Securing Your Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin Wallet

Cryptocurrency removes the user from the traditional banking system. Essentially you become your own bank.

As your own Bank, you are the one in charge of security. It is crucial that you understand this. There are basic security requirements that you must meet. If you do not, you could lose your Bitcoin. Adopting proper security precautions will put you ahead of many Bitcoin users, who continually make basic mistakes, which results in lost Bitcoins. Bitcoin users have lost Millions of dollars in Bitcoin, and continue to do so, often for reasons that were entirely avoidable.

No Bitcoin Cold Storage

First, let’s look at the potential for loss or failure of computer hardware holding your Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a digital currency, and most bitcoins will exist solely on computers or smartphones. However, any Computer or Smartphone can break, even if the quality is good. There are several infamous examples, such as this man in the UK, who discarded a broken laptop. Unfortunately his laptop hard drive contained the equivalent of eighty million dollars in Bitcoin.  He had no backup.

Poor Backup Technique – Only One Copy?

  • This man in Australia did make a backup of his bitcoin Wallet, using the Thumb Drive method of Cold Storage.
  • Unfortunately he used a cheap five dollar USB Thumb Drive. When he tried to recover his Bitcoin, the thumb drive was dead.
  • He lost millions.

Bitcoin Cold Storage

Bitcoin for Beginners

How many people lose their own Bitcoin.

One of the most common forms of lost Bitcoin is simply forgetting a security phrase or PIN to access a Wallet. This locks the owners out of their own Bitcoin Wallet, forever. Next, we come to a serious form of lost Bitcoin, which is cyber-crime. This can affect your own devices, or websites such as Bitcoin exchanges, or Online Wallets.

Fraudulent Bitcoin Exchanges and Bitcoin Wallets continually pop up on the Internet. These are scams designed to steal Money and Bitcoin. You should only ever use a trusted and recommended Online Bitcoin Service or Wallet through Websites such as

There is also the possibility of software failures and real computer hacking. In January of twenty-eighteen, a Japanese Bitcoin Exchange called ‘CoinCheck” was hacked. It lost five hundred Million dollars of its customers Bitcoin.  Similar losses have occurred on other exchanges.

In November twenty seventeen, a Bitcoin Wallet Developer called Parity accidentally locked all of their user’s Cryptocurrency Wallets, on their own client’s devices. In a panic to unlock their Client’s Wallets, the Developers accidentally destroyed them, plus the three hundred million dollars in crypto-currency they contained.

Online Wallets are an alternative to holding your own Digital Wallet on your own device, but there have been several cases of hacking of Online Wallets that have also led to huge losses.

bitcoin seed, password and pin

There is a lesson here, which Information Technology security professionals have always known: if something is connected to the internet, there is a chance it can be hacked, or it can break. Most software is updated continually, including operating systems, Bitcoin Wallets, and websites. Every new update brings the potential for a new type of cyber-attack, exploiting a new weakness. Loss of Bitcoin continues to be one of the biggest drawbacks to using it, and why you must protect yourself.

With a cyber-attack through the internet or Wi-Fi, it is possible to lose the contents of your Bitcoin Wallet. You could lose the device holding your Bitcoin Wallet to hacking, hardware damage, destruction, or theft.

Update your Device Operating System

But don’t panic, you can recover from a total loss of your device, if you plan ahead. So, just how do you recover from a catastrophic loss of the entire device holding your Bitcoin? The first step is to secure your devices, whether a computer or smartphone, against cyber-attack through the internet, or through a Wi-Fi connection, which is a common method of attack. To do this, update the Operating system, such as Microsoft Windows on your Computer or the Android Operating system on your Smartphone, and keep them updated.

Internet Security Tools & Bitcoin

Next, make sure all of your Digital Devices have a class-leading Internet Security and anti-Malware tool installed. There are many to choose from today, that will protect all of your devices with a Firewall, which blocks malicious internet or Wi-Fi attacks, plus anti-malware and anti-virus tools. We have links on this webpage at to two class-leading Internet Security products, BullGuard Internet Security, and Bitdefender Total Security.

No matter which Internet Security Application you select, please make sure that you do actually use one, and keep it updated.  Once you have an Internet Security Tool on your Device, and before you install a Bitcoin Wallet, run a full antivirus scan to make sure your device is clean from any viruses or malware.

How Many Wallets?

Once you know you have a clean device, it’s a good idea to use more than one Digital Wallet Application.  These can be on the same or separate devices. There is no limit to the number of different Wallets you can install from different Wallet providers on the same device. Always encrypt your Wallet with a passcode. This will help protect your wallet from thieves, but it will not protect you from malware, such as key loggers. You need an Internet Security Tool for that.

For day-to-day transactions keep small amounts of Bitcoin in one wallet. The rest of your Bitcoin you can spread over several Wallets. If a security vulnerability occurs affecting one wallet, there is less chance that it will affect the others.


Hardware Wallets & Cold Storage Wallets

You can also use Cold Storage Wallets, including Paper Wallets, USB Thumb Drives, or specialist hardware Devices, such as the “Trezor” or the “Nano S” Bitcoin Wallet. Cold Storage Wallets separate your Wallet from the Internet and Wi-Fi, although you must make sure to follow the instructions and keep these in a safe location.

You must also backup all of your wallets data with Backup Software that allows for encryption.  This means you can secure the backup file with a passcode. If you use your Wallet on a regular basis, then you must also backup regularly. Consult the user instructions for each wallet, which will tell you what you need to do. You may need to backup several files, as some wallets include a private key that is separate from the main data file. You can even include a backup of a Paper Wallet digitally, using a screenshot of the original Paper Wallet, before it was printed, storing this as a high quality image in a backup file.

— It’s getting complicated, isn’t it?

— And this is just the beginner’s course.

The trouble with Bitcoin is that it is complicated – even for someone who understands computers. But don’t worry, there are links on this page to Bitcoin.Org and other pages that will walk you through these steps in more detail.

Wallet Backup Data, Seed (Secret Keys), Private Keys and Passcodes.

Lastly, you must safeguard the Secret Keys, Private Keys or Passcodes used to create and access your Wallets. These secret keys should be long and complex, but you must be able to remember them. Unlike email passwords, Bitcoin Wallet password recovery options are limited, or non-existent. If you think you might forget these passcodes, then they must be kept in a file in a safe place, well apart from your devices, such as a vault.

One of the most common ways people lose Bitcoins is simply forgetting or losing the secret key or passcode to their Wallet. If this happens to you, then your Bitcoins could be locked forever.

