Sal Aguilar's Bilingual Adventures in IT

computers are easier to deal with than people

2 Alternatives to Paypal in Nicaragua — March 2, 2016

2 Alternatives to Paypal in Nicaragua


Last year I wrote an article about how Paypal is working on Nicaragua, and its 2016 and we are still on the same place: we can get money in, but we can’t cash it out locally ūüė¶ , we need to spend it again via Paypal, which on my particular case has come in handy when paying for servers in Digital Ocean (please use this affiliate link – thanks for using it), Domains & Hosting in Site5 (please use this affiliate link), Games on the XBOX store (I’m a HUGE batman fan).

But at the end of the day you need hard, cold cash. So below are some options you can use instead of Paypal if you work with foreign customers.

PayOneer

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This is a very known Mastercard debit card that is used by many freelancers who work and get paid via UpWork.com and other similar sites. This is a service that provides you with a US based checking account in Bank of America that companies on the US can deposit money and it will be linked to your card. Unfortunately that only works to get deposits from business or corporate accounts.

They do offer however a credit card based service, which it was suspended a couple of years ago and it seems is working again. The service will basically send an email to your client and they will go to a page from Payoneer where they can put their credit card information and perform the payment. They can even decide who is going to pay the fee for the transaction.

In Nicaragua, you can use this card on any ATM from banks who take Mastercard, I have being told by some freelancer friends that ProCredit ATMs offer the lowest fees, followed by BANPRO and lastly BAC being the most expensive one.

Payoneer Fees

Debit Card Annual fee: USD 29.95
Deposits to US Checking account: 1% (if you get paid 500 USD, they will charge you USD 5). Maximum is USD3000 per transaction.
Credit Card payments: 3% per transaction, the only take MASTERCARD & VISA, Maximum is USD2000 per transaction.

ATM Withdrawal fee:  3.15% per transaction (some ATMs add another charge on top of this percentage)

As a conclusion, this is a very good solution if you are getting payments from different customers and your transactions are below the USD2000. My suggestion is to use it when you can and instead of cashing out, to avoid the fees, try to use it as a debit card to pay for stuff like groceries, internet, gas or entertainment!

You can use my affiliate link to ORDER YOUR CARD TODAY FOR FREE

Paypal @ Panamá via LAFISE

This is a solution that has been suggested to me recently and for which I am still on the process of requesting it to LAFISE, since they are a regional bank with offices in Panama, you can open a bank account in LAFISE PANAMA without ever even leaving Nicaragua. You will have to go to your nearest LAFISE branch and talk to Customer Service (servicios bancarios in Spanish) and they will provide a list of the requirements to do so. Once you have filled all the requirements they will give you the bank account information. It cost around USD 20 since you are required to get LAFISE ID, which is their security method to login plus around USD200 cash to have there to keep your account opened.

They you will need to open a new Paypal account, but open it as if you were living in Panam√°. After that you will link your LAFISE PANAMA Bank account to Paypal so you can start getting payments. Since LAFISE also has offices here, the transfers between countries are free.

All normal Paypal fees apply.

 

2Checkout

2co_logoA friend of mine, who owns a business directory website, has used their service for many years now. What they basically do, is they provide a back end so your customers can login there, put the credit card information and process the payment. 2checkout would then give you the option to wire you the money to your Nicaraguan bank account.

They do ask a lot of questions and are very strict about knowing exactly who you are, so they will ask you to provide a lot of documentation, but in the end you will be able to get payments internationally, so on my humble opinion, it’s worth it.

2checkout fees

Credit Card Transactions:¬†3.9% + 45¬Ę
Wire Transfer cost: USD40-65

What’s next?

There are some options I didn’t include on this list because they would need you to open legal companies in other countries or ar alternative methods of sending money to Nicaragua so I am just going to list them briefly:

  1. Open a US company or LLC on any state, file with the IRS to get EIN, open a bank account on the business name and then start using services like Stripe or Authorize.net.
  2. Open a bank account in Costa Rica, in Banco Nacional and  create a Paypal account as if you were living in Costa Rica and link it to that account.
  3. Use Western Union, Moneygram, Xoom, etc.

