David Brooks at the Monitor did a detailed writeup which included him visiting Area 23 to take photos and interview A23 owner Kirk McNeil. It’s a good piece, but whoever wrote the headline got it wrong. NH is not the leader in BVMs for the nation, but we do outperform all of the rest of New England combined.
I received a call from a friend in Keene yesterday. His friend’s computer had been hit by “ransomware”. Ransomware is malware that supposedly encrypts the hard drive of the victim, then demands payment in bitcoin in order to unlock the files. The malicious software in today’s incident was demanding a payment of 1.9 bitcoin and at the time of this writing, one bitcoin is selling for over $1,000 USD, so the ransomware was demanding about $2,000 worth of bitcoin. Damn. This is not the way you want to introduce someone to the amazing world of Bitcoin.
Having heard that I was someone who might know a thing or two about bitcoin, they reached out to me. My first question was, do you have backups of your important files? He said that his backup procedure had been broken for a while, so he didn’t have one. This is the number one thing you can do to avoid paying ransom. If you have a backup (preferably one on-site and one off-site), then you can just format the computer and reinstall everything fresh.
They were in a hurry as there were mission critical files on the infected computer, so I told them I could help them turn some cash into bitcoin since the Keene Bitcoin Vending Machine at Route 101 Local Goods is closed on Mondays. However, I cautioned that they still have to trust unknown hackers to actually do as they say and unlock the files once the payment is made. (Turns out, they did decrypt the files about ten hours after he paid the ransom.) I then did some digging online for solutions to avoid paying the extortion.
Turns out, paying the ransom or formatting the computer aren’t the only two options, according to some of my even-more-techy friends in the New Hampshire bitcoin community. The most promising options are ransomware decryptors. Kapersky Labs, along with Intel and others, have a website set up with instructions and downloadable files to attempt to unencrypt your files. Another handy site, “ID Ransomware” will assist you in determining which specific ransomware you’re dealing with. (more…)
More than three years after the City of Keene filed suit against Keene’s “Robin Hooders” (the activists who’ve saved motorists from thousands of parking tickets by feeding expired meters), the case has finally come to a close – at least within the New Hampshire court system. In a short four-page order issued just before Christmas, the NH supreme court affirms the Cheshire superior court’s decision to deny the city’s request for an unconstitutional injunction they’ve been begging for since 2013:
taking into consideration the governmental interest that would be served, the trial court weighed the benefits of the requested relief against the effect that relief would have on the respondents’ constitutionally protected speech, and, based upon the factual record before it, exercised its equitable discretion to deny the proposed injunction.
We won! (Again!) Presuming the city gang does not decide to continue lavishing taxpayer dollars on their expensive private attorneys to take the case to federal court, it should end here. We’ve yet to see the total cost of the several court appearances the city has made, but then-city-manager John MacLean admitted in 2013 that the first round (of four) cost about $20,000. Their private attorneys billed them so much, that on this final round at the supreme court they were claiming to have taken the case “pro bono”. Another way to say that is that the city paid tens-of-thousands for the first three rounds in court and got the fourth free.
James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman
All the while free speech attorney Jon Meyer of Manchester truly did take the Robin Hooders’ case pro-bono, the entire time. His talent is legendary and he not only brilliantly defended the peaceful activists but proved without a doubt that the city’s parking enforcers were dishonest and ridiculous. There was never any evidence presented that the accused Robin Hooders had “threatened, intimidated, or harassed” the city employees. As if to prove how ridiculous their claims were, parking enforcer Jane desperately stated that anything Garret said, even talking to her about the weather, she considered to be “taunting”. It was laughable but also very serious – the city gang was lying to try to get the judge to order us to stay 50 feet away from the enforcers. (more…)
Tuesday morning the saga of UBER Grandma came to a close at Portsmouth district court. Stephanie Franz’ trial was scheduled for seven tickets she’s received since October of 2015 for the horrible crime of driving people places without a government permission slip. Rather than thank her for providing the service of getting drunk people home alive (and stopping them from driving themselves home drunk), the “City of Portsmouth” gang decided to ticket her seven times for a total of $6,500! $500 for the first ticket, $1000 each for the rest.
The city’s argument for threatening the sweet grandmother and other UBER drivers with such ridiculous fines was the claim that more stringent background checks than what UBER provides are necessary to keep passengers safe. However, this argument is obvious garbage, as the city only regulates drivers who charge for their services. If a convicted murderer were to offer rides for free, the regulations wouldn’t apply. Portsmouth’s anti-ride-sharing regulations, passed in Summer of 2015, were created to protect the existing taxi oligopoly. That’s what regulations are really for – not to protect consumers as the government claims, but to protect the established businesses from innovative competition.
Despite the constant attacks by both the police and the cabbies, UBER Grandma was not deterred. She kept driving in civil disobedience to the city’s protectionist ordinances, knowing she had harmed no one, and in fact had helped many people get home safely. She’s a hero for continuing to stand up for her right to do business without asking for permission! (more…)
Major news from the bitcoin-in-real-life hotspot of the world, Keene, New Hampshire! Now, you can get your car repaired with bitcoin at the award-winning, ASE-certified Wilder Automotive at 384 Washington Stree in Keene. Winner of the Keene Sentinel “Reader’s Choice Award” for Best Local Mechanic of 2015, owner Steven Wilder learned he had multiple customers who were asking about bitcoin. As he looked into it further, he discovered that accepting bitcoin may also get him new business through the door, as the owner of Keene-based Linux computer internet retailer Think Penguin, has said he needs some car repair done and would prefer to give his business to a bitcoin-accepting mechanic.
As stated in the radio ads that Shire BTC has been running on the Peak 101.9, Bitcoin is an international currency, but feels hyper-local. We’ve seen multiple examples of local bitcoin-accepting businesses patronizing each other. Not only do business owners get to keep more from each sale than they do from credit card transactions, but that also means more money staying here in the Keene-area economy, rather than going to megacorporate credit card companies!
Pizza doesn’t get fresher than Little Zoe’s, now available for bitcoin!
Wilder Automotive accepting bitcoin is a major level up for Keene, which until now had several smaller-ticket brick-and-mortar businesses onboard the Keene Bitcoin Network, like Main Street hair salon Moda Suo, gift shop Route 101 Local Goods, and Vietnamese food truck Bon Vivant. The announcment may attract excited bitcoiners from around the region to get their cars and trucks repaired with BTC.
Another established, award-winning Keene business that is now accepting bitcoin at their point-of-sale is Little Zoe’s Take and Bake Pizza, located in the Center at Keene on Gilbo Ave. Originally established several years ago, the unique pizzeria makes each pizza fresh and then you take the pizza home and cook it in your oven! Their delicious pizza is available with a staggering amount of topping configurations and won NH Magazine’s “Best of NH” award for 2013. (more…)