Summary for your Bitcoin Protection

  • Before you install any wallets, make sure your Device Operating system is fully up-to-date.
  • Use a quality Internet protection tool such as Bullguard or Bitdefender.
  • Use several Wallets to spread your Risk.
  • Consider using a Cold Storage Wallet to completely separate some of your Bitcoin from the possibility of internet attacks.
  • Use Backup Software that offers Encryption to backup all of the files needed to recreate your Wallets, including any hidden private keys.
  • Consult the User Instructions of each Wallet, and make sure that you are backing up all required files.
  • Keep your backups encrypted and in a secure location. This could be an online backup service, or a USB Key that you keep in a Security Deposit Box or a Vault.
  • Never forget your passwords, or any secret keys that you need to access or recreate your Wallets.
  • If you might forget, keep a printed record in a secure location, such as a vault or Security Deposit Box.
  • Always keep the information you need to recreate your Bitcoin Wallet completely separate from the Device that actually holds your Wallets, and keep this secure.
  • You must plan for disaster, such as the loss of the Computer or Smartphone holding your Bitcoin Wallet.
  • You must always be fully prepared to recreate your Wallets, and the Bitcoins they contain.

Bitcoin is complicated, there is no getting away from that fact. But with our Bitcoin for Beginners course, we will keep you on the right path.

Check out our Bitcoin for Beginners Course for more information.  Until next time, so long and have fun!

Lost Bitcoin
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Types of Bitcoin Wallets & Internet Security

Bitcoin for Beginners

Episode Guide

In this episode we’re going to explore the different types of Bitcoin Wallets available, and why it’s advisable to use more than one Wallet to store your Bitcoins.  We’ll also discuss some important Internet security and antivirus steps you should take, before you even install a Wallet on your computer or smartphone. There are several types of Wallets available, ranging from stand-alone applications for your computer or smartphone, modern hardware Wallets that offer greater security, or even paper wallets that you can print out and keep inside an envelope.  The most commonly used Bitcoin wallets are stand-alone applications that you can install on your computers, tablet devices, laptops or smartphones. There are several types of Wallets available, ranging from stand-alone applications for your computer or smartphone, modern hardware Wallets that offer greater security, or even paper wallets that you can print out and keep inside an envelope.  The most commonly used Bitcoin wallets are stand-alone applications that you can install on your computers, tablet devices, laptops or smartphones.

Only Download from Trusted Sources

It’s important that you only install a Wallet from a trusted source on the internet.  Some unscrupulous websites have been found to hide malicious code inside what appears to be a genuine wallet application, but in fact is a piece of Malware designed to infect your computer and steal bitcoins or personal information. A safe place to start is on the Website, which lists many recommended Wallets, all in one place.  There are several good Wallets to choose from, and the download links you find there for these wallets will be genuine.


types of bitcoin wallet
Bitcoin for Beginners

Recreating a Lost or Stolen Wallet

If disaster strikes, many Wallets and their Bitcoins, can be recreated from information held on the public Blockchain, or backup files, plus the Secret key you used when installing your Wallet. Never put yourself in the position that if you lost your device, you also lose the means to recreate your wallet. To prevent this, you should keep security information and backup files separate from the device that actually holds your Wallet. So, if you lost your device you will still have all the information needed to recreate your wallet, and hopefully the Bitcoins it contains.

Caution: Online Services

An alternative to a Wallet on your own device, are Online Web Wallet Services, offered by private companies. These Online Web Wallets function similar to online banking services. The responsibility for security falls mostly to the Online Web Wallet Company. However, we don’t actually recommend Web Wallets on our course. The reason is simple. There is a long history of Bitcoin Exchanges and Online Web Wallets being prime targets for hackers. While it is possible for hackers to target your own computer and your own Bitcoin Wallet, targeting a company that stores Bitcoins for thousands of users is much more lucrative. In January of two thousand eighteen, a huge Japanese Exchange called “Coincheck” lost five hundred million dollars’ worth of its customers Bitcoins, all stolen by hackers. If you want to investigate online Wallets for yourself, then the website holds detailed reviews of several services.

How to recreate a bitcoin wallet
Bitcoin Hack attacks wifi

Internet Security Tools & Bitcoin Wallets

Before you even install a Wallet, you should make sure there is no malware or viruses on your device. It should also have a strong firewall in place, to help prevent hacking attempts. Two recommended Internet Security applications are Bullguard Internet Security, or Bitdefender Total Security. Either product will protect your Computers and Android Smartphones. Protecting your Computer and Smartphone with a serious Internet Security application is really something you must do. To help you, we offer links to both products, which we use ourselves at learnbycartoon. These links will also give substantial savings from the regular price. No matter which Internet Security product you select, please make sure your device is completely secure before you even consider installing a Bitcoin Wallet. You must also ensure that the operating system on your device is up-to-date, as this helps protect you from known security vulnerabilities.

Hardware & Cold-Storage Bitcoin Wallets – Offline Protection

Losses of Bitcoin can occur from hacking attempts, through internet connected computers or Websites. However, there are ways to isolate your Bitcoin Wallet from the Internet entirely, using “Cold Storage” or “Hardware Wallets”. Hardware Wallets, such as the “Trezor” or the “Nano S” Bitcoin Wallet are specialized hardware devices that spend most of their time offline, away from direct internet connection. Even if you lost the hardware device itself, as long as you have followed the manufacturer’s instructions, you can actually recreate your Wallet on a new Device using stored security information. If you are on a budget, you can create your own Hardware Cold Storage Wallet using a USB Thumb-Drive, which allows you to easily remove your Wallet from direct internet connection. You can even create a Cold Storage wallet on Paper.  All you need to create a Paper Wallet is a computer printer and the use of free online services that will create a valid Bitcoin Address for you. Paper Wallets hold Bitcoins using the same information as a Digital Wallet, which includes a Private Key, and even a password.  This is possible as it is the Miners that confirm all Bitcoin transactions on the Blockchain public ledger, not the Wallet itself, which simply holds the Bitcoin Address. Sending Bitcoins to a Paper Wallet, onto which is printed a valid Bitcoin Address, is the same process as sending them to a Digital Wallet. To check how many Bitcoins are held in your Paper Wallet, simply look up its Bitcoin Address on the Blockchain Public Ledger. To spend the funds on your Paper Wallet, you simply “import” or “sweep” your paper wallet onto a Digital Wallet. This transfers the Bitcoins from the paper wallet into a live Digital Wallet.

How many Bitcoin Wallets should you have?

We strongly suggest that you install more than one Wallet Application on your devices and distribute your Bitcoins between them. If one of your Bitcoin Wallets becomes vulnerable or is hacked, then you haven’t lost everything. It’s also highly recommended to use some sort of Cold Storage Wallet, either a paper wallet for long-term secure storage, one of the new hardware cold-storage wallets, or a thumb-drive wallet. Either of these cold storage options will separate your wallet from internet access, which physically prevents hacking.  You then simply need to keep the cold storage wallet in a secure location.

