Jae Nulton

Thank you! I only wanted to tell you that I throughly enjoyed your course. You are an amazing public speaker. You just earned a follower. I went through your course with a pen and paper to take notes of the great ideas. I had 3 full pages! By the time I am done adding my views I will likely have about 9-12 pages.

Christina Furore

Thank you for the effort you put into [your video course] Freelancing Fundamentals. I appreciated your honest presentation, as well as your instructive and kind manner of speaking. The videos were well organized and gave great examples and resources for further learning.

Four years ago in bitcoin…

Remember when one bitcoin cost only $450? I do.

Four years ago, video training company Lynda.com published its first cryptocurrency course, my “Up and Running with Bitcoin (later retitled “Learning Bitcoin”). A lot’s changed in that time, so the company (acquired by LinkedIn Learning in 2015) asked me to revise it.

At first it was going to be a simple rework, but it quickly became clear that more was needed. So instead we just released a completely new, updated, and expanded course, “Learning Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies. It’s on LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com; see it with a free month’s membership; here’s the intro video:

 

It’s fun to watch the original course, which is still on LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com (although I doubt it’ll be there for long). Aside from increased market interest — which I’ll write about another time — here are some notable changes in bitcoin over the last four years:

  • Bitcoin’s not the only game in town anymore. Well, in truth it wasn’t alone back in 2014, either: I personally held small amounts of the cryptocurrencies Litecoin and Dogecoin then as well. (I was a “Dogecoin millionaire” for the princely sum of US$200; a million Dogecoin now costs about $3,500.) But today there are over a thousand cryptocurrencies; a half-dozen have a market capitalization higher than bitcoin’s was then. While bitcoin’s market cap is still by far the biggest, it typically comprises only about 35-40% of the total for all cryptocurrencies.
  •  Cryptocurrency technology has expanded and diversified. Back then, the main difference among cryptocurrencies had to do with how it was mined — specifically, the cryptographic algorithm that secured the blockchain. But many coins these days don’t even use the (insanely wasteful) bitcoin-style “proof-of-work” system any more. Proof-of-stake, proof-of-time, sampling systems, hybrid solutions… the list is long. One of the cryptocurrencies I discuss in the course (IOTA) doesn’t use a blockchain at all, while another (Ethereum) has spawned an entirely new kind of cryptocurrency (ICOs) that rides on the back of its blockchain.

 

  • Centralization, centralization, centralization. One of bitcoin’s greatest achievements is the creation of a security system with no single point of failure: No one company, bank, or government could shut it down. But like anarchy, decentralization is inherently unstable, as collectives band together to squeeze out small players. Nowhere is this clearer than in the world of bitcoin mining, where three pools (overwhelmingly Chinese) control enough power to topple the whole system, running hardware made by a small handful of (also Chinese) manufacturers. On one hand, centralization means errors (or greed, or malice) by a few people could cause big problems; on the other, it can give a cryptocurrency better convenience, liquidity, and popular acceptance.
  • Cryptocurrencies have public acceptance — but not public use. The original bitcoin white paper criticized existing payment systems as unsuitable for “small casual transactions” because the transaction cost was too high. The irony is that a bitcoin transaction cost is now over a dollar, while it was about US$0.04 when I recorded the 2014 course. So the promise of being able to use it for ordinary purchases has mostly vanished, taking with it a big motivation for public interest. And yet more and more people have come to understand its foundations from repeated exposure to articles, news stories, and water-cooler conversations.

So what hasn’t changed? 

While the bitcoin (and cryptocurrency) world is quite different from 2014, I would argue that it’s still not mature.

Cryptocurrency generally now share a quality that I saw in the early years of popular computers and the commercial Internet: It’s a solution in search of a problem. There’s still no “killer app” that compels ordinary people to convert their dollars, euros, and yen to them.

Many people claim to have such a solution — a list of initial coin offerings (ICOs) proves that. But nobody knows whether bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency will find its VisiCalc, its Google. (I suspect the popular breakthrough will be something silly, like Cryptokitties… or the traditional vehicles for the technological leading edge, porn and gambling.)

A year before recording the 2014 bitcoin course, I wrote some bitcoin predictions for Slashdot.org. You can judge how well they turned out overall. But one in particular was absolutely right: “Bitcoin is not the end game.” Let’s check back in 2022 to see whether any current cryptocurrencies were.

