceptions to the Article, however, just to name a few:

  • cloud storage services
  • online marketplaces
  • communication services
  • open-source software development platforms
  • non-profit online encyclopedias

Contrary to popular belief, Article 13 is not the “meme killer” that is made out to be. Memes are still allowed thanks to other exceptions, but that doesn’t mean that Article 13 isn’t flawed.

YouTube has recently spoken out against Article 13, with #SaveYourInternet. You can learn more about that here. Ultimately, Article 13 will end up doing more harm than good, as it isn’t all that solid. There are a lot of gray areas that need to be worked out.

You can express your concerns by reaching out to the Members of the European Parliament. Article 13 is not something that should simply be ignored, it’s a very important issue that could affect our daily lives in a very negative way. Speak out and spread the word to help put an end to Article 13.

Apple Card – The Tea Has Spilled

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, then you’ve probably heard of Apple’s new Apple Card. It’s basically just a credit card that is offered by Apple- but unique, of course.

The Tea

Apple Card will begin accepting applications sometime in the summer of 2019 (this year). The credit card lives on your iPhone, in the wallet app, and is then immediately available for use via Apple Pay. For merchants that do not yet accept that method of payment, however; Apple has something special in store. An Apple-designed titanium card that can be used anywhere in the world.

Apple-designed titanium credit card

Apple Card offers 2% cash back on every purchase and 3% cash back on purchases made to Apple.

Daily Cash

Unlike most credit card companies which reward cash back on a monthly basis, Apple Card rewards its cash back daily. It goes straight to your Apple Cash Card – daily – which you can then spend exactly like cash. It’s that simple.

Spending

The Apple Card offers charts and uses location data to help you better understand your spending. This could be useful if you’re spending a lot but not realizing how much you’re actually spending overall. It’s useful if you’re trying to stick to a budget or see where your money is going without putting in much effort.

Interest

Apple claims to offer the first credit card that actually helps you pay less interest. The Apple Card enables you to see how much interest you’d be paying based off of what you put forward as your payment. The more you pay now, the less you’ll pay later. This is true everywhere, but Apple makes it clearer to see with minimal effort.

It Could Be Better

The Apple Card seems more like an attempt to keep you locked into Apple’s ecosystem than anything. You can only apply via an iPhone and the Apple Card itself lives inside of an Apple App. However, its adoption will likely promote payment systems like Apple Pay to be more widely accepted- which is a good thing.

The cash back that Apple is offering isn’t all that great either. Amazon offers 5% cash back along with a $50 sign-up bonus on their credit cards, while Apple is only offering 3% overall.

I’ll be interested in keeping up with Apple’s new Apple Card as time progresses. It’s an interesting move but there is definitely more work to be done.

AmazonBasics 3D Printer Filament: Is It Any Good?

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I have been 3D Printing for a while now. One day, while browsing Amazon for a new roll of filament, I came across the AmazonBasics 3D Printer Filament. I was skeptical- but decided to go ahead and try it out anyway.

I’ve been using AmazonBasics Filament for a few months now. To be honest, I have to give Amazon props for this one. I am very impressed with the results that I have been *constantly* getting. Up until now, I have stuck with Hatchbox PLA. It’s a very reputable brand that also yields very good results.

[ I will update this post and place pictures of my prints here ]

According to Amazon, the dimensional accuracy of their filament is around + / – .05 mm, which seems to be on par. I haven’t had any issues or jams when using the filament. Speaking of which, it is also claimed to be “engineered” to reduce jamming.

The AmazonBasics Filament itself comes in a resealable bag that helps protect the filament once you’re done using it. The spool also has a cool window/built-in gauge that helps you see the approximate length and percentage of filament you have left. It is also backed by an AmazonBasics’ 1-year limited warranty.

Is It Worth It?

Yes. Amazon’s 3D Printer Filament is definitely worth the cost. From my experience, it performs just as well as other well-known brands of filament. It is definitely worth a try and you should have no trouble using it alongside whatever it is that you are currently using. They offer a variety of colors and types of filament to choose from.

I have Amazon’s copper filament, glow filament, and yellow filament. They have all performed great, adhered to the bed without issue, and every print came out successful. My favorite would have to be their glow filament- it’s just so cool! The texture also feels smooth and premium.

If you were on the edge of whether or not to give Amazon’s 3D Printer Filament a try, I would for sure go ahead and do so. You won’t regret it.

My 3D Printer

In case you were wondering what 3D Printer I use, it is the MonoPrice Mini Select v2. You can view it on Amazon by clicking here. They have two colors- black or white. I’ve had it for quite a while as well and it is one of the best I’ve ever had. I had the Anet A8 before it. The MonoPrice, however, comes pre-assembled and ready to print out-of-box. It produces premium prints and the experience overall feels premium. It’s my main “go-to” machine and I have been using the AmazonBasics 3D Printer Filament in it with no trouble at all.