The main types of Bitcoin Wallets:

  • Standard Wallets on computer or Smartphone,
  • online Web Wallets,
  • or cold storage Wallets (USB thumb-drives, or even paper wallets that you can print.)
  • Hardware Wallets
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Why Atlassian Confluence Sites Can Fail

why we fail

In the decades that I’ve worked as an IT Contractor, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many different projects for many different Corporations. My roles as Software Analyst & Developer, then later as a Technical Writer has given me the chance to observe how large teams integrate Atlassian Confluence alongside their other documentation management tools, such as Microsoft SharePoint or Documentum.

The results of what I’ve seen, both within large Software Development Companies employing over a hundred developers, and the usual corporate office environment have been ‘mixed’ – a euphemism meaning ‘not very good’.

But My Team are Technically Proficient!

Simply because Confluence is used by teams of Java Developers is no guarantee they will follow good data management practices – they are developers not data analysts.  In fact, the worst data management practices that I have seen have been centered around large IT Software Development Teams.  Analysts and programmers frequently think, design and use the simplest methods, not only in their coding, but in their data management. This can have the effect of making data stored in SharePoint, or Atlassian Confluence sites difficult to find, use, or understand.

shake hands

How to Make Confluence play well with SharePoint.

I’ve seen wikis such as Confluence integrated well with other systems, such as SharePoint, but more often than not I’ve seen them working together pretty badly, and unnecessarily so.  There are a number of common issues that can cause this disharmony between systems. In this article I will outline the most common factors I’ve seen, with some suggestions to correct this situation.  So buckle up, as this post will not be politically correct…

In no particular order, as all organizations are different, here are the most common reasons I’ve personally encountered, that have caused Atlassian Confluence installs to fail, be disliked by users, or work badly with other systems, or in corporate environments.

A dirty dozen:

  1. Inadequate Training on Confluence Best Practices for all users.
  2. Training a few people to a high level, then expecting everyone else to follow.
  3. Unclear boundaries between Confluence and SharePoint or other Document Management Systems.
  4. Poor Confluence Space Management Discipline causing run-away growth in the Space Directory.
  5. No ‘informal’ Confluence User Group, allowing people to talk about Collaboration.
  6. Lack of Descriptions and Categorization of Confluence Spaces in the Space Directory.
  7. Lack of understanding on Confluence Page Templates, including easy-to-setup Custom Page Templates.
  8. Lack of understanding on Parent/Child Page Tree Structuring.
  9. Total lack of use of simple Labels on Pages, other Content Types and Attachments.
  10. Lack of understanding of Attachment (document uploads)
  11. Lack of understanding of version control built into Confluence.
  12. Office Politics or Office Psychopaths?
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Inadequate Training on Confluence Best Practices (for all users).

Training tends to be expensive, it’s a great big cash-cow for many companies, but it doesn’t have to be. Large corporates with perhaps hundreds of Confluence Wiki users face a dilemma in their training efforts. Although Confluence is a blank canvas, with which teams can build whatever they wish, this can be somewhat of a double-edged sword that can lead to chaos without proper best-practice training for all.

Many corporates employ their own Technical Writers and Training teams to train out all of their key software resources. This is okay, and something that I’ve been employed to do on many occasions myself, however the internal training resource is more often than not simply repackaging training materials they took from someplace else, without any deep understanding of what they are presenting. Trainers are trainers – they are not data management experts. They can repackage, but they cannot advise from a position of true knowledge.

The other option is outsourcing training in one of these general ways:

  • By selecting a small number of team members to undergo high-level training in the classroom, which works well, but is expensive.
  • Using YouTube-type resources, which in my own experience fail often for one simple reason – they can be long, monotonous, boring, and rather generic.
  • Using Skype or Webcast dial-in sessions ‘with an expert’. These often fail for exactly the same reason as watching YouTube videos. They are also extremely expensive, and you pay per participant to the webcast.  Sit through a two-hour webcast with an expert and measure the distance between your top and bottom eyelids at the end of the session. Not the best way to learn anything in my opinion.

The main problem we all face today is our attention spans are short for one very good reason – the sheer volume of information we are presented with on a daily basis. Each and every one of us is overstimulated with information.  If the information we need to take in is not quick and zippy, our minds tend to get bored very quickly.

eyes of a psychopath

Are Controlling Psychopaths Ruining Your Data Management?

A little known fact is that it is estimated that one percent of humanity are psychopathic, sociopathic or malignant narcissists. These psychological conditions render the area of the brain that controls empathy – dormant. Using detailed psychological screening, in the book ‘Psychopaths on Wall Street’, forensic psychologist Robert Hare discovered the rate of psychopathy was over ten percent.

Is a Psychopath running your data management team?

  • Pathological narcissism, or narcissistic personality disorder makes up about 1–2% of the population.
  • Sociopathy makes up about 2-4%
  • Psychopathy is around 0.7–1% of the population.

So all together psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists make up possibly 3.7 % of the general population. However, in some industries, such as Wall Street, that figure has been found to be over 10%.

Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Narcissists are not ‘team’ players (unless they are on top of it).

The driving motivation in these personality types is power and control.  The centers of the brain that deal with empathy are completely dormant in the psychopath, and only their desire for control and personal power matters to them.

Indeed, there has been much speculation over the years on whether Steve Jobs was in fact a sociopath.  He has been one of my personal heroes for a long time, but when one reads the way he mistreated people in his life, and how he drove people in his teams to near breaking point, one has to wonder just what type of personality lurked behind those eyes.  Was Steve Jobs a great man – undoubtedly he was.  He created Apple with Steve Wozniak, was forced out of the company (through office politics), started two other wildly successful companies, then came back to do it again.

You are most likely to find a psychopaths in areas such as:

  • High Finance (10% of Wall Street workers, according to study).
  • Big business (20% of CEO’s according to study).
  • Politics
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Media
  • Religious organizations.

The great thing about being independent is that one can speak the truth. In thirty years of working in a very wide range of office environments, I’ve definitely met at least three very clearly psychopathic people.  Each one held a Managerial positions in Corporates.

One had a high-degree of control over a Microsoft SharePoint site for a large (un-named) Corporate.  ‘They’ displayed so much desire for control that they actually caused a great deal of harm to the company itself, running a large project that should have been cancelled, far past its expiration date. I witnessed a great deal of data-disturbance simply because the manager in control of this data-management project (that had failed) simply refused to accept that failure, as that meant a loss of their own personal power.  The needs of the company, their colleagues, and other teams really did come second-place.  Perhaps you have met someone like this in your workplace?

Having a psychopath or a sociopath at the head of your organization can be an absolute boon for that organization on the world stage, however having a number of sociopaths running competing departments or data management systems in your organization can be a nightmare that’s not easy to fix. I’ve witnessed this happening, and it’s not pretty.