If you have any tips or other ways that we as Nicaraguan Freelancers and entrepreneurs can benefit from, please let me know!

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Stream from your Mac via DLNA to your Roku (or any other DLNA capable device) — February 4, 2015

Stream from your Mac via DLNA to your Roku (or any other DLNA capable device)


I have a Mac which is my primary computer. But I also have a Dell XPS with Windows on it. Windows has DLNA built in, so you can stream it to any DLNA capable device such as SmartTVs, tablets, gaming consoles, smartphones, etc. So streaming a video from my Windows computer to my Roku or my SmartTV was a piece of cake.

But ever since I moved to Mac, it’s been a real pain trying to stream from Mac OS to any other DLNA. So I started looking for an option. While doing research online, the only solution most people suggested was to use Apple TV, but I don’t own one, so that was not a good solution for me. So I kept on searching, and then I stumbled upon Plex.

Plex

Plex, has a channel on Roku, has an Mac application, even for Android and Windows, but we do not need them since both Android and Windows already have DLNA. So far it seem a really good alternative for streaming. So I went ahead and did all the following:

  1. Went to my Roku Channel store, and installed Plex.
  2. Went to Plex website and downloaded the Mac app.
    Plex Mac app
  3. Installed Plex on my Mac and moved the executable to the Application folder.

Plex media Server Mac

4. I launched Plex on my Mac and it opened a browser window. (cool)

Plex dashboard

5. Then you add the folder where you have your Video files on

Then you get this screen, you click on Movies:

Plex will now ask you to name the Library that you want to add, you can name it anything you’d like, I named it Movies

Now we are going to select the folder where this Library will be pulling files from…

Then you simple browse to the directory that you would like to add, and done.

After this, then you go back to your Roku or DLNA capable device and scan the local wireless LAC on which both the Mac and Roku are connected to and you should be ready to stream.

If you face issues I recommend the following tutorials:

Or simply comment here or drop me a note via my contact me page.

Lost your WordPress Administrator password? — February 3, 2015

Lost your WordPress Administrator password?


This happens a lot on the web hosting world:

  • clients loose their WordPress password
  • clients forget their¬†WordPress¬†Administrator username
  • clients setup an email and they no longer have access to it to do the password reset
  • WordPress of the client can’t send email notifications because its being blocked by the anti spam filters.

Before we start, I want to point out that this tutorial is done with the tools that Site5 provides. So this tutorial assumes that you have all the following:

  • Active Domain, subdomain or Temporary URL (extremely necessary)
  • Active¬†Site5¬†Web hosting account
  • Backstage access
  • SiteAdmin or cPanel access
  • WordPress¬†previously installed
  1. Find what is the database name of your WordPress installation.
    • Via FTP or File Manager go to your the folder where you installed¬†WordPress, for example to /home/username/public_html/ and look for the file wp-config.php¬†(select the file and then click on the edit button of the File Manager toolbar) and look for these lines:
      /** The name of the database for WordPress */
      define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘example_wp355’);Where example_wp355 is your database name.File Manager
  2. Go to your Backstage >> SiteAdmin >> Databases >> PHPMyAdminphpMyAdmin
  3. Look for the example_wp355 database, and then for table wp_usersphpMyAdmin

Once that you are on the wp_users table, you should see all the username details. On this particular case I only have one user that is admin as you can see on the screenshot below:

admin user

  1. Now to change the password, click on the Edit button for the username that you want to modify.
  2. On the new screen you will be able to edit all the details of that username, but on this particular case we ONLY care to change the password. So go to the user_pass field, click on the dropdown and select MD5 and on the input field next to it, simply type the password that you want to set. Once you are finished, click on the Go button.change_wordpress_password

And that is all, now you should be able to login to your WordPress with the password we recently set for that account. If you need assistance, let me know on my contact me page.