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Tom Geller (tomgeller.com) is a writer and videojournalist with feet in The Netherlands an the U.S.. 

Learning Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies (2018)

A ground-up rewrite of my highly successful 2014 course, Learning Bitcoin. Available on LinkedIn Learning and by subscription through Lynda.com. (Watch it for free.)

The new version includes information about Ethereum, Ripple, IOTA, and ICOs. Description by Lynda.com:

“Bitcoin is a form of money that only exists online. While it’s making headlines around the world, many people don’t really understand how bitcoin works or the underlying concepts of cryptocurrency.

In this course, Tom Geller demystifies bitcoin, revealing the promise and perils of the new crypto economy. Tom begins by explaining what bitcoin is, how it originated, and how it compares with other cryptocurrencies. Next, he explains how to get started by creating a bitcoin wallet, buying and selling bitcoin, and protecting your transactions.

He discusses other top cryptocurrencies—Ripple, Ethereum, and IOTA—and explains how “initial coin offerings” (ICOs) have changed the investment landscape. Finally, he covers bitcoin mining, threats to the bitcoin economy, and how to connect with others in cryptocurrency communities.”

Ashish Mangla

Your lynda.com courses are like my mom, who knows what I need.

Sujan Pandey

I found your Writing Articles course on Lynda.com and it provided me with all the things I needed to get started now. I simply wanted to express gratitude and let you know how much I got out of the course. Thank you.

Pavan Katepalli

Your course [about bitcoin] is phenomenal at explaining everything in plain English.

Traveling for Business

Travel is expensive, so you need to be sure your time “on the road” justifies the investment. In this course, Tom Geller outlines what you need to do before, during, and after your business trip to keep yourself comfortable, meet your client’s or employer’s objectives, and take care of your home while you’re away. Learn the tools you need to stay in touch with the office, and find out how to pack a “go bag” that prepares you for business. Tom also provides guidance on managing transportation and staying safe in your new city, and outlines tips for reporting back what you’ve learned when you return home, so each trip is easier and more productive than the last.

Topics include:

  • Setting up a mobile office
  • Planning travel
  • Securing your home and office before you leave
  • Getting work done on the road
  • Getting comfortable in a new location
  • Planning your next trip

Writing Formal Business Letters and Emails

Learn how to write formal business letters and emails that are short, clear, and to the point. This course teaches you how to get results and build better relationships with clients, colleagues, and customers. Writer and journalist Tom Geller helps you clarify your goals, research your topic and intended audience, and structure your correspondence. Plus, get tips about writing for accessibility—making your writing comprehensible, concise, and appropriate for all readers—and following up on communication.

Topics include:

  • Defining your goals
  • Conducting research
  • Setting the tone
  • Writing for accessibility
  • Sending reminders
  • Continuing the conversation

Miftahul Zannat

Thank you for your outstanding contribution to the world of writers through LinkedIn Learning. I must say, it inspired me to keep writing.

Susan Nikta

I’ve enjoyed your lectures/lessons on Lynda.com. You have a great delivery style as well as very interesting background! Thanks for the help, coach!

Geoff Bonina

I was just a plain-old PHP, JS, HTML designer-developer, until I was introduced to Drupal 7 from your videos. They got me up and running quickly, and so I thank you for that!

M. Eric Johnson

I enjoyed the b-roll you took. Also happy you balanced the message — as we say in the paper, it is easy just to hype the threat.

Video for “Why Data Citation Is a Computational Problem”

Screenshot of the video as it appears on Vimeo

An interview with University of Pennsylvania Professor Susan Davidson about the need to change how source information is cited in (for example) academic papers. She and her co-authors propose a framework that allows a greater diversity of sources and more flexibility in citing them.

Drupal 8 Essentials 2: Building Out Your Website

Screenshot of the course's title card

Your Drupal site is built. Now what? Web design doesn’t stop once the website is launched. Learn how to build out your Drupal site to better fit your visitors’ needs.

In these tutorials, Tom Geller helps new Drupal designers change the layout and design elements of their sites, control visitor interactions (including comments), arrange content in user-friendly “views,” and expand the site’s capabilities beyond what’s available in core Drupal with Drupal modules. In all the steps you’ll learn best practices to ensure your sites remain streamlined, secure, and up to date.