An ignored problem

Although studiously ignored in today’s Politically Correct culture, it’s also not as rare as one might expect.  I’ve worked in an IT Contractor role for over twenty organizations, and I’ve met three very definite psychopaths holding mid to high managerial roles. That ratio (3% of us being psychopathic/sociopathic/narcissistic) is about right – and these people impact not just the people they work with, but the ‘office politics’ and the data management decisions that are made, all from a basis of expanding their personal power and reach.

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The Financial History of Bitcoin, the BlockChain and Crypto-Currencies

The History of Bitcoin

Bitcoin 2 pizzasIn two thousand and eight, one of the first ever Bitcoin transactions was reacorded. It was for the purchase of two pizzas, exchanged for ten thousand bitcoins. As I write this, less than ten years later, in December twenty seventeen, a single Bitcoin, on its own, costs over eleven thousand dollars. This makes the bitcoins exchanged for those two pizzas, now worth over one hundred and ten million dollars.  You might ask how on earth is this possiblea?

Well, it is possible. But if you want to learn more, and understand what Bitcoin truly represents, you must begin with Bitcoin’s history, and also learn how Money is actually created. Take your mind back to the Global Financial crisis, at it’s height in two thousand and seven. Banks, Financial Institutions, Mortgage Companies, and Insurance companies around the world were in extreme financial difficulties. As the financial system is connected like dominoes, when one institution falls, this can affect many others.

Financial institutions began to fail because of their own bad, or indeed illegal practices, such as the subprime mortgage scandal. Subprime, and other financial scandals left major banks and institutions with mountains of bad debts, with some near collapse. Things were so bad during this period, that many ordinary people in different countries such as Greece and Cyprus lost homes, or savings due to failures within financial and banking institutions.

Bitcoin 2007 financial crisisGovernments in Western Countries responded with Bail-ins. Failing Banks, insurance companies, and mortgage companies were in effect taken over by the Governments, and their vast debts were secured by tax payers.

Central Banks, including the Federal Reserve, began creating electronically, tens of Billions of dollars of completely new money every month, in a process called Quantitative Easing. Each month, the Fed used this newly created money to buy tens of billions of dollars of subprime Mortgages, and other financial assets, such as government bonds. Banks in trouble also borrowed directly from the Federal Reserve during the crisis, to the sum of one point two trillion dollars. This further increased their debt, and created trillions of dollars in new money through debt expansion, but was needed to keep the Western financial system functioning. Very quickly, the level of debt on the Federal Reserve balance sheet rose to dangerous levels.

What is Money?

At this point, let’s examine what the definition of Money actually is. Money is loosely defined as a store of value, which is portable, and can easily be exchanged for goods and services. This is essentially all that money represents. So, as a store of value, it may surprise you to know that in our modern world, most of our money is actually created through debt. For example, when someone takes a mortgage or loan from a Bank, nobody from the Bank actually opens a vault to get that money. The mortgage or loan, is placed onto the Banks balance sheets as a debt to be paid back by the customer. The transfer is usually digital, with no cash involved. Banks are allowed to do this through a system called Fractional Reserve Banking. This means they can legally ‘lend out’ money that they don’t actually have. Instead, they create new money through debt expansion, which largely exists only digitally, inside a computer.

Over a number of years, larger and larger sums of this newly created money, begin to circulate wider and wider through society, chasing a limited amounts of goods, such as homes, cars, food, or services. With all this additional money in circulation, prices naturally rise to absorb the available volume. These natural price rises are, what we call, inflation.

Dow Jones BitcoinThroughout western financial history, times of great booms in stock markets, were immediately followed by equal periods of bust. Banks and Financial institutions have many times proven themselves vulnerable during downturns due to their excessive levels of debt. When this debt turns bad, it can quickly bankrupt the bank.

Dow Jones – Over 100 Years of Boom and Bust
Take note of how high the Dow Jones chart now reaches, and compare this to the preceding hundred years. Do you see a pattern? If we look at this Dow Jones Stock Market chart over the last hundred years, we can see repeated booms and busts, many caused by financial and banking practices. These repeated periods of Booms followed by Busts in the global economy, have caused real hardship for many millions of people, and will continue to do so.

Enter Satoshi Nakamoto & Bitcoin

Satoshi NakamotoInto this period of financial turmoil, in October of two thousand and eight, a technical paper, called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, was published on the internet, by someone going by the name of “Satoshi Nakamoto”. The name Satoshi Nakamoto, the person named on the Bitcoin paper, is generally accepted to be a pseudonym. The truth is that nobody knows who Satoshi Nakamoto actually is. They might not even be an individual. But we do know that they probably still own around a million original bitcoins.

The Bitcoin paper described the sophisticated algorithms, and cryptology to be used to both confirm transactions, and create new Bitcoins at a steady rate, until a total of twenty one million existed. Although twenty one million seems like a low number for a currency supply, a single bitcoin can be reduced down to as much as eight decimal places, making very small payments possible. It described the encrypted public ledger, where all Bitcoin transactions are stored, and confirmed in a public file, called the BlockChain.

New Bitcoins would be created during the process of confirming blocks of transactions, and given as a reward to computers confirming these transactions, called Miners. This is how new Bitcoins are created, and where the term Bitcoin Mining originates. The creation of new digital currency units, or Bitcoins in this way, to gradually increase the money supply, is the opposite of what happens in the current money system controlled by the Banks, where money is created through debt.

A Programming Development community quickly formed around the Bitcoin idea, and soon Bitcoin began to take shape in the real, albeit digital world. The core Bitcoin Community Developers, maintained the Bitcoin Software as Open Source, which means the code can be examined by anyone.

With Bitcoin, no central authority, such as a Government or Bank is required, in order for bitcoin to operate. What Bitcoin suggested back in two thousand and eight, was that a new form of money for the digital age was possible. Bitcoin promised a new digital currency, which would grow steadily, and which could remain free from centralised interference.

For the first few years of its development, Bitcoin remained largely unknown in society, except for a few computer nerds. Within mainstream media and finance institutions, some regarded Bitcoin and digital cryptocurrencies as a threat to Banking Control, while others saw Bitcoin as the next logical step in the Digital age. As the years have passed, Bitcoin has endured much negative press, including threats of banning bitcoin, although exactly how that could be accomplished is easier said than done.

Bitcoin Dangers

Danger BitcoinSome negative press has been justified, and should serve as a warning to anyone who wants to rush into Bitcoin without knowledge of the safety precautions that must be taken. The Bitcoin community has witnessed wild price swings driven by speculation, plus multiple Bitcoin hacking thefts, and failures in Bitcoin exchanges over the years. One of the largest failures was the Mount Gox exchange, which was responsible for almost seventy percent of the entire bitcoin market by two thousand fourteen. Mount Gox went bankrupt after it was revealed that eight hundred and fifty thousand bitcoins, belonging to its customers, had been stolen. You can also lose Bitcoins from things such as hardware failures, lost passwords, data corruption or of course theft, either digitally or physically. As Bitcoin is not regulated and operates without a central authority, there is nobody to complain to, if you lose your Bitcoins for any reason. This is something very important to be aware of before diving into bitcoin.