Below are more resources regarding password resets:

Moving to a new house without fixed internet is a bad idea! — January 9, 2015

Moving to a new house without fixed internet is a bad idea!


happy crySo you remember the excitement about moving to a new house? all the anxiousness? the energy? the fairy dust? the happy cry?¬†Meeting the neighbors? Unpacking your stuff? Arranging the kids’ rooms? Thinking of an inauguration party?

Well that is all fine and dandy… BUT! what about when you get to the real world and you realize your Wimax USB Stick does not have a good signal in your room and your internet keeps dropping ? That might not be really important for the regular John Doe (or Juan Perez if you’re latino); but for me as an internet employee or remote worker (call it as you may want to call it), internet is crucial for me. My entire work for WWWH and Site5 is entirely dependent on internet. Without it I would not be able to help any of the over 5 million of websites that we currently host. No email, no live chat, no CRM, no Help Desk = NO WORK = FRUSTRATION!!!frustration

What do you do?

ios hotspotYou remember that you have a Movistar iPhone with an expensive data plan. You grab your iOS, unlock it (password only, all cool features are still locked, I hate my iPhone!) enable the hotspot feature via USB, plug your phone to your computer in high hopes that it will save the day. Your MTR starts showing proof of connectivity, your Airmail starts downloading emails. You breathe now. A sip to your glass of water and get ready to work.

You then, pretend to start working, ready to get some tickets or chats, but then you sadly realize that your internet is gone, again. It took me longer to actually enable Hotspot, connect the phone via the USB cable to the computer that what really lasted the connectivity.

Frustrated, you then unplug your phone to call your office in the USA and let them know that you are facing issues with your internet and apologize. After hanging up you then, grab the Wimax USB and plug it back to your computer. You decide to get back to the living room, so you get out of your room and to the sofa on the living room.

magic

Internet comes back up, ping times on MTR show normal latency, email, live chat, help desk, all web tools load well; even skype is there. WHAT?

I quickly try to talk to my supervisor, he replies. Yes, I’m back baby!!! I start working on tickets pending and help customers with their issues. 2 hours later, the internet is still stable when I stay in my living room. Interesting.

Lessons learned that day:

  • Yota sucks. (Wimax USB modem provider)
  • Movistar iPhone Data plan sucks. (less than other cheaper plans, but still sucks, and its because of Movistar weak infrastructure, not due to the plan itself).
  • My room on the new house has some kind of internet protection or interference that prevented me from working from my room and bed. Or maybe God wants me to get an office space?
  • I really cared for my job. I was really worried for not being able to work.
  • Get a fixed internet plan or a wireless antenna based internet instead of trusting Yota & Movistar. I should have known better.

So what about you guys, what funny story happened with your internet or technology when you moved to a new house?

6 months working for WWWH — January 7, 2015

6 months working for WWWH


It seems really fast how this 6 months flied by. Before joining the amazing, 100% remote team of WWWH, I was working for a pretty fast paced web development firm based out from Monterrey, Mexico called Iliux. I made the switch since I have been wanting to work for WWWH for about two years but timing was never there.

WWWH

I had been using their reseller services and shared hosting services of one of their brands, Site5.com, for the past 6 years and I was really in love with their service and their support. Its was thru them that I met cPanel, and learned how to use it and started providing support for other customers when I became I reseller with a venture I started named Top Host LLC.

I can say now after some months I have learned a lot from how cPanel infrastructure work and I have improved my troubleshooting skills for web errors (Apache, PHP, WordPress, etc) and usual errors that Site5.com customers face on a daily basis.

What the future holds ? Well I’m really looking forward to my 6 months performance review to set a road map so I can keep growing within the company while keep providing awesome support to all of WWWH & Site5.com customers.

Site5

The company is so incredibly growing that we are always looking for staff members to join this 100% remote workforce company, so if you’d like to work from home, this is your opportunity be sure to visit our careers page.

So what can you expect of my blog and my posts? Well I will be posting some cPanel information based on my experience with customers, will be creating small tutorials on how to fix things with WordPress, Google Apps, git, ruby, etc.

If you’d like me to post something specific, be sure to drop me a note via my contact me page.

That is all for now folks!

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