Topics include:

  • Grouping content into categories
  • Managing comments
  • Adding discussion groups
  • Customizing fields and image styles
  • Adjusting menus and navigation to help users
  • Adding new features with Drupal modules

Drupal 8 Essentials 1: Getting Started

Screenshot of the course's title card

Drupal 8 Essentials is designed to help anyone create a simple website using Drupal, the free web design software that powers personal blogs as well as the sites of some of the world’s largest corporations.

This course is the first of the series. No prerequisites are required beyond basic computer skills! These easy-to-follow tutorials show how to install Drupal and other necessary components on a Windows or Mac computer, navigate Drupal’s web-based interface, configure the settings of a new Drupal site, create content, and move the site to a server. Every step includes best practices to ensure your website remains streamlined, secure, and up-to-date.

Topics include:

  • Comparing Drupal to other software
  • Getting help with Drupal
  • Installing Acquia Dev Desktop on Mac and Windows
  • Installing the Drupal database, modules, and themes
  • Creating basic content
  • Establishing your site’s look and feel
  • Adjusting security settings
  • Adding images and metadata
  • Adding a sidebar
  • Moving your Drupal website to a server
  • Backing up a Drupal site

Munish Sharma

Your tutorials on lynda.com were really helpful, they make it really easy for non-programmers.

Anthony Robertson

I just finished your Drupal 7 Essential Training on lynda.com. It was very informative. I also bought your Drupal 7: Visual QuickStart Guide book from Amazon. I’m about half-way through it. I know there is overlap in the information, but I find that watching the videos and reading the book helps it stick. I have a MODX and WP background, so your training really helped me with absorbing Drupal. Thank you.

Drupal in Context column: Handrails for Everybody

Front cover of the print edition in which this article appeared

A column for Volume 4, Issue 1 of “Drupal Watchdog”, the print magazine distributed at the semi-annual DrupalCon. It discusses the importance of an “easy entry” to technology, and the struggles Drupal has experienced in that regard.

David Williams, Comfe Designs

A quick note of thanks for your videos, especially for the point about putting aside time for doing stuff not related to work. Great reminder. Thanks again.

Shawn Wilson, Fishing’s Future

I sense your sincerity and desire to actually give of your knowledge. Your desire to help others is a very worthy character trait (a gift actually!). It’s appreciated by many.

Drupal in Context column: Does Coding Matter?

Front cover of the print edition in which this article appeared

A column for Volume 3, Issue 2 of “Drupal Watchdog”, the print magazine distributed at the semi-annual DrupalCon. This one describes how to get Drupal to do what you want, despite having no knowledge of Drupal’s main languages, PHP and JavaScript.

Up and Running with Bitcoin (2014)

Screenshot from Up and Running with Bitcoin

Description by lynda.com: “Understand the basics of bitcoin, the popular virtual currency, and then learn the nuances of bitcoin transactions and security issues that can be difficult to navigate on your own. Tom Geller addresses both the big and small issues swirling around bitcoin right now, and prepares you to use or accept bitcoin as a currency for your transactions. Discover how bitcoin compares to US dollars and other forms of money; how to send, receive, and “mine” it; and how to protect and track your bitcoin transactions. Tom will even show you how to connect with the Bitcoin development community, in case you’re interested in contributing to the spread of this modern cryptocurrency.”

Sarah Davis

I just wanted to say thank you for your lynda.com tutorials. I’ve been a content/project manager for the past four-plus years and I’ve always worked with Drupal — but only recently I have had the opportunity to be on the admin level. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know these new privileges through your approachable tutorials.

Dan Stay

Your videos are the main source of my Drupal education and they are well presented, informative, and example-filled to allow me to get content out and new sites built very quickly. Thank you for all of your work and I look forward to more videos as Drupal continues to develop.

Deborah Weisman

Just wanted to say that so far I am finding your Lynda courses delightful!

Sina Ahmadpour

I watched your Drupal 7 Essential Training and fell in love with Drupal. Now I want to take Drupal seriously and find it as my feature career. I just want to thank you for your awesome tutorial at lynda.com.

Fabien Schiettecatte

I just wanted to say thank you for your easy-on-the-ears videos on lynda.com about Drupal. I watched them over year ago and am now making a lot of Drupal sites, and am also passing on my knowledge to my classroom and employees. Today I was wondering, how did I get here? And I remembered, it was you and your damn videos. 🙂

Nan Rivers

I can’t say enough how impressed I am with your and the other lynda.com tutorials that I have watched. I am a former math teacher, so I’m a pretty tough critic when it comes to teaching techniques. I have recommended the course to others in our company who are using it too.