However, one thing has endured throughout all of the negative press, the exchange failures, the fraud and the wild price swings caused by speculators, and that is bitcoin itself. It’s still here after almost ten years, and the Bitcoin world is getting larger, not smaller. The development community around Bitcoin is now much stronger. Bitcoin today cannot be called just something for the computer nerds. Nobody can say for sure what the future of Bitcoin will look like in the coming years. Bitcoin could continue to grow into an acknowledged digital currency, and enter the global mainstream, or it could be replaced by a newer and better technology and become worthless. Time will tell.

However, if you are tempted to enter the Bitcoin world, then you must know what you’re doing. And that’s where we can help. Sign up for our Bitcoin for Beginners Course.

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The Strengths and Weaknesses of Bitcoin

Bitcoin for beginnersBitcoin For Beginners CourseLet’s now consider Bitcoin’s strengths,  weaknesses, and how it compares to other cryptocurrencies. On the Economic front, we have seen enormous price movements in Bitcoin. ‘Market size’ (also called ‘Market Cap’) is what we call the total, in US Dollars, currently invested into the Bitcoin market. As the number of Bitcoins available is limited, and will eventually peak at twenty one million, the total amount of traditional currencies moving in and out of Bitcoin is what drives the price up, or down. As I write this, at the beginning of twenty eighteen, Bitcoin’s Market Size is still relatively small, equivalent to about the net value of two companies the size of coca-cola. When compared to the value of any of the top four hundred global companies, the Bitcoin Market is not really that large. 

Bitcoin’s Violent Price Swings

As Bitcoin attracts a lot of media attention, the amount of dollar investment tends to rise, which drives the price of Bitcoin upwards. However the Bitcoin price has a history of swinging wildly up, and down. Occasionally, when some price levels are reached, speculators sell their bitcoins, taking profits in their local currencies.  This can drive the price down, just as quickly as it went up. Now, this is true of all cryptocurrencies and indeed stock markets, but it is wise to be aware that speculation does happen, and the Bitcoin price can move rapidly up or down as a result. In the almost ten year history of Bitcoin, the trend has remained upward, but when the price has collapsed, it has sometimes taken a long period of time to recover. There are also many competitors available now, and although Bitcoin is the most widely known cryptocurrency, many people are also beginning to look at the competition.

The Cryptocurrency Technology Race

Bitcoin represents a brand new technology. It was the first, but there are now many other alternatives. We’ve seen these technology races play out before. For example, with digital consumer goods such as different video formats, mobile-phones or media players. A technological race is currently playing out between Bitcoin and several other competing crypto-currencies.   These are all variations of the same underlying technology, each with different benefits and drawbacks. In the future, we could find that some of these cryptocurrencies completely disappear as better technologies overtake them. This is why some people, who use cryptocurrencies as an investment, rather than a fully functioning online currency at this stage, often invest in several cryptocurrencies, rather than just one. Once you understand Bitcoin, you’re well on your way to understanding the other cryptocurrencies that are available.

Bitcoin competitors

Bitcoin’s Potential Weaknesses

Bitcoin Issues TaxSo what are the current weaknesses of Bitcoin, which could impact investors in the future? As I write this in twenty eighteen, there are several issues with cryptocurrency technology that should be considered. 

  • First, there is no central authority. Although no central authority is a plus, it could also become a negative. If you lose your Bitcoin for any reason, you have no recourse to get your bitcoin back. 
  • You are responsible for keeping safe the Private Keys and Passwords that protect your Bitcoin Wallet. If you forgot or lost these, you could become permanently locked out of your own Bitcoin Wallet. 
  • All computers and smartphones can be infected with Malware, including programs like keyloggers that record everything your type. Some Bitcoin Wallet and Mining applications have been hacked, stealing Bitcoin that was presumed secure. A good antivirus application, on a virus-free device, with an operating system you keep updated is recommended for all Bitcoin users.
  • In some countries Bitcoin exchanges have failed for reasons including hacking, fraud, or even government intervention.
  • Recently, as bitcoin became more popular, transaction fees and transaction times have become an issue. This can leave your Bitcoin stuck in the system, unavailable to either the sender or receiver until the transaction is confirmed.  Instances of transactions being held up for several days have been experienced by some.   There are methods to un-stick these transactions, but this is not for the beginner, as Bitcoins could be lost. You can guarantee your Bitcoin transaction is processed faster by including a larger transaction fee, but this goes against the principle of permanently low transaction fees that Bitcoin originally promised.
  • On the plus side for Bitcoin, the online adoption network is the largest there is. You can buy real physical goods using Bitcoin, and more online outlets for Bitcoin appear every day.

Bitcoin DangersAs Cryptocurrency technologies continue to evolve, these are some topics to keep an eye on, not just with Bitcoin, but also with other Cryptocurrency competitors.

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How Bitcoin Works

Bitcoin for beginners

Bitcoin Wallets

Bitcoin allows people to carry out transactions without the need for traditional intermediaries, such as Banks or credit card companies.  We are all used to keeping our credit cards and banknotes in physical wallets, and bitcoin actually replicates the use of Wallets. However Bitcoin Wallets are not made of leather or nylon, they are digital apps that you keep on your computer or smartphone. 

The best place to find a trustworthy Bitcoin Wallet is from the website. Navigate to and have a look at some of the Wallets they recommend.  The Website also lists trustworthy Cryptocurrency exchanges, where you can exchange your local currency for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin AddressesBitcoin Addresses

Every Bitcoin Wallet will generate a unique set of Addresses, in unlimited numbers.  These are used for sending and  receiving Bitcoins. Each bitcoin address is a shortened version of something known in cryptology as a ‘Public Key’.  

By using a new Bitcoin Address every time you Send or Receive Bitcoin, this protects your Wallet’s Confidentiality.




Private Key

Private Keys

When you first install your wallet on your computer or device, you will also be prompted to create your own ‘Private Key’. Your Private key must always remain a secret to you alone, as it is used to authorise Bitcoin transactions leaving your wallet.  If someone discovered what your Private Key actually was, it would be possible to steal the Bitcoins stored in your Wallet, so it is essential that you never share your Private Key with anyone.

Sending Bitcoins To Another Wallet

Let’s look at what happens when Bitcoins are sent from one Bitcoin Wallet to another. In the Bitcoin Wallet of the person sending the Bitcoins, we simply enter the number of Bitcoins, and the destination Bitcoin Address.

A very small transaction fee may also be deducted from the Senders wallet automatically, and included in this transaction. Although it’s not technically required to include a transaction fee, it does take far longer to process transactions without fees, and in reality today, fees are usually included.