Walmart Discontinues Savings Catcher Program

After May 14, 2019, Walmart’s Savings Catcher will be discontinued.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I received an email from Walmart on March 15, 2019, around 3pm EST regarding the matter. Here it is:

Dear Customer, 

Here at Walmart, we’ve always been committed to providing you with low prices every day, so you and your family can save money and live better. Savings Catcher, which compares nationally advertised prices through submitted receipts, was designed to catch occasions when a competitor’s price on a particular item was found to be lower than what you paid for it at Walmart. 

What we’ve learned through Savings Catcher is that our efforts to lower prices upfront on thousands of items across our stores is working. Walmart’s prices win most often when you submit your receipts, which tells us that the program’s intent has been met. 

That’s why we have decided to discontinue the Savings Catcher receipt submission, effective May 14, 2019. After May 14, you will no longer be able to submit your Walmart Pay eReceipts to Savings Catcher. But don’t worry, the money you have on your Savings Catcher eGift Card will remain yours to spend until you’re ready to use it. 

We want to thank you for your loyalty and your participation in the program. We’ll continue to work hard to offer you features and services that deliver on our promise to save you time and money—whether you’re shopping in our stores or online at Walmart.com.

Questions? Learn more about this change here.

Sincerely, 
Your Walmart Savings Catcher Team

If you have been following updates regarding Savings Catcher within the past year or so, then you probably already knew that submitting your receipts through Walmart Pay was the exclusive, only way to do so. This pretty much “discontinued” Savings Catcher for many users submitting physical receipts a long time ago.

Now Walmart is back at it again, finally deciding to kill off the service once and for all. My speculation on the subject is that Walmart was trying to force users into their Walmart Pay system- but no one cared and it backfired.

I personally enjoyed using Savings Catcher. I earned quite a bit back on my Walmart purchases and it was always interesting to see what it had found. It’s always sad when features are removed instead of improved upon.

Interested in fast, 2-day shipping with the world’s largest online retailer? Start your free trial with Amazon Prime today.

Should I Cut Cable?

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Everyone around me seems to have made the decision to cut their cable (except for their high-speed, unlimited internet of course). As we continue to work our way into 2019, is there really any reason NOT to cut cable?

If you are a tech-savvy person then cutting the cord totally makes sense. You are aware of all the online alternatives including Hulu, Netflix, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, etc. You can even snag a 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime by clicking or tapping here. There are many different services out there that can replace and even outdo the content that you could barely squeeze out of your cable TV subscription. Even with a few online services, the cost is still usually cheaper than your hefty cable bill.

For local channels that you might miss out on when relying on online streaming services, you can buy a cheap HD TV antenna on Amazon ($27) or pick one up at a retail store near you.

When I decided to cut the cord and cut cable, I ordered an Amazon Fire TV Stick off of Amazon ($40). For the price, the Fire Stick is more than worth it for what it has to offer. It has a remote than can be controlled with your voice- which is amazing in itself, using Amazon’s Alexa technology. You can easily download the apps for Hulu, Netflix, etc. I have found that Amazon Prime is one of the best values for your money. You get access to Kindle eBooks, free 2-day shipping, Prime Video, and much more. It’s only $12.99 per month and even cheaper if you choose an annual subscription. Here’s the link again for the free 30-day trial I mentioned above.

Cutting cable is a wise move in my opinion. It forces the cable companies to rethink how they are running their business. When all of your users are dropping your service- you know that you need to make a change. Opting-in to online streaming services pushes you and everyone else into the future of entertainment.

Cable TV may seem like the easiest option but it’s definitely not worth it for the prices that are typically offered. Channels are crammed full of ads and you barely have any choice in what you get to watch. You have to conform to what the channel guide tells you.

Grab yourself a Fire TV Stick and a Digital Antenna. Cut out your cable TV subscription. It is well worth the switch as long as you are willing to make the change. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back with you. Thanks!

Food for Thought

Interested in fast, 2-day shipping on some of the items listed above? Start your free trial with Amazon Prime today.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Amazon has a special right now that you can take advantage of- $30 off of the all-new Kindle Paperwhite. That’s a price tag of only $99.99 instead of the usual $129.99. But, don’t wait too long, as this offer expires on March 15, 2019. So if you’re interested, be sure to make the purchase now rather than later. You can view the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon here.

No Glare, Even in Bright Sunlight – phones and tablets have reflective screens, the Kindle Paperwhite looks just as if you were reading off of paper itself

Can Last Forever on a Single Charge – the Kindle Paperwhite can last up to six weeks on a single charge (based on reading for 30 minutes per day with wireless off and the brightness at ten)

Won’t Tire Your Eyes in the Dark – the Kindle Paperwhite has a display that guides light towards the surface of the display rather than towards your eyes (like most phones and tablets do)

For more information on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, you can view its details on Amazon by clicking the link here. By doing so, you can get it for $30 off so be sure to visit using the links on this page. Remember, this special offer expires on March 15, 2019! You can also activate this special offer by clicking or tapping the banner below to make your purchase. Happy shopping!

Food for Thought

Interested in fast, 2-day shipping on some of the items listed above? Start your free trial with Amazon Prime today.