Going global with QuarkXPress 7

Article as it appeared in email

Written for the the premiere issue of a newsletter by software publisher Quark, this article discusses their flagship product’s globalization-friendly features.

Stanford University Tech Briefing: lynda.com and Drupal

Screenshot of my slides from the talk

A “Stanford University Tech Briefing” about Drupal, given mostly to people who were already using it for departmental websites. Sponsored by lynda.com. Published description: “lynda.com and Drupal — Tom Geller, lynda.com. Do you have lingering questions about your Drupal web site? In this session, lynda.com trainer Tom Geller answers some of the most often-asked questions about entering and managing content in Drupal. He’ll show you the fastest ways to get images on the page, how to attach files, and how to enable hidden features of Stanford’s Drupal installation that let you extend content beyond Pages and Stories. He’ll also take your questions; give you a peek at what’s coming in Drupal 7, due for release in the next few months. Finally, Tom Geller and lynda.com representatives will help you get the most out of training videos on lynda.com, with a particular focus on Drupal and Drupal-related courses.”

Christine Savadel

I’ve been working through your Drupal videos on Lynda, and just wanted to take a second to say they’re great! Most learning/tutorial videos I watch get annoying pretty quickly, but yours have made learning Drupal a lot easier and exciting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Writing Articles

Screenshot from Writing Articles

In this course, author Tom Geller explores the process of writing articles and publications for businesses large and small. The course begins with a look at the preparation you’ll need to do, best ways to find assignments, and smart strategies for determining your article approach. Next, the course dives into techniques you can use to brainstorm angles, research, interview experts, finish a piece, and build your portfolio.

Dennis Triplett

Just a shout out to say I enjoyed your tutorials on Drupal 7 on Lynda.com. You were very informative and you helped me get a grasp on a very steep learning curve for Drupal.

Sam Cathcart

Your Drupal courses have changed how I work and build sites. Thanks for making the content easy to understand and fun. Keep up the good work.

Rachel Boehm

I’m relieved the site was launched within my 1-month self-imposed deadline. Meeting that deadline is a testament to your [Drupal] teaching skills.

Leo Singh

I love your videos. They are so clear and easy to follow, making the most difficult of concepts understandable. Please keep up the great work!

Dave Bish

I learned Drupal entirely from your videos. Last week I got my first contract role as a Drupal developer and it’s great. I’m working for a bunch of highly intelligent guys, yet even they have been blown away with what I’ve been able to do in such a short time with Drupal and what you taught me. Seriously, mate, thank you. I think the fact that your videos are so easy to watch and enjoy made a huge difference.

Freelancing Fundamentals

Screenshot from Freelancing Fundamentals

In this course, author and seasoned freelancer Tom Geller shows you how to prepare for a transition to freelancing. Begin by taking a look at your career goals, the systems that will support you, and proper ways to plan for success. Find out how to marshal your resources, refine your portfolio for presentation to clients, and estimate your costs to avoid any surprises on the financial front. Plus, discover how to create invoices, manage your books and taxes, expand your client base with marketing, and grow your business.

Frank Leone

Tom, your style is perfect. You explain things concisely and perfectly, and I never get bored watching anything you create.

Drupal 7 Advanced Training

Screenshot of intro to Drupal 7 Advanced Training

This course teaches web site designers how to take their sites to the next level with a few advanced techniques and the free and open-source Drupal software. Author Tom Geller shows how to configure the most popular add-on modules; use *nix commands and an FTP program to manage a Drupal site on a web server; change its visual appearance using the latest graphical tools; automate and speed through common tasks with Drush; integrate with social media sites; and see how “supermodules” like Panels, Context, Rules, and Features open up new worlds of code-free development.

Drupal 7 Advanced Training was designed as a follow-up to Drupal 7 Essential Training and it also dovetails nicely with our other Drupal courses, such as Drupal 7 Reporting and Visualizing Data and Create Your First Online Store with Drupal Commerce.

Topics include:

  • Moving a site from the development environment to production
  • Hosting a Drupal site
  • Moving databases with phpMyAdmin and Unix commands
  • Making site administration more efficient with Drush
  • Backing up site data
  • Moderating comments
  • Migrating from previous versions of Drupal
  • Working with themes
  • Creating variable layouts
  • Enabling social features
  • Creating an online store with Drupal Commerce