  • When we press the Send Button, the details of the transaction, plus any fees, are locked into a block and encrypted using extremely complex algorithms. This is then published to the internet.
  • In the Sending Wallet, our Bitcoin balance is reduced, and in the recipients Wallet their Bitcoin balance increases.

Send and Receive BitcoinAt this point however, the transaction is not confirmed, so the recipient can’t actually spend these Bitcoins. Out on the Internet, Bitcoin Mining Computers pick up this encrypted transaction and any others they find, and compete with each other to be the first to crack the cryptographic puzzles that have locked


The first computer to solve the cryptographic puzzle and unlock each new block of transactions, can claim any transaction fees that were included inside the block.  There is also a Block reward of a few Bitcoins, and these are given to the winning miners. This is how new Bitcoins come into existence.  The Miner who wins, publishes this new block to the Bitcoin Public Ledger, called the Blockchain. But at this point the confirmation process is still not complete.

The actual confirmation process on the Blockchain can get quite technical, as all of the miners have to agree to all of the transactions, and distribute the winning block rewards to the winning miners.  Basically, as the cryptographic puzzle locking each new block of transactions is solved and written to the public ledger called the blockchain, this confirms the blocks of transactions that came before it.

Confirming Bitcoin Transactions

Confirmed Bitcoin TransactionsAfter some time, and a few more confirmed blocks have been written to the Blockchain, the transaction status in each Wallet will eventually change to ‘confirmed’, and the Bitcoins can then be spent by the person who received them.   The length of time transactions take to be confirmed can vary from around an hour, to occasionally very much longer. It depends how many transactions, and Miners are operating.

The time taken to confirm Bitcoin transactions may seem like a huge downside, when compared to something like a Credit card transaction. In reality however, Credit Card transactions take days to fully process through the Banking system, and then they can be disputed or reversed, whereas Bitcoin cannot.

This is a very simple breakdown of how Bitcoin transactions work, but we’ve really only glanced over the the full technicalities. If you really want to delve into the technical aspects further, then you should start by reading the original Bitcoin paper, available from the official Bitcoin foundation website at  There’s also good information available from the Bitcoin wiki at

Bitcoin Transaction TimesBitcoin vs. ‘Traditional Money’

In this Bitcoin For Beginners course from, we’re going to take an impartial look at the pros, cons, and potential pitfalls of Bitcoin.  To begin, let’s compare Bitcoin to other common forms of currency, or perhaps transaction methods is a better term used today.

These are:

  • Cash
  • Checks (Cheques)
  • and Credit Cards.

Let’s begin with Bitcoin and compare the basic qualities of each transaction method.

Bitcoin exists entirely online. Even though it can be stored in a Bitcoin Wallet on a smartphone, it requires the internet to function.  Bitcoin was designed for the digital world, so we’re going to give Bitcoin full marks in the Online Ready section. 

Bitcoin versus Money

Next, what Centralised Overseeing Authority stands behind Bitcoin? I don’t mean the Bitcoin Development Community, but rather an overseeing authority or institution, that has the legal power to step in, and alter the currency in a way that impacts its users. 

  • With Bitcoin there is no centralised controlling authority, such as a Financial Institution at all. Bitcoin requires only the Internet and its Network of Miners to function.   However, a lot of Governments and Banks have their eye on Bitcoin.

So although there is no Central Authority, bitcoin users could potentially be affected in non-direct ways, such as future Government taxation, or Banking interference, especially when exchanging Bitcoin for local currencies, which does involve connecting to Banks.  That’s something to keep an eye on.

What if something goes wrong with a transaction, or you are affected by fraud?

Excluding working through the legal system, what recourse is available to get your Bitcoin back? With Bitcoin, there is no central authority, and thus no recourse if you find yourself in a difficult situation. Once your Bitcoin leaves your Bitcoin Wallet, your Bitcoin is gone.  You could approach the other party involved in the transaction, or the legal system, but that’s about it.

Next, every form of currency has a cost of use built into it.   With Bitcoin, this used to be exceptionally low, only a few cents per transaction, but today this sometimes isn’t the case. As I record this in twenty eighteen, many people have recognised variable transaction fees as a weakness in Bitcoin.  

Bitcoin Issues Tax

Technically, you can send Bitcoin to another Wallet or online store, and not attach a transaction fee. However the Miners on the Internet that enable the entire system to function, tend to prioritise Bitcoin transactions that include fees. Transactions carrying no fees, or very low fees, can then get pushed backwards in the transaction queue.  There have been cases where Bitcoin transactions with low fees attached, have sat in the ‘unconfirmed’ state, which basically means limbo, for days on end until the transaction is finally confirmed by the Miners. So currently, the cost of use for Bitcoin, can in fact vary from extremely low, to actually quite high, at least if you want your transaction processed quickly when the Bitcoin Network is busy.

This is an area that could improve through technology, or an expansion of the Mining Network, but we have to consider this a variable right now.

Next, let’s look at physical Cash. Banknotes and Coins. Cash is of course entirely physical. It is not online ready. As a country’s standard currency, cash is generally controlled at a high level by Governments. If you lose your Cash, then it’s gone, with no recourse to get it back. Cost of use does get a high score, as there is no transaction fees.

Next, we have checks. These are mostly physical, although some Banks allow the use of cellphone pictures of checks to enable digital processing. So some checks are partially online ready. The Authority controlling checks is of course the issuing Bank, and you do have recourse through your Bank if you have a problem with any check transaction, so that’s good. Cost of use is Medium, as Banks tend to either charge for checking accounts or check transactions. 

Lastly, we have Credit Cards.  As credit cards are used to swipe transactions electronically, and work equally well online, these are really a Digital Product. The Controlling Authority for credit cards is the Issuing Bank, and you also have recourse, should anything untoward happen with your card or a transaction. However, cost of use for Credit Cards, based on interest rates can be extremely high.

When you compare these transaction types, some preconceived ideas fall away.   For example, credit cards have only existed since the year nineteen fifty.  Everything at some time was brand new.

Our Bitcoin for Beginners Course will give you everything you need to know about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies.

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The JIRA Confluence Connection

Making Confluence Work Training CourseAtlassian Confluence TrainingJIRA is perhaps one of the best known and best-loved issue tracking and project management tools on the market today.  While it’s early adopters are very definitely from the Agile Software Development area, it’s adoption rates have increased dramatically in many other areas, since its launch back in 2002. JIRA has grown up into a healthy fifteen-year-old teenager!  With a product as mature as JIRA, it’s no wonder that it currently ranks as the most popular issue management tool on the planet.

How to connect Confluence with JIRA

Edit the page where you want your JIRA data to appear, then select the JIRA Issues Macro from the Macro Browser. Follow the Macro prompts to connect your JIRA report with your Confluence page.

