Tagbackup

Recovering bitcoins from old wallets

To the moon and back?

To the moon and back?

Bitcoin, and the blockchain specifically, is a pretty cool technology. The price of a bitcoin, as shown in the above image, is still in flux. That’s euphemism for a bloody roller-coaster. 🙂

Anyway, this post is about something connected, but not entirely the same. This post is about recovering some bitcoins which I had in an old wallet, and where I thought they would stay.

Some background info

When I was involved with coinduit I used to have some bitcoins (some part of bitcoins, of course) on Mycelium wallet on my android mobile phone. Unfortunately my phon encountered a kind of strange problem: even if connected to the charger, the phone was unable to charge. This meant I had small amount of time to transfer all my bitcoins, and take a backup of my existing wallet. I tried to do the 12 words backup with Mycelium, but didn’t manage. However I’ve managed to export the private keys of my three accounts that I had created at that time…

What happened

Who has the private keys of a bitcoin address, owns the address, therefore keeping the private key secure is paramount. The private key is necessary to sign a transaction, which is the way the bitcoins do get transfer from one address to another one. Basically without the private key, you can’t move the bitcoins from a bitcoin address.

So before my mobile ran out of juice, I’ve managed to transfer some coins on a new wallet I’ve just opened on blockchain.info. For some reason that I do not remember, I didn’t send them all of them, but some millibitcoins stayed behind. I think just after the transaction, my phone poweroff. That was basically the swan’s song for my phone.

I’ve sent the phone to be repaired, but as usual, they did a factory reset and everything that was stored on the phone, was gone.

Quick fast forward to today. I’ve got a new phone, a bit of time ago, and I’ve decided to see if I could recovered the coins.

It was super easy!

I have just scanned the three private keys into Mycelium, regaining all my bitcoins that were left there. As I said at the beginning, having the private key makes you the owner of these bitcoins, or at least gives you the power to move them to an address you control. So I have transferred the bitcoins from the old address to the new Hierarchical one that comes with the latest Mycelium.

After that, I’ve logged into blockchain.info, and sent the bitcoins from that address to the new one. Now all the bitcoins are once again on my device and I am in full control.

This time I’ve managed to back up the seed to recreate the Hierarchical Mycelium wallet, therefore next time I have a problem, I have just to recreate the address using the 12 random words and I’m sorted.

I’m using clipper.is as password manager, to store all this details, so the solution is pretty secure.

So, yeah, pretty pleased with bitcoins and the ability of rescue them. Get some if you didn’t so far.

Backup made it easy

backup

credits: http://askbobrankin.com/automatic_backups.html

Having a Dell XPS M1330 is kind of a problem. This computer failed me 3 times in the last 3 years. The mother board managed to cook itself every time, and also the graphic card died. It seems the problem was due to a lazy fan, which was not spinning as it should have done.

In this situation, coming up with a backup schema is necessary. More over a hot-backup schema, which permits to swap computers, going from the dead laptop to another working machine on the fly would be very convenient.  The other machine would be either my desktop computer at work, or my old (2003) acer laptop.

Usually I work with three different type of formats: code, simulations result and written report (in the form of text documents or presentations).

My simulations’ results live on the server @EBI, so I don’t have to care about the backup and I can mount/access them using ssh.

This leaves out the code and the documents.

Code

For the code my choice has been to use git and host the code somewhere. For example Neuronvisio lives on the github repo. For stuff that can’t go live (yet) I’ve set up my own private git repo on another server, and I wrote a quick how-to here.

Given the distributed nature of git, to keep all my machine in synch, I just need to clone the repo. Then I can develop on my working machine (no pun intended) and I can push the latest development back to the online repo. When I switch machine, I just need to pull the repo to go up to speed. Easy and slick.

Docs

I think one of the best way I found to keep my docs synced is with DropBox.

Dropbox syncs automatically your docs (or any stuff you’ve got in the folder) with an online server. So you have an easy way to do the backup. What is more interesting is Dropbox allow you to add another computer to the same account, and automatically syncs the documents between the online computers.

Basically it acts as a bridge between your two computers, without having the problem to think about the backup, but automatically doing that. It integrates in a really nice way with Linux as well.

So join it and give it a go!

P.S.: If you use this link to join DropBox, I’ll get some free space 🙂

Conclusions

Using git and dropbox I have a complete automated backup system, which lets me to:

  • backup my code and docs with no effort
  • switch between different machines in no time, without worrying of data loss due to hardisk failures.

Comments are open if you want to share some other solutions 🙂

Back in time – Easy Backup solution for linux

Making the backup is always a tricky business for me.

I always tend to postpone the moment, and that’s not a very smart procedure to keep your data safe. Thankfully, from when I discovered backintime the situation is quite different.

Back in Time Screenshot

Back in time is just a really nice and friendly graphical interface on top of rsync. The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about rsync in any way. The interface has really neat default options, like get rid of your old backup if you are short in space.

After you’ve installed you just have to pick the directory where you want to save your backup and clcik “Take Snapshot”. Then you’re done. Quick and easy.

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