Note: You may need help from your own Confluence or JIRA Administrator to properly link the two applications.

Our Making Confluence Work Course

If you are looking for high-quality Confluence Training, which is aimed at giving you the best outcome, and not simply what all the buttons do, then you need to look at our Making Confluence Work Course.  Designed by our senior instructor, and industry professional, Ken McHardie, this course will take individuals and teams of all sizes from beginner to competent user.  Not only will you learn the fundamentals of Confluence, you will learn best-practices, which will meet all of your documentation and collaboration needs.

Perfect Confluence e-Learning for Teams

Our Making Atlassian Confluence Work course is designed to provide a great outcome for any business that has selected this great product.  All too often, Confluence is seen as a tool that can be used with little or no training on best practices.  Well, this is true, but only to a certain extent.  Case study after case study has proven that when a core set of best practice principles are understood and followed by organizations using products such as JIRA and Confluence, the outcome of the organization’s information management is vastly improved.  When all of your team members have access to inexpensive, and high-quality Confluence E-Learning, such as our Making Confluence Work Course – why would you not take it?  Mind you, we are biased, and we’re also proud of our course.  Our mantra is simple. At LearnByCartoon, we provide entertaining, professional level elearning that is designed to engage the learner, and never bore them. When attention is maintained, learning results are vastly improved. It’s just that simple.



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The Atlassian Confluence Dashboard and Space Directory

Making Confluence Work Training CourseAtlassian Confluence TrainingThe Confluence home page, is also referred to as The Dashboard. To get here, just click on the Confluence Home symbol, which is always displayed in the top-left corner. This symbol will either be the Atlassian symbol, or a logo representing your own organisation. 

The Global Sidebar

Below the homepage symbol, is the Search icon. Click this to carry out a search and to access the advanced Search results page. Below this, is the Create icon, shown as a plus symbol.  By clicking the create icon, you can create content immediately, inside any Space on your site, using the Select Space drop-down menu. However, if you are new to Confluence, it’s usually best to first Open the Space where you want to create your new content, and press the Create button from there. This ensures that your content is created inside the correct Space.

Course Sample

The Activity Feed

The Activity section shows All, and Popular Updates, that have been made, in real time. The All Updates feed shows what’s happening around your organization. This is similar to the FaceBook homepage feed. This shows Pages created or edited, Blog Posts published for Team Communications, plus any other activity. 

What did you change?

If we look at the differences in some of the activity on this list, notice that some items include a helpful short comment, underneath the page name, while some do not. Whenever you edit a page or a blog post, on the bottom of the page, next to the Publish button, you will notice a field that says, “What did you change?”.  You should make it a habit to always enter a short comment in the “What did you change” field, when editing pages, as that short comment also shows up here, on the Activity feed.  This immediately changes the Activity feed from a simple list of updates, to a list of updates that also tell the viewer what that change actually means. This increases understanding, and improves communication, for everybody.

Popular Feed

Next, the Popular feed highlights pages and other items in confluence, that are the most liked, or have the most comments. To get the most from the Popular Feed, teams should make full use of the social networking features, such as liking pages, or adding comments. Commenting on Pages or Blog posts can actually reduce the amount of Email generated by your team.  It’s also a more direct, and faster way to highlight good work that’s been done, and for engaging in team discussion. Both of these will improve team collaboration. Pages and blog posts with the most comments or likes, will feature higher in the list.

Confluence Team Calendars Add-on

In the Upcoming Events area, you can see my schedule, from a list of Team Calendars that I’m following. Team Calendars is an optional Add-on, so you may, or may not have this installed. 

Back on the Global Sidebar, the “Your Work” section, shows what pages you have recently Worked on, recently visited, or saved for later. This helps you to pick up your workflow, from wherever you left-off. Recently Worked on, and recently visited are quite straightforward.

Save for Later

On the top of all pages in Confluence, you will notice the “Save for Later” star icon.  By clicking the star icon, the page will be added to this “Saved for Later” list.  

The Confluence Space DirectoryConfluence Space Directory

Now, to open our Space Directory, just click on “Spaces” from the Sidebar. Spaces are containers for related information. Each Space can be thought of as a mini-site or subsite within Confluence. We make it a rule that every Space has at least one category label, which describes what the Space relates to. Categories build the Navigation structure for the Space Directory, automatically. While you are here, add the Spaces that you’ll use most often to your “My Spaces” list, in the Global Sidebar.  Just click on the Star icon for the space, to add or remove Spaces to your My Spaces list.

As soon as we Open our Space, notice that the blue Global Sidebar is reduced in size, and the grey “Space Sidebar” takes its place. The first page that you’ll see when browsing a Space is called the Space Overview page.  What appears on this page is entirely determined by the Team who created the Space. However, the Overview page will usually be an information page of some sort.  We can see the Page content of the Space, by clicking on the Pages link, which will open our Page Tree Browser. Pages are the main content types for most Spaces.  Beneath the Pages link in the Space Sidebar, is the Blog link.  Blogs are used for news and communications. Not all Spaces will necessarily have a Blog. They are used when there is a need to communicate news and information related to the Space, it’s contents, or the team that owns it.  

The rest of the content shown in the Space Sidebar can vary substantially from Space to Space. Teams have the ability to choose from many types of content available, which can be added to the Space Sidebar.  To get back to the main Dashboard, just click again on the Confluence Home icon, on the top-left of the page.


Next in the Sidebar, we have the People directory link. This let’s you find other Confluence users on your site. You can also filter this list to show people with Personal Spaces. Personal Spaces allow users to store pages relevant to them, or their particular role in the organisation. Not everyone in your organisation will necessarily have their own Personal Space, or have a need for one.

Back in the global Sidebar, the Add-ons link displays any extra applications that have been added to Confluence. In our case, we use the excellent Questions for Confluence and Team Calendars Add-ons.   What is displayed in your own Add-ons list may vary.

The two cog wheel icons, called Settings, and Site Administration, are only available for Confluence Administrators.  The Administrator is the person in overall control of the Confluence Site.  These options give access to Site Administration functions, which we will not cover here.

Confluence Activity Feed

At the bottom of the sidebar are a number of icons. The Bell icon will open your personal Notifications Workbox. This is a list of Tasks or other notifications that are specific to you. Click on each notification to open it.  You will be notified about items such as tasks assigned to you, or when you have been mentioned on a page, or when content that you are watching has been changed. 


The “Switch Apps” icon allows you to switch between your most recently visited Spaces, and also any other Atlassian products that your organization might be using, such as Jira. The Help icon gives you access to the Atlassian Online Help system for Confluence, and other items such as the handy list of Keyboard Shortcut keys that are specific to Confluence.

Finally, click on the Profile Picture, to open Your Profile and Settings. You can access your Personal Space, if you have one from here. There is also a handy link to Your Recently Viewed pages, plus several other features. When I click on the Profile menu item, to open my Profile page, notice that the menu options from Profile all the way down to Settings, correspond to the tabbed areas at the top of the Profile page.  We have a separate episode that explains your profile and settings, in greater detail, so look out for that.  The final option available, by clicking on your profile picture, is the Log Out option.  And that’s us. A brief tour of the Dashboard, Space Directory and a quick look inside a typical space.

Just enough to get you started.  Until next time, enjoy and have fun.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Atlassian Confluence Page Templates & Blueprints

Making Confluence Work Training CourseAtlassian Confluence TrainingPage Templates and Blueprints provide Confluence users with pre-formatted pages. They automate many common actions related to team-working, workflow, and creative enterprises of all sorts.

Page Templates

Page Templates can be built by anyone.  Templates allow users to begin a new Page that is laid out in a standard format. You can create your own templates for things like Work Requests, Holiday Requests, or any type of form that you use. They can include any of the standard Macros available on the Editor Toolbar, and are simple to create.

Page Blueprints

Blueprints are for advanced users only. Custom-designed Blueprints are powerful, and tap into the Confluence DataBase itself. Blueprints allow you to work with your Confluence data in unique ways. Blueprints require Development effort, and the assistance of a skilled Software Developer. They can be installed on local Confluence Server installations, but not on the Confluence Cloud.

Find More on the Atlassian Marketplace

An assortment of professionally designed Templates and Blueprints, some free and some paid-for,  are also available directly from the Atlassian Marketplace. Many of these can be installed on Cloud, or Server installations.

Available (default) Page Templates 

  • The Blank Page template allows you to build virtually anything you need.  It’s a blank canvas, to fill with your own content.
  • The Blog Post template is used for communications, such as team news or Project updates. Blog posts show up on the Dashboard, and remain attached to the Space in their own Blog section. Blogs often perform better than Email, for communicating news, and also encourage team discussion through comments and likes.
  • The Decisions template gives you a simple and logical structure to break-down and explore the Decision making process, and communicate decisions more clearly to your team.
  • The File List Template creates a central file list for uploading and organising attachments.  See our episode on working with files and attachments for more details.
  • The Meeting Notes template will crowd-source your Meeting Agenda, and create a set of real tasks. This saves time and makes your meetings more effective. See our episode on Easy Task Management and Meeting Notes, for more information.
  • The Share a Link template is a great way to start a conversation with your team, not only about content stored inside Confluence, but content from the Web.
  • The Ask a Question template is only available if you have the “Questions for Confluence” Add-on installed. Questions are  a great way to build a detailed knowledge base, and find experts quickly. Questions taps into the collective knowledge of colleagues across your entire organisation.
  • The Calendar is also an optional Add-on for Confluence, so you might, or might not, have this installed.  The Calendar is a truly team focused application, designed to organise meetings and events for entire teams or projects.
  • The How-To article template is one of the main components from the Documentation Space Template.  This allows you to build user guides, and product or process instructions within your Space.
  • The JIRA report template integrates Confluence seamlessly with Jira, Atlassian’s Award Winning Issue and Project Tracking software.
  • The Product Requirements Template breaks down large project requirements, whether intellectual, software related, or physical product, into smaller and more manageable chunks. This makes large projects easier to understand, manage, and complete.
  • The Retrospective is brilliant at looking back at work your team has completed, and defining what went well, and what could have gone better. Retrospectives are a great way to gain feedback from your whole team, and form part of the continual improvement process.
  • The Task Report template creates task reports for your Team or your Project.  You can also insert the Task Report Macro manually. See our episode on Easy Task Management and Meeting Notes for more information.
  • The TroubleShooting Article Template. This organises articles that solve common problems. If you create, or open any Knowledge Base Spaces, you will notice that the main content is this same Troubleshooting article.

Confluence Blueprint

Design your own Custom Page Templates

  • To create a new Page Template for a Space, click on the Space Tools Button, and select “Content Tools”, then click on the “Create New Template” button.
  • Design your page in the Page Edit window.
  • Save your Page Template.
  • Back in Content Tools, click on the pencil icon, next to the description, and add a short description for your new page template.  Then click on the save button.

The Custom Template will then be available in the Create (page content) pop-up box for your Space.

You can also make custom Page Templates globally available, to all Confluence Users, across all Spaces. To do this, contact your own Confluence Administrator, who can place your custom Templates on the global Templates list for your Confluence Site.

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Atlassian Confluence Add-ons & Plug-ins

Making Confluence Work Training CourseAtlassian Confluence TrainingAtlassian Confluence is great out of the box, but you can enhance the functionality of Confluence even more by adding specialized Confluence  Templates, Blueprints or Add-Ons. To get more Confluence Add-ons, jump across to the Atlassian Marketplace for a quick look at what’s available.
To get to the Marketplace, navigate to, or search for Atlassian Marketplace using google. Once in the Marketplace, navigate to the Confluence section.

Confluence Add-ons

There are literally hundreds of Add-ons and templates available that will enhance your Confluence site. However, when searching, it’s important to search for Add-ons that match the type of Confluence installation that you have. In the Hosting section, make sure to select your Confluence installation type. Some of our favorites, include the Team Calendars Add-on. This provides a truly team, or space focussed calendar application, that works for entire teams. The Questions for Confluence Add-on is fantastic for leveraging the collective knowledge of colleagues, across your entire organization. This Add-on will find the answers to any questions, and build a category structure around these organically, as questions get answered. It will also help identify experts in different areas. For some organizations or requirements, the Questions add-on will deliver better results than the more traditional knowledge base. If you have a need to draw flowcharts and technical diagrams, then there are several options available. Each one with a strong user base. These Add-ons offer the same level of functionality as many more well-known tools, but they make it available to your entire team, in a format that fully integrates with Confluence. If you need more spreadsheet-like features, such as pivot tables, and generated charts, then the “Table Filter and Charts” Add-on might be worth considering, or other popular add-ons from Developers such as the Bob Swift company.

Confluence Themes & SharePoint Connector for Confluence

Atlassian Confluence Blueprints

If you are lucky enough to have Confluence installed on your own local Server, then you can go even further with customization. Many organizations use themes for Confluence, to turn Confluence into a professional looking Intranet. Just search for the Word “theme” to see what’s available. Any of these themes will bring fantastic results, by placing a visual wrapper around all of your Spaces, based on their Categories. Many themes also bring drag and drop styling to your Spaces, and the main Confluence Dashboard. There are many more Add-ons available, plus Page templates and Blueprints, that offer specialized Page designs, and automated workflows.

If you have a specific need that’s not met out of the box, then you’ll probably find it on the Confluence Marketplace. Have a look around, and as always, enjoy and have fun!

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